The story of Wilson Wang illustrates how China's Communist Party disciplines countless 'corrupt officials,' using brutal tactics that critics call torture. Through interviews with Mr. Wang's lawyers and his family in Canada, as well as accounts from other survivors, Nathan VanderKlippe provides a rare look inside the dark world of shuanggui
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

WUHU, CHINA -- Behind the long grey wall is a garden courtyard. Done in a traditional Chinese style, it is the kind of treed space that might fit nicely into a countryside resort.

Benches look out over a small pond and the grounds are dotted with pagodas. Next to the garden, behind a gate marked with a sign indicating the entrance to the Wuhu Centre for Party Conduct and Government Integrity Education, is a cluster of low-slung buildings.

The resort atmosphere lingers inside, say those who have entered, with marblefloored corridors, leather sofas and an atrium decorated with flowers. The kitchen serves up 15-dish lunches, and wooden room doors open with swipe cards.

"It's kind of like a four- or five-star hotel," says Jean Zou, a Chinese-born Canadian who wishes she had never set foot there.

"You would never know there is something else happening in that building."

Hidden inside lies a shadowy corner of modern China. Here and in countless other unassuming structures across the country are where the top political leadership of the world's second-largest economy has waged a war on corruption. And like the anti-corruption campaign itself, the facade of administrative normalcy conceals a harsh reality: a justice system heavily reliant on interrogation tactics that in many countries would be considered torture, conducted in covert locations.

Members of the Communist Party accused of graft routinely disappear into buildings like those behind the grey wall after being placed under a form of extralegal custody called shuanggui. When they eventually emerge - sometimes after weeks, sometimes not for a year - they have prepared confessions of wrongdoing, for which they are then tried in court. Sentences include lengthy jail time, asset seizures and orders to repay large sums of money.

A fearsome organ of internal discipline, shuanggui (pronounced shwung-gwaye) has roots in both imperial Chinese practices and Soviet institutions of party control. Local lawyers call it a form of "family rule" for Communist members. Critics liken it to mob justice, a system with little oversight, prone to abuse, even as it has taken on a central role in a sweeping anti-graft effort that has been a hallmark of Xi Jinping's presidency.

Nearly 1.2 million people have been punished in the past four years, some 410,000 in the last year alone.

This is the story of one those men and his family, whose account - told to The Globe and Mail and corroborated through lawyers, relatives, court and employment documents, and legal experts - reveals the inner workings of how China is prosecuting corruption.

It is a system that's also important to Canada, as it considers an extradition treaty to send back those whom China accuses of corruption. Sometimes, evidence against accused fugitives is extracted from places like the Wuhu Centre for Party Conduct and Government Integrity Education, which, to anyone strolling through, is "well-decorated and beautiful," Ms. Zou says. "It looks very nice. But it is the worst place in the world."

A windowless chamber with padded walls On April 10, 2015, Wilson Wang disappeared. For days, Ms. Zou did not know where her husband, a successful executive at a staterun tobacco firm, had gone. Finally, she was told that he was in the custody of China's anti-corruption investigators, under investigation for taking bribes.

But it was only much later that she learned he had been taken to that complex in Wuhu and locked inside a windowless chamber, its walls and even its toilet padded to prevent suicide.

For weeks, shifts of Communist Party internal-discipline workers subjected him to questions, insults and an array of tactics designed to create intense psychological pressure. They wanted a confession.

For days on end - it was never clear to him how long, since he could not discern day from night - they prevented Mr. Wang from sleeping. Sometimes when he closed his eyes, interrogators would make so much noise that he could not drift off. Other times, they blinded him with bright lights and, when he said he was too tired to go on, blasted him with frigid gusts from an air conditioner.

One day, he was forced to sit for 20 hours on a tiny stool that left him with weeping sores.

He could not speak with a lawyer and was permitted to speak with family only when ordered to beg them to send money - unaware that those payments would later be used as evidence of his guilt.

Alone and desperate, Mr. Wang sought to kill himself by biting through the artery in his wrist. He was stopped by members of the team of dozens keeping constant watch over him. Some were doctors, tasked to ensure he was kept alive. Though he was fed regularly, on some days each meal consisted of only a single spoonful of salty vegetables.

It was clear from the beginning that he had only one certain route out. He would have to admit that he was corrupt, that he had used his position as a senior factory manager to line his own pockets.

"They said if he did not confess, they would send him to the crematorium," said Ms. Zou, an engineer by training, who has now spent nearly two years as her husband's most persistent advocate.

In 54 days, Mr. Wang lost roughly 40 pounds.

Finally, he told his interrogators what they wanted to hear. Then he confessed again, this time to the procuratorate, the Chinese office of investigation and prosecution, which would use his words as evidence in court.

In the eyes of the Chinese state, everything he had just endured ceased to exist - the very building where he was questioned reduced to an apparition. It was as if he had not been detained or interrogated. He and his lawyers could not so much as mention the name of the shuanggui system that had held him captive for nearly two months.

For the procurators seeking to convict Mr. Wang, all that remained of his ordeal was the account he had given them. His signature on the confession had, at a stroke, sanctified the weeks it took to produce an account of his wrongdoing, one he quickly recanted as coerced. The judge wasn't interested in his arguments, and sentenced him to six years in prison. He was fined $7,600 and ordered to return a gold bar, one his family says he never owned.

The shuanggui system had claimed another success from the shadows.

'No basis in Chinese law' By most readings of China's legal documents, the shuanggui system is illegal. It is not administered by police, and the evidence it uncovers is not directly introduced in court. It "has no basis in Chinese law," the non-profit Human Rights Watch concluded in Special Measures, a lengthy report on the system last year. "It is effectively a form of solitary confinement in unofficial and unmarked facilities for an indefinite period of time."

Stung by criticism inside and outside its borders, China has also moved to curb the use of physical violence inside the system. However, the interrogation tactics used against Mr. Wang and a series of others whose family members spoke with The Globe and Mail - including a medical doctor who was once hired to work inside the system - show that it is a campaign that continues to rely on mistreatment and psychological torment.

The secrecy that surrounds anti-corruption in China makes it impossible to independently verify each element of Mr.Wang's account. The Globe was not even able to send questions to the central anti-corruption commission, which requires a telephone discussion before it will accept a faxed query. No one at the commission answered that phone, despite repeated attempts over a number of days.

Nonetheless, Mr. Wang's experience hews closely to other accounts reported in Western media, by human-rights groups and, in some cases, by officials themselves.

In recent years, people caught up in the shuanggui system have died. Others have penned shocking accounts of their experiences.

One of those began to circulate on the Chinese Internet in late 2014. It was written by Wang Yuming, who had worked in a construction management office before shuanggui investigators took him away, accusing him of corruption. In a personal report entitled 44 Days in Hell, he recounts being burned by cigarettes and whipped with his own belt. So much of his hair was pulled that it lay in bunches on the ground. When interrogators grew tired of inflicting pain, they ordered him to slap himself while repeatedly saying, "I'm guilty. I confess." Kept from sleep for seven days, he began to hallucinate. "He saw dead people all over the floor," said his wife, Wu Fenghua. "He had mentally collapsed."

Chinese leadership has acknowledged problems, and has sought to curtail the worst excesses by ordering a halt to physical violence against detainees and punishing nearly 8,000 graft-busters themselves for corruption.

In January, a Chinese documentary series included an account of one provincial anti-corruption head who said he had accepted more than $25-million in bribes and gifts. Airing that account was among the steps China has made to show it is supervising the system.

Ms. Zou wants to do more. After nearly two years of enduring a system that is at once enormously powerful and carefully hidden, she is now fighting back.

She has amassed a trove of documentation showing the horrors and absurdities of a system that has devoted few concerns to either human or legal rights as it pursues corruption convictions.

She has pored over hours of videotape, and hired some of the country's best legal scholars to highlight holes in the evidence marshalled against Mr. Wang.

Her legal team has gone so far as to demand that President Xi stand as a witness. With no history of activism, Ms. Zou has been warned that her willingness to challenge powerful authorities has endangered her safety. She has persisted, in hopes of freeing her husband. A small crowd of human-rights lawyers - among the few hundred that remain in China after a crackdown that has placed many behind bars - has followed the case closely, curious whether it could represent a challenge to a system that has become a central pillar of repressive tactics used under Mr. Xi.

Upending a system so central to the aims of party leadership will not be easy, although countries like Canada may have a role in pushing China for change, amid talks on extraditing graft suspects.

For Ms. Zou, the goal is more than merely freeing her husband.

"I love this country. I love China," she said. "I don't want China to be this bad."

Five properties in China, and another in Canada Jean Zou and Wilson Wang never pretended to be poor.

"My income and my husband's income were always at the top in the city," Ms. Zou said. "Not number one. But tier one."

It was success that eventually placed a target on their backs. As they accumulated wealth and property, their lifestyle increasingly began to resemble that of the "naked officials" that, in China, have come to define corruption: They were an influential couple with one foot in China and another in Canada, with a need for money to buy property in British Columbia's pricey Lower Mainland and an Ivy League education for their daughter.

They began, like many in China's modern middle-class, as workers in a government-run system.

Mr. Wang graduated from university with a degree in engineering, and, in 1982, immediately joined Wuhu Cigarette Factory, a state-run company and one of the largest employers in Wuhu, a city once famous as a rice-trading crossroads on the shores of the Yangtze River.

The place he worked occupied a central role in Wuhu, both as a major employer and geographically, with a centrally located main factory surrounded by apartments and townhouses it built for workers. Even today, in the midst of a modern city that has grown up around it, the factory scents the air with tobacco.

Mr. Wang and Ms. Zou met in high school, he the studious hard worker, she outgoing and personable. His parents had both been leaders when they were young; his father worked as a deputy factory director, and his mother became the first leader of a local county following the Communist Revolution. She was the daughter of an educated family, her parents both professors, her brother educated at Carnegie Mellon on a full scholarship at a time when China remained deeply insular.

Ms. Zou obtained a master's degree in civil engineering and taught at a local university while Mr. Wang built his career at the cigarette factory. He surrounded himself with books, mainly about management, and joined the Communist Party.

It was a point of conflict. Ms. Zou had grown up with professor parents who saw colleagues persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. Her father was publicly humiliated as a counterrevolutionary and banished to the countryside.

Getting too close to the party, she warned, could be dangerous.

"I told him, don't join," she said.

But like most ambitious workers of his era, he saw membership as a ticket to advancement.

He was right.

So, years later, was she.

As Mr. Wang rose in the ranks, his work allowed the couple to accumulate property and wealth.

Like many Chinese state-owned companies, the cigarette-maker built worker accommodations and then sold them off to employees for cheap. Mr. Wang and Ms. Zou bought when they could, securing one apartment for less than the equivalent of $5,000. They eventually accumulated five properties in China, and another in Canada.

In 1990, they gave birth to a daughter, Felicia.

But Ms. Zou wanted out of China. Knowing what happened to her parents during the Cultural Revolution had left her with a permanent sense of unease. "My parents suffered. That's why I moved to Canada. I did not want my daughter to have the same experience," she said.

With her education and engineering background, she qualified as a skilled immigrant. In 2000, Ms. Zou and her daughter left for Canada.

Mr. Wang never joined them. By the time the immigration paperwork was ready, he had won a major promotion at work, rising to vice factory manager. So he stayed in China, where he became general manager of the local factory, a high-profile executive job that came with perks such as a company car. A few years later, he was dispatched to Romania - to work for the cigarette company - with all the perks of an overseas position. His annual income exceeded 500,000 yuan, nearly six figures in Canadian dollars - a princely wage in China. The family acquired a white BMW 1 Series.

Felicia attended the University of Toronto before moving to Harvard, where a year of graduate studies cost about $150,000.

'No normal person in their right mind would risk it' But what might look to some like a narrative of success, in China made Mr. Wang's family almost the perfect image of a corrupt family. Some citizens remain in China while their families move abroad, an arrangement that affords the opportunity to earn, enjoy and hide the proceeds of dirty money. The practice has grown so common that such "naked officials" - so named because they are no longer surrounded by family or most of their assets - have been specifically targeted by Chinese graftbusters; in a single bust in 2014, 1,000 such officials were told they could either bring back their families or face demotion and, in some cases, dismissal.

"Naked officials are not necessarily corrupt, but they are just one step away," Xiao Bin, a professor with the School of Government at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, told state media at the time of the 2014 bust. "These people are civil servants paid by taxpayers, but it seems that they are ready to flee for a reunion with their families abroad any time. This is intolerable in any country."

To anyone casually acquainted with Ms. Zou and her family, they fit the naked-official mould. The courts agreed, a conclusion that would not be difficult to believe in a country where corruption is endemic.

But the evidence the court relied upon came, first, from the shuanggui system. And while its harsh methods may often succeed in extracting confessions, they also cast doubt on its ability to properly assess guilt.

The family argues that Mr. Wang is clean and, as proof, holds up the exculpatory evidence that, they say, the courts glossed over.

"It's impossible" that Mr. Wang took bribes, his sister, Wang Qin, said in an interview. Living alone in China, he would often come to her place for dinner. "He had only one demand, which was that we needed soup at each meal. It didn't matter which kind. He just likes soup," she said. "He lived such a simple life."

In Canada, a former manager for Ms. Zou said she saw no evidence of an extravagant lifestyle.

Felicia's Harvard schooling lasted only one year, and though it was expensive, a six-figure tuition bill is not out of reach for many middle-class Chinese families who spend lifetimes saving for their children's education.

Then there is Mr. Wang's income.

In an interview, Felicia said, "They accused him of taking about one million yuan in bribes, which is about $200,000. The amount doesn't sound right. How many years of salary is that? Like, three? Would you risk jail for three years of your salary?

"No normal person in their right mind would risk it."

But on the day unknown men took Mr. Wang away, he was suddenly submersed in a system designed not to carefully weigh those counterarguments.

That night, Felicia could not sleep. "I knew this was not good.

We know how the Communists work. If you have read any stories about Soviet Russia, it's the same kind of stuff," she said. "If this was a just system, you wouldn't be taking away someone without giving any reason, any evidence.

And you wouldn't need to hold them in a facility where they're not allowed to see anybody - not even lawyers - for up to a year to gather evidence."

A tradition of detention In a country with thousands of years of history, the ideas behind shuanggui are not new. "There is historical evidence pointing to how in imperial China, corrupt officials could be 'detained' and investigated," says Flora Sapio, a scholar who studies Chinese law.

China's Communist Party also has a long tradition of detaining people for the purposes of internal party discipline. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection was formed in 1949, the year the party took control of China.

But the sprawling modern shuanggui system was born, researchers say, of fear. When Communist rule began to fracture in deeply corrupt Soviet Russia, Chinese leaders wanted to ensure they would not meet the same fate. What was required, Chinese scholars have written, were "special measures" to root out the corruption flourishing in the late 1980s, during the lucrative period of reform and opening up.

In 1990, new rules allowed authorities to detain civil servants at a "designated location at a designated time" to answer questions. That wording would come to be known as shuanggui, a term introduced to the lexicon in 1994 that means "double designation."

Four years later, China specifically prohibited the use of physical violence, insults and tools by shuanggui interrogators. In the late 1990s, shuanggui was even officially outlawed.

But such tactics, and the system itself, persisted as immensely useful tools to prosecute corruption, particularly in recent years under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Since he took office, the number of cases handled by commissions for discipline inspection, who oversee the shuanggui system, have more than doubled. Wang Qishan, the head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, widely seen as China's second-most powerful man, now stands atop a 500,000-person strong graft-busting empire.

Chinese authorities have formally banned torture in interrogations, and defend their justice system as operating by the book.

Only this week, a foreign-ministry spokesperson said in China, "Everyone stands equal in front of the law."

But even China's own police have acknowledged using torture to secure confessions. And if shuanggui operates outside the law, how far will its interrogators go?

It was a question one man, a medical doctor also surnamed Wang, but unrelated to Wilson Wang, had long wanted to answer.

In 2009, his own brother had been hauled in for investigation, accused of taking part in a bribery scheme. Interrogators soaked cigarettes and stuffed them into his nose. In 20 days, they allowed him only a single night's proper rest - and that, only after he attempted suicide by biting his tongue, severing a third of it.

"He couldn't bear the torture any more," said Dr. Wang, a physician who asked that his first name not be used because he has been threatened with violence for criticizing the system.

So when Dr. Wang received a notice that he had been randomly selected to work a medical shift at the office of a local disciplineinspection unit in late 2015, he did not hesitate. For three months, he and another doctor would be tasked with overseeing the health conditions of party members under shuanggui investigation.

Before he began his first shift, he received a set of strict instructions. He could ask detainees about their health but was strictly forbidden from broaching any other topic.

"Their requirement for us doctors was to keep them safe. That meant, don't let them die," said Dr. Wang. "A dead person would create big problems. Someone who is only injured doesn't matter."

Every morning, Dr. Wang checked on the detainees. He had, at most, a few minutes with each.

Some had high blood pressure or diabetes, and he prescribed medicine - although it was rarely administered properly, he said.

One septuagenarian man whose treatment he oversaw suffered from festering sores after being forced to sit in one position for too long. Proper treatment required changing his dressing every day, applying a paste to the wound, and then covering it with gauze. But an official at the detention centre ordered Dr. Wang to skip the gauze. Instead, the detainee was made to wear his pants directly over the paste, which then stuck to the fabric. Every time the man stood up, his pants painfully pulled at the sore.

"The wound could barely heal," Dr. Wang said. "It made for a long and slow form of torture."

When his morning rounds were complete, his task was to wait in case of an emergency. It was a chance to get acquainted with the facility staff, a mix of university political-science and law graduates serving alongside retired military officers and officials seconded from other local government offices.

They were organized in four daily shifts, he said, which enabled them to maintain pressure on suspects day and night. Sleep deprivation was their favoured tactic, an abuse that has been labelled "mental torture" by the U.S. military and "inhuman treatment" by the European Court.

China's own Supreme Court has defined as torture any "use of physical punishment, covert physical punishment or use of other methods that cause severe physical or psychological pain or suffering, compelling a defendant to confess against his will."

"Their aim was to break your spirit," Dr. Wang said.

After 72 sleepless hours, a person begins to lose command of their faculties. "They do it so a person will lose control and follow their inducements," he said.

"It's like hypnotism. A person will write whatever they are told to, and sign it."

Condemnation for such conduct Many of the tactics Dr. Wang witnessed in the shuanggui system have also been used by numerous Western governments, including the U.K. in Northern Ireland; Israel with Palestinian detainees; and the United States in Guantanamo.

Each of those countries, however, has come under heavy condemnation for its conduct, from the United Nations and humanrights groups.

Last fall, Juan E. Méndez, UN special rapporteur on torture, called for new guidelines to ensure no one is subjected to such treatment, which he criticized as, among other things, ineffective.

"Scientific data and irrefutable evidence from the criminal-justice system demonstrate that coercive methods of questioning, even when not amounting to torture, produce unreliable information and false confessions, and are indeed counterproductive for public safety," Mr. Méndez said in a public statement.

"Moreover, torture, ill-treatment, and coercion have devastating long-term consequences on individuals, institutions, and society as a whole," he added. "Ultimately, torture only breeds more crime by fuelling hatred and a desire for vengeance."

In the past few months, Chinese authorities have proposed a raft of further changes to their anticorruption efforts. Shuanggui investigators will be encouraged to videotape confessions and limit interrogations to 90 days.

New rules obligate interrogators to maintain proper health and diet for those under questioning, and bar them from employing insults or physical punishment.

President Xi has urged graft investigators to keep away "the darkness beneath the light," while Wang Qishan, the head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has pledged to "provide a good answer to the question of who will supervise the CCDI, and will not betray the Party's trust or the people's expectations." The party is also creating a broad-based new National Supervisory Commission that will expand the reach of discipline inspection, but the new rules place "more demands on the person doing the examination than the target of the investigation. This is major progress," Li Yongzhong, deputy president of the China Academy of Discipline Inspection and Supervision, told state media.

It's not clear what this means for the future of shuanggui.

"I see the likelihood that the shuanggui system will be brought to a greater compliance with the political line of the current leadership," said Prof. Sapio. That could mean nudging it out of the shadows, using "the law as a tool which can place meaningful limitations on power."

Others aren't convinced. Corruption can be extraordinarily difficult to prove using normal standards of evidence. High-pressure shuanggui interrogations, by contrast, offer "a way to relatively quickly get what they want," said Zhu Jiangnan, a University of Hong Kong scholar who has studied Chinese anti-corruption efforts for more than a decade.

"They will still keep using it," she said. "There's no incentive to change."

China's corruption problem There is one aspect of China's corruption crackdown on which critics and supporters agree: Beijing has a major graft problem on its hands. China scores a 40 on Transparency International's corruption-perception index, where 100 is considered very clean, and zero highly corrupt. That puts it in 79th place among countries, behind Brazil, Tunisia and Cuba.

The group's Corruption Perceptions Index suggests "a serious problem with corruption" in China.

In the shuanggui system, those "being tortured oftentimes are not the poster children," said Margaret Lewis, an expert on the Chinese legal system at Seton Hall University School of Law, in Newark, N.J.

But, she said, "it's the hard cases that really test whether we stand by" values "that every human being should be free from torture and other cruel and degrading punishment."

That's a particularly important question for Ottawa as it contemplates an extradition treaty with China.

As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, Canada has an obligation not to return people to a country where there is a likelihood they will be tortured.

How closely does Canada want to align itself with a system where the treatment of people like Mr. Wang is routine?

Ottawa is unlikely to agree to any deal that does not contain specific provisions against the mistreatment of returned suspects. But the hidden nature of shuanggui investigations raises questions about whether evidence produced by mistreatment could be used against people in Canada.

Some, too, argue that an extradition treaty could prove helpful in pushing for improvements to the Chinese system. Ottawa could insist on eschewing any case based on evidence with roots in shuanggui, said Phil Calvert, a retired Canadian diplomat with extensive experience in China.

That "could exclude some people the Chinese government most wants extradited; that would send a message into the system.

And if other countries echo this message, then that could have a cumulative effect."

For now, it's not clear how seriously the Trudeau government intends to pursue an extradition deal with China. After a meeting last fall in which Canada agreed to start talks toward such an agreement, no further discussions have been scheduled, government sources say.

China's new ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, said in an interview with The Globe this week that human-rights questions should not influence broader talks on trade between the two countries. He also urged greater co-operation "in judicial and law enforcement," in particular on corruption.

But those who have peered into China's own anti-corruption enforcement warn against approaching it too closely.

Shuanggui exists in "the darkness under the candelabra," Dr.

Wang says. "They have power in their hands. And with no oversight, they can do whatever they want."

Jean Zou is called in On May 3, 2015, a stranger phoned Jean Zou. Three frantic weeks had passed since her husband was taken away. The stranger promised to shed light on the mystery.

"Come over here," he said. "We will tell you what happened with your husband."

Two days later, she walked into the buildings behind the signs for the Wuhu Centre for Party Conduct and Government Integrity Education. The people inside were friendly and smiling. They first asked her to remove her jewellery and change her clothes, saying it was their policy to have everyone dress in a grey, longsleeved shirt and pants.

It was prison garb, and the video of her wearing it would be played for her husband without sound to falsely persuade him that his wife, too, had been arrested for his supposed crimes - and that his daughter was next.

But Ms. Zou did not know that.

"I thought, my husband is in their hands. Better to co-operate."

Next, ominously, a doctor came to see her, checking her blood pressure and drawing blood.

"There were two men and a lady. As soon as all of these things were done, the two men's faces changed completely," Ms. Zou recalled. They began to scream: "Sit down and sit straight! You cannot relax!"

The yelling was so loud and so uninterrupted that it was barely human communication; it was animal intimidation that continued for hours. They swore and called her names. They told her she was worthless.

Ms. Zou had become a Canadian citizen in 2005. That didn't matter to her interrogators.

"They didn't ask me questions.

They just yelled," she said. "I was crying because I was afraid. I have never had anything like that before in my entire life. No person has ever treated me like a dog before."

When she collapsed, they called a doctor to check on her, saying that if she did not get back up they would draw more blood with an extra-large needle. When she closed her eyes, they directed intensely bright lights at her. "Not opening your eyes means you cannot see clearly," they told her.

"That's why we are shining this light at your eyes. It gives you much more light to see."

The interrogation began at 9 a.m. and continued through shifts of questioners. At dinnertime, another man entered the room who introduced himself as the leader of the local Commission for Discipline Inspection. Confess, he told Ms. Zou, or face arrest. "We do not need to follow the rules," he said.

"We can arrest anyone at any time."

They let her go at 9 p.m., telling her she must return the following day. She raced to get her daughter out of the country that day instead. "I just came back from where the devils are," she told Felicia.

But as they drove to the airport, Ms. Zou's phone rang. Local authorities, she was told, had already signed a document that would bar Felicia, a Canadian citizen, from leaving China. They would enact the ban if Ms. Zou was not at their office by 2 p.m.

Being locked in China "would ruin my daughter's whole life," said Ms. Zou, who promised to come in the next day.

The delay tactic worked. By the time she returned for another day of interrogation, Felicia was out of China. (She now works in New York City.) And Ms. Zou refused to admit her husband's guilt.

Interrogators had more success with Wilson Wang's brother-inlaw, Wang Kui, who eventually agreed that he had seen Wilson accept a bribe. Interrogators had told him that his accusation would cause them to go easy on Wilson.

But the experience shattered Wang Kui. After four days of 15hour interrogations, he was set free, only to get into three different traffic accidents in a single day. A doctor diagnosed him with schizophrenia.

The family, too, was convulsed.

On May 29, nearly two months after Wilson Wang disappeared, he called his sister, Wang Qin, from inside the Commission for Discipline Inspection (Ms. Zou's phone had mysteriously stopped working after he was detained, so Wilson no longer knew his wife's number).

"I remember clearly what he said to me: 'I need to pay 1.2-million [yuan], and I need your help to do it,' " said Ms. Wang.

It was the equivalent of $227,000. It had to be done that day. "His tone was like he couldn't stay a minute longer inside there," Ms. Wang said.

Ms. Zou argued vociferously against making the payment: It would look like an admission of guilt. She went so far as to make a threat. "I said, 'If anyone does it, I will kill the family. I will kill you all, including the kids.' " The family was being torn apart.

That afternoon, when Ms. Zou left to get legal advice, her husband called his sister again. He wanted to know why the money had not arrived. "He sounded very sad. I want to cry, just telling you about it," Ms. Wang said.

The family had heard about local dignitaries who died in shuanggui.

"If we refused to pay, how would he be able to leave that place? Would he be destroyed by ceaseless torture?" Ms. Wang said.

"It was the person I wanted.

What use is money to me?" They quickly secured a high-interest loan, which cost them $4,550 in interest alone every month. Nearly two years later, more than half of the principal remains unpaid.

And Mr. Wang remains behind bars. He first confessed, Ms. Zou was told, when interrogators showed him the order they had prepared to bar his daughter from leaving China. On Aug. 15, 2016, a judge declared him guilty.

'How can they treat the law like a joke?' On a chilly day in December, a small crowd gathers on the sidewalk outside the law-courts building in Wuhu. Former classmates, relatives and other lawyers have come to attend an appeal trial for Wilson Wang.

Minutes before the trial is scheduled to begin, a pair of uniformed court officers walk out.

The trial, they say, has been delayed. Mr. Wang's sister, Wang Qin, is furious. "How," she asks, "can they treat the law like a joke?" Inside, the judge who has just postponed the trial is asking Mr. Wang's lawyer a similar question.

Why, the judge wants to know, has he called the Chinese president as a witness?

Because, replies Gan Weidong, the lawyer, Mr. Xi can personally corroborate his client's alibi.

There is sound legal reason for the request.

But the impossibility that it will succeed only serves to underscore the absurdity of some of the evidence assembled against Mr. Wang - one element of which could be contradicted by the Chinese president himself.

A year and a half earlier, when Mr. Wang had first emerged from his 54-day shuanggui interrogation, he was immediately taken to the office of a local procuratorate.

He was taken into another room, where for 23 hours and 35 minutes he issued a detailed videotaped confession to the procurators, finishing minutes before the 24-hour threshold that in China legally constitutes "exhaustive interrogation."

What he said in that time became the foundation of the case against him, buttressed by additional hours of testimony that procurators amassed from others. Chinese courts rely heavily on such evidence.

But Mr. Wang was not allowed to meet his lawyer until two months after he made that confession. And the words he uttered at the time, Mr. Gan said, were not his own.

"It's very simple. The Commission for Discipline Inspection writes the script," Mr. Gan said.

"The suspect and witnesses must recite the script well first, and then act it out when they are recorded" by the procurator.

That script can fall apart on closer inspection.

Most prominent among the witnesses against Mr. Wang was Ji Ruinan, a businessman who fixed machinery at the cigarette company. He admitted to giving Mr. Wang $87,000 in bribes and providing $44,000 in free home renovations in order to secure contracts at the factory.

The procuratorate refused to provide any of the videotaped testimony to Mr. Wang's legal team.

But they managed to smuggle out a copy, and, when they began to scrutinize it, started to spot irregularities.

For example, Mr. Ji said he had given Mr. Wang multiple bribes, which he had delivered in person in October, 2009.

That was problematic. Mr. Wang was, at the time, far from China, working in Romania. He had proof - border records that he had flown out of the country and, most compelling of all, a photo. It showed him in a group behind Mr. Xi, who in October, 2009, came to Romania on a tour through Eastern Europe.

On another tape, procurators take a break from questioning Mr. Ji. He begins to reflect about a contract he had wanted at the cigarette factory. "I didn't get it in the end, because I didn't spend money," he says. Mr. Ji then adds, "What I said before, in the investigation, I lied."

The prosecutor replies: "I know that some of what you said before was not true. You are clear, and we are clear, too. But we do not blame you. It's all very normal."

It appears to be an admission that Mr. Ji did not bribe Mr. Wang, and has instead been concocting evidence - a damning find, and one that supported Mr. Wang's later claim, in court, that all of Mr. Ji's evidence against him was fabricated.

A group of legal scholars who reviewed it agreed.

"Mr. Ji's testimony has many contradictory and suspicious elements, for which there is no reasonable explanation," wrote the three professors of criminal law at Peking University and Renmin University.

They recommended it be discarded entirely - and then went on to question the foundations of the case against Mr. Wang.

There are "major issues of procedure and evidence," they said.

It was only after Mr. Wang went to trial and was found guilty that the procurator's office sent his lawyers a copy of the tapes. In their copy, the references to lying, and Mr. Ji's admission that "I didn't spend money" no longer appear.

Accused of being 'suspicious' In mid-March, Jean Zou received two remarkable sheets of paper from the Wuhu City Intermediate People's Court. They were signed and stamped by a judge, concerning her husband. "The facts of the former judgment were found to be unclear, and the evidence was found to be insufficient," they declared. The judge ordered a retrial.

In a country with a conviction rate over 99.9 per cent, it was a surprising indictment of the quality of proof produced by the shuanggui investigation against Mr. Wang.

But Mr. Wang remains in detention, without a date for a new trial. And his supporters remain at a deep disadvantage in trying to win his freedom.

When Ms. Zou asked for documents from the cigarette factory that could help to buttress his case, the general manager refused to provide them. "He is so scared of the Wuhu Commission for Discipline Inspection," Ms. Zou said.

In court, Mr. Wang's lawyers cannot so much as mention the shuanggui system or its role in coercing the confessions that constitute the bedrock of the case against him.

"If I insist on criticizing shuanggui, it's likely they will suddenly take me out of the courtroom," said Mr. Gan.

Ms. Zou, too, has been warned that powerful local interests are gearing up to defeat her, perhaps by attacking her lawyer. Shortly after that warning, police ordered Mr. Gan in for questioning, saying they wanted information on an Airbnb-style home where he had stayed.

Then, shortly after local media reported on Mr. Wang's ordeal in February, an unsigned article appeared on an obscure news website. It appeared to be an effort by authorities to anonymously counter her story.

The judicial process against Mr. Wang may have been imperfect, it said. But none of that can explain how a man "who owns five houses could be a clean official."

It is "suspicious," the article continued, that anyone would offer a sympathetic account of a person it called thoroughly corrupt.

Besides, it asked "how many people would choose to believe" that Ms. Zou could gain Canadian citizenship on her own - an insinuation that it was attained through bribery.

Ms. Zou then received a series of calls from friends and family warning her to be careful, saying her personal safety could be at risk and that authorities have considered arresting her, too, on graft charges.

"They want to silence me," she said.

A system imbued with extraordinary power To critics outside China, the solution to shuanggui is simple: Eliminate it, and prosecute corruption using police and the courts.

"If Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan are going to continue to say in public that China is a country governed by the rule of law, then they are obliged today to abolish shuanggui," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. "And if they have credible evidence of corruption, they can send it through the court system they think is working so well."

But inside the country, the overwhelming weight of the system seems impossible to defeat.

Instead, people like Dr. Wang have engaged in a series of tiny skirmishes, hoping to fight back in whatever way they can. He has identified 20 officials he believes were involved with his brother's case, and has sent anonymous letters accusing each of them of corruption. He hopes someone will take his accusations seriously, and perhaps investigate.

It's risky, though, because he is confronting a system imbued with extraordinary power.

In Dr. Wang's office, only two men share the surname Wang.

Late last year, three men attacked the second Dr. Wang, fracturing his nose. Nobody could understand why, until a friend surmised that the men had made a mistake.

"They came for me. This was a warning," said Dr. Wang. He believes his letters fell into the hands of those he has sought to take down.

"The people I reported are very powerful. It would be very easy for them to kill me, like killing an ant with your fingers."

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

Associated Graphic

Wilson Wang was held for 54 days in a form of interrogation known as shuanggui, which exists outside the boundaries of China's normal legal system. His photo is overlayed with the words of Wang Yuming, a man who brought attention to the shuanggui system when he wrote an account of his treatment, posted online by his wife and titled 44 Days in Hell, in which he recounted his experience being burned by cigarettes and whipped with his own belt after he was taken into shuanggui in 2012 on corruption allegations.


Once a successful tobacco executive, Mr. Wang (back row, second from left) disappeared in the spring of 2015, and, among other things, was subjected to intense psychological pressure, and forced to sit for 20 hours on a tiny stool that left him with weeping sores. This photo from 2009 - at a gathering in Romania with the man who is now China's president, Xi Jinping (front row, centre) - contradicts key testimony in the corruption case against him.

Felicia Wang (pictured here with her father) attended the University of Toronto before studying at Harvard. Of shuanggui, she says: 'If you have read any stories about Soviet Russia, it's the same kind of stuff.'

Wilson Wang's wife, Jean Zou (centre), holds a protest banner on a street in Wuhu, China, near where her husband was detained. It reads, in part: 'Confession under torture after more than 50 days in detention.'

Outside the walls of the Wuhu Centre for Party Conduct and Government Integrity Education.

Inventing innovation: Making a formula for startup success
Creative Destruction Labs, founded by Ajay Agrawal, is incubating some of Canada's hottest tech prospects - and it won't stop there
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B7

TORONTO -- Cian O'Sullivan is the picture of confidence as he speaks to a packed lecture hall at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

A tall, lantern-jawed man, Mr. O'Sullivan begins his presentation with a slick video explaining the genius idea developed by Beagle Inc., his Kitchener, Ont.-based startup. Using artificial intelligence (AI), Beagle's software reviews dense contracts and other legal documents and roots out critical information in minutes.

Most of the 30 million small- and medium-sized businesses in North America don't use lawyers for commercial deals; Beagle's product saves them hours of aggravation.

The founder throws out some impressive numbers and names.

Already, it has 750 customers and prospective investors have shown "an immense amount of interest," he tells the Rotman crowd. So have Volkswagen AG and Thomson Reuters Corp.; Mr. O'Sullivan is spending 20 per cent of his time working on these new giant customer leads. Everything seems to be going Mr. O'Sullivan's way on this mid-April, 2016, day - that is, until the audience starts barking questions.

John Harris, a retired steel magnate, asks why Beagle only charges $83 per month. If it works, that's too low, he says.

Barney Pell, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor who once led U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's AI branch, says Mr. O'Sullivan should raise much more than the $400,000 (U.S.) he's seeking or investors won't take him seriously. "Right now you're in noman's land," Mr. Pell says.

Mike Serbinis, one of Canada's most successful tech entrepreneurs, says Beagle must decide if it's going after small or large customers, but not both. Others agree: Beagle has a focus problem. "I just want to know what kind of business this is," says Shivon Zilis, a partner with San Francisco venture-capital firm Bloomberg Beta.

Watching the scene unfold is the man who designed this interrogation chamber for entrepreneurs: Ajay Agrawal, one of Canada's foremost business academics and founder of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a ground-breaking program for startups housed at Rotman.

CDL has accomplished what few incubators of technology startups in Canada have managed to do, and is already making a major impact on a teeming startup ecosystem. It has developed a promising method for helping early stage companies grow, flourish and attract private capital. Now in its fifth year, the lab has helped cultivate companies, many of them using AI and other leadingedge technology.

Mr. Agrawal's aspirations go far beyond that, however. He also hopes that what the CDL team has created can point the way to a solution for a problem that has vexed our economy for decades: our sputtering ecosystem for innovation. Canada is blessed with excellent research universities and a strong pool of engineering and technical talent. Where we often stumble is in the process of turning bright ideas into cash, and spinning out technology businesses that can grow to become global players. Since Nortel Networks Corp. went bankrupt and BlackBerry Ltd. flamed out, there has been a shortage of truly large anchor companies in the Canadian tech sector. That will have to change if Canada is going to have an economy built on the jobs of the future.

With the federal government set to unveil what has been described as an "innovation budget" next week, perhaps CDL's most impressive accomplishment is that it isn't part of a grand public-sector innovation strategy, nor based on a recommendation from one of the many past reports on improving Canada's spotty record for commercializing technology. Rather, CDL has acted like a startup itself, driven by ingenuity and purpose and managed by a skeleton staff on a shoestring budget mostly financed by the private sector and individuals.

At the time of Mr. O'Sullivan's presentation last spring, Beagle was one of 13 AI firms left in CDL's machine-learning program, down from 25 that started the previous fall. All were trying to build new businesses around algorithms that can learn on their own, rather than just perform tasks programmed by humans.

To stay in the program, Mr. O'Sullivan and the other fledgling entrepreneurs had to convince at least one of the "mentors" - accomplished businesspeople who act as advisers, objective setters and judges - that it's worth devoting four hours out of their busy schedules to Beagle over the next eight weeks. If none are willing, participants are booted out of the program.

"When they come here most [CDL companies] are science projects," Mr. Agrawal says following the session. "By the time we get to this meeting" - the fourth daylong session out of five over the course of nine months - "they are ready to raise a seed round of capital." That explains why the 60odd observers in the room include several San Francisco-area venture capitalists. Their presence "is an important indicator" of CDL's success, said founding partner Dan Debow. "It tells you they're not coming to do you a favour, they're coming to do themselves a favour."

Some liken CDL to a cross between Survivor and Dragon's Den because most firms that start get cut. That comparison irks the cerebral and serious Mr. Agrawal.

Dragon's Den "rewards the ability to pitch," Mr. Agrawal said. "CDL rewards an ability to perform ... our ratings are the success of these companies."

If so, CDL is a huge hit. Mr. Agrawal's initial goal was to see CDL alumni create a combined $50million in equity value after five years. That's how he sold the program to early benefactors, including Mr. Debow and Mr. Harris, tech entrepreneurs Michael and Richard Hyatt and ex-Research In Motion Ltd. chief financial officer Dennis Kavelman, who each donated $300,000 to get CDL started.

CDL has surpassed that goal - 20 times over. Leading the way is Thalmic Labs Inc. of Waterloo, Ont., a maker of wearable technology that was one of the first companies to go through the lab in 2012-13. Thalmic raised $120million (U.S.) last year from Intel Capital, Amazon's Alexa Fund and others. Much of Thalmic's early guidance and funding came from CDL mentors.

Even without Thalmic, CDL would be a success: Other CDL graduate firms are valued at about $500-million combined and sell such eclectic innovations as anti-frost coatings, low-energy display lights and speech-analysis software that detects the onset of dementia. It's still too early to know if any will break out and emerge into significant enterprises; startups typically need seven to 10 years to reach that point.

Now, like a startup entrepreneur, Mr. Agrawal wants CDL to build on its early success and expand into something significant. This year, the program welcomed 100 companies - half of them focused on machine-learning. It expanded to the University of British Columbia, where "Creative Destruction Lab West" boasts early Yahoo president Jeff Mallett as a mentor. It has fielded interest from Dalhousie University in Halifax, the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business and New York University to host similar offshoots. Companies have flown in from France, Israel, Boston, New York and even Silicon Valley to participate.

But there's no time to waste: Canada's early lead in the now hot area of machine learning, a type of AI, has eroded somewhat as U.S. giants swooped to snap up leading Canadian scientists and startups. Google, Microsoft and their ilk have set themselves up to be big beneficiaries of Canada's AI talent pool.

Mr. Agrawal says now is the time to act on another field where Canada has built an early lead before the industry giants clean up: quantum computing. It's an emerging field based on a still developing technology that harnesses the power of subatomic particles. Quantum computers are expected to one day be significantly faster than the most sophisticated machines on the planet, enabling researchers to solve complex problems beyond current capabilities.

If things break as Mr. Agrawal hopes, Canada could hold that lead. To help, he's set this spring to announce a CDL stream exclusively centred on companies developing quantum computing-based AI companies.

"Our mission is that by 2020 the quantum-machine-learning initiative will have produced more, well-capitalized, revenue-generating quantum machine learning software companies than the rest of the world combined, and majority will be based in Canada," Mr. Agrawal says. "We have a model that works for building companies, but we are still in catchup mode."

Doubling down on global leaders The idea for Creative Destruction Lab came to Mr. Agrawal during a dinner in Toronto five years ago.

The topic that evening was what Canada could do to improve its woeful record for harnessing Canadian ingenuity to stimulate economic growth.

This was familiar ground for Mr. Agrawal, now 47, an expert on innovation economics and one of Rotman's most popular professors; he'd attended an "endless number" of government-sponsored panels, round tables and meetings on the subject during his career, and many of the usual suspects were in attendance, including CEOs of some of Canada's largest companies.

But something bothered him that night. Everyone at the table "was very deferential" to the CEOs "who were talking about how important innovation was," he said. "But they hadn't really done anything that's innovative."

Rather, it was the scientists in attendance who were the true innovators, including regenerative medicine expert Molly Shoichet, quantum computing and robotics visionary Geordie Rose, and Steve Mann, a pioneer in wearable computers. "I thought to myself, 'In this room ... everyone is focused on the bank CEOs, but as soon as we go global, they're not really that relevant - and the other people here are.' A light went off and I realized, 'OK, we need to double down on the people who are global leaders and they're not the ones everyone else in the country is focused on.' " That lightbulb moment had been 20 years in the making. Over the course of his academic research Mr. Agrawal, who studied engineering before earning his PhD in strategy and economics at UBC had focused on why most universities struggle to help their research scientists achieve commercial success from their inventions.

That was a particularly acute problem in Canada. This country's 36 leading research universities earned a combined $62-million (Cdn) in licensing income from campus inventions in 2015, according to the Association of University Technology Managers, a paltry fraction of the billions of dollars in on-campus research expenditures annually.

By comparison, U.S. commercialization powerhouses Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alone last year brought in $94.2-million (U.S.) and $62-million in licensing income, respectively.

It wasn't that Canadian scientists were less inventive than their U.S. counterparts; in a 2008 paper, Mr. Agrawal found U of T scientists disclosed as many inventions per capita as those at MIT. However, the "technology transfer" system whereby Canada's top research university helped campus inventors commercialize their research breakthroughs was less efficient than MIT's as there were fewer patent applications, issued patents and licensing income, he wrote. When Mr. Agrawal broadened the study to 160 Canadian and U.S. universities, he found a similar gap between the two countries.

"In Canada we have a lot of important technical breakthroughs," Mr. Agrawal said. "But we have comparatively very little capital flowing in to commercialize those. That begs the question, 'Why?'" He rejected conventional wisdom that Silicon Valley had better ideas, smarter people and more money. The main reason for the gap, he believed from his years of research, was what he described as a lack of good judgment in Canada - judgment that was essential to help scientists turn into successful entrepreneurs.

That key ingredient was in abundance in Silicon Valley's established technology commercialization ecosystem.

Mr. Agrawal cited a compelling example to make his point.

A 1997 e-mail in Stanford's archives shows a campus graduate student working through a potential deal to license technology he has developed to early Internet company Excite. The student writes to Stanford's technology transfer office that he is willing to sign over rights for Excite to use his technology in exchange for a salary. He figures his time is worth $100,000 a year.But his e-mail also reveals someone named "Vinod" has advised him to instead buy a company that would own the technology. The "punchline," Mr. Agrawal said, is that the technology in question was Google's search algorithm.

The student was Larry Page, who co-founded Google a year later.

"Vinod" was venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, whose early backing helped to turn Google (now Alphabet Inc.) into the world's second most valuable public company.

"The most remarkable thing about [Mr. Page's] e-mail is how unremarkable it is," Mr. Agrawal said. "There's not an ounce of genius there. That could have been from a computer science student [anywhere in Canada].

In my view, the only reason this turned into a company the way it did is because of the judgment from people like Vinod."

The market for judgment Mr. Agrawal started to develop an idea he called the "market for judgment." He wanted to bring together some of the sharpest and shrewdest investors to advise cutting-edge Canadian research scientists and help them build companies around their technology breakthroughs, providing them with the kind of business guidance Mr. Khosla had shared with Google's cofounder.

"The problem is if you are a person who needs judgment - like a PhD in computer science who's come up with a new way to organize the world's information online. You can't go down to Bay Street and buy five units of judgment. It's not for sale.

And therein lies the problem.

[Creating that market] became the essence of the Creative Destruction Lab."

The academic began developing the idea with a small group that included his former UBC entrepreneurship professor and pioneering Canadian venture capitalist Haig Farris, the late Osler, Harcourt & Hoskin LLP technology lawyer Geoff Taber, and Dan Debow, a successful Toronto tech entrepreneur and Rotman alumnus that Mr. Agrawal had met through Next 36, a program the professor had helped create to expose bright Canadian undergraduate students to entrepreneurs. Mr.

Debow initially told him the world didn't need another accelerator, to which Mr. Agrawal replied, "'Well, I don't want to build that, I want to build something different,' " Mr. Debow recalled.

Unlike most accelerators and incubators, CDL wouldn't offer companies free office space nor take an equity stake. This was meant to be a purely altruistic venture "that emphasized something very specific: the judgment mechanism," Mr. Debow said. Mr. Agrawal also had a distinct idea how he program's success would be measured: not by number of jobs or startups generated - a typical yardstick - but equity value created by CDL companies as they raised money. "That's how investors measure the success or failure of their investments," said Mr. Debow.

To build one side of the judgment market, Mr. Agrawal felt it was crucial to take a different approach to mentorship. While mentors are a common feature of incubators and accelerators, "they generally fall into two categories," said Mr. Agrawal: people who were "well-meaning but haven't really built a significant business," or "the occasional superstar mentor" who was typically too busy to provide much help. "We wanted judgment that was neither mediocre-and-highly committed, nor superstar-butnot-committed. We wanted superstars that were committed."

Mr. Agrawal set out to assemble a stellar group of seven entrepreneurs - the G7, as he called them - who had built successful businesses from scratch through to a successful sale or public offering, and who would be willing to commit five full days to CDL, spread out over the program's nine months. "Time is the most valuable thing they have," he said.

He was also wanted them to put skin in the game by investing in CDL companies they liked, though he made a handful of exceptions for entrepreneurs whose companies hadn't yet paid out from a sale or IPO, such as Geordie Rose, a former UBC classmate who had gone on to co-found quantum-computer maker D-Wave Systems.

The G7 would be matched with an initial annual cohort of 23 early stage companies, sourced from mentors, benefactors, the Next 36, other accelerators and, most of all, university science labs. When they met, the G7 would collectively determine three short-term goals judged to be the most likely milestones to advance each CDL startup. The firms would then have eight weeks to deliver. If they couldn't they would be out.

If they did, they'd get three more objectives to meet eight weeks later. At any meeting, the G7 could invest - or vote them out. Every meeting, at least one company would be automatically cut. "We knew half [of the CDL startups] probably wouldn't make it through," said Mr. Agrawal, noting yet another difference from other startup assistance programs. "It turned out to be less than that."

Thalmic for the win Mr. Debow, Wind Mobile founder Tony Lacavera and the Hyatt brothers were among those who signed up as mentors and financial supporters. Mr. Agrawal had further success wooing other mentors through Canada's tightknit tech sector, including Mr. Serbinis and Calgary entrepreneur Chen Fong, who were sold on his pitch that they could make a meaningful contribution to Canada. Many were impressed by the company they'd be keeping. "I say no to almost everything," said Ted Livingston, co-founder of popular Waterloobased mobile instant messaging service Kik and an early G7 member. "I just looked at the entrepreneurs [Mr. Agrawal assembled] and was like, 'Wow,

yes. I would be honoured.' I thought this was one of the highest densities of great people I've ever seen."

But when he asked U of T and Rotman for help, Mr. Agrawal said "we didn't get a nickel." The extent of Rotman's support was allowing him to book rooms in the building. "This was really happening despite the university.

We weren't really doing anything that fit within the university mould," said Mr. Agrawal. (To date, CDL has received $2.5-million from individuals, $900,000 from companies, and $400,000 from the publicly funded Ontario Centres of Excellence) The plan came together within months and the first CDL cohort started in the fall of 2012. Almost immediately, several of the G7, including Mr. Debow, got excited about Thalmic, which just months earlier had been a mechatronics class project at University of Waterloo to make a gesture-control armband guided by electrical signals of a user's muscles.

That December Thalmic closed a $1.1-million seed financing round. "A big chunk of that came from the G7 and others they introduced us to," Thalmic CEO Stephen Lake said. "One of the first value-adds was that not only were we getting advice from people in the room but they actually were writing cheques and becoming investors." The following June, Thalmic raised another $14.5-million; Boston's Spark Capital, an early backer of Slack and Twitter, and Intel Capital led the deal. "I feel comfortable saying we can put [Thalmic] in the win column," said Mr. Debow, who joined the board.

Just-in-Time MBA Far from celebrating CDL's early successes, however, Mr. Agrawal took the approach of an entrepreneur, tinkering to make it better. He recruited worldrenowned U of T professors including Ms. Shoichet and Mr. Mann to act as CDL "chief scientists," testing technology brought in by the startups. He asked professional services firms including Osler and Ernst & Young Global Ltd. to advise the startups. Additional observers, dubbed "G7 Associates," were invited to participate. These carefully curated guests - "we look for community builders, not lone wolves," Mr. Agrawal said - included venture capitalists such as Mr. Farris and successful entrepreneurs who were expected to provide feedback, introductions and even funding to the startups.

He also changed how the G7 weeded out CDL companies. At first the selection was done by a show of hands after each meeting. Mr. Agrawal didn't like that, so the G7 was instead asked if they'd be willing to devote four hours of their time to each startup over the following eight weeks. If just one put up a hand, the startup would stay. "The best voting mechanism is individual conviction," Mr. Agrawal said.

Committing four hours "makes it expensive for them to raise their hands."

That proved to be the saving grace for some. Mr. Livingston took to two founders in CDL's second year who were developing a robot tea dispenser called teaBOT. Their rough prototype looked like a high school science project but Mr. Livingston was intrigued by the team: one was a U of T aerospace robotics engineering PhD candidate who loved to build machines, and the Kik founder wanted to see what they could accomplish. "I just believed in these people," Mr.

Livingston said. He alone voted to keep them in initially. At each successive meeting the prototype and pitch improved, and several G7s ultimately invested. There are now 17 teaBOTs in service, including machines in three "365 by Whole Foods" stores.

The biggest change came at the behest of steel magnate John Harris, a founding donor and regular observer of CDL meetings. He was learning from the CDL sessions himself and said "It's crazy this is happening right here in a business school and there is not a single MBA student in the room," Mr. Agrawal recalled.

Mr. Agrawal and a PhD student designed a self-directed course for CDL's second year whereby students did standard MBA analysis, observing the startup-G7 interactions and producing slides with prim recommendations. Mr. Debow called it "a lot of wasted effort, a classic MBA make-work project. Their insights were not that helpful."

But there was such a surge in demand from students and inquiries to admissions about CDL the following year that Rotman administrators took notice.

That coincided with the arrival of new dean, former Bank of Canada deputy governor Tiff Macklem in July, 2014. After giving many high-level speeches over the years about Canada's chronically stagnant productivity, Mr. Macklem quickly embraced CDL for the impact it was having. The dean has since thrown Rotman's support behind the program and the launch in 2015 of an annual CDL machine learning conference, promoting the lab publicly and meetings with government and business.

"CDL is very results-oriented but it's also an experiment in how you teach entrepreneurship and how you actually accelerate companies," Mr. Macklem said. "It's working, and there are not enough examples of accelerators that are truly working."

To improve the MBA class in the third year, Mr. Agrawal decided to get students directly involved by working with the startups. Now young companies led by scientists with limited business know-how had access to "this team of super motivated, super engaged, highly talented MBAs working for them," Mr. Debow said.

Forget reading stale Harvard Business School case studies: students were now living realtime case studies. "They're not doing an academic exercise, they're taking their academic tools and applying it to a real problem - and it's a problem the founders and the G7 care about," Mr. Agrawal said. Meanwhile their professors were expected to write class notes based on the latest challenges CDL startups faced, not just wheeling out wellworn lectures. One visiting academic from Harvard called it "just-in-time education." The CDL course became "the most competitive at Rotman to get into," said Mr. Agrawal.

"It was one of the most beneficial classes I had," said Sasha Kucharczyk, who took the CDL course as an MBA student in 2013-14. "It taught you to think and act differently [to] help you attack and execute on abstract problems [to get] meaningful results." Two years later he entered his startup Preteckt, which uses AI software to predict when heavy vehicles will need maintenance, into CDL.

"World class talent" It's 8:01 on April 13, 2016, and the fourth meeting of the CDL's "machine learning" stream for the year is under way. Mr. Agrawal, who acts as master of ceremonies, runs a tight ship. He asks everyone in the room to describe themselves in one sentence - and cuts off anyone who lingers.

One by one the 13 startups still in the program get up for their 30-minute slots. Each firm is introduced by a mentor who revisits how they've performed and proposes the next three objectives. Most of the discussion is among the associates and Mr. Agrawal, who pick over the companies as if talking about specimens while their founders stand awkwardly at the front, occasionally responding to pointed questions. "I'm really not sure yet about the company," says Mr. Pell, the former NASA AI head, of Heuritech, a startup from Paris that assesses social media posts using AI to determine fashion trends. "They're smart people," he says of the team of four AI and machine learning PhDs.

"My concern is: how big is the business opportunity?" In 2015-16, for the first time there are two CDL streams, with this one focused exclusively on startups based on "machine learning," a form of AI where algorithms automatically build themselves based on big data troves fed in. (CDL has since doubled down and now runs two machine learning streams, each starting with 25 companies.) The idea was initially met with some skepticism internally that CDL was getting too narrowly focused, but it's worked so far.

Two San Francisco-based machine learning experts are mentors, known here as the ML7: Mr Pell, introduced to Mr. Agrawal a year earlier by a CDL alumnus, and Ms. Zilis of VC firm Bloomberg Beta.

The machine-learning focus has also attracted interest from top U.S. venture capital firms, which regularly send partners to observe, including Bessemer Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Google Ventures. "All the companies have been very impressive," says Adam D'Augelli, a True partner. "They have real technology and at this point will have early revenue or early product traction, which for something coming out of university is relatively rare." One Silicon Valley early stage investment firm, FundersClub provides $50,000 to any CDL company that raises money from at least one ML7 and another $100,000. By this point some CDL companies have landed seven-figure venture financings.

"There's world class talent" in Toronto, Mr. Agrawal says.

"When we built [a CDL program for machine learning], that was the first time people got on a plane from Silicon Valley to Toronto rather than the other way around. Once they make that investment, they are schlepping to Canada every quarter for a board meeting. Making a second investment is a far lower hurdle. One of the most important things we're doing for the country is getting some of the world's top investors to go from zero to one" in Canada.

As the meetings progress, the ML7 ask who are the startups' customers - the Beagle dilemma - what they should charge, what key positions they should fill and whether their businesses can scale into something big. "If I don't have an understanding for how this could potentially be a billion-dollar company or if I don't believe the founder has that ambition, I categorically can't invest," Ms. Zilis says later.

Mr. Agrawal says there are three main startup risks: technology, market and entrepreneur. Through CDL, he says, entrepreneurs can show their technology works and determine initial market interest - while addressing the third point by showing they can steadily deliver on time-sensitive objectives.

Some companies are doing well. Preteckt seems to be winning over the ML7 with news it has completed its second-generation protoypes, has installed its technology on several vehicles and is working on a letter of intent with Volvo.

"I like everything they are doing," declares ML7 and tech entrepreneur Shahram Tafazoli.

The ML7 assigns Preteckt objectives to install 100 revenuegenerating units, file a patent application and return with a signed letter from Volvo in the next eight weeks.

Deep Genomics, meanwhile, doesn't have a product yet, but for Silicon Valley investors, that doesn't always matter. What Deep Genomics does have is CEO Brendan Frey, a renowned deep learning pioneer and U of T professor who is trying to apply his lab work to improve diagnostic yields. Like many AI experts who've started companies, he's attracted Big Silicon Valley money at a very early stage, raising $5-million from Bloomberg Beta and others. It's a reminder that south of the border, investors are willing to take larger, more speculative bets than more conservative VCs, who as a result miss out on the gigantic returns when some of those flyers turn into global giants. He's the rock star of the room, looking cool and confident in a silver paisley shirt and salt-and-pepper beard. "I got on the phone with Brendan and within five minutes I said 'You can have my money and I will help you no matter what,' " Ms Zilis says in an interview later.

Brothers Alex and Eric Dolan have developed a smartwatch app that can detect when a person with epilepsy is having a seizure and alert others. The technology was inspired by their epileptic mom and 2,600 people are testing it. "We are working with people who are scared ... giving them tools so they can manage their lives," Alex Dolan tells the room.

But while some ML7s praise the Dolans, they're not convinced their Neutun Labs Inc. is a billion-dollar opportunity. One concern is that the Neutun sends out "false-positive" alarms close to half the time to emergency contacts about attacks that aren't happening. "Can it deliver something that has value? I think it's been nebulous," says ML7 Moe Kermani, a Vancouver venture capitalist.

Alex Dolan isn't backing down.

"I've found a high satisfaction among users," he says in an emotionally charged and defensive tone. "I'm thanked profusely for it....we're focused on the one metric that matters - growing our users and engaging with them." Neutun is cut later that day.

"The ML7 just didn't think they could add a lot of value to the company anymore," Mr. Agrawal explains later. He says CDL "can really only help companies that are willing to be coached."

One such company is Validere Technlogies Inc. It entered the non-machine learning CDL program in 2015-16 with technology to sniff out knockoffs of perfume brands. At the behest of the G7, Validere changed its pitch and is now a hazardous waste detection service. Alberta-based G7 Chen Fong introduced the founders to oil patch executives, securing an entree that might have otherwise taken years, and the team raised $3.3-million (U.S.) in 2016 from investors in Canada and Silicon Valley.

Mr. Agrawal is particularly proud of Rotman MBA student Alyssa Randall, who "went rogue" after a machine learning company she favoured was cut early from CDL. She helped the team anyway and thanks to her efforts they have had some breakthroughs - and been accepted back into CDL for this meeting. MBAs "are viewed as suits that are overpriced and underdeliver," Mr. Agrawal says later. Ms. Randall, on the other hand, has taken big risks and overdelivered on a long shot, rather than taking the safer route of being reassigned to a company that made it through.

Her company, called Algocian, graduated from CDL and hired her. "I was really happy," she said months later, though Algocian ultimately shut down. "It was an opportunity for me to solidify a positive reputation for the company."

As for Beagle, the company did end up graduating and focusing on larger enterprise customers, and CEO Cian O'Sullivan praised the program as "a fantastic initiative ... an absolute perfect crash course for running a company."

That said, there are ways it could improve, he said months later. Not all advice he got from mentors from helpful, and Mr.

O'Sullivan said he would have appreciated advice earlier on how difficult it would be "to train the marketplace" for a new type of product than attacking an existing market. He wondered if there were too many companies for mentors to keep track of, sometimes diluting the effectiveness of advice he received, and felt the mentors could have been more open to CDL companies airing their vulnerabilities, rather than "looking for strength after strength after strength. Highlighting weakness doesn't fit well in that environment."

Some wonder whether CDL can replicate its success as it expands. "The real challenge is it's all about Ajay," said Boris Wertz, a Vancouver venture capitalist who is one of CDL West's G7s this year. "As long as Ajay stays motivated he can create a real legacy."

CDL now faces the same challenge as any flourishing startup: not getting too cocky about its early success. "CDL's measure of success will ultimately be 10 years in the making,"said ML7 Lisa Shields, who is now mentoring CDL West companies. "Says Mr. Debow: "One of the worst Canadian diseases is to convince yourself you're world class. Have we created Facebook yet? No?

Then keep moving."

Indeed, Mr. Agrawal, who actively solicits feedback about improving CDL, hardly seems satisfied; he rejected out of hand recent suggestions CDL throw a party to celebrate its alumni hitting the $1-billion value creation mark in value. "We are so far away from achieving the mission" of improving Canada's competitiveness, he said.


$120-million Series B funding for Thalmic Labs, makers of the Myo Gesture Control armband (2016)

$14-million Series A funding for Bionym, makers of a heartbeat authentication wristband (2014)

$6-million Seed funding for Atomwise, developer of a drug-discovery platform (2015)

$5-million Seed funding for Kepler Communications, a satellite communications company (2016)

$3.7-million Seed funding for Deep Genomics, a Toronto-based bioinformatics startup (2015)

$2.4-million Seed funding for Taplytics, which specializes in mobile A/B testing (2015)

$1.7-million Seed funding for Bridgit, whose cloud-based platform helps manage construction projects (2016)

All figures in U.S. dollars for single rounds of funding (Source: Company releases)

Associated Graphic

Above: Haig Farris, centre, a G7 Associate - a group of seven entrepreneurs assembled by the Creative Destruction Lab who had built successful businesses from scratch through to success sale - provides feedback to ventures at a CDL session. Left: Cian O'Sullivan, founder of Beagle, an artificial-intelligence startup, sits in his Waterloo, Ont., office on March 15.


University of Toronto's CDL was formed with the idea of taking a different approach to mentorship, measuring startup success by more meaningful metrics.


'We knew half [of the CDL startups] probably wouldn't make it through. It turned out to be less than that,' Mr. Agrawal, centre, said of his outlook for the program he founded. CDL

As many as half of all sexual-assault cases involve alcohol. Yet cases that hinge on questions of consent face an uphill battle - despite Canada having some of the most progressive laws in the world. Robyn Doolittle reports
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

When Taylor phoned her grandfather for a ride home around midnight, she was dizzy, disoriented and on the verge of throwing up.

In the previous three hours, the 21-year-old had downed half a twenty-sixer of tequila and numerous mixed drinks, although she isn't sure exactly how many. By the time her grandfather picked her up outside the sports bar around 12:30 a.m., Taylor was slurring and struggling for balance.

She remembers the next events in a series of disjointed flashes. She arrived at her grandfather's place, but wished she was at her mother's.

Then she got a phone call from a man she met at the bar. She has a memory of walking outside, climbing into his van, thinking he was taking her home to her mother's. Instead, they ended up at his townhouse. Taylor recalls having to sit down on his basement couch after being hit with another wave of nausea. And then she passed out.

"The next thing I know, when I came to, I was in his bedroom upstairs ... with no clothes on. He was on top of me. We were having sex," Taylor says.

She says she tried to push him off, and wanted to say no, but she isn't sure if she managed to utter the word before falling unconscious again.

The next time Taylor woke up, the man was downstairs, talking on the phone. Taylor says she pulled on her clothes, grabbed her purse and ran out the front door, leaving her shoes behind. She phoned her brother in tears as she sprinted down the street.

Her brother picked her up and took her home. She and her mother drove to the local hospital, where she was met by a sexual assault nurse examiner. The Chatham-Kent Police Service was notified right away.

This was June 12, 2016.

In July, police informed Taylor that the suspect had declined a formal interview, but not before telling them that what happened was consensual.

Under Canadian law, an unconscious person cannot agree to sexual activity and neither can someone who is so intoxicated that they have been rendered incapable of consenting. In Taylor's case, the investigating officer believed that, while Taylor had been drinking, she was still capable of consenting to sexual activity. In other words, the officer didn't believe Taylor was too drunk to determine if she wanted to have sex - so the case was thrown out without charges.

Those who study rape and the law say that cases like Taylor's - where a victim is extremely intoxicated at the time of a sexual assault - are incredibly common, although the public doesn't hear about them because they rarely make it to court.

As part of a 20-month investigation into how Canadian police handle sexual assault cases, the Globe interviewed dozens of individuals who regularly work with sexual assault complainants, including nurses, crisiscentre staff members, criminologists, legal scholars, trauma specialists, police officers and Crown attorneys. They say that the vast majority of incapacity cases never go beyond a police investigation.

As part of its reporting, The Globe interviewed 54 people - including Taylor - about their experiences reporting sexual assault to police. Excluding eight cases in which the sexual abuse began when the complainant was a youth and the alleged perpetrator was a family member or friend, alcohol or drugs played a role in 18 cases - just shy of 40 per cent. Of those, nine were women who say they were sexually assaulted while either passed out or blackout drunk. (A person in a blackout hasn't lost consciousness, but he or she will suffer temporary amnesia brought on by intoxication.)

Of the alcohol-related cases, 14 of the 18 were closed without charges. Two resulted in a conviction.

Lise Gotell, a professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in feminist legal theory, said she believes many front-line police officers don't actually understand Canadian consent law.

Police interview transcripts reveal some officers are unclear about even the most basic issues. For example, in Canada, there is what's called an "affirmative consent" standard, meaning a person must indicate that they want to engage in sexual activity.

"So the question [police should be asking] isn't: 'Did you say no? Did you resist?'" Ms. Gotell said. "The question should be, 'Did you indicate your consent? Did you indicate your willingness?' " According to this standard, a person who is "incapable of consenting" cannot agree to sexual activity. What constitutes incapacity isn't spelled out in the Criminal Code, but case law has found that a complainant must be able to understand the "risks and consequences" of the sexual activity.

Determining the threshold between very drunk and incapacitated is not an exact science.

Further complicating matters is the fact that a severely intoxicated complainant may not remember significant portions of the incident. Biases that cast blame on victims who voluntarily consume drugs or alcohol also result in these sexual assault cases dropping out of the system.

"The further a case is away from the 'real rape' archetype - the stranger in the bushes, violent rape - the less likely police are to investigate," Ms. Gotell said.

Of the few that do make it to court, convictions are not the norm.

In February, a Newfoundland jury found a police officer not guilty of sexual assaulting a woman whom he drove home from the bar district while on duty. The Crown argued that Const. Carl Douglas Snelgrove, who is married, took advantage of the intoxicated woman. Then, earlier this month, a Nova Scotia judge acquitted a Halifax taxi driver of raping a female fare who was found unconscious in the back of his cab, partially naked, having urinated on herself. The woman, whose blood alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit, had hailed the cab just 11 minutes earlier. The Crown has announced it will appeal Justice Gregory Lenehan's verdict, in part over concerns the judge did not properly apply "the test for capacity to consent."

Both verdicts garnered national outrage and renewed calls for better judicial training. Justice Lenehan's ruling also sparked a series of complaints to Nova Scotia's Chief Judge.

In a recent high-profile Toronto trial, an Ontario court justice handed down a rare guilty verdict in an incapacity case, but only after police unearthed a mountain of outside corroborating evidence.

On Sat., July 18, 2015, K.S. woke up naked and alone in a strange hotel room, with no memory of how she came to be there. The night before, she had been out with friends at a bar, drinking vodka in a reserved bottle-service booth. The then 25-year-old remembers leaving to use the washroom. The next thing she can recall is a man she had never seen before, hovering over her. They were in the hotel room. K.S. told him "No," but remembers nothing beyond that.

A sexual assault examination kit found semen inside of her.

Moazzam Tariq was charged, days later, with sexual assault.

He told investigators what happened was consensual.

This case could easily have ended up as just another "he said, she said," but for security footage police were able to obtain. Videos collected from two night clubs - one of which K.S. has no recollection of ever attending - and from the hotel chronicle K.S.'s deteriorating condition. The footage reveals K.S. had met Mr. Tariq just 15 minutes before they walked - her staggering and him propping her up - out of the bar to the nearby Thompson Hotel. In the elevator up to Mr. Tariq's room, K.S. can be seen leaning against the wall, struggling to stay awake. By comparison, Mr. Tariq appears to be sober and even singing to himself. The video was a crucial piece of evidence for the Crown, as it provided black-and-white proof of the state K.S. was in perhaps minutes before she was raped.

In the absence of this kind of concrete evidence, many sexual assault cases collapse.

Detective Anthony Williams, who investigated K.S.'s allegation, said that Toronto Police would have charged Mr. Tariq even if they did not obtain the elevator footage, based on the credibility of K.S.'s statement and the fact that his DNA was found during the sexual assault examination kit. However, the detective noted, it would have been an "uphill prosecution."

A dozen legal experts in consent law, including six Crown attorneys, told the Globe that some police officers are reluctant to lay charges if they believe the case won't succeed in court. The reasons vary, they say. Sometimes police want to spare the victim from a gruelling trial process. Additionally, the unique stigma that comes with a sexual assault charge - which can stay with an accused even if a judge finds them innocent - can deter investigators from making an arrest in borderline cases.

"I think there is a perception that being arrested and charged for sexual assault will ruin your life," said one Ontario Crown. "I think they hold these cases to a higher standard because of that risk."

Finally, the experts said, high caseloads weighing on police officers can lead to a sort of triageing of files. An officer may believe a complainant, but if the evidence is such that, even in a best-case scenario, the odds of a conviction are slim, police may make a decision not to invest too much time in the investigation. This is particularly an issue for detectives who have been around a long time and have seen how rare it is for a judge to reach a guilty finding over incapacity, said another Crown.

"This case is 'a mess' - this is what I hear with incapacity allegations," said Janine Benedet, a professor at the University of British Columbia and Canada's leading legal scholar on alcohol and sex assault law. "I think it's a little bit too convenient way of dumping cases that are considered by police and Crowns to be 'a mess.' " Ms. Benedet said anything less than near unconsciousness makes judges very uncomfortable.

This presents a Catch-22 for victims.

"We tend to want a level of intoxication that's so high that we've now crossed into a threshold where the complainant has only minimal memory of what took place, or her memory of what took place is deemed unreliable because of her degree of intoxication," Ms. Benedet said.

"So if you can remember what happened, you must not have been drunk enough, and if you can't remember what happened, well, maybe you were drunk enough [to be incapacitated], but we don't really know, because you can't remember."

This was a pattern among the 18 cases reviewed by the Globe.

Emilie R., a Laurentian University student, told police in Sudbury, Ont., that she had been raped by two male students after drinking half a bottle of wine and several shots of Fireball whisky. She was upfront with the investigating officer that her memory of the night was limited. Police notes show the two men told police that Emilie was a willing participant in a threesome. The case was closed as unfounded - meaning no crime occurred or was attempted. "Discussion had over alcohol tolerance and her small stature," the officer wrote in her notes.

Candice Wright was 22 when she was raped, she says, by a man she met a bar in Red Deer, Alta. after a night of drinking and drug use. Ms. Wright woke up naked in the front seat of her van, with faint memories of her head hitting something over and over. Her last clear memory was bumping into the man on the dance floor before heading outside. The RCMP said the Crown concluded the case was not "prosecutable."

All but a handful of the complainants said they felt judged because they had been drinking.

In some cases, they said, they were literally blamed.

"The police were initially [like], 'Well, you drank alcohol,'" E., a Quebec woman, remembers.

No one is actually sure how many sexual assault cases involve alcohol or drugs, because more than 90 per cent of incidents are never reported. But some studies have suggested that in half of all instances, one or both parties consumed alcohol beforehand. Hannah Varto, a certified sexual-assault-examination nurse in British Columbia, estimates as many as 80 per cent of the sexual assault patients she has treated either knowingly, or unknowingly, ingested alcohol or drugs.

Sexual assault cases almost never hinge on whether a sex act occurred. More often than not, consent is the focus of an investigation, and the influence of alcohol complicates what are already notoriously difficult cases to prove.

But while the Canadian judicial system seems to struggle with establishing the line around incapacitation, sexual assault nurse examiners, who must make decisions about patients' capacity to consent to an exam, say it's pretty clear. "It's meaningful conversation," said Sheila MacDonald, the clinical manager of Women's College Hospital's Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre in Toronto. "It's talking with someone and then asking, can you repeat back to me what we just talked about? Or I'll ask a question, can they answer? People that are outright staggering, slurring their words, tuning out, lack of focus, tired, hard to wake up etc. are not engaged in the conversation... cannot consent."

It's not uncommon for nurses to delay a kit over concerns that a victim is too intoxicated, said Ms. Varto.

In some paradoxical instances, a nurse has deemed a complainant too impaired to consent to an exam, but in court, a judge has found that they were able to agree to sex.

Elizabeth Sheehy, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert on Canadian sexual assault legislation and legal practices, said she just recently reviewed one such instance with her class, R. v. Ryder, which went to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2011.

The case involved a 15-year-old complainant, E.K., and a 27-yearold accused. On the night in question, E.K. testified they had been consuming crystal meth and crack cocaine. She told the court that the drugs made her paranoid and caused her to hallucinate. When the accused began to make advances, E.K. says she told him no and tried to push him off, but he ignored her and raped her.

A passerby later found E.K. on the street. She was taken to the hospital for a sexual assault examination kit, but the nurses sent her home, because she was still too high, and hallucinating.

When E.K. returned the next day, the nurse examiner documented bruises and abrasions on her body, and found her genitals to be red and swollen.

Despite this evidence, the judge found that the reliability and credibility of E.K.'s testimony was "too seriously undermined by her extensive drug use, her active hallucinations, and her own evidence that such drug use makes her paranoid."

Michael David Ryder was acquitted of sexual assault, but convicted of sexually touching, because E.K. was under the age of 16.

"It's clearly wrong ... She was so intoxicated she couldn't consent to the rape kit, but she could consent to sexual contact," said Ms. Sheehy. "We have some of the strongest legal provisions around the world in terms of sex assault law, including some statements made by the Supreme Court of Canada. We have some pretty strong jurisprudence. The issue is we have a lack of will to actually apply it."

Even when evidence is present, sometimes police fumble the case anyway - as appears to have been the situation with Taylor.

In her case, the Chatham police investigation actually did appear to collect strong evidence that the 21-year-old was extremely intoxicated - and plausibly unconscious - at the time of the alleged rape. However, it seems the lead officer misinterpreted the blood alcohol science.

Taylor's blood alcohol was measured at the hospital - which isn't always done - and it came back showing 102 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. (Taylor learned this information in an interview with the investigating officer, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe.)

The female officer told Taylor that while she wasn't "sure how quick they took your blood" at the hospital, the result of 102 meant that Taylor's blood alcohol "might have been 110 prior to that," indicating she was not particularly intoxicated, the officer told her.

"From my 24 years of experience," the officer told Taylor, "[102] is not an extremely high rate of alcohol in a person's system."

But that's not correct. The timing of a blood alcohol test is crucial, according to two toxicologists who reviewed the case for the Globe.

The body eliminates alcohol at a rate of between 10 to 20 points per hour. Taylor's blood was likely tested about seven hours after her last drink, which she estimates was at midnight. She arrived at the hospital about four hours later, she says. Her hospital records make no mention of blood collected for alcohol levels, but one document shows that she gave blood at 7:15 a.m. for the purposes of STD testing.

The hospital declined to comment on this story, but Ms. MacDonald, the provincial coordinator of the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care and Treatment Centres, said that typically, a sexual assault nurse examiner would want to take blood at only one time during an exam.

Two toxicologists interviewed by the Globe said that, given this scenario, it's more likely Taylor's blood alcohol was between 170 and 240 milligrams at its peak, which, at the high end, is three times the legal limit, and at the low end could cause blackouts and, possibly, pass-outs from intoxication.

Even if Taylor was tested the moment she arrived at the hospital, forensic toxicologist James Wigmore told The Globe, working backward from the levels on record, her blood alcohol would have been between 140 and 180, which still makes her version of events plausible.

"You can't really say at 150 everyone will have a pass-out.

You have to look at the whole incident. And in this case, where supposedly she's drinking hard liquor in a short period of time, that's very likely for a blackout for sure, and probably, maybe, even a pass-out," said Mr. Wigmore.

"[Police] didn't take into account the pharmacokinetics - which basically means: What the body does to drugs, how it's absorbed and eliminated," he said. "What she says she experienced that night, the scenario, is consistent with the blood alcohol."

Many factors influence how a person will react to alcohol, including genetic factors, what they had to eat, a person's tolerance, and the type of alcohol consumed, he said. Drinking liquor - as opposed to beer and wine - is more likely to coincide with memory loss or pass-outs.

So is drinking very quickly. Taylor did both of these things.

The Globe interviewed Taylor's mother, as well as a friend from the bar, who supported her version of events.

The Chatham police declined to comment on their blood alcohol conclusion, but in a statement, Insp. Ed Reed said that "this incident was thoroughly investigated ... the evidence was then reviewed by the Crown Attorney's Office, and charges were not proceeded with."

A spokesperson with Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment on the Crown's involvement in the case.

Because the Chatham police, the Crown attorney and the hospital all declined to comment on the case, The Globe can't verify the timeline of events that night.

However, what is clear is that the majority of Taylor's drinking occurred before 10:30 p.m., that her blood alcohol levels were likely tested many hours later, and that the investigating officer misinterpreted the science of how the body eliminates alcohol.

Police also seem to have overlooked other evidence that the sex was not consensual - such as Taylor's testimony, the fact that she ran out of the home without her shoes, that she phoned her brother in tears, and that she contacted police immediately.

Shortly after Taylor was told her case was being was closed, K.S.'s trial began in a Toronto courtroom.

Weeks later, the morning of the verdict, K.S. arrived at Toronto's Old City Hall courthouse flanked by friends and family, prepared for either outcome.

While some investigators may feel they are sparing a victim unnecessary pain by putting them through a potentially unsuccessful trial, K.S. said, in those few moments before the outcome, that she was grateful to have her moment in court.

"If he gets off, I mean, at least I tried. Right? I know a lot of people don't do this or can't do this ... their cases get thrown out. At least I'm getting - somewhat - closure. I tried. I faced my abuser," she told The Globe in an interview at the end of the trial.

On the morning Oct. 7, 2016, Justice Mara Greene concluded that Mr. Tariq was guilty of sexual assault on the basis that K.S. was too intoxicated to "appreciate what was going on around her," and, as such, did not have the capacity to consent to sexual activity.

"When I consider all the evidence, including the amount of alcohol she consumed ... K.S.'s dazed and confused expression in the hotel lobby and elevator ... and the fact that she was falling asleep in the elevator, I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time K.S. was in the hotel, she lacked the cognitive capacity to consent," the judge concluded.

Mr. Tariq was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail.

He fled to Pakistan before his sentencing hearing, where he remains at large.

Robyn Doolittle is a reporter with The Globe and Mail's investigative team.

Associated Graphic

Taylor's case never made it to court.


Taylor's investigating officer seemed to misinterpret the blood alcohol science from her case.


Not only did K.S.'s case go to court, a rarity in alcohol-related sexual assault allegations, but her assailant was convicted, largely on the strength of video evidence.

Top left, Mr. Tariq pours vodka into K.S.'s mouth. Top right, Mr. Tariq props up a stumbling K.S. en route to the hotel. Bottom, K.S. slumps against the hotel elevator wall, apparently losing consciousness, minutes before they arrive to the room where he rapes her.

The Cassandras are warning of nuclear doom - so why doesn't Canada seem to care?
When even hawks are becoming doves, writes Elizabeth Renzetti, Ottawa is sitting out a UN conference on banning the bomb
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

Douglas Roche does not want to be Cassandra. No one wants to be Cassandra in the field of nuclear prophecy, because the thing about Cassandra is that her terrible visions came true. The other thing about Cassandra is that no one listened to her.

Mr. Roche - who was once a member of Parliament and senator, Canada's ambassador for disarmament to the United Nations, and chair of the UN Disarmament Committee - is now 87. Over the course of several decades, and more than 20 books, the longtime disarmament advocate has been surveying the shadow that nuclear-armed states cast over the geopolitical landscape. He is not alone in thinking there's a deeper darkness settling.

"I've been in this a long time, 40 years," said Mr. Roche, during a telephone interview from his home in Edmonton. "I'm choosing these next words carefully. In my career, over many ups and downs, I've never felt as deeply concerned as I am today about the continuation and acceleration of nuclear weapons in the doctrines of the major powers."

Mr. Roche is one of a group of elder statesmen, all of an age where they might be expected to put their feet up, apart from the odd round of golf, who are instead fighting harder than ever for nuclear disarmament. They include such American hawks turned doves as former secretary of state George Shultz (age 96) and former secretary of defense William Perry (age 89), and 86year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, who oversaw the end of the Soviet Union. They watched the buildup of nuclear arsenals during the worst years of the Cold War, witnessed the failed promise of disarmament, and are trying to shake a younger generation into wakefulness.

This is a moment of profound unease, but also promise.

"Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War," Mr. Perry recently told Politico magazine, "and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger."

The dangers are on all sides and take various forms: increasing tension between the U.S. and Russia, and Russia's provocative breaching of a landmark missile treaty, with the deployment of a new cruise missile; the growing nuclear ambitions of North Korea; the worldwide modernization of nuclear arsenals; the development of smaller, tactical weapons; the stagnant disarmament process; the risk that a terrorist group will obtain a nuclear weapon; and, not least, a wild card named Donald Trump.

But here is the promise: The majority of countries in the world are fed up with foot-dragging on disarmament, and they're orchestrating an end run around the nine nuclear states. On March 27, the UN is holding a conference to negotiate a ban prohibiting the creation and possession of nuclear weapons. It's a longsought breakthrough for the disarmament community and the countries who feel held hostage by weapons they don't possess.

For Mr. Roche, like many in the Canadian disarmament community, there's only one thing wrong with the UN talks: Canada isn't taking part. "I see this exercise in very positive terms, and it's shocking that Canada is not going to participate." Another former Canadian ambassador for disarmament, Paul Meyer, calls Canada's decision not to join the talks "pathetic."

In 2010, Parliament unanimously passed a motion to seek a way to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons. As Mr. Perry points out in his memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, this period was an "annus mirabilis" for nuclear disarmament: In 2009, Barack Obama had given a historic speech in Prague about the promise of a nuclear-free world, and not long after, he and Russia's Dmitry Medvedev negotiated the New START Treaty to reduce their arsenals; several months later, a UN Security Council resolution supporting nuclear disarmament was unanimously passed.

Since then things have gone pretty much downhill. The sound of sabres rattling can be heard around the globe, with the crucial difference that a sabre can kill only one person at a time, not millions. The question now is whether a new generation will become engaged in the struggle that their elders have been fighting for decades -whether they'll become alarmed about the devastating potential of what Henry Kissinger called "the fire of the gods." Yes, he's a nuclear dove now, too - aged 93.

The framework accord that governs and attempts to halt the spread of nuclear arms is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, which came into effect in 1970, and whose signatories include the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain. (Israel, India and Pakistan never signed on to the treaty, and North Korea withdrew from it in 2003.)

Among them, those countries possess some 14,900 nuclear weapons. (Precise figures are notoriously hard to come by.)

That's down from a historic Cold War high of more than 70,000 in 1986. Russia is sitting on approximately 7,000 weapons; the United States, about 6,800. And while many of those are retired, and others not actively deployed, Russia and the U.S. each have nearly 2,000 weapons ready for use - a figure that will be reduced to 1,550 each by the end of 2018, assuming the terms of the 2010 New START treaty continue to be honoured. Yet, even as they get rid of older weapons, the U.S. and Russia, along with the other seven nuclear states, are in some stage of modernizing or expanding their arsenals.

Ideally, Article VI of the NPT is supposed to lead to an eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, but in the real world that progress has been painfully slow.

The last NPT review, in 2015, failed to even produce a resolution the participating countries could agree on - hence the impatience of non-nuclear countries, and their eagerness to negotiate a ban treaty at the UN. To get on with things, before it's too late.

Arguing in defence of humanity The countries that do not possess nuclear weapons, and are not in a security alliance such as NATO, that rewards fealty to a nuclear state, have over time grown tired of the lack of progress. Like the senior statesmen warning of impending doom, they began to feel as if they were shouting into the wind.

Then, in 2010, they were gripped by a new idea: What if they began framing nuclear conflict not as a security issue but a humanitarian one? What if they counted the costs to the people of the Earth who would be killed, and their countries devastated, by weapons they hadn't agreed to? A nuclear conflagration would not respect borders; and, as with climate change, it would disproportionately harm the poorest and most vulnerable.

In 2013 and 2014, three conferences were held on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons; dozens of advocates, including the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, testified about the potentially catastrophic outcome of such a conflict. In 2014, 127 countries signed the Humanitarian Pledge seeking an end to nuclear weapons.

Canada was not one of them.

Canada also voted against the UN resolution in October of last year that set up the ban-treaty talks that will begin in New York later this month. It was no surprise: The U.S., which opposes the talks, pressured its NATO allies into voting No, sending a letter that said "we feel efforts to negotiate an immediate ban on nuclear weapons or to delegitimize nuclear deterrence are fundamentally at odds with NATO's basic policies on deterrence and our shared security interests."

Only the Netherlands, facing strong support at home for a weapons ban, went against the bloc, and abstained.

Now, Canada is refusing to participate in the upcoming bantreaty talks. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland sidestepped the issue when asked about it by the NDP's Hélène Laverdière in the House of Commons.

"It's pathetic, and a disservice to a long tradition of Canadian activism on the file of nuclear disarmament," says Mr. Meyer, who now teaches security studies at Simon Fraser University. "Canada's tradition is engagement and dialogue rather than rejection and boycotts, which are very crude instruments in diplomacy."

In an e-mail, Global Affairs Canada spokesman Austin Jean told The Globe, "The negotiation of a nuclear-weapon ban without the participation of states that possess nuclear weapons is certain to be ineffective and will not eliminate any nuclear weapons.

If anything, it may make disarmament more difficult."

Mr. Jean added that the government is forging ahead with work on a proposed pact that would restrict the possession and trade of two components necessary to make nuclear weapons: plutonium and highly enriched uranium. "Recently, Canada rallied 177 states to support a UN First Committee resolution calling for the urgent negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT)," said Mr. Jean. "To this end, we are also honoured to be chairing the UN's high-level FMCT expert preparatory group."

But that treaty proposal has been under way since 1993, with little progress toward action.

Using it as an excuse to not participate in the weapons-ban talks "is like a tired rerun on a sitcom," says Mr. Meyer.

Peggy Mason is even blunter.

Canada's ambassador for disarmament from 1989 to 1994 now runs the Rideau Institute security think tank in Ottawa, and calls the decision "utterly outrageous."

"I headed the Canadian delegation to the [United Nations] First Committee, voting on arms control and disarmament for five years," she notes. "Never did NATO rear its head as a basis for our votes in the General Assembly. ... NATO membership doesn't require us to vote with the nuclear states."

Like many veteran arms-control advocates, Ms. Mason remembers a time when nuclear security was at the forefront of the public consciousness, when every government decision on the topic was hotly debated in the press. "It just shows how things have changed in the wrong way, and how the new government is not prioritizing this to any extent."

A ticking clock, a silver lining On Jan. 26 in Washington, the hands of the Doomsday Clock lurched ahead 30 seconds. They now sit at two and a half minutes to midnight. This is the closest the clock has been to a symbolic apocalypse since 1953, shortly after the U.S. and the Soviet Union first tested their hydrogen bombs.

"Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity's most pressing existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change," said the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which oversees the clock. But the main thing that nudged the hands was the erratic behaviour of one 70year-old man who just happened to be the new U.S. president.

"The board has decided to act, in part, based on the words of a single person: Donald Trump."

Here is the counterpoint to all those golden-age doves: a golden-age hawk in the White House. Mr. Trump's statements during the presidential campaign sent shivers through arms-control wonks. He is reported to have asked a foreign-policy adviser why, if the U.S. possessed nuclear weapons, it couldn't use them. He said that Japan and South Korea "would maybe be better off ... with nukes." He did not know what the nuclear triad of U.S. defence was. (For readers who are not running one of the world's two nuclear superpowers: It's the delivery system of weapons carried by submarines and bombers, and launched from the ground.)

Perhaps most disturbingly, in December, he tweeted that the U.S. "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." Then, when asked if he was concerned about starting a new arms race with Russia, he responded with a vintage Trumpism: "Let it be an arms race."

It's unclear if anyone, including Mr. Trump, knows what Mr. Trump's nuclear policy is. Last month, speaking to Reuters, he said, "It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we're going to be at the top of the pack." He did not elaborate on what "top of the pack" actually meant. But he's made absolutely no moves toward the kind of disarmament favoured by his presidential predecessors.

Among peace advocates, Mr. Trump is something of a cloud with a silver lining. For more than 30 years, since the huge nonuke marches of the 1980s, the dangers posed by the world's deadliest weapons had been fading. They were out of sight, and so out of mind. But the picture of Mr. Trump in possession of the nuclear codes has suddenly brought them back into view. It has also cranked the panic dial.

(That panic did not lessen when the military aide carrying the "nuclear football," who accompanies the president at all times, was pictured in selfies taken by a guest at Trump's Mar-a-Lago last resort month.) An unintended benefit of this presidency "is that it will revive fear about nuclear use, which has been dormant for years," Mr. Meyer says. "A degree of fear and public anxiety is often a strong driver for getting political action."

Mr. Trump's presidency - not to mention those football selfies - has also brought to the forefront the Cold War policy of "hair-trigger alert," by which thousands of warheads can be launched in a few minutes on the president's authority, with no oversight from Congress. Earlier this year, two Democratic lawmakers, Ted Lieu and Edward Markey, cited the President's unpredictability as they introduced a bill that would require a declaration of war from Congress before a first nuclear strike could be launched.

Fears of escalation in Asia This global anxiety does not have its sole source in the White House, of course. The U.S. has been trying to contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions for two decades, with little success.

Earlier this month, North Korea launched four missiles toward China, and it is reportedly trying to develop an intercontinental missile that could reach the United States. In retaliation, the U.S. is building a highly controversial anti-missile defence system in South Korea.

The Chinese response? A stern warning that America's actions "will bring an arms race to the region." On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson turned up the heat, warning that military action against North Korea was possible if its weapons program continued to expand.

Meanwhile, Russia is upgrading its nuclear arsenal, developing new weapons, and has deployed a land-based cruise missile that could target Europe, in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

When the Americans reported this violation last week, Russia's foreign ministry called it "fake news." Pakistan and India constitute another region of instability.

Even before Mr. Trump came along, the idealistic rhetoric spouted by Mr. Obama in Prague had evaporated. Under his watch, the United States committed to a modernization of its nuclear arsenal that could cost $1-trillion over 30 years - which would also provide an untold windfall to American defence contractors.

Some of that modernization may involve smaller tactical weapons, highly controversial because they give the illusion of usability, and thus strike at the heart of the notion of deterrence.

And those are just the state actors: Imagine what happens if terrorists get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

William Perry already has imagined it: He outlines the scenario in his 2015 memoir, and in a video called Nuclear Nightmare DC, carried on the website of the William Perry Project, which is devoted to teaching young people about the perils of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Perry, perhaps more than anyone alive, is capable of teaching these lessons. As a young soldier in the Allied occupation army of Japan, he saw the devastation of Hiroshima. In 1962, when he was a weapons-system analyst, he was called to Washington to analyze classified photos of Soviet weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis - at which time, he says, "the world avoided a nuclear holocaust as much by good luck as by good management." As the U.S. secretary of defense, he witnessed the building up and dismantling of nuclear arsenals.

Now he's having something of a celebrity moment, as much as a doomsday prophet can. The much-talked-about Politico profile of him was headlined, "Bill Perry is Terrified. Why Aren't You?" Mr. Perry writes in his memoir that he has, at the end of his eighth decade, rededicated his life to one "compelling, overriding objective - to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again."

Mr. Roche, the former Canadian disarmament ambassador, has also just finished a new book, his 23rd. It's called Hope Not Fear: Building Peace in a Fractured World. "Hope is better than fear," he said in our interview. "I'd be remiss to tell you I'm dancing around my apartment and everything is wonderful. But the hope I'm talking about is built on the apparatuses we already have - peacekeeping, peace-building machinery, the United Nations."

It's built on the promise that the next generation will begin to listen.

Banking on the sway of stigma Ray Acheson is young, she's been listening, and the United Nations is her target. Ms. Acheson, 34, is the director of the disarmament advocacy group Reaching Critical Will, a division of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

A Toronto native, she is now based in New York, and all her energies are devoted to the nuclear-ban talks that begin on March 27. Six countries led an initiative that is finally, improbably, going to have a global hearing - Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa.

(South Africa is the only country to remove itself from the nuclear brink, having dismantled its weapons in 1989.) The NATO states, with the exception of the Netherlands, are not attending the negotiations, but Ms. Acheson says that a strong resolution is still possible: "The best outcome would be a strong prohibition treaty that prohibits all nuclear-weapons-related activity and makes it very clear that nuclear weapons are illegitimate and illegal."

That's the best-case scenario.

But with almost all the nuclear states boycotting the talks - with the exception of China and India - a binding treaty that has everyone putting down arms is unlikely. For Ms. Acheson and other activists, though, the treaty talks will be successful if they stigmatize nuclear weapons, in the way that land mines and chemical and biological weapons were stigmatized before being outlawed. She points to Canada's leading role in banning land mines as a contrast to its nonparticipation now: "We elected this government based on the idea that we would go back to some of our values and beliefs in peace and justice. That they're not even willing to engage in this issue is quite shocking."

Beyond pushing politicians to take a stand, activists have learned from previous campaigns how to use divestment as a tool, and put financial pressure on funds that invest in arms manufacturers. But these days, that route is also being shortcircutied by political inaction. The problem, Ms. Acheson says, is that fund managers keep saying, "But these weapons aren't illegal."

"It's absurd," she says, "that this last remaining weapon of mass destruction is not illegal."

Perhaps, one day in the future, they will be. The talks at the UN are only the start of a lengthy process, one that will continue for years. For those who've been dreaming of that day for most of their lives, it can't come soon enough. Cassandra would tell you: The clock's ticking.

Elizabeth Renzetti is a feature writer and columnist for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

A massive column of water rises from the sea as the second atom bomb test at Bikini Atoll, on July 25, 1946, explodes underwater.


With two billion views on YouTube, a new book and brands knocking down her door, Scarborough-born Lilly Singh is the new queen of media - and offering a lesson for Canadians looking to ride the wave of cultural disruption, rather than being swamped by it
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

LOS ANGELES -- Here's the thing about success. You can be an online phenom with more than 11 million YouTube subscribers; have a gaggle of William Morris agents working their Beverly Hills phones to score you parts in TV shows and movies; get ready to launch your very first book, an advice guide called How to Be a Bawse which features dozens of photos of you looking very boss - er, bawselike; and be BFFs with your childhood hero, Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson.

But when your extended family is flying in from Toronto to spend a week in the shiny new L.A. house you bought a few months ago, and you're a certain kind of daughter and sister and aunt, it's just a fact that you're going to be up until 6 a.m. unpacking boxes, assembling furniture, child-proofing drawers and mopping like the control freak you are. (Mind you, a video editor who works for a company that manages some of your YouTube business affairs will help you mop until you both pass out from exhaustion; but still.)

And so Lilly Singh, a Scarborough-born 28-year-old known to her online fans as Superwoman, looks anything but super on this blue-sky L.A. morning as she pads down the stairs in a sweatshirt and jeans, nestles her small frame into a living room chair, and takes a bite of an egg-and-spinach breakfast wrap Postmated here moments ago.

"You're meeting Sleepy Morning Lilly," she murmurs sheepishly, adding later, "You're also seeing me without my eyebrows filled in." (She's even missing her trademark nose ring.)

The family visit is just one of many pressing commitments Singh is juggling.

At the end of the month, she'll embark on a 12-country, 34-date promotional tour for How to Be a Bawse (subtitle: A Guide to Conquering Life), bringing a one-hour show of "standup mixed with inspirational, motivational stuff" she's calling "a comedic TED Talk" to her sometimes-screaming fans.

For almost five years now, those fans have been eating up Singh's twice-weekly videos: energetic jump-cut observational monologues delivered straight to camera (Types of Kids at School, Types of People on Instagram, Annoying People in Public Washrooms), send-ups of pop culture and gender stereotypes (What Clubbing Is Actually Like, If Boys Got Their Period) and skits trafficking in gentle racial humour (The Difference Between Brown and White Girls) featuring Singh playing a bevy of characters loosely drawn from her life as a child of Punjabi immigrants growing up in a Toronto suburb. (She also makes less polished behind-thescenes daily diary videos, where everybody can see her without her eyebrows filled in.)

Some of Singh's most popular videos include fictional versions of her parents - wannabe-player dad Manjeet and prim, tea-drinking mom Paramjeet - reacting with slowly growing horror as they watch, say, a sex-spackled Ariana Grande music video.

All told, Singh has racked up more than two billion views on YouTube, prodding some to wonder if her success might hold lessons for Canada's cultural industries on how to ride the current wave of technological disruption rather than be swamped by it.

Part of Singh's appeal is that her medium is the message: She embodies the DIY empowerment ethos of YouTube and has found a worldwide kinship storming the gates of legacy media from the basement of her parents' home in Markham, Ont. In conversation, though, she reveals an old-school morality and a surprising skepticism of the very platforms that facilitated her rise.

Now, Singh is trying to navigate the tricky path to a genuine mainstream breakthrough, even as she wades further into the fraught territories of politics and advocacy.

If Singh is still in first gear here in her bright living room at 8:30 a.m., her TeamSuper industrial machine reached cruising speed some time ago. Behind her, a house painter with a hollowcheeked Jackson Pollock mien and an embryonic man-bun stares coldly at a pair of fat vertical yellow stripes on the opposite wall. At the breakfast bar, just past the Ping-Pong table which dominates this main room, her bright-eyed personal assistant Kyle, and Misako, a social-media brand manager who recently joined the team, are quietly riding matching MacBooks. About half an hour earlier, they had posted a handful of videos from Singh and other celebrities (Charlize Theron, Lele Pons, Winnie Harlow) kicking off something called the Bra Toss Challenge, a mash-up of slacktivist feminism and the Ice Bucket Challenge in which high-profile women throw a bra at the camera in support of someone they admire and then call on another to do the same.

It's the latest undertaking for Singh's #GirlLove project, which aims to end what she calls "girlon-girl hate."

"It's always such an interesting topic, because it's so controversial. And I don't think it needs to be," she says. "Women are scared to use the word 'feminism' and identify as feminists."

Singh had spent the previous afternoon mentoring a few female YouTube creators at YouTube Space LA, a former airplane hangar in the Playa Vista neighbourhood that is now a showpiece of the new economy.

Decades ago, during a different era of American innovation, the building was part of Howard Hughes's private airport; he constructed his Spruce Goose in a cavernous hangar across the road.

In 2013, in an effort to instill a higher level of professionalism among its creators, the Googleowned video service turned the place into a collection of soundstages and edit suites done up in corrugated metal and lacquered wood and Silicon Valley lifestyle clichés. So there's always a charging station available for your Chevy Volt or (in Singh's case) Tesla Model S, the unisex washrooms use recycled water, a smiling barista will froth you up a free matcha latte and a foosball table in the airy reception area awaits creators needing to break their writer's block.

In one of the smaller studios, Singh sat on a red couch the colour of YouTube's logo, chatting with a musical lesbian couple known as BriaAndChrissy, sharing advice on life and love and positivity like a latter-day Oprah. She told a story about how the collapse of a relationship had prompted a personal reckoning. "I do believe truly now that, to be part of a 'complete two,' you need to be part of a 'complete one,' " she said, as Bria and Chrissy nodded intently.

"The best version of yourself is when you're happy, and you're going to be happy when you're yourself."

Later, Chrissy spoke of the thrill of working with Singh. "We've always had so much admiration and respect for any female creator who can gain traction and success, especially someone who is doing something different than stereotypically female norms," she said during a brief chat in the parking lot. "Instead of doing, you know, makeup and beauty - which is all great, but it's society's expectation for women to do that - Lilly is doing comedy and empowerment. To get to spend time with her today, to see just how humble and kind and supportive and uplifting she is, it seems like she's living the GirlLove platform thing every day of her life."

Singh's positivity is conscious and hard-won: She began making YouTube videos as a way out of a deep depression. In 2011, after following in the academic footsteps of her older sister to earn a psychology degree from Toronto's York University, she was in the midst of applying for a master's program in counselling when she decided she just couldn't go through with it. She'd already made a handful of videos, and though they were rough around the edges, the process had lifted her spirits. So she informed her parents that, rather than go to graduate school, she wanted to make funny videos for the Internet.

This was not in their wheelhouse. "They were both immigrants. My dad came here first, sent for my mom, had to work the three jobs. I have pictures of my dad, like, posing with his first refrigerator, being like: 'Electricity! Refrigerator!' " she says, laughing. (They currently manage a territory of gas stations in the north end of Toronto.)

They gave her one year to make it happen. "I lived at my parents' house, didn't have to pay any rent, didn't have to pay for any bills," she says, adding: "Indian parents don't make their kids pay for things."

Singh soon found her voice, drawing on her upbringing to produce videos such as Sh*t Punjabi Mothers Say, How to Be the Perfect Brown Person and - in a hint of the gender politics that would become a mainstay of her humour and advocacy work - a slap-down of underminers called Girls Are Haters! "YouTube for me is more than a platform, it is literally that thing that helped me when I was sad," she says. "It doesn't make sense, because it's just a bunch of [programming] script, but I have an emotional connection to that." If you were going to engineer a symbol of the new global culture (which, despite some ugly highprofile eruptions of nationalism, remains strong), you could do worse than a street-smart IndianCanadian millennial woman with respect for tradition, a disruptor's digital savvy, polished confessional authenticity and few firm lines between her professional and personal life.

Singh's climb has been impressive, jumping from one million subscribers in August, 2013, to five million in January, 2015; eight million last spring; and, this week, more than 11.25 million. By some measures, that puts her in the top 75 YouTube channels - a few notches below Selena Gomez, Beyoncé and BuzzFeed, but a good distance above Demi Lovato and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Still, YouTube advertising is a game of tight margins. (And tighter secrets: The company does not publicly discuss the terms of its deals and prefers that creators stay mum on the matter, too.)

Many creators reportedly earn CPMs - an industry term referring to the rate advertisers pay to reach 1,000 viewers - in the $2 to $4 range. (U.S. broadcast network TV fetches 10 times that.) Backof-the-envelope math suggests Singh is likely making about $2-million annually from the ads on her videos.

Like many YouTube creators, she is also in the business of being a "digital influencer," signing promotional deals with marketers such as Coca-Cola Canada and the cosmetics label Smashbox, which last spring released a deep-red liquid lipstick dubbed "Bawse." (Her deal with Skittles Canada includes a lifetime supply of the chewy candy; she pulls open a kitchen drawer to reveal about 30 oversized packages, in an array of four flavours.)

And in early 2015, she orchestrated a 26-city tour to bring A Trip to Unicorn Island - a live stage show preaching positivity and empowerment through dance, music, comedy and earnest you-can-do-it-girl monologues - to fans in India, Dubai, Australia, Europe and North America. A documentary of the tour premiered on YouTube's Red subscription service last year.

Success begets success, and Singh has lately attracted increasingly big names to co-star in her videos, including Seth Rogen and James Franco, Selena Gomez, Kunal Nayyar and The Rock. She interviewed Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai about the importance of girls' education, and last month talked with Bill Gates about development issues.

So why, if she could become a global superstar while working out of a Toronto suburb, did Singh need to move to Los Angeles in the fall of 2015? (She rented a loft for a year before finding this dream home). As the Canadian government looks to overhaul the antiquated system of laws, regulations and incentives that helped create our domestic media industry, is there something it could do to keep creators like her at home?

"Do they have a way to stop winter yet?" Singh asks. (She's only half-kidding: "I can't express to you how much I dislike being cold," she says. "I'm a different human being solely because of the weather. I'm, like, four times more productive in L.A. than I would be in Toronto.") Eventually, Singh offers a real answer which is both promising and disheartening. "My content specifically is what it is, and my brand is what it is because I am from Canada," she notes.

"A lot of my success comes from this large idea of being multicultural: the very cultured parents that are on my channel, a lot of the cultural jokes I make - the fact that I can relate to such a vast array of people by making different language jokes and different dialect jokes - that's a huge reason for my success, and that solely comes from Toronto and Canada. And so if I didn't start in Canada, would I be as big as I am now? I don't think so."

And yet.

"Having said that, if I stayed in Canada, would I be as big as I am now?" She smiles benevolently, as if trying to let down a boyfriend gently, but firmly. "I don't think so."

She continues: "It really did pain me to move to L.A., and I wish I could have stayed in Toronto, but it was getting to a point where, two or three times a month, I'd have to fly to L.A. to do something, or I'd be missing some opportunities to do something, because they're like, 'Oh! You need a visa. We'll just find someone else.' "

Singh has landed a few bit parts in films, including last summer's Bad Moms and Ice Age: Collision Course, but digital celebrity doesn't count for much in this town. "I think Hollywood is just slow to catch on to change," she says. In How to Be a Bawse, she notes that, two days after the splashy premiere of her Unicorn Island doc at the iconic TCL (née Grauman's) Chinese Theatre last year, she turned up for an audition where the casting director didn't seem to have heard of her.

But one of the overriding themes of Bawse - a motivational handbook stuffed with business, social and relationship advice imparted with the snappy humour and giddy whimsy that animates Singh's videos - is that you need to check your ego at the door. "My secret to success is exactly what most people don't want to hear: It's a ton of hard work," she writes.

In fact, there is a surprising touch of the old-fashioned scold threaded through the book.

Singh repeatedly counsels her readers to free themselves from their phones, at one point noting acidly that "social media has made it easy to feel special for no reason at all." She struggles with the promiscuities and solipsism enabled by the very tools that brought her to the world's attention, typified by a moment in the Unicorn Island doc when a Dubai fan rushes the stage as Singh is deep in an earnest monologue, and then proceeds to take a selfie while the star looks on, quietly seething.

"It happens all the time, in smaller ways," Singh says. "I will be on the street and sometimes a fan will come up to me - just interrupt me, if I'm eating, whatever. I will shut it down sometimes." And yet, she says, "I have a career that my fans made. It's not that I auditioned for YouTube, or a record label came up to me and said, 'Yes, we will sign you now.' It's literally: People watched my videos. So I try to remember that when those situations happen. But I don't like to encourage people to be entitled."

It must be hard, though, for fans to resist feeling a kind of protective affection when they encounter Singh in person: After all, she has shared some very dark moments. In Bawse, she writes of the lacerating selfdoubt of her early 20s, of being "depressed and wanting to end my life." When, during her Unicorn Island show, she declared in what amounted to a war cry, "Happiness is the only thing worth fighting for in your life!" there was a whiff of the reformed smoker working feverishly to keep the cravings at bay.

Many fans can apparently relate: In the opening moments of the doc, a teenaged girl says Singh is "showing millions of girls around the world, anyone can get out of depression."

But while the sentiment may be commendable - and the comment sections on the videos where Singh shares her stories of depression are filled with gratitude - it is also a potentially dangerous notion to float. Not everyone can simply pull themselves out of depression by sheer force of will, as Singh suggests she did.

She acknowledges that she was never clinically diagnosed. "I'm saying I was 'depressed,' based off me being a psychology student and having to study depression for so long, understanding that I was not in a healthy mindstate," she says. She insists that "my through-line is always: To talk to someone. If you feel depressed, seek help, talk to someone. Because I'm not a doctor, I'm not a psychiatrist, and I would never tell someone that's depressed: 'Just be positive!' Because someone could be way more depressed than I was, or differently depressed than I was."

Most of her self-doubt has disappeared, but Singh acknowledges that some hard questions remain. In the final pages of How to Be a Bawse, she recalls being 19 years old and fearing she would never make much of her life.

So: Now what? How does someone recalibrate when they surpass their own dreams?

"When I first started YouTube it was about - 'Oh, I got 70 views!' 'Now I got 100!' " she notes. "'Now [this], now [that], now - let's go on a tour!' There's always been a natural progression. So it doesn't feel unusual.

But it definitely does feel confusing sometimes." She quotes a lyric: "'Success is the most addictive drug.' "

"Sometimes I do fear that, if I'm being honest. I feel like, will there ever be a point in my life where I'm like, 'That's great. I have accomplished what I want to accomplish, I'm gonna hang up now'? I don't know if that's a thing.

"I think once you get successful and you love what you do so much and get opportunities - I think that's why movie stars continue to make so many movies. It's because success is the most addictive drug, you get addicted to this idea that: 'No, I want more. I want more experiences. I want more of this.' Because your time is limited on this planet. So that is a real fear for me. And I haven't figured that one out yet."

Lilly Singh appears at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto on April 5. For other tour dates, see

Associated Graphic


Lilly Singh tapes video clips for her coming tour promoting her book How to Be a Bawse at her Los Angeles home on March 14. Singh began making YouTube videos as a way out of a deep depression. By some measures, she's now in the website's top 75 channels.


Forget passing fads. The subjects of this year's list of creatively wardrobed s Canadians have spent years cultivating style that's all the their own. From the swish streets of Vanc Vancouver to small-town Ontario, they're not afraid to flaunt it
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5



Interior designer and partner at Kalu Interiors, Aleem Kassam has an Instagram account full of glamorous getaway photos, not to mention shots of his swish outfits (and terribly photogenic Bengal cat, Prince Theodoros). "The bulk of my wardrobe is just as well-travelled as I am, as it has come from just that - my travels.

What better way to experience a new city, a culture, the people than through its fashion," the 30-year-old Vancouver native says. Kassam, who has a penchant for designer duds ranging from New York-based brand Rag & Bone to Italian icon Gucci, was immersed in the glamorous European fashion landscape at an early age. "One of my earliest and most vivid memories is when I visited Lausanne, Switzerland for the first time with my mother. I think I was about 13 years old," he recalls. "It was a new world to me, one uninhibited or unrestricted by preconceived notions of what fashion should be or is. Everything from your elderly woman in a long fur coat, to the middle-aged man in a bold patterned suit, to a young girl in a vibrant dress with bold accessories...and the bags! The shoes! Purely divine. Everyone had their own style, and it was respected." While his attire can be described as jet-set, Kassam also treats himself at favourite hometown shops including Secret Location and John Fluevog, located in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood.



While she spends her days shooting vibrant fashion images for clients including Dress To Kill magazine and designer Matthew Gallagher, Toronto-based photographer Renata Kaveh - a self-described "dark romanticist with a sense of humour" - is swiftly becoming recognized for her own aesthetic as well. "My friends will often tell me my style changes with my mood and that I'm a human mood ring," she says. "I've also been told I have Helmut Newton tendencies." Indeed, it's easy to see a resemblance between the lensman's provocative images and Kaveh's often daring style. "I think one of the most challenging things about style can be accepting and embracing what interests you, even if it's not trendy, and being brave enough to coordinate those interests through your appearance," she says. "I like to think that, in my style evolution, that bravery sort of faded away and my style expression became a strong, open and unapologetic outlet for my creativity and curiosity." The 35-year-old, who was born in Bangkok, counts COS, Common Sort (a Toronto consignment chain) and Corbo 119 as her favourite places to shop; she also supports local designers, including Markoo, Beaufille and Greta Constantine - the label she sports in this photo. "Greta makes the most lovely silhouettes, always striking the perfect balance of volume, fabric and detail. I always feel mischievous in Greta."



"The stress of taking school photos still haunts me to this day," says Jeffrey Howard. "I felt as if that image would last forever, and whatever ensemble I chose to sport on that ever-so-important day would be a direct reflection of my personality for my classmates to judge." That's not the case today for the Toronto-born co-CEO of Project Spaces, which creates and manages co-working offices. He has since learned to stand by his clothing choices despite what others might think. "I enjoy playing with the boundaries between men's wear and women's wear, masculinity and femininity," says Howard, who is drawn to unusual pieces that help him stand out in the crowd. The love of the unconventional has led him to accumulate an impressive collection of garments by Wooyoungmi and Juun J, two South Korean designers with international cult followings. He also champions local talent by investing in clothing by Rani Kim and Som Kong, two recent Ryerson University grads.

"But my favourite pieces are all vintage that I have picked up during my travels, or pieces my dad wore as a teenager," he says. In the tech real estate sector, Howard's adventurous wardrobe doesn't exactly fit in, but he finds his ensembles often help break the ice when meeting with other professionals who often inquire about his clothes. "Over the last five years, I have realized the significance of making a memorable impression."



For digital media entrepreneur Marcus Troy, falling for the siren call of fashion happened early on. "I'd like to say I had an eye for dressing up at a very early age, I would have to say five years old or so," he says.

"I always loved clothes and putting outfits together."

Today, those outfits strike a balance between fashion and function that's required of his hometown of Montreal, a city known as much for its stylish residents as its inclement weather. That might mean wearing an oversized Raf Simons parka with a suit (he prefers Tiger of Sweden) or Saint Laurent wool blazer, tapered Maison Margiela pants and Red Wing boots.

"You want to stay warm, but also look good," he says. On formal occasions, Troy turns to suits and tuxedoes, saying he loves to feel like James Bond. Developing a signature everyday look, however, has proved to be more challenging than appropriating the suave suiting of 007.

"I was once told that a really stylish person should have a uniform, so that one day when people see a caricature of you, everyone should be able to figure it out that's you," he says. "I am still working on that uniform."



"As a kid, my mom and I would visit a potter by the name of Harlan House," recalls Prince Edward County's Alexandre Fida. "He's a very tall man with a Santa-like beard. He often wore a French beret, two different coloured Puma shoes, corduroy pants and an amazing vest. He was my first intro into layering and mixing." Fida, a 30-year-old designer and the secondgeneration innkeeper of Angeline's Inn in Bloomfield, Ont., says he visits local thrift shops for the charmingly eclectic pieces that have become his signature. "I'm actually really shy, and often feel awkward in certain social settings," he says. "I've discovered, through fashion, an opportunity to show people who I am.

I can be bold and brazen. Colour and pattern somehow coax me out of my introverted nature." Fida's penchant for previously loved pieces also extends past the vintage racks. He collaborated with Toronto tailor Philip Sparks on the ocelot-trimmed jacket in his photo; the collar was fashioned out of a coat belonging to his great-aunt. "I like mixing classics from different eras to create an element of timelessness.

That being said, I hope that my style comes off as playful and fun. I try not to take myself too seriously and I like to have a good laugh." - O.P.P.



Shannon Heth has come a long way since "purposefully wearing mismatched socks in Grade 2," but the playful nature of that childhood experimentation is still evident in her creative ensembles. The Vancouver-based president of Milk Creative Communications is a frequent figure on the city's event circuit, switching between looks that are often on the opposite ends of the fashion spectrum. "My style pendulum swings in very different directions. I love minimalism, but I also adore loud prints and volume," says Edmonton-born Heth. "I don't feel I have a signature style; I think personal style evolves and changes as we move through life." Now at the age of 39, she looks to build a wardrobe of timeless quality pieces, gravitating towards the designs of Stella McCartney, Gucci's Alessandro Michele and Mary Katrantzou. While the luxury lover doesn't shy away from an occasional cheap-and-chic indulgence - "I treat fast fashion the way I treat candy: I try not to have too much of it," she says - her most cherished piece is a family heirloom, a fur coat that once belonged to her grandmother, Heth's personal style icon. "She was always elegant, whether in a simple T-shirt tucked into high-waisted jeans paired with her favourite loafers - her uniform for watering her roses - or dining in a full-length sequin gown."



"As a young girl I got caught up in the fairy tale stories of Her Majesty the Queen - who was crowned when I was a child - and a short decade later, the magic of Jackie Kennedy. I made several scrapbooks about her Majesty and one on Jackie," says 68-year-old Montreal arts enthusiast Ann Birks, reflecting on her earliest memories of the power of style. "I was captivated by their images. My own style turned out to be something completely different, but clearly I identified with their individuality." Birks, who was nominated by Lolitta Dandoy (a member of Globe Style's inaugural best-dressed list last year), is known for her quirky, creative attire - often topped off with an eye-catching hat. "In the eighties I loved the Netherlands company Oilily, with its emphasis on a bohemian look in riotous colours and patterns stacked on top of each other," she recalls. "Because I honour my clothes, I have a storehouse of coats and jackets from that era when the owner was the designer." Her wardrobe of dynamic pieces, ranging from Dries Van Noten to Issey Miyake, catches the eyes of guests at the fundraisers and events she attends.

"I think my dressing style is an extension of my personality, which I would qualify as sunny. After all I was born on the first day of spring," she notes. "I am not a dedicated follower of fashion, nor colour, nor shape. I love my clothes as works of art that have been carefully acquired to withstand the test of time."



With a wardrobe that's as vibrant as his paints, Andy Dixon brings a shock of technicolour maximalism with him wherever he goes. "I'm pretty much camouflaged in my studio," says the 37-year-old. Based in Vancouver, Dixon is a self-taught artist who takes a playful approach to his work, touching on themes of wealth and currency in a cheeky manner. This rebellious spirit has informed his choice of clothing since his teenage years in North Vancouver. "I was a punk kid growing up, and I think my natural tendency to subvert culture propelled me towards some kind of counterculture to the counterculture," he says. "Next thing I knew, I was wearing suits to hardcore shows." It's a habit that stuck, and today he's almost always sporting a suit from made-in-Italy brands including Barba Napoli, Reporter and Boglioli. For evenings out, Dixon ups the dandy factor with accessories such as a women's silk scarf worn as a pocket square or a white carnation on his lapel. Day to day, he mixes in colourful thrift-store finds - his favourite being a baby-blue imitation Gucci sweatshirt from the early 1990s - and Nike sneakers, following the street-wise fashion advice of 30 Rock character Tracy Jordan: "Dress every day like you're going to get murdered in those clothes."



Having worked on exhibitions featuring photos by the likes of Patti Smith, Irving Penn and Edward Steichen as curator of photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Sophie Hackett is constantly surrounded by history's most stylish imagery. Born in Montreal, the 45-year-old has an affinity for the tailored silhouette of men's wear, including her navy Junya Watanabe coat and dark brown boots by John Fluevog. "I'm always on the lookout for things that have at once clean lines and some distinguishing - even dandy - detail," she says. While her day-to-day uniform of Naked & Famous jeans and an A.P.C. jacket requires minimal consideration in the mornings ("I just think about it for a few minutes in the shower"), Hackett's sense of style is ever evolving, and it experienced a particularly significant shift when she came out. "I felt another sartorial vocabulary opened up to me at that point, one that suited me more," she says.

Her style has also developed a certain sensibility with age. "I think there's something about getting older. My conversation about what to wear is more with myself rather than with some abstract idea."



"I gained confidence in my late twenties and with that came the freedom to be bolder in my choices," says Mo Handahu, a Halifax-based digital content strategist.

Handahu, who was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, documents her fearless print and colourheavy ensembles on her blog Lion Hunter (the meaning of her last name in Tonga), which she shares with her brother Ten. Her love of fashion stems from Saturday shopping jaunts with her mother while growing up in Zimbabwe. "I have fond memories of tagging along with my mom and watching her go through the racks of her favourite boutique," she says. Today, the 34-year-old describes herself as "thrifter and vintage shopper at heart" and scours Halifax's second-hand and consignment shops for unique pieces such as the 1970s theatre costume cape she wore for this photo shoot. Two months ago, she made a daring move (for a fashion blogger) and sold about 80 per cent of her wardrobe.

"I'm slowly rebuilding, exploring and challenging my style beyond my obsession with prints," says Handahu who looks to Solange and Tracee Ellis Ross, as well as fashion insiders Frédérique Harrel, Candace Marie Stewart and Gray Castillo, for inspiration. Although her closet may be undergoing a major overhaul, Handahu's style mantra always embodies one word: "Unafraid."

Associated Graphic


Kassam wears a coat by Harris Wharf of London over a shirt and trousers by Marimekko. His eyeglasses are Céline, his sneakers are Michael Kors, and his Bulgarian medal is a vintage heirloom. PHOTO BY KAMIL BIALOUS.

Kaveh wears a blouse and trousers by Greta Constantine.


Howard wears a J.W. Anderson shirt and Rick Owens vest with pants by Sparks London Menswear, shoes by Bottega Veneta, Thom Browne glasses and a Miansai necklace.


Troy wears a jacket by Deus Ex Machina and shirt by Eton with Saint Laurent denim and shoes. His hat is by Brixton, the scarf is by Kapital, his eyeglasses are by Gentle Monster, his watch is Rolex and his jewellery is Goro's.


Heth wears a Rosie Assoulin dress, shoes by Céline, a Dries Van Noten necklace and bracelets from Alexis Bitter as well as a vintage one from her grandmother.


Fida wears shoes and a custom coat by Philip Sparks over a Minimum shirt and Club Monaco pants. His custom bow tie is by Kate Golding, his vintage belt is Dolce & Gabbana and his watch is by Movado.


B Birks we Birks wears a w Rok Roksansand Roksanda d jacket with Oska O h Osk sk pants nd shoes and shhoe by Céline. He Rebecca Her Re be Rebe Hannon eearrings ear ings rin gs and orange Barbara Bar ba a Stuntman bar Barbar bracelet bra br celet cel et are from Noe Guyomarc'h Noell G u uy Ga Galeri eriee in Galerie i Montreal.


Dixon wears a custom suit by Against Nature NYC over a white shirt by Barba Napoli. A vintage pocket square, eyeglasses by Jacque Marie Mage, and vintage Church's brogues complete the ensemble.


Handahu wears a 1970s vintage cape from Dressed in Time over a Penningtons shirt and skirt from Value Village. Her turban is from Thief & Bandit; earrings, bracelets and necklaces from Value Village; rings from Le Chateau and Value Village; and shoes from New Look.


Hackett wears a suit by Tiger of Sweden, a shirt by Saturdays NYC, and shoes by Paul Smith.


From pemmican to perogies and Jamaican patties: Ian Mosby on the history of food in Canada and what it says about power, industry and how we define ourselves
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Last December, I found myself standing in a long lineup at an east Toronto storage locker complex, waiting to pick up a frozen meat pie from the back of a truck. We had all prepurchased a tourtière from Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, where celebrity chef/ owner Martin Picard's (often literal) tongue-in-cheek takes on classic Quebeçois dishes have made him one of the most important names in the Canadian food world.

All of us in line were hungry - not just for a buttery, rich, clove-and-cinnamonspiced pork pie, but for a taste of "authenticity." Some might even have been hoping for that elusive (and perhaps entirely fictional) cultural phenomenon: "Canadian cuisine."

It's no coincidence that tourtière is often first on a list of Canadian foods.

It's a dish that, in many ways, uniquely symbolizes the history and mythology of Quebec and its place within Canada. It's not just a hearty dish that rural habitants have eaten after midnight mass on Christmas Eve for much of Quebec's history. It's also a dish that's survived military conquest by the British, centuries of attempts at cultural assimilation by English-speaking politicians, as well as a long history of political and economic domination by Anglophone elites. It's a humble meat pie, in other words, that speaks to the resilience of and, in the postQuiet Revolution period resurgence of Québécois culture and identity.

Although many Quebec nationalists would likely cringe at tourtière being used as a symbol of Canadian (as opposed to Canadien) cuisine, it highlights the ways in which food can tell us something about how Canada became what it is today. Sure, Canada is a country of provinces and regions and peoples and even nations that don't always share the same culinary traditions or experiences.

But it's the stories of these different peoples and their food that make up our collective history.

These aren't always inspiring stories and the foods, themselves, aren't always particularly good. On Canada's 150th birthday, however, it's worth asking how what we ate in the past made us into who we are today.

1870: Pemmican In 1870, an American visitor to Red River, Man., remarked that pemmican was "the national dish so to speak, of a population composed of many nationalities; and like everything else in this peculiar country, it is a wonderful mixture."

That "wonderful mixture" of dried, pounded bison meat mixed with bison fat (and occasionally dried berries) had long been a staple of Indigenous diets on the prairies. Pemmican was portable, lasted almost indefinitely and had become the densely caloric fuel that made the Hudson Bay Company's highly profitable fur trading operations possible.But by 1870, the Indigenous nations who supplied the HBC with pemmican and bison hides could see the herds were thinning and the bison economy was coming to an end.

After the Métis took up arms against Canada in 1869 to protect their future along the Red River, many Cree, Blackfoot, Assiniboine and other prairie First Nations took a different route.

They instead negotiated a series of numbered treaties with the Crown in the hopes of guaranteeing a peaceful and prosperous postbison future. But the pemmican economy disappeared quicker than anyone had predicted: bison were virtually extinct by the early 1880s.

Canada quickly reneged on its sworn treaty promises to provide relief to First Nations in times of famine. In just a few short years, thousands of Indigenous men, women and children died of starvation throughout the prairies while, in many cases, unused food rotted away in government storehouses.

1876: Red Fife wheat This is the year that the Steele Briggs Seed Co. of Toronto received the first shipment of wheat exported from the recently created province of Manitoba: 857 bushels of Red Fife, a strain of hard spring wheat first stumbled upon by accident by farmer David Fife in 1842.

By the 1870s, Red Fife had become the dominant wheat variety used by millers and bakers throughout Canada, defining the taste of bread in the decades after Confederation. Its adaptability to the unique climate of Western Canada meant that Red Fife would play a key role in facilitating the colonization of the prairies by Canadian settlers before 1900.

1890s-1910s: Perogies Sitting atop a fork that extends more than two storeys into the air, the world's largest pierogi lords over the town of Glendon, Alta. Although the artistic value of this fibreglass dumpling colossus is questionable, few would question this Ukrainian culinary staple's status as a symbol of prairie food culture. After all, between 1891 and 1914 alone, nearly 170,000 Ukrainians immigrated to Canada, settling mostly in what are now the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

1913: Five Roses flour There were nearly 650,000 copies of the first Five Roses Cookbook in circulation just two years after its 1913 publishing date. In other words, at least half of Canadian households had a copy. Given that ubiquity, it's likely that the most important single factor in ordinary Canadians' culinary sensibilities in the early decades of the 20th century was the rise of national brands such as Five Roses and their cheap, popular corporate cookbooks.

1928: Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich The Boul. St-Laurent stalwart is the most famous - and long-standing - purveyor of what is now known as Montreal smoked meat. Founded by Jewish and Romanian immigrant Reuben Schwartz in 1928, the deli was part of a wave that opened during this period, catering to the tastes and Kosher dietary restrictions of a growing population of Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms and persecution in Eastern Europe.

1931: Pablum This bland, mushy and nutritionally fortified infant food was the brainchild of a group of pediatricians at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. It would revolutionize infant feeding on a global scale during the middle decades of the 20th century and helped bankroll SickKids' emergence as a leading international research institution.

1937: Kraft Dinner First released as a meal-in-a-box solution for the time-pressed homemaker, Kraft Dinner became an unlikely and fluorescent orange symbol of Canadiana. For reasons that remain elusive, Canadians continue to consume more KD per capita than anyone else in the world.

1941: Canada War Cake In January, 1941, a Globe and Mail reader named Nancy wrote in to share a recipe "for a war cake that we used in the last war" and that she'd just purchased for five cents from a neighbour fundraising for the Red Cross. War Cake - or Canada War Cake, as it was more commonly known - was a simple eggless, milkless, butterless and sugarstretching dessert that appeared in newspapers and cookbooks across the country during both wars. It was a potent, if not slightly chewy, symbol of the mobilization of the entire home front for total war.

1948: Margarine If you ever doubted the power of Canada's dairy lobby, you don't know the story of margarine. Although it has been around since the early 19th century, this butter substitute was legally banned in Canada until 1948 and faced many indignities even after it was legalized. These included a Quebec law which prohibited margarine from being sold as any colour besides white, a law which was only lifted in 2008.

1949: Hawkins Cheezies Although its Tweed, Ont., factory was started as a branch plant of the Chicago-based company, Confections Inc., the bankruptcy of the American side of the business meant that, by 1960, Hawkins Cheezies had become a uniquely Canadian product. And aside from moving its factory to Belleville, Ont., in 1956 following a fire, little seems to have changed. A nearly identical recipe - and the same extruder used to create the original Cheezies - continues to be used to this day by Hawkins, allowing a whole new generation of Canadian snack-food enthusiasts to ruin their parents' white sofas with authentic bright-orange Cheezie dust.

1950s: Fish sticks Canadian fish sticks will always be associated with the slightly menacing Captain Highliner and his friend Billy, but they're also a symbol of the industrialization of the cod fishery. Created in part through the work of Canadian scientist William John Dyer, fish sticks solved a major problem posed by the giant, frozen blocks of fish produced aboard the massive factory trawlers that took to the seas in the 1950s.

Rather than separating out individual fillets, it turned out, workers could simply cut the blocks into bite-size pieces, which could then be breaded and fried. Convenient, perhaps, but also an early warning sign of the cod collapse that would devastate the Atlantic economy in the 1990s.

1950s: Poutine The true origins of this near-perfect combination of fries, gravy and cheese curds are murky and contested, though most agree that it came into being in rural Quebec chip shacks. It has since become the most successful of Quebec's cultural symbols to the rest of Canada (sorry, Céline) and can be found everywhere from Canada's best restaurants to, well, KFC and Pizza Pizza.

1960s: Halifax donair Greek immigrant and restaurateur Peter Gamoulakos made a few significant changes to his beloved gyro in order to sell them to the Nova Scotian public. Though the pita remained, lamb was replaced with beef and tzatziki was rejected in favour of a sticky-sweet sauce made with, of all things, evaporated milk. Served with tomatoes and onions, these uniquely East Coast creations have developed a cult following in the Maritime provinces and continue to baffle gyro fans the world over.

1964: Tim Hortons doughnuts It's safe to assume that when the first Tim Hortons opened in Hamilton, few predicted that this purveyor of doughnuts and coffee would become a central plank of Canada's national mythology. This is truly a triumph of marketing over quality - especially given that the doughnuts haven't been made in-store since 2002 and are now shipped frozen from a central packing facility in Brantford, Ont.

1970s: California roll Trying to convince Vancouverites to eat raw fish and seaweed proved to be an uphill battle for chef and Japanese immigrant Hidekazu Tojo. One strategy he adopted around 1971 - namely, putting the rice on the outside rather than the inside of the maki roll - helped give birth to the nowiconic California roll. This proved a gateway drug of sorts for sushi-wary Canadians and, by the 1990s, you could throw a rock down any given street in Vancouver and hit a hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant.

1970s: Ginger beef The Canadian Prairies' answer to General Tso's chicken, this sweet-and-savoury classic of Chinese-Canadian cuisine, was first developed by chef George Wong at Calgary's Silver Inn. In many ways, it's a perfect example of the hybrid Chinese-Canadian "Chop Suey" cuisine that, by the 1970s, was being served in hundreds of Canadian cities and towns.

The spread and popularization of this cuisine began in the late 19th century and is somewhat remarkable given the barriers placed before Chinese restaurateurs. There were, of course, discriminatory head taxes and an outright ban on Chinese immigration between 1924 and 1947, but also lesserknown injustices: a Saskatchewan law preventing Chinese restaurateurs from hiring white women was on the books from 1912 to 1969.

1975: McCain Superfries Canadians of a certain age are almost universally thankful that McCain stopped running those ads of a bespectacled kid loudly munching on his fries, but Superfries are, without a doubt, one of those products that have helped McCain to corner nearly a third of the global french fry market. Started in 1957 in New Brunswick - and helped along through numerous and generous taxpayer-funded subsidies - McCain now boasts global sales of $8.5-billion.

1980: Yukon Gold potatoes Originally the brainchild of University of Guelph researcher Gary Johnson, the Yukon Gold remains one of the few potato varieties that shoppers actually look for by name. Johnson had originally sought to develop a potato that would appeal to recently arrived Eastern European immigrants' preference for yellow-fleshed varieties of potatoes, but the Yukon Gold proved to be a surprise mainstream hit - adding a little colour and flavour to what, in the 1980s, was a palette of almost exclusively whitefleshed potato varieties.

1985: Jamaican patty In February, 1985, federal inspectors raided Jamaican restaurants and bakeries around Toronto. Their goal: to crack down on the sale of false beef patties. "Beef patties," as it turned out, were supposed to be defined - according to the Meat Inspection Act and inspectors with the federal department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs - as burger patties, and these flaky, meat filled-pastries were not burgers at all. The raids sparked outrage within the Jamaican community and the authorities eventually backed down, so long as Jamaican restaurateurs and bakers specified that they were selling "Jamaican beef patties" and not "beef patties."

1991: McLobster This sandwich was first unveiled at the Amherst McDonalds in Nova Scotia and remains, to this day, unique to the Maritimes.

But it's also a perfect representation of lobster's dual Canadian identity. While for most Canadians, it's an expensive luxury associated with fine dining, Atlantic Canadians have long viewed lobster as a much more humble food. Children, many Maritimers insist, used to be embarrassed to bring lobster sandwiches to school because it was a sure sign of poverty; some Maritime farmers even tell stories of fertilizing their fields with these once over-abundant crustaceans.

2015: Minomiin/wild rice Minomiin - or Wild Rice, as it's more commonly known - is central to the culture, foodways and history of the Mississauga Nishnaabeg First Nations living in Southern Ontario. So when cottagers around Pigeon Lake near Peterborough began using machines to destroy the rice beds planted by Curve Lake First Nation member James Whetung, it became a flashpoint for settler unease with Indigenous resurgence.

It's a question for the reconciliation age: Are settlers willing to give up their wildrice-free, jet-ski-able lake? That's what it would take for Pigeon Lake to return to a preIndian Act, preresidential school and precolonial status as a place where minomiin is grown, harvested and celebrated.

But for many, interfering with a summer cottage getaway is a step too far.

Ian Mosby is a historian of food, health and colonialism and the author of Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture and Science of Food on Canada's Home Front.

Associated Graphic


Pemmican, a mixture of dried, pounded bison meat, fat and occasionally dried berries, has long been a staple of Indigenous diets on the Praries.


Above: A smoked meat sandwich is pictured at Schwartz's deli in Montreal. The deli is the most famous and long-standing purveyor of what is now known as Montreal smoked meat. It was founded in 1928, catering to the tastes and Kosher dietary restrictions of a growing population of Jewish refugees. Left: A 1918 ad for Five Roses Flour. Just two years after the first Five Roses Cookbook was published, at least half of Canadian households had a copy.


Nova Scotia restaurant owner Neil Dominey prepares a donair - a food based on the Greek gyro - which has developed quite a following on the East Coast.


Although poutine's true origin is murky, most agree it got its start in rural Quebec chip shacks, and it has since become the most successful of Quebec's cultural symbols to the rest of Canada.


Jim Marker is the developer of Cheezies. While Hawkins Cheezies began as a branch plan U.S.-based company, the bankruptcy of the U.S. side has made the bright-orange snack a uniquely Canadian product.


Bombardier's stake in Russian rail venture shrouded in mystery
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

.. LONDON -- In December, 2010, Pierre Beaudoin flew to Moscow to seal a deal that promised to open up new opportunities for Bombardier Inc.'s rail division.

Sitting at a table with Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin, Bombardier's top executive signed an agreement on a joint venture that was hailed as a "landmark" example of co-operation between giants of the Canadian and Russian transportation industries.

Elteza, as the entity is known, owned seven factories and employed more than 3,000 people in Russia at the time.

The plants would be licensed to produce sophisticated Bombardier signalling systems that help control the movement of trains.

Bombardier would acquire a stake of just less than 50 per cent in Elteza; Russian Railways, controlled by the Kremlin, would have the rest.

But an internal company memo suggests that Bombardier's real stake in the business is far smaller than that.

Corporate documents seen by The Globe shed new light on how one of Canada's most visible multinational companies does business in an important but complicated market.

And it once more raises questions about why Bombardier worked in 2014 to keep Mr. Yakunin's name off the list of Kremlin-connected individuals sanctioned by Ottawa over the conflict in Ukraine.

The memo emerged as part of a separate investigation in Sweden into whether bribery was involved when Bombardier won a lucrative contract to sell rail equipment to Azerbaijan.

Written on Bombardier letterhead, the memo suggests the company's ownership interest in Elteza is no more than 13 per cent, because of the presence of other de facto partners.

Those partners are two men who are frequently referred to in Russian media as business associates of Mr. Yakunin, and who appear to have used a series of shell companies to help obscure their stake in the Russian joint venture.

It isn't clear why Bombardier would agree to such arrangements or what involvement, if any, Mr. Yakunin's allies have in Elteza beyond their equity stake.

The Globe and Mail asked Bombardier a series of questions about Elteza, including details about its ownership structure, but the company did not answer them.

Elteza: Behind the ownership Today, Bombardier's Russian website states that Elteza "focuses on delivering signalling solutions within Russia," with 94 per cent of its output going to Russian Railways, a massive government-controlled company that links the country with the largest land mass with 86,000 kilometres of track.

The website says that in co-operation with Elteza, Bombardier has equipped more than 200 train stations across Russia with the Ebi-Lock 950 systems.

Exactly how much that business is worth to Bombardier is impossible to know for certain.

Bombardier's most recent financial statements indicate it earned $255-million (U.S.) in revenue in Russia last year - but the figure includes its entire business, comprising its aerospace, rail and transit divisions. That is more than the company generates in other developing markets such as Mexico and India, but less than in China. Over all, Russia accounted for 1.6 per cent of Bombardier's $16.3-billion in revenue last year.

For a relatively small component of its overall sales, Bombardier's rail-controls business in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union is causing the company an outsized amount of trouble.

Earlier this month, three Bombardier executives were detained in Sweden in an investigation into what Swedish officials described as "aggravated bribery."

The probe is focused on the circumstances under which Bombardier won a $340-million railway contract in Azerbaijan in 2013. No charges have been laid in the case, which is still being investigated by Sweden's National Anti-Corruption Unit.

In a statement released by Bombardier late Friday, the company said it was assisting Swedish authorities and conducting its own internal review. "Thus far, we have no information of any unlawful behaviour and we stand behind the work we are doing to help modernize Azerbaijan's rail infrastructure. Should we discover any improper activity, we will of course take the necessary and appropriate actions to set things right."

The company also said it won the Azerbaijan contract fairly.

"Our bid, which was accepted by Azerbaijan Railways ADY in coordination with the World Bank, was deemed the most technically sound and priced lower than our global competitors. Since being awarded the contract in 2013, we have supported our customer's efforts to upgrade their rail system and we continue to do so."

As part of their evidence in the case, Swedish prosecutors have produced an internal company memo that outlined how Elteza's ownership structure worked.

On its website, Bombardier notes that it "acquired a 50 per cent minus 1 share" stake in Elteza during 2011. The entity that holds Bombardier's share of the Russian venture is called BT Signaling.

But the memo filed in the case in Sweden suggests that BT Signaling, in turn, isn't controlled by Bombardier. Seventy-four per cent of the company is owned by two men frequently described in Russian media as associates of Mr. Yakunin - Yuriy Obodovskiy and Alexey Krapivin.

The memo refers to the pair as the "Partners."

"Partners are partly owners of BT affiliated entities," the author of the memo writes. ("BT" is shorthand for Bombardier Transportation, the name of the company's rail and transit business.)

"BT Signaling BV - 74 per cent owned by Mr. Yury Obodovskiy and Mr. Alexey Krapivin as indirect ultimate shareholders."

The Nov. 17, 2014, memo, which is written on Bombardier letterhead, goes on to state that the "Partners have access to Yakunin," which allows them to "influence [decisions] taken from both technical and commercial sides."

The memo appears to have been prepared for somebody about to meet with Mr. Obodovskiy, who is deputy head of Elteza's board of directors. The names of the author and the recipient of the memo have been redacted by Swedish prosecutors.

The Globe searched through company filings to try to verify the contents of the memo.

Corporate documents obtained from Cyprus and the Netherlands appear to confirm the author's assessment of BT Signaling.

While its owner, on paper, is another Bombardier subsidiary - the Britain-based Bombardier Transportation Global Holding - the reality is that most of the shares are held indirectly by third parties.

In 2014 and 2015, BT Signaling made identical loan repayments of just more than half a million dollars each year to a pair of Cyprus-based investment firms, Foreylon Investments and Zedecol Investments. One of the firms is wholly-owned by Mr. Krapivin and the other owned by yet another series of shell companies.

Filings in Cyprus show that both Foreylon and Zedecol conducted no business other than their investment in an unspecified joint venture and reported no income other than the loan repayments. They showed a combined investment value of $36,908,348 in that unnamed joint venture.

That number works out to be 73.8 per cent - very near the 74 per cent mentioned in the Bombardier internal memo - of $50million, or half of Elteza's value at the time of the 2010 deal.

(While Bombardier has never disclosed the price it paid for its share of Elteza, Russian media have reported that the entire company was valued at $100-million at the time of its sale.)

It's not clear why Bombardier would need to seek funding from two previously unknown lenders.

Nor is it clear why - if Elteza was meant to be a joint venture of two nearly-equal partners, Bombardier and Russian Railways - Mr. Obodovskiy and Mr. Krapivin have such outsized involvement.

"Bombardier is committed to the highest level of integrity and full compliance with all legal requirements in every country where we operate," Bombardier said in its statement. "Should we discover any improper activity, we will of course take the necessary and appropriate actions to set things right."

The inner circle At the centre of the story is Mr. Yakunin, a long-time confidante of Mr. Putin's. Mr. Yakunin was head of the state-owned Russian Railways for 10 years until 2015, when he retired following media reports accusing him of funnelling contractors billions of dollars in contracts that disguised their true owners.

While Mr. Yakunin was one of the first people sanctioned by the United States after Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine, he remained off Canada's own longer list of Kremlin-connected individuals sanctioned over the conflict.

Bombardier has admitted to lobbying to keep Mr. Yakunin off the list, arguing that sanctioning him would have "unilaterally harmed a Canadian business."

A spokesman for Mr. Yakunin said his boss had done nothing wrong, and referred to the Swedish court case and media reports about Mr. Yakunin as part of a "general trend of demonizing Russia and anyone who is perceived to be close to Putin." The spokesman, Grigory Levchenko, also said Mr. Yakunin "has never had any assets in Canada" that would be affected by sanctions.

Mr. Levchenko also disputed that Bombardier's "partners" - Mr. Obodovskiy and Mr. Krapivin - had access to or influence over his client.

Mr. Obodovskiy's name is the most prominent in the evidence presented so far at the pretrial hearings in Stockholm.

He was the founder of a mysterious shell company called Multiserv Overseas through which Bombardier Transportation's division in Sweden routed more than 100 transactions between 2011 and 2016. Swedish prosecutors believe that, at least in the Azerbaijan deal, money that passed through Multiserv was redirected to pay off government officials.

Mr. Levchenko said there was "no reason to believe the trustworthiness" of the documents entered into Swedish court.

"Dr. Yakunin never met with Obodovskiy, so the information about him having access to Yakunin is wrong. Dr. Yakunin did know Krapivin, but they were never close and they never had any business dealings together.

Any suggestion that the relationship was in any way improper, we would deny in the strongest possible terms," Mr. Levchenko wrote in an e-mail.

Asked about the ownership structure of Elteza, Mr. Levchenko said the question could only be answered by the current management of Russian Railways.

But filings in the Netherlands, where BT Signaling was registered when it was founded in 2010, point again to Mr. Yakunin's inner circle.

One of the four members of the board of directors of BT Signaling is Roman Mironchik, a frequent business partner of Mr. Krapivin's. And many of Mr. Krapivin's business interests appear to share an address in Cyprus with the sole named director of Multiserv Overseas.

(The Globe and Mail has previously reported how ownership and management of Multiserv Overseas have repeatedly shifted through a series of offshore havens since the company was founded by Mr. Obodovskiy in 2010.)

The Globe and Mail has repeatedly tried, without success, to contact both Mr. Obodovskiy and Mr. Krapivin.

The Multiserv connection The Bombardier e-mails and memos obtained by Sweden's anti-corruption unit suggest there were some within the Montreal company who have long been concerned about how the company does business in Russia and the region.

Multiserv Overseas is described in one 2015 internal Bombardier e-mail as "a shell with no true trading," and in another as "a vehicle to siphon monies from the public sector into private pockets." Yet the company continued to route sales of railway equipment into the Russian market via Multiserv.

Thomas Forsberg, the senior public prosecutor for Sweden's National Anti-Corruption Unit, told The Globe earlier this month that he believes Multiserv Overseas exists only "to produce invoices." He said his unit's investigation would look beyond the three employees of Bombardier Transportation Sweden currently under suspicion.

One of those three men, regional head of sales Evgeny Pavlov, is in custody after a judge granted the prosecution's request to keep him behind bars, pending charges. Mr. Pavlov is a Russian citizen and considered a flight risk. The other two suspects are Swedish citizens who were detained, then released as the investigation continues.

The Swedish investigation is focused so far on a 2013 deal in Azerbaijan, which prosecutors allege involved the bribery of foreign officials through a joint venture called Trans-Signal-Rabita. Bombardier's Ebi-Lock 950 systems were then sold by Bombardier Transportation Sweden to the new joint venture through Multiserv Overseas.

Multiserv Overseas paid Bombardier $20-million for the technology, then sold it onwards to Trans-Signal-Rabita for $104-million. Swedish prosecutors believe that part of the $84-million went into the pockets of officials in Russia and Azerbaijan.

(Another transaction revealed in last year's Panama Papers leaks showed a company called Rambo Management, owned by Mr. Krapivin, selling 13 Ebi Lock 950 systems that were bound for Azerbaijan to Multiserv Overseas for $23-million. While Bombardier acknowledges a business relationship with Multiserv, a spokesman told The Globe last year that Bombardier had no dealings with Rambo Management. He provided no explanation for how Rambo Management came to be selling rail equipment that is produced only by Bombardier.)

The Azerbaijan deal is among at least 114 transactions conducted between Bombardier and Multiserv Overseas since 2011.

Russian import records show those deals were worth a combined $174.5-million.

While the first 100-plus transactions involved only Bombardier Transportation Sweden and the shell company, new import records show the Polish and British arms of Bombardier Transportation have also been involved in transactions that went through Multiserv Overseas.

Four transactions last summer and fall, worth a total of $1.2-million, involved Bombardier Transportation (Zwuz) Polska and Multiserv Overseas.

Three transactions, collectively valued at $7.8-million, involved Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd. and Multiserv Overseas.

The end buyer, in all seven new transactions involving the Polish and British arms of Bombardier Transportation, was Elteza.

Associated Graphic

Vladimir Yakunin, the former CEO of Russian Railways, was among the first people to be targeted by U.S. sanctions following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.


Mr. Yakunin, front, is a long-time confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


How China is losing its war on pollution
Despite measures aimed at producing blue skies, fallout from China's economic imperative is outpacing environmental progress
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

SONGTING, CHINA -- In the village dubbed the birthplace of Beijing's smog, anger is rising into a sky that seems permanently darkened by pollution. At least three times over the past two years, local residents in Songting have gathered to protest at the gates of the steelworks that surround the place generations have called home.

People here once farmed rice, peanuts and corn until, in the years before the Beijing Olympics, their fields were transformed into an industrial forest of pipes, stacks and production lines, after iron and steel companies moved away from the capital to leave behind cleaner air for the Games.

Two-hundred kilometres east of Beijing, they erected a metallic forest of emissions towers that belch exhaust and soot.

During one severe episode in February, the air grew so thick that residents could no longer see across their narrow streets and workers got lost on the way home.

Now the villagers are fed up.

One of the recent steel-mill protests lasted more than a week.

"Every day, more than 30 people gathered there," said Zhao Xiuying, 54, who lives in an old village home that backs out onto a vista of metalworks.

The villagers demanded pollution compensation, but received nothing. So they tried again.

"We blocked the coking plant, too," Ms. Zhao said. "But no one fixed our problem."

Speaking out can be risky in China, where officials move quickly to crush efforts to organize dissent of any kind. But across China, a population once ignorant of the damage wrought by noxious air has gained a keen awareness of what they are breathing - and a growing unwillingness to accept it.

"Before, people might have just endured. Now, that patience and endurance has worn out," said Ma Jun, China's best-known environmentalist.

"We have seen more demands from people to solve the problem."

Stalled progress has made those demands grow more acute.

Until this winter, a raft of government measures set in place under a Chinese "war on pollution" had yielded annual improvements. Gradually, people were beginning to see more blue skies. But amid a slowing economy, a surge in steel production capacity has been accompanied by waves of thick air that have coated northern China this winter, while southern regions have also suffered unusually bad air.

Air quality worsened in the area around Beijing throughout much of 2016, a trend that has continued this year. Average Beijing air quality in January was among the worst since 2009, the first full year air monitoring statistics are available.

The city's February air, on average, was 35 per cent more polluted this year than last.

The public has responded with unusually strong opposition, one that signals a new era for Chinese policy-makers determined to keep the country's economy moving forward, but increasingly constrained from turning to old industrial crutches by mounting public antagonism over environmental issues.

That has increased the tension for China's leadership as it attempts to secure stability, new wealth and blue skies, all at the same time.

"Those things are often irreconcilable," said Alex Wang, an assistant professor at UCLA Law School who earlier served as founding director of the Natural Resources Defense Council China Environmental Law and Governance Project.

He called it a "big kind of game of cat and mouse. And we don't really know how it's going to turn out now, because ultimately they can't throw all the people locally out of work. So there's still tremendous economic pressure on that front.

But the environmental side of the equation is basically becoming untenable right now."

In response, frustration is spilling out in lawsuits, pointed parental demands for better protection of students and an indignant outpouring on social media and protests - one dispersed with riot police.

"There's a sense that things are not getting better any more, or are getting worse again," said Lauri Myllyvirta, Beijing-based senior global coal campaigner with Greenpeace.

"Expectations have changed, and people expect improving air quality rather than being happy with the one-off improvement that we saw."

Legal battles Among those taking matters into their own hands are lawyers, who have sought to test the usefulness of laws introduced in recent years by authorities attempting to reassure the public they are taking action.

"As citizens, we must supervise the government to speed its work and raise air quality to a normal standard as fast as they can," said Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai. He is suing local authorities for failing in their legal duties to protect the environment. He wants a court to order the air to be returned to a more acceptable state in a reasonable amount of time, and has demanded that governments in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province print an apology in local newspapers. He has also asked for $12.50 to recover the cost of his own smog masks.

Inside China's Communist Party-controlled courts, Mr. Cheng's legal efforts stand little chance of success.

But such tactics can raise political pressure on authorities.

Three days after Mr. Cheng submitted his suit, China's State Environmental Protection Administration seized power from local authorities over monitoring air-quality stations, after revealing that municipalities had faked readings.

The joint voices of outraged parents have also created change. In January, mothers and fathers lashed out when heavy smog descended on Beijing, demanding better air protection in schools. On social media, one lamented: "Parents are worried about conditions for their children, and wanted to appeal to relevant departments to solve the issue of air purifiers. ... Even breathing fresh air has become a luxury."

Such complaints had been dismissed by authorities in the past. In late 2015, the Beijing education commission even suggested it could not seal off schools because doing so might create dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. Other parents have been told air filters would pose a health hazard because children might trip over their electrical cords.

This January, however, officials were compelled into action, going so far as to bring out the environmental protection minister for a late-night media conference to promise more air filters for schools.

Earlier this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated smog-fighting promises in his annual state-of-the-union-like work report, pledging "we will make our skies blue again." The Chinese government also pledged new targets for cutting output of coal and steel.

Pollution nonetheless remains a delicate topic. In the southern Chinese city of Chengdu, authorities shut down a central square after activists began organizing a smog protest there last December. Police detained several activists in the same city for staging a silent protest in which they walked around wearing face masks.

But none of it has stopped pointed criticism from pouring out online. As activists were arrested in Chengdu, one person took to social media to say: "We won't put up with this! Take to the streets!"

Commentator Tang Yinghong responded with a scathing polemic, posting an old article from The People's Daily that, in 1971, lashed out at the United States, where "corporations don't care if the people live or die" as U.S. cities grow "thick with smog."

For China to fail to learn lessons from other developed nations and find itself in a similar situation four decades later "is greed without the slightest scruple," Mr. Tang wrote.

Smog savvy Rising public pressure is a reflection of the degree to which air awareness has taken much deeper root in China.

When the U.S. embassy in Beijing began tweeting air-quality readings in 2008, the information was censored and denied by the Chinese government.

Over the following years, however, the steady drip of ugly numbers forced change and various levels of government now maintain well over 1,000 airquality monitoring stations across the country, most of whose results are openly available.

Then came 2015 and the online release of Under the Dome, a self-financed documentary on the devastating health effects of Chinese air by a former state television journalist. It was watched more than 100 million times before being pulled, but its message had already spread widely.

In years past, whenever environmental activist Hoo posted social-media messages about smog, they might get noticed by academics or other activists.

"This year, I noticed that many of my classmates and their friends have also been reposting," said Hoo, the pen name for a Chengdu woman who asked that her real name not be used for fear of reprisal.

Though the government response has been uneven - censors still delete many of those social-media posts - officials have also been prodded into unusual shows of openness. In Chengdu, for example, the deputy mayor and director of the local environmental-protection bureau have both held smog talk sessions in recent months.

Elsewhere, parents have taken to keeping kids out of school in the worst air. On one particularly bad day last year at a kindergarten class attended by Teddy Wang's daughter in Shijiazhuang, another city known for its smog, only six kids in a class of 36 showed up.

"People are often reminding family and friends to take care and be prepared for smoggy days," said Mr. Wang, a teacher.

Outside wealthy cities Still, in a country where power is concentrated in a few urban centres, signs of progress can be spotty - and sometimes illusory.

Last October, Chinese authorities ordered a halt to construction on 30 partially built coal-fired power plants with a combined planned generating capacity equivalent to nearly a quarter of Canada's entire electrical sector. It was a dramatic move, intended to show the seriousness of a "war on pollution" declared by the country's leadership. But when The Globe and Mail visited one of those sites in Jiangsu a month later, streams of trucks continued to pour through the front gate.

Workers and local residents alike said construction continued apace.

In Songting village, meanwhile, villagers remain mired in what might be called China's smog caste, segregated by geography, wealth and political influence from the rich cities, whose leaders are newly eager to show progress on pollution.

The most recent factory-gate protest took place last year.

After police rounded up protesters and threatened them with detention, the villagers have not dared to stage further action, even in February smog so thick people could barely see a car's length ahead.

Rather than shut down production, local companies have gone to great lengths to keep their plants running. Songting Iron & Steel Company closed down in late 2015, but restarted months later. Last December, officials accused another local factory, Jiujiang Steel Bar and Wires, of attempting to trick inspectors who came to verify emissions reductions.

For Songting's villagers, the effects of membership in the smog caste are amplified by poverty.

Zhao Xiuying's house has no expensive European filters, not so much as a mask. Instead, her back room is stacked with wood and coal that she burns to cook and heat, which only serves to laden the air even more heavily.

Other options, however, are too expensive.

Pi Fengqin, her next-door neighbour, has gone so far as to raise pollution concerns with management of the local coking plant. "We cannot bear this pollution," she told them.

Some complaints have yielded results. When village tap water turned yellow, residents' anger prompted nearby mills to truck in drinking water. (Running water remains bad enough that villagers rarely bathe in winter).

But the air is still thick, and it is not only older citizens who have lost hope.

Zhao Qiang, 28, lists the diseases that afflict neighbours and relatives alike: cancer of the lungs and blood, strokes, heart diseases.

Local media have circulated a report documenting Songting deaths from January to October, 2014. Of 25 dead villagers, two died of lung cancer, one of lower respiratory tract disease, 17 of cerebral infarction and three of heart attacks.

"My dream is to have better air, to have green mountains and clear rivers," says Mr. Zhao, who is not related to Ms. Zhao.

"There is no need to keep those factories."

He is not alone in questioning the value of the industrialization at their doorsteps.

Labourers at the local steel mills earn just less than $500 a month, but a 30-year-old worker at one of the mills figures his income would be the same if he were still able to grow crops.

When the mills first began construction, each villager received $2,900 as compensation. But "farming is more reliable," said the worker, who did not want his name used for fear of reprisal.

If he had a choice, he said, "I'd like to go back to the way it was."

With a report from Yu Mei

Associated Graphic

Songting, China, became the 'birthplace of Beijing's smog' after steelworks moved there to give the capital's air a reprieve for the Olympics.


Above: A villager hauls wood through smog-filled air to burn for cooking in Songting village. Left: Factories near Songting create problems for the villagers, such as not being able to even see a car's length ahead in severe cases. Residents have protested the operations at least three times in the past two years.

Pi Fengqin, a resident of Songting, sorts through medications she takes for heart and brain ailments she says have grown worse in the smog.


Above: Songting resident Zhao Xiuying's house lies a short distance from some of the massive steelworks that surround the village. Ms. Zhao and other villagers have protested the stifling smog they often endure. Right: Dried persimmons now frequently turn black, which residents say is due to the thick smog that plagues their village.

Ojibway author found salvation in stories
He was homeless, alcoholic and on drugs until he discovered a library that offered shelter, warmth and all the books he wanted
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

Richard Wagamese understood the power of words.

He made a living from writing - eventually, after terrible struggles - but he also knew what words, put together the right way, could do for a life: They could save it.

He knew this as a writer, and also as a reader. Whether his words were on the page or spoken aloud in mesmerizing performances, they were alive with raw honesty, searing insight and a delicate eloquence.

"He got to our cores; he got to where we are most human," says CBC broadcaster Shelagh Rogers, a friend whom Mr. Wagamese called his Chosen Sister. "And his words resonated with us. The fact that they were beautiful was gravy."

The self-taught Ojibway author's works were infused with his excruciating history. The tragedies that shaped him from early childhood gave birth to demons that chased him throughout his too-short life. But through books (and nature and music and animals and baseball and love), he found refuge.

"Stories are meant to heal," he wrote in his 2008 memoir One Native Life - one of 14 books he published in his lifetime, which included non-fiction, novels, poetry and children's books.

"That's what my people say, and it's what I believe. Culling these stories has taken me a long way down the healing path from the trauma I carried."

Despite an intense shyness, Mr. Wagamese was a spellbinding speaker - leaving adults in tears or inspiring the toughest high school gym crowd. He told traditional stories, anecdotes from his life. He might do some stand-up or a Rocky impression.

"He briefly drummed to call in the ancestors and then he spoke for 45, 50 minutes without notes, with fluidity and eloquence and such grace," says Jane Davidson, recalling his appearance at her festival, the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.

"He talked about how important it is to speak to each other, neighbour to neighbour."

Mr. Wagamese died March 10 at his home in Kamloops. He was 61. He died in his sleep of natural causes, according to his fiancée, Yvette Lehmann. "In my opinion it was just heartbreak," she says. "From the life that he had to live, the past."

Richard Wagamese was born on Oct. 14, 1955, on the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario. His first home was a canvas army tent hung from a spruce bough frame, he wrote in his essay The Path to Healing. His family fished, hunted and trapped. But his parents and extended family were deeply scarred by residential school.

"Each of the adults had suffered in an institution that tried to scrape the Indian out of their insides, and they came back to the bush raw, sore and aching," he wrote.

Mr. Wagamese inherited their trauma.

His childhood was dreadful. In that same story, he recounted having his left arm and shoulder smashed as a toddler. And how when he was almost three, the adults left him, his two brothers and sister alone in the bush on a bitterly cold winter day. They ran out of food and firewood. His older sister and brother hauled the two younger boys across a frozen bay and they huddled at the railroad depot. A police officer took them to the Children's Aid Society. "I would not see my mother or my extended family again for 21 years," he wrote.

He was fostered out and at the age of nine, adopted by a family he described as staunch white Presbyterians who led a regimented life and tolerated no disorder. "The wounds I suffered went far beyond the scars on my buttocks." He was moved to southern Ontario, separated from his native heritage.

He left home in St. Catharines at 16. For years, he lived on the street or in jail. Even when working, he was often homeless. He sometimes raided gardens and fruit trees. One winter, he spent a month living in a nativity scene. He became an alcoholic and a drug user.

But even in that darkness, there were life-changing events.

In St. Catharines, Mr. Wagamese, looking for shelter, followed people into a building. It was a library - and there he found a quiet, warm haven. And he found books. He would stack them into a mountainous L-shape surrounding him, worried he might be asked to leave.

Mr. Wagamese had a Grade 9 education but what he learned at the library was staggering. He carried a notebook and would jot down things he heard that sounded interesting. Then he would ask the librarians for books on those subjects: astronomy, geometry, music. At a bar one night, he heard people discussing James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. The notoriously difficult book was his next library choice.

Unlike many before him, he didn't give up. He bought his own copy. It took him months to finish it.

One day, a brown bag showed up on his desk. Mr. Wagamese didn't touch it for hours, afraid he might be accused of stealing what was inside. Finally, he looked. There was a muffin and a sandwich - a gift from the librarian. She introduced him to the listening room. There he heard Beethoven for the first time. And she took him out, to a performance.

"He actually taped up his shoes with duct tape to look a little more put together," Ms. Lehmann says. "He was so afraid to go in there because he wasn't dressed properly. She said don't worry about that; just close your eyes and don't look at the people; just hear the music."

When Mr. Wagamese told that story at an event at the Victoria Native Friendship Society last year, many in the audience wept.

"It hit people in the heart," executive director Bruce Parisian says.

At 23, he reunited with family and found his calling. After he told his long, terrible story, an elder gave him a storyteller's name: Mushkotay Beezheekee Anakwat - Buffalo Cloud. Your role is to be a teller of stories, the elder said.

In 1979, Mr. Wagamese was hitchhiking across Canada when a job posting on the board at the employment office in Regina caught his eye. A First Nations publication, New Breed, was looking for a native writer. He applied for the job, telling the editor that yes he had training but no transcripts; they had been destroyed in a fire. None of this was true.

He was told to return the following Monday, when he would be tested by rewriting newspaper stories. Mr. Wagamese went to the library, asked for books on journalism, and for five days buried himself in writing exercises. At the test he was presented with three Globe and Mail articles and told to shorten them.

He got the job.

His dream of becoming a published author also received a boost at the library in Regina. In 1984, he took a book he had been writing to the writer-in-residence, Lorna Crozier.

"I took the novel home and was very moved by it and ... I wrote him a page of encouragement," Ms. Crozier says.

They made an appointment to meet again, but he didn't show up. She eventually received a letter from him: He was in jail and needed books. Ms. Crozier and her husband Patrick Lane, living on her meagre salary, raided their own collection and mailed him some books. He never forgot it.

"You told me to keep on going; I needed someone to say that to me in my life," she recalls him saying.

Mr. Wagamese, who was also a broadcaster, left active journalism in 1993. (He continued to write as a freelancer, for publications including The Globe and Mail.) He published his first book, Keeper'n Me in 1994.

"We thought this is an extremely powerful voice and one that at that time wasn't really being heard," says John Pearce, who received his manuscript at Doubleday and became his editor and publisher - and later, his agent. His writing demonstrated "a storytelling ability that just grabbed you from the first page."

Keeper'n Me won the Writers' Guild of Alberta's Best Novel Award and launched his publishing career.

His breakthrough was Indian Horse, a novel about a hockey phenomenon who suffered from the legacy of the residential schools. It was a national bestseller, a Canada Reads 2013 contender and won the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. It's being made into a film.

Another novel was published in 2014 to more raves. "Medicine Walk really knocked me out; it was a lovely book. And I'm a real snob about writing," says Thomas King, the award-winning author of The Inconvenient Indian.

"Richard was the real deal."

Medicine Walk was dedicated to his two sons.

Mr. Wagamese's personal life was troubled. He did not raise his sons, Jason and Joshua. For Joshua: An Ojibway Father Teaches His Son was published in 2002, a love letter to his estranged son.

Mr. Wagamese married and divorced three times. But he found love again: Ms. Lehmann, a yoga teacher, contacted Mr.

Wagamese about a writing workshop. When they finally met, over coffee in July, 2013, they talked for hours - about everything but writing. They moved in together that October. They moved twice since - each time to make room for Mr. Wagamese's ever-expanding music collection, she says. Last July, he proposed in Horseshoe Bay, where Ms. Lehmann was fresh off the ferry.

"It was a beautiful promise: to honour me, to be by my side, to be the best man that he can be for the rest of our lives. He always said to me that I can promise to love you until the end of my days."

Mr. Wagamese had many important mentors in his life and he became a mentor himself.

When Ms. Davidson brought him back to the Sunshine Coast for a schools-based aboriginal storytelling festival, his impact was stunning, according to Kerry Mahlman, district principal, aboriginal education.

Students said: "I didn't expect this, but that man just changed the way I think about everything," she recalls. "For a 16-yearold that struggles to pull his face away from his phone screen, to walk out with this look on their face ... was just one of the most wonderful gifts."

After Waubgeshig Rice published his first book, Midnight Sweatlodge, he was shocked and delighted to receive a message from Mr. Wagamese. Mr. Wagamese had read his book and said he was happy to see a young Anishinaabe author writing fiction, adding that Mr. Rice should drop him a line if he needed any help.

For Mr. Rice, who is also a CBC journalist, this was "totally mind-blowing," he says. "He was a storyteller that I'd looked up to since I was a teenager. ... I would definitely not have become an author or a journalist without his influence."

In 1991, Mr. Wagamese became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award, for his Calgary Herald columns. It's one of two awards that hung over his desk in his book-piled home office in view of where he wrote. The other is the Kouhi Award for outstanding contributions to the literature of Northwestern Ontario.

He received many other honours, including the 2013 Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, honorary degrees, and the 2015 Writers' Trust Matt Cohen Award - In Celebration of a Writing Life.

In his acceptance speech, he described the early mornings when he would prepare to write, "and hope that the stories that live inside the curl of your knuckles can be coaxed outward one more time," he said. "And you sit there and you breathe and you hope and you dream and you close your eyes and you feel the essence of that gift radiating inside you."

His last book, Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations, came out of Mr. Wagamese's daily Facebook posts. They had a devoted following and Douglas and McIntyre head Howard White proposed publishing them as a collection. On March 7, Embers was nominated for a BC Book Award. Two nights later, Mr.

Wagamese went to sleep and didn't wake up.

He had two more books in the works: Starlight, a nearly finished sequel to Medicine Walk; and One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet, a journey into the spiritual teachings of Indigenous people. Says Mr. White: "He was bursting out in all directions."

In one of Mr. Wagamese's final Facebook meditations, posted in November, he wrote about starting his day with candlelight, tea and meditation, and what the years had taught him. "Actions born of contemplation are wiser than those made in quiet desperation. If all that's true, and I feel it is, then I have grown some in these 61 years. I have learned and become a better person. And from that maybe it's the years ahead that will be the richest of my life. A quiet man moving forward, gladly beyond all expectation."

A celebration of Mr. Wagamese's life will be held Saturday in Kamloops.

To submit an I Remember:

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

Associated Graphic

Richard Wagamese, of the Ojibway First Nation, had a childhood fraught with troubles, but it did not deter him from eventually becoming a lauded author, broadcaster and journalist.

'He got to our cores; he got to where we are most human,' said Shelagh Rogers, right, a CBC broadcaster and friend of Mr. Wagamese.

The last jump of Graham Dickinson
BASE jumpers are thrill-seekers, daredevils and, sometimes, tragically unlucky. Canadian Graham Dickinson, an experienced wingsuit pilot, had everything meticulously planned for a leap off a mountain in remote China, at a place called Heaven's Gate. Twelve seconds later, it was over. David Ebner reports
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

Graham Dickinson stands on a precipice near the peak of Tianmen Mountain in remote, central China.

With an hour before sunset on Jan. 25, light winds and a temperature hovering around 5 C create reasonable working conditions for Dickinson, a BASE jumper and wingsuit pilot who jumps off cliffs and out of planes for a living.

Dickinson, just a week removed from his 29th birthday, is a couple hundred metres above the ground. He's surrounded by a chain of mountains that thrust skyward from the jungle below. The Canadian daredevil is in the final moments before taking flight in his latest thrill-seeking endeavour.

He knows the area well and has always meticulously planned his jumps: Measured altitude and slope with a laser rangefinder, pored over topography data, and often studied video.

Today, Dickinson is ready to conquer a flythrough of Heaven's Gate, the opening in the rock face, roughly the size of a football field, that goes clear through the mountain on which he's standing.

He will jump from the cliff and attempt to manoeuvre a 180-degree turn in order to fly back through the celestial archway. Tourists visit it in droves in the summer to pray for a healthy life. In the winter, it's quiet - and solitude suits him when he jumps.

Other BASE jumpers would call this attempt particularly risky. Even among the most daring in this extreme sport, Dickinson is known for his willingness to plunge headlong into danger.

Clad in his wingsuit, which hangs on his body like a sleeping bag, Dickinson is poised to fly.

'Everything I thought about' BASE jumping, a sport in which jumpers leap from buildings, antennas, spans, and earth, was popularized by Carl Boenish. In 1978, the American was among the first to jump off El Capitan, a rock formation in California's Yosemite National Park.

Functioning wingsuits were introduced in the mid-1990s by French skydiver Patrick de Gayardon, moving the sport away from parachuting and toward something that resembles actual flying.

A modern wingsuit, when fully inflated, makes the wearer look like a flying squirrel. Strong nylon fabric connects the inside of each arm with the body, creating two wings. A third wing between the legs completes the squirrel image.

As air rushes through the inlets the suit inflates and the three wings become rigid. There are no controls. Movements of the body steer the flight. For each metre of vertical descent, a pilot can cover three horizontal metres, flying at a downward angle and hurtling as fast as 200 kilometres an hour.

Toward the end of a flight, the pilot pulls the chute. The suit Dickinson wears at Tianmen Mountain is called the Freak 2, known for its agility, one of 11 models manufactured by Squirrel, a company that specializes in wingsuits and BASE jumping equipment.

There are likely fewer than one thousand active participants worldwide who BASE jump with a wingsuit, though its popularity has grown since the early 2000s.

Tech and social-media companies such as Facebook, GoPro and YouTube have expanded the sport's reach, pushing the intense visuals of wingsuit flying to wider audiences online, where Dickinson's profile grew. His videos, shot on a headcam and by fellow pilots, give viewers a jawdropping perspective of humans in flight.

When he was a kid growing up in the Toronto suburbs, his most extreme sports were gymnastics, dirt biking and snowboarding.

As a 16-year-old, Dickinson watched with envy as his older brother Evan started skydiving, but his parents wouldn't allow Graham to try it for himself.

Instead, he obsessively watched videos online and began jumping from planes as soon he turned 18.

By the time he was 23, he made his first BASE jump.

It was the spring of 2011, in the middle of the night. He and Evan scaled a fence, climbed a 150-metre antenna and jumped.

Dickinson was scared, but after his first go, he was hooked.

"It literally consumed my life and became everything I thought about," Graham would say about the life-changing experience.

'The greatest feeling' Knowing the dangers of BASE jumping and wingsuit flying, why do people do it? Studies show risk-takers rank high on the scale of sensation seekers - not unlike drug users. The same brain chemical, dopamine, is at play, but it's more than reckless abandon.

"Obviously, nobody should be doing it at all. You're jumping off a cliff in a straitjacket that inflates. It's a pretty ridiculous thing to do. But for anybody who hasn't done it, they don't know why," Evan Dickinson said. "Until you do it, you don't know why you would want to.

It's the greatest feeling I have ever experienced."

Having two sons with a large appetite for risk and thrillseeking was not easy on their parents, Pat and Norm. But Graham always tried to reassure them.

"Mom, Dad, this is my life," the free spirit who lived simply and with few possessions told them. "This is what I want."

After an illegal BASE jump in 2014 from a gondola in Whistler, police sought to charge Dickinson for damage to the unit. But before they could, he'd left Canada for Dubai. He worked there as a wingsuit coach at a skydiving operation. For a while, he had slept at the airport and later camped in the desert near work.

He was fired from the job after an illegal BASE jump from a Dubai tower.

Doubling down on his dedication, from late 2014 through 2015, he spent about 2,000 hours - the equivalent of an office-bound work year - to explore and fly in the mountains northeast of Dubai, often with then-girlfriend Kristen Johnson.

Dickinson flew from more than a hundred never-jumped-before cliffs. He began to perfect proximity flying, the act of gliding just metres above the ground, the kind of terrain flying that produced the most intense rush and the most incredible visual footage.

During this period of his adventures, he was flying miles from any towns, and if something went wrong, Johnson said, "it probably meant dying out there."

They talked about risk and mortality. "He wasn't afraid of death," she said.

In the summer of 2015, they headed to Europe. There, Dickinson met and impressed Jeb Corliss, a BASE and wingsuit legend.

Corliss was the only pilot to successfully complete a flythrough of Heaven's Gate, when he jumped from a helicopter in 2011.

It was around this time that Dickinson pulled off his biggest and most daring jump caught on camera. Filmed by close friend and wingsuit pilot Dario Zanon, the 70-second video, shot at the mountain Le Brévent in France, has been viewed more than 10 million times online. Before he jumps, Dickinson shouts "Vive la France," and proceeds to skim the mountain's steep rocky slopes before flying perilously close to trees and boulders. He races by them at blinding speed.

As the town of Chamonix nears, Dickinson safely pulls his chute.

"I have never seen any pilot go from basically unknown to 'wow' in such a short period of time," said Matt Gerdes, the co-founder of Squirrel, who has completed 1,200 BASE jumps, most of them in a wingsuit.

Dickinson flew steeper and faster, "the most daring lines that have ever been completed," Gerdes said. "He took it to another level that has not been matched by anyone else."

As his profile grew, veterans in the sport saw Dickinson's behaviour as excessively risky. Some sought to temper his jumps. Iiro Seppanen, president of the World Wingsuit League and retired from jumping, did so privately - and publicly.

In an October, 2015, Facebook post, Seppanen told Dickinson that he was "playing with very small margins ... and it often comes with a price."

Then, last June, Dickinson lost one of his friends. Zanon, the pilot who filmed him at Le Brévent, died while flying alone. He was 33. Dickinson didn't jump for several weeks, but he was soon back at it. He couldn't stay away.

In July, he jumped from a helicopter in Rio de Janeiro to promote the Summer Olympics, along with Corliss and three other wingsuit pilots dressed in the five Olympics colours, for a fly-by of the Christ the Redeemer statue. In October, he starred in a World Wingsuit League competition at Tianmen Mountain in China.

Thereafter, he sought respite in Bali, in the small town of Ubud.

Dickinson still struggled with Zanon's death. In a meditation class, when the teacher spoke of a higher consciousness and God, Dickinson couldn't reconcile the words. He struck an intense relationship with a woman but knew the pain of loss in his sport. One night, he told her: "I love you.

But I can't do this to you."

In January, Dickinson returned to Tianmen Mountain to train and establish new jump locations. His spirits were strong. The day after his birthday, on his personal Facebook page, Dickinson wrote: "Life is perfect." A week later he would be standing on the doorstep of Heaven's Gate.

12 seconds Rear-facing video captured Dickinson's jump as he attempted a flythrough of Heaven's Gate.

Two seconds into the jump, he's free-fallen about 20 metres and is moving at more than 50 kilometres an hour. Air blows through the inlets of his wingsuit and inflates it.

About four seconds in, the arch of Heaven's Gate is to his left and he has initiated the crucial element of his plan: an arc to the left of 180 degrees.

At about six seconds, the swooping turn complete, Dickinson straightens out his flight and aims toward the cave through the mountain. Just two seconds later, he would know he is dangerously low. He's already descended more than 100 metres and doesn't have much room left.

Ten seconds in, Dickinson enters the passageway. He is in full-flight, the equivalent of driving beyond the speed limit on the highway. Although he is an expert proximity pilot, he finds himself precariously close to the arch's jagged walls. The ground is coming up fast.

At 12 seconds into the flight, with no time to pull his chute, Dickinson hits the ground.

After Dickinson fails to check in as planned with a roommate, a series of calls among close friends and wingsuit pilots are made.

The company that operates the Tianmen Mountain facilities, which had authorized Dickinson to jump in the area, is alerted the next day. A search party of 40 people is organized.

Dickinson's body is found after several hours of searching, not far from the statues of two unicorns and the top of a staircase of 999 steps, which tourists climb on the front side of Tianmen Mountain. The number nine is associated with the idea of eternity.

Back home in Ontario, an hour before sunrise, Dickinson's family gets the news.

'This was Graham's passion. His purpose. It was his journey' The sound of the air rushing by is a loud, cold rattle. Evan, watching rear-facing footage of his brother's final flight, shot by a GoPro camera mounted on Graham's helmet and recovered with his body, described the death as soulcrushing. Evan has lost about two dozen friends and acquaintances to crashes, but the loss of his brother is like nothing else.

For weeks he struggled to sleep, hearing the sound of the wind of Graham's last moments.

"It broke me," Evan said.

Graham's death is logged as BFL-313 on what is called the BASE Fatality List, an unofficial tally of pilots and BASE jumpers who died on a flight or jump. Carl Boenish, the father of BASE jumping, is on the list, as is rock climber Dean Potter and skier Shane McConkey.

In 2016, there were 37 BASE deaths, two-thirds of them wingsuit pilots. Last August, 15 people died - more than in a typical year a decade ago, as wingsuits and the attendant increased risk become more common.

Those close to Dickinson and the sport have different opinions on his final flight.

Seppanen, president of the wingsuit league, said: "He made a bad decision to attempt the impossible."

Evan said his brother wouldn't have jumped if he didn't believe he would be able to make it.

Gerdes said that while Dickinson's jump may not have been "obviously possible," Dickinson was experienced at Tianmen Mountain and in finding new jump locations.

In February, Dickinson's parents travelled from their home in Ottawa to Tianmen Mountain to stand where their youngest son jumped to his death. They saw where his body was found. They laid white roses and spread some of Graham's ashes.

After returning home, Norm spoke at a memorial gathering in Toronto. It was a celebration of life - but Norm and Pat wrestle with their emotions.

"We know that the pain will never go away but it will dull over time. We will carry the spirit and the memories," Norm said.

In an interview, he said, "It will definitely change us."

They knew it could end like this.

"You want your children to follow their passion," Norm said.

"This was Graham's passion. His purpose. It was his journey."

Associated Graphic

Graham Dickinson travelled the world scouting new spots from which to BASE jump. The day after his 29th birthday, he wrote on his Facebook page, 'Life is perfect.' A week later he would be standing on the doorstep of Heaven's Gate.


In their book, Governor-General David Johnston and entrepreneur Tom Jenkins celebrate the country's innovators, with the hope it will inspire more Canadians to make the world a better place - one handy gadget or dendritic cell or everyday tool at a time
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

Did you know that Inuit ingenuity was behind the life jacket? Or that a Toronto mother invented a bouncy harness enjoyed by children all over the world? And the whoopee cushion? Yup, that impish idea came from a Canadian company.

In their new book, Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier and Happier, Governor-General David Johnston and entrepreneur Tom Jenkins set out to educate a country of its illustrious innovation past with nearly 300 examples.

"We want that eight-year-old girl in Regina, who is thinking about starting a company, to be inspired by hearing a story of a similar young woman in New Brunswick doing something phenomenal," Mr. Jenkins said.

In addition to the book (whose proceeds go to the Rideau Hall Foundation), Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Johnston have also worked with a team to set up an online database that catalogues more than 2,000 Canadian innovations, write a children's book and coordinate a new curriculum module with teachers at Nippissing University to help motivate Canada's future innovators.

"There is such a wealth of these stories," Mr. Johnston said.

"And people learn best by stories."

The selections in the book range from the life-saving (insulin) to the practical (the paint roller) to the quirky (the Sphynx cat). They also illustrate how the vast geography and variable weather of Canada helped spur an inventive, hardy spirit in Canadians.

"We really did create things that the rest of the world adopted," Mr. Jenkins said. "You can't help but be proud to be a Canadian."

The Governor-General firmly believes that much of Canadians' innovative spirit is "just under the surface" and hopes this book motivates people to indulge their curious and creative sides.

"I wanted to recognize the great possibility of Canada," Mr. Johnston said. "And how we can enhance the lives of all Canadians if we consciously all put our minds together to do things better, particularly better in a way that improves the human condition."


The queen of the hurricanes.

Elsie MacGill's life was one of firsts: the first woman in Canada to earn a degree in electrical engineering; first woman in the world to be awarded a master's degree in aeronautical engineering; first woman to design a plane; first woman to hold the position of chief of aeronautical engineering at an aircraft company; and the brains behind the world's first mass-produced aircraft. Soon after World War Two erupted in Europe, Elsie's Canadian Car and Foundry in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario, was selected to manufacture the Hawker Hurricane for the Royal Air Force in 1939. Elsie swung into action. She took control of production, streamlined operations to churn out increasing numbers of aircraft, and even designed a series of modifications to equip the fighter for cold-weather flying. By 1943, the company had produced more than 1,400 Hurricanes and its workforce had grown from 500 to some 4,500 - more than half of them women.

Elsie had devised and perfected the mass production of aircraft, a mode of production that was soon the norm worldwide. No wonder this Canadian woman of firsts was crowned "Queen of the Hurricanes."


The engine of adaptive immunity.

"I know I have got to hold out for that. They don't give it to you if you have passed away. I have got to hold out for that." In the fall of 2011, Ralph Steinman was deathly ill with pancreatic cancer.

The Canadian immunologist clung to life, awaiting word from Sweden on whether he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine. In 1973, while working at Rockefeller University in New York, Dr. Steinman had discovered what he called dendritic cells. The cells are essential elements of the human immune system. Their main function is to process antigen material to make it present on the surface of a cell so that T cells can interact with the material. An antigen is a molecule capable of inducing an immune response on the part of a host organism. T cells are a subtype of white blood cells, which are central components of immunity in human beings. Since their discovery, dendritic cells have become known as the primary instigators of adaptive immunity and have been used to design vaccines to fight hiv and several forms of cancer. Alas, cancer claimed Dr. Steinman before he received word from Sweden.

Fittingly, the Nobel committee granted him the award nonetheless. He had held out long enough.


The hunter's secret weapon.

The hunter's most formidable weapon is deception. The Cree and Ojibway peoples of Canada's Great Lakes relied on it for thousands of years.

They used reeds, cattails, bulrushes, tamarack, and other plants to make remarkably lifelike floating and stationary decoys that lured game birds and waterfowl to roosting areas. Once there, they were within reach of the nets, snares, arrows, and spears of the aboriginal hunters. European settlers and then generations of recreational hunters wisely took up the practice for themselves - a deceptively simple technique that continues to this day in much the same way it has for thousands of years.


The Inuit fisher's insurance.

When exposed to Canada's frigid waters - both coastal and inland - you will often perish more quickly from heat loss than drowning. Inuit whale fishers knew this truth. They made what are known as spring-pelts, which are sealskin or seal gut stitched together to create a waterproof covering for their torsos. These early life jackets evolved, more insulated and buoyant over time, until they became the sailor's salvation we know today.


The do-it-yourselfer's blessing.

Do-it-yourselfers around the world, take a moment of silence to honour Norman Breakey. In 1939, he created the first paint roller. Great idea. The roller applied paint evenly and made painting itself faster than ever. Yet the visionary Torontonian didn't patent the innovation - not the fabric-covered cylinder, nor the long pole shaped liked the number seven, nor the ridged pan made from tin. Big mistake.

Knock-offs emerged quickly and others secured lucrative patents by making minor modifications to Norman's original idea. And what of Norman himself? Not much if anything is known of his fate. So before you paint that wall or ceiling, take a moment to remember him. No one else will.


The no-slip screw and driver.

Peter Robertson cut his hand and changed an industry. The mishap occurred in 1908 in Montreal, when the Milton, Ontario, salesman for a Philadelphia tool company tried to demonstrate how to use a spring-loaded screwdriver to fasten slotted screws. Slotted screws - more commonly known by the s urname of their creator, Henry Phillips - were notorious for not only causing screwdrivers to slip, but also for being stripped themselves when fastened or unfastened. Once his hand healed, Peter got to work. The industry-changing device he came up with is a square-socket screw. The screw's chamfered edges, tapering sides, and pyramidal bottom meant it could be screwed in faster, easier, and tighter than Phillips's version. The eponymous Robertson was an immediate hit. Henry Ford, for one, insisted on using Robertson screws and screwdrivers when he learned that his automotive assembly lines could build each car two hours faster doing nothing different but using these new screws. Everyone wanted a piece of the action, but Peter wasn't willing to hand over control. As a result, the Robertson screw never became the universal phenom enon it deserved to be. That said, more than a century later the company that bears his name is still producing his superior patented screws for everyon e: who wants a safer, easier, tighter fit.


The quick spill.

Perhaps the greatest time-saver for the modern labourer is - of all things - the good ol' dump truck. Think about it. Instead of needing a group of strong backs to shovel a big load of dirt or gravel or whatever out of the box of a truck, the dump truck just, well, dumps it. Credit for the first one goes to Robert Mawhinney. In 1920, the Saint John New Brunswicker put together a truck equipped with a special dump box in back. The dump box was fitted with a mast, cable, and winch. A simple crank handle was used to operate the winch, which tugged on the cable that lifted the front end of the box high enough to dump its load out the open back. His idea was an instant hit; within a decade the dump truck was mandatory equipment wherever earth was moved. Shovels down, lads.


Sherlock of Saskatchewan.

Modern crime scene investigation methods did not appear first in Miami, New York City, Las Vegas, or even Scotland Yard. The originator of forensic pathology is a remarkable woman who worked on the Canadian Prairie. Dr. Frances McGill was the first person in the world to make this science a regular part of police investigations.

Appointed Saskatchewan's chief pathologist in 1920, Dr. McGill travelled by any means necessary, including dogsled and floatplane throughout the vast province to investigate suspicious deaths.

Known as the Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan, she applied her training as a medical doctor to study crime scenes and protect and preserve evidence in ways that had never before been done.

She also became renowned for her courtroom appearances, where her riveting and rigorous testimony - anchored in medical science - would exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty.

And she taught what she knew and had learned - how to tell human blood from animal blood, for instance - to students at the Regina Police Academy. Today, those insights and methods either are still in use or have inspired others and are relied on by police departments across Canada and around the world. Even Miami.


The back saver.

Life is hard enough with two arms. When one of them must hold a squirming youngster, it can be downright impossible. After her first child was born in 1910, Toronto mother Susan Olivia Poole was keen to stay active. Inspired by the papooses used by Aboriginal mothers to carry their children, she fashioned a harness of her own. It was a cotton diaper fashioned as a sling seat, a coiled spring to suspend its wearer from above, and an axe handle to secure the contraption. Susan called her combination a Jolly Jumper. As she worked in home and garden, her son bounced playfully and safely nearby in his new jumper, toes just off the ground. Susan had six more children and made Jolly Jumpers for each. When her children had children of their own, Grandma Susan made even more. In 1948, she began to build and sell them, eventually patenting her jumpers and selling them farther afield. Today, Susan's jolly little harnesses are no longer made out of diapers, springs, and axe handles, but they are all hard at work freeing the arms and saving the backs of countless grateful parents around the world.


The point-to-point communicator.

Donald Hings probably had little idea just how useful his creation was about to become.

In 1937, the Canadian inventor created the first handheld portable two-way radio transceiver. Donald called it the packset. It soon gained widespread use and fame under a more descriptive name - the walkie-talkie.

Within two years, war erupted in Europe and Donald was summoned to Ottawa to adapt his packset for military use. Thousands of the sturdy and reliable devices were soon in the hands of Allied infantrymen around the world. They became even more popular after the war. First responders relied on them as essential equipment. Truck drivers used them to report emergencies and stay in touch while on the road. Even kids were equipped with them, roaming around their neighbourhoods during the day and chatting under the covers at night when they should have been sleeping. 10-4. Roger out.


The new sound of novelty.

A new sound: that's all a novelty item needed to become a raging sensation in the late 1920s. Companies offered a wide variety of devices that emitted strange sounds when squeezed - some a child's scream, others a cat's screech.

Experimenting with sheets of rubber, employees of the jem Rubber Company in Toronto hit upon a different sound.

The noise that emanated from their little rubber pillow was a tad more, how shall we put it, indelicate. American novelty purveyor Johnson Smith & Company heard the call and added jem's doohickey to its giant catalogue. The economy model went for 25 cents, a deluxe edition for $1.25. A perfect gift for the discerning prankster who has everything.

Sales erupted with a loud toot and haven't ceased. The sound of the Whoopee Cushion can still be heard loud and clear wherever unsuspecting bottoms and chairs get together.

Excerpted from Ingenious by David Johnston and Tom Jenkins.

Copyright © 2017 David Johnston & Tom Jenkins. Published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Canada's 150th year could be as pivotal as 1867 and 1967
This country could be the first to get on the right political and policy track forward into the emerging new world. But it will take hard work, William A. Macdonald writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F8

Twenty-seventeen is not 2015.

Sunny ways need real sunshine. It felt sunny in Canada in late 2015: equal numbers of women in the cabinet, a country with broadly good politics at federal and provincial levels, and a Canadian voting public that rejected Islamophobia. The identity and existential crises, from the Quiet Revolution to the challenge of Islamophobia, were behind us.

The problems elsewhere - in the United States, Britain and Europe - have since then become bigger.

In 2015 no one foresaw Brexit or the election of Donald Trump. In 1910 no one foresaw two world wars started in Europe, a global depression, a Holocaust, huge human losses in the Second World War (60 million killed) and a Europe that almost committed suicide. The year 2017 is not a normal moment, but we should not panic.

Canada's special opportunity Canada could be the first country to get on the right political/policy track forward into the emerging new world. Will Canada seize, or miss again, this second great opportunity of the 21st century?

Five years ago Canada emerged from the post-Lehman Brothers crises with the best economy among the G7 countries - an opportunity lost for two main reasons. First, the prices for its two big exports - oil and commodities - dropped. Politicians tend most of the time to be lagging indicators. None saw this coming; economic foresight is a political rarity.

Second, the Harper government made two basic economic policy mistakes. It left all the post-recovery expansion effort to monetary policy, and withdrew fiscal stimulus prematurely. It moved into fiscal surplus, not to build the economy but for personal tax cuts for a country already spending more than it was earning and for a household sector that was already piling up debt at a fast clip. This left too much of the economic expansion burden on the Bank of Canada. One result was a half-trillion added debt to the rest of the world. The new Trudeau government inherited a poisoned economic chalice and incipient housing bubble. Both have worsened. Dangerous instabilities are already here. More could come. By 2020, the U.S. economy could be in recession; another divisive U.S. election could be under way; Russian President Vladimir Putin could be running out of domestic political runway; and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be close to the end of his time in office - a potentially uncertain mix. The Trudeau government must ready itself for more economic self-reliance and the hard political steps that may require. If Stephen Harper had seized Canada's post-Lehman advantage, Canada would be better placed and he might still be prime minister. Justin Trudeau faces a similar need to prepare.

The federal budget Canada has not had a federal government with an intuitive sense of what drives the private sector since the Mulroney/Chrétien era - nor has Ontario had such a government since the end of the Frost/ Robarts/Davis era. This is needed urgently in both Ottawa and Ontario. The jolts to the Canadian economy so far from Mr. Trudeau's fiscal stimulus, and as proposed by the government's economic growth council led by Dominic Barton, is mostly fine as far as it goes, but something more transformational will be needed. If not done voluntarily, an abyss moment will force it. Canadian business needs to get behind something transformational now. This is the economic test the Liberals must pass in 2017. Everything else they want to do depends on a transformed economy.

New politics for a new world New politics and policies are needed. Philip Stephens, from his British/European perch at the Financial Times, has asked how best to confront the destructive side of populism. He sees parties of the left and right consigned to history, and a party of the "hard centre" as the way forward.

Thomas Friedman, from his American perch at the New York Times, also sees new political parties ahead, but doesn't say what kind will emerge.

Rather, we need a balanced policy of radical entrepreneurialism and a strong safety net. This will leave lots to fight over. But ideology, left or right, will not do the job.

This will be hard for Americans.

It requires a capacity for compromise. The idea that public purpose can be achieved through government is deeply divisive in today's United States. Populism is better at recognizing who and what has been overlooked than at remedying the problems. The blend of politics and policy that both Mr. Stephens and Mr. Friedman propose is a "what it takes to get there" way of thinking. It is hard to see any other practical political or policy way forward.

Canada seems a fit candidate to give it a try. This country could be back as head-of-the-class, where it was after the post-Lehman crises. Political risk and hard work will be required.

Back up against the wall Canada is usually at its best when its back is against the wall. It could be there again before 2020.

It has just been through one of its at-its-best periods on the existential and identity fronts. Canada could also take its back off the wall and become complacent.

Right now, Canadians feel they have a much better politics and society than Americans - perhaps neither is as good as they think.

Our backs are really always up against the wall, no matter how well we have done or how good things appear. Canadians need to understand they are not doing nearly as well as the Americans on the economy, and why Canada lost its comparative economic advantage under Mr. Harper from 2011 to 2015. The new Trudeau government has had both stumbles and real successes. Mr. Trudeau shuffled his cabinet to prepare for the Trump world and needs to rebuild the public service.

If it is well-paced and scaled, the Trump infrastructure spending and fiscal stimulus could extend the current U.S. expansion - good for Canada. But personal and corporate tax cuts could also make the U.S. more competitive. If too much, too fast is added to an already strong U.S. economy, it could cut short the U.S. expansion. The post-Trump U.S. economic way ahead remains uncertain.

Big challenges and strong assets Canada confronts five big economic challenges: to live within its means; to achieve stronger productivity improvement; to expand the globally competitive supply side of its economy; to make itself more competitive globally in terms of risk/reward opportunity for the best people; and to do something bold and strong on the longer-term, private-sector growth side - such as a lifetime capital pool approach to capital gains taxation (a potentially unique-toCanada game changer) to help better match greater private-sector strength with better publicsector infrastructure.

Canada will need to meet all five challenges to survive the emerging destabilized and more dangerous post-Brexit, postTrump world - a world whose fundamental dynamics have changed and where the outcomes remain unclear.

Canada's new vision and branding aim should be to become the best place in the world to build solid and desirable personal lives in a country that combines dynamism with calm and common sense. This needs to be Canada's vision for itself and its brand to the outside world. It will need all Canadians, not just governments, onside. It could be a long time, if ever, before the world is as supportive for Canadian aspirations as it was from 1945 to 2000. Canada will be more on its own and have to count on itself more than ever before.

World's best overall assets Canada today has the best overall range of assets in the world.

It has, arguably, the best perch to look out on the world's two biggest players - the United States and China - and figure them out, with the least baggage and best positive relationship potential. It has ample space, water, food, energy, metals and minerals, and it borders three oceans. It has, also arguably, the West's best politics and a steadily stronger mutual-accommodation capacity. It is still in the best neighbourhood in the world, despite a United States in political turmoil. And it benefits from a growing diaspora of Canadians around the world, especially in the U.S. but also at the very top in Britain, with Mark Carney at the Bank of England, Dominic Barton as the global head of McKinsey and Stephen Toope as the new head of Cambridge University.

Finally, it is one of the few countries that might benefit economically from the effects of climate change on its agriculture and living space.

A hard-centre government What would a hard-centre party in Canada look like, the kind favoured by Philip Stephens?

Could it work to keep destructive populism at bay? It would not be old-style right or left, but more like a 21st-century version of pragmatic Progressive Conservatives or conservative Liberals. The Liberals are not yet there on the private-sector side. The Conservatives have not decided where they need to be on several key fronts. The NDP is not in the game.

Political success would require use of Canada's full range of assets on the hard side of centre.

Canada as a country, and its household sector, is already spending much more than it earns for current consumption.

Not enough is used for building the country's future economic health. The politics and economics of getting the right blend of federal borrowing and paying-aswe-go will not be easy. The Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance must explain where we are, what the correct balance will require and what we will all get if we do the right things.

What the middle class needs A strong, growing middle class is the best antidote to destructive populism. Mr. Trudeau faces challenges on the economy and U.S. relations that could undermine his middle-class ambitions. The middle class is a lot about electoral politics, but even more about managing today's centrifugal forces within the West. Hierarchies and charismatic leaders are no substitutes for stronger and larger middle classes in every country. They are the ultimate source of stability in a world that distrusts institutions and hierarchies and has never been simultaneously more connected and disconnected.

Canada's politics suit that environment. It has the assets it needs, except for enough of the best people and a more diversified and entrepreneurially driven economy. Every political leader, government official and business leader needs to support that goal.

Canada needs a fairness balance that is easier to achieve when both the economy and the politics are doing well. The postBrexit, post-Trump right-trackopportunity world is there (more clearly than anywhere else, including the United States). It now depends almost entirely on Canada's political and business leadership and public followership.

Standing on shoulders Doug Saunders's brilliant New Year's Globe and Mail op-ed suggests we should be celebrating the last 50 years. If so, the first two 50-year periods should also be celebrated. Each stood on the shoulders of the previous 50.

This 150th year could prove as pivotal as both Sir John A. Macdonald's 1867 and Doug Saunders's 1967. The last 50 years have consolidated a new kind of great country on the shoulders of the first 100 years. The next 50 can perhaps be Canada's second Macdonald moment as it adapts to the different kind of world now emerging.

The world does not so much need more Canada, but needs more of Canada's mutualaccommodation capacity.

Today's powerful centrifugal forces within the West can be contained by spreading that capacity.

Canada's politics have been getting lots of outside praise.

Regrettably, not so its economy.

Canadian public opinion often needs a negative outside economic story to wake it up and make possible the necessary.

Canada must always maintain its economic and social-inclusiveness strengths. It can strengthen its compassionate and mutual-accommodation sides to help rebalance the driving forces of freedom and science that are making the West harder to govern. It can help Europe and the United States re-anchor the Atlantic West. All four better ways of going about things are inexhaustible - freedom and science explore possibilities; mutual accommodation and compassion offer needed limits. No individual or country can be equally strong on all four - so each must make room for those who are strong where they are not.

To read or view: Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century - Mark Mazower; Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis - Mark Shriver; A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim (1951 film) DVD - Charles Dickens ..

William A. Macdonald is a Toronto writer who, to spark discussion of the nation's future, has created, with associate William R.K. Innes, The Canadian Narrative Project

Can Kenney unite Alberta's right wing?
Former federal cabinet minister is expected to win provincial PC leadership. And then the real fight starts
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

EDMONTON -- Jason Kenney is widely expected to win the leadership of Alberta's storied Progressive Conservative Party on March 18. That will be the easy part. The tougher fight starts the next day as the former federal cabinet minister faces his promise to unite the province's long-quarreling right wing.

While Mr. Kenney has dominated the PC leadership race, his nine-month battle to take over the party has been divisive, and raised fears that, rather than uniting Albertans in opposition to NDP Premier Rachel Notley, his brand of far-right politics could split the Tories in half.

Mr. Kenney has campaigned on little else but seeking a mandate to scrap the once powerful PC brand and merge it with Alberta's Official Opposition Wildrose Party. In recent weeks, he has said he would focus on his merger plan rather than pursuing a seat in the legislature if he wins the leadership.

The leadership vote comes near the two-year mark for Ms. Notley and her party. After sweeping PC premier Jim Prentice from power and reducing his party to third place, Ms. Notley's New Democrats have set their sights on undoing nearly 80 years of rightwing government in Alberta.

With a far-reaching climate plan and carbon tax, a ban on corporate and union donations, and billions of dollars in deficit spending on health and education, the NDP has "governed the hell out of the province," one of Ms. Notley's lieutenants joked during a cabinet retreat in January.

With the self-described socialists holding power over his home province, Mr. Kenney has been seeing red. Even though the Alberta economy is finally growing out of a deep recession, the perceived failures of Ms. Notley's government in combatting the downturn have been a powerful motivator for conservatives who want to see her removed from office in 2019.

"I hope to be the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in a few weeks and to spend more time here, presenting an alternative to the high-tax, job-killing NDP government, Mr. Kenney said in early March while attending the NDP's third Speech from the Throne. "I'm trying to unite Albertans to defeat this government."

For the second time in just under three years, Alberta's Tories will turn to a former high-powered minister from Ottawa for salvation. Mr. Prentice was one of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper's most trusted ministers in government before he left to become a banking executive. After 19 years in Ottawa, it is now Mr. Kenney's turn.

The PC leadership race has been a bruising contest. Many Tories now identify themselves with one of two wings of the party: those who want renewal and those who want to merge with the more right-wing Wildrose. Mr. Kenney has been the only candidate in favour of merging - some of his opponents have described him as a Wildrose candidate looking to take over the PCs.

Mr. Kenney, a former immigration and defence minister, has stepped on toes during the race.

He was fined by the party for flouting campaigning rules, including setting up a hospitality suite near a polling station during delegate selection.

Three of the six candidates have dropped out of the race.

MLA Sandra Jansen said she was harassed and attacked for supporting women's rights. She pointed the finger at Mr. Kenney's supporters, and crossed the floor a few weeks later to join the NDP.

Former MLA Donna KennedyGlans said the party was not open to a centrist's voice any more.

Former minister Stephen Khan cited racism and Islamophobia for his exit, also blaming Mr. Kenney's supporters.

The party's new leader will be elected at a delegated convention in Calgary. Over three months, PC members gathered in the province's 87 ridings and elected 15 delegates and alternates to represent them. Mr. Kenney's team says he has won about 80 per cent of those delegates. There will also be hundreds more super delegates, which includes MLAs and past party leaders. More than 1,500 delegates could vote at the leadership convention this weekend.

Some of Mr. Kenney's opponents hope he could be defeated on the convention floor, although even they admit this is a long shot. Their best option now is that Kenney supporters elected as delegates do not show up and he wins only a plurality of delegates - an outcome that would weaken his bargaining position to merge the party out of existence.

A senior PC official confirmed that many of Mr. Kenney's delegates were surprised to learn they would have to get to the convention in Calgary to cast a ballot.

A person from northern Alberta could face substantial travel, accommodation and convention costs. Some delegates have dropped out, the official confirmed, and the alternates selected to replace them are not as friendly to Mr. Kenney.

"It would be shocking if Mr. Kenney doesn't win it, but it's hard to tell exactly who is coming," the PC official said Mr. Kenney would inherit a party that has little money in the bank and shattered morale after its 44 years in government came to an end. Insiders say an effort to rebuild the PC base has been put on pause due to Mr. Kenney's promise to scrap the party that was once led by Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein.

The PC party has long been a coalition of fiscal conservatives and social progressives, which was viewed as the recipe needed to win in Alberta. Mr. Kenney has communicated socially conservative views during the campaign that have made some Tories uncomfortable. Officials told The Globe and Mail that some in the party have begun working on a Plan B if Mr. Kenney wins, in which many of the social progressives would leave.

While Mr. Kenney wants to unite the right, those leaving would want to unite the middle ground between the right-wing and Ms. Notley. "You think unite-the-right is going to go smoothly? That'll end up in court. The centre thinks that if it can get this act together and get a leader elected, it can make inroads," the official said.

The riding of Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills had been a PC seat for nearly two decades until 2012, when it was lost to the Wildrose. The vast riding spans an area from large oil sands facilities south of Fort McMurray to farmland east of Edmonton; it is the kind of rural battleground where Mr. Kenney's pledge to unite the right will be tested.

Allen Preston, a farmer who also owns an oil-delivery business, is the president of the local PC constituency association. He says conservatives in the riding want good government, no matter which party banner a candidate carries.

"However, my feeling is that this race is a lot closer than people think. You wouldn't think so from social media, something Mr. Kenney's people are pretty good at, but what we hear is a contest that is a lot closer," Mr. Preston said.

He wants the race to avoid any controversy: "The PC party can't afford any more black eyes," he said.

Some of the party's staff members in the legislature told The Globe they are "mentally packing their boxes" and preparing to be fired. They fear that Mr. Kenney and some of his supporters have a list of staffers who are not considered conservative enough. The PC official confirmed that "morale is terrible" among the party's staff.

Ric McIver, the party's interim leader, said the morale is no different than it would be in any other leadership race. "Every leadership is troubling to the staff, no matter what party or province. A new leader brings change and the system you depend on for your employment can change," he said.

Mr. McIver has also stirred controversy during the leadership race. Hours after the PC board of directors banned one of Mr. Kenney's campaign organizers, Alan Hallman, from party functions for a year over comments he made that contravened harassment rules, Mr. McIver tweeted a picture of himself with a smiling Mr. Hallman. Mr. McIver told The Globe he thought the ban was unfair.

The pledge to unite Alberta conservatives could backfire for Mr. Kenney. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean unveiled his own ambitious plan in late January to merge the two parties by the end of the year. Recent polls indicate that Mr. Jean, a relative unknown outside Alberta, would beat Mr. Kenney to lead a united party.

Mr. Jean has been touring Alberta in recent weeks, drawing hundreds of people to rallies in small towns. Wildrose officials say their leader can draw larger crowds than Mr. Kenney, despite not being in the campaign. They say it is a taste of what could come if Mr. Kenney faces Mr. Jean for the leadership of a united Alberta conservative party.

"Jason's team has been so negative, so rough on their opponents, that some people view this as, 'Brian Jean isn't someone who has treated me like garbage, maybe I'll go out and cheer for him,' " a senior Wildrose official told The Globe.

Hal Danchilla, a long-time conservative organizer and friend of Mr. Kenney, defended the campaign. While he had no formal role in it, Mr. Danchilla is a staunch supporter.

"The campaign is a referendum on the future. I think it's the most transparent campaign I've seen during my time in politics. What I find amazing, being a long-time party member, is that Jason was able to capture the imagination and desire of party members," Mr. Danchilla said. "People didn't come out to vote against him in the same kind of numbers who came out to vote for him. It's that simple."

The Wildrose's 22-member caucus has divisions. A small number support Mr. Kenney's plan, some refuse to discuss any merger with the PC machine that their party broke away from a decade ago, while most support Mr. Jean, according to the party's whip, Jason Nixon.

"Brian came forward and saved the party when it was in the most dire straits in its history.

People in our community have nothing but respect for him," Mr. Nixon said.

The previous Wildrose leader, Danielle Smith, crossed the floor with eight MLAs to join Mr. Prentice's Tory caucus only days before Christmas in 2014. The defection, sold as a merger by Ms. Smith and Mr. Prentice, was an unprecedented move in Canadian political history.

The party kept its official opposition status, but was reduced to five seats, matching the hapless Liberals. A month before the election of May, 2015, the Wildrose picked a new leader while it was in disarray. Mr. Jean had been a federal Conservative backbencher who had served a decade in Ottawa representing Fort McMurray when he took over a leadership few wanted.

With little time to prepare, he led the party to its biggest seat haul ever as the PCs collapsed.

As Ms. Notley's popularity has plummeted over the past two years, Mr. Jean's support has increased with almost every poll, according to Janet Brown, an independent pollster based in Calgary.

"The good polling shows that Brian Jean is very popular as leader of the Opposition and if you compare him to Jason Kenney, the two are not only neckand-neck, but Mr. Jean often comes out ahead in familiarity and popularity," according to Ms. Brown. "People don't realize how popular he's become."

Mr. Jean's support had been increasing, albeit slowly, before the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray a year ago. His deft performance during the emergency, in which his own home was destroyed, put Mr. Jean in the public eye and led to a substantial bump in popularity that has not waned.

"There's this assumption that Jason Kenney will be wellknown and well-liked by Albertans. The people around Jim Prentice made the same assumption. But being a federal cabinet minister doesn't seem to make you as well known in your home province as you think it does," she said.

Associated Graphic

Attendees wait for the doors to open at the Alberta PC Party leadership convention in Calgary on Friday.


Alberta PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney waves his hat during the Calgary Stampede parade in July, 2016.


Surrey has a vision for the future, but it's slow in coming
Despite some setbacks and a lull in development lately, some people say the city centre is starting to feel like a downtown, Frances Bula writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- It's almost the end of the work day and people are heading home across the plaza in front of what is meant to be Surrey's epicentre, the glamorous Bing Thom tower that houses Simon Fraser University and a mall.

But they're not all streaming to the nearby SkyTrain station to beat it out of the suburbs.

Many, some carrying plastic bags filled with toilet paper, milk, potatoes and light bulbs, are walking home to townhouses and condos that have sprouted around the station in the past decade.

That is the result of a radical move by then-mayor Dianne Watts 10 years ago to give Surrey a new image, with the vision of a dense, bustling, real downtown as a pillar of that remake.

But as people make their way this afternoon from Surrey Centre to their apartments, the landscape they're travelling through is not exactly Yaletown or the West End.

Instead, beyond the borders of the spiffy block opposite the Thom tower that is now occupied by a new city hall, a new library, and an office and condo tower under construction, a handful of new condo towers and a small swath of low-rise apartments sit awkwardly next to a cluster of rundown, mouldy split-levels, empty lots, including one sporting a large hole filled with water and bulrushes, a patch of forest with some felled trees, and a couple of construction projects that haven't made it past ground level yet.

The opposite side of the sixlane, heavy-traffic King George Boulevard is still lined with a combination of big-box stores and mini-malls.

"People ask, 'Why aren't we evolving faster?' " acknowledges Preet Heer, Surrey's community planning manager. "How do you get to that point where there's a shift and people feel something happened?" It hasn't quite happened yet.

There was a big bump of excitement and activity after 2008, when Surrey offered developers special incentives - a break on development cost charges and a three-year moratorium on property taxes - to get them out there.

As well, the city built a new city hall and had Bing Thom build a signature library next door.

But there's been a lull in the last year, many say, some publicly, others more quietly. And their observations appear to be borne out by recent census numbers that were analyzed at Metro Vancouver.

A closer scan shows that Surrey got less than half the number of housing units in its designated city centre than had been projected by the regional plan, for which the city provided its numbers.

While the rest of the huge city of Surrey saw a boom in housing and population, getting about 35 per cent of the 150,000 people who moved into the region between 2011 and 2016, it was a different story for its downtown.

There, it got only 3 per cent of the total amount of new housing - 2,100 of 70,000 units in the region - instead of the 7 per cent planned. The population has grown by only about 14,000, up to 36,000 now, in the past five years.

In comparison, Vancouver's core centre got 11,000 units or 16 per cent, double what had been anticipated. And the rest of the regional centres - Richmond, Burnaby, North Vancouver city, Coquitlam, among others - got 9,000 units, very close to what had been projected.

Chris Vollan, the president of Rize Alliance, acknowledges it's been a hard grind to develop in Surrey.

The company built Wave, a stylish small tower near Surrey Central whose wavy balconies appear to be inspired by famous Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, and with a piece of public art, such as a lacy spinnaker in front.

"It's very slow absorption in Surrey. The demand wasn't there," said Mr. Vollan, whose company had a second project it planned to develop and then decided to hold off.

"It took us a year to sell the last 40 units [of Wave]. We looked at bringing on Wynd [the second tower] at $450 a square foot and there was very little interest."

Paul Hillsdon, a well-known Twitter commentator on urban issues and a University of B.C. planning student, also feels like there was a lack of momentum for a while.

"It's very different than an actual urban setting," says Mr. Hillsdon, now living in one of the four Concord towers near the King George SkyTrain station, the second cluster of downtown-like density that has emerged in the last five years. "One of the biggest pieces that's missing is just things to do, places to go." There is the Central City Brewpub in the Simon Fraser tower in one direction, a Browns Social House in another, but it's a long hike down a busy street and many parking lots to get to either.

Near where he lives, PCI Developments Corp., the big development company that built the Marine Gateway complex around the last Canada Line station in south Vancouver, has built one stylish office building, the blueand green-glass covered jewel box that is Coast Capital's headquarters. But there is no sign of when it will develop the two residential towers and office and retail complex talked of previously on the empty land it owns all around that.

What happened?

A few things.

For one, several suburbs closer to Vancouver than Surrey, all on existing or new rapid-transit lines, suddenly exploded with development in the last five years; New Westminster, Coquitlam and Richmond were among them. And Burnaby moved ahead with densification plans for its four town centres - to the dismay of many residents around the Metrotown neighbourhood who are seeing lowcost housing being mowed down - and developers jumped on a chance to build in a market that was less expensive and almost as busy as Vancouver.

Rize quickly sold out two towers in the Metrotown area with 500 units at the same time it was struggling to market in Surrey, even though the Surrey units cost less. "It's the second strongest market after Vancouver," he said.

Ten towers are planned right at the Brentwood mall in Burnaby, some as high as 60 storeys and with room for 4,200 condos and more than 8,000 people.

Along with that, Surrey hasn't seen the same level of downtown promotion that it did in the early days, say some developers and observers.

"The boosterism has dropped off since the days of Dianne Watts," said Mr. Hillsdon.

There have been some setbacks. One of the perks for developers - lowering or eliminating development-cost charges - was taken away by new provincial legislation, after the development industry complained about the inequity between cities, says current mayor, Linda Hepner.

She's been preoccupied with some serious crime problems since she was elected, but Ms. Hepner insists she is still talking to developers constantly to entice them to come to Surrey.

And, she says, there is a huge amount of development in the pipeline, but some of it likely isn't going to happen until Surrey's planned new rapid-transit project - a light-rail L-shaped line that will connect Surrey Centre to Guildford nearby and Langley, further away - is seen to be moving solidly ahead.

One other factor: Surrey designated a huge area as its central city, 526 hectares - only slightly less than all of Vancouver's downtown and West End. So a cluster of buildings that would seem huge in New Westminster or Richmond's much smaller downtowns seems, in Surrey, like random shoots spread out over a vast plain.

Then there's the other little issue that no one likes to talk about much - the perception that Whalley, the area around Surrey Central, is the small, local version of the Downtown Eastside.

"What probably is a factor is the perceived social problems," says Ken Cameron, the former planning manager for Metro Vancouver, who is a fan of Surrey's vision for a downtown.

He's among many who say Surrey is going to make that breakthrough eventually and that it's doing more things right than some of the other suburbs that are frantically encouraging condos where residents can commute to Vancouver.

"Burnaby and Richmond are always going to be suburbs, but Surrey has a more strategic location because it's in the centre of the most population growth."

And it is actually starting to create jobs near its city centre, notes Mr. Cameron, while other suburbs are not.

The new Surrey Memorial Hospital is a big employer and there's a cluster of related medical enterprises springing up around it. Although only about half a million square feet of office space has been built since 2006, much more is expected.

Mr. Cameron noted there have also been huge investments by various public sectors. SFU is now planning a significant expansion to its campus, while Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which has had campuses scattered around Surrey but never in the centre, is now planning a new campus there.

And, of course, Surrey did spend millions building its city hall, library and plaza at the centre, while it's working on a way to move the 1950s-era skating rink out of the area and possibly partner with the YWCA on a new community facility on the fourth side of the plaza.

There are definite signs that much more investment is coming. Four cranes are visible near Surrey Central. And, beyond that, other towers are still planned by Concord, WestStone, PCI and Rize, some of which will likely go ahead as transit plans are finalized.

And then, there's been a big new purchase.

Anthem, the company that is doing a massive redevelopment at Station Square in Burnaby, one of whose executives is a former prominent Surrey MLA, Kevin Falcon, just bought two giant big-box sites on King George Boulevard, opposite the SkyTrain station.

It has seven towers and a retail complex planned for the current Save-On-Foods and Canadian Tire sites, a development that will bring significant new life to the other side of the boulevard there for the first time.

"I think we have every single element," says Ms. Hepner. She is being pressed to make a few changes, such as reducing the amount of required parking, which would help developers save money and reduce the cost per square foot of units they sell. That's something her council is considering.

And she says she'll soon be announcing in her annual stateof-the-city address a big new economic strategy that will attract even more interest to the city centre.

But, for some, Surrey already feels like a city.

Karen Alvarez, a temporary work-permit holder from Costa Rica, taking a break from work and shopping at the mall, loves it in Surrey. The library is spectacular and "they're building a lot of new places," says Ms.

Alvarez, who works at Blenz in Surrey and takes language classes at the mall.

And Adam Fulford, a videomaker currently working in construction, says it's starting to feel like a downtown as he walks through the mall with his shopping.

"They're building it up. And I've noticed more Chinese restaurants." A sure sign.

Associated Graphic

A woman walks by an empty lot behind condo towers in downtown Surrey this week. Some residents wonder why the city is not evolving more rapidly.


Commuters walk from the SkyTrain at Surrey Central Station in the city's downtown this week.


Central City is shown in Surrey. Mayor Linda Hepner says she is trying to entice developers to come to Surrey.

Searching for a place to call home
People with disabilities often prefer to live on their own, but finding a decent place is a daunting challenge - and it's not just the cost
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

Marie Sabine has spent years worrying about where her daughter will live and what kind of help she will get as both of them get older and, eventually, Marie dies.

Her daughter, Tracie Sheppard, now 48, was born with a rare genetic abnormality called Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which resulted in both physical and mental impairments. She will need her own place, one where she gets support, for life.

She is part of a new generation of people with similar issues who can no longer easily be shipped off to institutions, group homes or home shares - the solutions of the past.

"Now they want to be on their own," Ms. Sabine said.

And Ms. Sabine is part of a new generation of parents in B.C., Alberta and across the country who have to scramble for new solutions as they deal with the fact that their children will likely live long after they and the resources of their estates are gone.

The future is particularly problematic in B.C., where housing costs are so high in many cities and even middle-class couples earning decent salaries cannot find affordable places to buy or rent in the Lower Mainland.

Not only is the amount of money given to people with developmental disabilities for housing a complete mismatch with local rents, but BC Housing - the agency that oversees subsidized housing in the province - does not consider them at risk of homelessness, so they get low priority in the system, Ms. Sabine said.

Challenges also exist even in places such as Alberta, where rents are lower and the province provides substantially more money to people with disabilities than B.C. does: up to $1,588 a month per person, with $700 of that for housing, compared with $1,033 in B.C., with $375 for housing.

A common solution in Alberta is home sharing, where the disabled person lives with someone who gets payment for room and board and support help.

"It's trying to find enough people who are willing to take someone with a disability," said Helen Cowie, the CEO of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary. "It can take several months for a family to find something. It's not the same as a job. You're taking someone into your home."

Even though group homes and home-share remain an option in B.C., people there say their children prefer independent living.

Ms. Sabine found a partial solution when the Semiahmoo House Society built a 71-unit complex in White Rock called Chorus Apartments that has 20 units for people with developmental disabilities. Her daughter got one of them.

But there was still a problem.

Even though the society's rents are modest at $850 a month, they far exceed the disability allowance of $375, so parents had to add nearly $500 to other expenses they cover.

"I'm 69. Some parents here are in their 70s," Ms. Sabine said, sitting at the kitchen table of Ms. Sheppard's tidy apartment, filled with framed pictures, ornamental china, and tasteful furniture. Her daughter listens attentively as her mother speaks. "We have to think past our children living at home to the future."

The Chorus Apartment arrangement also still required enormous sacrifices from parents. One couple sold their house in Surrey and moved to Yarrow, where they could buy more cheaply, to secure a longterm lease for a child, forcing them to commute huge distances to visit. Another has recently started cashing in RRIFs to pay their daughter's rent.

Ms. Sabine and other parents who have children living in the complex scored an exceptional triumph on Friday in their long-running bid to get BC Housing to provide rent supplements.

After months of rejections and appeals, and just days after The Globe and Mail contacted BC Housing to ask about the issue, the provincial government announced it will give the complex $75,000 a year for the next 10 years as a rent supplement.

However, the disabled residents cannot keep the financial assistance if they move, as the parents had wanted.

The group started lobbying BC Housing last year for portable rent supplements, which the agency has generally not provided. When they were turned down, they appealed and, two weeks ago, filed a complaint with the provincial ombudsman's office.

During that process, they met with met with Gordon Hogg, an MLA with the governing BC Liberal Party.

"It will improve the affordability of this development," Mr. Hogg said of the funding. "This will take the parents out of having to subsidize."

But hundreds of parents in B.C. - hard-working advocates who have not marshalled the kind of campaign Ms. Sabine and her group did - are not better off than before.

Mr. Hogg acknowledged this is a province-wide problem and that this case has prompted BC Housing to look at the issue again.

Ms. Sabine said some pre-election campaigning was likely going on, but she hopes "it's cracking open a door" at BC Housing.

In all the months up until now, that door seemed to be quite shut.

All indications the parents got in earlier exchanges with BC Housing, Ms. Sabine said, was that it was unwilling even to consider the rent subsidies because it could lead to "thousands at the gate" adding yet more stress to its struggles to house the homeless and seniors.

But there are problems beyond BC Housing, say parents who navigate the bureaucracy for their children.

They include people like Barb and Mike Schultz, who are in their 50s and have just started trying to figure out what kind of housing their son Matthew, 19, will need for rest of his life. The youngest of four boys for the Saanich couple, she a pharmacist and he a federal employee, Matthew has autism and a moderate-to-profound cognitive impairment.

Before he turned 19, they got support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development. But two years ago, they knew they needed to start negotiating with the Crown agency that assists disabled people, Community Living B.C.

The agency does not provide housing, but its decisions about what extra supports to give people wherever they live shape parents' options.

CLBC will spend $954-million this year to help 20,000 people, including 7,600 getting residential services - a mandate that makes for some fractious relationships with parents. Ms. Schultz said a CLBC facilitator essentially told them Matthew could not get housing because he could live with his family and that CLBC would not provide living support for the same reason.

But Ms. Schultz, like many others, said provincial agencies cannot just rely on families.

"We need to be able to move on and retire. It ends up being medically difficult for parents as they get older to do this."

Ms. Cowie, running a resource centre in Calgary, echoes that point.

"The parents are going to die.

When the family dies, if you haven't helped the person with a disability, now they're not able to live in the community."

She said the issue is getting more acute, because disabled children are living longer and developing additional problems, such as Alzheimer's disease in their 40s.

In their quest to set their son on a path to live on his own some day, the Schultzes spent $70,000 to renovate their basement so Matthew can live independently in the suite for at least a few years before they try moving him into the community.

But they told CLBC their son might endanger himself if it did not provide some support in this.

"We basically came down to months before he turned 19, we had to admit he was going to be in crisis." (During a similar showdown in Ontario two years ago, one mother had her son officially classified as homeless in an attempt to get him some supports.)

Ms. Schultz said a regional manager asked her and her husband if they were just absolving themselves of all responsibility as parents.

But the Schultzes did not back off, and the agency eventually agreed to provide Matthew eight hours a week of living support - helping him learn how to clean, cook, manage his money (he stocks shelves two hours a week at a nearby grocery, in addition to his disability allowance), and generally survive.

"Yes, he's in the house, but he's independent. And the reality is he's 19, he wants to do what he saw his brothers do and live on his own. We're going to stop being his full-time caregivers."

Angela Clancy, the executive director of the Family Support Institute, which works with families of the disabled, did a quick survey of parents across the province for The Globe to get their thoughts on the system.

She got responses about expensive rents, landlords who do not want tenants with disabilities, a lack of any housing options in their community and, particularly, the mindset of CLBC.

Faith Bodnar, the head of the non-profit Inclusion BC, summed it up in an e-mail: "The system is set up to keep people out and support them only when there is no other option. This pushes people into crisis."

CLBC's CEO, Seonag Macrae, said the agency inevitably sees unhappy parents because "sometimes, we can't do everything."

She added that a conversation may come across negatively when it is not intended that way.

"It's an interpretation of messaging."

But Ms. Macrae said the agency knows it needs to make changes because people with developmental disabilities now want to live more independently.

CLBC just started conversations last year with BC Housing and developers about including units for the developmentally disabled in their projects.

Some parents are enthusiastic about the idea of pooling their resources and buying or constructing a building for their children. North Vancouver has one project like that.

But, said Ms. Macrae, CLBC's goal is not to isolate developmentally disabled people in one building. The agency prefers the Chorus Apartment model that have units for both the disabled and the regular community.

CLBC provides supports to the disabled group living at Chorus, who are among about 1,300 getting assistance in independent units from the agency. Tracie Sheppard, for example, gets up to 10 hours a week of help with shopping (she is afraid to cross the road to the nearby Peninsula Village mall alone), cooking, cleaning and managing her money.

"Our goal is maximizing inclusion and not segregating people into that building," Ms. Macrae said. "The more people are integrated, the more they develop that independence."

But CLBC's goal will likely require BC Housing to provide the same kind of rent supports that the Chorus apartment residents are now getting.

Ms. Sabine said she talked to a non-profit group in Squamish recently that is trying to build a new project and include five units for the developmentally disabled.

The problem? "They got no takers. They don't have parents who are able to subsidize the rent. It's not a good way to do business."

Associated Graphic

Tracie Sheppard, far right, hangs out with her friends outside their rental apartment in Surrey.


Marie Sabine, left, visits her daughter Tracie Sheppard at her rental apartment in Surrey. 'We have to think past our children living at home,' Ms. Sabine says.


Jay Baruchel's song of ice and ire
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Back in 2012, when the world had fewer things to worry about, the City of Toronto got itself bent out of shape over a movie poster. The one-sheet for Goon, a ribald hockey comedy, depicted co-star and co-writer Jay Baruchel making a racy gesture with his fingers and tongue.

After presumably recovering from their fainting spells, shocked citizens urged outdoor advertiser Astral Media to tear the images down, and suddenly Goon, Baruchel and movie distributor Alliance Films had a lot of free publicity on their hands.

While the poster for the film's sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, is a tamer piece of marketing - just a simple image of star Seann William Scott on the ice, no oral-sex act implied - the movie itself is a more extreme product in just about every other way. Which is by careful design, as Last of the Enforcers is the first act of what creative mastermind Baruchel hopes will be the beginning of a new era in Cancon: gonzo genre moviemaking.

"I liken the situation in Canadian film now to the landscape of rock and roll in the eighties," an animated Baruchel begins, holding court in an emptied-out Toronto restaurant the other week. "Back then, you had record executives giving God knows how many bags of money to terrible [hair-metal] acts, and nobody was buying their records because they got old and safe.

Then everyone heard Nirvana, and they had more heart and teeth and balls. Kids actually wanted to hear it, and it cost a tenth of what the execs were wasting their money on. So we, too, can punk-rock our way into this industry and go harder. This is a country in which our government will fund us to do just about anything. You just have to know what you're good at and stop playing the Hollywood game. We need to take advantage of what we have here."

There's little doubt Baruchel did just that with Last of the Enforcers. Continuing the story of dim-bulb Halifax hockey enforcer Doug (The Thug) Glatt (Scott) as he gets older, weaker and saddled with more responsibilities in his marriage to Eva (Alison Pill), the film takes every opportunity to delight in the art of excess: The on-ice fights are bloodier, the locker-room talk is crasser and ... well, did I mention the violence?

Because this is one of the goriest Canadian productions to come from someone not named Cronenberg. It's a fact that delights Baruchel, who is confident Goon 2, and the rest of the projects he has brewing, could only happen within our own borders.

"One of the things that people need to starting cluing into up here is that so many people look at the difference between our system and the U.S. system and see inadequacies, that there's no way we could ever compete. But that's a false metric," the 34-year-old says. "These Hollywood movies have so many more masters to answer to than we do. There is a low ceiling on how hard they can go. They can't have the colourful language we have, or have the punches land as hard as ours do. It's all the blood and guts that I ate up as a kid before the complete PG-13-ization of every American movie, in which they were robbed of any sense of chutzpah or bold decision making.

"Those movies have to be PG-13 because they have to sell as many tickets as possible," Baruchel continues. "Well, we don't. There's things we can do to take chances and be more truthful to our sensibilities. People need to start seeing that as a benefit."

To that end, the reception to the Last of the Enforcers will be a litmus test for Baruchel's master plan: a new homegrown production company, which he aims to launch this year with writing partner Jesse Chabot and Nova Scotian filmmaker Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun).

"Our mandate is that Goon is a solid template that can be replicated," Baruchel explains, noting he and Chabot have an adaptation of the dark graphic novel Random Acts of Violence in the works. "We want to make horror, action, sci-fi movies - fun genre movies that are commercial and would find a home in a Cineplex or a living room in the States, but that take place here, and are definitively Canadian."

It's this last point that sets Baruchel especially off - the notion that a film could be shot in Canada, with a Canadian crew and cast, yet producers would still feel the need to mask over any Canadian details, lest they somehow turn off global audiences.

"There's no such thing as something that's 'prohibitively Canadian,' " Baruchel says. "I've yet to meet the American who puts on Goon, sees a place card that says 'Halifax' and hits pause, not knowing what it's supposed to be, like they were confronted with an Escher painting. That's an insane, outdated, terrible logic that means the best-case scenario for a commercial Canadian movie is to sneak it onto screens without hoping anyone might notice it's Canadian. Why hide the fact? If people like this Goon as much as we hope they will, Jason, Jesse and I will get the opportunity to do something like it again and build something here.

Which means our counterparts 10 years from now won't have to leave the country out of necessity."

Which is the situation Baruchel once found himself in, too.

Although the Montrealer got started in the business young, acting in such homegrown productions as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Popular Mechanics for Kids, Baruchel's name didn't mean much abroad or at home until he found himself in the centre of Judd Apatow's comedy circle, starring in the Fox TV series Undeclared and films Knocked Up and This Is the End (all alongside fellow Canadian and close friend Seth Rogen).

Yet throughout his many dalliances with Hollywood, Baruchel has never abandoned his Canadian roots. His IMDb profile is littered with homegrown productions - though arguably they might not have existed in the first place if they weren't able to trade on Baruchel's American renown: The Trotsky (directed by fellow Montrealer Jacob Tierney), Lovesick (co-starring Tierney) and The Art of the Steal (helmed by Jonathan Sobol, of the northern half of Niagara Falls), to name a few.

Last of the Enforcers, though, is a different level of Cancon than Baruchel is used to. It takes some serious head-scratching, for instance, to figure out the last time an English-language Canadian film received a sequel that didn't have "FUBAR" or "Bon Cop" in the title. Top that with a hefty amount of American stars in the mix (a returning Scott and Liev Schreiber, plus up-and-comers T.J. Miller and Wyatt Russell) and high box-office expectations (the first film earned $4.15-million in Canada alone, becoming the top domestic draw in 2012), and you have a project that's marks the highest-profile feature debut for any Canadian director in recent memory.

"When we found out that [original Goon director] Michael Dowse wasn't available for the sequel, me and a few others independently went to Jay and said, 'Well, have you thought of directing?' Because he had a vision for it all," says Scott, better known as American Pie's eternally obnoxious horndog Stifler.

"The first movie, I'd never been in something that's actually gotten good reviews, not even close. So when they were talking about doing a sequel, I was, like, I don't want to push my luck. But then I got Jay and Jesse's script. And on set, Jay was just an absolute natural."

It helped, too, that Baruchel had Dowse and a few other experienced friends to lean on for advice.

"I recognize that this is not a typical first feature, you know, four hipsters chatting in a coffee shop for an hour and a half," Baruchel says. "Dowse's advice was buy the most expensive pair of sunglasses you can find and act like you know what you're doing. Jacob's was, 'You've been on sets since you were 12, so you'll always have an idea, at the bare minimum, of what to do.' " But there was also the little wrinkle of working again with Pill - Baruchel's former fiancée, who since their split has married actor Joshua Leonard and, last fall, given birth to a girl.

"It was bizarre. We had split three years ago, and hadn't seen each other in that time," Baruchel says, noting they first met on the set of the original Goon.

"But she's a professional, and I like to think that I am, too. It's a testament to how much respect and admiration there is between us that no one balked at it. We both knew the movie had to happen. It was a foregone conclusion that she'd return."

Even if that meant Pill would be acting against Baruchel on screen as the pregnant wife of another man.

"Jay's a very loyal collaborator, so I jumped at the chance to do it. And I can call him on his bullshit, we have that sort of relationship," Pill says. "In terms of choosing projects, as I get older it becomes more and more important to enjoy who you're working with. Now that I have a baby, I cannot handle being away from her to be with assholes. That's become the real factor working with friends I know to be lovely, humble, kind, smart folk."

Whatever the many heartfelt sentiments, though, Last of the Enforcers will live and die based on a much harsher contingent than friendly collaborators: the movie-going public, in particular Canadian audiences, traditionally cold to homegrown product - if, that is, they are able to access it in the first place.

"We've been really poor about managing our resources, and broadcasters and theatre-chain owners don't have enough skin in the game," Baruchel says.

"The Trotsky had the biggest promotional campaign as any Canadian movie I'd ever seen at that point, and it was out of theatres in a week. Because nobody knew it was out there, and it was on one screen. Goon is the only Canadian movie I've seen marketed correctly."

So if this new Goon hits the way Baruchel and company hope it does, it just might span a mini-industry of brutal and brash Canadiana - and, perhaps, a few more ancillary Goon adventures, too.

"I don't want to get into trouble, and I'm not saying there's going to be a Goon 3," Baruchel says, "but there's more than one way to skin a cat. We're not done in this universe yet."

There will be blood, then - and more than a few lewd movie posters.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers opens March 17 across Canada.

Associated Graphic

Jay Baruchel, seen in a 2016 photo, says his goal is to make 'fun genre movies that are commercial and would find a home in a Cineplex or a living room in the States,' but that still retain distinctly Canadian features.


Searching for a place to call home
As parents grow older, finding accommodations for disabled children becomes a daunting challenge
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

Marie Sabine has spent years worrying about where her daughter will live and what kind of help she will get as both of them get older and, eventually, Marie dies.

Her daughter, Tracie Sheppard, now 48, was born with a rare genetic abnormality called Cornelia de Lange syndrome, which resulted in both physical and mental impairments. She will need her own place, one where she gets support, for life.

She is part of a new generation of people with similar issues who can no longer easily be shipped off to institutions, group homes or home shares - the solutions of the past.

"Now they want to be on their own," Ms. Sabine said.

And Ms. Sabine is part of a new generation of parents in B.C., Alberta and across the country who have to scramble for new solutions as they deal with the fact that their children will likely live long after they and the resources of their estates are gone.

The future is particularly problematic in B.C., where housing costs are so high in many cities and even middle-class couples earning decent salaries cannot find affordable places to buy or rent in the Lower Mainland.

Not only is the amount of money given to people with developmental disabilities for housing a complete mismatch with local rents, but BC Housing - the agency that oversees subsidized housing in the province - does not consider them at risk of homelessness, so they get low priority in the system, Ms. Sabine said.

Challenges also exist even in places such as Alberta, where rents are lower and the province provides substantially more money to people with disabilities than B.C. does: up to $1,588 a month per person, with $700 of that for housing, compared with $1,033 in B.C., with $375 for housing.

A common solution in Alberta is home sharing, where the disabled person lives with someone who gets payment for room and board and support help.

"It's trying to find enough people who are willing to take someone with a disability," said Helen Cowie, the CEO of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary. "It can take several months for a family to find something. It's not the same as a job. You're taking someone into your home."

Even though group homes and home-share remain an option in B.C., people there say their children prefer independent living.

Ms. Sabine found a partial solution when the Semiahmoo House Society built a 71-unit complex in White Rock called Chorus Apartments that has 20 units for people with developmental disabilities. Her daughter got one of them.

But there was still a problem.

Even though the society's rents are modest at $850 a month, they far exceed the disability allowance of $375, so parents had to add nearly $500 to other expenses they cover.

"I'm 69. Some parents here are in their 70s," Ms. Sabine said, sitting at the kitchen table of Ms. Sheppard's tidy apartment, filled with framed pictures, ornamental china, and tasteful furniture.

Her daughter listens attentively as her mother speaks. "We have to think past our children living at home to the future."

The Chorus Apartment arrangement also still required enormous sacrifices from parents. One couple sold their house in Surrey and moved to Yarrow, where they could buy more cheaply, to secure a long-term lease for a child, forcing them to commute huge distances to visit.

Another has recently started cashing in RRIFs to pay their daughter's rent.

Ms. Sabine and other parents who have children living in the complex scored an exceptional triumph on Friday in their longrunning bid to get BC Housing to provide rent supplements.

After months of rejections and appeals, and just days after The Globe and Mail contacted BC Housing to ask about the issue, the provincial government announced it will give the complex $75,000 a year for the next 10 years as a rent supplement.

However, the disabled residents cannot keep the financial assistance if they move, as the parents had wanted.

The group started lobbying BC Housing last year for portable rent supplements, which the agency has generally not provided. When they were turned down, they appealed and, two weeks ago, filed a complaint with the provincial ombudsperson's office.

During that process, they met with met with Gordon Hogg, an MLA with the governing BC Liberal Party.

"It will improve the affordability of this development," Mr. Hogg said of the funding. "This will take the parents out of having to subsidize."

But hundreds of parents in B.C. - hard-working advocates who have not marshalled the kind of campaign Ms. Sabine and her group did - are not better off than before.

Mr. Hogg acknowledged this is a province-wide problem and that this case has prompted BC Housing to look at the issue again.

Ms. Sabine said some pre-election campaigning was likely going on, but she hopes "it's cracking open a door" at BC Housing.

In all the months up until now, that door seemed to be quite shut.

All indications the parents got in earlier exchanges with BC Housing, Ms. Sabine said, was that it was unwilling even to consider the rent subsidies because it could lead to "thousands at the gate" adding yet more stress to its struggles to house the homeless and seniors.

But there are problems beyond BC Housing, say parents who navigate the bureaucracy for their children.

They include people like Barb and Mike Schultz, who are in their 50s and have just started trying to figure out what kind of housing their son Matthew, 19, will need for rest of his life. The youngest of four boys for the Saanich couple, she a pharmacist and he a federal employee, Matthew has autism and a moderate-to-profound cognitive impairment.

Before he turned 19, they got support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development. But two years ago, they knew they needed to start negotiating with the Crown agency that assists disabled people, Community Living B.C.

The agency does not provide housing, but its decisions about what extra supports to give people wherever they live shape parents' options.

CLBC will spend $954-million this year to help 20,000 people, including 7,600 getting residential services - a mandate that makes for some fractious relationships with parents. Ms. Schultz said a CLBC facilitator essentially told them Matthew could not get housing because he could live with his family and that CLBC would not provide living support for the same reason.

But Ms. Schultz, like many others, said provincial agencies cannot just rely on families.

"We need to be able to move on and retire. It ends up being medically difficult for parents as they get older to do this."

Ms. Cowie, running a resource centre in Calgary, echoes that point. "The parents are going to die.

When the family dies, if you haven't helped the person with a disability, now they're not able to live in the community."

She said the issue is getting more acute, because disabled children are living longer and developing additional problems, such as Alzheimer's disease in their 40s.

In their quest to set their son on a path to live on his own some day, the Schultzes spent $70,000 to renovate their basement so Matthew can live independently in the suite for at least a few years before they try moving him into the community.

But they told CLBC their son might endanger himself if it did not provide some support in this.

"We basically came down to months before he turned 19, we had to admit he was going to be in crisis." (During a similar showdown in Ontario two years ago, one mother had her son officially classified as homeless in an attempt to get him some supports.)

Ms. Schultz said a regional manager asked her and her husband if they were just absolving themselves of all responsibility as parents.

But the Schultzes did not back off, and the agency eventually agreed to provide Matthew eight hours a week of living support - helping him learn how to clean, cook, manage his money (he stocks shelves two hours a week at a nearby grocery, in addition to his disability allowance), and generally survive.

"Yes, he's in the house, but he's independent. And the reality is he's 19, he wants to do what he saw his brothers do and live on his own. We're going to stop being his full-time caregivers."

Angela Clancy, the executive director of the Family Support Institute, which works with families of the disabled, did a quick survey of parents across the province for The Globe to get their thoughts on the system.

She got responses about expensive rents, landlords who do not want tenants with disabilities, a lack of any housing options in their community and, particularly, the mindset of CLBC.

Faith Bodnar, the head of the non-profit Inclusion BC, summed it up in an e-mail: "The system is set up to keep people out and support them only when there is no other option. This pushes people into crisis."

CLBC's CEO, Seonag Macrae, said the agency inevitably sees unhappy parents because "sometimes, we can't do everything."

She added that a conversation may come across negatively when it is not intended that way.

"It's an interpretation of messaging."

But Ms. Macrae said the agency knows it needs to make changes because people with developmental disabilities now want to live more independently.

CLBC just started conversations last year with BC Housing and developers about including units for the developmentally disabled in their projects.

Some parents are enthusiastic about the idea of pooling their resources and buying or constructing a building for their children. North Vancouver has one project like that.

But, said Ms. Macrae, CLBC's goal is not to isolate developmentally disabled people in one building. The agency prefers the Chorus Apartment model that have units for both the disabled and the regular community.

CLBC provides supports to the disabled group living at Chorus, who are among about 1,300 getting assistance in independent units from the agency. Tracie Sheppard, for example, gets up to 10 hours a week of help with shopping (she is afraid to cross the road to the nearby Peninsula Village mall alone), cooking, cleaning and managing her money.

"Our goal is maximizing inclusion and not segregating people into that building," Ms. Macrae said. "The more people are integrated, the more they develop that independence."

But CLBC's goal will likely require BC Housing to provide the same kind of rent supports that the Chorus apartment residents are now getting.

Ms. Sabine said she talked to a non-profit group in Squamish recently that is trying to build a new project and include five units for the developmentally disabled.

The problem? "They got no takers. They don't have parents who are able to subsidize the rent. It's not a good way to do business."

Associated Graphic

Tracie Sheppard, far right, hangs out with her friends outside their rental apartment in Surrey.


Marie Sabine, left, visits her daughter Tracie Sheppard at her rental apartment in Surrey.


Netherlands braces for divisive election
Dutch PM calls on country to reject alleged narrow-mindedness of populism promoted by rival candidate Geert Wilders
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

One of Europe's smallest countries is about to take centre stage in a political drama that could impact the future of the European Union and test the limits of the populist power that led to Brexit in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

People in the Netherlands head to the polls on Wednesday after one of the country's most divisive election campaigns in decades.

The results will be watched closely across Europe as a sign of whether the anti-immigrant populism that has gripped France, Britain and the United States is showing any indication of abating.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose Liberal Party is under siege, has called on the country to reject the narrow-mindedness of Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders, who wants to halt to immigration, ban the Koran, close mosques and pull the country out of the EU.

"I want the Netherlands to be the first country which stops this trend of the wrong sort of populism," Mr. Rutte said this week.

There are some signs of hope for Mr. Rutte and others who worry about Mr. Wilders and the threat that his brand of divisive politics poses for the rest of Europe, where key elections are coming up in France, Italy and Germany.

Recent polls show Mr. Wilders losing ground and several smaller, pro-European parties gaining.

But the picture remains uncertain and, with 28 parties contesting 150 seats, no one is confident of the outcome.

"The potential for these populist parties is always there," said Kristof Jacobs, a senior lecturer of political science at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. "It's a bit like these small fires, they can turn into big fires in an instant.

But it's super difficult to predict when this is happening. And at the time when you think you have it under control, suddenly something happens."

Roots of disenchantment In many ways, the Netherlands is a microcosm for the challenges facing many Western democracies: how to manage a changing economy without breeding resentment and a backlash from those feeling left behind.

On the surface, this country is a beacon of prosperity. The economy is booming, unemployment is at a five-year low and consumer confidence has reached the highest level in nearly a decade.

University students such as 22year-old Sem de Koning don't even have to wait to graduate before landing a job. About onethird of his classmates at Erasmus University in Rotterdam already have jobs and he has no worries when he graduates next year.

"It's pretty good right now," said Mr. de Koning, who is studying business. "For us, there are plenty of jobs."

But there are also cracks in that glowing exterior that have led to the rise of populists such as Mr. Wilders. His message taps into a growing unease among the middle class, people who have seen their wages stagnate for years and feel no better off than they did a decade ago. And while the middle class has stood still economically, the rich and the poor have done better.

"In the Netherlands, you have this odd situation, sort of a U-curve situation, where the poorest have done a little bit better than the middle class and the richest have done extremely well," said Brian Burgoon, a professor of international and comparative political economy at the University of Amsterdam. "And that's the kind of thing that really [upsets people]."

Part of the problem is the very nature of work in this country.

The Netherlands has one of the highest rates of part-time employment in the EU and nearly one-third of the work force has flexible contracts, meaning their hours are not guaranteed.

That's how Bastion Baker has lived for the past seven years, bouncing around bars and restaurants in Leiden, outside of The Hague, with no set hours.

"They tell you we're trying to get you 30 hours a week, but there's no guarantee," said Mr. Baker, 29, adding that he got by but never saved much money.

"Now I have a normal contract and that feels really great, to be honest. It's four days per week, 9 to 5, way easier than when I had my flex contract."

Women, in particular, hold a large percentage of part-time jobs, with roughly 76 per cent working less than 36 hours a week, the highest level in the EU.

That's partly because women were relative latecomers to the labour market in the Netherlands. But it has led to what Prof.

Burgoon calls "the one-and-a-half job economy," where in order for families to make ends meet, the husband holds a full-time job and his wife works part time.

"If you look at that issue, you see that the Dutch have, in a sense, outstripped anyone else in the [EU] in moving toward these more flexible and insecure economic lives for people," he added.

The rise of Geert Wilders Just as the middle class felt a growing sense of economic insecurity, the government expanded benefits for the poor. That only fuelled Mr. Wilders's anti-migrant message because migrants are twice as likely to be unemployed and five times more likely to be on welfare.

And that's why his call to shut the door to immigration and spend less on welfare for foreigners gets a receptive hearing. It only heightened during the recent refugee crisis when 90,000 migrants from places such as Libya, Iraq and Syria poured into the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016.

That, along with the perceived inadequacies of the EU, have also led Mr. Wilders to call for a Brexitstyle departure, dubbed "Nexit."

Other factors have been at play as well. The 2002 assassination of political leader Pim Fortuyn, who led an anti-Islamist party, and the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gough in 2004, after he made a TV program critical of Islam, encouraged Mr. Wilders to quit the Liberal Party and launch the Freedom Party in 2006.

Since then, he has rarely topped more than 20 seats in parliament and the threat of assassination has left him living in seclusion.

But that hasn't stopped Mr. Wilders from issuing fiery tweets and ratcheting up his rhetoric. He's also prompted Mr. Rutte and other leaders to sharpen their tone on immigration, with the Prime Minister recently saying that if immigrants don't like it in the Netherlands, they should leave.

The tone of the campaign has hurt people such as Raki Ap, a 32year-old civil servant who came to the Netherlands as a child from Dutch New Guinea. He now feels uneasy walking the streets of The Hague where he grew up.

"For me, as someone with a foreign background, you can feel the communities in the Netherlands just crushing each other like this," he said while grinding his fists together.

"You see the mindset of people, the way they look at each other, it's changing." For the first time in his life, he feels vulnerable and worried about the future for his two children. "It's very sad to see it happen. But it's a reality."

The Trump effect Heading into Wednesday's election, support for Mr. Wilders in opinion polls has fallen to around 13 per cent from 25 per cent last fall. He's now projected to finish with around 22 seats, just behind the Liberals.

But the Liberals haven't benefited from Mr. Wilders's decline and their seat total is expected to fall as well. Instead, a host of other parties have seen their support soar and some polls indicate up to 14 parties could win seats.

Kees Verhoeven, a member of Parliament with the centre-left D66 party, said that's a reflection of the declining support for Mr.

Wilders and the disenchantment with the two main establishment parties, the Liberals and the Labour Party, which have dominated politics for decades.

Labour won 38 seats in the last election in 2012 and formed a coalition government with the centre-right Liberals, which won 41 seats. But polls show Labour could lose 30 seats on Wednesday and the Liberals could fall well below 40.

"This is the biggest change in the history of the Dutch elections," Mr. Verhoeven said.

For him, the real story of the election isn't Mr. Wilders, who will likely win about the same number of seats as he did in 2012.

It's the growing support for proEuropean parties such as D66 and the Greens.

The game changer, he said, has been Mr. Trump. "Trump has done so many strange things that people think if we vote for Wilders, we get the same thing here and we don't want it."

That's the message of Jesse Klaver, the 30-year-old leader of the Greens who has become something of a sensation in the campaign, drawing crowds of more than 5,000 people and leading some pundits to predict the party could quadruple its seat total to 16.

Mr. Klaver represents a sharp contrast to Mr. Wilders. He's the son of a Moroccan father and a Dutch-Indonesian mother, who has the looks of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the politics of Democrat Bernie Sanders.

"We are pro-European, we are pro-refugee and we are very leftwing," Mr. Klaver said during a recent campaign stop in Leiden.

"I think people like Geert Wilders, the populists, are very dangers to the world. I think we have to make sure that we beat all the populists. Not only here in the Netherlands, but all over Europe."

What does this mean for the EU?

In the end, far from turning away from the EU and toward a populist future, there is a chance the Netherlands could become even more committed to Europe. And, it's not just here.

In France, Emmanuel Macron is leading the polls in the country's upcoming presidential election campaign with a pro-European agenda. And, in Germany, the Social Democrat's Martin Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, has taken the lead from Angela Merkel in that country's national elections due in September.

Meanwhile, populist parties in both countries, the National Front and Alternative for Germany, have seen their support dip. If Mr. Wilders fails to come out on top in the Netherlands that bodes well for the EU which is also seeing a turnaround in the euro-zone economy.

"This is a critical moment for Europe," said Anneke Kooijmans a Dutch social activist who spent much of the past few days travelling across the country in an orange bus, handing out tulips and urging people to reject populism.

"What we tell people is: You've seen Brexit. You've seen Trump.

This is the end of the line for populism."

Associated Graphic

A woman cycles past an election poster billboard the day before a general election in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday.


The big squeeze
Seeking to tap into hot housing market, some landlords appear to use deception to evict tenants, then turn around and jack up rents
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M3

Just after the school year began in September, York University teaching assistant Niloofar Golkar and her roommates got word they would have to scramble to find another place to rent because their landlord intended to move into their west-end Toronto townhouse.

It is legal grounds for an eviction. But, just a few weeks ago, Ms. Golkar biked by her old place and saw a sign out front saying it was for lease again.

She looked it up online and discovered the landlord was asking $500 more in rent.

Ms. Golkar, 33, couldn't be bothered to make a case before the province's Landlord and Tenant Board, as she had already found another place to live. Still, she seethed over the deception.

"The city really needs to think about providing more social housing for low-income people, so we don't have to deal with these individual landlords who can just do whatever they want."

A Globe and Mail analysis of data from Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board, which adjudicates disputes, found that the number of applications for evictions such as Ms. Golkar's has shot up 23 per cent since 2013 as tenants' advocates say some landlords try to take advantage of the city's competitive housing market.

The data also show a large increase in the number of landlord-tenant disputes over "above-guideline" increases, which are allowed for rent-controlled apartments after landlords do renovations or upgrades.

Disputes over evictions for simply failing to pay the rent have actually declined.

The numbers starkly illustrate the pressures created in a record-tight rental market that's being made even tighter, observers say, as many Torontonians give up on buying a home of their own and choose to rent because of skyrocketing real estate prices.

Vacancy in Toronto is low, at just 1.6 per cent, and about 45 per cent of households are renters. The province's rent-control regime, which is supposed to keep rent increases for current tenants at the rate of inflation, applies only to buildings constructed before November, 1991, after amendments made in the late 1990s by then Ontario premier Mike Harris that were meant to spur more rental construction. Even in rent-controlled buildings, once tenants leave, rent can be set at a much higher rate for new occupants.

Exactly how many tenants in rent-controlled apartments face eviction by landlords using false pretenses is impossible to measure. Even the Landlord and Tenant Board numbers are not broken down to show precisely how many disputes of this kind make it before the board.

The majority of applications the board receives in any given year are regarding the eviction of a tenant for non-payment of rent. In 2016, 72 per cent of all landlord applications were for this category.

But the number of hearings over evictions in the board's "other" category - which includes evictions based on a landlord's intent to occupy the place but also encompasses evictions for tenants who have damaged property, caused "serious problems" or overcrowded their units - has shot up in Toronto since 2012. There were just 1,740 such cases filed with the board that year. Four years later, in 2016, that number had risen to 3,054.

Disputes over above-guideline rent hikes also shot upward during the same five years, from just 91 in Toronto in 2012 to 198 last year. In both cases, the data present just a sliver of what is happening in the marketplace, as many such disputes never make it before the board.

Meanwhile, non-payment-ofrent applications have decreased over the same period.

Several renters who responded to a Globe online survey about their experiences in Toronto's tight market also complained that they suspected their landlords had faked an intention to move in to try to get rid of them.

Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, said his organization has actually seen a decline in calls from tenants concerned about being evicted over not paying the rent, reflecting the strengthening of the economy since the financial crisis nearly 10 years ago. But he said calls about landlords threatening to sell or to move in and evict tenants have been rising.

"What we are seeing from our call volume is landlords wanting to cash in on the hot rental market," Mr. Dent said. "You're seeing more and more landlords saying, 'Oh yeah I need to move into the place.' And it's totally bogus."

It is even worse in buildings not subject to rent control, where tenants are unprotected from what in some cases are double-digit increases. In the city's rental-condominium market, most of which are post-1991 buildings not subject to rent control, rents shot up 11.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 over the same period a year earlier, according to a report by consulting firm Urbanation Inc., while the number of listings sank.

Some condo renters face even steeper hikes. Heather MacDonald, 26, who works in advertising, was forced to leave a 400-square-foot $1,400-a-month Liberty Village condo after a new landlord demanded another $300 in rent: A 21-per-cent hike. She found a bigger rentcontrolled apartment nearby.

"My concern is that there's a lot of landlords and property developers who are able to do this to single parents and new immigrants who aren't able to luck out like I did," Ms. MacDonald said. "It was a very trying situation to all of a sudden be uprooted."

The Ontario government has said it may announce changes to rent controls as part of a review of the current regulations, but has not revealed what reforms are being considered. A private member's bill from NDP MPP Peter Tabuns recently called for the exemption of post-1991 buildings from rent control to be scrapped. The Liberal government has also floated loosening some rules on landlords, such as making it easier to toss out tenants with troublesome pets, in an effort to get more homeowners to rent out parts of their houses and increase supply.

John Plumadore, president of the Brentwood Towers Tenants' Association, a rental complex popular with seniors near Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue, says the building's landlord has for years routinely asked residents for above-guideline rent increases, after doing work on the underground parking garage and elsewhere.

Some seniors on fixed incomes have been driven out by the increases, he said. And the new younger professionals that are moving in are paying much higher rents.

Mr. Plumadore, who is chairman of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, argues that improvements to the buildings, which increase their value, should be paid for by their owners, not the tenants.

Most of the time, he said, his landlord, a company called O'Shanter, lowers a demand for a rent increase after a mediation session with the tenants' association. But residents can still end up seeing a 3-per-cent hike in the typical year, he said.

(He adds that, despite this, he considers O'Shanter a good landlord over all.)

"The seniors say, we want to pay our way, but we don't want to be gouged," said Mr. Plumadore, a retired senior Scouts Canada official who has lived in Brentwood Towers for a decade.

"The [increases] are killing us, because those of us who have lived here a long time, we like our building, we like our neighbourhood."

Jonathan Krehm, a co-owner of O'Shanter, which has owned Brentwood Towers for more than 30 years, argues the increases are justified as landlords seek to repair aging buildings.

He said landlords are now being forced by safety authorities to install expensive new elevators across the city, for example, and should be entitled to recover those costs. Water and electricity bills have shot up in recent years, he said, and are grounds for allowable aboveguideline increases. (He said any landlord who lies about intending to move into a unit has "no excuse for acting illegally or dishonestly.") But Mr. Krehm warned that more increases are coming to his tenants this year: He plans to seek "extraordinary" rent hikes to recover the costs of the city's new landlord licensing fee, which is expected to cost $10.60 a unit.

"The biggest villain here is the City of Toronto, who discriminates against rental housing" by taxing it at about three times the rate charged to condos or single family homes, Mr. Krehm said. "If people were really concerned about the cost of rental housing for people who couldn't afford it, they'd make the tax system equitable."

Some tenants, faced with newly aggressive landlords, do end up fighting - and even win.

In 2015, Kerry Landry, 52, says he was forced out of an apartment near Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue that he had lived in for 22 years after his landlord announced that his daughter was moving in.

Mr. Landry, a project manager with the federal government, and his partner soon found another place nearby for more than double their old rent. But last year, Mr. Landry discovered that his old place was being advertised on the website Craigslist for rent, and for hundreds of dollars more a month than he had paid. He took his landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board and after a contentious hearing won $10,000 in compensation - the difference in the rent he had to pay for the entire year.

"Myself and the landlord had a really good rapport before this," Mr. Landry said, adding that he had faced very few rent increases over the more than two decades he lived in his old place. "... He [the landlord] was very hurt by the whole thing and so was I."

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A trend in eviction applications

The top two eviction applications the Landlord and Tenant Board receives are for non-payment of rent, and for "other reasons," which includes "own use" - in other words, the landlord or a relative intends to move into the unit, or the landlord has sold the unit and the purchaser intends to move in. Using rolling averages to account for high variance in the data month-to-month, a clear trend emerges: Evictions for "other reasons" have grown significantly since 2012, while non-payment of rent eviction applications have declined significantly.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, a Toronto tenant advocacy group, has tracked calls to its hotline since 2007. Its call data reflect the trends seen in the LTB figures - "own use" applications growing, and non-payment of rent applications shrinking.

MP called wife abuse 'no laughing matter'
Her experiences working on behalf of Vancouver's poorest residents eventually inspired her to enter politics
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S8

Words were important for Margaret Mitchell. She began her career as a social worker in the poorest areas of Vancouver, but she refused to call the people she was there to help - most of them on welfare - her "clients." To her they were simply "citizens," with the same rights to dignity, work and legal protections as everyone else.

Elected to the House of Commons four times by the riding of Vancouver East, she was the longest-serving female MP in the House when she left Parliament in 1993 after 14 tumultuous years.

The incident that made her famous occurred while Pierre Trudeau was prime minister and her party, the NDP, was led by Ed Broadbent. Ms. Mitchell did not feel warmly toward the PM, who persisted in calling her the Honourable Lady instead of the Honourable Member, the term he used to refer to men in the House. She felt it was an attempt to diminish her.

But that slight paled in comparison to what happened on May 12, 1982. Ms. Mitchell had served on the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, which had heard over a period of several months about the suffering of battered women who had limited legal recourse and no safe place in their community to escape from their abusers.

During question period, Ms. Mitchell rose to ask the minister responsible for the status of women what action the government will take to protect battered women. She began by stating that "one in 10 Canadian husbands beat their wives regularly," but she could get no further because of an outbreak of laughter and heckling that drowned her out. "Madam Speaker, this is no laughing matter," she pushed on defiantly after a pause.

In her self-published memoirs, No Laughing Matter (2008), she does not name the "Honourable Members" who behaved so callously that day, but noted that they were Tories. One said within earshot: "I don't beat my wife.

Do you, George?" The minister responsible, Judy Erola, replied that she did not find the men's derision amusing "and neither do the women of Canada." She promised to fund more transition houses under the Canada Assistance Plan. Ms. Mitchell next asked the solicitorgeneral to take action to require that the courts and law-enforcement agencies start to treat spousal assault as a criminal offence. Out of 10,000 incidents of violence, the joint standing committee had learned, only two convictions had been obtained.

The incident topped the evening news and made her name.

It has now achieved everlasting life on YouTube.

The next morning, she moved for an apology from the House, but according to her memoirs, "some MPs refused, defeating my motion."

"Margaret took a private problem and turned it into a public issue," commented her life-long friend Darlene Marzari, a former Vancouver alderman. "What was once unmentionable now could not be denied. Women's shelters were established, programs to train judges how to deal with domestic violence were introduced, all in the context of the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her response to the men's laughter was a foundational moment of the women's movement in this country."

Ms. Mitchell died peacefully on International Women's Day, March 8, at home in her False Creek condominium in Vancouver, surrounded by friends, at the age of 91. She had become frail in recent years and lost her mobility.

Margaret Anne Learoyd was born into a close-knit family as one of four children of Clarence, a high-school teacher, and Ernestine (née Dutton) Learoyd, who had trained as a nurse. Soon after Margaret's birth, in Brockville, Ont., on July 17, 1925, her father was appointed principal of the high school in Cayuga, on the Grand River about 35 kilometres from Hamilton.

Ernestine suffered from tuberculosis and Margaret's childhood was marred by her mother's long absences for treatment. With only one lung, Ernestine died of pneumonia while Margaret was in her second year of university.

After graduating from Cayuga high school as valedictorian, she attended Hamilton's McMaster University, supporting herself with summer jobs at Bigwin Inn in Muskoka and loans from her maiden aunts, Hilda and Alma Dutton. The Second World War was still raging when, as a server at Bigwin, she first saw prejudice in action. "I was shocked when the German head waitress placed lunch guests with Jewish names at the worst tables, after long waits," she recalled in her memoirs.

After McMaster, she studied social work at the University of Toronto. This was followed by a job for the next five years at Toronto's YWCA as program director at two of its branches.

When she was 28, the Red Cross sent her to work with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in postwar Japan and Korea, where she saw an exhausted and impoverished population just after the Korean War. She was part of a group of young women whose job was to distribute supplies at military hospitals, write and mail letters for the wounded, do some shopping and keep up morale. "But mostly," she later wrote, "we spent time just talking to homesick patients."

She had made friends with many young people from Australia and New Zealand while working for the Red Cross and in 1955, after her stint in Korea, she decided to visit them and see something of the South Pacific.

When it was time to return to Canada, she boarded the ocean liner SS Oronsay in Auckland, New Zealand. It was here she first met "a loud Aussie and a great tease," Claude Mitchell. In her book, she recalled that he was about 40, with a clipped mustache and the film-star looks of David Niven.

Two years later, they were married in Vienna, where she had taken another short-term job with the Red Cross, this time working with Hungarian refugees pouring across the Austrian border in the wake of the failed Hungarian revolution. After she accepted his proposal, he had followed her there. They honeymooned on a trip through half a dozen European countries on a noisy old motorcycle - the bride riding in a sidecar - that the groom had repaired using bottle caps and fencing wire.

They settled in Vancouver, where Claude Mitchell was to encourage and support her in all her projects. She credited him with making her bolder, less conventional and more confident. Their friend Shane Simpson, now an NDP member of the British Columbia legislature, recalled their favourite party trick: Ms. Mitchell would smoke a cigarette while her husband knocked off the ashes with a flick of his Australian bull whip.

In her 30s, Ms. Mitchell underwent surgery for ovarian cancer; the couple gave up their dream of having children. She threw herself into social work, which she believed was best done as community development - encouraging disadvantaged people to organize to better their lives.

"I was a student at the UBC school of social work and Margaret was working with single moms at Little Mountain [socialhousing project]," recalls Ms. Marzari, who met Ms. Mitchell in 1966 at her storefront office known as the Red Door. "Margaret wanted to empower the single moms, to give them a voice to talk to their landlord, which was the provincial government, about their problems."

The problems included kids going to school without breakfast, the stigma of welfare, the lack of training opportunities, the humiliation of having to prove that there were no men's shoes under the bed or monthly payments would be cut off.

A network of community groups sprung up over time, and solutions arose from the people themselves. In Strathcona, another low-income area, people fought off the city's attempt to tear down their aging homes to push through a freeway.

By the early 1970s, she was manager of the Vancouver Resources Board, which integrated social services in every neighbourhood. "She wanted to make sure communities solved their own problems and we were just there to support them," said Patsy George, who had worked under Ms. Mitchell then. Her staff, she added, "respected her and drew inspiration from her. She stood firm, particularly on violence against women."

After the NDP government of Dave Barrett lost the 1975 election and Social Credit returned to power, cuts were made to the programs she had created and Ms. Mitchell started to think about entering politics.

She first won Vancouver East for the NDP in 1979, taking it from the Liberal incumbent. She knew thousands of people and had close contacts with every ethnic group in the riding, where she and her husband then lived.

"Margaret was an incredibly down-to-earth person. She never chased after fame and she never wavered from her principles," said Mr. Simpson, who had grown up in Vancouver public housing with a single mom. He'd met Ms. Mitchell as a teenager and later became her researcher in Ottawa.

Besides the famous 1982 spousal-violence incident, she is remembered for what she did for Chinese-Canadian citizens. When two elderly Chinese constituents showed her their head tax papers, and told her about the racism that fractured their families in the first half of the 20th century, she initiated a campaign in Ottawa for redress. It ended with an apology and a symbolic payment to the families of head-tax payers, under then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2006, but by then Margaret Mitchell was no longer an MP.

Her legacy is the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Women, held by the Vancouver Community Foundation, which supports scholarships and training programs for female applicants, including support for child care.

Having voted against a pay hike MPs had given themselves in 1980, she had over the years banked the extra pay, and later added the proceeds from her summer home in the Gulf Islands to create the fund.

Claude Mitchell died of colon cancer in 1991. Ms. Mitchell was also predeceased by her three siblings, Bill, Ted and Betty. She leaves a host of friends and admirers and many nieces and nephews.

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

Associated Graphic

Margaret Mitchell speaks in 1983 at the House of Commons, where she was often met with derision for raising women's issues.


Ms. Mitchell, seen helping an African refugee in the 1980s with his immigration appeal, is remembered for the work she did for marginalized citizens of Canada.


'Mayor of Melody' gave football fans a show
Dubbed 'Sugarfoot,' he held down many roles in life, but is especially remembered for his time playing for the Calgary Stampeders
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

CALGARY -- If he liked you, really liked you, he would take you for a ride in his prized 1955 Oldsmobile and show you the sights. See that office building? He was on the construction crew that made it happen. See that street corner?

That was where he ran his Royalite gas station and wore a tie and a service jacket with his name on it.

And over there, that was where Mewata Stadium stood its ground as home field to the Calgary Stampeders, the place where Ezzrett Anderson lived up to his nickname Sugarfoot with some of the sweetest moves local football fans had ever seen.

And those weren't the only things Mr. Anderson did for Calgary. The son of Arkansas plantation workers, Sugarfoot Anderson represented his adopted home with dignity and kindness. He was a football player and yet so much more than that. He held down many roles as a labourer, a jazz drummer with a group called the Bluenotes, a Hollywood actor and a good friend of Jackie Robinson. He was a man of the people, black and white, and his death on March 8 of heart failure was met with sadness and appreciation for all he did in his 97 years.

"When [his wife] Anne [English] and son Barry called me that day, I said, 'I don't want to hear it,' " former Stampeders' personnel director Roy Shivers said from his Las Vegas home.

"Sugarfoot was the most interesting, knowledgeable man I've ever known. He reminded me of my dad. I cried like a baby when I heard [Mr. Anderson had died]."

Mr. Shivers got plenty of car rides with Sugar behind the wheel and, as always, Mr. Anderson would point out buildings he had helped construct as an employee of Consolidated Concrete.

One time, Mr. Anderson slipped in a cassette tape and the two men listened to some cool jazz introduced by a smooth-talking DJ.

"He told me it was him," Mr. Shivers recalled. "He called himself the Mayor of Melody." And the Mayor's sign-off summed up how Sugarfoot lived and loved: "A smile is worth a million dollars, but it doesn't cost a cent."

Ezzrett Anderson Jr. could remember back to the penniless days of his childhood. Born in February, 1920, in Nashville, Ark., he grew up on a plantation where his father and mother Florence both worked picking cotton. Mr. Anderson Sr. was a talented baseball player. He was a member of the barn-storming Negro League Kansas City Monarchs, featuring legendary pitcher Satchel Paige. As part of the Monarchs' show, Mr. Paige would pitch and Mr. Anderson Sr. would catch while sitting in a rocking chair behind home plate. (For extra fun, Mr. Anderson Sr. would throw out runners trying to steal second base while he comfortably sat in his rocker.)

The first big moment in young Mr. Anderson's life occurred when he saw a book floating down a river. He plucked it from the water and learned to read.

Years later he said the book's pictures had filled him with possibilities, that there was a whole other world out there waiting to be explored. Before leaving home, he learned from watching his father, a tolerant man who would bear the brunt of taunts and name calling without so much as raising an eyebrow. Mr. Anderson Sr. said he was fine as long as no one laid a hand on him.

Mr. Anderson Jr. attended Langston High School in nearby Hot Springs and was a star football player. That helped him enroll at Kentucky State University, where he honed his skills as a fierce two-way player, a receiver on offence, a sure tackler on defence and the punter on special teams.

His family was part of what is called the Second Great Migration, an event in which an estimated five million AfricanAmericans left the South during the start of the Second World War in 1941 and relocated north and west. In the Andersons' case, they went all the way to California.

(The first Great Migration began decades earlier when six million blacks left their rural roots and moved into urban centres to the north and west.)

In California, Mr. Anderson Jr. came of age. He stood 6-foot-4 and weighed 210 pounds. He played the tight-end position where he could put his speed and size-15 feet to good use, which first earned him the name Sugarfoot. In the mid-1940s, Sugarfoot played in the All-America Football Conference, a minor pro circuit just a notch below the National Football League.

He was a member of the Los Angeles Dons, who were owned by actor Don Ameche, entertainers Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and movie producer Louis B. Mayer.

Before that, Sugarfoot was a Hollywood Bulldog in the Pacific Coast Football League. One of his teammates was a man destined for fame in another sport - Jackie Robinson.

Sugarfoot met Mr. Robinson through a mutual friend, Woody Strode, who would eventually join Kenny (Kingfish) Washington as the first two black players to sign with the post-Second World War NFL. Mr. Strode also played for the Stampeders and won the 1948 Grey Cup.

Mr. Anderson joined the Stampeders in 1949 and played until 1954. He never left Calgary and never played for another CFL team.

Sugarfoot said in a 2013 Globe and Mail interview that Mr. Robinson was a dynamo on the football field and would demand the ball if he felt others were getting too much attention.

"If Kenny Washington threw Woody three passes, Jackie wanted five. [In baseball,] if Jackie wanted to steal second, with or without a signal, he stole it," Mr. Anderson said. "Off the field, he was hyper. He'd drive a car fast ... He was a hopped-up guy and he'd tell you, too. You didn't say hello too hard for him."

Mr. Robinson went on to break baseball's colour barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After winning the World Series in 1955, he flew to Calgary where he was picked up in Sugarfoot's new Oldsmobile and driven to Lake Louise. Along the way, the two men talked of their experiences as black athletes in a white society.

"Jackie told me what really bothered him was how his teammates treated him," Mr. Anderson said. "They wouldn't throw him the ball [during practice].

He'd try to sit at the same table with the guys and they'd get up and leave. They treated him like he was an animal or something ... In Calgary, some people called me 'darky' but they just didn't know better."

While he was playing football in L.A., Sugarfoot was also earning a living as a movie actor thanks to Mr. Strode, who had found steady employment portraying a slave or African warrior.

Mr. Anderson appeared in more than 30 films, including The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Samson and Delilah and The Story of Seabiscuit with Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. He always kept his Screen Actors Guild card active in case an offer came in.

As for his career with the Stampeders, Mr. Anderson, with his jersey number 00, was an instant fan favourite. He could catch passes and gain critical yards at a time when the Canadian Football League wasn't as pass happy as it is today. His statistics over six seasons included 142 catches, 2,020 yards and 10 touchdowns.

His fondest memory was returning to Calgary after losing the 1949 Grey Cup in Toronto and seeing 60,000 fans, almost half the city's population, gathered at the train station to welcome the team home. It made Mr. Anderson wonder what the reaction would have been had the Stampeders won for the second year in a row.

When he retired from football, Sugarfoot's star lost none of its brilliance and his presence knew no boundaries. People liked him and he genuinely liked them back. As proof of his popularity, he once showed a reporter some of his prized possessions - birthday greetings from former Alberta premier Ralph Klein and former prime minister Jean Chrétien. A portrait that was presented to him by former prime minister Louis St. Laurent. A blue camel-hair hat signed by former heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis. And dozens of photographs of Sugarfoot with celebrities from the world of politics, sports and entertainment.

John Anderson, one of Sugarfoot's three sons, remembers the day Bob Hope came to the house.

"He was the grand marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade [1963].

And he knew my dad [from Sugarfoot playing for Hope's L.A.

Dons]," Mr. Anderson said.

It got to the point where most everyone in Calgary knew Sugarfoot. He couldn't go out for dinner without being recognized or asked for his autograph. Then the accolades started rolling in. He was added to the Stampeders' Wall of Fame at McMahon Stadium in 1990 and inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Soon after Sugarfoot's death, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge issued a statement that read: "Some of our fans remember the tremendous on-field quickness that earned him his nickname.

Many more remember how quick he was to share a story, a smile or a helping hand."

Many others remembered him the same way.

"Every time I came to Calgary he'd pick me up at the airport," Mr. Shivers said. "I'd just sit back and listen to him talk about all kinds of stuff. They were life lessons."

Mr. Anderson leaves his sons John and Barry along with his wife Anne English. He was predeceased by his son Vaughn in 2015 and his first wife Virnetta (Nelson) Anderson in 2006. She was the first black woman to serve as a Calgary city councillor, 1974-77.

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Associated Graphic

Ezzrett (Sugarfoot) Anderson Jr., wearing his jersey number 00, was a star in his own right, playing for the Calgary Stampeders between 1949 and 1954.


Mr. Anderson, in his Calgary home in 2005, said his fondest memory was returning to Calgary after losing the 1949 Grey Cup in Toronto and seeing 60,000 fans gathered to welcome the team home.


It's hockey morning in China
With Beijing holding the 2022 Winter Olympics, the NHL and the Middle Kingdom are trying to create transpacific scoring chances
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

BEIJING, CALGARY -- Chinese companies and entrepreneurs have poured billions of dollars into buying soccer clubs across Europe. Now, those companies are turning to the sport that is sometimes referred to in China as "soccer on ice," at a moment the NHL is readying a major new push into the world's most populous country.

Groups of Chinese buyers have begun talks with advisers in Beijing and elsewhere, discussing NHL clubs that might accept an initial investment. Though such investments can take time to assemble, at least one buying group has got close enough to discuss financial terms for a potential purchase.

"They're very much in the market, and trying to complete a transaction," said Alexander Jarvis, chief executive of Blackbridge Cross Borders, a company known for its dealmaking expertise, and which has connected Chinese money with European soccer clubs. In recent months, he has also spoken with several groups about investing in the NHL.

There is interest on both sides of the Pacific to create closer ties as the NHL tries to expand its footprint beyond North America and Chinese authorities look to the NHL for its expertise in helping them develop a hockey culture and trying to popularize the sport in China ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is widely believed to be a hockey fan, his ardour for the sport second only to soccer. Another Asian Olympics next year, the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, has further fuelled a desire in China to achieve winter sports glory. The Chinese are hoping a trickle-down affect will help create a stronger national hockey team that won't be embarrassed during the Olympics.

As a result, hockey has vaulted into a new position of national prominence in China, a country that does not have the equivalent of a Yao Ming to spread the sport's gospel. Yao, a former Chinese and NBA star, is often credited for the boom in basketball's growth in China.

NHL officials are finalizing details for a pair of September exhibition games between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings in Beijing and Shanghai. Commissioner Gary Bettman is planning a trip to Beijing later this month to announce the games, which will fit with a broader effort to increase both Chinese corporate sponsorship and interest in hockey, and may one day even result in the NHL helping the Chinese set up its own league.

"Our understanding is, they're looking at building hundreds of rinks and arenas and looking for ways to introduce the game to people throughout the country - and that's something we've been interested in exploring at all levels in the game," Bettman said.

"The more interesting play, which they're not ready for yet, is the creation of an indigenous Chinese league that we could use our resources to set up and launch. It's an exciting, interesting opportunity that, based on the sheer magnitude of the market, can't be and shouldn't be ignored."

In China, local government functionaries and corporate titans alike believe they can help hockey grow in part by acquiring ownership in a North American team whose skill, savvy and branding can be used to improve hockey back home.

Chinese buyers are looking for high-performing teams that can provide a return on investment, while knowing that the Original Six are likely too sacred to touch.

Instead, they have trained their sights on clubs such as the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Carolina Hurricanes.

"The stars are in line," said Peter Schloss, managing partner at CastleHill Partners Ltd., a Beijingbased merchant bank that specializes in media, sports and entertainment.

"We've been approached frequently by potential Chinese buyers of all or parts of NHL franchises," he said. "If there's a willing seller on the NHL side, there are willing buyers in China. That's a certainty."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly foresees a time when Chinese investment in NHL franchises becomes a reality.

"I think there are those people out there," Daly said. "I would say that's still in the nascent stages - of both interest and coming to fruition - but I certainly think it's a very real possibility that that happens in the future.

"There's no doubt there have been a number of expressions of interest from Chinese business entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in the league."

Foreign ownership is not new to the NHL. The original owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning were Japanese, while the San Jose Sharks are currently owned by German billionaire Hasso Plattner. "We would listen" to a proposal from a Chinese buyer, Bettman said. "We don't have any restrictions based on national origin."

Daly also reiterated that "there would be no issue with foreign investment in the league. They would be subject to the same ownership criteria as every other potential investor and subject to board of governors' approval, but anybody who has an interest in our league, we have an interest in them."

Other professional sports have already built sizable audiences in China. The NBA reportedly signed a $940-million (U.S.) Internet rights deal with China in 2015; soccer's Premier League last year signed a similarly-sized deal for three years.

Hockey's first steps into China were less successful.

In 2010, Schloss secured the online streaming rights for NHL games in Asia through Allied Pacific Sports Network, a company he co-founded. "We had no traffic.

Nobody would subscribe to the games," Schloss said. APSN ceased operation a few years later.

Hockey hasn't found its own Yao, either. In 2015, Andong Song became the first mainland-born Chinese drafted into the NHL. He currently plays for the Madison Capitols, in the United States Hockey League, where he has not scored a goal in 42 games.

Meanwhile, home ice remains populated largely by figure skaters, speed skaters and recreational skaters. The entire country is unlikely to count more than 6,000 registered hockey players, a tally that has grown by at most 1,000 in the two years since Beijing won the 2022 Olympics, estimated one person with decades of hockey experience in the region.

With a few exceptions, skill levels remain low, too. "A beerleague team renting ice at 3 a.m. in Montreal is going to be about the standards you're going to get if you put together a national league here," he said, adding that it could take at least a generation for the country to reach global hockey competitiveness.

But in a country where state planners - and a desire to please the emperor - still hold power, things are changing.

In Beijing, high schools are building rinks and cobbling together hockey teams. Schools in the Chinese capital plan to make participation in winter sports compulsory for elementary and middle-school students.

The NHL has aired on CCTV 5+, the digital outlet of the Chinese state-run sports broadcaster, which sent announcers to the Stanley Cup final last year. In January, the league signed a five-year streaming deal with Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which also holds NBA and Premier League rights.

Boosters hope that hockey, with its rough-and-tumble action, will better appeal to Chinese more than slower-moving sports such as baseball or U.S. football, whose rules and game-play are also more difficult to understand.

Russia's Kontinental Hockey League had a team begin playing in Beijing last year, and though it has struggled to win a large audience, made the playoffs this season. Last week, the Beijing team announced the hiring of former NHL coach Mike Keenan, another indication of its ambitions - and funding.

Local bankers, too, are casting a wide net. Jarvis has been meeting with a strategic investments division of the Bank of China, which asked him to profile potential targets for its investments.

"Hockey clubs, snowboarding, winter sports - pretty much every sector in winter sports you can imagine, even clothing," Jarvis said. "They want deals."

There are parallels with China's sudden lust for soccer clubs in the past few years, with companies and investors spending more than $2-billion on clubs since 2015, and hundreds of millions of dollars more to buy overseas talent for teams in the Chinese Super League.

No one expects that much money to pour into hockey, a sport with a much smaller footprint.

"But I'm sure it's going to happen," said Feng Tao, chief executive of Shankai Sports, a sports-marketing firm. And although it may have taken decades to build soccer in China, the looming Olympics mean hockey is likely to develop at greater speed.

"The growth of winter sports will be faster than [soccer]," Feng said.

In January, Daly made a whirlwind trip to China to meet with potential sponsors, sit down with government officials and otherwise pave the way for future business opportunities.

"I didn't get to do a lot of sightseeing," Daly said.

He sketched out possibilities for relationships with Chinese businesses, holding more NHL events, and "investing in youth hockey in China, which we are prepared to do. I think there are a number of different facets of becoming relevant on the Chinese sports landscape and I think it's something we're prepared to do."

China's dramatically different cultural background, however, is likely to pose challenges.

Matt Beleskey, a Boston Bruins left winger from Barrie, Ont., was asked by the Bruins to travel to China last summer and participate in youth hockey clinics along with teammate David Pasternak, who wears No. 88 - 8 being a lucky number in China.

Beleskey said the way Chinese players learn and absorb lessons is different than the way North American players are trained. He believes it's related to martial-arts training.

"They would ask, 'What test do I have to pass to make it to the NHL?' I'd say, 'That's not really how it works.' But they want to do the work and learn the skills. I think watching some of their coaches teaching their kids, they know what they're doing. They're teaching them well."

Still, "fans in China are passionate about the sports they watch," Beleskey said. Take basketball, which is "like a religion to them.

Every Saturday morning, they watch basketball on television," he said.

China is "a massive market - and hopefully we can dig into it."

Bernier dead set on his 'freedom platform'
Conservative hopeful's agenda underscores what a gamble he would be as leader, and what a market there is for conviction
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A4

Maxime Bernier does not intend to put any water in his wine if he winds up leading the Official Opposition into the next federal election.

"No! No! That will be no! No!" the country's most prominent libertarian replied during a recent interview in his parliamentary office, when asked whether he might be prepared to soften his "freedom platform" in the name of party unity or broader electoral appeal.

"I won't change. I want my platform to be the platform of the Conservative Party of Canada, and after that to be the agenda of government."

He knows, he said, that the governing Liberals would warn of dire consequences from his plan to dramatically scale back the size of government - getting Ottawa out of health care, deregulating industries, refusing under any circumstances to provide business subsidies, taking a very big chunk out of program spending - and his party would probably dip in popularity for a while.

But he would stick with it, refusing to bend, and fellow Conservatives would have to go along with it.

It was a response that might help demonstrate why the veteran MP for Beauce, a Quebec riding uniquely aligned with his particular strain of conservativism, has emerged as one of the front-runners in the Tories' 14candidate leadership field despite not being taken all that seriously when he entered it.

It also underscored the enormous gamble that he would represent for his party, the scale of which has not really gotten its due, during a contest in which candidates who entered with even more outsider status than him - reality-TV entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary first among them - have made "Mad Max" appear much closer to the political mainstream than he ever did before.

In many ways, he has been the closest the Tories' race has come to a feel-good story.

Mr. Bernier's political career was left for dead in 2008, when he was dumped as Stephen Harper's foreign affairs minister for leaving sensitive documents at the home of a girlfriend with past ties to biker gangs. Then he slowly rebuilt it by fashioning himself as the principled voice for his party's libertarian wing - the rare Conservative MP who was willing to publicly advocate for policies, such as an end to supply management, at odds with Mr. Harper.

He was still easily dismissed at the leadership race's outset - the sort of candidate patted on the head for infusing a campaign with ideas, not really expected to win. But his happy-warrior demeanour has proved a good fit with the long grind of building support on the ground, and Conservative insiders suggest he's doing better than most candidates at signing up new members and winning over existing ones.

(A cloud was cast over some of this success late this week, when Mr. O'Leary's campaign publicly alleged that Toronto-area organizers for Mr. Bernier were fraudulently submitting sign-ups; despite often boasting about running a positive campaign Mr. Bernier fired back with a fundraising letter that called Mr. O'Leary a "loser" who is "throwing mud to try to save his own campaign.") It's helped that Mr. Bernier is one of the few candidates who can claim to be fluently bilingual, and he's probably the most telegenic one after Mr. O'Leary, who is generally perceived to be alongside him at the front of the pack. But in a race in which much of the public attention has been sucked up by the populist stylings of Mr. O'Leary and Kellie Leitch, and candidates such as caucus favourite Andrew Scheer have avoided going out on limbs in hope of emerging as consensus choices, Mr. Bernier seems to be demonstrating there is a market for someone with real conviction in long-held values.

Talking in his office, leaning his long frame forward in his chair, the 54-year-old's youthful enthusiasm for his version of free-market capitalism - his tendency to affably interject before a question had even been fully asked, if he senses any doubt about the wisdom of one of his policies - was so sincere as to be charming in a way other candidates in this race couldn't be.

What is charming before a new leader is selected, though, can be more challenging once he or she takes the job - potentially enough so, in this case, to help explain why despite his rankand-file support, Mr. Bernier has struggled to win the backing of fellow caucus members.

Mr. Bernier is not a zealot hellbent on scrapping any and all government intervention. In the interview, for instance, he acknowledged that Canada's regulation of its financial sector works well and said he doesn't plan to change it; he likewise supports current levels of environmental regulation, which he claims are "the right balance" and negate the need for carbon pricing. While promising to overhaul the federal equalization system, he does not wish to do away with it altogether, saying that he "approve[s] of the philosophy ... that a poor province would be able to give the same services as a rich province."

Even so, Mr. Bernier proposes plenty else that would move his party far away from the incremental conservatism of the Harper era, and make him the most economically right-wing leader of a major federal party in modern Canadian history.

His aversion to corporate welfare, which he would replace with much lower business taxes, is such that he said in the interview he would refuse to give subsidies or loans to industries even in the case of an economic crisis like the one in 2008, when the Conservative government helped bail out auto manufacturers. His faith in the free market is strong enough that he would entirely deregulate the telecommunications sector, scrapping consumer protections. His belief in personal responsibility would compel him to do away altogether with regional development agencies, on which Atlantic Canada in particular has long been heavily reliant. His prioritization of clear lines of responsibility would mean that the federal government would leave heath-care policy and funding (through the transfer of tax points) entirely to the provinces.

Globally, while not isolationist militarily, he has little patience for traditional developmental assistance. "I've never seen a poor country being a rich country with foreign aid," he said. "China developed a middle class because they adopted more free market policies. Building roads in Africa - that's not our role."

And that perhaps only scratches the surface of how he would limit the government's scope, because his commitment to dramatically cutting taxes - for businesses early in a four-year smandate and on personal income, including for the highest earners, toward the end of it - would likely require tens of billions of dollars in untold annual spending cuts.

When it's suggested to him that whatever their merits, these sound like the sort of policies that Justin Trudeau's Liberals could use to demonize his party, Mr. Bernier is ready with an answer: Mike Harris.

In fact, he mentions the former Ontario premier (who presumably to his chagrin is backing Mr. O'Leary) in response to quite a few questions, always with the same point: that Mr. Harris's Common Sense Revolution was initially dismissed as far too right-wing to successfully campaign upon, and that by rolling it out long before the election and taking time to explain to Ontarians what it actually meant he was able to prove his doubters wrong.

But if that answers how he thinks he could beat the Liberals, albeit presupposing Canadians will be in as much of an antigovernment mood in 2019 as Ontarians were after five years of NDP reign in 1995, it still leaves the question of getting buy-in from his own party, not just before the leadership but potentially after it.

There is a reason most leadership candidates with a serious chance of winning - including the last several to steer a federal party to power, and for that matter also Mr. Harris - do not present detailed general-election platforms during the intra-party campaign. On top of wanting to stay adaptable to changing electoral circumstances, they usually feel the need to have some semblance of a collaborative process afterward to ensure most party members are comfortable with what they will be asked to campaign on.

As he seeks to lead what is very much a coalition party - between old Progressive Conservatives and Reformers, and among economic conservatives and social conservatives and populists - Mr. Bernier is instead suggesting they'll have to adapt to him.

Pressed on how he would keep the Tories' big-tent standing, the socially liberal Mr. Bernier pointed to his promise to allow socially conservative caucus members bring forward private members' bills on matters such as abortion, and to hold free votes on them.

He has also rather plainly tried recently to cover his bases with the nativist crowd that has been drawn to Ms. Leitch, by making half-hearted noises about the perils of "radical multiculturalism" and "mass immigration."

But if he might be willing to indulge others' views, when they don't conflict with his own, he is clearly signalling that it will be his way or the highway.

"It's the right platform to bring more freedom and more prosperity to this country," he said. "And that will be my job, and the members of our party's jobs if I'm the leader - to explain our platform to Canadians like Mike Harris did."

With another candidate, this could seem like posturing to keep hard-line leadership supporters energized, before an inevitable softening later. Members of the party establishment may tell themselves just that, if they feel compelled to place him ahead of candidates they have even more trouble abiding on the leadership vote's ranked ballot.

But ideological consistency has already gotten Mr. Bernier further than anyone expected for him. It's hard to imagine he will feel inclined to abandon it, if it gets him further still.

Associated Graphic

Leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier is seen at the national Conservative summer caucus retreat in Halifax in September, 2016. Mr. Bernier is holding firm on his so-called 'freedom platform,' a plan to dramatically scale back the size of government.


After a five-year break from the music world, the artist with 40 million record sales to her name is back with a vengeance. Sarah Hampson talks with Canada's free-bird musician as she makes her long-awaited return to pop
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Three years ago, Nelly Furtado was just a woman named Kim in a playwriting class at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.

"Only the teacher knew my other life as a singer," says the award-winning singer/songwriter, whose sixth album, The Ride, marks her long-awaited return to pop. "My name was just Kim, which is my middle name."

And no one recognized her?

Furtado shakes her head. "No, not until the end. I had a couple of really good friends by the end - and they were, like, 'We didn't know it was you!' " Today, Furtado's long dark hair has been shorn in a pixie cut. She appears shy, rarely making eye contact, turning her small hands over in her lap. She speaks about her music in a meek, awkward way, as if it's a new boyfriend whose affection she remains unsure of.

There's little of the bold confidence one might expect from one of Canada's greatest singing talents. The artist who has sold more than 40 million records worldwide has been struggling with an existential crisis, questioning what her life was about and what she wanted next. "I was in search of personal autonomy," she says. "It was about me finding a more simplified version of myself."

Sounds as if it's a premature midlife crisis by most standards. Furtado is young - 38 years old. But it's understandable. Everything in her life has been accelerated.

"I had a very fast-paced life since I was about 21, professionally and personally," she offers, referring to when her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, with its chart-topping folk pop single, I'm Like a Bird, catapulted her to worldwide fame and a Grammy.

"I was a mother by the time I was 25. I owned my own home by the age of 22, 23." Every three years, she put out a new album. "I had to put on the brakes."

The Ride, released at the end of this month, is a testament to her rediscovery of creative meaning.

During the five-year hiatus since her last album, The Spirit Indestructible, she has been destructible, walking away from "a long-term business relationship ... somebody who was a father figure to me," questioning the meaning of her life, she confesses, and leaning on family members to help her regain confidence and come in from the storm.

At her nadir in the summer of 2014, she bolted to London, England, to work with Mark Taylor, who had produced Broken Strings, a duet with Furtado and British singer James Morrison in 2008.

The day after she arrived, she wrote Phoenix, the first song for The Ride, a ballad about resurfacing. "I built myself a life raft - come back, come back," she offers in a whispery voice to explain the experience.

"I don't always see myself clearly," she says of her family's help during that period of darkness.

"Other people see you. They might remind me that being an entertainer, being a singer, is very positive to do and spend your time doing. Sometimes, you need reminders."

Really? She doubted her talent?

"My singing teacher, who works with all kinds of people, told me every singer hates their voice," she says flatly, turning to look at me with turquoise eyes beneath a thick fringe of false eyelashes.

She hates her voice?

"I don't hate my voice," she shoots back. "I don't think I have a particularly remarkable instrument. I think I'm lucky because I write songs and sing. That helps.

Of course, you can sit there all day and criticize yourself and feel less adequate as an entertainer."

The playwriting class at U of T was all part of a creative odyssey Furtado embarked upon, sending herself out into the world, not as a global celebrity, but as a flâneuse at the mercy of inspiration, beauty, creative terror. She took pottery classes at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, worked in a friend's record store and thrust herself into creative challenges.

Through Annie Clark (the singer better known as St. Vincent), whom she met in 2012 at the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo, Furtado was introduced to John Congleton, a Grammy-winning producer and writer in Dallas. "I flew to Texas, cold turkey," she says. She had brought some "garage band tracks" of vocals and a guitar on her laptop. "He didn't like anything. Then, luckily, I remembered this melody - that's the chorus of Flatline - and I kind of sang it to him, and he was, 'Well, I really like that. Let's do that.' He had already booked session players for the next day. No pressure!"

She laughs for the first time in the interview. "So, I showed him my first draft of the lyrics for Flatline and he was tinkering away at the music, and he said, 'Those are all right, but I think you can do better. I think you can dig a little deeper.' And here I am - this is my sixth album - and I'm kind of, like, 'Wow. Okay.' " She welcomed the criticism.

"It's about respect. I respected him as a producer. Nothing he does is dictated by commerce. It's about art. I already knew he wasn't going to be impressed by how many top-40 hits I had or something like that. I really like the feeling of terror in the studio.

It makes all my synapses fire."

There's a sense about Furtado of satisfied exhaustion, of having finally found her way back to be in an interview again, in a small room, in a comfy chair, talking about the magic of what she may have begun to doubt. Throughout the conversation, she makes segues to describe some of the songs on the new album, talking about them and their genesis as if they were places she visited on her odyssey. There was that place where "you're not feeling anything any more, and you know something's wrong." It was the genesis of Flatline.

Another time, she had a profound realization about her whole life. "[The song] Tap Dancing was written because I had a meeting, and someone said, 'Why are you tap dancing? You don't need to tap dance. You are who you are. Period.' And then I realized that I had been tap dancing throughout my entire personal and professional life."

And by that she means?

"I mean performing for others."

To prove what she can do?

"Yeah," she responds thoughtfully. "Seeking some kind of validation. Or seeking to entertain people rather than seeking stillness and quiet."

From early on in her life, music entered her head spontaneously, and she never knew why. "I would open my mouth, and melody would fly out. ... Sometimes, I would just perform for friends," she says of her childhood, growing up the youngest of three children in a Portuguese-Canadian family in Victoria. "My sister used to say, 'Hey, Nel, make up a song!' And the reason she would ask me to make up a song on the spot like a singing monkey was because it was delightful for her to watch me cry while I sang.

"I would get welled up with emotion ... so obviously, I was connecting to something quite deep within myself, and that's why I don't really think it out; that's the reason why every album is different and why my style is always different."

When I interviewed Furtado five years ago about The Spirit Indestructible, she was starry-eyed about a spiritual awakening in Kenya, where she continues to work with WE Charity. She was in anti-celebrity mode then, too, and talked about how her then three-year marriage to Demacio Castellon, a sound engineer, and domestic life with her daughter, Nevis, now 13, kept her grounded.

But then a shift happened.

"There are some big changes in my life. ... You're thinking one way, and then you make a big change and it alters everything."

She is unwilling to elaborate on the upheavals in her personal life. She continues to live in Toronto but recently bought a place in New York, where she often goes on weekends.

She has learned not to feel compelled to harness the melodies every time they fly into her head, but to see them as part of her life and the way she relates to herself and others.

Last fall, she collaborated with her friend, the performance artist Ryan McNamara, for an event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sitting in a room at a desk with a tape recorder, she "was trying to explore the question of, 'Does the well run out?

What is this idea of the muse, of the collective unconscious?' I wanted to prove that there was empathy between people always, like even when you walk by people on the street and you feel connected to them but you don't know why. I think this can be proven with a song, with the songwriting process."

Every 15 minutes, a new group of participants would enter the room. Furtado would ask them what they had dreamed the night before or what their favourite holiday had been.

While they talked, she would start to sing. "There was laughter and there were tears," she says of the MoMA PSI installation. "It was really quite transformational for me."

Last summer, driving around in her car, she would sing what came into her mind; what she was feeling. "Then I would throw it out the window," she says. "It wasn't for recording purposes. It helps when you're going through emotional turmoil, because you can sing yourself to peace. It is my form of meditation."

Associated Graphic

Nelly Furtado, seen in Toronto on March 8, says she has been 'in search of personal autonomy.'


Nelly Furtado's new album comes after a five-year hiatus and is a testament to her rediscovery of creative meaning.


What can the province do to help Toronto's 'dizzying' housing market?
Ontario's budget, expected in April, has a unique opportunity to tackle the issue of rising house prices in the country's biggest city
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B9

Two days before Wednesday's federal budget, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa threw one of his government's hottest potatoes into the lap of the federal government.

Facing outrage in the Toronto area about runaway house prices, Mr. Sousa said on Monday that he had written to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau urging him to raise the amount of capitalgains tax that investors must pay when they sell a house that is not their principal residence, arguing it would curb speculation in Toronto's market.

Mr. Morneau sidestepped Ontario's proposal in his Wednesday budget, however, announcing additional funding for Statistics Canada to gather more data on real estate trends, but revealing no measures aimed at curbing house-price growth.

With Ontario's budget coming up in April, the ball is now in Mr.

Sousa's court to reveal whether he plans to do anything about an issue that has become one of the hottest topics of concern throughout the Toronto area.

While Mr. Sousa doesn't have all the levers of the federal government, experts say many of the policy options they believe are best suited to curb speculation in the market are squarely in the domain of the province to adopt, including a foreign buyers' tax on Greater Toronto Area properties, a speculation tax on property flipping or a propertytax surcharge for foreign owners.

Bank of Nova Scotia chief economist Jean-François Perrault says Toronto's market is reaching "dizzying heights" and he believes speculation by investors - both domestic and foreign - has been a factor that has emerged on top of strong domestic demand and a lack of supply. Based on the standard relationship between new listings and price appreciation, he calculates home prices should currently be rising by about 15 per cent annually.

Prices have far surpassed that level since late last summer. After Vancouver imposed a 15-per-cent tax on property purchases by foreign buyers in August, investors immediately swung their attention eastward and home prices soared. The average detached home in the Greater Toronto Area sold for a record $1.2-million in February, up 32.5 per cent from the same month a year earlier.

"There are clearly elements of speculation in the market," Mr. Perrault said. "There's no doubt about it."

Many are now warning the market has become a bubble, with house-price growth reaching unsustainable levels.

"The situation we are in - negative real interest rates and a tide of capital washing around the world in search of safe assets - is unusual, perhaps without precedent," said Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal.

"Thus, the policy response must also be unusual."

John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc., a Torontobased real estate brokerage firm, argues the province should enact multiple reforms in its next budget because there are so many factors driving up prices that it requires several solutions to address the problem.

"I think we we need a big stick right now," he said. "It's not one of those things where there's an easy fix."

Speculation tax Mr. Perrault's favoured policy response is a tax that would be imposed by the province on single-family homes that are flipped within a short time period - perhaps up to two years - after their purchase date.

The speculation tax would be a percentage of the sale price of the house, and would be graduated, with people paying more tax when properties are sold within the first six months of their purchase, then gradually less as time goes on. He has not calculated the level of tax that would be needed to deter speculation in Toronto's hot market.

Mr. Perrault believes a tax on flipping would reach a broader array of speculators than a tax on foreign buyers, who account for a small proportion of all sales. He said revenue from the tax should be allocated toward help for lowincome or first-time home buyers or toward subsidized housing.

Mr. Pasalis at Realosophy is also a strong advocate of a speculation tax to curb flipping, saying many of the real estate investors he sees are domestic buyers, not foreign speculators.

"This is generally what policies should discourage - they should discourage speculation in singlefamily homes. It's not good, it messes up our entire market and it makes housing less affordable for buyers," he said.

He argues, however, that the tax should only apply on homes that are not the owner's principal residence, and should continue for up to four years because many speculators in Toronto tend to hold properties for several years.

Foreign buyers' tax However, Mr. Porter from Bank of Montreal believes a speculation tax may be too strong a measure as a starting point. If Ontario uses all its policy ammunition at once, it may go beyond what is needed to cool the market.

"I suspect it would be best to take it one step at a time, and keep some further, stronger options in reserve," he said.

Mr. Porter argues the province should start more modestly with a foreign-buyers' tax similar to the one introduced in British Columbia, which appeared to work to cool the market without leading to a big price correction.

"I don't believe that anyone thinks that a tax on non-resident buyers will instantly cure all ills in the GTA housing market," he said. "But at the very least it may take a bit of steam out of the market, which may be just what the doctor ordered."

Ban foreigners from buying resale homes Mr. Pasalis from Realosophy also wants Ontario to adopt a measure imposed in Australia, which has generally banned foreign buyers from purchasing resale homes - homes that are already built and are being resold - unless they plan to live in them full-time. Instead, they are only allowed to purchase newly built properties if they receive approval.

Mr. Pasalis said the policy curbs speculation in resale homes and ensures local buyers are not priced out of the market, while also channelling foreign capital into new construction that builds a bigger supply of housing for the future.

However, Mr. Perrault from Scotiabank said he isn't convinced the Australian solution would have enough impact because Toronto appears to have a lower percentage of foreign buyers than some of the hottest markets in Australia had prior to the imposition of the rule.

Progressive property tax for foreign owners Josh Gordon, an assistant professor of public policy at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., argues the best policy solution for Ontario is an extra tax imposed annually on foreign owners of property in the Toronto area.

The idea is to create an annual property tax for people who own expensive residential property but do not participate in the local labour market or pay taxes in Canada, said Dr. Gordon, who recently completed a study on Toronto's housing market for the Ryerson City Building Institute.

The progressive property tax would be based on the assessed value of a property, he says, and would be imposed only on properties above a certain value threshold. It could start at 1 per cent of the value of a property, and be raised in increments for more expensive homes.

The tax would be paid by people who did not pay income tax in Canada in the prior year, which means it would be paid both by foreign buyers and by people with Canadian citizenship who work and pay taxes abroad. However, it would exempt senior citizens and some others who do not work.

The tax would require co-ordination between levels of government to confirm an owner's income tax status, property ownership and the assessed value of the home.

Supply policy changes The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), which represents real estate brokers in Ontario, has opposed a foreign buyers' tax in the province, and is instead urging governments to deal with the "supply" side of the equation by taking measures to increase the stock of available housing in the Toronto area.

An OREA spokesman said the organization is still developing its policy recommendations for the provincial budget in April so could not detail its specific proposals. But OREA issued a statement in early March, calling on Queen's Park to create a task force of housing experts to work on solutions to increase the housing supply in Ontario.

In its statement, the organization also said the province should give municipalities more flexibility to determine the types of housing they want to encourage, "instead of a blanket provincial preference for high density."

OREA also said policy makers should encourage more innovative housing solutions, such as laneway housing or multi-unit homes, and should target infrastructure investing, such as transit, in places where it is most needed to help get land developed for housing.

Do nothing The province should be wary of quick fixes to a complex problem, warns Phil Soper, chief executive officer of realty firm Royal Lepage.

Mr. Soper said he is not a fan of any tax changes or limitations on foreign buyers, saying they can have unintended consequences and could even lead to a crash in the real estate market.

Instead, he believes the market will correct itself as more buyers stay on the sidelines when prices soar beyond their reach, returning the market to normal equilibrium.

"A move to undermine consumer confidence in the market, rather than letting it work itself out, is likely to push the market into a deep and hard correction, and that's what all of us want to avoid," he said.

"It's not a healthy market right now. But it doesn't need someone coming at it with a chainsaw.

You need to let the body heal itself, and it will happen."

Associated Graphic

The average detached home in the Greater Toronto Area sold for a record $1.2-million in February, up 32.5 per cent from February, 2016. Experts stress the need for a strong policy response to fix the 'unsustainable growth' in the housing market.


Amy Laughinghouse takes a detour off the touristy streets of Prague to discover some of the Czech Republic's lesser-known charms
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

VORTOVA, CZECH REPUBLIC -- A group of perhaps a dozen men in masks or with soot-blackened faces wander the streets of a rural Czech village, cracking whips and pounding on doors. Attired in flowered hats, ruffled lace collars and outlandish costumes of straw, rags and Crayola-coloured suits bedecked in bows, they're a bit like the characters from The Wizard of Oz ... if L.

Frank Baum had been bombed out of his mind on absinthe when he wrote the kiddie classic.

I'm not sure I'd open my door to these folks, but invariably, the residents of tiny Vortova do. That's the cue for the men to break into song and dance, accompanied by a brass band. As a reward for their efforts, homeowners hand out shots of liqueur, sugar-dusted buns and platters of meat, not only to the performers, but also to their hangers-on, who seem to make up pretty much the entire town. Every spectator receives a swath of black stripes across their cheeks, chins and foreheads - a sign that they've been accepted into the entertainers' raucous ranks.

I'm here because I want to experience life in some of the Czech Republic's smaller cities and towns on a tour that will eventually lead to the lesser-known attractions of Prague's well-trodden streets. But it's going to be hard to exceed the outrageous revelry of this afternoon, celebrating the centuriesold tradition of masopust.

Held just before the start of Lent, masopust translates as "goodbye meat."

In Vortova and some surrounding towns, this Shrovetide procession is considered so important that it's featured on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

I'm riveted by the mental image of straight-laced UNESCO officials stripping off their striped neckties and letting it rip at masopust, which is essentially Mardi Gras meets Halloween, with a decidedly adult tone. Although all ages take part, there's a lot of tackling lasses on top of snowbanks, prodding them with sticks and treating them to "medical" checkups involving bawdy props that are decidedly not your standard-issue physician's kit.

Supposedly, these strange rites are all about fertility and ensuring a good harvest, while the black face paint is apparently a nod to chimney sweeps clearing away the dreary dregs of winter.

By the look of things, I reckon a lot of ladies will be getting their chimneys swept tonight.

Moving on from the louche temptations of masopust, I find more tangible heritage and enticements in Brno. The Czech Republic's second-largest city after Prague has close to 400,000 residents, and an additional 86,000 students. Given its preponderance of pubs and inexpensive beer, it's little wonder that a survey of students recently rated Brno as the fourth-best university city in the world, with Prague claiming the No. 2 spot. Here, I also learn the social custom of "na stojaka" - to drink standing up - basically the Czech equivalent of "a swift one down the pub."

But Brno's appeal goes beyond booze.

It's a baroque beauty, where ornate buildings in sherbet shades keep company with eyecatching modern artworks displayed in city squares. From atop the tower at 13th-century Spilberk Castle, I take in the whole panorama, my gaze stretching as far as distant, Lego-like communist apartment blocks abutting a low rise of hills across the plain.

As attractive as Brno is above ground, I'm even more intrigued by its subterranean secrets. I venture into the castle's dank dungeons, where up to 2,000 prisoners at a time were packed into squalid brick and stone caverns, and 10-Z, a former nuclear-bomb shelter that now operates as a museum and hostel, where you can actually spend the night.

I can hardly imagine a creepier setting in which to slumber ... until I tour Brno's ossuary.

Beneath St. James Church, centuries-old skeletal remains fill three vaulted rooms, which are open to the public, and mysterious, off-limits passages beyond.

Leaving the bones behind, I continue to Olomouc, another renowned baroque university city.

Located about an hour northeast of Brno, it's home to 100,000 residents and 25,000 students, who lend the place a hip, youthful vibe.

"This is our Oxford," explains my guide, Stefan Blaho. "It's smaller, calmer and not so spoiled by tourism. If you go to bars and discos, you'll find more students and locals [than tourists]."

You'll also find plenty of cheese - and I'm not referring to bad pickup lines in the pubs.

Olomouc is famous for its soft, pungent tvaruzky cheese, which you can sample in virtually all its shapes and forms at the Tvaruzky Cheese Pastry Shop.

There's also an annual tvaruzky cheese festival, scheduled for April 28-29 this year, and a cheese museum about 20 minutes outside town. I even spot a cheese vending machine in the Town Hall, which also features the world's only communist astronomical clock, depicting workers and scientists instead of angels and saints, and a tower affording unparalleled views of the city.

If you need a walk to work off your lactose overload, stroll through the university district, with its shops, bars and elaborate fountains, toward St. Wenceslas Cathedral and the Archdiocesan Museum.

"Czech" out the gem-encrusted bling in the museum's treasure room and the equally ornate archbishop's carriage. A music collection includes original scores by Beethoven and Mozart, who lived here while completing his sixth symphony (at the age of 11).

When I finally arrive in Prague, I wonder ... will I have been spoiled by the uncrowded streets of the Czech Republic's lesser-known destinations? Will there be anything new to discover?

Oh, me of little faith. I am charmed as ever by Old Town Square, where a Dixieland jazz band entertains tourists who have come to admire the fairytale spires of Tyn Church and see the medieval astronomical clock, from which statues of the Apostles emerge every hour.

The saintly statues lining iconic Charles Bridge are as reassuringly sombre as ever, and the sprawling bulk of Prague Castle presides over it all from a hilltop perch above the Vltava River.

These are the sites I feel compelled to visit each time I return, but I'm keen to burrow deeper beneath this city's skin.

The Prague Unknown Tour, guided by history student Daniel Verner, fits the bill.

Verner ushers my friends and me through Novy Svet, a cobblestone street that may not be paved with gold, but is flanked by "golden" houses. He reveals that American Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who briefly resided at the House of the Golden Lamb in the sixties, was expelled by the secret police for "spoiling the youth" with his liberal ideas, and we hear about a grisly murder committed by a former resident of the House of the Golden Stork. At the House of the Golden Pear, now a restaurant, Verner explains that it was once the site of a notorious pub founded in the 14th century. "If you ordered the soup, they served you in a bowl carved from the table itself - and you ate from a spoon attached by a chain," he says with a grin.

I'm pleased to report that service standards are considerably higher at the six establishments I visit on the Eating Prague Food Tour, which takes tourists off the beaten path to taste true Czech cooking.

"People come to Prague for the history and the beer - hardly ever for the food," laments guide Jan Macuch, whose passion is recreating old recipes.

But he insists that Czech cuisine, a fusion of Austrian, Hungarian and Bavarian influences, "is the most underestimated in the world."

With every delicious dish, Macuch serves up an equally savoury anecdote.

He explains that a delicately layered gingerbread pastry, sakrajda, means "damn it" - "because you hear lots of swearing when someone is making this."

As we slurp sauerkraut soup in a wood-timbered restaurant in Jindrisska Tower, our guide reveals that it is usually made by men and served as a hangover cure on New Year's Day. As he shifts from foot to foot, Macuch claims that this "typical Czech man's dancing style" is dubbed "stomping the sauerkraut."

At Café Louvre, one of the oldest in Prague, we feast upon svickova, a rich beef soup with bacon, dumplings and sour cream, as Macuch regales us with stories of famous former patrons such as Albert Einstein.

"He contemplated how quickly time flies by when you're drinking Czech beer ... and the theory of relativity was born," Macuch says with a sly smile.

I'm far too satiated to swallow that tale, but I still go home wanting more. No matter how many times I return, I'll never get my fill of the Czech Republic.

The writer was a guest of Czech Tourism. It did not review or approve this article.



Hotel Barcelo Brno Palace, in the heart of Brno, features spacious, well-equipped accommodations in an elegant, mid-19th-century building with a soaring atrium, where you can enjoy live music on select nights;

Occidental Praha Wilson lies at the southeastern end of St. Wenceslas Square, a terrific central location for exploring Prague. Some rooms offer balconies overlooking the statue of St. Wenceslas;

For more information visit

Associated Graphic

The city of Olomouc, left, below left and below, boasts baroque architecture, but its vibrant student population lends it a hip, youthful vibe. In Vortova, bottom, a Czech village, men in bright suits, ribboned hats and ruffled collars attend the Shrovetide celebration known as Masopust.


The sun sets over the Vltava River in Prague.


A statue of a knight astride a giraffe-sized horse, created by Czech artist Jarosia Rona, stands in front of the Church of St. Thomas in Brno, Czech Republic.


Despite an extraordinary 107-game winning streak, the Canadian 'rock' and her teammates take nothing for granted
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

It is remarkable that Kia Nurse remembers what it was like to lose a U.S. college basketball game, given it happened so long ago. Most of her teammates don't even know.

The six-foot Canadian guard is one of only a few UConn players who were on the prestigious women's basketball team when it last lost. On Nov. 17, 2014, No. 6-ranked Stanford ended a 47-game Huskies win streak by beating them 88-86 in overtime.

"It was just the second game of my career at UConn," Nurse recalled. "I remember feeling so bad for the seniors on our team. I felt like there was more I could have done to help in that game." If winning 47 consecutive games seemed incredible then, it seems like nothing now.

UConn is riding a historic 107-game winning streak and looking for another NCAA national championship. It is arguably the most successful program in U.S. sports today. Nurse is a big reason why.

The Huskies are 32-0 this season, set to open the NCAA tournament on Saturday at home in Storrs, Conn., against 16th-seeded Albany in what's likely to be a breezy victory. But believe it or not, UConn began the season ranked No. 3 in the polls. The Huskies had just graduated the country's three best female players after four successive national championships, then watched them go first, second and third in the WNBA draft. Without that superstar trio this season, UConn finally appeared beatable.

Fresh off her Rio Olympic appearance with Team Canada, Nurse was among those to fill the leadership void left by departed stars Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck, and Breanna Stewart - MVP in the past four Final Fours and one of the greatest UConn players in history. A third-year UConn starter, Nurse is battling the doubters and fighting through a late-season ankle injury, as she plays for a squad being followed by an HBO documentary crew and led by demanding coach Geno Auriemma, winner of 11 national titles during his 32 seasons there.

Nurse not only shoulders the pressure. She loves it.

"We lost three All-Americans and had no All-Americans coming back to our team, so no one thought we'd be undefeated at this point," Nurse said in a phone interview this week from campus. "There are a lot of banners up in our gym, a lot of great players' names up there, so every time we play we ask ourselves, 'Are we honouring the people who built UConn women's basketball with the way we played today?' " The Huskies have toppled opponents by an average of 30 points this season and led startling blowouts - 102-37 over the University of South Florida, 10056 over Tulane, 105-57 over Tulsa. But there have been a few heart-stoppers, too.

During the first game of the season, a 78-76 win over Florida State, cameras caught Auriemma storming up and down the sidelines muttering "We're worse than I thought," and then calmly blasting his players at halftime as they trailed. "This is a classic example of guys who have never had to work hard for anything in college. Maybe everyone around the country was right about you. Maybe those guys did take Connecticut with them when they left."

Last year HBO followed Gonzaga's men's basketball team in a docuseries. This season, the network chose to go deep behind the scenes with Auriemma's squad - dubbing it "the best college basketball program ever." The show, airing weekly during March in the United States, attempts to find out what makes UConn so uniquely unconquerable.

"He'll never tell us how good we are - that never happens around here," Nurse told The Globe and Mail. "He pushes us every day, about every detail. He harps on your every little mistake. Walk into one of our practices right now and I can guarantee no one will be talking about any win streak."

The docuseries, entitled UConn: March to Madness shows Auriemma's blunt honesty, and the culture he creates in which all players abandon individual aspirations to sacrifice for the good of the team. He's unapologetically direct, helping the players grow thick skin and learn tough lessons, saying things like: "I can't give you a heart ... I didn't expect the kids in Connecticut uniforms to back down ... we have a bunch of scared guys in this group right now ... if I look in your eyes and you're scared, you won't play."

Rather than boost their confidence by talking about their record, the coach, who is simultaneously beloved and feared, constantly reminds them that they've merely survived one more game. His players appreciate the fact that he doesn't believe female athletes ought to be treated more gently than males. His demanding program has produced a nearly 100-percent graduation rate and sent 33 players to the WNBA.

"On this year's team, we don't have anyone on the cover of Sports Illustrated or anyone that's going to win the Naismith Player of the Year. We just have to have a bunch of guys who are willing to fight for every little thing," Auriemma is heard saying on the show, as he talked to the women after one early season win. "There's all this talk that this is the year someone is going to beat us because no one has a whole lot of respect for you guys individually or as a team. Well they might. But not tonight."

While Nurse and fellow junior Gabby Williams share leadership duties for this team, it's Williams, along with sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier who grab most of the headlines. Nurse is averaging 31 minutes a game this year, along with a career-high 12 points and four assists, but usually her biggest impact is on defence and hustle plays.

"She's been the team's Steady Eddy, one of their best defenders and the team's rock," said Bob Joyce, the team's long-time play-by-play voice on the UConn Radio Network, reached by phone. "Kia and Gabby are the two toughest kids on the team and the glue that holds the group together. She isn't the player that dazzles, but when she missed games due to the ankle injury, it was very obvious UConn was missing its best perimeter defender."

Nurse was sidelined 21/2 weeks at the end of the regular season after rolling her right ankle in practice. At UConn's top-notch facilities, she rehabbed with pool workouts and by jogging on an anti-gravity treadmill that enclosed her lower body in a special airtight plastic bag to reduce the weight on her ankle.

She was told a stress reaction typically takes six to eight weeks to heal, but she rushed back early before the American Athletic Conference tournament.

"We did what we could and it's going to have to be good enough to play on it for another few weeks," Nurse said.

The 107-game streak is the most in NCAA basketball history. Earlier this season, the program eclipsed the record of 88 successive wins by the UCLA men's team, led by coach John Wooden, from 1970-74.

The Huskies were tested in meetings with a few of their ranked opponents this year, such as Baylor, Notre Dame and Maryland. They also let unranked Tulane within three points of an upset late in the season.

Nurse has experienced loss more recently than some of her teammates though. She and the Canadian team suffered a disappointing elimination in the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics and did not bring home a medal as many projected they would.

"For a few weeks after Rio, I felt pure disappointment. I wanted to fix everything in one day but knew that couldn't happen. It helped me remember what I need to improve at and appreciate how hard it is to win," Nurse said. "I learned from some of the leaders on the Canadian team too - Kim Gaucher, Shona Thorburn, Lizanne Murphy. I brought some of their leadership qualities back with me to UConn this year."

UConn does its best to give every player a game close to her home town during her senior season, and Nurse will be no exception next year. The Huskies will take on Duquesne at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre during the 201718 season, UConn's first regularseason game in Canada.

"I'm really excited for it because my family and friends don't get to come see me play that often, and I can't wait to be there in Canada with my team," Nurse said. "I was in awe of the UConn women when I was a kid. It's cool to think there might be some girls in Toronto watching that night who say 'I want to play for UConn someday.' "



Consecutive games played: Cal Ripken Jr., 2,632 (MLB) Consecutive saves: Éric Gagné, 84 (MLB)

Basketball Consecutive home games won: Golden State Warriors, 54 (Basketball Reference)

Boxing (heavyweight) Longest undefeated streak: Rocky Marciano, 49-0 (official website)

Golf Consecutive tournament wins: Byron Nelson, 11 ( Hockey Consecutive 50-goal seasons: Mike Bossy, 9 (NHL) Consecutive seasons with at least 20 goals: Gordie Howe, 22 (

Tennis Consecutive weeks at men's No. 1: Roger Federer, 237 (ATP) Consecutive women's singles titles: Martina Navratilova, 13 (WTA)

Associated Graphic

Connecticut guard Kia Nurse, left, drives past SMU guard Kamray Mickens during a game in Dallas in January. UConn plays Albany on Saturday in the opening round of the women's NCAA championship.


UConn Huskies, from left, Tierney Lawler, Katie Lou Samuelson, Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier, and Kia Nurse cheer during Jan. 10 game.


Looking to Seattle for answers
The similarities with Vancouver's housing market have analysts wondering if the B.C. foreign-buyers tax is creating spillover
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

It feels like a case of déjà vu.

South of the border, experts are divided about whether or not the city's housing market is being driven by foreign buyers - the same argument that dragged on for a couple of years in Vancouver.

Today, the effect of foreign buying is indisputable.

In Seattle, there's the question of whether the city is seeing a spillover effect from the B.C. government's 15-per-cent foreignbuyer tax.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow, doesn't believe it is. Dr. Gudell, who has a PhD in finance, did the media rounds in Vancouver last week. Zillow's findings are that Chinese buyers did not go property shopping in Seattle after the introduction of B.C.'s 15-percent tax. The findings are based on the number of searches by shoppers in China who used the site after the tax was introduced.

"It's really hard to get real data on this because we don't have a great way of tracking foreign buyers in our markets, either - we face similar issues to you," she said. "But at least from our search data, which is what we use to give a pretty good proxy ... we are not finding a pick-up in terms of traffic. Right around the Lunar New Year we saw a pickup, but beyond that we didn't see much of a blip in terms of the tax causing more people to now search in Seattle."

The entrepreneurs that founded online travel company Expedia also founded Zillow. Its strength is a database of 110 million U.S. homes, which represents the vast majority of homes in the United States. It also offers real estate services, connecting real estate agents and lenders with buyers and sellers.

Zillow has a vested interest in Chinese buying activity. Last year, the company announced new marketing efforts to connect directly with buyers from China, who now represent the greatest portion of the foreign-buyer market in the United States. Zillow offers Mandarin-speaking customer-service teams and agents in cities of interest to those buyers, including Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company also directly connects with potential buyers through hugely popular Chinese mobile messenger app WeChat. It powers a Chinese search website of U.S. homes and it has partnered with a major Chinese real estate company.

Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold also doubts that the B.C. tax plays a significant role in Seattle's escalating prices. She points to the city's job growth and high local salaries as the biggest drivers of the housing market.

Unlike Vancouver, Seattle's housing market is connected to local incomes. In Vancouver, the median family income is $67,000 and the average detached house price is $2.6-million. In the region, the average single-family house is $1.5-million. In Seattle, the median household income is about $80,000 (U.S.) and the median single-family home around $675,000. In Seattle, both incomes and house prices have gone up in the past few years. In Vancouver, incomes have remained stagnant.

"The context for our housing market challenges is set by the tech jobs that have fuelled increases for years and well before Vancouver's action," Coun. Herbold said in an e-mail.

She says that a foreign-buyer tax is not legally possible due to state and federal laws. She is pushing for more information to address the issue of escalating prices.

About 40 per cent of homes for sale in Seattle are listed for more than $1-million.

"I am interested in working with our county assessor to require disclosure of information related to which individuals and companies are purchasing properties, whether property is being purchased for primary residence versus investment purposes, length of ownership and whether we can track how many property exchanges individuals or companies are doing in a certain time," she says. "I think disclosure of information like this would tell us more than we know now about the nature of our housing market, and help us design effective and legal solutions."

The Zillow report is at odds with other reports. Charles Pittar, chief executive officer of, an international Chinese property website, says Toronto and Seattle benefited directly from the "Vancouver tax." The site tracks more than 2 million Chinese users a month. In September, 2016, one month after the tax was introduced, it showed a 93.3-per-cent increase in Chinese buyer inquiries in the Seattle market compared to the year before. The amount peaked in November, at 140 per cent, and has since declined. However, that could be attributable to the usual decline in winter buying in general.

Charles Mudede is associate editor of Seattle weekly The Stranger and he writes regularly about the housing situation.

"For me, it is outside money, both national and international," he says. "It's silly to say, 'It's tech money,' when this money attracts global investors looking for higher yields. I keep warning people about this, but they keep thinking it's just the big pay cheques from Amazon and so on. Capitalism has not worked this way since the rise of finance in the 19th century.

"Why is Seattle suddenly obeying the laws of ordinary demand?" But Dr. Gudell says Seattle has a supply problem, and she believes Vancouver does, too. She said that foreign-buying activity was already concentrated in the Seattle high-end property market before the B.C. tax. As well, she doesn't believe the tax would incentivize buyers to look elsewhere.

"We are dealing with very highend buyers oftentimes, buying multimillion-dollar properties.

They aren't that price sensitive that the 15-per-cent tax for a lot of them would deter them. I think it's the cost of doing business.

"I read that your affordability problem is purely driven by investors. I don't quite buy that. I think it's really hard for an investment of 10 to 15 per cent of foreign money to drive a city's affordability issues. I think it's supply. You clearly have people attracted to come to Vancouver, and they're not building enough units, period."

It's a refrain we've heard in Vancouver before. Premier Christy Clark has repeatedly called on more supply as a panacea to unaffordability.

But according to data provided by Simon Fraser University City Program director Andy Yan, the last two years of supply of building permits has outpaced new population growth. He analyzed the city's permits and BC Statistics population data and found that more dwelling building permits were issued than people who newly arrived in Vancouver in 2015 and 2016. That includes children.

"The assumption that the mass of new market units will automatically make things more affordable without scrutinizing their details, like size and price, as well as the type of marketplace that the City of Vancouver has become, cannot substantially deal with housing problems for local income earners," said Mr. Yan.

University of Toronto housing professor David Hulchanski has stern words for those who argue that we can build our way out of an affordability crisis. He says supply of market housing is not a problem in Vancouver or Toronto.

"It is a highly efficient and exclusive mechanism for increasing wealth and inequality - rather than providing adequate and affordable housing for everyone."

When supply does cause affordability, it's by accident. It's not in the interests of developers to create a glut of supply so big that it would cause prices to decline.

"The only time supply lowers housing costs temporarily is when there is a dramatic oversupply, a glut, meaning developers and builders go bankrupt because they cannot sell all the units they have built. A temporary market collapse and/or a burst housing bubble means prices fall for a while."

Vancouver and Toronto have "lots of supply," says Mr. Hulchanski. "The supply argument is a lobby by those who want to sell land and or build in protected areas. It is also an argument that seeks to deflect analysis away from the structural problems of the way our housing system operates."

Instead, Mr. Hulchanski argues for a return to government-subsidized privately built rental projects, which was the norm decades ago, before condominiums became the preferred housing type. In those days, "multifamily housing" referred to zoned areas that were entirely rental housing.

But of course, the market then was appealing to a large middleincome demographic. That group has shrunk, and the gap between rich and low-to-mid-income has grown wide.

The political will is not there to provide housing for that lower income group, particularly renters.

In Canada, and the United States as well, the majority of voters are homeowners.

Another major flaw is the system too greatly rewards ownership. For example, property owners extract the entire financial benefit when a property is rezoned for added density. As well, only 50 per cent of a profit made from secondary real estate is taxed as capital gains. We do not have a speculation tax. These are examples of the system supporting the "hyper commodification" of housing, Mr. Hulchanski says.

"It's about paying attention to what we're not doing."

Seattle might want to take note.

Associated Graphic

A rainbow fills the sky above downtown Seattle in February. Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold doubts that the B.C. foreign-buyers tax plays a big role in the city's escalating prices. She points to the city's job growth and high local salaries as the biggest drivers of the housing market.


The go-getting first-born, the laid-back middle child, the mischievous baby of the family: Stereotypical notions of a birth-order effect have been around for centuries, but new research suggests it may be a myth - with one minor exception
Monday, March 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

The day their kids' report cards came home last month, Reid Pedersen and his wife, Laureen, sat up in bed having a worried conversation. Their eight-yearold daughter was the same highachieving child she had always been. But their five-year-old son, who was taking longer to grasp concepts, and with less confidence - was he where he should be?

As most parents of two or more kids know, the time and resources you spend trying to boost their brainpower can differ drastically.

"The first one, it's 100-per-cent of your focus," Mr. Pedersen says of raising kids. "With the second, it's 50-per-cent of your focus."

His daughter was always in front of Sesame Street, learning numbers with the Count and having her ABCs drilled into her through repetition with Big Bird and the gang. Looking back, he wonders about his son. "I don't think he's ever seen that," Mr.

Pedersen says of the television show.

It's a familiar story for anyone with two kids. The time spent with flip cards and practising letters and doing puzzles to learn shapes or animals drops precipitously from your first child to your second.

Just as familiar is the temptation to see the differences between siblings as the result of birth order. We all know the stereotype of go-getting firstborns and laid-back second children. It's a notion that has been with us for nearly a century, from the theories of Sigmund Freud to countless online quizzes that promise to divine your birth order based on your personality.

But a handful of recent studies, including one recently published in the Journal of Human Resources conducted by economists at the University of Edinburgh, have shed new light on the birth-order effect, which they suggest is only a myth - with one minor exception.

A theory is born There is plenty of history to support the notion that personality is bred in the bone through birth order. For example, look no further than old English laws of primogeniture, which saw first-born children enjoying the entitlement of their superiority by getting pride of place in inheritance.

When it is time to crown a king or queen, first dibs usually go to the eldest child.

"In all cultures and societies people have had rules for the first-born taking over, so there's this idea that the first-born is more responsible," says Rodica Damian, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University of Houston.

In the early days of psychoanalysis, Freud, a first-born child, clashed with Alfred Adler, a middle child, over what kind of psychoses might be typical of people based on birth order.

Freud thought first-borns were the most well-adjusted. Adler thought first-borns are neurotic because they feel dethroned.

Last-borns are always ignored.

The middle child is best adjusted, according to Adler.

"They each thought their respective birth order had the least neuroses," Damian says.

In the years since psychoanalysis fell out of favour, a new theory based on evolutionary thinking has become dominant.

"Each child fights for an evolutionary niche to get the most attention and resources of parents," Damian explains.

First-borns try to live up to their parents' expectations so that's why they tend to be more responsible, more parent-pleasing and more dominant.

"The second-born has to fill a different niche to get attention ... so they have to be more funny, more creative, more rebellious, more sociable," Damian says.

It is clearly a subject of perennial fascination, with nearly 3.2 million birth-order citations indexed on Google Scholar.

"There's been research for about 100 years on this and it's all been very conflicting," says Damian, who co-authored the largest-ever birth-order study in 2015. "We had this huge data set, so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to look at this question and hopefully help settle the debate once and for all."

They've got personality The evolutionary theory that is currently in vogue has launched countless parenting magazine articles that purport to help parents understand kids' personalities based on birth order with the same clear-sighted certainty as an astrologer who can tell the difference between a know-it-all Capricorn and an indecisive Libra.

According to the theory, firstborn children are better leaders, more neurotic, more responsible, less impulsive, while later-born children are more sociable, more extroverted, more self-confident and more agreeable.

But in the 2015 study by Damian and colleagues, birth order's effect on personality was found to be nil.

The study looked at data collected by the American Institutes for Research of 377,000 highschool students across the United States, including their personality measures and IQs, a huge opportunity to overcome one of the main flaws of many previous studies - very small sample sizes.

"The total sample is bigger than all the previous study samples put together," Damian says.

Such a large number allowed researchers to examine nearly every type of variation in family structure imaginable: half-siblings, only children, adopted kids.

"Because the data is so big it allows you to get a reliable estimate of really, really special groups," Damian says.

And the overall effect on personality that researchers were able to detect? In many cases, it was zero. On many personality measures, findings ran contradictory to the current theory. The highest correlation was a minuscule 0.08. For most others, it was a measly correlation of 0.02.

That's equal to one-50th of a standard deviation. In order to see visible differences in the real world you need at least one full standard deviation.

"The most important thing is that the direction of the effects does not follow that niche hypothesis," Damian says.

In other words, the study found no evidence to support our current understanding of birth order's effect on personality - because there is no such effect.

Intelligence quotient (IQ) This is where things get interesting. While studies have never agreed on the relationship between birth order and personality, with some saying birth order predicts all the traits we think it would, others saying it predicts only some of those traits and still more saying it has zero effect, researchers have all noticed one consistent finding: First-borns are smarter.

Before you go rubbing that in to your younger brother, however, well - don't get too far ahead of yourself, smart guy.

In Damian's study, first-borns were smarter on average by one underwhelming IQ point (less than the margin of error on a standard IQ test).

Another large study conducted by researchers at the University of Leipzig and also published in 2015 made a similar conclusion: Firstborns are smarter, but just barely.

After analyzing the data looking for effects on personality both within families and across families, the study found no impact on personality, and only a slight effect on IQ.

"We are really sure that this effect exists, but it's supersmall," says Julia Rohrer, co-author of the study, which looked at data from 20,000 people from Germany, Britain and the United States.

In fact, first-borns were found to be between one and three IQ points higher on average.

But that doesn't mean first kids will always be smarter, Rohrer cautions.

After all, averages across large populations can't be applied to individuals.

"We found that in 60 per cent of the cases the first-born was smarter, but in 40 per cent of the cases, the second-born was smarter," she says.

Finally, IQ explained If researchers consistently find that, at least on average, firstborn children tend to score higher on IQ tests, the question is, why?

Look no further than the Pedersens, or likely your own experience if you have more than one child.

Researchers call it the confluence theory. Put simply, parents put more time and resources into their first child, especially more time talking to them, which is why first-borns tend to do better on the verbal-ability section of IQ tests.

A study published in November in the Journal of Human Resources looked at nearly 5,000 children who were assessed every two years, from the time they were born to the age of 14.

Researchers found that parents put in less time reading to second kids and subsequent children and less time on other forms of mental stimulation such as doing crafts and playing musical instruments.

"As you have more kids you have less time and less attention," says Ana Nuevo-Chiquero, a lecturer in the School of Economics at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study.

But, but, but "But explain this to me," I said to Damian. "I hear everything that you are saying and rationally it makes sense, but why do I look at my two children and see perfect stereotypes of birth-order personalities?" She laughed, and mentioned a commentary she and her fellow researchers published after their study about exactly this topic.

"We believe birth order will persist as a zombie theory for a very long time," she says. "Despite all the science behind it, people have very, very strong feelings about it."

Associated Graphic


The notion that first-born children are go-getters and second-born are more laid back has been with us for nearly a century. But in the years since psychoanalysis fell out of favour, a new theory based on evolutionary thinking has become dominant, providing insights into these roles.


Julien 'wizened' in second stint with Habs
Coach returns to Montreal with the beefed-up résumé and hardware to back up his demanding approach
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

MONTREAL -- The Czech kid reported to the AHL in the fall of 2002, yet another teenager who needed directions and a map to find his own defensive zone.

So his coach, barely a decade removed from his playing days as a canny, if comparatively leaden defenceman, got the sketch pad out.

Eventually, Tomas Plekanec would grow into perhaps the most unsung two-way centre in the NHL.

"I was a rookie, I didn't speak any English ... everything was a new world for me. He pretty much taught me everything," the Montreal Canadiens forward said.

The 'he' in question is Claude Julien.

When Plekanec's former Hamilton Bulldogs mentor returned to the fold on Feb. 14 - to replace Michel Therrien, the man he also stepped in for at midseason in 2002-03 - the 34-year-old had a stronger basis for comparison than just about anyone else in the room (Russian defenceman Andrei Markov is the only other holdover from the first Julien era).

"Hockey-wise there are several things that are different. He's evolved like every coach, but I do get flashbacks," Plekanec laughed. "He communicated really well with the players, and he's a teacher, so that part is very similar."

In other words: comparable, but not quite the same.

Hockey players are hesitant to discuss the nitty-gritty of game plans and overall system strategy, so there were no grand revelations from Plekanec. Suffice it to say, Julien has a broadly similar but updated and improved philosophy relative to the Bulldogs of yore (in Plekanec's first season they finished first overall and reached the championship final).

There is ample evidence of his influence after 12 games in charge, eight of them victories.

The penalty killing is vastly improved, zone exits are far crisper and defensive-zone coverage is beginning to round into shape.

"I feel like we're trending in the right direction," captain Max Pacioretty said this week after a hardfought loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. "But it doesn't mean much if you don't win."

Oh, about that.

This time around, Julien has tangible, metallic evidence that his plan works: a Stanley Cup ring (presumably kept in the same drawer as the two Olympic and one World Cup gold medals).

If there is a signal difference between then and now, that's it.

Julien is the same height and within shouting distance of his weight in 2002 - he joked that his old coaching tracksuit still fits, if a little more snugly - and if it seems as though his stature has grown, it's a function of his considerable reputation.

Success confers authority.

Although he has done a lot of winning since his first NHL coaching shot, which was marred by a lockout season and ended after a front-office shuffle, it's not exactly a foreign concept to him.

Julien, a roofer's son who grew up just east of Ottawa, has enjoyed success since he first picked up a whistle.

Maybe it's a family thing. His older brother Rick would later become a celebrated minor-hockey coach.

After a peripatetic junior and minor-league playing career - he played 14 NHL games (point total: one assist) with the Quebec Nordiques - Julien returned home for good in 1992.

Within 18 months he would join the staff of the Ottawa Jr. Senators, of the Central Junior Hockey League Junior A circuit.

The fellow in charge of staffing decisions was Pierre Dorion, now general-manager of the honest-to-God NHL Senators. The two remain close.

After that came a call from the Hull Olympiques, the major-junior team, who he took to a Memorial Cup championship, and a stint with Hockey Canada's under-20 program.

That's when the Julien blip first showed up on the Team Canada radar. It has never left.

In those years, André Savard worked in the Sens' front office, which matters because he both played with and coached Julien in the Nordique's organization.

Savard was appointed the Habs' player-personnel director in 2000 and later replaced Réjean Houle as GM.

By then Julien was in the AHL with Hamilton, where he coached a losing team for the first time. It was an eye-opening, formative experience.

When the 2002-03 season started the situation was less than ideal. The team's affiliation was split between the Habs and the Edmonton Oilers, who had hired Julien two seasons previously.

He built it into a powerhouse and when Savard was trying to reverse the Habs' fortunes he turned to his old teammate, at the cost of a fifth-round draft pick (Oilers brass initially asked for a third-rounder).

"I thought he had that presence and the patience that you need to coach at this level," said Savard, who now scouts for the New Jersey Devils. "When you replace a coach in midseason, you have to make sure you get someone you know and trust."

Running down the names, the 2002-03 Habs roster doesn't look half-bad: Doug Gilmour, Joé Juneau, faceoff wizard Yanic Perreault, defensive stalwart Stéphane Quintal, in-their-prime Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov, a young Mike Ribeiro.

Then you look at the age column, and - well, sensitive eyes might want to avert their gaze.

The 39-year-old Gilmour was one of 13 players on the wrong side of 30. Within a year, 10 of them would either be retired or playing in Europe.

This is the hockey flotsam that greeted Julien when he walked into an NHL dressing room as a coach for the first time.

Not long after came a seasonkilling nine-game losing streak during which Gilmour would be flipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The next year, the Habs squeaked into the playoffs and upset the heavily favoured Boston Bruins before bowing out against the eventual Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

A year after that the NHL season was scrapped amid the acrimony of a labour dispute. By January, 2006, Julien was out of a job.

Ottawa connections have been a unifying thread in Julien's career. After his singularly weird ouster after 79 games behind the New Jersey Devils bench - three games before the playoffs - he got a call from then-Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, another National Capital-area guy.

When he was let go by Boston earlier this year, the prospect of moving his family back to his old stomping ground - Montreal is an easy drive to his parents' and siblings' houses - the allure was immense.

He returns for a second stint a wizened, more experienced version of the coach - mostly positive, occasionally shouty, perenially demanding - he's always been.

"I don't know if there's a lesson" from his initial tenure, Julien said after being hired. "It's more about experience."

By which he means his decade in Boston and the years comparing notes and ideas with pillars of the coaching world - Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock, Barry Trotz - at international tournaments.

Julien has always been an inquisitive and analytical thinker, his Xs and Os stack up to anyone's and he devours stats and scouting reports.

After a recent game he alluded to the opponent being tops in the league in scoring chances off the rush (fact-check: true).

Earlier this month, he talked unabashedly about his penaltykilling strategy: This is a confident coach who understands knowing what's coming isn't the same as stopping it.

While Julien can be fiery when the occasion demands, he keeps the negativity for the officials.

After praising his team following the Chicago game this week, a 4-2 loss, he was asked about the performance of defenceman Alexei Emelin, whose wretched play over the past two weeks has weighed down the Montreal blueline like a 230pound anchor.

"It doesn't matter what I say here, what matters is what I do inside that dressing room ... every mistake, if you want to put it that way, is unacceptable in this game," he said. "But they happen."

Armed with a five-year contract beyond this season that pays him a rumoured $5-million a year, Julien can afford to be patient.

But he's also got more to work with than he did 14 years ago.

Instead of Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis, Julien now has Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov and Alex Galchenyuk.

Instead of Craig Rivet on the top defensive pair, he has Shea Weber.

Jose Theodore had an MVP season in 2001-02 and it would require a lengthy and exhausting search to find a corner of the hockey world where he is rated more highly than Carey Price.

Julien says he doesn't remember much of his first NHL game as a head coach other than it was a loss.

There is a symmetry to the fact he made his Montreal return just in time to coach his 1,000th.

As it happens the parallel extends completely - it was also a loss.

Few sports clubs do tributes like the Habs, but instead of a live pregame ceremony to mark the occasion, Julien asked that it be taped earlier.

"I didn't want to be the centre of attention," he said.

An admirable sentiment, but given the man's track record it's a bit late for that.

Associated Graphic

Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien stands behind the bench during a Feb. 18 game versus the Winnipeg Jets at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Habs have won eight of 12 games since Julien joined the team on Feb. 14.


He defended writers' right to a living wage
As president of the Writer's Guild of Canada, he fought for screenwriters' compensation when the industry did not look out for them
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Jack Gray devoted most of his life to protecting the rights of freelance scriptwriters for film, radio and television in this country - a group he believed were the most vulnerable to exploitation in the creative industries. A talented playwright himself in his younger years, he gradually gave up imaginative writing in favour of reports, speeches and policy papers for the cause he passionately believed in.

First as a member of the executive of ACTRA, then as the first president of the autonomous Writers' Guild of Canada, he helped create the conditions and structures that underlie the astonishing growth of Canadian film and television production.

"He made it possible for me to make a living in this country as a freelance writer," recalled Pete White, who first met Mr. Gray in the early eighties as a writer in Edmonton, when Mr. Gray came from Toronto representing ACTRA. Mr. White wrote several episodes for CBC's The Beachcombers and Da Vinci's Inquest; for the ABC network, he wrote Peacekeepers and The Legend of Ruby Silver, among other programs.

Mr. Gray chaired the Writers' Guild that operated within ACTRA and was swamped by it, since the writers numbered only about 1,500 out of ACTRA's total membership of close to 10,000.

According to Mr. White, the majority of members were performers whose interests did not align with those of the writers.

Still, Jack Gray had managed to negotiate with film and TV producers a so-called production fee, a second payment in addition to the fee paid for the script, that was due to the writer on the first day of shooting. "It effectively doubled our income," Mr. White said. "The day Jack got us the production fee was the day I could make a living."

Jack Gray was diagnosed with liver cancer in November and died at his home in Port Hope, Ont., on Feb. 23. He was 89.

The production fee was just the beginning. A Herculean task awaited him: negotiating a divorce of the writers from ACTRA, which took more than a decade of acrimonious argument, financial calculation and painstaking work, as divorces do.

The problem was that the writers had long been paying into the same pension plan and health scheme as the performers.

"ACTRA was pissed off at us. Jack was a founding member of ACTRA but he led us out of ACTRA - he was instrumental - because ACTRA did not have our best interests at heart," recalled Fred Yackman a freelance writer and former member of the national council of the Writers' Guild. He wrote The Bird Guy, a bird watching series on the Life Network, a legal series out of Calgary, and another series - for the Discovery Channel - about great cemeteries.

"We managed to negotiate a deal and didn't lose anything.

Our membership would not have come with us if they could not have remained in the ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society, which administers the shared funds. "These came from a percentage of writers' and actors' earnings as well as contributions from the production companies.

Largely due to this split, finally achieved in 1991, ACTRA has evolved into an alliance of autonomous guilds including the guild for broadcast journalists, one for performers and the Writers' Guild of Canada (WGC), with Mr. Gray as its first president.

John Russell Gray was born Dec. 7, 1927, in Detroit, the elder son and namesake of John Russell Gray and his homemaker wife Jessie (born Jessie Parson Paterson). His parents were from Toronto but happened to be living in Detroit when Jack, the first of their two sons, arrived because his father, a journalist, had found a job there. He later went to work on a paper in Williamsport, Pa., but when Jack was 6, the family returned to Canada. When the boy was 16, his father died of tuberculosis in London, Ont., and his mother remarried.

He attended the University of Toronto, where he hung out at the Hart House Theatre and the office of The Varsity student paper. At Hart House, he met and fell in love with a gifted student actress, Araby Lockhart, who was to become his first wife. He was drawn to theatre but was not much of an actor, according to his son, also named John (Jack) Gray, now a stage manager at Stratford. "He could not remember his lines, " his son said.

At the Varsity, he became managing editor, then editor, but had to quit after half a year when he failed French. After graduating, he was hired as a writer by the legendary editor of Maclean's magazine Ralph Allen. Yet he continued to feel the pull of the stage.

When Donald Davis, a celebrated actor and founder of the Crest Theatre in Toronto, offered him $500 to write a play in 1957, he wrote Bright Sun at Midnight, staged at the Crest. By 1960, when his play The Teacher was mounted at the Stratford Festival, he had given up journalism. With wife Araby and their three children (John, Nicholas and Rebecca), he took the family to England and worked on various television and theatre projects there for the next eight years.

Two more children - Suzannah and Felix - arrived.

In 1967 his play Godiva! was staged at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, England, while Araby found roles in the West End, especially in a long-running review called Clap Hands.

The couple were part of a lively circle of Canadian expats that included Mordecai Richler and Donald Sutherland.

After returning to Toronto with his family in 1968, he wrote his best-known play, Striker Schneiderman, set against the background of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. It was put on at Toronto's St. Lawrence Centre among other venues and published in 1973 by University of Toronto Press.

In the 1970s, he became involved with the Association (now Alliance) of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), soon heading up its writers' group.

His relentless contract negotiations obtained not only higher fees for writers but continuing ownership of copyright of their work, which U.S. screenwriters do not have.

"He was articulate, a good speaker," said Pete White, who succeeded Mr. Gray as president of the WGC in 1993. "He'd keep at it. If it didn't work one way he'd try another. He was tough. You are always fighting with people in that job. It wears you down.

But he could take it."

Before Canadian content rules came into effect, ACTRA's chief concern was to make sure that Canadian actors and writers would be hired to work on Canadian productions.

Mr. Gray soon understood that instead of fighting case by case, he had to engage with cultural policy. "He saw the big picture and became a policy guy and a planner," said Mr. White. "It's important to lobby governments to make sure writers are included in the industry, to work out for example, when is a production Canadian and therefore eligible for public funding. We helped work out the point system."

In the late 1970s, at a CRTC hearing in Ottawa about Canadian content, he met Sandra Macdonald, who had a TV production company in PEI and was as passionately interested in cultural policy as he was. In 1981, she went to work for Francis Fox, then minister of communications in the Pierre Trudeau government. Later she worked on broadcast and film policy in the context of NAFTA, became chairperson of the NFB and president of the Canadian Television fund.

"I was on the board of the Canadian Conference of the Arts when he [Jack] was. We crossed paths in Canadian content activism, before finally getting together in 1983 or '84," Ms. Macdonald recalled. Mr. Gray divorced Ms. Lockhart to live with Ms. Macdonald. "After about 20 years, we figured it was a keeper and in 2003 we eloped to Santa Fe [to get married]" Given their community of interests, Ms. Macdonald said that they never ran out of things to talk about at the breakfast table.

At one time, the CBC was the sole maker of television programs but in the eighties, new broadcasters arose who sought licences to operate. "Jack was always there at the hearings," said his wife. "You can't get a licence if you give nothing back.

Canadian content rules were the backbone of the industry."

Mr. Gray was also active on international screenwriters' organizations hammering out reciprocal agreements about payments and working conditions for Canadian writers when they worked abroad. With increasing globalization of movie and TV production, this, too, was crucial.

He retired from the WGC in 2001, and worked on his enormous collection of books, DVDs and stamps.

Remarkably, he had served the cause of Canadian culture on a volunteer basis, never collecting a salary, though his travel and other expenses were covered by ACTRA or the WGC. He earned some money as a speechwriter and for a time, as an instructor at the University of Waterloo.

"We lived very frugally," recalled his son Jack.

He leaves his five children, nine grandchildren, wife Sandra Macdonald and first wife Araby Lockhart.

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

Jack Gray enabled screenwriters in Canada to be fairly paid for their work. 'He made it possible for me to make a living in this country as a freelance writer,' said one Edmonton writer.


Stroll is off to the races
After dominating one of racing's top minor circuits last year, the 18-year-old from Montreal will become the first Canadian to race in Formula One since Jacques Villeneuve in 2006 - not to mention the youngest driver in Sunday's field, Grant Robertson writes
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

When he's alone on the starting grid at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, Lance Stroll will divert from his usual routine.

For most of his career, the 18-year-old from Montreal, who is making his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix, has followed the same prerace ritual.

With his helmet on and the motor rumbling, Stroll usually takes a second to breathe deeply and say a few words to himself: I know I'm ready. I know I'm fast.

It's a confidence exercise he adopted long ago under the tutelage of a sports psychologist when Stroll, at age of 11, began working his way up the racing ranks as a GoKart driver in Quebec.

Dubbed a prodigy from an early age, and often racing against older drivers, the words helped calm any last-minute nerves.

After dominating Formula 3, one of racing's top minor circuits, last year, Stroll will become the first Canadian to race in F1 since Jacques Villeneuve in 2006 - not to mention the youngest driver in Sunday's field.

And even though the butterflies come far less frequently now that he's emerged as one of auto racing's top prospects, Stroll says this time he'll skip those same verbal cues. That's because he is treating his first race, and perhaps his entire debut season, as a learning exercise.

"I try and always find a couple of key words, like a couple of 'I know this, or I know that' sentences," he says. "But the reality is, it's my first race in F1, and there's not much that I know."

As learning experiences go, Stroll's entry into the sport's most glamorous echelon will be among the most pressure-filled imaginable.

Fresh off his F3 title last year, he was unveiled in November as the new hope for Britishbased Williams Racing, just a few days after his 18th birthday.

With less than five months to prepare, and only a few days allowed under F1 regulations to get to know the car he will be driving in Melbourne, Stroll's preparation for this season has been a race of its own. Even though he won 14 of his 30 races in claiming the F3 championship last year, Stroll knows that counts for little in F1.

"It's a fresh start now. But it's exciting," Stroll said from Melbourne this week, where he was walking the track, as drivers often do a few days before competition to get the lay of the land. "It's new, and I've got to build up to it again."

There will be much to get used to: the races are longer, the cars are faster, and the talent is more experienced and aggressive. Last year's Australian GP was won by 31-year-old Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in just over 1 hour 48 minutes, making it three times longer than most F3 races Stroll competed in last year. Meanwhile, the cars hit top speeds of more than 360 kilometres an hour, nearly 100 km/h faster than the cars in F3. Changes to the cars this year, including wider tires, have made them faster still, increasing the G-forces that will pull at drivers and make the latter stages of a race even more tiring.

To prepare, Stroll has spent the past several months training on F1 tracks using the Williams 2014 car. It's not a perfect proxy for what he'll experience on Sunday, but it has helped the initiation process.

"For me especially, being a rookie, there's so much to learn and to understand behind the wheel," Stroll said. "Things are coming at you quicker, so braking distance is shorter, and the corner is coming at you quicker."

But with the new car specifications, Stroll adds, "It's challenging for everyone."

Only Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who made his debut last season still six months shy of his 18th birthday, can claim an earlier F1 introduction. In a sport that is increasingly getting younger, turning to drivers who are groomed from a young age to be sophisticated tacticians by the time they hit their late teens, Verstappen surprised critics of the youth movement when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Stroll comes into this season with a lot to prove, and must hush the naysayers who have questioned him throughout his career, saying he is only afforded opportunity in racing because his father, Lawrence, is a billionaire.

It's a challenge he knows he must address at every level, and one that can only be answered with strong performances on the track. The reality of racing, though, is that it is a sport that requires huge sums of money, and there are virtually no drivers in F1 who don't come with significant financial backing.

Lawrence Stroll, who made his money bankrolling the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors in the fashion world, is estimated to be worth billions.

When Lance was recruited at 11 to race with the Ferrari Driver Academy, which develops young talent, his entry into that program is said to have cost millions. Meanwhile, his climb up the ranks into F3, and ultimately into a spot at Williams, is estimated to carry a price tag in the tens of millions.

But the Ferrari talent scout who discovered Lance as a boy and helped recruit him to the program said Stroll's results on the track show he is an unusual talent.

"Good drivers are good drivers, and special drivers are special drivers," said Eric Jensen, a racing veteran who is now a consultant for Ferrari, and is based in Toronto. "Lance has shown signs that he's a special driver.

You don't have the results he had in Formula 3 last year without being a special driver."

Jensen will be tuning in Sunday to see how the talent he spotted at a young age can handle the sport's biggest stage. The gruelling races in F1 will be Stroll's toughest challenge, he says.

"He's going to be pretty tired, so can he handle that? What ends up happening driving a race car is as your body gets tired, then your mind starts making mistakes," Jensen says. "And the general public doesn't understand how on-the-limit you are.

Every corner you're risking your life, because if you make a small mistake you can crash at 150 miles per hour, and then you're on God's goodwill if you're fine or not. It's amazing, Formula One. These guys do it at a consistently high level for two hours without making mistakes."

When Stroll jumped to Williams last year, it was because the team was offering a faster route into F1 than Ferrari could.

How success will be defined for Stroll this season is an open question, though. Williams dominated the circuit in the 1980s and 1990s but is now a mid-ranking team, finishing fifth last year.

While winning a race, as Verstappen did, would be ideal, Stroll's job at Williams will be to accumulate as many points for the team as he can, even if he never sees the podium, since prize money in F1 dictates the budget for the following season.

"I don't want to think results, I don't want to think positions. I just want to come in, do my job, and we'll see where we end up," Stroll said.

Stroll's first training run at Williams got off to a bumpy start a few weeks ago when he missed a turn and went off the track, damaging his car in the process.

For the most part, though, Stroll shrugged it off as something that comes with the territory - all part of having to make a debut under a spotlight. His first season in F3 began under a similar cloud when he was involved in two crashes, including one that flipped his car, and earned a onerace penalty, along with the ire of more experienced drivers.

Stroll called it "probably the worst possible point of my career."

But the learning experiences of the first season gave way to the F3 championship in his second season. It's a development path he hopes to duplicate now, even if it takes longer at the highest level.

"There's so many things that need to come together to get good results and it's better to just focus on the process of getting there than just focusing on the result," Stroll said.

Though Lawrence Stroll is a fixture at the track when his son races, he said he'll be mostly trying to stay out of Lance's way in advance of Sunday's race. For father and son, there is no prerace routine.

"I let him do his own thing. I'm his dad, he has enough professionals, his engineers etc., giving him all the advice he needs," Lawrence said. "The last thing he needs is more advice from me."

Associated Graphic

Lance Stroll will be making his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix, joining the sport's most glamorous echelon.


Lance Stroll drives during an F1 testing session at the Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, on March 10. Stroll has spent the past several months training on F1 tracks using the Williams 2014 car.


Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M4

They're hip, they're happening - and they're overwhelmingly women. A new wave of sommelier is reshaping the restaurant landscape, pushing the stereotypically snooty and stuffy old wine expert out the door. The next generation of wine professionals - the ones responsible for Toronto's most exciting wine lists - is focused on the guest experience, don't care how much you spend, generally learned the trade on the job, and are willing to drink wine from little-known regions Christine Sismondo reports

Ellen Shrybman Montgomery's, 996 Queen St. W.

At Montgomery's, the tight little wine list is food-driven, super-casual and more global than we might expect, given the restaurant's hyper-local cuisine. Bar manager Ellen Shrybman loves Ontario wine, but says that, because of the esoteric flavours, she needed to cast a wide net to create food and wine pairings.

"That's part of the fun of it," says Ms. Shrybman, who previously worked with Montgomery's owner and chef, Guy Rawlings, at Bar Isabel. "We found a Yamahai saké that was so savoury, mushroomy and earthy and worked perfectly with a steamed custard dish. It tasted totally different with the saké. They really needed each other."

Ms. Shrybman's adventurous spirit extends to plum wine, sherry and Madeira, but she also has 20-plus offerings - all available by the glass - that will appeal to the traditionalist. It's heavy on Old World picks, especially Italians, which are her first love, having spent a year studying food and wine in Piedmont. It's easy to spot frizzante, moscato and Lambrusco (which pairs nicely with the housemade lardo) on the list most of the time.

"I try to make sure there's nothing crazy expensive," she says, "which is tough in Ontario, where you can spend a lot of money on a bottle that would be table wine in Europe. And that's just for a drinker, not a thinker."

Lexi Wolkowski Bar Raval, 505 College St.

Bar Raval's cocktail program and Barcelona-inspired snacks need no introduction. Even its baristas are wellknown. But, with sommelier Lexi Wolkowski at the helm, its understated, tiny wine list deserves more love than it gets. It might be a small list but she does a lot with it.

"The size allows me to really tightly curate what fits the most with the food and forces me to keep rotating," she says. "So we buy a few cases of something and then it's gone."

That's perfect for the adventurous wine-lovers who frequent Raval, since there's a burgeoning new demographic of oenophiles who crave novelty the way that craft beer drinkers do - always wanting to learn, and always wanting to try something new.

"There are a lot of weird things on there that might not look very accessible," she says. "But we're always happy to talk with anybody and hopefully find something eclectic and new that is similar to something they've enjoyed in the past."

Ms. Wolkowski is excited to be pouring a lot of low-sulphur wine from Spain's Conca de Barberà, a region close to trendy Priorat, as well as the high-end Spanish sparkling wines that have recently emerged. About one-third of her list is devoted to bubbly but, if you really want to taste her passion projects, look to her picks from France.

"We love Spanish wines, obviously, and it would be offtheme not to have a lot of that," she says. "But my heart is also really drawn to wines of the Loire Valley. I just think they're so interesting, so food-friendly. There's such a range of expressions from that one particular place, so it's a favourite for me."

Christopher Wickens La Banane, 227 Ossington Ave.

It's almost impossible to walk into the disco-themed, playful-yet-classic French restaurant and not crave a glass of spritz. From traditional Champagnes to under-theradar sparkling mauzac from Limoux, the restaurant is serious about its fizz.

"We love, love, love to see people drinking bubbles," says sommelier Christopher Wickens. "We have a small but well-curated list of Champagnes and we try to provide an immense amount of value. I think all too often restaurants have Champagne as show pieces, so it's been really refreshing to see Toronto coming out and buying proper Champagne and enjoying it with the cuisine."

Guests who don't want fizz can count on a solid, reliable list that honours classic appellations and regions of France, with the occasional nod to Ontario, since Mr. Wickens has some hometown pride for the region's world-class wines.

As the restaurant settles into itself (it's only a few months old), he may add a few wines from other regions but, for now, it's dominated by hidden gems from France, which is a natural fit for both the cuisine and this somm, who has spent a lot of time in the vineyards of Burgundy and Chablis. Having worked at Momofuku Shoto, with its adventurous wine lists and complicated pairings, Mr. Wickens loves the contrast of confining himself to Old World wines.

"This level of restraint has been a really positive thing," he says. "It's a really focused approach. And it's refreshing to not have to be all things to all people."

Merrin McHugh Actinolite, 971 Ossington Ave.

Life moves fast at Actinolite, where seasonality is the prime directive and, as such, specific dishes have a short lifespan. "Freshest-at-the-moment" is great for patrons enjoying the restaurant's acclaimed tasting menu, but it presents a challenge for head cork dork and general manager Merrin McHugh. She always has to be two steps ahead of the harvest and remember from year to year which wines pair best with everything from fiddleheads to late-harvest butternut squash.

"We tend to be fairly vegetable-focused, heavy on the fermentation and really fresh flavours, so the wines are the same," says Ms. McHugh. "We don't carry a lot of big reds and, instead, feature lighter-to-medium body, foodfriendly, high-acid wines.

"And because the food is so focused on organic farms, the wines reflect that, too. They're all smaller producers using organic, bio-dynamic and indigenous grapes."

Ontario wines dominate her summer list but are balanced with her personalized, high-concept and complex choices that dabble in volcanic, orange and natural wines from regions such as Sicily, the Canary Islands, Jura and Slovenia.

"Just come in with an open mind," she says. "I feature a lot of stuff that people aren't going to have tasted before, so I recommend people just let go of those walls and trust us and come in and drink."

Krysta Oben Byblos, 11 Duncan St.

"My favourite thing is when someone who comes to the restaurant is just very honest with me about what kind of wines they like and how adventurous they're feeling," says Krysta Oben, who is in charge of the cellars at Byblos. "Because my job is really to interpret what they're telling me and get them exactly the wine they want."

Ms. Oben, who previously worked at Geraldine and Edulis, makes this as easy as possible for the guest, since her list is broad and "diplomatic"- balanced between "classically delicious" California cabs and Bordeaux, as well as wines from up-and-coming regions such as Lebanon and Greece, which don't get a lot of airplay.

"It's a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean restaurant and our chef, Stuart Cameron, pulls traditional recipes from Lebanon, Greece and Israel," she says. "So Greek wine is a natural fit. And you can get some great stuff made by some very cool, young and inspired winemakers now."

Although an ardent fan of French wines, she advises people to watch for salty reds from Etna, sparkling wines from the Loire, and any assyrtiko from Santorini.

Jeffery Williams Cava, 1560 Yonge St.

There's a lot of wine at Cava, so much, in fact, that the overflow is stuffed into the bench seats. Diners are literally sitting over cases of wine as they enjoy their tapas and pinchos.

"I've never counted, but I think we have three- or fourhundred labels," says Jeffery Williams, who took over the wine program three years ago. "It's been a very exciting project. Bigger than I thought, but, hey, it's a lot of fun."

In that time, Mr. Williams has been honing his "modern approach," which involves stocking up on the next generation of wines, many of which are a little lighter, the new style of wines being made by younger winemakers - often from old winemaking families.

"The shorthand is these wines are more like Burgundy and less like Bordeaux," he says. "Spain has been getting away from the bold reds conditioned in heavy oak, which is good, because it's more flexible for food."

Mr. Williams calls the large stretch of coast from Catalonia to Jerez de la Frontera the "spiritual locus" of the food program and, to honour that, tries to stick closely to products from that region, including, of course, sherry, which he loves to pour.

"People don't think about it right away, but it makes for a great pairing for our food," he says. "Almost every single one of our dishes has a sherry that we can match."

Associated Graphic


Newcomer Will Fleissig wants to build a '21st-century city' and redefine how the GTA approaches Lake Ontario. It's a big dream. Will it float?
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Toronto's waterfront has long been a place where big dreams go to die. From John Graves Simcoe's "Walks and Gardens lands" to the powerhouse port of the 1950s - and beyond - one scheme after another has been imagined, half-built and abandoned.

That may be changing. Will Fleissig is betting that it is. The 66-year-old, after a distinguished career as a planner and real estate developer in the United States, answered the call last year to take over as chief executive of Waterfront Toronto, the government agency charged with remaking 2,000 acres of public and private land on the doorstep of downtown.

The plans involve the biggest infrastructure project, and the most valuable real estate play, in the city's history. The overall waterfront plan could one day house 40,000 residents and 40,000 jobs.

And they might just transform how the GTA thinks of itself.

"When a headhunter called me," Mr. Fleissig says, "he said: 'One of the tasks is to redefine cities in Canada.' I asked: 'Do you really mean that?' And the answer was yes. That's pretty hard to resist."

What Waterfront does - or fails to do - will have a massive impact on the city. Perched on the edge of his office couch on a Friday afternoon, Mr. Fleissig sounds entirely alert to that reality. "If you ask what I do, I'm a city-builder and this is an enormous opportunity."

Waterfront under Mr. Fleissig is making no little plans. This week, it opened a call for "innovation and funding partner" to plan Quayside, a new, 12-acre neighbourhood near Queens Quay and Parliament. There are a lot of goals: energy efficiency, resiliency to climate change, creating affordable housing, building a tech jobs hub, making the waterfront a regional destination and raising the bar for architecture, landscape and urban design. All while making money for Waterfront Toronto.

These will also be the agency's goals as it proceeds to plan a 750-acre swath in and around the port lands. "It's not just a stack of spinning plates," Mr. Fleissig argues. "It all comes together into city-building. Our goal is to use the waterfront as a test bed for how we construct the future city."

When Waterfront Toronto was formed in 2001 as a partnership of the city, province and federal governments with $1.5-billion in funding, it was something of a flyer. "The world is urbanizing, and we need models for the 21stcentury city," says Mark Wilson, who was until recently the chair of Waterfront's board. "We had room, because of the scale of what we're doing on the waterfront, to explore that."

The agency has proved itself. It started the Canary District neighbourhood, opened for the Pan Am Games, and built an excellent park, Corktown Common, whose berms will also keep the Don River from flooding the downtown core. It has added the landmark Sugar Beach, where thousands of people attended the Sugar Shack TO festival last weekend, and rebuilt Queens Quay and the Central Waterfront, giving a much-needed lift to Harbourfront's public spaces.

It has begun planning an exciting new Toronto Island ferry terminal.

Waterfront has lured about $10-billion in private investment for condo, apartment and office construction, largely maintaining strong architecture, and brought in a presence from George Brown College and, soon, OCAD University. It's also contributed indirectly to the boom in the South Core district of downtown.

Despite some sniping during the Rob Ford era - Doug Ford almost derailed the agency's careful plans by freelancing a plan for an amusement park - there have been no real scandals or screw-ups. Under former CEO John Campbell, the agency managed to keep three levels of government largely happy. "I think people see the vision, feel it, believe it," Mr. Fleissig says.

"The model works. And the question is, now that we have that commitment, how do we leverage it and move on to the next stage?" Waterfront's approach so far has been largely to build parks and infrastructure, and then make deals with real estate developers for particular blocks.

The resulting buildings, particularly at the River City complex, are very good.

The Quayside project suggests what's next. Waterfront isn't looking for real estate developers yet; it's looking for "innovation and technology partners, equity investors and infrastructure-oriented funds" to help figure out what the business model for the area should be. It will include housing, but it will also include tech jobs; it could use new "clean technology" to achieve building performance and to test new systems and techniques. As Mr. Fleissig sees it, a new alliance of pension funds, tech companies, educational institutions and philanthropic groups can set an example here.

Mr. Wilson puts it this way: "We're moving into a more project-by-project approach, which requires a more entrepreneurial sensibility ... that's one of the reasons we picked Will. He has built multiple companies. He has operated independently as a developer. But he's also worked in city hall."

Mr. Fleissig moved from San Francisco to Toronto's Summerhill neighbourhood a year ago, along with his wife, architect Wendy Kohn, and their two teenage daughters. After a career as an urban designer, he became a planner in Denver - running a transformation of the city's downtown in the 1980s, becoming chief planner - and then a private developer. As a businessman, he hired Toronto-based KPMB Architects to design a mixed-use building in downtown Denver. "He was an amazing client," recalls KPMB partner Bruce Kuwabara, who has served on the Waterfront Toronto design review panel. "His skills are incredibly broad - design, citybuilding, economics, and engagement. He really covers the territory for urban development."

Later in San Francisco, Mr. Fleissig was a partner in the development company Communitas, which focuses specifically on partnerships with public organizations. "That's what I'm most known for, building that sort of relationship," he says.

Mr. Fleissig admits that he's learned a few things in his first year about getting things done in Canada - "you need to have more people at the table than you do in the U.S." - and that's especially true for the organization's signature project, the Don Mouth Naturalization.

That is a $1.25-billion floodprotection project that would reorient the mouth of Don River, creating wetlands that moderate the river's swells. The design, by leading landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, would allow more than 600 acres of the port lands and surrounding area to become viable for development. The payoff - much of that is public land - would be in the tens of billions of dollars. This includes public land in the Keating Channel neighbourhood, some of which would be opened up when the eastern Gardiner Expressway is rebuilt slightly to the north of its current location.

Private development includes the project dubbed East Harbour on the east side of the Don; the owner, First Gulf, has been pursuing approvals for that large mixed-use project over the past few years, but the site is in the Don's flood plain. "East Harbour doesn't happen unless the Port Lands happens," Mr. Wilson says.

"You have a developer who says, we're prepared to make an enormous investment in the economy of Toronto and of Canada, but governments have to do their thing."

The big question now: Will they? The three-government structure has allowed Waterfront to move quickly, but in order to keep moving it needs the city, Ontario and Canada to line up agendas and funding. That three-way match, a slot-machine jackpot, is plausible right now.

The city is on board. "We have alignment around the Prime Minister and the Premier and the mayor around affordable housing," Mr. Fleissig says, and Waterfront officials "are in deep discussions" with the province.

As for the federal government, "all I can say is that we are in very good shape."

If the flood-protection project goes forward, Quayside should set the tone for the next major project stage: the development of Villiers Island in the 2020s.

This area, which is already in planning, would combine open space and some sort of cultural venue with a new neighbourhood of offices, retail and housing.

The shape of that should be an opportunity to pursue sustainable building, and the best in walkable, fine-grained urban design and contemporary architecture. Mr. Kuwabara (who has various connections with the waterfront) argues the result ought to look to examples such as Hamburg's Hafen City. "I think the lessons here, in terms of a sustainable mixed-use waterfront, should come from Europe," he says. "If it's just more Toronto, that's an absolute failure."

Mr. Fleissig says Villiers Island "will show how to make a 21stcentury sustainable city." Will it get built? "I think it will," he says. We've been raising the bar, and we'll keep raising the bar."

If there's room anywhere in Toronto for such big dreams, it's on the waterfront.

Follow me on Twitter: @alexbozikovic

Associated Graphic

Waterfront Toronto has many goals, including bringing energy efficiency, affordable housing, a tech jobs hub, and simply turning that swath of land by Lake Ontario into a regional destination. 'This is an enormous opportunity,' Waterfront CEO Will Fleissig says.


Craft-brewery partnership falls flat
Business in small Newfoundland village appears to thrive, even as co-founders are locked in fierce legal battle
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A4

The brewery was meant as their sanctuary - a stable business the two men could build together over time.

Like so many others in the 1970s, the pair of engineers had chased the oil dream out West.

But after the oil shock, they returned to their native Newfoundland ready for respite from the volatility. They set their sights on a historic fishing village just a short drive from St. John's called Quidi Vidi.

To David Rees and David Fong, the tranquillity of the village - with its candy-coloured saltboxes dotting a glittering harbour - seemed the perfect antidote. Out of an old fishing plant they purchased for $75,000, they would build a brewery: a sprucecoloured clapboard building with white trim, overlooking a harbour known to locals as "the Gut."

The idea, according to local lore, came from homebrews the pair would concoct in a janitor's closet while studying together at Memorial University. (That story ends with one very drunk janitor.)

Over the next two decades, they built the Quidi Vidi Brewery into the crown jewel of the village, winning awards for their beers, drawing tourists from across the country, and opening the door in Newfoundland to an entire craft-brewing industry. A 1999 photograph shows the pair smiling, standing side by side on the dock, each clutching a beer.

The pair started the brewery having already established a good partnership, after working together on several engineering ventures. Mr. Fong was the "ideas guy," Mr. Rees the "operations guy." With the brewery, the two men hoped to extend this partnership long into the future, building together a business they hoped might one day carry them into retirement.

"[There are] ups and downs in the engineering business," Mr. Rees told Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine in 1999 - just three years after launching the brewery. "Why don't we get something steady?" Things didn't turn out as planned.

Instead, the pair have spent the past few years levelling ugly accusations at one another, locked in a long, nasty legal battle in front of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Fong first launched the lawsuit three years ago, accusing Mr. Rees of stealing from the company and mismanaging financial records. In return, Mr. Rees accused Mr. Fong of using the lawsuit to muscle him out of the company.

Justice Robert M. Hall made his decision on the allegations earlier this month, dismissing the most serious of the accusations against Mr. Rees. He found there wasn't evidence to prove "misappropriation or skimming" by Mr. Rees.

The judge did, however, find three instances of "oppression" by Mr. Rees against Mr. Fong, including refusing to follow through on a decision to appoint him director.

In his decision, Justice Hall outlined the "continuing warfare" between the partners, describing the "total breakdown" of their relationship into "two people who absolutely distrusted each other and cannot get along even on the most mundane things."

But the saga isn't over yet. The fate of the brewery - which remains in operation under the watch of a jointly hired general manager - still needs to be decided. The two men remain co-owners of the business which, despite the continuing legal battle, appears to continue thriving.

According to the company's own estimates, the brewery - which employs about 16 staff - now represents about one-quarter of Newfoundland draft beer sales.

"Having sat through 50-plus full or partial days of hearing in this matter," Justice Hall wrote in his decision, "it is abundantly clear to me that the level of animosity, or dare I say, hatred which Fong and Rees bear towards each other is beyond resolution."

In the coming week, the two parties are expected to make submissions to Justice Hall on appropriate remedies. Also expected by Justice Hall is an offer by one of the men to buy the other out. That could be another fight entirely.

"I can't say either wants to get rid of the brewery," Mr. Rees's lawyer, Ernest Gittens, said in an interview. "I think they both want it."

Both Mr. Fong and his lawyer, former Newfoundland justice minister Jerome Kennedy, declined to comment, citing the continuing legal proceedings.

Court documents illustrate how the once-amicable partnership degenerated into animosity.

The brewery had a rough start, according to accounting records.

For the first decade and a half, the partners faced mounting debt. In an 1999 incident, they were informed by their accountant that the business was going bankrupt.

In that time, Mr. Fong returned to his engineering job, leaving Mr. Rees to manage Quidi Vidi's day-to-day operations. This was around the time a rift began to develop, Mr. Gittens said.

Mr. Fong viewed the brewery first and foremost as a business - one they should sell or get rid of if it was losing money, the lawyer said. Mr. Rees, meanwhile, was reluctant to let go of a company he had poured so many years into.

"They were looking at the same object - with an emotional component for Rees, with a more clinical component for Fong," Mr. Gittens said.

By the late 2000s, with the introduction of new products, including the popular "Iceberg" brand - a pale lager served in an electric-blue bottle - business had turned around. With sales clearly picking up, Mr. Fong said he began to grow suspicious.

After spending time reviewing the company's financial records, he said, he grew more suspicious.

"I suspected that Rees had stolen a significant amount of cash from the company," he told the court. By Mr. Fong's estimate, that amount was likely around $400,000.

A KPMG audit of Quidi Vidi's finances did find instances of potentially unrecorded cash sales in the brewery's Hospitality Room, which hosted tours and other events. In 2008, for example, the auditors found about $6,300 in potentially unrecorded sales. They also noted instances in which events were not recorded, or accounting records not found.

But Justice Hall called it "speculative" to conclude that this constituted misappropriation.

"I am not satisfied that the mere possibility of skimming or misappropriation makes such skimming or misappropriation the probable result of the so called 'red flags,' " he wrote.

"More evidence is needed to move the conclusion from 'possible to probable.' " Mr. Gittens said that any unrecorded sales resulted from the company's lax approach in its early years, when the Hospitality Room didn't even have a cash register, let alone formal accounting procedures.

He also blamed the business's dismal early performance, leading the partners to hire the lowest-priced accounting services they could find.

The company they did hire, according to court records, was chosen "largely on the basis that their services were cheap."

The animosity further escalated when, around 2011, after discovering that Mr. Fong had never been formally appointed as Quidi Vidi's director, Mr. Rees refused to correct the mistake.

At that point, hostility between the pair had reached the point where it was already affecting operations, Mr. Gittens said.

"When [Fong] felt he wasn't getting heard from Rees, he refused to sign cheques."

By preventing Mr. Fong from being formally appointed director, Mr. Gittens said, his client was able to "do an end run" on his partner. Mr. Rees eventually relented, though Justice Hall noted the incident as one example of "oppression."

Justice Hall's decision also found oppression by Mr. Rees against Mr. Fong for bookkeeping oversights, failing to provide financial records to Canada Revenue and failure to pay arrears.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rees's allegation that the lawsuit itself was an "oppression" by Mr. Fong - designed to muscle him out of the business - was also dismissed.

Whatever the outcome at Quidi Vidi, others in the local craftbrewing community will be watching.

The province has a long history of beer-making, as evidenced by the discovery years ago of a 17thcentury brewhouse about an hour south of St. John's. But in the years leading up to Quidi Vidi's launch, the local industry had been dominated solely by multinational giants such as Labatt and Molson, which have plants in the area.

"They've certainly, without a doubt, opened the door into craft-style brewing here in Newfoundland," said Craig Flynn, the owner of YellowBelly Brewery in St. John's. Quidi Vidi showed that craft brewing could be successful in a province such as Newfoundland, where costs - such as the price of importing glass bottles - can otherwise seem prohibitive.

He lauded the brewery for continuing on in the manner it has - "they're operating business as usual," he said. On Fridays, the brewery continues to play host to its traditional Newfoundland "Kitchen Party," where locals pack the place for food and beer.

Dancing and singing along to live music, they appear unaware of the storm surrounding the establishment.

But between the two former classmates who built the brewery, the relationship has been irrevocably severed.

For Mr. Rees - the man who once described Quidi Vidi as his "very, very tranquil" oasis - "there is no residual trust left," his lawyer said.

"No residual good feelings."

Associated Graphic

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. was founded two decades ago in Quidi Vidi, a historic fishing village near St. John's, opening the door to a craft-brewing industry in Newfoundland.


London terrorist attack renews security fears across Europe
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

LONDON -- Britain is on edge after a terrorist attack left at least five people dead outside the Houses of Parliament and renewed fears about security in Europe.

Police officers, both heavily armed and unarmed, were deployed across London on Wednesday night to protect residents and tourists, hours after the most significant attack on British soil since suicide bombers targeted the capital in 2005.

The assault happened in one of the busiest parts of London, at the foot of Big Ben and just down the road from Westminster Abbey. Police quickly labelled it a terrorist attack and said a man drove a large sport utility vehicle into a crowd of people along Westminster Bridge before crashing into a fence along the side of the Parliament buildings. He then ran toward the entrance to the House of Commons and stabbed an unarmed police officer before being gunned down. Police said four other people died, including the injured officer, and at least 40 have been injured including three other officers.

Keith Palmer, 48, who is a 15year veteran of the police force, was named as the murdered officer, according to Scotland Yard.

Police said the attacker is thought to have been "inspired by international terrorism."

Prime Minister Theresa May and dozens of other members of Parliament were rushed to safety as police sealed off several blocks around Westminster and began a floor-by-floor check of the House of Commons. Ms. May called the attack "sick and depraved."

"The location of this attack was no accident," Ms. May said, adding that the terrorist chose to strike at the heart of the country's symbol of democracy and freedom. But, she added, "any attempt to defeat those values through violence is doomed to failure" and Parliament will resume as scheduled on Thursday.

Londoners "will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart," she said.

The killings have left the country shaken and it comes after similar terrorist incidents last year in France and Germany, where attackers used heavy vehicles to run over people along the promenade in Nice and at the Berlin Christmas market. The Parliament attack also comes on the anniversary of the Brussels attacks targeting the city airport and transit system.

Parliament had been on high alert as well since the murder of Jo Cox, a member of Parliament who was shot while meeting constituents in her riding nearly a year ago. That killing, by a farright extremist, led to increased security around Westminster.

"We've been on much higher alert since the murder of Jo Cox, my friend and colleague," said Mary Creagh, an MP who was among a group of parliamentarians rushed out of a nearby office building. "We had a security briefing just yesterday for women MPs and I think this is the day that we have planned for and thought about, but it was a day that we all hoped would never come."

London has been relatively free of terrorist attacks since four British Islamists killed 52 commuters in suicide bombings on the city's transit system in 2005. The most significant incident since then came in 2013 when British soldier Lee Rigby was killed on a city street by two men who had been radicalized.

Police credited better co-ordination with other services and improved monitoring of around 400 people who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but have since returned to Britain. In an interview last summer, then-commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, told reporters that Britain had one of the best counterterrorism operations in the world. However, London has been on a "severe" terrorism alert for months.

The attack is the first serious terrorist threat faced by Ms. May, who took over as Prime Minister last summer just weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union. She is already coping with a host of issues, including Brexit and a renewed call for Scottish independence. Ms. May planned to begin pulling Britain out of the EU next week, by invoking the exit mechanism known as Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Now, she will be consumed by security issues. Ms. May held a meeting of the government's emergency committee Wednesday night. She also spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump, who offered full support in the continuing investigation.

European leaders were also quick to offer support for Britain, knowing all too well that these kinds of attacks can stoke populist politicians who decry immigration and the EU. Presidential elections are only weeks away in France, where the National Front's Marine Le Pen has called for a complete halt to immigration and linked it to terrorism.

"We are all concerned with terrorism," French President François Hollande told reporters.

"France, which has been struck so hard lately, knows what the British people are suffering today." He added that that countries "must bring all the conditions to answer these attacks."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also faces re-election this year, added: "I want to say for Germany and its citizens: We stand firmly and resolutely by Great Britain's side in the fight against all forms of terrorism."

On the streets around Westminster, police armed with machine guns fanned out in patrols and shut down the Westminster Underground station, one of the busiest in the city. Many people were locked in their offices for hours while police combed through buildings. The incident also happened just blocks from the new Scotland Yard building, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. The Queen was expected to formally open the building on Thursday, but that has been cancelled.

As of late Wednesday, the identity of the attacker had not been released, but Scotland Yard officials said they believed they knew who he was.

Acting Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley, who heads the counterterrorism unit, told reporters that police were satisfied that there was only one assailant, but he said the investigation was continuing. He paused to offer condolences to the families of those who died, especially the family of the police officer.

"As a service, we've lost one of our own as he acted to protect the public and his colleagues," he said.

The drama began around 2:40 p.m. when the attacker drove into people on the bridge, killing two and injuring others. One badly injured woman fell into the Thames and had to be rescued.

The attacker then crashed his vehicle and ran toward the main gates of Parliament. He stabbed an officer guarding the entrance and subsequently the attacker was shot and killed. Hospital officials said 12 people were treated for serious injuries and eight more were treated at the scene.

The injured included three Grade 10 boys who were part of a group of French students visiting the capital.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who is also a parliamentary undersecretary responsible for counterterrorism, rushed to help the stabbed officer. Mr. Ellwood, a former soldier who lost his brother in a bombing in Indonesia, tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and applied pressure to the wounds. "I was on the scene and, as soon as I realized what was going on, I headed toward it. It is a huge tragedy, it really is," he told reporters. "I tried to stem the flow of blood and give mouth-tomouth while waiting for the medics to arrive but I think he had lost too much blood."

Mitchell Spree happened upon the mayhem while driving home from work. A fire engineer, Mr. Spree had finished work on a project near Parliament and was heading home in his white van when he crossed on to Westminster Bridge moments after the car had plowed into pedestrians.

"I pulled onto the bridge and I just saw people laying on the ground," he said. "There were five people laying on the ground.

There was debris of car all on the bridge."

Across the street from the shooting, Tawhid Tanim said he ran for his life when the shooting started. Mr. Tanim, 28, was standing outside the Westminster Underground station waiting for a friend, when shots rang out. "All of a sudden I just heard these three shots, bang bang bang," he said. "For the first, I was like 'Well I'm going to die,' it was that kind of feeling. I was that close to the sound. I go over there, see car smashed into Parliament wall.

There's a person under the car and people were trying to help."

Police then started shouting at everyone to run, he added. "Police said run, run. ... It was like you were going to lose your life or something."

In a videotaped message at the end of a dramatic day, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city remained one of the safest in the world.

"We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have, and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism," he said.

Associated Graphic

Conservative Member of Parliament Tobias Ellwood, centre, helps emergency services attend to the fatally injured police officer outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday.


Morale booster
By driving new initiatives to support and applaud Canadian fashion talent, Vicky Milner is now ready to promote it abroad
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Vicky Milner is on a mission to help boost the profile of Canada's fashion industry and shape it into a global force. Four years ago, alongside her business partner Brittney Kuczynski, the Russian-born, Toronto-raised impresario parachuted into the country's style landscape with a juried awards gala. The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFAs) are a lavish production designed to honour and celebrate the best Canada had to offer.

Since Milner and Kuczynski were virtually unknown by the country's fashion cognoscenti, there were cynics who wondered whether they'd be able to sustain the momentum and spin the awards into an annual affair. Happily, the pair proved they weren't just one-hit wonders. Year after year, the CAFAs have been presented at sold-out galas, and last year, even attracted Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as an attendee. This year's event will be held on April 7 at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York hotel.

Besides establishing these coveted awards, the CAFA organization has also been responsible for a variety of other initiatives, including the bi-annual FashionCAN shows at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, which offer Canadian designers the opportunity to both present and sell their wares directly to the general public. I spoke with Milner recently about her idealism, her relentless passion and support for Canadian designers, and how she's determined to raise awareness for our homegrown talent on both a national and international stage.

You weren't from the fashion world, yet you decided to take the ball and run with it. Why?

After I finished school, I used to rep lines with an agency called Millennium on Toronto's King Street West. I did that for a few years, so I kind of dipped my toe in a little bit. But then I went into the music industry, because I wanted to do entertainment, music and marketing. Then I had children and I went to work at Sick Kids for five years doing events there.

I wanted to see what the not-for-profit world was like and learn a little bit there.

Then I came back to fashion. I've always been entrepreneurial and it was upsetting to see that other arts, like music and film and TV, always got recognition. I couldn't understand why the [fashion] industry here didn't have the same swell of support and camaraderie. So I started doing research. I did a bunch of round tables and it was clear that people wanted something to unite them. It wasn't so much about recognition but about bringing people together. I believe in strength in numbers.

And if you don't make noise about your own, how do you expect other people to take notice?

Do you find it enigmatic that there's not one united voice for fashion designers in this country, the way there is in America or France or Britain?

It does seem a bit scattered, but I think it has to start with the government and respecting the art of fashion. If you look at Europe, the treatment of the fashion industry is very different to how we treat it here. The fashion industry has gotten so much respect, not only from the government, but from other industries who donate money for funding, grants or prizes.

It's part of their history to support fashion.

It's a no-brainer for people to regard fashion and the creative talents behind it as just as important as anything else. Those councils and agencies in other countries have always been very strong in their support and showing how important fashion is. We've never had that in this country.

Maybe that part of the fractured state that we have right now is because there was never one strong, united voice.

But is it because our federal government never supported the fashion industry wholeheartedly, or is it because the designers were never together to begin with?

I feel that if they were given support that would change. In Europe, for example, emerging designers start out the same way. A lot of them are creative, but they don't have any of the business sense. They need mentorship. They need support. So it's a bit of a cycle, because without certain support and funding, they may not get to that professional state where they can launch a global brand. If everyone came together, buckled down and said, "Okay, from this point on we're valuing this industry. We are going to provide support," 10 years from now, you'd see an emergence of more businesses that are ready, that are more globally successful. As Canadians, we lead in so many other ways. But when it comes to fashion, can we be risk takers and adopt new brands and get buyers to buy new brands? I'm not talking about the really green brands but ones that we see potential in. Can a department store take that risk and invest in a few seasons and nurture a designer to help them grow and build a bigger brand? Can consumers invest in those designers? There's also the challenge of Canadian designers not being found everywhere. And the marketing dollars aren't there so it's not front and centre. So it's a huge combination of things: it's accessibility, it's awareness, it's the support from the government. It's us having a different state of mind. We have to all come together and say "We want to wear Canadian! We are going to support these guys because that will help them grow and become bigger and better brands and more internationally known." What's in all this for you? Organizing all that you produce has become a formidable job, but how do you explain your personal passion?

What I really love are the people behind this industry. It's such a difficult one. It's so competitive. My passion comes from the designers' stories, their successes, the struggles. Some choose to invest all their money into certain fabrics over eating certain foods every day, because that's their passion, and they want to make sure their collection is what it needs to be.

There's so much personal sacrifice. And I want to champion that because I want them to be successful. I have so much respect for all of them. Putting yourself out there, collection after collection, to be open to criticism... sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not so great. But then they come back time and time again. My heart bleeds for them. CAFA has such an important role to tell their stories properly, to tell the world who we have in this country and how great it is. I will be their biggest cheerleader, because I believe in their talent. I just believe they need more help in showcasing who they are.

How do you feel about the current fragmentation of these different local fashion camps? Is this all good or potentially dangerous?

That's a good question. As far as CAFA goes, it's a neutral body. We support all of these organizations. Because we're national, it's not just about what's going on in Toronto. CAFA is there to tell everyone's stories and support the industry wholeheartedly. It's funny because when Toronto Fashion Week got cancelled, it reinvigorated passion in other people who thought that they could now also jump to the forefront to still provide some type of platform and not leave people hanging. It is a bit of an interesting time now because there are all these different groups popping up and it's a small market: There are only so many designers to go around and only so much money designers have to get involved. I think it'll come down to the biggest return on investment for designers to see which group they'll associate themselves with, and who will tell their story best. It's confusing, most of all for the designers, because they don't know who to go with, so it would be nice to have more of a unified showcase. But it's nice there are so many people wanting to support the designers and create platforms. I'm all for that.

Why do you think people should wear Canadian designers?

There's a trickle-down effect. When you're investing in Canadian fashion, you're helping the economy and you're helping that designer go to the next level of their business. If we don't support our own people, then we won't have anyone inspired to do anything, and the next generation of students eventually won't go into fashion.

They won't see a point. To me, that's really sad because you're squashing such great potential. If we don't make a conscious decision to support our own, we're going to regret it because we won't have any creative talent left in this country.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

CAUSE FOR EFFECT Vicky Milner addresses the crowd at last year's Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards ceremony in Toronto.


Beyak wanted googlers. I googled the day away
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

In my defence, although I arrive back for a second week in a row at the subject of Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak, I do so, essentially, at her behest. Last week, I wrote about Senator (You maniacs! You appointed her! Ah damn you!) Beyak, who had just spent some of the Senate's time bemoaning the fact that, as she told it, all the good deeds, inspired by noble intentions, that had been carried out in Canada's residentialschool system had been "overshadowed" by all the pesky accounts of hunger, loneliness, rampant physical and sexual abuse and deaths documented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation report.

I'm not at all sure Senator (as in, having had the honour of being appointed to the Senate) Beyak grasps the point of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The idea is that, through confronting our past honestly, we can begin to move forward. This particular commission and the subsequent report were partly funded with a portion of the payout from the out-of-court settlement reached between, on the one hand, the federal government and four national churches named in the case, and on the other, the former students of residential schools who had brought the largest class action in Canadian history forward.

The victims of the school wanted to make sure that, despite the settlement, their stories were heard. Telling those stories can't have been at all easy for them, and there can be no take-backsies on a truth-and-reconciliation report if there's any hope of its leading to better things.

Yet, what we saw last week was a woman who claims her purpose in life, or at least in the Senate, is to save people money, essentially trying to run a $60-million report through some kind or lollipop-and-moonbeam-powered paper shredder.

Yes, of course there were individual acts of kindness and even some happy outcomes in the many years that residential schools operated, but those rare and exceptional stories don't erase the vast suffering caused by what was basically a mass internment.

Those not-tragic stories should be overshadowed by the overall intention of the schools and the assumptions of cultural superiority that led to the plan of taking these children from their families and forbidding them to speak their own languages in the first place.

I don't usually revisit a topic two weeks in a row, but in several senses Senator (Not like the hockey-team kind of Senator, mind you, but as in up-in-your-government-forming-your-laws Senator) Beyak has compelled me to to it.

First of all, a brief note to those who e-mailed me last week to say some version of "The Indians need to accept it, we won!"

No, we didn't, actually. We entered into treaties, as nations do, and it's not like we ever said, "Nice working with you on NAFTA, Americans! We'll be over later to pick up your kids!"

Second, no, I don't want to see the Senate abolished. Sorry, anti-Senate e-mailers - and you are legion - I truly believe that there are a lot of good people in the Senate and that good things come from their work; and besides, abolishing the Senate would be a constitutional nightmare and we might not recognize ourselves when we woke up from it.

However, none of these things is what returns me to the subject of Senator (one second while I pour myself a wee Scotch) Beyak. I'm back here because last week, in researching that column, I read the full transcript of the Senate's second reading of Bill C-16, which would extend hatecrime and anti-discrimination protections to transgender Canadians.

A number of similar bills attempting to protect transgender Canadians at the federal level (most provinces have already passed some kind of protective legislation) have already died, two of them in the Senate. And Senator (swirls and sips) Beyak certainly seems to have the knives out for this one.

Or at least a knife.

Senator (how much Scotch is it safe to consume in writing one column?) Beyak seems to believe she has a secret weapon in this fight.

"A young gay man named John McKellar founded and was president of a group called HOPE: Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism," she explained in the Senate, to other senators who had just made a very strong fact-based and compassionate case for supporting C-16. "I won't go into all of his doctrine today, but I would urge each of you to go to google and read about his life and his work. It's quite incredible."

And so that is what I did. Ever obedient, I googled this fellow. I googled and I googled. I am a good googler. It's one of my skills, and I'm here to report back.

First off, I will tell you that, should you decide to follow me down this google road, do not start with the Wikipedia page for John McKellar. My keen investigative talents tell me that the "John McKellar" to whom Senator (swigs) Beyak refers is not the same McKellar who served as mayor of Fort William, Ont., from 1892 to 1898.

Two pages into a "John McKellar" Google odyssey, one will come upon a post called "Homofascists Silenced Gay Dissident John McKellar" at The front page of this website boldly proclaims that "Hitler was an Illuminati agent mandated to lead Germany into a catastrophic war where German nationalism would be blunted once and for all."

Let us hope this is not the source of Senator (glugs) Beyak's information on Mr. McKellar, or anything else, but she did say to google, not to surf the microfiche at your local library.

As a side note: I am curious to learn the answer to a question on Henry Makow's Twitter account - the bio of which reads "Exposing Feminism and The New World Order" - this week regarding whether "Justine" (that would be a joke about our Prime Minister being so terrible as to be a woman) was "making the occult 'Bent Elbow' sign at Broadway Play, Come From Away."

I'm glad we have people like the Senator to give questions like these some sober second thought.

To be fair, a search of "John McKellar HOPE" brings up as its first result the much more reputable-looking ROAD to EMMAUS==>> (the "==>>" is apparently very important, as they employ it often) which doesn't seem to have an official stance on the possible Illuminati connections of Hitler, but does inform the reader that "the UN, run (largely) by thugs, is trying to rebuild the Tower of Babel - & will get it."

A letter from Mr. McKellar on bemoans the fact that post-Stonewall gay men (and he claims that there is no evidence that homosexuality is anything but a choice) "descended into a bacchanalia of narcissism and promiscuity" that culminated in a "gay cancer" - AIDS.

The website's introduction to this letter asserts that while Mr. McKellar maintains that homosexuality can be cured, he himself still "struggles."

This same letter reprinted over and over again on various fringe sites appears to be pretty much the extent of Mr. McKellar's online footprint, and anywhere it appears, one is but two clicks away from a lecture about how "Only in Russia did the aristocracy have the interests of the people at heart - that's why the Jewish bankers had to destroy the Romanovs" or how the Holocaust never happened or what-not.

Now, not every relevant result will win you a game of Six Degrees of Holocaust Denial. Some, like, are mercifully free of opinions on "The Feckless Gentile Leadership" or the United Nations' secret plan to rebrand itself as the UN One World Government and Ziggurat Construction Company; they simply want to educate you on "Freemasons and Their Craft."

All in all, it's a highly questionable Google recommendation, and even more questionable citation on so many levels, Senator, but I did google it.

I'm not sure why, exactly, Senator (==>>) Beyak was railing about homosexuality in regard to a law to defend Canada's vulnerable transgender minority in the first place. Being trans and being gay are two distinct states of being. They may overlap; some trans people are also gay but most are not. Certainly being transgender is not, as some people seem to think, some kind of next-level gay. You don't work your way up to trans if you're just that gay. It's not like if you collect a certain number of Fabulous Miles you get a free upgrade to Trans Class.

Transgender Canadians are just Canadians whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth, but who would still like to live their lives in peace and safety, and sometimes face a very uphill battle doing that. And so - it should go without saying, without any more debating - they deserve the protections we extend to other vulnerable minorities.

May I suggest, Senator Beyak, you google it.

Have you heard of Ko Olina?
Hawaii's rapidly growing master-planned community is on the cusp of fame - and there's nowhere else on Oahu quite like it
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T3

KO OLINA, HAWAII -- I knew this wasn't going be a typical stay at a five-star resort the minute I saw Sooriya Kumar barrelling barefoot down a dirt path, beaming with buck-tooth vitality and looking an awful lot like Mahatma Gandhi in round, wire-framed spectacles and an orange sarong.

"Welcome! Welcome! Blessings to all. So pleased to see you, my brother," the grey-haired elder exclaimed, embracing Sanjiv Hulugalle, general manager of the new Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

We had left the plush confines of the gated waterfront resort to visit Mouna Farm Arts and Cultural Village, an off-grid hippie commune of sorts, where our host, a Sri Lankan-born copper artist (who was last year named one of Hawaii's Living Treasures), offers free campsites to spiritual seekers in exchange for their help working the land and feeding the poor.

"Can you feel the mana?" Hulugalle marvelled, as we wandered around a wild maze of solar-powered outdoor kitchens, vine-draped studios, tents and temples (Buddhist, Hindu and Shinto), all tucked under a verdant canopy of fruit trees in the Waianae Valley.

Mana means spiritual energy or healing power. Hawaiians believe that there are opportunities to gain or lose mana in every action a person takes.

And, as I was slowly discovering, it can also change the course of a leisurely luxury vacation.

Earlier at the hotel, Hulugalle had explained that he doesn't normally introduce guests to his "guru." But he had felt a "connection" with me (connections are a big deal in Hawaii) and he wanted me to better understand "the soul and spirit" of what he's trying to accomplish. "For me, this is not just about running a Four Seasons resort," he said, explaining how he has made it his mission to embed all aspects of the hotel - from artwork to excursions - in the culture of the place.

As we sat down to a rustic, candlelit dinner - various vegetarian curries (cooked by Kumar) washed down with French Sancerre and Italian Brunello (gifts from Hulugalle) - I had to confess that while honoured to visit the farm, it was pretty much the last place on earth I had imagined ending up when I touched down in Honolulu. Ko Olina, mind you, isn't like anyplace else on Oahu.

The master-planned vacation and residence community lies on the western (leeward) coast of Oahu, about 30 kilometres north of the Honolulu International Airport.

Never heard of it? You will.

Besides the Four Seasons, the 642-acre property, which is larger than all of Waikiki, includes Disney's Aulani Resort, a golf club and a marina. Atlantis Resorts will soon be building a $2-billion (U.S.) megaresort (similar to its water park in Dubai), and there is also talk of a Shangri-La or Mandarin hotel opening in the near future.

Although the rapidly growing destination has a rich history as a former playground for the Hawaiian monarchy, the manicured oceanfront retreat - surrounded by industry, scrubby farmland, white beaches and the towering Waianae mountain range - has been relatively unknown to tourists until recently and is now going through a tricky transition as it strives to balance the needs of international guests with the larger community.

To the north of Ko Olina is the small town of Waianae, home to the densest population of native Hawaiians on all the islands, and also very economically depressed. To the west is Kapolei, a burgeoning business hub and middle-class suburb, the socalled second city of Oahu, the development of which has been stalled for more than 30 years.

"Waikiki has become so saturated," Hulugalle explains.

"There's not enough room to expand any more. Hopefully, the mistakes made in Waikiki will not be made here, where you can still feel the real Hawaii."


The 371-room Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, previously the JW Marriott Ihilani, opened last June after a $500million renovation to the 17-storey terraced building, a timeless design by modernist architect Edward Killingsworth. A respectful refurbishment by de Reus Architects incorporated interior upgrades and lush landscaping with an expanded pool area (including a showcase adults-only infinity pool), a new spa, a tennis club and a wedding chapel.

You could book the expansive, two-bedroom presidential suite with its private rooftop lounge (starting at $15,000 a night), which is where Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer bedded down for a mother-daughter getaway - before being kidnapped - in Snatched, a new comedy film to be released in May.

But even commoners will feel like royalty with almost every room (starting at $489 a night) featuring panoramic ocean views, private lanais and sumptuous marble bathrooms with rainfall showers and soaker tubs. While lounging on your throne (the bidet toilet seats are heated), take time to notice all the elegant tropical finishings (custom tapa-patterned wall coverings in the bathrooms and banana bark behind the beds) by renowned interior designer Mary Philpotts, who is related to Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last ruling monarch.


Food sustainability is a huge issue in Hawaii, where more than 90 per cent of foodstuff is imported and fertile farmland is largely underdeveloped, a legacy of the sugar-plantation era. For the hotel's three new restaurants, which are also open to outside guests, executive chef Martin Knaubert is working closely with local farmers and fishers to expand the homegrown offerings.

Noe, a splashy Southern Italian dinner spot where heaps of black truffle meet house-made pasta and plenty of seafood, boasts a resplendent outdoor terrazzo under twinkling lights alongside a waterfall, a walletstretching wine list (including a vertical of vintage Dom Pérignon going back to 1969) and acclaimed chef Ryo Takatsuka, who has a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy under his toque. La Hiki is a casual pan-Asian, street-food restaurant that reflects the diversity of Hawaii with its mix of sushi rolls, satay skewers, bao buns, pork adobe, bang bang salads and various curries.

But the best of the bunch is the poolside Fish House, a lineto-table seafood restaurant, where diners can dive into platters of local Kauai shrimp and wash down spicy poke with excellent cocktails and local craft beer.

While there aren't many other eating options within the larger resort, the Four Seasons does offer a worthwhile tour (costing $150 a person) of nearby Kahumana Organic Farm, one of its main suppliers, where hydroponically grown microgreens and a rustic café fund transitional housing for homeless families and retraining programs for people with mental disabilities.


Ko Olina is best known for its four man-made beach coves.

The talcum-powder-soft sand lagoons, built in the 1970s by a Japanese investor (who later went bankrupt) are protected by rock levies that allow ocean water to enter, but keep the crashing waves at bay. The calm lagoons provide an ideal spot to try stand-up paddleboarding.

Located right next door to the hotel is the secluded shore of the Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute. Although technically a private estate, guests can climb over a rocky outcrop, slip past the gates and bathe in the sacred ponds where the ocean mixes with natural spring water from the mountains. This was apparently a special retreat for King Kamehameha (1736 to 1819) and his favourite wife, Queen Ka'ahumanu.


In ancient times, Hawaii was divided into pie-shaped slices that stretched from the coastal shoreline to the mountain peaks. The Hawaiians believed that the land, the sea and the clouds all had interconnectedness, which is why the resources from each level had to be balanced and shared. One of the most thrilling ways to enjoy a chief's view from up high is to go on a chopper tour with Paradise Helicopters. The Magnum Experience ($319 a person) takes you all around the island in a retro brown-and-yellow-striped replica of the chopper from the television series Magnum, P.I. (Well, come on, Tom Selleck was kind of a king back in the day.)

For a more active pursuit, the Four Seasons offers a tour along the Palehua Ridge in the Waianae Mountains with a park ranger who will unveil the mysteries of a newly discovered archeological site, a stacked lava-stone enclosure that may have been a school or a training camp for warriors (pricing for guided tours provided on request).

Our hike, which took us to a truly stunning vantage point from the 3,000-foot summit of Palikea Mountain, was so moving for our limo driver (who came along for the hike), he burst into tears. I'm not sure how that experience translates into mana, but like so many other elements of this wonderfully unusual trip, it was spectacularly surreal.

The writer was a guest of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

It did not review or approve this article.

Associated Graphic

Ko Olina, a former playground for the Hawaiian monarchy, is known for its man-made beach coves and is located close to the state's Waianae mountains.


A hydro tower? Not in my backyard
Anmore residents say they fear potential health risks from a planned power-line expansion
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

When Urs Ribary and his family moved into their Anmore home, they knew it came with a tower and power lines that ran across the wooded back of the property.

BC Hydro wants to add another tower and a 230-kilovolt transmission line through the Ribary family's one-acre property. The new tower would be positioned a mere 20 metres from the family's back door.

Professor Ribary is a pioneer and world expert in brain imaging who has lived in the Lower Mainland for 10 years. The Swissborn doctor came to Vancouver after 20 years at the New York University Medical Center. He is the B.C. Leadership Chair In Childhood Health and Development, and he teaches at the University of B.C. and Simon Fraser University. And he is fearful of the electromagnetic fields (EMF) around power lines, and the unknown effects they may have on his family's health.

"It's unbelievable. This is crazy.

A huge emission, it's dangerous - it kills people, it makes us sick," says Dr. Ribary. "Around people's homes, you don't build 24 lines. If this goes through, these will probably be the highest density power lines in the Vancouver area.

"And secondly, we worry if you have this 40 metre [high] tower 20 metres in front of the house, in earthquake country, if it falls, that concerns me. My wife Evelyne wants to move out."

The tiny village of Anmore has a population of about 2,000 people and sits on Indian Arm, just north of Port Moody. Anybody who's gone swimming at Buntzen Lake will know the rural charms of Anmore. Because of its large properties and abundance of nature, it's also seen steep property increases in the past five years. Lots such as Mr. Ribary's are worth between $2.5million and $3-million.

But BC Hydro purchased a right-of-way through the Anmore properties in 1961, for $1. The property owner at the time, a logger named Joseph Bedard, signed the agreement to grant the B.C. Electric Company, as it was known then, the right of way and easement in perpetuity.

But residents say they've tolerated above-ground power lines running through their community long enough. They want the existing ones buried, and they want the proposed new ones buried, too.

The Crown corporation is arguing that the 66-metre-wide rightof-way entitles it to build new towers as part of the Metro North Transmission Project. The corporation has said that the growing region will need about 40 per cent extra load over the next two decades. BC Hydro had studied three options, but chose "Alternative 2" last fall, which means an overhead line out of Coquitlam substation, through Anmore and Port Moody, across Burrard Inlet, and underground into Burnaby and Vancouver.

"We will be undergrounding the new line through Burnaby and Vancouver because BC Hydro does not have overhead right-of-way in that part of the area where the line is being built," spokeswoman Mora Scott said in an e-mail.

The project will start in 2019 and take two years. But first, BC Hydro has to get approval from the BC Utilities Commission.

Since 2013, they've held two open houses with the Anmore community.

The two sides are in loggerheads, unable to find a compromise. In response, the people of Anmore have got more than 300 signatures on an online petition.

BC Hydro says the transmission lines are well within the 2,000 milligauss threshold set by the World Health Organization and Health Canada.

However, Dr. Ribary argues in the petition that "single pulses of 2,000 mG applied to the human brain for just a few seconds activates local brain areas - a technique called TMS or TransMagnetic Stimulation."

Long-term stimulation at that amount for a few minutes a day can change the human brain's cognitive network, and a permanent stimulation "will probably be deadly," says the petition.

The Health Canada website says that EMFs are strongest when close to the source, such as underneath a power line. It says that burying the power line can block electric fields. As for the health effects of EMFs, "the vast majority of research to date does not support a link" to human cancers, says Health Canada. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, has, however, classified extremely low frequency magnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic." It says there is "limited evidence" that magnetic fields could pose a risk factor for childhood leukemia.

The Canadian Cancer Society website says: "...there does appear to be a higher risk of childhood leukemia when EMF exposure is higher than levels normally found in the environment."

Dr. Ribary says residents on his street have suffered suspicious illnesses. A child living adjacent to the power lines died of leukemia. Two adults were diagnosed with cancer, and others have had health issues. Of course, there is no proof that the power lines were responsible, but the suspicion among residents is there.

That suspicion alone could also have an adverse affect from a financial perspective, which, all residents agree, is far less important to them. The petition cites 30-per-cent property value losses, which would affect 140 Anmore properties, or up to $100-million in financial losses.

About 550 to 700 residents live in proximity of the power lines, according to the petition.

Dr. Ribary wasn't planning on selling prior to BC Hydro's plan.

But in the future, if he did want to sell, the power lines could be a turnoff to potential buyers.

"Would you buy a house with a [tower] 20 metres away? And we already have one pole in our property. When we bought it, we were told about the line. ... But at least in an earthquake, that one would fall between houses, so we would be kind of safe. But with this other one 20 metres away, and 12 additional lines, it's very unsafe."

BC Hydro recently said it would reduce EMF levels after proposing a plan for sub stations underneath two Vancouver parks and a school. BC Hydro chief executive officer Jessica McDonald wrote a letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver school and park boards that said the transmission cables would be buried deeper than usual to "alleviate the public perception of health risks of EMF." The letter also said the cables would be encased in steel to further reduce those levels.

That plan fell through, but those words stuck with Anmore residents.

"The bottom line for me is health concerns and the total unfairness of it all," says Anmore resident Lynn Burton.

"If BC Hydro was going to look at putting their relay stations underground because they were concerned about the health of people in downtown Vancouver, why are they not concerned about us here in Anmore?

"It's not so much about the real estate, because who really cares except for people who own the property? The concerning issue is the potential risk to our health, and the children's health."

BC Hydro had looked at putting the lines under the local streets instead of backyards, but estimated the cost to be around $35-million, says Ms. Scott. The overhead alternative is only $9-million.

"We are not pursuing this option because we have a responsibility to our ratepayers to keep rates as low as possible," she writes. "It would be difficult to justify this additional cost of going underground when there is sufficient space in the existing right-of-way for an overhead line.

"This is an important consideration as the project will need approval from the BC Utilities Commission."

She also says that the terrain is too rocky, and would require blasting.

Dr. Ribary isn't buying the arguments. He says the towers will need significant foundations, which will require digging.

Also, he believes the BC Hydro estimate is high, and they could easily afford to foot the bill.

"It's always too much money.

The cost translates into their net profit in around 10 days."

Councillor Paul Weverink says the village council supports the residents, but it's a "David and Goliath" battle. Council won't mount a legal battle against the Crown corporation, but they are going to remain publicly opposed.

"The village wouldn't take on Hydro. It would just break us," he says.

Mr. Weverink says a new set of towers would affect the entire community, in terms of general health concerns, the fact they're a public eyesore, and financial impact for property owners.

"You add more [power lines] it will erode the property value.

And the more lines you get in general, the more the community would be affected. That's the concern for everybody. Our community's position is, 'How big do we have to be until our voices are heard?' "

Associated Graphic

Anmore residents, who are concerned about a BC Hydro power line expansion near their homes, pose in front of one of the existing towers.


Woody Harrelson's pursuit of happiness
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R3

A lot of people are trying to get Woody Harrelson on the phone with me. There's one team in New York and another in Toronto. We're scheduled for Monday at 1:15 p.m. Then 1:45.

Then 4, then 5. I go to bed with a promise that we'll talk on Tuesday at 1:30.

I've interviewed Harrelson a few times over the years. If I asked you to name a star who's got life figured out, who found and walks a path of happiness, chances are you wouldn't say Woody Harrelson. But stay with me here.

When we first met in 1991, he was starring on the sitcom Cheers and transitioning to film roles. We spent time on the Florida set of Doc Hollywood, where he and costar Michael J. Fox razzed each other with the put-down "TV actor." He was learning about environmentalism and healthier food (turkey sausage was a revelation), advocating for hemp legalization, planning a trip to Machu Picchu.

With hundreds of others, I went to his 30th birthday party at his spread in Malibu, Calif., where he had a tepee in the backyard. (He tried sleeping in it, but his lawn sprinklers kept waking him at dawn, splashing against the canvas.) Melissa Etheridge sang on a stage, leading the crowd in Happy Birthday.

But despite Harrelson's chill exterior, he had a dark streak.

He'd gone through a fundamentalist Christian phase, delivering hellfire sermons. His father died in prison, after murdering a federal judge for money. He spoke openly about his struggle to control his "reptile brain." In 2002, he was arrested in London after a police chase; he later paid £550 ($920) to the cabbie who said Harrelson smashed his door lock and ashtray. In 2008, a paparazzo accused him of grabbing his camera in anger; that case was dismissed in 2010.

Now, though, at 55, Harrelson is a long-married father of three daughters, ages 23, 21 and 11. (His wife, Laura Louie, a co-founder of the organic food-delivery service Yoganics, used to be his assistant.

"I gave her a promotion," Harrelson said to me dryly, after they began dating.) They lived for a time in Costa Rica and now live in Maui, Hawaii. He eats only vegan raw organic, does a lot of yoga, has a lot of friends. He works steadily on projects big and small, for directors including Oliver Stone, Milos Forman, Robert Altman and Terrence Malick.

He's starred in two colossally successful franchises, the Now You See Me magician movies, and a little something called The Hunger Games. He's about to add two more: In July he'll appear in War for the Planet of the Apes; in May, 2018, he'll play Beckett, Han's mentor (and a criminal) in Han Solo, a standalone Star Wars prequel.

In his down time, Harrelson wrote a film about his taxi misadventure, Lost in London, and then directed, starred in and shot it in one 99-minute take, which he broadcast - live - to cinemas in England and the United States on Jan. 19. (He's now tweaking it for a proper theatrical release.) His leading role in LBJ, the biopic of former president Lyndon B. Johnson directed by Rob Reiner, will arrive this November, smack in the middle of Oscar season. And his latest film Wilson, based on Daniel Clowes's graphic novel about a gregarious misanthrope's Hail Mary attempt to grow up, opens on Friday.

We first meet Wilson as he's literally waking up, fiftysomething and alone. Eager to connect, he alienates people instead by being too unfiltered. His impulse is good: Look up from your phone, talk to the person next to you.

And don't shy away from big-picture subjects - What are we doing with our lives? Where are we going as a society? Does any of it mean anything? Unfortunately, he tends to accost people while they're at urinals or sleeping on trains, and when they recoil he's quick to call them jerks.

While waiting for Harrelson, I speak to Craig Johnson, Wilson's director. "I had one name on my list, and it was him," Johnson says. "Because you can't stay mad at Woody. He's too charming, he's got that twinkle in his eye. Wilson is prickly, difficult to embrace. But we go with him, because there's something so open and warmhearted about Woody."

Shooting last summer in Minneapolis, Minn., Harrelson led Johnson on "PG adventures": going to concerts, learning to paddleboard. Harrelson rented a house on nearby Lake Minnetonka, and on weekends he'd have the cast and crew out for vegan feasts, often with live music. Between takes on location at a suburban cul-de-sac, instead of going to his trailer, Harrelson would plunge into the crowd of rubber-necking neighbours and pose for endless selfies.

Yes, the props department had to concoct raw organic vegan versions of any food Wilson eats on camera, but Harrelson made the shoot "feel like summer camp," Johnson says. Also, he improvised great lines and bits of physical comedy, such as Wilson getting tangled in balloons - "the symbol of fun and happiness," as Johnson says, "yet Wilson has a tortured relationship even with them."

"Wilson has this gentlemanfarmer, 'Hello, friend!' style of address," says Clowes - who also wrote the script - in another interview, while waiting for Harrelson. "He has to deliver an emotional eulogy to his dog.

Those things could come across as grating or ironic, if somebody didn't do them with truthfulness.

Woody can dissolve from cracking up to sobbing on the ground in a span of 30 seconds. He's wide open."

On Tuesday at 11:30, my phone rings unexpectedly: Can I speak to Harrelson right now? After 20 anxious minutes, we're finally connected. At this past January's Sundance Film Festival, where Wilson premiered, he told reporters that he's given up smoking weed. Over the phone, I can't help but note that he sounds extremely mellow, thick-voiced. He speaks slowly, choosing words with care.

I wonder if he just woke up.

We start with Wilson. Harrelson admits to having much in common with the character: "I'm gregarious. I've said countless things in the past that got me in hot water." He declines to give specific examples. "But when we were shooting it, there was a while there I was inside his mindset, and it was a perfectly natural place to be," he continues. "I noticed myself saying things out loud that I would normally keep in the thought bubble. I don't remember anything in particular.

I just remember that it happened way too much. Laura is really funny, she'll say wild stuff, but even she looked at me aghast a few times."

I ask about Lost in London; his response sounds rehearsed: He'd long wanted to blend "my two loves, theatre and film." He hit upon the idea of shooting a movie with a single camera in a single take, while broadcasting it live.

"For a while I wished I hadn't, though, because it caused me no end of torment and stress while I was getting it together," he says.

"But once it came off I felt great about it."

So uncharacteristically terse are Harrelson's answers, I ask if he's trying to be more careful in interviews these days. "Probably," he replies.

He does relax a little when I ask about U.S. President Donald Trump, whom he met years ago at a dinner with ex-wrestler and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. "I've always thought of politicians as businessmen working for bigger businessmen," Harrelson says. "But this case is much crazier than usual. Trump is probably the most narcissistic man I've ever run into. It's wild that there are people out there who think he's the voice of the people."

Harrelson's not allowed to talk about Han Solo, but when I mention that it's his second major mentor role (after Hunger Games), he chuckles. "I can't imagine anyone thinks I radiate wisdom," he says.

He does confess, however, that he's "made a lot of progress" in conquering the anger that used to plague him - that moving to Hawaii, "off the hamster wheel," was the right thing for him. "I'm feeling much more positive about my life," he says. A handler on the line announces, "Last question." I ask two: Does Harrelson believe in happiness? Would he call himself happy?

His answers are Zen-like in their succinctness. "I do," he says, "and I would."

Associated Graphic

The gregarious Woody Harrelson draws several comparisons to his title character from Wilson, Harrelson's latest film about a misanthrope's Hail Mary attempt to grow up.


Stuck on the bottle
Most Canadians have access to free-flowing tap water that's clean, fresh and safe. So why, Corey Mintz wonders, does the bottled water industry make $2.5-billion in annual sales?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

You know you're a 1990s kid if you remember bottled water. Back in the crazy days between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, fictional teens went to Degrassi High, America dropped bombs on Iraq and people actually paid for water taken from public sources and put into disposable bottles.

Wait, all of those things are still happening? That's nuts.

Most Canadians have perfectly good water pouring out of our taps and drinking it doesn't require the wasteful practice of shipping plastic bottles around the country or world. And yet, the Canadian bottled-water industry - led by Nestlé with its Pure Life, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and Montclair brands - generates $2.5-billion in annual sales.

March 22 is World Water Day, so it seems a good time to consider why we spend billions of dollars every year on a product that is virtually free for most. (Toronto water enthusiasts might also check out the Water Docs film festival, which is at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema from March 29 to April 2.)

Here's a short list of reasons people in Canada are - or are not - drinking bottled water right now.

Because: It's a fashion statement You've seen the billboards: Jennifer Aniston clutching a bottle of Smartwater, with an expression suggesting that if the rest of us drank the brainenhancing liquid, we would have thought to star in a 1990s sitcom for a million dollars an episode.

Aniston (who also devotes her time to many worthy charities) is one of a host of celebrities using their good names to promote bottled water. Idris Elba also shills for Smartwater, Mark Wahlberg for AQUAHydrate and Ariana Grande for Wat-aah!, a brand aimed at children aged 6 to 13. Donald Trump even has a water, Trump Ice, served at the President's hotels, restaurants and golf clubs.

But despite celebrity endorsements contributing to the image of bottled water as cool, sexy and smart, restaurateurs say it has gone out of fashion. Frédéric Geisweiller, owner of Le Sélect Bistro in Toronto since 1977, says the 1990s were bottled water's trendy heyday.

"There was a scene in a movie by Robert Altman, The Player, about Hollywood producers," Geisweller remembers. "And in it, they would go to a restaurant and order bottled water like you would order a fine bottle of Champagne, and compare labels.

That probably marked the height of the fashion of bottled water."

Geisweiller says that demand for bottled water at Le Sélect has been dropping for at least a decade, which coincides with the postrecession restaurant renaissance, when bottled water (along with tablecloths) became uncool.

But as disposable bottles have become politically unpopular, the market finds a way to capitalize on that, too. Reuseable bottles are now a mark of money and style, such as the double-walled stainless-steel S'well bottles used by the richest person in your yoga class, which start at $40.

Because: It's forbidden In 2009, Bundanoon, Australia, became the first municipality in the world to ban the sale of single-use bottled water, followed by Concord, Mass., in 2013 (the ban is still in effect in both towns).

Around the world, dozens of campuses have eliminated bottled water for sale. Music festivals and performers have long been encouraging fans to bring their own reusable bottles to fill up at water stations, and some festivals - such as Caloundra in Australia, Riverfest Elora in Ontario and Pickathon in Oregon - have banned single-use bottles and cups entirely.

Successfully ridding a town, campus or festival of bottled water requires thinking ahead about how to make free water easily available. In the old days, that used to be expected.

Because: Public access is limited My neighbourhood park has a water fountain, but it doesn't work. For Mike Nagy of Wellington Water Watchers, that broken fountain is indicative of a larger problem: that fewer and fewer public facilities provide free water, and fewer and fewer people expect it.

Nagy points to Hamilton's new football stadium, Tim Hortons Field, as an example. Built with funding from all three levels of government, it opened to the public in 2014 with no drinking fountains, which to Nagy is "another great attempt to monopolize hydration."

Sometimes, when he's speaking about the importance of affordable, clean water, some people don't even realize they already have access. "We went into schools talking about potable water. A lot of children didn't even know that water in the school was potable. Most of the fountains had gone into such disrepair," Nagy says.

Wellington Water Watchers is a non-profit that protects and promotes clean water, and the good news is that advocacy by groups such as it do have positive effects.

"A lot of school boards are taking back the tap," says Nagy, the group's volunteer chair. And, following complaints, Tim Hortons Field was retrofitted with water fountains, paid for by the City of Hamilton.

Because: They fear tap water Some people drink bottled water for aspirational reasons, but others believe it's safer than tap.

Well, Health Canada is in charge of such things and states that the quality standards of tap and plastic bottled water are "similar."

The federal department regulates what is and isn't considered acceptable in public tap water, then gives the job of monitoring their flow to municipalities. In Toronto, water is tested every six hours to confirm the absence of harmful bacteria.

No government body is in charge of testing bottled water, which is classified as food and subject to the Food and Drugs Act. Processing plants are inspected annually by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and any additional testing is voluntary.

If the two sources are equally safe to drink, it's not reflected in the cost. On a recent visit to a Toronto supermarket, Evian was $2.49 for 1.5 litres, Smartwater was $2.99 a litre and Fiji (which is actually shipped from Fiji) was $2.49 a litre. Tap water costs about a tenth of a cent for every litre.

Because: It's a necessity For Indigenous people in Canada, drinkable tap water is too often unavailable: There are 618 First Nations in the country and on any given day, 150 of them are under a Boil Water Advisory (some of which have lasted years, even decades). During the 2015 federal election, then-candidate Justin Trudeau promised to end all BWAs on First Nations within five years, but Danika Billie Littlechild, a lawyer who lives in Ermineskin Cree Nation in Alberta, says that pledge doesn't go far enough.

Littlechild says there's an important semantic distinction between promising to end BWAs and making sure everyone has clean water. "In Alberta, almost half of the First Nations homes are not connected to water-treatment facilities," Littlechild says from Ottawa. There for a UNESCO conference, she was excited to take a bath in her hotel room, something she's unable to do at home.

"The facilities that exist on reserves across Canada are actually quite few and far between, in terms of how many homes they actually serve," Littlechild says.

"For example, in Ermineskin Cree Nation, there are about 600 homes and only 100 of them are piped into the water-treatment facility. All of the other homes are using well water, which is untreated."

So ending the BWA there would help 100 homes, but doesn't guarantee clean water for the other 500. A permanent solution requires more than simply patching up existing infrastructure, which is often just a temporary fix. Littlechild sees opportunity in the lack of infrastructure. "To me, it doesn't have to be a sad or angry story. We can be innovative because we are setting it up for the first time," she says.

"We can make a quantum leap here in how we manage water, by having facilities that are way more cutting edge and in making sure that Indigenous peoples have the kind of water-management governance model in place that actually reflects who they are and what they value about water."

Last week, when announcing a provincial pledge of $100-million toward clean water for First Nations, Alberta's Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan said he'd be "working with the communities to help them determine priorities," for the funds, a promise that's just as important as the money itself.

In the end, arguments by lobby groups such as the Canadian Bottled Water Association that their product is a healthy alternative to soda, juice, coffee or energy drinks just don't hold up. The truth is, to drink the bottled stuff when one has access to clean tap water is simply indefensible - financially unsound, environmentally wasteful and just plain wrong.

Associated Graphic


Ex-IRA commander became a peacemaker
During a bloody chapter of the group's history, he would have overseen many of its most divisive attacks
Associated Press
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Martin McGuinness took up arms to fight British soldiers in the streets but ended up shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II. A militant who long sought to unify Ireland through violence, he became a peacemaking politician who earned the respect, and even the friendship, of his former enemies.

Mr. McGuinness, who died Tuesday at 66, was an Irish Republican Army commander who led the paramilitary movement toward reconciliation with Britain and went on to serve as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister for a decade in a Catholic-Protestant power-sharing unity government.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who worked with Mr. McGuinness to forge Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, said "there will be some who cannot forget the bitter legacy of the war.

And for those who lost loved ones in it, that is completely understandable."

"But for those of us able finally to bring about the Northern Ireland peace agreement, we know we could never have done it without Martin's leadership, courage and quiet insistence that the past should not define the future," Mr. Blair said.

Mr. McGuinness's Sinn Fein party said he died in a hospital in his hometown of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, following a short illness.

Mr. McGuinness suffered from amyloidosis, a rare disease with a strain specific to Ireland's northwest. The chemotherapy required to combat the formation of organ-choking protein deposits sapped him of his strength and forced the once-indefatigable politician to start missing government appointments. He stepped down from front-line politics in January.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said Mr. McGuinness was "a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the reunification of his country."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Mr. McGuinness "will always be remembered for the remarkable political journey that he undertook in his lifetime. Not only did Martin come to believe that peace must prevail, he committed himself to working tirelessly to that end."

But some who suffered at the hands of the IRA could not forgive.

Former British government minister Norman Tebbit, whose wife was paralyzed by an IRA bombing of a Brighton, England, hotel in 1984, said he hoped that Mr. McGuinness was "parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity."

Mr. McGuinness's transformation into a peacemaker was remarkable. As a senior IRA commander during the years of gravest Catholic-Protestant violence, he insisted that Northern Ireland must be forced out of Britain against the wishes of Protestants in Northern Ireland.

"We don't believe that winning elections and any amount of votes will bring freedom in Ireland," he told the BBC in 1986. "At the end of the day, it will be the cutting edge of the IRA that will bring freedom."

Yet within a few years of making that stubborn vow, Mr. McGuinness was involved in covert contacts with British intelligence that led eventually to a truce, inter-party talks and the installation of the IRA icon in the heart of Northern Ireland's government.

Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole argued in January, 2017, that Mr. McGuinness had been "a mass killer - during his period of membership and leadership the IRA killed 1,781 people, including 644 civilians - whose personal amiability has been essential to the peace process."

"If he were not a ruthless and unrepentant exponent of violence, he would never have become such a key figure in bringing violence to an end," Mr. O'Toole said.

Unlike his close ally Mr. Adams, Mr. McGuinness never hid the fact that he had been a commander of the IRA - classed as a terrorist organization by the British, Irish and U.S. governments. Nor could he.

Born on May 23, 1950, he joined the breakaway Provisional IRA faction in his native Londonderry - simply Derry to Irish nationalists - after dropping out of high school and working as an apprentice butcher in the late 1960s. At the time, the Catholic civil-rights movement faced increasing conflict with the province's Protestant government and police.

He rose to become Derry's deputy IRA commander by the age of 21 as "Provo" bombs systematically wrecked the city centre. Soldiers found it impossible to pass IRA road barricades erected in Mr. McGuinness's Bogside power base.

Mr. McGuinness appeared unmasked at early Provisional IRA press conferences. The BBC filmed him walking through the Bogside discussing how the IRA command structure worked and stressing his concern to minimize civilian casualties, an early sign of public-relations savvy.

In 1972, during Northern Ireland's bloodiest year, Mr. McGuinness joined Mr. Adams in a six-man IRA delegation flown by the British government to London for secret face-to-face negotiations during a brief truce.

Those talks went nowhere. Mr. McGuinness went back on the run until his arrest in the Republic of Ireland near a car loaded with 250 pounds (110 kilograms) of explosives and 4,750 rounds of ammunition.

During one of his two Dublin trials for IRA membership, Mr. McGuinness declared from the dock he was "a member of the Derry Brigade of the IRA and I'm very, very proud of it."

Historians and security analysts agree that Mr. McGuinness was promoted to the IRA's ruling army council following his November, 1974, parole from prison and would have overseen many of the group's most spectacular and divisive attacks.

These included bomb attacks on London tourist spots and the use of "human bombs" - civilian employees such as cooks and cleaners at British security installations - who were forced to drive car bombs to their places of work that were detonated by remote control before they could raise the alarm.

His central role in the IRA command was underscored when Britain in 1990 opened secret dialogue with the underground group. An MI6 agent codenamed "the Mountain Climber" met Mr. McGuinness several times as part of diplomatic efforts that delivered a 1994 IRA truce and, ultimately, the U.S.-brokered Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

Northern Ireland's first powersharing government, formed in 1999, was led by moderates and afforded only minor roles for Sinn Fein and the most uncompromising Protestant party, Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists.

That first coalition collapsed under the twin weight of Paisleyled obstruction and the IRA's refusal to disarm. Mr. McGuinness served as the lead liaison with disarmament officials.

After election results vaulted the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein to the top of their communities for the first time, pressure mounted on the IRA to surrender its stockpiled arsenal.

This happened in 2005, paving the way for Mr. Paisley to bury the hatchet with the group he called "the Sinners."

No observer could have foreseen what happened next: a genuine friendship between First Minister Paisley and Deputy First Minister McGuinness. Belfast wits dubbed them "the Chuckle Brothers" because of their public warmth.

When Mr. Paisley died in 2014, an emotional Mr. McGuiness hailed him as a champion of peace.

"Past history shows that we were political opponents, but on this day I think I can say without fear of contradiction that I have lost a friend," he said.

Mr. McGuinness maintained more businesslike relations with Mr. Paisley's frosty successor, Peter Robinson. In 2012, when the Queen visited Belfast, the monarch and the former militant shook hands - a gesture that would have seemed impossible just years before.

Two years later, Mr. McGuinness toasted the Queen's health during a banquet at Windsor Castle.

All the while, Mr. McGuinness expressed new-found support for the police as they faced attacks from IRA splinter groups - a U-turn that exposed Mr. McGuinness and his relatives to death threats.

More recently, Northern Ireland's power-sharing government tottered amid a scandal over a bungled green-energy program.

When a frail-looking Mr. McGuinness resigned in January, the administration collapsed, triggering an early election in March that has plunged the future of Northern Ireland power-sharing into uncertainty.

Days later, Mr. McGuinness resigned from politics, saying it was time for a new generation of republican leaders to take charge.

"We are on a journey to unite our people and unite our island," he said. "As a Sinn Fein activist I will continue to play a full and enthusiastic part in that essential process of building bridges, of dialogue and of reconciliation between our still divided people."

Mr. McGuinness leaves his wife, Bernadette, two daughters and two sons.

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Associated Graphic

Martin McGuinness is seen at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland in 2003. Mr. McGuinness went from taking up arms to fight British soldiers in the streets of Northern Ireland to leading the divisive paramilitary movement toward reconciliation with Britain.


Jan Albarda's strange and beautiful journey
Fleeing Holland after the war, architect settled with his family in Toronto, where one of his most breathtaking designs can be seen
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G4

After enjoying hundreds of years in the spotlight, the harpsichord - which produces a distinct, metallic sound by plucking rather than striking its strings - took a bow in the early 19th century.

By 1910, however, when Jan Horatius Albarda was born in The Hague, a mini-revival was taking place: Englishman Arnold Dolmetsch was building them, and Polish-French enthusiast Wanda Landowska was teaching a new generation of students in France and Germany.

Mr. Albarda, however, wouldn't turn his attention to the baroque instrument until much later.

First, he had to train as architectengineer at Technische Hogeschool Delft (now TU Delft), participate in a student rebellion, work under a leader of the modernist movement, design approximately two dozen buildings in his native Holland and then move to Canada. Briefly in Peterborough and then in Toronto, he would design much more, enter competitions and see a curious round building rise in Etobicoke.

He was born into an affluent family. His father, Johan Willem Albarda, was a math teacher who would become a major force in politics and his mother, Anna Brals, was an art teacher.

Taught to draw by his mother and exposed to architecture by family friends and architects next door, young Jan was predestined to become an architect: By the time he was 7 or 8, he was signing his drawings "Jan the Architect."

His taste, even as a teenager, was for the new. Even before he began at Delft, his anger at the school's "traditionalist" curriculum (brought on by the department head's Catholic fundamentalism) prompted him to join a play, Man and Machine, put on by the radical Delfts Studenten Corps in 1928. Two years later, as a student, he'd co-organize the International Conference on Modern Architecture, which invited Bauhaus professors Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius and De Stijl architect/furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld, among others, to lecture. The event was not supported by the school.

Upon graduation, Mr. Albarda went to work for another De Stijl member, Jacobus (J.J.P.) Oud.

Now married to Elske van der Veen - who grew up in Indonesia to Dutch parents - the talented architect soon found himself working on the massive B.I.M/ Shell building in the late-1930s in The Hague (now occupied by Ernst & Young).

"J.J.P. Oud never could have realized the B.I.M. building without the aid of Jan Albarda," states Delft Professor Jan Molema, an authority who began research (with Suzy Leemans) for Jan Albarda en De Groep van Delft in 2004 and released the Dutch-only book in 2010.

After working on everything from banks and private homes for Oud, Mr. Albarda struck out on his own. He did well. His daughter, Karen Sandford-Albarda (born 1939), remembers moving to a large, three-storey house in Wassenaar after the war; in addition to household servants, her father employed two architects, who worked with him upstairs. Since he was "a workaholic" and would often work late, she and her brother had to remain quiet.

She also remembers, as a very little girl, when the occupying Germans took her "soft-spoken" father hostage. He was valuable by then because his father was a high-profile minister in the Dutch government. By a stroke of pure luck, however, Mr. Albarda was released in error: "As he was walking out of the prison, he was thinking they were going to shoot him in the back because he was escaping, but nothing happened," she says, sitting in her Oakville living room more than 70 years later. "So from then on, we had to hide, and I remember him being under floors as we moved around to different places where people helped us."

Perhaps because of this, in the spring of 1951, the Albardas immigrated to Canada. With a job lined up at Blackwell & Craig in Peterborough, the family moved into an "ugly, tiny duplex" at 597 McCannan Ave.

While it's unclear exactly what happened, Eberhard Zeidler's arrival at the same firm that year meant a departure for Mr. Albarda, so a position with the established Toronto firm of Allward & Gouinlock, fresh from completing a number of buildings for the University of Toronto, was secured. After commuting for a short time, the family moved to 14 Riverdale Dr. in Thistletown, which Ms. Sandford-Albarda says was "very beautiful."

"It was a very small village and, originally, it had a general store/post office and it had a meat market, I think, and not much more than that on the four corners of Albion [Road] and Islington [Avenue]. And it gradually grew."

Mr. Albarda's career grew also.

In 1954, after working for a few other firms, he formed a partnership with Eric W. Hounsom (1904-74). Mr. Hounsom had worked for movie-theatre specialists Kaplan & Sprachman, where he had penned the wavyfaced University Theatre in 1946 (now Pottery Barn). The duo worked on a few churches, including the sublime St. Andrew's Anglican with its big, stone wall facing the intersection of Barkwin Drive and Wardlaw Crescent, and the Weston Municipal Building (both demolished).

By 1957, fundamental differences between the partners caused a breakup. In a letter dated Jan. 12, 1958, Mr. Albarda suggested Mr. Hounsom's love of "standards," which "barricade any sound development," was one of the chief reasons; another was Mr. Hounsom's reluctance to learn from the European example, for which Mr. Albarda had the "greatest respect."

Respect for the harpsichord was building in 1958: Summertime, Summertime by the Jamies, which featured the instrument, charted at No. 26 around the same time Mr. Albarda entered Toronto's international competition for a new City Hall and watched his design for the Weston Swimming Pool materialize. By the time the Beach Boys' harpsichord-heavy When I Grow Up to Be a Man came out in 1964, Mr. Albarda had built a harpsichord from a kit for his daughter, and another, this time from scratch, for a client.

By 1965-66, as Mr. Albarda sketched a circular medical building for Royal York Road, the radio was lousy with harpsichords.

The Royal York Medical Arts building is unlike Mr. Albarda's other works. While his other designs were almost Scandinavian in their use of warm brick and sheltering rooflines, the flyingsaucer-like structure at 1436 Royal York Rd. was a serious nod to the space age; its exposed, slanted steel legs and large, sculptural sunscreens seemed more appropriate to California. It was breathtaking. It still is, today, despite the beige-on-beige paint scheme that covers the original turquoise and white.

It would be his architectural swan song. He'd been bitten by the harpsichord bug so badly, he'd written a book about them, Wood, Wire and Quill, which local good guys Coach House Press published in 1968. By the early 1970s, he was building them fulltime, along with a few clavichords, spinets and virginals; he even worked to modernize the instrument rather than slavishly create replicas.

By 1975, the strip malls of Rexdale had obliterated pastoral Thistletown, so the Albardas decamped to 14 Princess St., a stone house on the banks of the Grand River in Elora, Ont. By then, Elske, his wife, was an accredited music teacher. In 1989, four years before his death, Mr. Albarda built harpsichord No. 100 in his basement workshop. Many are still played around the world today.

A strange and beautiful journey, but Mr. Albarda's name is largely unknown in architectural circles. Does his career 180 account for this? Or is it because most of his solo work is in Etobicoke? While Prof. Molema says Mr. Albarda was "quite happy" taking smaller jobs close to home, his daughter tells a different story: "His architecture career was not happy; his career as a harpsichord maker was, but as an architect not at all. There were a few buildings that made him happy, but all in all, I don't think he reached the expectations that he had for himself."

Should an English publisher be found for Prof. Molema's book, perhaps then Jan Albarda will take his rightful place in the spotlight.

Associated Graphic

The Royal York Medical Arts building, top, was designed by Jan Albarda in 1965 and is still breathtaking today, although its original turquoise paint has been painted over with beige. Left, the building in construction in 1965; right, the architect himself with one of his harpsichords.


Although Jan Albarda designed a number of notable GTA buildings, including the Weston Swimming Pool, top, and the now-demolished St. Andrew's Anglican Church at Barkwin Drive and Wardlaw Crescent, harpsichords such as the ones illustrated far left became his true passion.


How a theatre community got past mourning to produce an 'evolution'
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

. REGINA -- Bad Blood's triumphant opening at the University of Regina on Wednesday night was both a final chapter to a story and the first chapter of a new one.

Director and playwright Joey Tremblay's dark and surprisingly funny play about a traumatic trip through the Saskatchewan health-care system was the last project that Michele Sereda had initiated as artistic director of Curtain Razors before she died.

And it's also the first major show to premiere at the retooled theatre company under the new leadership of Tremblay - who assumed the role of artistic director in the wake of Sereda's sudden death in a car crash just north of Regina two years ago.

"Bad Blood is so much about perseverance," says Johanna Bundon, an associate artist at Curtain Razors, "both in the material, but also in getting the production to this point."

Indeed, after one of the biggest tragedies to ever hit Western Canadian theatre, the Regina theatre and performance community has come together around the company that Sereda co-founded in 1989. With expanded support from locals, Curtain Razors has gone from a budget of around $20,000 to one of more than $100,000 and aims to put Saskatchewan on the theatrical map across the country in the way other touring indie companies such as Catalyst Theatre, 2b Theatre or Artistic Fraud have for Edmonton, Halifax and St John's.

"The challenge has been to honour the legacy of someone who's died - but at the same time to recognize that it couldn't stay the same," Tremblay says.

"It needed an evolution."

Before Tremblay saved Sereda's theatre company from dying along with her, Sereda helped keep the actor and playwright from giving up on his own theatrical artistic practice - after the awful experience that is chronicled in Bad Blood.

In 2008, returning to Regina from a trip to Mexico with his partner, Tremblay began to feel ill - iller than he ever had before.

Rushed to the hospital for surgery to remove his gallbladder, he embarked on a medical odyssey that led him to believe he was going to die on multiple occasions. First, Tremblay was misdiagnosed with both cancer and being HIV positive - and only learned after five days of preparing for death that neither was true. Then, it became clear that his surgery had been botched - toxins were leaking into him, while gallstones left in his body created abscesses on his liver. Even after surviving that septic disaster, he was starved for two weeks when a doctor forgot to update his chart.

These experiences left Tremblay with post-traumatic stress.

As part of his therapy, and also to fulfill a grant requirement, he wrote a play about his experience, mocking his own writer's voice and making fun of how personal the story was - and then he hid it away in a drawer.

It stayed there until Tremblay - a former National Arts Centre ensemble member whose play Elephant Wake, about a dying French town on the Prairies, has toured internationally - was asked by Sereda to read it in 2014.

Tremblay was reluctant to show it to her - but, after she called him a few choice words, he gave in. "She read it and phoned me back immediately and said, 'I couldn't put it down,' " Tremblay recalls. A workshop took place in Sereda's garage that spring - and by the early winter of 2015, Curtain Razors was lining up finances for a full production.

Then came the car accident.

In February, 2015, Sereda was driving fellow artists to the Piapot First Nation reserve as part of the development of a show called Making Treaty 7 when a three-car pileup on Highway 6, just north of Regina, claimed their lives. Kainai First Nation elder and educator Narcisse Blood; Michael Green, a founder of the Calgary theatre company One Yellow Rabbit; the Reginabased multidisciplinary artist Lacy Morin-Desjarlais; and Sereda died.

In a city like Regina, with a population of around 200,000, a tragedy such as that would have had a major impact no matter who had died - but the loss of so much local artistic talent was acutely felt.

Mary Blackstone, director of the Centre for the Study of Script Development, explains the significance of Sereda to this outsider. In Regina, the theatre scene has only two long-standing institutions: The Globe Theatre, the regional theatre founded in 1966, and Curtain Razors, which Sereda had founded with Paula Costain fresh out of the University of Regina theatre department in 1989.

After seven years, Sereda had become the sole artistic director of the company - exploring the boundaries between performance art and theatre in presentations and with original work, connecting local artists to the local First Nations artists, and others from around the world until her death.

"There was a lot of anxiety at that point that [Curtain Razors] would be gone," says Blackstone, who was a friend of Sereda's and recalls her hearty laugh when she would walk into the room.

"It's just really fortunate that Joey was in the place that he was in - in a place where he felt he could take over the company and put his weight behind making it survive and taking it to the next stage."

Everyone I spoke to in Regina calls Tremblay the perfect person to take over Curtain Razors.

He and Sereda had known each other since their days as students at the University of Regina in the 1980s, bonding as they both came from small towns.

The two kept in touch, but followed different paths - Tremblay did what many aspiring theatre artists do in Saskatchewan after graduating: move to a larger city.

First it was Vancouver, then Edmonton where he ran Catalyst Theatre with Jonathan Christenson for a while. His show Elephant Wake made that company well known when it toured to the Edinburgh Fringe and won an award in 1997.

Meanwhile, back in Regina, Sereda had put down roots - and, as many graduates of University of Regina before and after, started her own company.

"She was from the pioneering settler stock," Blackstone recalls.

Tremblay moved back to Regina in 2004 for a contract at the Globe Theatre, but he continued to travel to work outside of the province, for instance spending a year in the National Arts Centre ensemble under Peter Hinton. When the board of directors of Curtain Razors first contacted Tremblay after Sereda's death, they were mainly wondering how much of a promise there was for a production of Bad Blood.

But soon enough they had another question for him: Would he want to take over the company?

Tremblay, now 52, worried he was too old to take on a company in need of saving - but eventually saw it as a chance to create a company such as Catalyst in his home province - one that would focus on building productions over a long process that could then have an extended life through touring.

If Bad Blood is an example of the work to come for Curtain Razors, we're likely to see more of them outside of the province in coming years. It's a healthcare story from the province that birthed our health-care system - reminiscent of some of the Electric Company's early work.

It follows Joey (played by a wonderfully charismatic Jayden Pfeifer) on that journey after a botched gallbladder surgery.

With a 16-person cast, Tremblay's staging gives it an operatic feel - but also makes it seem a bit like Alice's journey into Wonderland, with IV bags perched up on impossibly high intravenous poles, and a doctor named Lala who looks like a Teletubbie when Joey is high on morphine.

To get a show this big on stage, Curtain Razors had to get creative. Tremblay developed the work as the first Michele Sereda artist-in-residence at the University of Regina - and eventually partnered with the theatre department to create its first production. Six professional actors teamed up with chorus of students and recent graduates.

Kathryn Bracht, the head of the theatre department, was at the opening and found it an emotional experience. Like most in Regina, she knew Sereda - and was happy and sad at once to see Tremblay carry her vision forward in a new way.

"There's a little bit of letting go and a little bit of embracing - which I think Michele would be really happy about," she said, holding back tears.

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Joey Tremblay, artistic director of Curtain Razors Theatre, wrote and directed Bad Blood, which opened at the University of Regina on Wednesday night. The play is the last project initiated by Michele Sereda, artistic director of Curtain Razors, before she died in a car accident in February, 2015.


Canada 150: A tourtière to call my own
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

Tourtière is fantastic for its straightforwardness. There's no pretense, no fuss, just a lightly spiced meat filling encased in pastry. Done well, it's a glorious thing.

When a pie is so unabashedly bare, it's the details that set it apart. All too often, the pastry is flaccid and depressing, the filling bland or dry (imagine a mouthful of cotton wool). Those tourtières are far from the alluring possibilities of the Québécois tradition.

A proper tourtière is lush and hearty and, while primarily thought of as a Christmas tradition, there is a case for eating it year-round. Tourtière can be served from steaming hot to room temperature, even cold, and it improves with age. It takes beautifully to freezing, and is sturdy enough for transport. Truly, a tourtière is a useful thing to know how to make.

I culled this paper's archives to see how the storied dish had evolved through the years. One recipe from Ann Adam, published March 30, 1964, calls for chicken pieces slowly simmered with chopped pork and seasoned plainly with salt and pepper.

Frances MacIlquham's 1975 venison tourtière included allspice and bay leaf, while Max McKenna's recipe from September, 1979, allows for parsley, a bay leaf and a pinch of dried sage.

In contemporary tourtière recipes, spices are the norm. Ricardo Larrivée has a version with handchopped pork rather than ground, flavoured with nutmeg and clove. And, of course, Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon currently dominates the tourtière scene. His brawny beauty begins with a braised pork shoulder that's shredded and folded through with ground pork. The long-cooked meats, perfumed with clove and cinnamon, make for a resoundingly full-bodied filling.

In sorting out a tourtière to call my own, I consider St-Hubert's the sentimental archetype: that means ground meat all the way. A combination of pork and veal brings needed fat and a general sweetness, while mushrooms add depth and help keep the mixture from irrevocable density. Combining the old and the new, grated potato and a scattering of oats add further softness, while thyme and dried savory offer an herbal influence. The spicing is unassuming but present.

That said, my tourtière is not without some controversial moves. In a trick lifted from J.

Kenji Lopez-Alt's beef and barley soup, Asian fish sauce underscores the mushroom's resonance, and changes the tenor entirely. It's a statement often promised, but holds true here - the filling won't taste of fish, but rather as somehow more than the sum of its parts.

There is an unmistakable gloss to a sauce based on a proper stock made with bones. To mimic that stickiness, a scant amount of powdered gelatin gives a velvety weight.

In place of the expected tomato relish or ketchup as a companion to the tourtière, I opt for a mustard-heavy cognac cream sauce.

The gravy fills any gaps with both voluptuousness and edge. As an aside, for a thicker sauce, sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons of flour into the pan after the mustard is added.

Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, before pouring in the liquids.



to 8 For the tourtière:

1 cup good-quality chicken or veal stock, divided

1 tsp powdered gelatin 1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground pork, preferably not lean

1 lb ground veal Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cremini or button mushrooms, diced 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked off

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp dried summer savory

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg A good pinch ground allspice, optional

1/2 tsp Asian fish sauce

1 small mashing or baking potato, peeled and grated (russet or Yukon gold, or similar)

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats Flour, for work surface

1 recipe pie dough (pâte brisée or shortcrust), enough for a doublecrust 9-inch pie

1 egg, beaten with

1 tsp milk or cream For the sauce:

1 tsp powdered gelatin

11/2 cups good-quality chicken or veal stock, divided 2 rashers thick-cut bacon

4 shallots, roughly chopped

2 tbsp cognac or bourbon

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 cup apple cider

2 thyme sprigs

1/4 cup heavy cream

Pour 1/4 cup stock in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the gelatin over top and leave to soften. Set aside the remaining stock.

In a large, high-sided skillet or casserole over medium heat, warm the olive oil. When hot, tumble in the meats and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring and crumbling the meat with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink but not sizzling, about 8 to 10 minutes. Tip in the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring regularly. Scatter the thyme over the meat, then tuck in the bay leaf. Stir in the savory, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and fish sauce. Pour the reserved stock into the pot, and once boiling, stir in the gelatin mixture. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and partially cover the pan. Allow the meat mixture to burble away gently for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Fold the potato and oats into the meat mixture, and cook for 10 minutes more. Check for seasoning, allow the mixture to cool, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour but preferably longer, up to overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Fit the round snugly into a 9-inch pie tin. Fill the shell with the meat mixture, packing it tightly and mounding slightly toward the centre. Pop the pie into the fridge while you roll out the remaining dough to another 12-inch round. Brush the edge of the filled shell with beaten egg, then lay the second dough round on top to cover, pressing edges together to seal. Trim away any excess dough so that the pastry only slightly overhangs the rim.

Working your way around the tin, roll and tuck the edges of the pastry under, forming a raised edge.

Crimp as desired. Cut a hole in the centre of the pastry, or a couple of slits to release steam, and decorate if so moved. Anoint the crust with more egg, followed by a miserly seasoning of salt and pepper. Refrigerate the pie for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 F, with a rimmed baking sheet set on a rack in the lower third.

Bake the pie on the preheated baking sheet for 30 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 F. Continue to bake the tourtière until the pastry is golden and the filling is hot and bubbling, 45 minutes more or thereabouts. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

While the tourtière is baking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, bloom the gelatin in 1/4 cup stock as before. Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon, turning periodically. Once the bacon is golden and its fat has rendered, about 5 to 8 minutes, remove and reserve for another use (in other words, eat it as a cook's treat). Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring often, until deeply coloured and soft, about 10 minutes.

With a lid nearby and the skillet off the heat, pour the cognac into the pan. Still off the heat, carefully set the alcohol vapours aflame with a match, then return the pan to the heat, shaking the pan constantly until the flames subside.

Stir in the mustard, let it fry for a few seconds, then follow with the remaining stock, the apple cider and the gelatin mixture. Once bubbling, pop in the thyme sprigs and lower the heat. Simmer until the sauce is the consistency of maple syrup, 12 to 15 minutes more.

Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing the shallots to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the sauce to the pan, stir in the cream, then bring back up to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot alongside the tourtière.

Associated Graphic

Tara O'Brady's tourtière recipe goes for ground meat all the way with its sweet combination of pork and veal.


Food fight: how a lunch plan divided a Toronto school
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Erin George and her husband wage a daily battle familiar to many busy homes. They rush to pack a lunch for their five-yearold daughter, knowing the odds it will return untouched or barely nibbled.

So when Ms. George and a group of parents proposed bringing an optional hot-lunch service to their West End Toronto school, she thought she had found a way to ease the burden.

She didn't expect that lunch plan to divide the neighbourhood in a philosophical debate about inequality, classism and privatization.

Last month, more than 50 parents attended a council meeting at Dewson Street Junior Public School - setting what is thought to be an attendance record - to discuss the proposal. One parent who was at the school, near Bloor Street and Ossington Avenue, described the mood as "intense."

Dissenters raised concerns about the cost of the meals, and whether lower-income students would suffer from having to go without. Supporters argued that the private company contracted to provide the meals has provisions to subsidize families who can't afford full-price lunches of roughly $5 but wanted to participate.

"I did not think it would be this challenging," said Ms. George, whose child is in senior kindergarten.

The food fight is not unique in the city, where children attending schools in gentrifying neighbourhoods can come from a range of economic backgrounds. Lunch might be the hot point at Dewson, but the issue of equity stretches across the spectrum, from book fairs to pizza lunches.

At the heart of the debate is a simple question: Should public schools embrace programs that are not universally accessible to students?

The Toronto District School Board provides a morning nutrition program, through government funding, in a number of schools. The board allows schools to make decisions on paid hot-lunch programs, offering them a list of six suppliers that have been vetted through a tendering process. The list includes Real Food for Real Kids, the Toronto catering company Ms. George and some parents at Dewson have shown an interest in.

Ryan Bird, a TDSB spokesman, said issues around equity would need to be addressed at the school before any decision is made. A school committee has been formed to study how to bring in a hot-lunch program that is accessible to all students.

Dewson is a school with a population of almost 500, and which offers French immersion. It sits on the edge of the rapidly gentrifying Dufferin Grove neighbourhood. A four-bedroom house on the street raised eyebrows when it sold for $2.1-million, $800,000 over the asking price. The neighbourhood is also culturally diverse.

Jessica Lyons, who has a daughter in senior kindergarten at Dewson and another child starting in the fall, raised her objections to the hot-lunch program at the council meeting. Ms. Lyons said TDSB numbers show that about 15 per cent of Dewson students are from families with annual incomes of less than $30,000, and she worries that not enough consideration was being given to the barriers those children face in accessing a hot-lunch program.

She put forward a motion recommending the school work toward an equitable food program. It was overwhelmingly supported and passed.

"If the school community has energy to accomplish something to benefit the kids, it must be something that all the kids can benefit from," Ms. Lyons said.

"Kids can't learn as well if they are hungry and that's a real problem to solve, much more pressing than the drudgery of packing a lunch every day.

"This is about funnelling off and privatizing aspects of the education system, and I'm not into that."

Introducing a hot-lunch program at Dewson was raised several years ago, but did not gain traction. This time around, for more than two years, a small group of parents researched and worked on the logistics of bringing it to the school.

Ms. George said she and other parents are not objecting to expanding a subsidized program for families with limited budgets.

A hot-lunch service is an optional program, she said, and not every family would sign up, regardless of their financial means.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had an opportunity to help feed those children and help those families by having an optional lunch program that has subsidized lunches and that's healthy and nutritious?" she asked.

Ms. George said she has heard from many single-parent families, who have told her how crunched for time they are and how a lunch program would help.

As for the inequality argument, Ms. George said that there are many other programs such as book fairs that cost money, and put the spotlight on inequities but are not contested.

"The minimal cost is no basis to stop the introduction of an optional hot lunch program at Dewson," Ms. George said.

David Farnell, co-owner of Real Food For Real Kids, said questions around equal access to the hot-lunch program have been raised at every school he's attended.

Mr. Farnell and his wife started the company in 2004 after seeing that food providers at their son's daycare were feeding children processed food. Today, the company feeds children in 272 daycares and 32 schools. On average, 6,500 hot lunches are produced daily in its kitchen. Elementary school children eat macaroni and cheese made with carrot puree for colour, and chicken nuggets, made with real chicken and crisped with flax seed and millet.

Mr. Farnell said his company provides schools with one free meal for every 20. Schools could take that free meal and provide two subsidized lunches instead.

"I fully respect and appreciate parents wanting to do something about the inequality early in life so the kids aren't as exposed to it until they are able to mature," he said. "Real Food for Real Kids is never going to level the playing field. But what we can do is, we can try to tilt it the best we can."

Kelly Gallagher-Mackay, who has a daughter attending Dewson, said that while she is not a fan of making lunches, public schools should stay away from fee-paying programs during the school day. She volunteered to be a member of the committee looking at how to make a hot-lunch program equitable at Dewson.

"We expect our public schools to treat all kids equally, regardless of income. In fact, if there is extra effort, that effort should be directed [toward] bridging gaps, not reinforcing them," Ms. Gallagher-Mackay said. "Programs offered by the school during the school day should be available to all children in the school regardless of the ability to pay."

Mike Brcic, a father of three children who attend Dewson, understands the motivation of parents to bring a universally accessible lunch to the school.

However, he, Ms. George and other parents have found ways to mitigate those concerns through a subsidy program for struggling families that want a hot lunch but can't afford to pay full price.

Mr. Brcic has been working for more than two years to bring the hot lunch program into the school. He and his wife model a healthy lifestyle for their children. He introduced mashed up broccoli and Brussels sprouts as their first foods. Their lunches consist of cut-up vegetables, leftovers from dinner or a quinoa lentil salad.

He said that the argument made by some parents that children sitting next to each other with a hot lunch and one from home presupposes that they care.

Will a child with a sandwich be jealous of the one eating a hot lunch that includes quinoa salad?

"A lot of our motivation is we are busy, stressed-out parents and this is one small thing that somebody could take off our plates and really just improve our lives and improve our kids' lives," he said.

"I share everybody's desire to see this rolled out in a way that's accessible to everyone, in spite of any financial obstacles," he said.

"I actually would love to see Dewson as a model of how this could be made available to all kids."

Associated Graphic

Jessica Lyons and her daughters, Ruby and Molly, and their friend Freda have a snack in their Toronto home on Wednesday. Ms. Lyons wants to make sure that hot-lunch programs in schools are inclusive to all children.


A wave of trendy restaurant chains washes over London
As demand outstrips capacity, many new, hip eateries are expanding beyond the British capital and, in one case, even to North America, Lindsay Burgess writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Edgy down to the double entendre, Meatliquor is the kind of London hotspot where a queue out the door is a near-permanent fixture. The restaurant sits underneath a parking structure north of London's busy Oxford Street. Inside, hipsters in skinny jeans perch side by side with suits in Zegna loafers, surrounded by loud trash polka-style murals and louder music.

When the restaurant opened in 2011, you could scarcely imagine a more fitting bricks-and-mortar home for the legendary Meatwagon food truck. At least, not until Meatailer Ltd. launched a second location, then a third.

The brand now serves its famously sloppy griddled burgers (bathed in melted cheese, enclosed by squishy buns from a local village bakery) at seven London restaurants, plus locations in Brighton, Bristol and Leeds.

Meatailer co-founder Scott Collins says that his goal was never to build an empire.

"We are obviously very proud ... but the truth is it's been less of a calculated plan and more of an organic evolution."

Still, the brand's expansion mirrors the rise of the restaurant microchain in London. Since 2010, a growing wave of trendy dining concepts has washed across the capital and spilled beyond its borders.

Bombay-style small plates cafe Dishoom grew from a single location in Covent Garden in 2010, to four throughout London, plus one in Edinburgh.

Bone Daddies, a ramen bar conceived by ex-Nobu chef Ross Shonhan, started in Soho in 2012; it now serves noodles with a side of classic rock at five spots dotted around the capital.

And then there's Polpo: Russell Norman's collection of Venetian bacari numbers six in London, with locations in Brighton and Bristol.

This kind of growth doesn't happen overnight - at least, not at first. Consider Hawksmoor, a steakhouse known for its masterful treatment of grass-fed British beef. Despite early success after opening in 2006, co-founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott didn't attempt a second location until 2010.

"We spent the first four years," Beckett says, "learning how to run one great restaurant, and at the end of that we realized that we had significantly more demand than space to accommodate it."

Five more Hawksmoor locations followed in London, plus one in Manchester. Next year, they're opening in New York.

Jay Rayner, the food critic, author and MasterChef judge, calls Hawksmoor's stateside turn, "The ballsiest move by any British restaurant. But if anyone can do it ..." he says, trailing off.

"I'm a very big fan of Hawksmoor," Rayner adds, pointing to the brand as one of the few to succeed in giving the steakhouse a British accent.

So how will that translate in the United States? Beckett says his new outpost in the World Trade Center will focus on North American ingredients - a localization of one of the brand's core values, to put provenance first.

But not all London restaurant groups translate overseas. Meatliquor opened in Singapore in 2015 and closed after little more than a year.

Angelica Malin, editor-in-chief of About Time magazine, points to one reason why microchains thrive in their British context.

"Chains are, I think, dead to us," Malin says. "A restaurant needs to feel independent and, to an extent, local, even when it's part of a big group." Microchains do "local" very well: Differences are built into every new location, often with a nod to its particular neighbourhood or city.

"We didn't and don't ever want Bone Daddies to fall into the 'chain' category of restaurants," says Shonhan. To keep each of his ramen bars distinct, Shonhan brought in location-specific offerings. "Old Street offers kushiyaki [bread-crumbed, fried skewers], Kensington has gyoza and buns and at St. Christopher's Place we've introduced a robata grill."

Another tick in the local column: Supporting British suppliers and producers.

Take Hawksmoor's dedication to small-farm beef, for example, or Meatliquor's engagement with up-and-coming craft brewers such as Magic Rock Brewing and Moor Beer.

These are British brands supporting British enterprise; it's good marketing on top of good business.

As a general rule, microchain offerings tend to be simple - that's what makes the business model so easy to grow. They also offer good value. Rayner says that these restaurants, at the mid-to-low end of the scale, are essentially a step up from the street-food culture that's made eating out so accessible in recent years.

"Rents in this city are appalling," Rayner says. "So if you're a twentysomething on your first or second job, expendable income is very, very tough."

Malin agrees, but notes that high property costs actually encourage young diners to spend more on food and drink.

"The concept of saving has gone out of the window and people are more than happy to lay down 50 quid on a champagne brunch on the weekend, a huge meal out with friends or fancy cocktails in Soho."

Ironically, as microchains move into neighbourhoods outside of central London, properties on the city's fringes become more valuable - and more expensive.

But property costs affect restaurateurs as much as they do Londoners. New openings often require investors, who want to feel confident that they'll see a return.

As Richard Vines, chief food critic at Bloomberg, explains it, "When people with capital are putting money into projects, they want them to be scalable."

That's how venture capitalists became a driving force behind London's food scene. If you look back on the growth of London's microchains over the past decade, you'll notice a pattern of testing and scaling that's straight out of the startup playbook.

First, there's the alpha test.

That might be a street-food presence, such as the Meatwagon, or a limited-time event, such as Shackfuyu, a pop-up izakaya put on by the Bone Daddies team. (The latter was so popular, it became a permanent fixture on Old Compton Street.)

According to Rayner, backers in London are on the prowl for successful concepts in this early phase. "Venture capitalists are wandering all over town looking for as fully-formed a proposition as they can find to invest in and roll out," he says. In this sense, a street-food collective such as London's Street Feast might be the food-industry equivalent of an incubator.

Next comes the first restaurant opening. In the startup world, that would be the beta test. Says Vines, "[It's] almost like a pilot for a TV show. They're trying out if it works, then they open more." And more is the goal - it has to be. Rayner explains, "The economies of scale in London, and the rents, are such that to actually survive as a business on one restaurant can be very, very tough."

When a concept is successful - that is, making profits and facing a demand they can no longer meet - it's time to scale up.

And that's the part that's so difficult to get right.

"[Russell Norman], who's the face of Polpo, said you've got to get up to 20 outlets before you can ... get a good price for it," Vines says.

But the more restaurants a group owns, the more careful the brand must be with its quality control. Expansion also comes with risks to a restaurant's reputation, especially among the core dining scene.

"Once you go for scale, you have to accept that you're becoming a popular restaurant," Vines says. "It's not niche any more."

Malin agrees. "I think there is a breaking point, after a certain number of openings. If there were 10 Dishooms in London, it wouldn't be so exciting."

But Rayner cautions not to judge a microchain by size alone. "There is nothing inherently wrong with a group of restaurants," he says. "There's nothing wrong in that whatsoever. The issue is, simply: Are they any good?"

Associated Graphic

The original Meatliquor hotspot opened near London's Oxford Street in 2011 and became a hub for hipsters. Owner Meatailer now runs seven locations in London alone.


Meatliquor Croydon is one of the brand's London locations. Meatailer's expansion coincides with the rise of microchains in the city, but as the chain grows, they must be careful to maintain quality.


A plan of careful and long-term promises
Liberals' fiscal measures aim to 'continue to be responsible' with deficit while making Canada more innovative, globally competitive
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A9

OTTAWA -- The Liberals' second budget builds on the work of the government's first fiscal plan, with a wide range of targeted and often relatively small measures.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says his aim was to put Canadians to work and to make Canada more innovative and more globally competitive.

It's also a budget that's infused with initiatives that appeal to Liberal interests, such as the more than $3-billion targeted toward Indigenous people and a massive investment in child care, and which the government says has been filtered through its own gender-analysis to ensure the lives of men and women are made more equal.

But it's also a fiscal plan to spread out much of its spending over the long term, with some of its promises extending 11 years into the future.

Budget balance and debt

The budget still doesn't include any plans to balance the books.

The deficit projection for 201617 is $23-billion, rising to $28.5billion by 2017-18 and down to $18.8-billion by 2021-22. But the budget shows the bottom line is sensitive to economic-growth projections.

The federal debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 30.3 per cent by 2021-22. The more positive outlook projects the budgetary balance to improve by $5.8-billion a year, resulting in a debt-toGDP ratio of 28.4 per cent by 202122.

The more pessimistic projections believe the balance will worsen by $6.2-billion a year, on average, and the federal debt-toGDP ratio would be two percentage points higher by 2021-22.

During the 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberals repeatedly promised they would run deficits no greater than $10-billion a year and would balance the budget by 2019, in time for the next election.

Asked when his government plans on balancing the books, Mr.

Morneau said: "Our plan is to continue to be responsible every step along the way. That's what you're seeing here. You're seeing that we'll be able to show a decline in net debt to GDP, which is what we focused on as a fiscal anchor and will continue to take that approach moving forward."

Skills training

Because of demographic challenges in the labour market, skills training initiatives were expected to play a key part in Wednesday's budget. Employment insurance premiums are going up in 2018, raising approximately $1.4-billion over five years to partly offset some of the government's skillstraining promises and expanding EI benefits so they're more flexible for parents and caregivers.

Premiums will rise from $1.63 to $1.68 every $100 by next year.

Gender statement

One of the most striking aspects of Budget 2017 is a 26-page statement on gender equality and a discussion of the ways in which the government has run its policies, and its spending commitments, through a gender-based analysis.

To reduce inequity, the government says it is proposing key investments in areas where gender imbalances persist.

They include enhancements to student financial assistance and training that the government says will disproportionately benefit women, $7-billion over 11 years for early learning and child care, $11.2-billion over 11 years for a national housing strategy, more flexible benefits for family caregivers, more supports for Indigenous women and $101-million over five years to support a national strategy to address gender-based violence.

Indigenous peoples

Indigenous communities, which were big winners in the Trudeau government's first budget, have been promised an additional $3.4-billion over the next five years as the Liberals continue their efforts to improve the socioeconomic conditions of Canada's first peoples.

Most of the new money is directed at infrastructure and health.

The budget allocates $300-million over the next 11 years to build housing in the northern territories. And there is $225-million over the same time frame to provide affordable housing for Indigenous people who do not live on reserve.

On health, the government is promising to spend $828.2-million over the next five years to improve medical outcomes of the First Nations and the Inuit.

That money will be used to expand health resources on reserves, where children sometimes die of treatable illnesses and where supports such as palliative care are often non-existent, and to decrease the gap in life expectancy for Indigenous people, which is currently years below the average for other Canadians.

In addition, there is new money for child care, postsecondary education, employment initiatives, language and culture preservation, alternative sentencing, rehabilitation of Indigenous offenders, environmental fisheries (which get another $250-million over five years), help for urban aboriginals, land-claims settlement and meeting the oversight recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Despite calls from the United States for Canada to increase its contributions to international military efforts, there is no increase in defence spending in the 2017 budget. In fact, the Department of National Defence is reallocating $8.48-billion that it expected to spend on capital projects, such as planes, ships, trucks and large infrastructure, before 2036 to future years when it will be used to purchase fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft and new light-armoured vehicles.


The budget reiterates the promise, with no dollars attached, that the government will allow injured veterans the option of receiving a disability award through a lifetime pension rather than through a lump-sum payment. The details will be released this year.

In more concrete commitments, it goes some distance toward making life easier for the families of those who have been wounded in service. Most importantly, it offers $187.3-million over six years to create a Caregiver Recognition Benefit, which will provide veterans' caregivers, including spouses or other family members, with $1,000 tax-free a month.

The government will eliminate the one-year time window in which spouses of veterans who are permanently injured, or who have been killed while on duty, must decide whether they will apply for vocational rehabilitation. There is an additional $147million over six years to expand Military Family Resource Centres.

And there are new funds for veterans and family well-being and emergencies.

The budget also commits $17.5million over four years to create a new Centre of Excellence on PostTraumatic Stress Disorder and related mental-health conditions.


Soaring home prices in some of Canada's biggest cities have prompted calls for further government intervention. The budget promises to give Statistics Canada almost $40-million over five years and $6.6-million a year after that, to develop and implement a Housing Statistics Framework. The nationwide database of all properties in Canada would provide up-to-date information on purchases and sales, including the degree of foreign ownership, and information about demographics and financing. Statistics Canada is expected to start publishing initial data in the fall of this year.

An Uber tax

Starting July 1, commercial ridesharing services from Web applications will be subject to the same taxes as taxis. All taxi operators are required to register for GST/HST and charge tax on their fares. The budget says it will amend the definition of a taxi business to require ride-sharing services to register for GST/HST and charge tax on their fares in the same way taxis do.

Opioid treatment

The budget also proposes listing naloxone, a drug used to treat fentanyl overdoses, to the list of GST/HST-free non-prescription drugs that are used to treat lifethreatening conditions. The drug, and its salts, is already tax-free when prescribed, but since March 22, 2016, Health Canada removed the requirement for a prescription when the drug is used for emergency situations outside of a hospital.

No changes to capital gains

The business community is sure to be relieved there are no tax increases in the budget, including on capital gains. The tax would have applied to the earnings from investments such as stocks or real estate, potentially costing business people or entrepreneurs millions of dollars. But tobacco and alcohol are in the crosshairs: The budget proposes to adjust tobacco excise duty rates to bring in $55-million next year alone and to increase excise duty rates on alcohol by 2 per cent, for revenue of up to $160-million by 2021-22.

French cuisine doesn't quite fly at Café Ça Va
Renowned Michelin chef Alain Rayé's absence is deeply felt on a traditional menu that is more miss than hit
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S2

Café Ça Va 1860 Marine Dr., West Vancouver 604-925-2503; Dinner appetizers, $12 to 18; mains, $24 to $37; whole roast duck, $82; Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. (10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday) to 3 p.m.; dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; reservations recommended. Casual dining 1

I knew right from the start that there was something fishy about Café Ça Va. Perhaps it was the imported sardines, which had been awkwardly stuffed into a white ceramic can. No, it wasn't a long, rectangular sardine-tin replica with a rigid ring-pull tab. That might have worked. This dish was shaped like a short soup can - round and squat with a cantilevered, saw-toothed lid. It was a chintzy, dollar-store-type vessel that would be appropriate for condiments, or cotton balls, but not these soft, silvery, oil-packed fish that had been squished inside atop eggplant "caviar" (a bland mash filled out with fibrous winter tomatoes) and were falling apart in a frayed, dumpy mess.

Across the table, a slice of pâté en croûte had shrunk away from its puff-pastry crust. The fudgy pink forcemeat mottled with chunks of fat, jellied consommé and pistachios looked like a sad, shrivelled island of boiled pork separated from its stale and soggy golden ring by a dry, airy moat - a gaping hole of poor technique.

My dining partner stared me down with a quizzical frown, as if to say: "For this, you dragged me across the Lions Gate Bridge?" Oh, West Vancouver. I know I've neglected you for years and rarely review your restaurants. Glancing around Café Ça Va - at its fine custom millwork, marble counters and tan-leather banquettes gaudily tarted up with King Louis bar stools, oversized crystal chandeliers, snowflake-painted windows, flashing scenes of the French countryside on mounted flat-screen TVs and gilt paint everywhere - I remembered why I so seldom come. Because I always end up in places trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

This time was supposed to be different. This was touted as the exciting comeback round for culinary heavyweights Alain and Brigitte Rayé.

By Vancouver standards, their story is epic. It goes back to France, 1986. Brigitte, who had grown up in Burgundy and gone abroad to work for the Roux Brothers at Le Gavroche in London, had returned to Paris and was the maitre d' at a bistro called La Dariole, off the ChampsÉlysées. Alain, fresh from Chez Uginet in Albertville, where he had become the youngest French chef to earn a Michelin star, moved to Paris, bought the bistro, elevated the food to haute cuisine and renamed it Restaurant Alain Rayé.

"I was part of the package," Ms. Rayé now jokes. They fell in love, got married and ran the restaurant for six years. It didn't win any Michelin stars. (Interestingly, the local critics complained about the bare walls and "sad" décor that detracted from the food.) Yet it was renowned enough to garner a story about the snub in The New York Times.

In 1992, they moved to Versailles and opened La Belle Époque, which did, in its second year, earn a Michelin star, one that was maintained until it closed in 1998.

Then the Rayés set sail for North America. In 2002, they opened La Régalade in West Vancouver, a beloved, rustic, countrystyle bistro that fired on all cylinders - until the couple divorced five years ago. Ms. Rayé later opened La Cigale in Kitsilano with her son, Kevin. Mr. Rayé, alas, spread himself too thin by opening a second La Régalade in the Philippines and assisting their other son, Steeve, with the short-lived Café Régalade. By the time he shuttered the original La Régalade last winter, it was sputtering on Groupon fumes.

In swooped Amin Leo Sabounchi, a real-estate developer and owner of Café Ça Va, a confused café, bakery and piano bar that had gone relatively unnoticed by anyone outside the neighbourhood. Last fall, he lured Mr. Rayé out of retirement and convinced Ms. Rayé to close La Cigale and take over the front-of-the-house.

"There aren't many managers that can handle Alain," Mr. Sabounchi explains. "For lack of a better word, I brought them back together."

Word spread fast. It was a magnificent Rayé reunion. "A sublime new chapter!" my food-writing colleagues enthused. "Chef of the year!" "There is nobody who cooks like this in all of Vancouver!"

Oh, really?

I fondly remember Mr. Rayé's hearty country feasts at La Régalade - the richly braised daubes, the silky rillettes, the ethereal floating meringues. Those clunky sardines and that dried-out pâté en croûte bore little to no resemblance.

Ms. Rayé certainly does run a graceful floor, discreetly attentive and full of charm.

But the food? Braised short ribs in a standard black-peppercorn cream sauce were merely competent, hardly the bold chef reinvention I had heard so much about.

Lapin à la moutarde was a disaster - the rabbit meat barely browned with red streaks of carpet burn stretched over withered flesh that had been roughly handled, given all the sharps bits of small broken bones. The poor beaten-up bunny had nowhere to hide since the broken sauce was so thin and grainy.

What was going on? As I later discovered, Mr. Rayé is no longer working in the kitchen. Although he is still executive chef, in title, the long hours were taking their toll and he decided to step back.

Behshad Zolnasr, a young chef who most recently worked at Italian Kitchen in Park Royal, took over the line. Last month, he was joined by Dylan Draper, previously head chef at Avec Bistro in Calgary.

So that explains a lot. Reluctantly, I returned for a second visit - and was moderately pleased.

Salade périgourdine was heaped with glistening hunks of tender duck confit, slippery shaves of luscious mi-cuit foie gras and thick slices of peppery duck sausage generously flecked with tarragon.

An exceptionally fluffy sweet soufflé, whipped high into the sky with three egg whites and grounded with an herbaceous drizzle of chartreuse, was heavenly.

The whole roast duck was a show-stopping dish for two that made everyone else turn and ask, "Oh, what are they having?" The Fraser Valley duck, dry-aged for 14 days, is rubbed with honey and coated with lavender, cumin, caraway, coriander and peppercorns. After being presented at the table in all its golden-glazed glory, the duck was returned to the kitchen and prepared two ways.

First, the breast meat, carved into thick magenta-red slices with the spiced skin attached.

The whole-seed mix was a bit heavy-handed, crunchy, and could definitely benefit from a rough grind. And the 30-minute roast was too quick for a dry-aged bird that, although robustly flavoured, has already been sucked of moisture. The fat cap under the breast meat was thick and chewy.

The second course, roughly chopped leg meat, was served over a stodgy button-mushroom duxelles, adorned with chanterelles and draped in a dark, glossy duck jus.

The restaurant may be improving, slightly, or at least regaining some momentum after Mr. Rayé stepped back. But if that duck dish sounds familiar, it is likely because it is not "unique" to Café Ça Va. It is actually the signature dish of Daniel Humm, executive chef at the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York. This rendition, much like the entire restaurant, is a nothing more than a knock-off that delivers far less than it promises.

Associated Graphic

The showstopping whole roast duck, dry-aged for 14 days and coated with a mouthwatering spice mix, is sure to turn every head in the restaurant, but even this dish falls short of diners' expectations.


Prepared two ways, the duck's breast meat is first served, carved into thick red slices, then followed by leg meat served over mushrooms and draped in a dark, glossy duck jus.

Swim against the stream of tourism
A relaxing dip in community pools abroad can give one a window into a world travellers rarely get to see
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T3

PARIS -- I picked up a Vélib bike from the nearest station to our vacation apartment near République and headed out for the mission I have in every city, whether it's a world capital or some dumpy town in the American Midwest.

I cycled through the Marais until I came to the Seine and then headed east along the river, past the Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis, past the Jardin des Plantes on the opposite bank, past the bridge leading to the Austerlitz station, then over the Pont de Bercy and back down to the river, this time on the Left Bank.

It took less than half an hour on this pleasant June afternoon.

And there, just in front of me, my goal: a community swimming pool.

Only here, in Paris, it was a unique one. La Piscine Joséphine Baker is a city pool - all ultramodern and walled with glass - but on a barge permanently tied up to the riverbank.

It was a lovely swim, with the blue sky above, the stark modern glass and chrome towers of the Bibliothèque Nationale at the edge of my view field as I turned to breathe one way, the green of the Parc de Bercy the other.

And, of course, I had my typical idiosyncratic pool experience; in this case one that expressed the essential Paris love of rules and order and making people wait for service.

I had to wait in a long, inefficient line to pay to get in. I was not allowed into the pool unless I had a bathing cap, which I didn't have, so I had to buy one.

And I was not allowed into the change room unless I waded through a large foot bath. I tried to go around it and was scolded sharply by the ever-present cranky municipal cleaning employee. Bien sûr. How could it be otherwise?

And, really, that's part of why I search out local swimming pools wherever I go. It's always wonderful to have a watery workout in the middle of the usual tourist tasks of eating, walking, staring at things on walls and shopping.

But, I also get a glimpse into the everyday character of whatever place I'm in.

City or community pools are portals to the non-tourist world.

Tourists may occasionally manage to locate them, but not in overwhelming numbers.

Even in the most glamorous cities, they're filled with local parents and rambunctious children, gaggles of girlfriends shrieking and apparently uninterested in any actual water, dive-bombing boys, young triathletes and seniors doing their laps doggedly.

Well, almost. The huge Centro Deportivo Municipal Casa de Campo in the suburbs of Madrid, also called the Piscina de Lago (i.e., lake pool) was remarkable for how no one actually swam during the time I was there.

Okay, it was extremely hot that July, perhaps too hot to move, and many people had clearly taken the metro to the handy nearby Lago stop more to get away from the insanity of the Gay Pride celebrations - far more bacchanalian and less corporate than here - than to get in a workout. But, still, I was the only person trying to do laps in a pool lined with people dangling their feet in the water or, if ambitious, floating aimlessly.

But that was an exception, something I hadn't seen anywhere else in my travels, which have ranged from a huge suburban community facility in London to the ancient bathhouselike pool on the Plateau in Montreal to pools up and down the West Coast.

At the Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand in Lyon, part of the French city's unsuccessful bid for the 1968 Summer Olympics, a stunning creation built right on the Rhône River, it was especially businesslike.

When we arrived at the desk of the obligatory officious ticketissuer, two bulked-up security guards insisted my husband had to show them his proposed swim outfit. When they saw the American-style baggy shorts, there was much head-shaking. Non, pas permis. We had to go to a vending machine and purchase a suitable French bathing suit, something that looked like supertight underwear.

Once in the huge facility, which has two pools and is lined with what look like Jetsonesque airport towers - oh, the modernist sixties, how we love you - the swimmers were doing their duty as though they were training for triathlons. Inspiring for me, as I logged in my single kilometre in the pool's long laps, looking out at the historic buildings on the far bank.

There was some of the same kind of determination at the community pool in the Mission District of San Francisco. It wasn't open many hours - surprising, when it was clearly so needed in this inner-city area - and people would line up, waiting to get into the small outdoor oasis amid the area's mix of old Mexican working-class neighbourhoods and new techies moving in. Once in, under the surveillance of the Latina drill sergeant who appeared to be in charge, people rushed to max out their lap time in the short period available.

Swimming in two neighbourhoods in the same city can be a revelation.

In Los Angeles, where we like to divide any stays between the east side, close to downtown, and the beach side, I swam first at the Echo Park Deep Pool - a utilitarian indoor facility. There, the process involved handing over my clothes to a woman behind a wire-mesh cage for safekeeping. Apparently the theft problem was that bad.

Later in the week, at the gorgeous Santa Monica Swim Center off Pico Boulevard - an outdoor pool lined with a glass-block fence and amply supplied with loungers - I asked the lifeguard whether my stuff would be okay if I left it on a chair or whether I should lock it up. "Oh, don't worry," he said. "It'll be fine here.

Everyone just leaves their stuff on a chair."

But often the smaller pools offer more than just a chance for a stress-busting swim.

The aquafit classes and change rooms can become the sites of Alice Munro-esque vignettes.

People talk openly, loudly, in pools and change rooms in a way they wouldn't dream of elsewhere.

At the little outdoor community pool in Port Aransas, Tex., the cluster of seventysomething women, down from Indiana and North Dakota and Nebraska in their RVs with their husbands, talked about past and current life in a steady stream as they bobbed unambitiously in the aquafit class.

"Oh, remember what is was like when we used to wear hats?" And there was a delighted chorus of descriptions of beautiful hats from decades ago. Later, they talked about how one of their number was doing, how her husband had died and now, as a single, she just didn't really fit in with the social scene any more.

At another pool, the nondescript single community facility in a small town south of San Francisco, a place on the ocean with brown hills all around, I listened to a woman tell her friend - as both towelled off and changed into street clothes after their swim - a long, compelling story about her father, who had been the local doctor but an alcoholic, which everyone knew.

And, yet, as she said, people had loved him and valued his work.

She still heard that all the time, now that he was dead. It meant so much to her.

Her story, her emotion, the image of her father driving along the roads of those brown hills, played over and over in my head as I slid through the water that day.

Associated Graphic

La Piscine Joséphine Baker is a city pool on a barge permanently tied up to a riverbank on the Seine in Paris. Strict rules follow your entry, so be prepared to bring (or buy) a bathing cap and wade through the mandatory foot bath, then you can take a brief, refreshing respite from the chaotic bustle of tourism.


Why do bad sales happen to good cars?
Nine rides that suffer through puzzling poor sales
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D8

If only product excellence was all it took. Truth is, design and engineering are just small pieces of the puzzle that determines the sales success of an automobile.

When a vehicle underperforms among its peers, the reason can be as simple as the size of the manufacturer that makes it.

Smaller auto makers have fewer dealers, so they have less market reach. In Nelson, B.C., for instance, there are Chrysler, Ford and Toyota dealers, but the closest Mazda dealer is 340 kilometres away in Kelowna. Or if you owned a Subaru in Edmundston, N.B., you'd be faced with a 120-kilometre drive to get factory service or repair - the closest dealer is in Rivière-du-Loup, Que.

Consumer awareness is another challenge for smaller auto makers. Subaru has been in Canada for decades; it advertises extensively, and its products are highly regarded. Yet, company executives still say too few potential buyers even know Subaru exists. Sure, gearheads admire the performance models, and its CUVs have a strong following, but Subaru's mainstream sedans are rarely on the radar of shoppers.

Then again, some products are hamstrung by too much awareness. A bad rap can be earned in an instant, yet take ages to erase in the minds of a public who may remain vaguely aware of some negative publicity associated with a product decades previously. Never mind the product in question has been totally redesigned three times since then.

There are probably still people who would never buy a Volkswagen because they associate the name with the original Beetle.

Whatever the reason, here are nine vehicles with sales we think punch well below their weight.

Ford Focus

Ford is the top-selling auto maker in Canada. Many of its products are also the sales leaders in their respective segments.

Worldwide, the Focus is one of the world's top-selling nameplates, and with good reason: It's a good-looking, great-driving car with loads of standard or available technology. Yet, none of this counts for anything in Canada. Last year, the Focus ranked a lowly ninth in compact-car sales, between the Nissan Sentra and the Kia Forte. Put another way: Ford of Canada as a whole had an overall market share of 15.6 per cent in 2016; within its own segment, the Focus scored just 4.3 per cent.


Mazda is a relative minnow among auto makers, but that hasn't held the brand back in Canada. The MX-5 sports car is an icon. The Mazda3 has long been among the top-three-selling compact-car nameplates. And the CX-5 is a solid contender among compact CUVs. None of that seems to have rubbed off on Mazda's mainstream mid-size sedan. Stylish, athletic and fuel-efficient, the current-generation Mazda6 was the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's 2014 Car of the Year. And what does that get it? A lowly 18th spot in mid-size sedan sales last year with a segment share of 1.6 per cent.

Chevrolet Sonic

GM may not be the biggest of the Big Three any more, but its 13.7-per-cent overall market share in Canada is still significant. Yet, its Chevrolet Sonic subcompact flies at subsonic speed. Last year, its sales sank 27 per cent and it ranked a distant eighth in its segment with 4,203 sales - far behind the 19,198 sales for the categoryleading Hyundai Accent. The Sonic is a decent little car, with an available turbo engine, fun-to-drive handling and a roomy, practical interior. With GM might behind it, it should sell better.

Kia Rondo

Canadians claim to love their utility, but it seems if that utility doesn't come in SUVshaped wrapping, they're not interested.

Considering it was a new nameplate from an unfamiliar auto maker, the compact Kia Rondo, with its three-row seating, was a surprise hit when it first came to Canada in 2007. Sales hovered at just fewer than 10,000 in 2008 and 2009, then averaged a solid 6,200 over the next four years.

A stylish redesign arrived in 2013 ... and sales tanked. Last year's tally of 1,963 was a 45-per-cent plunge from 2015, and just one-fifth of its 2008 peak. Where did all the love go?

Jeep Renegade

If small CUVs are the new best thing since sliced bread, what could be more appealing than a small CUV that's also a Jeep?

Apparently almost anything, judging by sales of the Renegade.

Last year, the Renegade achieved 3,962 sales. That's less than 1 per cent of a category that notched up almost half a million units in 2016. Part of the Renegade's problem may be sibling rivalry: The elderly but cheap Compass and Patriot are still around, while the well-selling Cherokee better fits the template for "mainstream compact CUV." Of course, it's also possible some potential buyers had issue with the styling.


In a market gone mad for trucks, spendy sports cars effectively held their own in 2016 (down just 0.3 per cent). But that didn't help BMW's zesty little sports car.

Even in a category where threedigit annual sales numbers come with the territory (it's called "exclusivity"), the Z4 was an underachiever. It racked up exactly 100 sales in 2016, down from 125 the year before. Compare that with 280 Mercedes SLKs, 590 Audi TTs and 690 Porsche Boxsters and Caymans.

Of course, the current design has been around a long time and was discontinued for 2017. No word yet on a replacement.

Nissan Titan

There's big bucks to be made in big trucks, but Detroit had a long head start in this market where buyers are notoriously brandloyal. Still, that didn't stop a couple of Japanese brands from challenging the Detroit monolith.

Toyota's Tundra line achieved 11,364 sales last year, which isn't much in a segment of almost 350,000 sales. But it's still a lot better than the 2,715 sales of the Nissan Titan - about 0.8 per cent of the segment. In fairness, Nissan was in the process of rolling out a new design and there was some hiatus in availability. Then again, even the 3,226 Titans sold in 2015 was a market share of only 1 per cent.

BMW i3

You know you should take climate change seriously when BMW becomes a sustainability evangelist. The long-time purveyor of Ultimate Driving Machines created a whole new brand, and invented a new production process, to generate the electrified i3 city runabout and the i8 supercar. While the i8 provides glamour, the i3 is actually a blast to drive too, in its own way. And for an electric car that's also a BMW, it's not that expensive (from $47,500). Buyers, however, remain unconvinced. BMW Canada reports combined i Series sales of 523 in 2016. If we assume 80 per cent of those were i3s (as in the United States), that makes 418. In the same period, Chevrolet sold 3,084 Volts and Nissan sold 1,375 Leafs. Could it be the way it looks?

Toyota Avalon

Ever fewer buyers seem to want traditional family sedans. And even those who do, don't seem interested in the particular blend of space, pace, luxury and reliability offered by the Toyota Avalon. Perhaps people are unsure where it fits in the market: It comes from a mass-market brand, yet its pricing (from $39,900) and premium appointments (leather is standard) place it at the low end of the luxury segment. Whichever way you categorize it, Avalon sales don't match the goodness of the product. Toyota sold 586 of them in Canada last year, down 23.4 per cent from 2015. That's a market share of just 0.9 per cent among entry-luxury sedans, or 0.5 per cent if you count it as a mainstream sedan. It deserves better.

Associated Graphic










Lifting the lid on restaurant awards
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

The restaurant-awards season is upon us. After months of bingeing, bloating and widening waistbands, the votes have been tabulated. Get the envelopes ready. Let the bunfights begin.

At last week's ceremony for the Chinese Restaurant Awards, someone turned to me and asked: "Just how many awards do you judge each year?" I had to think about it for a minute, so obviously, too many. But having worked behind the scenes for several of these "necessary evils" (as one chef described them to me this week), I thought I would lift the curtain to discuss their relative merits and widely griped-about flaws.

Chinese Restaurant Awards Now in its ninth year, the awards celebrate Chinese restaurants across Metro Vancouver in three categories: Diners' Choice, Social Media Choice and the Critics' Choice Signature Dish Awards.

The event was founded by promoter Craig Stowe (president of the Luxury & Supercar Weekend), but is now managed by communications consultant and passionate foodie Rae Kung, largely as a labour of love.

For the first time, I was part of the Critics' Choice panel this year. And I must say it was the best judging experience I've ever had. What I appreciated most was the narrow parameter. We voted for one dish, not an entire restaurant, irrespective of cuisine, neighbourhood, price point or style of restaurant (although we did weigh these variables to create a diverse short list, which was then voted on by secret ballot and tabulated by an independent accounting firm).

A signature dish makes a lot of sense for Chinese restaurants because this is how Chinese diners eat - they go for one special item and compose a meal around it with complementary shared plates. Each year, the winning dishes are taken out of competition, so the format encourages innovation and always offers something new to explore. It's not so easy for us judges, however. Instead of going out for balanced meals with various textures, flavours and counterpoints, we'd usually end up all sitting around a big table, eating our way through numerous hefty main dishes, searching for the one that would keep us digging in with our chopsticks and fighting for the last scraps, despite feeling slovenly full.

The group dining was another aspect I enjoyed. Although we were each given a generous stipend ($700) to dine around individually and come up with suggestions (we also relied on tips from friends, family and colleagues), we usually dined as a team (under a false-name reservation) at least once a week from July to December. I called it my Friday Night Date Club. The group dinners helped us pool the costs and gave us shared reference points.

Of course, it's not a perfect system. It would be impossible to cover every Chinese restaurant in Metro Vancouver and I'm sure there are many great dishes we missed. When whittling down the short list, some of us had to make compromises. But in the end, everyone was satisfied with the 10 winning dishes.

Iif you'd like to learn more about why we chose them, my fellow judge Lee Man has written a great summary of each on his blog,

Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards Coming up on its 28th edition, the annual awards will be presented on April 18. As far as citymagazine food awards go, these are easily the largest and most comprehensive in Canada. There will be 30 awards given out this year, plus eight additional neighbourhood awards to be published in a later issue. Some (myself included) say this is too big to be meaningful. Everyone gets an award, kind of like kindergarten these days.

The magazine's editorial team has tried to decrease the number of categories (down from 45 last year and 50 the year before). It has also increased the number of judges to 19 (this will be my third year participating). The broad judging panel is probably the event's greatest asset. Unlike most city awards that rely on the opinion of one critic, this format allows for a robust diversity of opinion. And trust me, there is a great deal of vigorous debate within each category and around the larger awards, for which we vote as an entire team. These judges take their roles extremely seriously.

But 19 judges still aren't enough for 30 categories. There must be at least three judges in each pod (usually five), meaning that we are all responsible for about 12 categories, in which there are five winners, narrowed down from long lists of 10. That adds up to about 120 restaurants, bars, pastry shops, etc., for which we are all responsible (in an ideal world) for visiting each year. It's completely unrealistic, especially when we are only given a $1,000 honorarium (up from $500 two years ago).

As a restaurant critic, it makes sense for me to participate. This forces me to revisit restaurants that I haven't reviewed for a long time and discover new ones. I can chalk up the significant extra costs to professional development. For the others, well, they must really love eating.

Canada's 100 Best Restaurants Launched three years ago by former National Post restaurant critic Jacob Richler and magazine publisher Geoffrey Dawe, the annual awards try to satisfy the laudable - albeit highly controversial - need for a "genuinely authoritative national listing."

And how is that done? Well, I suppose they could give a $10,000 stipend or so to a handful of judges to crisscross the country and visit hundreds of restaurants. But that would be awfully expensive. Instead, much like the World's 50 Best, they rely on the personal budgets, expertise and dining experiences of some 82 hand-selected gourmands and professionals, including a few writers, of which I am one.

The inclusion of chefs and restaurant owners on the judging panel is what riles the critics most. It's a conflict of interest! (Of course, the judges are not allowed to vote for themselves.)

But they all vote for their buddies! (Probably, although some have been disqualified for making it too obvious.) As Mr.

Richler explains, he took the idea from the Oscars. "Their 'academy' is made up of previous nominees and industry professionals who best understand the business." I can already see the hashtag: #Canadas100BestSoInsularCorrupt. Actually, the outcry on social media after this year's awards was: Canada's 100 Best - so regionally biased toward Ontario and Quebec. Those provinces did win the lion's share of awards (31 and 28, respectively), but if you look at the differences by population, British Columbia (which took home 20 listings) punched well above its weight class.

But what about all the great restaurants left off the list? And yes, there were many, all across the country. As judges, we are asked to rank the best 10 restaurants we experienced within the past 12 months. There is no requirement to visit every restaurant within our region. It often comes down to a popularity contest dependent on the breadth of our individual experiences or the influence of the restaurants with the best PR. And this is precisely why Canada has never done well on the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Unlike Tourism Australia, which has campaigned hard on behalf of its restaurants and will be hosting the awards next month, Destination Canada has never paid any interest.

Ultimately, restaurant awards are all flawed. They might generate important discussion, but they are imperfect, even more so the larger they become.

And while it's very hard to look a tearful young cook in the eye - especially those who count on these awards to build their résumés - they should all be taken with a large grain of fleur de sel.

Associated Graphic

Vancouver Chinese Restaurant Award-winning dishes, clockwise from left: Baked minced pork pie with black pepper from Dynasty Seafood; spicy garlic dungeoness crab over sticky rice from Dynasty Seafood; steamed savoury custard with seafood from Jade Seafood; pork-belly bao from Heritage Asian Eatery; and roasted lamb's leg from Hao's Lamb.


Beijing pressing for full access to Canada's economy in trade talks
China wants to invest in all sectors, envoy says, but security concerns, human rights not up for discussion
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- China's new envoy says Beijing is seeking unfettered access for Chinese state-owned firms to all key sectors of the Canadian economy during free-trade talks now under way with Ottawa - including an end to restrictions barring these enterprises from investing in the oil sands.

The envoy also signalled that China does not want human rights to be used as a "bargaining chip" in free-trade talks with Canada. Ambassador Lu Shaye told The Globe and Mail that China will regard as trade protectionism any attempt by Canada to invoke national security to block stateowned firms from buying Canadian companies or doing business with the federal government.

Canadian and U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that these enterprises or even non-stateowned firms, such as Chinese telecommunications and networking equipment giant Huawei, act in the interests of China's Communist Party.

But Mr. Lu discounted the security concerns, suggesting Canadian spy agencies were acting for political reasons. He left little doubt that China would be miffed if the Trudeau government made national security an issue during trade talks.

"Investment is investment. We should not take too much political considerations into the investment," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "Just like the negotiations of the FTA, we should not let political factors into this process. Otherwise, it would be very difficult."

Mr. Lu, who sat down for his first exclusive interview this week, said the initial round of exploratory trade talks took place in late February and a second meeting will happen in April.

Mr. Lu assumed his post as China's new ambassador to Canada in early March.

He said Beijing's focus in the negotiations is to remove Harper-era barriers that limited takeovers of oil sands companies by state-owned enterprises, specifically from China, and to expand Chinese investment throughout the Canadian economy.

"All enterprises should be treated equally," he said. "No matter if they are state-owned enterprises or private enterprises, they are equal. They are both Chinese enterprises."

Fortune Magazine says 12 of China's biggest companies - including massive banks and oil companies - are state-owned.

The government appoints the CEOs and makes decisions on large investments.

Only 22 of 98 Chinese companies on Fortune's Global 500 list are private.

Mr. Lu, who played a major role as an envoy in Africa where he helped China acquire mineral rights, said his country's investment ambitions go far beyond scooping up Canadian resources.

"China has invested in many aspects in energy and mining.

But now other areas are expanding, such as manufacturing, agriculture and scientific research," he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made deepening trade relations with China, including a free-trade deal, key foreign-policy objectives and the Liberals are also loosening restrictions on outside investment. In November, Ottawa announced it would raise the threshold for automatic reviews of foreign takeovers to $1-billion two years ahead of schedule.

The Liberals have already signalled a greater willingness than the Harper government to open Canada's economy to Chinese investment.

As The Globe and Mail has reported, the Trudeau government set aside a Harper cabinet order blocking O-Net, a Chinese company with ties to the Chinese state, from buying a Montreal-area high-tech company - despite warnings from a Canadian national-security agency that the purchase would undermine a technological edge that Western militaries have over China.

"If the technology is transferred, China would be able to domestically produce advanced military-laser technology to Western standards sooner than would otherwise be the case, which diminishes Canadian and allied military advantages," a national-security assessment had warned Ottawa about the O-Net transaction. The Liberals nevertheless are undertaking a new security review.

A concern frequently voiced by Canadian national-security officials is that companies owned or partly owned by the Chinese government are not merely profit-seeking operations, but make decisions and investments that serve the ruling Communist Party's larger strategic and geopolitical aims, including passing on technology or information to Beijing. The premise is that Beijing's long-term interests are often antithetical to Canada's, and that state-owned firms or companies partly owned by the government are liable to be arms of China's political masters.

The former Harper government barred China's Huawei from bidding on federal government contracts in 2012 after the U.S. House intelligence committee issued a report, concluding that the company's ties to the Chinese state posed a national-security threat.

Mr. Lu said Huawei and other Chinese firms are being scapegoated and denied they spy or act in the interests of Beijing.

"High-tech enterprises from China sell their products to countries all over the world, so only why here and your neighbour, the United States, have worries about those enterprises?" Mr. Lu said. "If we abuse the excuse of national security - this is the manifestation of trade protectionism."

The Chinese envoy argued that Western high-tech companies have no restrictions to invest and sell their products in China.

In fact, many of China's corporations - most notably in its financial and telecommunications sectors - are considered off limits to foreign investment.

Mr. Lu said China was open to negotiating a cybersecurity treaty as it has with the United States and Britain, but flatly denied his country engages in industrial spying in Canada or elsewhere.

"China never carries out any cyber espionage activities to other countries."

In 2014, the Harper government squarely blamed a highly sophisticated, Chinese statesponsored actor for an intrusion into the National Research Council's networks that resulted in a shutdown of the agency's computer system for an extended period.

As part of the free-trade talks, the Liberal government has begun a consultation process with Canadians to hear their concerns about "issues relating to the environment, labour, gender equality, rule of law and human rights."

Asked whether Canada would address China's human-rights record in a trade deal, the Department of Global Affairs said in the consultation paper that the Liberal government is committed to a "progressive and inclusive approach to international trade that takes into account the impact of trade on areas such as labour and human rights."

It said a free-trade deal would not deter Canada from "urging and working with China to meet its international obligations in these areas."

However, Mr. Lu said China has no interest in talking about human rights or democracy during the trade talks. "We don't want one side to use democracy or human rights as a bargaining chip to make the other side compromise. The negotiations of the FTA should be confined within the area of free trade. If you let too many other factors into it, it would be very difficult."

Mr. Lu said Canada and China have still not begun formal bilateral talks on an extradition treaty - something that Beijing has become much more insistent upon since President Xi Jinping launched an anti-corruption campaign to track down Chinese citizens accused of economic crimes around the world.

The United States, Britain and New Zealand have been reluctant to sign extradition treaties while Australia has not ratified one it signed in 2007, largely over concerns that China's legal system used torture to extract confessions, show trials and the death penalty for non-capital offences.

"We hope to strengthen our cooperations in judicial and law enforcement, jointly cracking down on all crimes including abuse-of-power crimes and economic crimes and making all crimes intolerable," the ambassador said.

Mr. Lu remarked on how relations had improved under Mr. Trudeau and said there was a possibility that Mr. Xi might visit Canada but he gave no time line.

Associated Graphic

In his first interview as Chinese Ambassador, Lu Shaye says China does not want human rights used as a 'bargaining chip.'


Lu Shaye, China's new ambassador to Canada, is seen in Ottawa on Tuesday. Mr. Lu says his country wants fairer treatment for all of its enterprises - 'no matter if they are state-owned enterprises or private enterprises, they are equal.'


Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

If the federal Liberals' first budget was about putting their stamp on a new era in Canadian politics, the second will likely be more subdued.

With little wiggle room for spending, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to shed light on many of the party's established priorities: jobs, innovation and infrastructure.

"Our budget will be very much about trying to increase jobs in this country, to create opportunities for people today, for their children and for their grandchildren," Mr. Morneau has said.

A stay-the-course document would also give the Liberals time to assess a political and economic climate that is vastly different from a year ago.

Then, Hillary Clinton was the presumptive favourite in the U.S. presidential election and the Trans-Pacific Partnership seemed on its way toward ratification.

Now, Donald Trump is President and TPP is dead. Moreover, Ottawa could find itself at the bargaining table later this year to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement, a challenging task with potentially far-reaching impacts on the economy.

With that in mind, here are six things to look for on Wednesday.

Canada Infrastructure Bank The federal government is expected to offer further details of its planned Canada Infrastructure Bank, an initiative to marry public and private funds for large, revenue-generating infrastructure projects.

Ottawa will commit at least $35-billion in funding, with an aim of attracting private capital that is several times greater.

Toronto-Dominion economists recently wrote that "on its face, this would deliver a much-needed boost to Canada's aging system of infrastructure." The above chart, a version of which was included in last year's fall economic update, outlines how a $500-million project could be financed under the bank.

Infrastructure spending was a key plank of the federal Liberals' platform in the previous election campaign; as such, the government plans to spend $187-billion on infrastructure over the next 12 years. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and a Senate committee say funds have been slow to trickle out.

Housing Though it's far from certain it'll be addressed in the budget, Canada's frenzied housing market is definitely on Mr. Morneau's mind.

Ottawa tightened its rules around mortgages and home ownership in October of last year, and while it may be too soon for the Liberals to tinker further with the real estate sector, it's becoming clear that low interest rates and the government's efforts to cool mortgage borrowing have driven Canadians to take on debt elsewhere.

The result? Canadians' householddebt-to-disposable-income ratio reached a record high 167 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016. As housing prices continue to soar in Canada's largest cities, Ottawa is under scrutiny to bring the housing market under control.

Economists don't see the housing market cooling down any time soon, however. "In light of mortgage rates remaining low and mortgage regulation changes having negligible impact on home demand, there appears to be no visible brake that would stop this train in this year," Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Diana Petramala said in a recent note.

Skills training Skills training is likely to play a key part in Wednesday's budget.

Job growth has been robust in recent months, but the Canadian economy is hardly immune to colossal forces that are reshaping labour markets, as new technologies displace workers and hollow out communities. Nearly 42 per cent of Canadian workers are at "high risk" of being affected by automation over the next one to two decades, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University concluded in a 2016 report.

The downsides of automation are seen as contributing to public anger, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blames on corporate and government elites. "It's time to pay a living wage, to pay your taxes and to give your workers the benefits - and peace of mind - that come with stable, full-time contracts," he said last month in a speech.

Despite overall employment gains since the Great Recession, job quality is a lingering concern. Wage growth is sluggish and employment gains have been driven by services jobs, which typically pay less than positions in the goods-producing sector. Since the outset of 2008, part-time job growth has outpaced that of full-time positions in percentage terms.

Tax reform Will the budget target wealthy Canadians?

Rumours are floating around Bay Street of a potential shakeup to taxation of capital gains. Currently, the capital gains inclusion rate sits at 50 per cent - meaning, Ottawa taxes half of the profits Canadians earn on the sale of capital property, such as stocks, bonds, cottages or land. (Capital gains in a registered account, such as a tax-free savings account or a registered retirement savings plan, are either tax-free or taxdeferred.)

Hiking the inclusion rate to two-thirds or three-quarters would deal a direct blow to primarily wealthier Canadians, but could raise billions of dollars in additional revenue for the government.

That said, there's skepticism the Trudeau government will take such action.

"That move could be hard to square with the government's billing of the document as an innovation budget, given that some sectors use stock-based compensation to attract talent," RBC economists recently wrote.

Still, many investors are spooked.

Bank of Montreal economists are "fielding plenty of questions," chief economist Douglas Porter said in a February research note, adding "this government seems to have few qualms about taxing the 'rich.' " The Globe has reported that any proposals for major tax changes would not be implemented right away, but would be recommended for further study.

Child care Ottawa is expected to make a long-term funding commitment to daycare, The Canadian Press reported last week, noting the federal government has restarted child-care talks with the provinces.

Child-care fees can put a considerable strain on family finances. In a 2016 report, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives noted a middle-income family living in Toronto with an infant and three-year-old would face a monthly bill of nearly $3,000 for regulated child care if they found spots. Likewise, nearly one-third of respondents to a Globe survey on household finances last year were paying for daycare at an average monthly rate of $975, with many paying more than double that amount.

Last year's budget unveiled details of the Canada Child Benefit, which the Liberals said would allow nine out of 10 families to receive more in benefits than under the previous system.

"In general, families who were previously eligible for the old system, and who continue to be eligible for the new system, will see their annual federal transfer increase from an average of $4,439 to $5,493," the Parliamentary Budget Officer said in a report. The PBO cited two factors for the increase: higher spending under the new system and a declining number of families eligible for monthly payments.

The deficit During the 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberals repeatedly hammered a pledge they would run deficits no greater than $10-billion a year, and would balance the budget in time for the next election. The Liberals abandoned these pledges, citing sluggish economic growth. Mr. Morneau is now targeting a reduction of the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.

Projections published by the Department of Finance last fall put the overall deficit at around $25-billion for the next few years, adding $130-billion to the federal debt by 2022. "While the federal debt-to-GDP ratio will remain low relative to other G7 countries, Canada compares less favourably to the handful of other AAA-rated countries," Royal Bank of Canada economists warned in a recent report.

Economists also expect to see the return of the "fiscal cushion," a contingency fund in the budget to offset risks and unforeseen changes in the economy. The Liberals axed the cushion during the 2016 fall update. Adding it back into their budget forecasts "would push the deficit profile up an additional $6-billion or so throughout the forecast horizon," according to RBC.

Straight talk on human trafficking
One woman lost control of her life when she was coerecd into being an escort at the age of 22 - and now, she's sharing her story
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M5

She was young, homeless and alone, with a serious drug addiction - an easy target.

The two men made her feel safe. They gave her a place to stay, food and drugs. They gave her a sense of belonging - asked about her hopes and dreams.

But then, an ultimatum, framed as a choice: to pay off her debts, she could either dance or work as an escort. She chose the latter.

"I chose it because I thought I'll have some kind of control. ... But as soon as I agreed to that, everything changed. They took all the control. They took my phone. I didn't have access to the Internet. And I didn't have any money or get to keep any money," said Karly, who was trafficked at the age of 22 and asked that her last name be withheld due to privacy concerns.

"They used their phone to set up dates. They put up my ad.

They decided how much money I would charge. They decided what services I would provide.

They decided how many people would come to my door each day. I had no control."

She lived under the constant threat of physical violence and in fear of losing their "affection" - terrified, psychologically trapped.

At her lowest point, she figured suicide was her only way out.

But her situation turned around when a police officer knocked on her hotel door. Noticing a number of red flags, he arrested her pimps.

Now 28, Karly works as a peer mentor at East Metro Youth Services. She shared her story with 270 Toronto students this week at a day-long conference to raise awareness of and prevent human trafficking.

Human trafficking is an extreme crime from which victims can take years to recover.

The damage can be severe, from malnourishment to sexually transmitted diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. Prevention - by recognizing the warning signs and understanding what trafficking is - is crucial.

Last year, Toronto police made 77 human-trafficking arrests, up from 61 the previous year. Police also dealt with 67 victims in 2016, more than double the number of 2015.

Less than three months into 2017, police have already found another 22 victims, said Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi, head of the Toronto Police Service's Sex Crimes-Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, the largest such unit in the country.

Those numbers prompted the conference on human trafficking, the first time Toronto police have held such an event. Attended by students from Grades 7 to 12, it made for straight talk on the nature of consent, the dangers of glorifying "pimp and ho culture," the abuse and psychological manipulation victims experience - and what healthy relationships look like.

Police say the average age of victims is falling - last year, 61 per cent of them were between the ages of 14 and 17, with the youngest just 13 - and that both the recruitment and advertising of girls is increasingly done online. Traffickers - posing as a boyfriend or friend - reach out on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Whisper or even the dating app Plenty of Fish. They also might wait at a mall, a bus terminal, outside group homes, youth drop-in centres or near schools. Recruiters may be male or female and are often the same age as their victims.

The conference speakers busted some myths. Human trafficking is not the same as human smuggling; it involves coercion and force. Most cases do not involve foreigners. Perpetrators don't typically kidnap their victims; it is a relationship-based crime that often involves a stage of luring and grooming. Often, victims believe they are in love with their traffickers. And though most victims forced into the sex trade are girls, boys and transgender kids are also vulnerable.

Police from Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles gave presentations, along with front-line service providers who work with trafficking victims. The language was raw at times - in keeping with the subject matter.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat things today," said Toronto Detective Rob Heitzner, citing a study showing that 71 per cent of trafficking victims are local, not brought from other countries.

"What we're saying is the pimps and traffickers are here. And we don't want you to fall prey."

There were lessons on slang.

The "game" refers to the lifestyle of pimps and prostitution. A "bottom bitch" or "bottom girl" is a pimp's most trusted girl, who does the recruiting and enforcing of the operation - often to avoid violence.

"CREAM," tattooed on a girl, stands for "Cash Rules Everything Around Me." A picture or emoji of a crown represents pimps, who see themselves as kings of the streets.

"They introduce a game of being glamorous, and they are master manipulators," said Detective Aaron Korth of the Los Angeles Police Department's human trafficking unit. They build love and affection and loyalty. Later, "a lot of times they will use rape as a form of punishment. So if she's out of pocket, and disrespects him, he will force himself on her."

The presentations were graphic: pictures of girls beaten by their pimps; the tattoos they're forced to get as brands; chilling audio clips from wiretaps of pimps issuing threats; an escort ad featuring a girl in lingerie, looking half-starved, posted on the website Backpage.

Images of U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg with two women in collars and chains were introduced to show how popular culture glorifies pimps. "Is this a good message?" Det. Heitzner asked. Kids shook their heads. "I agree with you - it isn't a good message."

Front-line service providers are now offering a range of co-ordinated services to victims. On Yonge Street, the Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre provides counselling and advocacy and helps victims navigate the court system. There are medical services on site, as well as trained police who can take victims' statements in a quiet room.

The centre has had 27 referrals of trafficking cases in the past two years. The youngest victim was 12.

Julie Moore, a youth advocate in the centre's human trafficking program, estimates that about half her cases are gang-related.

"It's very profitable," she said.

"With drugs, you sell them once and then it's gone. But with the girls you really can keep selling them over and over and over. So it really is a profitable business, if you will, for these guys."

Back at the trafficking conference, the young audience was attentive, and many of them took notes. "You see this stuff in movies, but you don't realize the reality of it," said one teen while on lunch break.

They learned about the warning signs that a peer may be a trafficking victim: changes in behaviour, new phones or clothes, a secret boyfriend, losing touch with family and friends, weight loss.

Know your vulnerabilities, they were told, and don't let someone else use them against you. Real love doesn't mean a person can ask you to do things you find uncomfortable. Be leery of promises of lavish gifts. "If anybody offers you a condo - it's bullshit," said Toronto Detective David Correa.

The most powerful moment was when Karly spoke of her experience. She asked the audience if they had any questions. At first, there were none. And then, hand after hand went up, followed by insightful, intelligent queries: When you first met these guys, did you have any suspicions about them? What was your lowest point? Do you have advice for youth who are alone and struggling?

One girl asked: How do you have the courage to share your story with hundreds of people?

"It's hard, and some days are harder than others," Karly replied. "But if my story can help one person, or stop this from happening to one person, it's worth it."

Associated Graphic

Pimps promise young women lavish gifts, even condos, to lure them, police say.


What's known about the victims
In the wake of London's violence, a British policeman, an American tourist celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and a British school administrator are among the dead
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

LONDON -- The four victims killed and at least 30 wounded in the attack in Westminster were a cosmopolitan snapshot of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities.

The dead included a British policeman stabbed to death, an American tourist celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and a British school administrator adored in the Spanish town where she spent summer vacations with her family. A 75-yearold man also died Thursday of his wounds, London police said.

The injured came from 12 countries. In addition to Britons, they included schoolchildren from France, a Romanian couple, a Portuguese man who had just finished his shift at a food store, and others who had travelled from as far away as China to explore London.

Here's what's known about the victims.

Police officer Keith Palmer, 48, had been a member of Britain's parliamentary and diplomatic protection forces for 15 years and a soldier in the Royal Artillery before that.

He was on duty protecting Parliament when he was stabbed to death on Wednesday.

Honouring Mr. Palmer, Prime Minister Theresa May said he was "a husband, a father ... he was every inch a hero. His actions will never be forgotten."

Conservative lawmaker James Cleverly tweeted that he was "heartbroken," having known Mr. Palmer for 25 years. He said they served in the military together.

"A lovely man, a friend," Mr. Cleverly wrote.

The Charlton Athletic Football Club said Mr. Palmer was a longtime fan and "a familiar face" at its London stadium, The Valley.

As a tribute, the club placed one of its red-and-white scarves on his seat in the East Stand where he sat "for many years." It said the scarf will stay there until the team's next game on April 4.

Aysha Frade, a British citizen whose mother is Spanish, was one of two people killed on the bridge.

In the northwestern Spanish town of Betanzos, where her mother was born and her two sisters run an English-language school, the mayor said: "The whole town is shocked."

Although Ms. Frade, 43, was born and lived in London, she spent weeks every summer in Betanzos visiting relatives, said Ramon Garcia Vazquez, mayor of the town of 13,000 in Spain's Galicia region.

He told the Associated Press that her family "was very well known in the village and loved by everybody here."

He said her two elder sisters, Silvia and Michelle, flew to London early Thursday. The Betanzos town hall held a minute of silence for the family at noon Thursday and the mayor announced three days of mourning.

Ms. Frade worked as an administrator at the DLD College - a school in Westminster a stone's throw from Parliament.

"She was highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues. She will be deeply missed by all of us," said Rachel Borland, the college principal.

Ms. Frade had two daughters, Spain's regional Voz de Galicia newspaper reported.

Kurt Cochran from Utah was on the last day of a European trip celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary when he was killed on Westminster Bridge.

His wife, Melissa, was seriously injured and remains hospitalized. She suffered a broken leg, a broken rib and cuts and bruises, friend Mike Murphy said.

They were visiting her parents, who are serving as Mormon missionaries in the British capital, a church spokesman said.

The couple ran a recording studio in the basement of their home just outside Salt Lake City.

Mr. Murphy, owner of Murphy's Guitars, said Mr. Cochran regularly came to his shop to buy recording equipment for the studio where he tried to help young bands get started by charging them very little.

"He loved music," Mr. Murphy said. "He was always around when there were music things going on."

Pictures on Mr. Cochran's Facebook page show the couple enjoying their trip through Europe prior to the attack. In one post, he was smiling and holding a German beer under .. the caption, "After a long day of sightseeing."

In a tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump called Mr. Cochran "a great American" and said: "My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends."

A fourth victim of Wednesday's attack on Westminster Bridge died Thursday, London police said, without releasing his name or nationality. The 75-year-old man had been receiving medical treatment in the hospital following the attack and life support was withdrawn on Thursday evening, a police statement said.

Those injured in the attack included 12 Britons, four South Koreans, three French, two Romanians, two Greeks, two Irish, and one person each from Germany, Poland, China, Italy, Portugal and the United States.

Police earlier said several people were in critical condition.

Francisco Lopes, a 26-year-old from Portugal who has lived in London for 15 years, suffered severe cuts on his hands and legs when he was hit by the car on Westminster Bridge. He had just finished work at a food store and was walking along the bridge to catch the Tube home.

"I was scared for my life," Mr. Lopes told the Associated Press.

"I didn't want to die. I was trying to convince myself that I was going to be okay and that my legs were going to be okay."

"I had no - literally no - time to get out of the way," he said.

"I tried to defend myself as I could. So I put my arms forward, and the car just tumbled me over."

Mr. Lopes, who will have surgery on one of his hands, says he is struggling to try to sleep.

"I started to close my eyes and then that image just started coming over again, you know the fear, the people screaming," he said.

Romania's ambassador to Britain, Dan Mihalache, said a critically injured Romanian woman successfully underwent surgery Thursday to remove a blood clot from her brain, but she also has lung injuries.

The woman was rescued from the Thames River - it was not clear whether she jumped in to escape the car or was thrown into the water by its impact.

Romanian authorities did not name her or the man she was travelling with, citing privacy rules. Romanian media reported that the couple, in their 20s, had travelled to London to celebrate his birthday later this week.

The ambassador told the national news agency Agerpres the man suffered a foot fracture.

"He's in psychological shock because of the situation," he said.

Associated Graphic

A white rose for the victims of Wednesday's attack on Westminster Bridge is placed near the Houses of Parliament in London on Thursday. Even as Prime Minister Theresa May spoke about the importance of democracy and freedom, the area was surrounded by police for most of the day.


A vigil for those killed is held in Trafalgar Square, north of the Westminster Bridge, on Thursday. Thousands of people gathered in the public square in Central London to light candles, hold flowers and show solidarity.


London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks during the Trafalgar Square vigil. Mr. Khan praised how the city had come together and demonstrated its diversity and strength.


A woman holds up a sign at the Trafalgar Square vigil. The Islamic State claimed attacker Khalid Masood was one of its soldiers, but police insisted he acted alone.


Police in forensic suits search an area of Parliament Square, outside the Palace of Westminster. Police made eight arrests across London and Birmingham on Thursday as part of their investigation.


People gather to light candles at the vigil. Leaders from around the world, and particularly the European Union, expressed their support for Britain.


Voters across Canada face a patchwork of rules about how they can give money to political parties and candidates and how much they can give. Evan Annett and Tu Thanh Ha explain how it works
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

Critics call British Columbia the "wild West" of campaign financing, a place where lobbyists, businesses and unions can give parties and candidates as much money as they want. But Canada also has a wild east, north and centre to worry about.

With a provincial election looming this May, B.C. is the place where political-donation limits have been getting the most attention. Liberal Premier Christy Clark said this week the government would be willing to explore options for campaignfinance reform, but not until after the election and with a non-partisan panel whose recommendations would not be binding. Reforms could have potentially high stakes for the Liberals, who raised $12-million last year.

Other provinces have rules as loose or looser than those of B.C., but not as many as there used to be; in the past few years, more governments have tightened the reins on who can donate to whom and how much.

Here is a primer on what the provincial and federal landscape looks like and how it got to be that way.

Where the limits are Provinces that set fixed contribution limits vary considerably in where they draw the line. Quebec has the smallest limit (only $100 annually) while New Brunswick, at $6,000, has the biggest.

Many of these limits came about only after changes in government or scandals over the way things were done before: Canada: A Globe and Mail investigation found Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior cabinet members raised millions from exclusive private fundraisers, with some organizers seeking payments to attend that exceeded the federal contribution limit. Mr. Trudeau plans to introduce legislation that would end cash-for-access fundraising.

Quebec: As early as 1977, Quebec banned corporate contributions and capped individual donations at $3,000 a year. In 2012, after the Charbonneau Commission heard allegations that firms engaged in illegal financing through straw names, the Parti Québécois government of the time tabled legislation to limit individual contributions to $100 a year, with an additional $100 donation allowed during an election campaign. To compensate for the lost revenue, political parties receive more public subsidies, based on the percentage of votes received during the previous election.

Ontario: The Liberal government's 2016 overhaul of campaign-finance rules, including a crackdown on cash-for-access fundraising, followed a Globe investigation of how wealthy donors were buying access to the Premier and cabinet ministers at gala dinners.

Alberta: The 2015 tightening of donation limits was the first act of a new NDP government that had just ended four decades of Progressive Conservative rule.

The bill received broad support from all parties in the legislature.

Who, exactly, can I donate to?

Some provinces give donors more freedom than others in how they can split the cheque among the parties, the candidates and the local constituency associations.

Let's say you have $3,600 you want to spend on the party of your choice. In Nova Scotia, where the limit is $5,000, you can apportion the money however you want; You can give it all to the party office if you like. In Ontario, the effective limit is $3,600, but you are restricted to giving $1,200 each to the party office, the constituency associations and the candidate. The result: You will need three cheques.

In two of the territories, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, things are even simpler because, while they have limits for donations to candidates ($2,500 and $1,500, respectively), their legislatures do not have political parties. Candidates run independently and then govern on a consensus-based system. So there's no party to give your money to, just whoever is running for office.

Where there are few limits Five jurisdictions have no donation ceilings, even for corporations and unions.

British Columbia: One of B.C.'s few restrictions is that it does not allow political donations from registered charities or unregistered political parties. The province also bars parties from accepting more than a total of $10,000 in anonymous donations in a given year.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Here, individuals can make contributions even if they do not live in the province. Unincorporated groups such as partnerships cannot make a contribution in their name, but must list the name and contribution of each individual within the group. Also, anonymous or cash donations of more than $100 cannot be accepted.

Prince Edward Island: PEI allows unlimited contributions by individuals, corporations and trade unions. Non-residents can contribute, but anonymous donations are forfeited to the Crown. Last spring, PEI's Premier Wade MacLauchlan proposed setting a $3,000 individual limit and eliminating donations from corporations and unions. The new rules are to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Yukon: The territory does not cap the amount that can be donated by individuals, corporations, unions, other unincorporated groups and non-Yukoners.

The contributor's name is made public after the election, if the total amount donated is greater than $250.

Saskatchewan: This province also does not set donation limits as long as donors are Canadians contributing from their own pockets. Also, contributions over $250 may not be accepted anonymously. Corporations, unions and even trust funds and unincorporated groups can donate.

An analysis released last fall by the advocacy group Progress Alberta found that in the past decade, Premier Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party received $3-million from out-of-province donors, mostly from Alberta companies.

Progress Alberta also found that Mr. Wall's party took donations from registered charities such as Ducks Unlimited, the Regina Public Library, the Saskatchewan Film+Video Development Corp., postsecondary institutions and more than a dozen municipal governments.

Keeping corporations and unions in check Jurisdictions are split pretty evenly on whether corporations and unions can donate money.

These ones do not allow it:


Nova Scotia





Those that allow it put restrictions on where the corporations and unions can be based. New Brunswick allows donations only from corporations that do business in the province, or unions whose local chapters hold bargaining rights for New Brunswick workers. Newfoundland and Labrador allows out-of-province corporations and unions to donate.

Mr. MacLauchlan, the PEI Premier, spoke last spring about banning corporate and union donations, but backtracked by year's end, suggesting he might merely limit the amount they could contribute.

Where else can parties get money?

To make parties and candidates less dependent on donors with deep pockets, some jurisdictions offer parties a small taxpayerfunded subsidy for every vote they receive in an election.

That was former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien's solution to party financing when, in 2004, his government ended political donations by unions and corporations.

The Stephen Harper Conservatives ended that subsidy, and in 2015, they lost in the first election fought without it. Since then, the New Democrats, Greens and Bloc Québécois have pressed the Trudeau government to reinstate the subsidy, but the Liberals have not said if they will do so.

Subsidies were a key part of Quebec's strict model, which also made the province into the middleman between donors and the donation recipients.

To make sure money gets where it is supposed to go, donations made by cheque, credit, debit or cash greater than $50 have to go to the provincial elections agency first, which then gives the recipient the money.

In B.C., Ms. Clark has ruled out any model that would include a per-vote subsidy.

Associated Graphic

Premier Christy Clark answers questions at a news conference from her office in Victoria on Monday. Ms. Clark's government is open to exploring new campaign-finance rules, with some caveats.



A market set by 'that one whacko'
It's exceedingly difficult to be the victor in a bidding war when upward of 20 other parties show up at the table
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

The most frustrated people in the Toronto area's real estate market right now are clearly the buyers. But right behind them are many seasoned agents.

The Teranet-National Bank house-price index revealed this week prices across the country jumped 13.4 per cent to a 10-year high in February compared with the same month last year. The Greater Toronto Area powered ahead with a 23-per-cent gain last month compared with February, 2016.

The heat in Toronto has revived talk in provincial government circles of a possible tax on purchases by foreign buyers. The Ontario Real Estate Association has come out strongly against the idea.

A term that's circulating more often is the "marginal" buyer.

These are the outliers who pay huge premiums over the "consensus price" that experienced agents would come up with based on previous sales and micromarket factors. Even though they make up only a small subset of buyers, they determine market value.

Few industry watchers in Canada can agree on what extent overseas investors have become those marginal buyers.

One west-end Toronto agent who has been in the business since the 1980s does see an influx of foreign money. Some cash is flowing from China, South Korea and Vietnam, he says, as immigrants bring their children over to attend school in Canada. But those same buyers also maintain businesses and homes in Asia, he adds. Many split their time between two continents.

Europeans are also interested in purchasing real estate in Toronto, he says, because it's close to New York and it's a relatively easy hop across the Atlantic. Vancouver is less of a draw because it's a longer flight from Europe.

The investors often come from Russia, Ukraine and Cyprus, he says. Some have banks in Luxembourg and large amounts of cash lined up.

"These guys are prepared," he says.

He does worry about families based in the GTA, however. Many feel pressured by "fear of missing out." It's not only the well-off who are transferring wealth to a younger generation. One woman he knows who works as a cleaner is thinking about taking out a $100,000 mortgage on her own house so that her daughter can buy a condo. In other cases, the parents buy a property and have their young adult children make the payments directly to them so that they learn some financial responsibility.

"Kids pay the mortgage; mom and dad are the bank," he says.

"It crosses different income levels."

The competition is also nerveracking for buyers, he adds.

"It's time-consuming, it's frustrating for families. It's not just two people - there's an entourage," he says of the extended family.

For people who would be stretching to buy in this market, he also advises caution.

"If there's no compelling reason to buy, sit tight."

Not that he's calling a turn in the market. The stricter mortgage rules introduced in the fall have done nothing to slow the market, he points out. He can foresee the market losing some steam if lenders become more militant, but there's not much to suggest the trend will reverse. Foreign money continues to flow. Still, the desperate buyers and untethered prices do remind him of the exuberance of 1989. That peak year was followed by a steep and lengthy downturn.

Buyers are facing stiff challenges in the GTA and surrounding cities. It's exceedingly difficult to be the victor in a bidding war when upward of 20 other parties show up at the table. It's hard to get financing in some cases, and there may be trouble when the bank sends an appraiser to make sure the property is worth somewhere near the selling price.

Shawn Lackie, an agent with Coldwell Banker-R.M.R Real Estate, has seen all of these trials in Durham Region.

When he takes on potential buyers these days, he makes sure they have thought about their exit strategy before he even discusses an entry strategy for the market. Unless they want to spend the next 10 years waiting for the market to realign, he recommends buyers hold back on bidding. Otherwise, they risk seeing their equity under water if the market corrects.

"You will come after me - you will hate me for the rest of your life," he says. "That's tough ground to make up."

Mr. Lackie isn't predicting a downturn any time soon. He does want buyers to be aware of the risks, however. If mortgage rates rise or a lot of homeowners decide to sell at once, prices may correct. Many economists are sounding the same warning.

"We've been going on 10 years now with these unbelievably low rates," he points out. "That can't continue."

Recently, he took a pair of buyers to see a modest house in Oshawa. The house needed work and had electric baseboard heating, but it had a relatively affordable asking price of $350,000 and the couple was interested in making an offer. Mr. Lackie advised them the house had been listed below market value and he estimated that it would sell for between $425,000 and $450,000 with multiple offers.

If the couple weren't willing to pay more than the asking price, Mr. Lackie cautioned them, they would be wasting their own time and driving the price up for others. Bidding wars typically become more heated as more parties enter the fray.

The couple decided against bidding. The property went on to sell for $505,000.

In Oshawa, Mr. Lackie can't see any way to justify the sale price at $155,000 above asking. The surrounding houses are also small and the neighbourhood doesn't merit tearing down the house to rebuild.

In a lot of cases, Mr. Lackie says, these prices are set by "that one whacko" who blows everyone else away.

With most Ontario schools taking time off for their March break this week, many agents are planning to list properties for sale next week. That could relieve some of the pressure. Listings should continue increasing through the spring because homeowners typically like to list when their properties appear fresh and surrounded by greenery.

Across Canada, real estate prices rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.3 per cent in February compared with January. In Toronto, however, the rise for the same period was 2.6 per cent, marking the strongest gain in five months.

And while prices rocket ahead in Vancouver and Toronto, sales and listings are slumping in both cities, cautions David Madani, senior economist at Capital Economics.

Mr. Madani warns the market conditions underpinning these large annual price gains have continued to deteriorate in the two cities.

Sales in Toronto have slipped by 7 per cent since August, 2016, he says, while new listings have dropped to levels not seen since the recession of 2008 and 2009.

Mr. Madani points to this trend as evidence prospective move-up buyers, whom he calls the real driving force in Toronto, are losing confidence. Unless new listings improve in the next month or two, it's unlikely housing sales will rebound this year, according to the economist.

"The upshot is that the largest housing markets that have been responsible for the biggest house-price gains over the past two years are now approaching a potentially dangerous tipping point."

Associated Graphic

One realtor cautions prospective buyers that if they're not willing to go over the asking price, they're wasting their own time and driving the price up for others.


A sexual Oasis in the heart of Toronto
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L4

In 2010, Judy Kaye pooled together $800,000 in savings and loans to open her dream business: an upscale sex club, one focused on prioritizing women.

Then a 43-year-old mother of three with an MBA in marketing from Queen's University, she was working a retail job selling IT solutions at the time.

In her private life, Kaye and her husband, Richard, were frequent visitors to sex clubs both at home and abroad. In the Greater Toronto Area, they'd go to places such as Etobicoke's Club M4 or Mississauga's X Club when they could, which wasn't as often as they'd like.

"As parents, one of the challenges was the fact that most of them were only open Friday, Saturday night, at 10 p.m." says Kaye, stylish in an acid-green blazer and velvet boots that lace up over the knee. "We always said, 'Wouldn't it be great if there was a place open in the daytime?' " Now there is: Seven years after Kaye and her partners imagined their own club, Toronto's Oasis Aqualounge is a thriving destination for people of all ages.

Like many would-be entrepreneurs, Kaye spent ages daydreaming about what her ideal club would look like, incorporating elements she liked from various places she and Richard visited during their travels. She got to talking about her ideas with Jana Rodriguez, her children's swimming instructor and a former Olympic windsurfer from the Czech Republic.

The two wanted to refute the public conception of sex clubs as "dark, dingy and seedy," as Kaye puts it, imagining a place that was clean, bright and inviting, a place where people could feel safe and welcome to explore. Rodriguez had her own reference points from the spas and bathhouses of Europe.

The potential business partners had been talking for about two years when, in 2010, a former bathhouse known as Club Toronto on Mutual Street became available for sale. It's a storied venue: In 1981, during the Toronto bathhouse raids, it was one of four gay bathhouses stormed by police, the site of mass arrests. In 2000, it was the location of the Pussy Palace raids, when a group of women were targeted and harassed by male police officers. Kaye and her partners were aware of the history, and thought it was the perfect place to open their own safe space for people with marginalized sexualities.

Kaye and her husband joined with Rodriguez and a fourth partner (who is no longer involved) to pool their personal finances. They avoided trying for a bank loan because they knew their business venture was an unusual one.

Instead, they sought funding from family and friends: Asking her parents for a loan, Kaye says, was a difficult conversation.

"It was very challenging to explain what Oasis was," she says.

"It's a unique business, and not one we could say, 'Look over there, it's working great for these people.' My family was really betting on me, and not on the business itself, to be honest with you."

In April of 2010, the group took over the space and named it Oasis Aqualounge. All four held on to their day jobs while spending their free time revitalizing the space, hiring interior designer Robin DeGroot to give the old club a facelift while preserving its history. At one point, DeGroot ordered the painters scraping an old bathroom to stop what they were doing. "They uncovered all these different colours of paint they were scraping. He said, 'Leave it. We're working with this,' " Kaye says. "This is the history of a home in these layers of paint."

By the end of November that year, Oasis was open for business.

The final layout includes a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, dance floor, several bars, a ballroom and a dungeon. The top floor is divided into multiple open-concept rooms: one recreates the back of a Volkswagen van, another has a large black vinyl bed.

Initially, the club was only open Thursday to Saturday and daytime Sunday, with Kaye and her partners shouldering most of the work. Soon, the University of Toronto's Sexual Education Centre threw a one-time student event that proved so popular it became a weekly Monday night party called Sass After Class. More people got in touch with ideas for events, from fetish parties to sexeducation nights. Now Oasis hosts eight events a week, and is closed only twice a year: Christmas Day, and one day in the summer for maintenance work.

With a busier schedule came the need for a staff. Most of the people who work at Oasis were regulars seeking work. There is a special pool staff who shows up after hours, making sure everything is clean and up to code. The floor staff undergoes gender-sensitivity training and safety training.

Safety and consent are integral themes of any successful sex club and Oasis has a strict "ask once" policy to cut down on harassment and unwanted touching. Anyone who breaks these policies is automatically kicked out, though Kaye says this happens less than most people assume. "People drink far less at Oasis than they do elsewhere because alcohol affects performance," she says, adding that most of their revenue comes from door prices, rather than drink sales. "Sure, every bar has its troubles. We've got security.

But for the most part, people come to Oasis because they're lovers. They're not fighters."

Oasis must operate as a private club, meaning every person who enters must automatically register as a member and in doing so, must agree to follow the venue's rules. Unlike many of the clubs in the United States, however, Oasis doesn't record people's identification; visitors are free to make up a user name. There are regular women- and trans-only nights, and single men are only allowed to attend certain days of the week.

Though these nights are well attended, they aren't necessarily financially successful, even though single men are charged a much higher admission rate (which changes by day and event) than women and trans folks. Yet this is all part of an integral part of building Oasis's brand.

"There were many bathhouses already in Toronto focused on men's sexuality," Kaye says. "We wanted to be something focused on women's sexuality." The owners talked extensively with women before opening about what would make them comfortable; the difference in price points is aimed at balancing the ratio of visitors' genders. "I understand that [men's bathhouses] do well, but I could not serve that market," Kaye says. "We initially found it quite challenging to build a market for a woman-focused bathhouse, but we have a unique offering. People come from a wide area to experience it."

After six years in business, Oasis has yet to make back its original investment, but Kaye says she is optimistic, and that growth has increased 20 per cent in the past two years. Kaye says there are currently 20,000 subscribers to the club's weekly newsletter, which also gives guests the opportunity to provide direct feedback.

"There was a woman last week who said, 'You could have told me you were here!' " she says with a laugh. " 'I've missed six years of fun.' " .

Associated Graphic

Oasis Aqualounge owner Judy Kaye talks to models during a photo shoot at the club in Toronto on March 10. Oasis, a sex club, was designed to be bright and inviting, a place where people could feel safe.


How to build an $80,000 pickup
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D1

The Ford F-Series is nothing less than a phenom - the 800-pound gorilla of the North American automotive landscape.

Even in a market where monster pickups are mainstream, the F-truck's sales stand tall above all others. Ford sold 145,000 of them in Canada last year, outselling its closest competitor (Chevrolet Silverado/ GMC Sierra combined) by more than 50 per cent. In a market comprising almost 300 nameplates, the F-Series accounted for one of every 13 vehicles sold in Canada. It also represented almost two-thirds of Ford Canada's total car and truck sales - including Lincoln - last year.

And to think some people thought Ford had lost its marbles when it switched the F-150 over to an aluminum-body structure for 2015.

There is no sign of Ford resting on its laurels. Already, it has announced the F-150 will get a diesel option for the 2018 model year. Meanwhile, the 2017 model has significant powertrain upgrades of its own. A Gen-2 redesign of the available 3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6 adds 10 more horsepower (to 375) and a meaningful 50 lb-ft bump in torque to 470. Equally significant, a new 10-speed automatic transmission (developed in a joint venture with General Motors) is standard across the range.

When we borrowed a 2017 model, we were impressed by the new powertrain. It's a V-6, but it sounds like a big ol' rumbling V-8 - perfect in a big pickup. Nor does it feel like a turbo - power is there right from the get-go.

With no practice and no special techniques, we measured zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 6.6 seconds. The 10-speed is seamless, using all the gears with no sense of frequent-shifting busy-ness, and the auto stop/start is minimally intrusive.

But despite the downsized engine and aluminum body, fuel consumption is still ugly. Over the full week of mixed driving: 15.8 L/100 km.

Performance aside, what really got our attention was its window sticker. This example of North America's ultimate "everyman's car" carried an as-tested price of $80,769 - before freight and taxes. According to, the starting price for a Ford F-150 is slightly more than $26,000.

How do you get the sticker up to $80,000 and change? For starters, you choose - as 85 per cent of Canadians do - a SuperCrew cab plus 4x4 drivetrain: Already, you're beyond $40,000, even with the basest available trim (XLT) and engine (non-turbo 3.5 V-6).

Upgrade to the King Ranch trim with the 3.5 EcoBoost/10-speed powertrain and you're up into the mid-$60,000 range. The King Ranch is lavishly appointed, with amenities that include two 10way power seats, heated rear seats, navi, leather, LED exterior lighting and power-adjustable pedals and steering column.

Want more? There are still two more trims, topping out with the Limited for about $73,000. Or you could stick with the King Ranch and go berserk on the option boxes. Picture by picture, see how it grows to more than $80,000.

F-150 Exterior, as tested The window sticker opening-bid MSRP for the King Ranch SuperCrew 4x4 was $66,699. That gets you a lot of vehicle for the money, but hardly the exclusivity of, say, a Jaguar XF sedan or Porsche Cayenne SUV.

Exterior2 Oddly, the standard paint treatment is two-tone, and you have to pay $250 extra for the monochrome paint package - but then the chrome appearance package is mandatory, which adds another $1,000. Platinum White or Ruby Red paint costs extra, too.

Exterior3 Standard wheels are 18 inches, while the test truck's 601A Equipment Group upgrades to 20-inch rims, either machined aluminum or, as on our truck, finished in "Chrome-Like PVD" to match the chrome appearance package.

FX4 Logo For $750, the FX4 Off-Road package gets you skid plates, hill-descent control, off-road-tuned dampers and electronic locking axle. Standard axle ratio with the 3.5 engine is 3.31, but a 3.55 was on the test truck.

Engine Even in the high-spec King Ranch, the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6 with auto stop/start is a $750 option. The standard engine is a 5.0-L V-8.

Transmission gearing With a 3.55 axle, the 10-speed isn't exaggeratedly long-legged. A 120km/h cruise shows just fewer than 2,000 rpm in 10th - revving higher than some vehicles with only seven or eight gears. But that also means the 10th gear is actually useable.

Fuel economy Ford doesn't claim any fuel-economy gains for the powertrain combo. This 72-km highway trip netted 15.9 L/100 km for the outbound trip, net uphill and against the wind. The return trip - downhill and downwind - gave us 11.6 L/100 km.

Tailgate step The pop-out tailgate step is part of an oddly eclectic $2,500 Equipment Group 601A that also includes inflatable rear seat belts, blind-spot information system, multicontour front seats, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers and 20-inch wheels.

Power deployable running boards The decadent upside of this $950 option speaks for itself. But, after you close the doors, they retract with a loud and disconcerting "clunk!"

Twin-panel moonroof All that real estate on the SuperCrew roof makes space for a supersize skylight. The $1,750 twin-panel moonroof provides "a more expansive opening of the sky for all passengers," Ford says - although only the front half actually opens.

Box side-step Deployable box side-steps are worth having at $300 for the pair.

Max trailer tow package This $950 option goes to town on towing necessities: 3.55 electronic locking axle, four-pin/seven-pin wiring harness, Class IV hitch receiver, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, trailer brake controller, plus chassis and cooling-system upgrades.

Trailer-tow mirrors For $570, these all-singing, alldancing power folding mirrors combine regular and wide-view mirrors plus puddle lamps and built-in spotlights, and they power telescope in and out.

Active Park Assist For $550, Active Park Assist will identify a suitable parallel parking space and then automatically steer the truck into it while you control the accelerator and brakes.

Technology package Ford asks $1,250 for this package that bundles a 360-degree camera with split-view display and Dynamic Hitch Assist, and an active lane-keeping-assist system.

Wheel-well liner The $180 liners (also available as retrofit accessories) are designed to help cover and shield bodycoloured parts and assorted underpinnings within the rear wheelhouses.

Spray-in bed liner F-150 offers a choice of drop-in plastic bed liners or the $550 spray-on type, as on the test truck. Note also the bracket for the BoxLink interface system that can secure various Ford and aftermarket accessories such as ramps, storage bins, dividers etc.

Adaptive cruise control For $1,500, the Ford F-150 is the first pickup to offer adaptive cruise control; for 2018, it will add stop-and-go capability and automatic emergency braking.

Pro Trailer Backup Assist Backing up a trailer around a corner can be a challenge. This feature, bundled with the Maximum Tow Package or as a stand-alone option, helps automate the process via a dial on the dash.

Associated Graphic




Wheel-well liner.

Self-employed? Get into the habit of putting cash away
Professionals should not expect to fund all of their retirement from the sale of their business, advisors say
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B13

When Corinne Contant began her professional career as a dentist 20 years ago she, like many self-employed individuals, found that there were certain years when investing in the growth of her practice needed to take precedence over socking away retirement funds.

But Dr. Contant, who established a registered retirement savings plan at age 26, never lost sight of her retirement needs, and she continued to make regular payments earmarked for her RRSP, as well as to non-registered accounts for retirement purposes, whenever it was feasible to do so.

"It became a regular part of my savings. I told myself, 'That's not my money to touch right now. I'm saving that for retirement,'" she recalls.

Now 47, and with a thriving dental practice in Stoney Creek, Ont., a community in Hamilton, Dr. Contant is able to make regular, annual contributions to her RRSP and non-registered investments as well as to the tax-free savings account (TFSA) since that instrument was introduced in 2009.

"I just automatically put that money away. That way it's saved. I also live a moderate life and don't overspend," Dr. Contant stresses.

Many of the nearly 2.8 million Canadians reported by Statistics Canada as self-employed in 2016 are also wondering how best to fund their retirement planning.

They know they won't be able to live totally off the Canada Pension Plan, which pays only up to about $13,370 in 2017 for those who start receiving payments at age 65.

"It's a base income that helps you meet your basic necessities of life, but it's certainly not going to give you a lavish lifestyle," says Aurèle Courcelles, assistant vicepresident of tax and estate planning at Investors Group Financial Services Inc. in Winnipeg.

One of the best things a selfemployed person can do to prioritize retirement planning is to follow a plan, says Carol Bezaire, the vice-president of tax and estate planning at Mackenzie Financial in Toronto.

"If you're self-employed, it's even more important than if you're working for a company, because you don't have any other benefits. You have to depend on yourself," she adds.

"Just getting into the habit [of] putting something away, even if it's $100 a month - you'd be surprised five years down the road how much money you've got put away. Time is your friend," says Nathan Osterhout, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Edmonton.

But as Dr. Contant found during the early years of her dental practice, establishing a business places multiple financial demands on entrepreneurs, including competing pressures to place money into the business and to save for personal needs such as retirement.

Small business owners will, for example, lay awake at night worrying about how to pay their staff before they think about paying themselves, Mr. Osterhout says.

"There are life-cycle stages in your business where you're trying to grow the business, then you're trying to maintain the business, and eventually you might be winding it down. So if you're in the growth stage, if you can get a better return on your investments by investing in your corporation, then that might be the way to proceed," Mr. Courcelles notes.

The key is to have a game plan to make up for those years in which retirement planning takes a back seat.

"Your [contribution] room will still be there, and hopefully the investments you've made will make your business more profitable in the future, so you can generate that cash flow to be able to use that contribution room," says Mr. Courcelles.

Some entrepreneurs have argued that they expect the sale of their business will fund 100 per cent of their retirement, and therefore they don't need to worry about setting up registered personal accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs. This expectation, advisors warn, is fraught with risk. Plans to sell the business can be part of your retirement planning, but don't put all your eggs in one basket.

"If you have your own [personal] investments, you've definitely got something," says Mr. Osterhout.

Moreover, the reality is that some businesses will never be sold. Consulting practices, for instance, are quite often simply folded, because other people are doing the same thing and can build their own practices, says Ms. Bezaire.

One of the key retirement planning questions that selfemployed individuals ask, as do others, is whether contributing to an RRSP or a TFSA will be most beneficial to their self-employed lifestyle and business needs.

Contributions to an RRSP generate an up-front tax deduction, which reduces taxes otherwise payable, and might generate a tax refund (one possible strategy for the refund is to invest it in a TFSA, so that both instruments are covered). Investments within the RRSP grow on a tax deferred basis. But when funds are withdrawn - ideally not until later in life, in retirement, when the tax. payer is in a lower marginal tax bracket - they will eventually be taxed on the proceeds.

In contrast, contributions to a TFSA are made with after-tax money. There is no tax deduction when a contribution is made, but also no tax payable when funds are withdrawn. The allowable investments held within a TFSA are essentially the same as in the RRSP, and proceeds grow tax free within the TFSA.

Mr. Courcelles notes that the RRSP offers a much higher potential annual maximum contribution limit. The RRSP limit is 18 per cent of the previous year's earned income up to a maximum of $26,010 in the 2017 taxation year.

The TFSA limit this year is $5,500.

"Depending on how profitable your business is, you might be generating a lot more RRSP room than you would TFSA room in a given year," he elaborates. "So if you're looking for the tax deduction with tax deferred growth and a likely lower tax bracket at a future point in time, then the RRSP is probably your favourite."

However, the TFSA may offer some practical advantages to selfemployed entrepreneurs and others in certain situations.

"If you're starting out you may want the TFSA for the flexibility.

If you need some cash flow or you need an emergency fund, the TFSA is perfect for that," says Ms. Bezaire.

But there is also a danger if TFSA withdrawals become excessive, and the self-employed taxpayer uses it for more than an occasional, emergency source of funds. "If the TFSA is almost too accessible ... that's not a good solution. Their retirement plans go up in smoke unless they replenish it relatively quickly," warns Mr. Courcelles.

For some older entrepreneurs with successful, incorporated businesses that provide a high salary, another option might be the Individual Pension Plan (IPP), which is a defined benefit plan set up and funded by the corporation. The IPP provides higher savings limits than an RRSP.

Experts advise that entrepreneurs speak to a financial planner about the potential merits of setting up an IPP, along with all other retirement savings plan strategies.

"If you're working very long hours as a self-employed person, get an advisor to help you.

Because when you get too busy, retirement planning can get away on you," says Ms. Bezaire.

Associated Graphic

Corinne Contant began her professional career as a dentist 20 years ago. Over the years, she's had to invest in her Stoney Creek, Ont., practice, but she's never lost sight of her retirement goals.


Finances of veterans' charities under scrutiny
Variance in groups' reporting methods makes it difficult to determine how much money actually goes to the veterans themselves
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

OTTAWA -- Organizations created over the past decade to support veterans - especially soldiers returning from Afghanistan - now number among the largest charities in Canada and take in millions of dollars annually from Canadians who have been moved to help those who served their country.

Like all charities, those veterans' groups have administrative costs, which Revenue Canada requires to be posted online. But different reporting methods used by the various organizations make it difficult to determine just how much is being spent on operations and how much is going to the veterans themselves.

At first glance, the major veterans' organizations appear to be better than average, compared with other charities, at targeting donations to meet their stated mandates. But a deeper look suggests that significant donor dollars are being spent on salaries, office expenses and fundraising.

Sean Bruyea, a veterans' advocate who has been researching the charities, says they tend to be opaque when it comes to explaining how they spend money and what they are achieving for vets.

"I think veterans' groups should be audited," Mr. Bruyea said, "because Canadians deserve to have a little bit more transparency in this."

He argues that many of the jobs performed by the charities would be better left in the hands of Veterans Affairs which, despite poor service standards, offers low overhead. "Some fundamental questions need to be asked," he said.

"Can government provide these services better?"

Any group that wants to maintain charitable status must complete an annual financial report for the Canada Revenue Agency which is, in turn, posted to the CRA website. Among the national veterans' charities that have filed such reports are True Patriot Love, Veterans Emergency Transition Services, Canada Company and Wounded Warriors Canada.

Three of the four of those groups report revenues of more than a million dollars annually and Kate Bahen, the managing director of Charity Intelligence Canada, says any charity that takes in more than a million dollars a year ranks among the top 4 per cent in Canada.

Of the 700 organizations surveyed by Charity Intelligence Canada, Ms. Bahen said, the average amount spent on overhead - administrative costs plus fundraising - is 26 cents on the dollar.

According to their CRA filings, Veterans Emergency Transition Services, Canada Company and Wounded Warriors Canada all did better than that.

But the details suggest another story.

The veterans' charity that transparently spent more than 26 per cent of its budget on overhead in 2015 was True Patriot Love.

According to the documents it filed with Revenue Canada, True Patriot Love, which performs a wide range of services related to mental and physical rehabilitation of former soldiers and also gives money to other veterans' charities, spent 11 per cent of its budget on management and administration and another 36 per cent on its fundraising efforts.

True Patriot Love's fundraising costs are high because the group raises much of its money through gala dinners, which can be expensive to host. But it also brings in a lot of money that is used to help veterans.

True Patriot Love paid $989,702 for 10 full-time and two part-time workers in 2015. In the same year, it spent $1,435,716 on charitable programs and donated another $1,464,873 to other charities and qualified donors. There is also much additional financial documentation about the charity posted on its website, a transparency that Ms. Bahen applauds.

In contrast with True Patriot Love's relatively large stated overhead, the Halifax-based Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS), which provides shelter and other necessities of life to homeless vets, lists no administration or fundraising expenses for 2015 in the summary of its CRA report.

But another section of the form says the group spent $120,744 of its $538,158 budget on the salaries of two workers - which has since been increased to three people for the same amount of money - plus an additional $87,686 in assorted expenses such as travel, advertising and office supplies. The salaries plus expenses account for 39 per cent of the group's revenue expenditures.

Debbie Lowther, the chair of VETS who works full time but take no salary herself, says the group receives most of its money from the federal government and the government dictates how much can be spent on overhead.

Its two paid staff, she said, administer the work of more than 500 volunteers and, in doing do, provide direct services to veterans.

VETS helped nearly 1,500 veterans last year on a comparably small budget, Ms. Lowther said.

"It is shocking, really," she said of the number of veterans who are on the street, "but we're doing what we can."

The Revenue Canada forms for Canada Company, which helps veterans and their spouses find jobs and provides scholarships for children of fallen soldiers, are difficult to decipher. It is much easier to sort out the organization's expenditures by looking at the statement of operations which it posts online, along with much other supporting data.

That shows that in 2015, Canada Company spent $793,388 of its $2,094,769 budget on salaries. It also spent $200,288 on fundraising and $318,717 on overhead expenses including office supplies, travel, telephone, accounting, translation, credit card fees, rent, legal fees, insurance and bank charges.

The salary costs alone account for 38 per cent of the budget. But Angela Mondou, Canada Company's president, says just $136,995 of the money spent on salaries went to administration.

The rest paid the people who put on the organization's programs.

"They are our product and our service," Ms. Mondou said. "They are what our funding pays for. We have educators that educate, work with, manage the relationship and the education of the business world." And, as a result, she said, more than 700 veterans found jobs through Canada Company in 2015.

Wounded Warriors Canada, which was created to improve the morale and welfare of injured soldiers and assists about 1,200 vets a year, spent $552,392 on administration, including salaries, in 2015 and nothing on fundraising.

With a total budget of $2,151,907, Wounded Warriors' overhead is just more than 25 per cent of its expenditures.

Scott Maxwell, the executive director, says even that percentage is misleadingly high because Canada Revenue insists that promotional items such as the armbands the group gives out at cycling events must be classified under administration rather than programs.

"They have just lumped everything under management and administration," Mr. Maxwell said.

In fact, he said, Wounded Warriors aims to keep its overhead costs at about 15 per cent of its overall budget. But, unlike Canada Company and True Patriot Love, Wounded Warriors does not post an annual report online. Mr. Maxwell said his donors have always been satisfied with what appears on the Canada Revenue Agency site to explain where the group's money goes.

Ms. Bahen says the kind of information contained in an annual report can be helpful to those who are thinking about giving.

High overhead and large budgets for salaries do not mean a charity is unworthy of donations or does not provide value, she said.

Given the complicated nature of the information provided, Ms. Bahen said, the best course of action for a savvy donor may be to ignore the costs, look at the overall budget, then consider how many veterans are being served. "At the end of the day," Ms. Bahen said, "the important thing is how much did it cost to help a vet?"

A Beltline classic on the block
The sale of 105-year-old Calgary apartment highlights weakness of Alberta's existing heritage protections
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

In 2012, landlord John Davis was viewing a potential investment property in Calgary's Beltline when a striking red-brick apartment building with white balconies and turreted corners caught his eye.

Located at 129 15th Ave. S.E., the Colgrove is one of the oldest apartment buildings in Calgary; built in 1912 by Robert J. Colgrove and styled on a New York City apartment block. It was a residence for the city's gentry with carpets imported from England and one of the first electric door entry systems in Alberta.

"I was viewing the property next door, the Colgrove wasn't actually for sale but I just fell in love with it. We made some inquiries, the ball was put into play, and a few months later I bought it," he says.

The purchase took Mr. Davis and his wife Suzanne Dryzmala's rental portfolio to 90 units, the majority of which are older buildings in the neighbouring community of Mission.

Mr. Davis paid $2.7-million for the 18-unit, fully tenanted property which he describes as "a living, breathing entity with a century of stories between its walls."

Then, in June, 2013, catastrophic flooding across southern Alberta submerged 26 low-lying communities in Calgary, including the Beltline and, with it, the Colgrove.

"It was devastating really," Mr. Davis says. "I remember going to look at the damage and I couldn't even get close to the building. I'd have needed a canoe for the last block and a half."

The damage was significant, included the three basement suites and all of the mechanics and the ensuing remediation process was long.

"It's taken three years for the insurance company and the city to do what they needed to do," Mr. Davis laments. "It wasn't easy because we wanted to stay true to what the building is and what it deserved in the work that was done. It's been onerous and I feel like all the excitement for the building's been blown out of me."

He admits it's part of the reason why he's decided to sell, the rest is simply down to workload.

"We have a lot on our plate with 90 units to look after," he continues. "I call myself the janitor and my wife handles viewings and marketing. If we had a few less units to look after it wouldn't be such a bad thing."

The Colgrove is on the market for $3.15-million and features 14 one-bedroom apartments between 470 square feet and 700 square feet and four twobedroom apartments between 740 square feet and 910 square feet. It's had a full basement renovation, new electrical system and boiler plant. Mr. Davis says rental income ranges from $900 to $1,500 a month, depending on the unit, and claims the building is always fully rented, despite apartment vacancy rates in Calgary currently being at a 25-year high.

"All of our units are rented all of the time because demand for rental properties with heritage character outweighs supply in Calgary," he says.

"That's why [the Colgrove] is an investment that makes financial sense, especially in Calgary's boom or bust economy. It's a good niche to be in." he adds.

His real estate agent, Sano Stante, agrees.

"Even now, we still get calls from people inquiring if there are rental units available in the Colgrove. It's a lifestyle that people seek out and there aren't many buildings in Calgary that satisfy it."

Remarkably, the Colgrove doesn't have a heritage designation, despite being on the city's heritage inventory list, and available for designation, since 1982.

"I didn't take out a designation on it because it would be like having the city as a partner but I'd be putting up all the money and they'd be calling the shots. I didn't want to do that," Mr. Davis admits.

Without a heritage designation, the Colgrove, and buildings like it, have little protection from developers.

"Alberta is unique in North America in that owners must give their explicit consent for a building to be designated and therefore protected. We don't have the legislation to do it without the owners' consent," says Clint Robertson, the city's senior heritage planner. "There's also currently very little dollar incentive for owners to take out a designation.

These are both huge challenges for us in heritage preservation."

But Mr. Robertson hopes this could be about to change.

"There's a bill being debated in parliament right now which would be a generational game changer here in Canada. It's a 20 per cent federal income-tax credit for protected buildings considering restoration costs. It's a tax credit that's been in place in the United States since 1976 which is why so much preservation occurs there," he says.

Heritage Bill C-323 passed it's second reading on March 9 and will proceed to the Environment Committee for debate on March 22. Mr. Davis says it's the kind of incentive that would "definitely" make him reconsider taking out a heritage designation. But while monetary incentives remain modest, there are benefits to heritage designated building owners in terms of density transfer.

"You can transfer density from one building to another or sell it," Mr. Robertson explains. "In the case of the Colgrove, there's very little residual density to transfer because that area of Beltline isn't zoned for a lot of height. But you could generate transferable density by investing in the building, that's one way to use a heritage designation to your advantage."

Heritage designation or no heritage designation, Mr. Robertson is confident the Colgrove has a future, because of the good fortune of it's location.

"Area redevelopment pressures can put pressure on buildings like the Colgrove, but where the Colgrove is, the set densities are quite low and, because it's already built out to its maximum density, it wouldn't be economical to redevelop it without getting a landuse redesignation in place," he explains.

"And even without a designation, we do have policy that speaks against incentivizing the destruction of heritage buildings," he adds.

Mr. Stante is confident the property is priced to attract a buyer.

"Fourteen months ago, we were selling apartment buildings for $210,000 a door, now we're looking at $175,000 a door which is what the Colgrove is priced at. It's a reflection of the declining market in Alberta," he says. "But it's hard to peg a number on something so unique, there really is nothing like this in Calgary."

Mr. Davis says there have been offers on the property since it came to market six months ago, but nothing in the right price range. "I don't need to sell it," he says, "and I might not sell it. It has to be the right buyer and the right price."

"I don't believe you choose buildings like this," he continues, "I think they choose you. You're just the caretaker for a while. I'm pretty sure the Colgrove will be here long after I'm gone."

Associated Graphic

Built in 1912 and modelled after a New York apartment block, the Colgrove is one of Calgary's oldest apartment buildings. Landlord John Davis is selling the historic property after catastrophic flooding and subsequent bureaucratic delays.


Will Come From Away win a Tony? It's too soon to tell
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It's way too early to talk about Come from Away's prospects at the Tony Awards in June - but let's do it anyway.

Last week in New York, I checked out the two new musicals that are currently considered the Canadian show's strongest competition for best new musical this Broadway season: Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Coincidentally, all three are running in theatres on the same block of West 45th Street.

Like Come from Away, Dear Evan Hansen is a rarity on the Great White Way - an entirely original musical, not based on a film, a play or even a book. Also like Come from Away, it's slowly been building toward Broadway, having already had runs at Arena Stage in Washington and offBroadway.

Both shows can count Toronto's David Mirvish among the producers, and both feature the voice of Jenn Colella - who is giving the stand-out performance as pilot Beverley in Come from Away, and has a recorded cameo in Dear Evan Hansen.

Dear Evan Hansen, however, is much more of what you might call a "well-made musical" with your usual back-and-forth of scenes (by Steven Levenson) and songs (by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul).

Its fictional plot is very contemporary - and grabs you right at the start.

Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) is a friendless, anxiety-prone teenager who upon returning to high school one fall is pushed to the ground by Connor (Mike Faist) - who with his long hair and black clothing is, in the words of another student, "very school-shooter chic." Connor does, indeed, have deadly violence in him - but he takes it out on himself early in the show. In a clever plot twist, Evan is misidentified after Connor's suicide as his only friend - rather than a victim of his bullying - and the deceased teen's parents turn to him for answers and comfort.

Not wanting to disappoint, Evan creates an intricate web of lies and then starts manufacturing e-mails between him and Connor to back them up. At first, he acts out of compassion, but soon he starts to enjoy the attention he receives online and at school as the BFF of an RIP - and uses the opportunity to get close to Connor's sister (the wonderful Laura Dreyfuss). As the titular fabulist, Platt gives a real star turn, talking at superhuman speed, covering the stage in sweat and spittle in one of the wettest performances I've ever seen. I couldn't quite shake the thought he was doing a Michael Cera impression at times, but I can't deny the performance's overall impressiveness.

The way the actor - an incredible singer, too - wobbles his chin during panic attacks is, no doubt, going to win him a Tony.

Otherwise, I can't call anything else for Dear Evan Hansen. It deflates, rather than explodes in the end, letting its central character off the hook and abandoning complexities and Connor's family for the sake of a forced feel-good ending.

I also, ultimately, found something a little patronizing in its overwrought portrait of Evan's single mom (Rachel Bay Jones) - and in the show's implication that the children of divorce deserve pity over punishment when they do something wrong.

The pop score full of show-off vocal lines is by Pasek and Paul, the young songwriting team who recently won an Oscar for penning lyrics to the songs in La La Land.

There's always been a strong whiff of privilege in this pair's output, from their original song cycle, Edges - and it hasn't disappeared here.

A domestic musical in the style of Next to Normal (and directed in the rock-concert style of the show's director Michael Greif), Dear Evan Hansen is a huge hit - but too small, too sheltered, for my tastes.

Personally, I prefer messier musicals that tell more epic stories - and I found all I wanted in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

It's a sung-through, often theatrically tongue-in-cheek adaptation of (part of Volume 2 of) War and Peace - that follows the young Muscovite Natasha as she is courted by the sexy but deceitful Anatole (Lucas Steele) while the prince she is engaged to is off fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.

Dave Malloy is the all-rounder who wrote the music, the lyrics and even the orchestrations here for a band that has been deconstructed and placed all around Imperial Theatre.

Director Rachel Chavkin stylishly brings immersive staging to Broadway with this show - and I sat up on stage at a nightclub table, watching actors perform all over the theatre and throughout the audience. (FYI, Chavkin's next project in a similar vein, Hadestown, will be further developed at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in the fall.)

Malloy's score is a genuine delight, inventive, regularly sending shivers down your spine with surprising sounds that romp from classical to Russian folk to electropop.

On the day I was there, I saw an incredible actress named Lauren Zakrin negotiate the complex operatic vocal demands of Natasha; I would say she's destined for a Tony nomination, if it weren't for the fact that she's the understudy for Denée Benton, who was on a scheduled break from the show.

Most of the crowd was there for the big-name singer Josh Groban - who does not disappoint as Pierre, an older man who is on the periphery of the plot but at the centre of the philosophical side of Leo Tolstoy's novel, which is given full weight in this adaptation that, refreshingly, does not hide its literary origins.

It's going to be close, Tony time. If Come from Away loses to Dear Evan Hansen for the big prize, I'll be disappointed, but I won't begrudge the risk-taking, seat-shaking Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 a Tony or two - especially for its brilliant music and direction.

While in Manhattan, I also saw another new musical that I don't think anyone seriously thinks has any big chances at the Tonys, but is doing gangbusters at the box office: A Bronx Tale, adapted from the one-man play by Chazz Palminteri that was also made into a film in 1993.

It's a story about a young Italian American torn between his father and a local Mafia boss - and, in musicalized form, rips off everything from Jersey Boys to West Side Story.

It's derivative, its jokes are incredibly broad, the interracial romance feels tacked on - but the score by the legendary Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies) is catchy and I have to admit I had a really fun time.

It'd be nice to see Nick Cordero, who plays small-time mob boss Sonny, get a Tony nod - and perhaps Sergio Trujillo's choreography, which keeps the energy up throughout, too. I'm not just saying that because Cordero and Trujillo are Canadians, although they are.

Like I said, though, it's too soon: There are still six more new musicals yet to open on Broadway during the eligibility period in this overcrowded postHamilton season.

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, starring Josh Groban in one of the main roles, is an often tongue-in-cheek adaptation of War and Peace.

Between romantic partners, busy careers and little children, it's hard for a single woman to get quality time with her friends
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

I was recently the seventh wheel at a dinner party with three girlfriends and their husbands, plus five adorable children under the age of 4. When the evening came to an end at 7:15 p.m., I headed home, feeling - as I have so many times in the past few years - far removed from my former life, when my friends were single and a Saturday night started rather than ended at sundown.

Halfway through my 30s, more often single than not and (for now) comfortably childless, I've watched from the sidelines as my circle of friends transformed completely. A lack of predictable contact has made me realize that my friendships are a primal need, like food or water, and integral to my sense of self and happiness. But as they juggle time-consuming careers, partners and children, I'm lucky to have a once-a-month date with my loves. It leaves me wondering: How should I manage and nurture female friendship in a social hierarchy that doesn't value them? When other people's priorities are constantly in flux, how am I, the single friend, to navigate an ever-shifting landscape?

Geoff MacDonald, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, sums up my feelings exactly. Single people are "rarely connected to somebody to the point where you can be certain you're always going to be that person's first priority," he says. "You're always at the whim of some other person coming into that person's life."

People have an appetite for social interaction and when that appetite is satiated, further social interaction is reduced, MacDonald says.

"When a person gets into a relationship, they just don't have the appetite for socializing with as many people as they used to. But then the single friend is on the pointed end of that."

A decade younger than me at 24, Rebecca Hallquist is already feeling the ground shift as her friends become more invested in their relationships and careers.

"That notion of 'we'll be friends forever' and then another person appears on the scene, that does change things," says Hallquist, who works at an arts and culture organization in Toronto.

"As we're nearing our mid- and late-20s, we've stopped thinking that long term. We're aware, on some level, how temporal our relationships might be."

Hallquist tends to move in and out of touch with various friends from her elementary, high school or university days, depending on the circumstances. "Physical distance does play a role here, as some of my older friends have moved away and started families, but also interests, as they change with age, play a part," she says. "You learn to hold onto friendships less tightly as your friends form other attachments and longterm romantic relationships."

And a friend who doesn't return a certain number of texts or messages gets put on Hallquist's back burner. "I've had to learn that I can't be the person instigating communication all the time," she says. "I've lost a few friends because I've just reached the point where I felt the investment in the friendship was too one-sided, so I stopped trying as hard to reach them."

Of course, the experience varies in each decade of our lives, as the ratio of partnered people to singles changes. In Hallquist's close-friend group, all but two women are single. My 30-something group is the inverse of that, where I'm in the extreme minority.

Among my friends in their 40s, singles are basically nonexistent - which is why, as my friends have partnered off and started families, my appetite for social interaction has led me to expand my friend group exponentially.

For a while, I moved to Britain, extending my carefree 20s well into my 30s and collecting a new batch of single friends who fast became soulmates.

Danu Anthony Stinson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Victoria, says singles have much larger and stronger social networks than partnered people. "They have more friends, they socialize more, they exchange help more often with their friends," she says. But, Stinson says, the single person must give up control of managing these friendships, letting the friend with the spouse or children dictate the terms of the relationship.

I find this challenging, because I've traditionally been the person who organizes and schedules social time within my friend groups, so I'm used to a certain level of control. But also, I'm a person who intrinsically needs my friends and, when they can't be there for me, it can be isolating.

Another major variation in our need to socialize depends on whether we live in a large city or a small town. Stinson says that smaller communities tend to have stricter rules around conforming to societal norms, so people who don't conform - such as singletons - usually migrate to larger urban centres.

"This is one of the many benefits of being single that has been documented," she says. "You get to choose your friends, family, social circle to a much greater degree than do people who are partnered. And people more often do that in big cities."

Being single allows us to build our own tribe, and mine is plentiful. But I still put these relationships at the centre of my life, which can feel lonely when your friends don't do the same.

Regardless of a person's relationship status, I believe there's still a level of shared responsibility within friendships, though I can appreciate how this changes when kids are added to the equation.

My closest friends and I make the most of seeing each other when we can. One long-standing tradition with my gang from high school is a series of summertime long weekends. Whether we're touring wineries in Prince Edward County or lounging at the cottage, the caveat is "no partners or kids allowed," though a few newborns have slipped through the cracks over the years.

One long-time attendee, my good friend Anne Maffre - who lives in Ottawa and is the married mother of two girls - tells me that she hasn't developed any new friendships with single people since becoming a mom.

"I guess it's not a surprise, given how I'm able to spend my free time," she says. Female-friend time is crucial to her, too, especially with women she's known for so long.

"I love how we can spend so much time apart throughout the year, but come together and have a ridiculous, fun time like we've never been apart," Maffre says. "We may not all be as close as we once were, but it's so crazy that we've known each other for so long and still want to hang out. I know not everyone has that."

So, yes, in many ways, I'm making headway in managing my female friendships as everything around me changes. But I've still had to seek out new friends to join me in my single status quo.

It doesn't mean I love my partnered and parent friends any less; it just means I have to be more mindful to fill my life with the kind of social connectivity that makes me feel complete.

Associated Graphic


Liberals to address women's concerns in first gender-based federal budget
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1


Substantial investment expected in affordable housing and child care


Ottawa has been looking into different approaches of law-enforcement agencies

DEFENCE Spending to be increased, but details won't be released until review is completed later this year

The Trudeau government's second budget will include a host of measures specifically aimed at improving the lives of women, including a plan to fund new child-care spaces, extend maternity and paternity benefits and address sexual assault.

The budget will also increase defence spending, The Globe and Mail has learned, but details won't be released until Ottawa completes a formal defence policy review later this year. And The Globe has also been told there will be a "pretty substantial investment" in affordable housing and child care, providing the first clear breakdown of its "social infrastructure" plans.

The government is not saying how it will pay for any new spending or what specific tax measures would be included in the budget. But an official said the Prime Minister believes higher income Canadians should share the heavier load of taxes.

The Trump administration in the United States has urged Canada and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to boost overall defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP. Canada spends just more than 1 per cent, although the budget will not close that gap.

"Obviously with the U.S. being our biggest ally - both in NORAD and NATO - we want to make sure that there is a certain amount of complementarity between our policies and theirs, so we wanted to make sure we had a better sense of where they are going," the official said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will also provide the first results from a review of federal tax credits.

Another federal official said any proposals for major tax changes would not be enacted immediately and would instead be put forward for further study.

For the first time, the entire federal budget has been put through a gender-based analysis, meaning more than 60 specific measures have been rigorously studied for how they might affect women and men differently.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attracted international attention for his 2015 decision to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet and Wednesday's budget is aimed at showing the Liberal government is taking concrete measures in response to women's concerns.

A senior government official told The Globe that the budget's reference to sexual assault was inspired by the paper's series highlighting the uneven approaches of law-enforcement agencies when it comes to sexassault cases.

"We have had people looking into it ever since The Globe broke the story," the official said.

A Commons committee on Monday recommended that Statistics Canada resume tracking the national rate of sexual-assault allegations and urged Ottawa to provide training for judges and police on dealing with these kinds of cases. The overall theme of the budget will be to show continuity with the government's existing plans and to instill confidence in individuals and businesses about their economic future. That means pairing innovation policies that support business with new skills-training programs for Canadian workers.

"We think it is all about skills, attracting foreign investment and investing in innovation, and that is what the budget will be about," the official said.

On infrastructure, the Liberal Party's platform pledged $60-billion of new spending broken down evenly among public transit, green projects and social infrastructure. Since then, some projects have been approved under the first two categories but there has been little movement on social infrastructure. Ottawa has spent the past year negotiating behind the scenes with provinces, municipalities and advocacy groups to decide how that money will be spent.

Jean-Yves Duclos, the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development who led those negotiations, signalled Tuesday that the results of those talks will be revealed in Wednesday's budget.

"You'll see," he said, explaining that the budget will show the results of Ottawa's talks with the provinces aimed at "providing quality inclusive, flexible and accessible child care, affordable child care."

Child-care advocates say they have received signals from Ottawa that the budget will announce about $500-million a year in long-term funding for child care.

Carolyn Ferns, a board member with Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, said families are eager to see concrete measures from the Liberals on their election pledge to improve child care.

"We're a couple years in now and I think it's time to see some real action," she said. "It really can't happen soon enough."

Improving work force-participation rates among women with young children has been highlighted as a focus of the government in recent months.

Mr. Morneau's economic advisory panel released a report in February that urged the government to improve the work forceparticipation rates of women with children under 16. The report noted that in Quebec, which has a publicly subsidized child-care program, women between the ages of 25 and 54 who have children under the age of 16 participate in the work force at a rate of 93 per cent of that of similarly aged men. In the rest of Canada, the rate is lower at 86 per cent. The council estimated that a similar, national program that achieves Quebec's results would add $13-billion to Canada's GDP.

Mr. Morneau's November fiscal update provided a 12-year breakdown of the three promised infrastructure categories and also added two new ones: trade and transportation and rural and northern communities.

The social-infrastructure category has no money budgeted for the coming fiscal year. It will receive $1.1-billion in 2018-19 and that amount will rise gradually to $3-billion a year in 2026-27. The total 12-year amount is $21.9-billion.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has called for $12.6-billion over eight years toward affordable housing. That request was initially met with skepticism from the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, who suggested cities were not doing enough on their own to support affordable housing.

On trade infrastructure, a government official said the budget is expected to include spending to upgrade and revamp Canada's transportation routes to international markets.

The government's fall update, which set aside $10.1-billion over 11 years for trade and transportation, said the budget would spell out some details of how Ottawa plans to spend that money to fix congestion and bottlenecks along essential corridors and transportation hubs.

The federal budget is not expected to announce new money toward VIA Rail's proposed "high-frequency" rail. Liberal MPs had pushed hard for Mr. Morneau to support the plan to double-track parts of the rail line along the Montreal-OttawaToronto corridor. The plan would allow VIA's passenger trains to offer more frequent and faster service by no longer having to wait for freight trains, which have priority on the existing tracks.

While the federally owned passenger rail company has said most of the project could be financed by the private sector, it is looking for Ottawa to spend about $1-billion on new trains.

Last year's budget gave Transport Canada $3.3-million over three years to conduct an in-depth assessment of VIA's plan, but the Liberals appear to be balking at the price.

Why are women absent from the pages of The Globe?
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

Images can be more powerful than even a thousand words.

I often hear from readers about photos in The Globe and Mail: from those who believe that some photos show too much violence or too much of the same old thing; from unhappy readers who note when the Sports section is all men for too many days in a row; from happy readers when they see women on a Sports front. I myself wonder, sometimes, why a photo accompanying a story about something like the unemployment rate couldn't have been of a woman rather than a man.

So, prodded by the fact that International Women's Day falls in March, I decided to tally the number of photos for the past month by gender, to see whether Globe coverage is reflecting the role of women in society - and, if not, what the paper could do better. I found, on a daily average, including Saturday, that there are 19 photos of men or groups of mostly men in the paper; there are 7 of women. The Saturday Globe, taken alone, is much more equitable: The average is 41 photos of men, and 34 of women. (All such numbers exclude head shots of our columnists.)

One major reason for the weekday/weekend split: Sports skews the Monday-to-Friday numbers. (On Saturdays, because there are more - and bigger - sections throughout the paper, Sports has less influence on the total mix.) A highly visual section, Sports includes lots of photos of professional games and male athletes. On an average day in Sports, there are seven photos of men and just 0.5 of women.

It can be a challenge to better balance the photos and news coverage of women. But it's not insurmountable, and the situation should be much better than it is. There were clearly efforts to do better with coverage of women through photos on several days in March. On International Women's Day itself, and in the days before and after, The Globe featured front-page and sectionfront photos of women, including young women leaders in Parliament; an all-women Air India flight crew; mostly women admiring the statue of the young girl facing the bull on Wall Street.

A few weeks ago, a front-page photo showed a group of Yazidi women taking part in a knitting session at a camp for displaced persons. It helped to give a face to Canada's pledge to accept such refugees this year, and in my view, put a decidedly human face on the issue.

Early this month, our front-page main photo was of human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney with Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who had been enslaved by the Islamic State in 2014, speaking about the plight of Yazidis to a United Nations hearing - with not a word about what either woman's husband did for a living (that was not the case with many other media).

Also in the mix this month have been daily stories from our series Unfounded, which has explored how Canadian police are handling sexual-assault allegations - and those stories and accompanying photos have focused on women.

One Monday saw women on every section front - including Sports, with a photo of the victorious and gleeful women's McGill University basketball team winning a goldmedal match. A good day. But that kind of day shouldn't be so remarkable.

And yet, it is. Let's go back to that very low average daily number: 19 photos of men, and 7 of women.

Clearly that does not reflect the numbers in Canadian society or, for that matter, in the world.

Some of this imbalance comes from missed opportunities. One recent Saturday Focus section ran a great profile of Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, which included four pictures of the minister - but with only one woman constituent, who was easily outnumbered by four men in the photos.

There was a much better balance in the online version of the story, which included many more photos showing women constituents and colleagues of the minister, including one shot of Mr. Hussen's wife, Ebyan, and his young children.

That example aside, why does the Saturday paper do so much better when it comes to photo equity? The additional sections of Style, Focus, and a larger Arts section help. But the Saturday Globe also covers the issues more, and the news of the day less. The depth of those issues and that coverage allows for greater balance and a more meticulous analysis of how all people are affected - women and men. As well, the Saturday photos are more often assigned by Globe photo editors, and so deliberately include a better gender balance - in contrast to the daily news photos, often from wire services, which tend to be taken, transferred and chosen on tight deadlines.

Many foreign stories are about conflict; and many countries' leaders, military and police, not to mention those who protest in the streets, overwhelmingly tend to be male.

There is a lot of coverage and interest in the United States leadership right now, a group - from the White House to the Senate to the House - that includes significantly more men than women. (In fact, I've heard from a few readers who say: Please don't run so many pictures of Donald Trump; we know by now what he looks like, and don't need a daily diet.) In these cases, though, there's no requirement to run photos of men: Not every story even needs to include an image. As well, The Globe could be making a greater effort to think outside the box, and run photos of people more peripheral to the story; or photos of images other than people.

There's one final reason men's images outnumber women's, and it stems from the lack of gender diversity among our columnists. The weekday paper is heavily male in that regard, and, so, are the head shots that sit atop those columns: There's an average of 11 such shots of men, and three of women. Saturdays, on average, see 10 men and six women columnists. In most news organizations in Canada and North America, columnists tend to be older and male. While there are high-profile women writing general-interest Globe and Mail columns in News, Opinion, Style, Focus, and Life and Arts, there is only one in the very large section of Report on Business; there are no women columnists in Sports. Perhaps that is something the media need to be mulling more seriously. Another thing to consider would be running photos of women and men who write major features in the paper.

So the lesson I take away is this: There isn't enough diversity of photos - and not just of women - in The Globe. But that gap can be narrowed with more issues-oriented coverage during the week (such as the Unfounded stories); increased attention to amateur sports and women in sports; and, all week long, a conscious effort to offer a better balance of Canadian diversity and gender (as in, for example, showing more women in the profile of Mr. Hussen).

Photos, after all, can be as powerful as the words they serve to illustrate.

Associated Graphic

Selected details from the March 13th edition of The Globe and Mail show the relative representation of males and females.

What gearhead dreams are made of
Auto shows risk being phased out by emergence of smart technology, but in Geneva, the eccentricity makes it a must-see
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D2

GENEVA -- Mark Webber spent the day at Porsche's booth at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. It was nearly 5 p.m. and the recently-retired Formula One driver hadn't yet had a chance to walk around.

Later, he would make an appearance at a restaurant on the banks of Lake Geneva, at a reception for guests of Porsche. But with a few moments to himself, he stopped by the Bentley booth to take in its new concept car, a sleek pearl-white electric convertible.

Bentley claimed the vehicle could drive from London to Paris on a single charge, although, since it's just a concept, the auto maker might as well have said the car could drive to the moon.

It was beautiful though, and with its burgundy leather interior, the cabin looked like the inside of an Hermes purse.

"I've been to a few car shows," Webber said. "But this is the place to be, this is the show to be at."

He is correct.

The Geneva show is a hot mess of schmoozing and shopping, of sweaty handshakes and business cards flying in all directions. It is a melange of boutique car companies, companies nobody has heard of, big car companies, new ones, little ones, Chinese ones, car-tuning companies and carrozzerias. In this large room, we find proof money cannot buy taste, and that it can buy happiness.

You can buy a Ruf from Alois Ruf Jr., a Pagani from Horacio Pagani and a Koenigsegg from Christian von Koenigsegg, all in the same room. You can compare the craftsmanship and design sensibility of Touring Superleggera against Pininfarina and Italdesign by walking down the hall.

You can discuss colour choices for your new 720S with the CEO of McLaren and weigh the pros and cons of Mansory versus Liberty Walk when considering a new body-kit for your gold Ferrari.

Unlike other car shows, the ultra-rich come to Geneva and they come to buy. That gives the proceedings an exciting air you can only find at an auction, or on the trading floor, or any other place where great gobs of money move on a whim.

All of the most expensive toys are on display at Palexpo, a stadium-sized warehouse of a convention centre next to the airport.

Each of the bigger car companies builds a multi-level booth with VIP area, catering and meeting rooms. Smaller firms have meeting cubicles. It's a simple, industrial and cramped setting. You can see the entire show in 30 minutes, unlike the bigger expos in Frankfurt and Paris. Car companies don't bring all their cars, they just bring the good stuff.

Kazunori Yamauchi is a connoisseur. As the creator of Gran Turismo - a series of racing games for PlayStation which have sold 80 million copies over 20 years - he likely bears more responsibility than any other person for creating a new generation of gearheads.

"I like the fact that it's not just the big auto manufacturers," Yamauchi said through his translator.

Favourite cars from the show?

"The Alpine, and also the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 [Valkyrie], and, of course, the Pininfarina Vision GT [Fittipaldi EF7] is a greatlooking car, too."

Renault is resurrecting cult-favourite French auto maker Alpine.

Its first new little sports car, the Alpine A110, revealed here is achingly desirable: 250 horsepower in a beautiful lightweight midengine coupe. The stand was packed all day.

According to show organizers, more than 100 cars made their international debuts.

And it wasn't all supercars. Subaru launched an all-new Crosstrek, a jacked-up hatchback.

Honda showed a productionready Civic Type-R and finally revealed how fast it'll go: 0-100 in less than 5.7 seconds, thanks to a revised 2.0-litre, 316-horsepower, turbocharged motor. (No allwheel drive, but it does have a six-speed manual gearbox.)

Alpina - not to be confused with Alpine - pre-empted BMW's M5 with the B5 Biturbo, a 608horsepower version of the 5 Series. New SUVs were in abundance, from Volvo (all-new XC60); Land Rover (Range Rover Velar); Mitsubishi (Eclipse Cross); and a Hyundai concept previewed an upcoming hydrogen-powered SUV.

Volkswagen's Sedric concept showed what a "one-button" autonomous car-sharing service could look like. Audi had two new high-performance models: the RS3 Sportback and RS5 Coupe.

Porsche gave the world its first station-wagon and Mercedes showed off an 805-horsepower hybrid sedan concept, which we sincerely hope becomes reality.

Michael Mauer, head of design at Porsche and the Volkswagen Group, appreciated the chance to see what smaller companies were doing. "Sometimes these little companies, they have solutions that - as a big brand - you don't dare to do," he said.

Mauer, like many auto industry execs, likes to combine the Geneva show with a ski vacation in the Alps. Perhaps this explains why all the top chief executivess and designers are in attendance every year.

Geneva stood in stark contrast to the lacklustre Detroit show. Indeed, Geneva stands in increasingly stark contrast to all other car shows. It's not just the fact that it's physically smaller with a wider variety of cars. Neither is it all the money being spent, or all the poster-worthy new supercars on display.

At a time when the need for big international auto shows is being called into question - what place will they have in a future full of self-driving cars, or car-share subscription services - major auto makers are frequently skipping them altogether. Porsche wasn't in Detroit and Chrysler didn't hold a news conference. Luxury auto makers are looking to reach customers in more intimate, upscale settings - such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed or the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Mainstream auto makers are reaching customers directly through social media and sponsored events.

A handful of automotive conglomerates, each with a multitude of sub-brands, dominate the industry. While consumers have more choice, the selection is more homogeneous than ever.

But not so in Geneva. Morgan held a news conference about its three-wheeler and touted the fact that the company is still familyowned. A Chinese company, Techrules, had a working prototype of a turbine-electric hybrid with six motors and 1,200 horsepower.

Geneva is a throwback to a time when the car industry was dispersed, splintered and strange.

It's a throwback in other, less benign ways, too. Many auto makers still hire female models to take the sheets off new cars and pose next to them.

Above all, Geneva is a festival of eccentricity and a celebration of excess, the best and worst of the car industry in one room. It is a must-see spectacle.

The writer was a guest of Porsche.

Content was not subject to approval.

Associated Graphic

Above: The Alpine A110, revealed at Geneva International Motor Show, is achingly desirable - 250 horsepower in a beautiful lightweight mid-engine coupe. Left: The new Touring Superleggera Artega Scalo was also among the Geneva auto show's attractions. Lower left: The Pininfarina H600 is seen at the show. The Italian auto maker's Vision GT, praised by connoisseur and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi, was on display as well.


Hometown hero Harvey finishes second
Canada's best cross-country skier caps a strong weekend at World Cup with photo finish in 15-kilometre pursuit
The Canadian Press
Monday, March 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S5

QUEBEC -- He lost by the tiniest of margins, but local favourite Alex Harvey felt like a champion.

Canada's best cross-country skier capped a dream weekend by coming second in a photo finish to rising Norwegian star Johannes Hosflot Klaebo in the 15-kilometre pursuit race before a huge crowd on the Plains of Abraham for the final World Cup event of the season on Sunday.

His father, Canadian crosscountry and cycling legend Pierre Harvey, estimated the margin of Klaebo's victory at two centimetres.

"I lunged with everything I had," Alex Harvey said. "I knew I was going to be second or first.

"Klaebo is the best sprinter in the world. He's got the crystal globe at home. He's got a medal from the world championships in the sprint, so there's nothing to be ashamed of."

The World Cup finals were supposed to be in Russia, but organizers dropped it when six Russian cross-country skiers were suspended for doping violations.

Quebec City won hosting rights and Harvey, a native of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, just north of the city, made the most of it.

He began with a victory in the 1.5-km sprint race on Friday and followed with a fourth-place finish in the 15-km classical style event on Saturday, which was also won by Klaebo.

He started the pursuit 23 seconds behind Klaebo and one second behind another Norwegian, Niklas Dyrhaug. Despite getting no help from Dyrhaug, Harvey caught up to Klaebo midway through the second of four 3.75km laps. It was a tactical battle the rest of the way for the threeman lead group.

It helped that another Norwegian who started in fourth position, Finn Haagen Krogh, was unable to keep up the pace.

"It's happened maybe once in my career that midway through the race I knew that the worst I could do was land on the podium," Harvey said. "It was really fun to have that feeling that it was in the bank.

"The home crowd was good. It was a good feeling to close on Klaebo so fast and have Finn Haagen trying to chase behind me and then just blow up. When you can make one of the best skiers in the world blow up it's a good feeling."

Near the end of the third lap, a dog got loose and ran onto the track. It chased the leaders for about 100 metres before giving up.

"It happens in cycling races, but I've never seen it in skiing," Harvey said of the dog. "It just makes the story even better because luckily no one crashed or got hurt."

The Canadian was in a tough spot battling Norwegian teammates. At one point, they slowed to a crawl while jockeying for position. Harvey was glad to avoid being forced to the front going into the final sprint and having the Norwegians slingshot past him.

His results for the weekend allowed Harvey to maintain third place in overall World Cup standings behind Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Russia's Sergey Ustiugov, who both skipped the meet. He also finished second for the season in distance races behind Sundby, with Matti Heikkinen of Finland third.

It matched his previous best season in 2014, but Harvey also picked up his first world championship gold medal in the 30-km event on March 5.

The next step is to shoot for an Olympic medal next winter in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I'm really confident," he said.

"The gold medal at the worlds was the last race at the championships.

"That gives me confidence for the team. Nobody panicked. The team believed in me and I believed in the team and we were able to deliver on the last day.

That in itself gives me a lot of confidence for Pyeongchang."

The 20-year-old Klaebo took the trophy as the top under-23 skier of the season.

Racing in sunny, springlike conditions, the women's 10-km pursuit saw Norwegian star Marit Bjorgen win for a second day in a row ahead of compatriot Heidi Weng and Stina Nilsson of Sweden. Top Canadian Emily Nishikawa of Whitehorse was 38th.

"We were so lucky to get this here instead of Russia," Nishikawa said. "The team's in great spirits.

"We got to start 30 athletes. Lots of people were in their first World Cups. It's great for development in the country and Alex, it's his hometown and he's skiing amazing now and that's a big boost for our team."

Pierre Harvey wore a beaming smile.

"For Alex, it's his best season over all, so there's nothing more we can ask," he said. "We need to see more Alexes in Canada, and women Alexes, too.

"If we had a bit more support we could produce more athletes, but we don't put much money into supporting athletes in Canada. It's a bit sad to see that because we have potential to have great athletes."

Weng was handed the crystal globe as overall women's World Cup champion ahead of Krista Parmakoski of Finland and Ingvild Flugstad Ostberg of Norway.

Anamarija Lampic of Slovenia was the top under-23 skier.

Worley wins World Cup GS title Aspen, Colo. - Tessa Worley waved her ski pole and pumped her fist.

Rarely has not winning felt this rewarding.

The Frenchwoman clinched the season-long giant slalom title Sunday with a conservative run on a day Federica Brignone led an Italian sweep at the World Cup finals.

"I just went for it, kept it simple," explained Worley, who finished fifth to edge American Mikaela Shiffrin by 85 points for her first crystal globe. "I'm really, really happy with the season.

Now, I have it."

Brignone glided through the course in a combined time of 1 minute 58.01 seconds to beat teammate Sofia Goggia by 1.44 seconds. Marta Bassino took third. Marie-Michèle Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was 12th in 2:01.33.

Shiffrin and Worley both won three giant slalom races this season. The 22-year-old Shiffrin already clinched the slalom and overall titles.

Myhrer upsets Hirscher to take slalom Aspen, Colo. - Andre Myhrer of Sweden won a slalom race at the World Cup finals on Sunday when first-run leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria uncharacteristically lost speed near the finish.

Myhrer navigated the course in a combined time of 1 minute 27.97 seconds, holding off Felix Neureuther of Germany by 0.14 seconds. Austria's Michael Matt was third and Hirscher fourth.

Hirscher held a 0.08-second lead heading into the final run and appeared on the verge of his 50th World Cup slalom podium finish.

He will have to wait a season to try and join Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark (81) and Italian Alberto Tomba (57) as the only men to achieve that milestone in the discipline.

The 28-year-old Hirscher already clinched the giant slalom and slalom globes, along with his sixth successive overall title.

Associated Graphic

Canada's Alex Harvey, left, and Niklas Dyrhaug of Norway race in the men's 15-kilometre pursuit at the World Cup on Sunday in Quebec City. Harvey finished second behind Johannes Hosflot Klaebo.


Spring awakening
An international array of sauvignon blancs should help with the seasonal transition - and with tax time, too
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L10

Spring arrives Monday at 6:29 a.m. ET. Or in the more subjective clock of my mind, not a minute too soon. I like everything about spring except income taxes and the rude daylight-savings switch.

Maybe there's one more thing: I hate winter storms that have the audacity to dump on my driveway after the vernal equinox.

Fortunately there's wine. It can help ease the tax-form burden (four out of five accountants I'm familiar with recommend it), and it's been known to change the weather, indoors if not outside. Especially when that wine is grassy, grapefruity, zesty sauvignon blanc, the snow melter you can imbibe.

Various cultures have their vernal-equinox rituals. I gather it's a custom in certain circles, based on an ancient Chinese parlour trick, to balance an egg on its end.

Some people have been led to believe one can accomplish this only when the sun crosses the celestial equator. That's bogus.

You can do it any time - without much trouble if you possess steady hands - thanks to the egg's rough shell. I did it with no sweat earlier this month, after a glass of wine, no less, and posted a photo of the mesmerizing feat on my Twitter feed.

More importantly, I discovered that this egg-yoga-pose exercise is more enjoyable when you combine it with my own vernalequinox custom, which is to crack open a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

(Note to egg-balancing druids: The cork may not be easier to extract when the sun crosses the celestial equator but the wine tastes better than it did in January; I'll report on screwcaps after next Monday.)

What follow are a few representative examples of sauvignon blanc styles from around the world - from lean and elegant Sancerre to high-watt, tropical, grassy New Zealand "savvy" to barrel-matured Bordeaux blanc and a few in between. Put your smoothies away for now, yoga people; this is another way to drink your fruits and vegetables.

Spy Valley Envoy Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $29.95

Spy Valley, named after a nearby U.S. communications monitoring station, delivers a new, trendy take on New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Based on Bordeaux grape clones, this premium bottling was fermented and matured in wood, in contact with yeast sediment, for 11 months prior to bottling. Not your typical grass-and-grapefruit grenade rushed to market after a brief period in stainless. Light-medium bodied, it's bright and grassy enough to betray its national origin, to be sure, with zesty citrus and crisp peach in the foreground.

Yet the wine whispers with vanilla from the oak contact, which also supplies a mellow centre of gravity. By the way, the winery sells this on-site for $29.90 (N.Z.), which at the time of this writing was $27.81 in our dollars. We're getting it for a steal given Canada's supposedly punishing liquor markups. Are there spies involved? Available in Ontario.

Le G de Château Guiraud 2015 (France)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $26.95

Located in Bordeaux's Sauternes appellation, Guiraud is famous for its first-growth sweet white wine, produced from a mix of semillon and sauvignon blanc grapes. This one, called Le G, relies on the same varieties, in a 50-50 proportion, but it's dry. And it's terrific.

The classic dry-Bordeaux-blanc blending model reveals how semillon can add flesh to sauvignon without robbing the latter of its bright character. Guiraud fermented and then matured the wine for seven months in oak barrels, adding soft texture and chewy depth. Medium bodied and oily, it shows juicy peach and tropical fruit along with semillon's telltale lanolin, waxy essence. Available in Ontario in select LCBO stores.

Domaine des Fines Caillottes Pouilly-Fumé 2015 (France)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $26.95

Here's a sauvignon from the Loire's most prominent appellation after Sancerre.

Silky yet properly crisp, this PouillyFumé's got everything in the right proportion - green apple, grapefruit, lemon zest, grass and stones. Subtle and structured. Available in Ontario at the above price, $24.30 in Quebec.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre 2015 (France)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $27.95

Classically elegant sauvignon blanc from the grape's grand appellation, Sancerre in the Loire Valley. This displays delectably satisfying midpalate weight and softness without resorting to excessive residual sugar. The flavours hint at lemon, grass and crisp peach, with a whiff of flint in the mix. Available in Ontario.

Robert Mondavi Napa Fumé Blanc 2014 (California)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $22.95

More than a few Americans in the 1960s recoiled at (badly grown) sauvignon blanc's vegetal essence. Robert Mondavi found a way to get them drinking. He fermented the grape in oak to mute asparagus and grassy notes, adding a cosmetic layer of vanilla. And he avoided the name sauvignon blanc, dubbing his creation "fumé blanc," which borrowed something from hoity-toity Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire. Many followed his lead and established a new wine category. The 2014 is light-medium bodied and almost creamy, with flavours of melon, pear and green apple along with whispers of vanilla and spice. The oak influence is subtle and well-handled, just enough to show the vegetables the door. Available in Ontario at the above price, $22.99 in British Columbia, $22.95 in Quebec, $24.99 in Nova Scotia, $30.27 in Newfoundland, $26.29 in Prince Edward Island.

Therapy Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $19.99

Look at the vintage date. This barely had time to become wine before it was corralled into bottle. But that's the point with some sauvignon blancs, like this crisp, clean example, harvested Sept. 6, 2016. Trap the freshness in before it's gone. In that sense, it follows the classic model of Marlborough in New Zealand.

Yet there's not much grass in this glass thanks to a brief, prefermentation soak with enzymes designed to reduce herbal characters. The fruit is grapy - as in fresh grape must - and also hints at red apple and lemon zest. Naked wine - at an admirably low 11.5-per-cent alcohol, too. Available direct through

Perez Cruz Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Chile)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $14.95

Lean yet flavourful, with an expressive aroma that settles down slightly upon first sip. Here's a classic example of Chilean sauvignon blanc at a fair price, with bright grapefruit and dried-grass greenery rather than, say, boiled asparagus.

More subtly, it shows notes of lemon and jalapeno, too. Available in Ontario.

Rustenberg Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (South Africa)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $14.95

The sprawling and pastoral Rustenberg estate has been around since 1682 and in recent decades supplied the backdrop to various film sets, including National Geographic's Battle of Gettysburg. (The American Civil War in South Africa?) But wine is the star here.

The 2015 Stellenbosch sauvignon blanc features an almost sweet, slightly oily centre thanks to ripe berries and lees aging, with nuances of tropical fruit and lemon. A sauvignon blanc for those who find the Loire or New Zealand too racy. Available in Ontario at the above price, $13.49 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta.

Liberals table wait-and-see budget
TIMELINE UNCERTAIN Morneau holds off on closing loopholes for wealthy, offers no framework for erasing federal deficit
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- Finance Minister Bill Morneau has put off tax hikes on wealthier Canadians, delivering a budget Wednesday that promises new money for job training, child care and social housing but offers no plan to improve the country's debt outlook.

The revenue-strapped Trudeau government will run a $28.5-billion deficit for the coming fiscal year with no timeline to balance the books over the next five years.

As expected, the government's second budget was largely about carving up the big spending plans announced in its first budget last year, with little new spending over and above what the Liberals had previously announced.

U.S. President Donald Trump was not mentioned by name, but Mr. Morneau's budget highlighted the sizable amount of uncertainty facing the Canadian economy largely because of outside factors. The budget noted that any U.S. actions on trade and taxes could potentially have a negative impact on Canada.

On Wednesday, Ottawa chose to hold off on a campaign pledge to raise billions in new revenue by closing tax loopholes that benefit high-income Canadians.

Mr. Trump has promised "massive" tax cuts, but details are not expected to emerge from Washington for months.

The Liberal budget does close some corporate tax loopholes. It also hikes taxes on alcohol, tobacco and ride-sharing services such as Uber and eliminates some targeted tax credits, including one that rewarded publictransit users.

The budget does not include plans to raise taxes on investment income such as capital gains, a topic that had been of particular concern on Bay Street in recent weeks.

But Mr. Morneau is promising to present a paper later this year that will outline potential tax changes that could affect upperincome earners, particularly those who use corporate structures to pay less tax.

Having already eliminated income splitting for families with children in their first budget, the Liberals are now setting their sights on private business structures that still allow couples to split income for tax purposes.

"Going forward, we will close loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others," Mr. Morneau told the House of Commons.

Opposition parties said Mr. Morneau's talk of taking on the rich is contradicted by the minister's budget decisions.

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose slammed the Liberals for failing to rein in spending while nickel and diming working Canadians.

"The Prime Minister has decided to get rid of the benefit for public-transit passes, which of course are used by most low-income Canadians - particularly young people and students," she said. "He's also going to tax your beer. ... [The budget] even taxes Uber and it clearly demonstrates that the Prime Minister is completely out of step with the challenges that regular ordinary people have when they're trying to pay for the cost of living."

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said there was little in the budget for Canadians struggling with rising costs and record household debt and questioned why the government is delaying tax hikes for the wealthy one per cent.

"It's fair to say when you look at this budget, that the rich are getting what they want and ordinary Canadians are not getting what they need," he said, pointing to the fact that the Liberals have not acted on a campaign promise to limit stock-option deductions.

The tax review is set to attract considerable attention over the coming year. It drew immediate concern from Canadian Federation of Small Business president Dan Kelly, who said tens of thousands of Canadians could potentially be affected.

Tax expert Kim Moody, who reviewed the budget for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, said those concerns are justified.

"It's pretty obvious that private companies and their families are under the radar and under attack," he said.

Canada's high levels of household debt were listed as an ongoing risk to the economy, but the budget did not announce new measures to address concerns about overheated housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver.

The budget did announce $40million over five years for Statistics Canada to develop a Housing Statistics Framework that will create a national database of residential transactions and track foreign home-buyer activity.

The deficit is forecast to jump from $23-billion in the current fiscal year to $28.5-billion in 201718, before declining to about $19billion by 2021-22. Those figures include an adjustment for risk of $3-billion a year, a cushion that has been reinstated after Mr. Morneau dropped it in his fall economic update.

The budget forecast projects that the federal debt will shrink slightly as a percentage of GDP, from 31.5 per cent this year to 30.9 per cent in 2021-22. However, economists expressed concern that the budget does not include a target for eliminating the deficit. They warn that this puts federal finances at risk in the event of a recession or slower-thanexpected growth.

"The problem is when you get some sort of shock," said Randall Bartlett, chief economist with the University of Ottawa's Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.

"It throws your debt-to-GDP ratio out the window entirely."

At a news conference with reporters, Mr. Morneau repeatedly declined to offer a timeline for erasing the deficit, pointing instead to the government's plans to keep the debt-to-GDP ratio in check.

The budget has a special focus on improving the lives of women in the work force. Ottawa will allow women to claim maternity benefits for up to 12 weeks before their due date and extend parental benefits for up to 18 months at a lower rate. Federally regulated businesses will also be required to allow flexible work hours.

The government committed $100-million to combat sexual violence against women - a lastminute budgetary measure as a result of The Globe and Mail's investigation that found that one in five sexual-assault allegations in Canada are deemed "unfounded" or baseless by police.

The budget breaks down previously announced funds for social infrastructure, giving $7-billion over 10 years to fund child-care spaces and $11.2-billion over 11 years for affordable housing.

As expected, the budget did not provide any spending details on planned increases to the military. Those details will be included when a defence policy review is unveiled later this year.

Billions of earmarked dollars to buy new equipment and buildings over the next 20 years was deferred.

There was a sprinkling of money to many Liberal priorities, including better legal aid for asylum seekers, rehabilitating inmates, establishing an LGBTQ2 secretariat within the Privy Council office, money for the arts and free Internet for disadvantaged families.

John Manley, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, said in a statement that the budget represents a cautious approach as Canada braces for major change in the United States.

"Right now, the sensible approach is to wait and see what comes out of Washington," he said. "But make no mistake: if American policy makers move to cut personal and corporate taxes, Canada must respond."

Associated Graphic

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, left, reads her copy of the budget as interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose responds to a question during an interview following the federal budget announcement in Ottawa on Wednesday.


Butter with your popcorn? At the new breed of theatre - a one-stop film, food and cultural experience - the more important question might be, 'How do you want your steak?'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

You don't need a ticket to get into Metrograph, the Manhattan movie theatre that opened in a brick warehouse on the Lower East Side last spring. The lofty, palm-fringed space is like a concept shop for film buffs, where you can flip through vintage issues of Cahiers du Cinéma in the mezzanine bookstore, browse the backlit tuck shop for cayenne-flavoured artisanal pop.

corn, sip a "Night of the Iguana" tequila cocktail at the bar and dine on steak frites at the Commissary restaurant before even hitting the box office.

Two brick-walled screening rooms are the backbone of Metrograph, launched by Alexander Olch, a filmmaker-turned-fashion designer. Olch's nostalgia for the silver screen experience offered by now-extinct New York theatres, such as the Plaza and Ziegfeld, was the chief motivator in conceiving the cultural hub. And his friendship with the eminent film producer and programmer Jake Perlin helped him to realize it.

Yet, Metrograph's identity is really tied up in the contemporary ideal of the "third place," where people can meet, loiter and consume culture at every level.

"What I was most interested in was more than a facility you enter for a 7 p.m. show and then go someplace else," Olch says of the seven-year project. "It's an environment where people really want to linger, for filmmakers and film-lovers to have a community, a place to hang out."

With free WiFi, naturally.

The new microcinema is a growing recreational trend that wraps up entertainment and food in a contemporary-design package to appeal to generations now living online.

The contents - whether gin distillery and vinyl museum, or art gallery and deli - vary from Austin, Tex., to Bristol, England, to Guelph, Ont. But film is always at the heart, the lure away from what's trending online.

Since the birth of Beta, we've watched filmgoing reinvent itself.

As multiplexes multiplied, so did the rescue and refurbishment of golden age cinemas in all their red-velvet glory.

But Metrograph's Ludlow Street warehouse isn't your standard rep theatre. Although its red-velvet seating and retro-look marquee borrow from the silver screen era, it doesn't play into old filmgoing traditions. Not because those traditions were flawed but because they failed to evolve.

Olch offers as an example the large window in the balcony lounge that looks into the projection room. "Watching the projectionist thread the film up is one of the most popular things in the building, and for years it was something intentionally hidden," he says. "Like an open kitchen where you can see the chef cook, I think 'process' has become very important to the consumer experience."

As has the one-stop culture shop. "It used to be, 'Want to go to a movie?' 'Okay, but where are we going to go after?' The experience of seeing the movie didn't feel special enough on its own," Olch says. "This is a correction against that."

Any town with an artistic community has its own 21st-century take on moviegoing, whether a floating theatre, outdoor screen or microplex. They represent the new fringe. Yet venues such as Metrograph make an extra effort to be all things to all people, or at least to one kind of person.

"This is hipsterville," says Jo Hagan, who last fall launched the Institute of Light under a railway arch in East London. "It's an inquisitive and demanding audience who understand culture and want it presented in all its complexity."

As with Olch, Hagan was motivated by the notion of a holistic experience. "So often you come out of a fantastic film and you're enthused and the world looks a different place," he says.

"Then you go to the pub around the corner. It's really demoralizing."

Even in this corner of London, Institute of Light is not alone.

Half a kilometre away in one direction is the Castle Cinema, which opened in February in a century-old theatre, adding a plush art deco bar, restaurant and gallery upstairs. A half-kilometre in the other direction there are plans to reopen the old Rex cinema with a café, restaurant, 150-room hotel and rooftop garden.

The Institute of Light has a deep wood-deck terrace leading into an art bookshop and Brazilian tapas restaurant. Visitors can come to browse, sit down to a platter of Moorish chicken, order an Aperol spritz at the bar and take it - glass and all - to a sofa in the 54-seat screening room.

(Cinema sofas are a given these days.) By day, the screen pulls up to reveal a bank of glass doors that provide a second entrance to a vinyl shop run by Barely Breaking Even records. The entire infrastructure can be demounted in eight hours for multimedia events.

"This couldn't have existed 10 or 15 years ago," Hagan says.

"There weren't people travelling from around London to hang out here. There weren't people living here." He portrays the diverse creative community as hungry for authenticity. "They want the character implied by something vintage - to appropriate depth, if you will. But at the same time they want contemporary culture, so we can show La La Land and Dr. Strangelove back to back," as they did last month during their Americana film program.

A neighbourhood architect, Hagan saw the space become available at a time he was working on projects with the record label and a pop-up cinema impresario.

The idea of a place to celebrate analog culture "just clicked in my mind. Why can't all these different elements feed off each other - a cinema that was a record store during the day, a restaurant that was a bookstore during the day." Creating round-the-clock interest also helps pay the bills.

As an institute, it hosts film clubs for every passion and festivals in collaboration with academics and curators. Yet it "balances opposites" between archival and first-run films, which it gets three weeks into the national release.

Likewise, the design straddles both worlds. It respects the industrial history in the monumental brick arches of the former scrapyard. The contemporary counterpoint is a clean, modern restaurant and bar. Meanwhile, Hagan has sneaked vintage reclining airline seats into the theatre. "We balanced opposites to come up with something quite exciting and new."

"That tension between old and new is where glamour and chic and coolness can be found," says Olch of Metrograph. "Adhering to exactly the way it was is just a period piece. Trying to make something brand new and full of technology is also boring. That tension - to me that's the place to be."

Associated Graphic

Looking more like a hotel lobby than a movie theatre, the Metrograph in New York was designed to be a hub where people can meet, dine and consume culture at every level.


'The experience of seeing the movie didn't feel special enough on its own. This is a correction against that,' Metrograph owner Alexander Olch says.

At the Metrograph in lower Manhattan, steak frites is on the menu - or you can sip cocktails at the bar before seeing a film.


Scents and supply
Limited supply of fresh, ethically sourced ingredients causes Lush a sweet dilemma as demand grows for its handmade cosmetics
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

The outside of Lush Handmade Cosmetics's factory in Etobicoke is quiet and unadorned.

But inside the suburban Toronto plant, production of balms, bath bombs and other bathing products is frenetic. Workers stand at tables, mixing, pouring, applying sticky pastes, scooping powders and dipping balls of sodium bicarbonate into bright liquids. Glitter and the sweet cosmetic smell of Lush stores permeate everything. Workers making fist-sized bath bombs produce on average 500 a day by hand.

The factory's taut production process is a study in how the company is trying to keep up with rapid demand. It is also a study in how the demand for organic goods and ethically sourced ingredients can put pressure on supply chains, growers and resources.

The demand is coming from the intense push to fill Lush's growing number of retail stores, with 30 to 35 new ones being added a year to the approximately 250 Lush outlets already in Canada and the United States, each doing an average of more than $2-million a year in business. As the North American arm of Lush Ltd., which is headquartered in Poole, England, the company makes its products for Canada and the United States in just two factories, the one in Etobicoke and another in Vancouver.

Tray after industrial tray of pink beauty confections sit, waiting to be shipped with the sense of urgency coming not only from more stores opening and shelves needing to be stocked, but from existing stores being enlarged.

Lush's North American outlets are typically 800 square feet, but some have been expanded to 2,500 square feet. An outlet in West Edmonton Mall will be more than 3,000 square feet, says Mark Wolverton, chief executive of Lush Cosmetics North America.

Because the products are delivered fresh and preservative-free, they have to be moved quickly to the stores, not stored as inventory. The process resembles that of a food company moving perishable products.

As Mr. Wolverton notes, Lush's production cycle is so tight that it aims to have a store order a product one day, the product manufactured and shipped the next, and then a customer buying and using it the next day, still fresh. "That's the ideal situation.

It's a bakery-style system," he says.

Lush's original British founders developed some of the early products for The Body Shop. Later, they started afresh as the mail-order business Cosmetics To Go. Later still, Lush's owners opened their first store in Poole.

The business grew, and Mr. Wolverton, who comes from a Vancouver family in the brokerage business, set up Lush's North American business in Vancouver in 1996.

"As we expanded stores into the U.S., it took a little longer in places like Texas and Florida for the brand to catch on, versus the upper Eastern Seaboard, or the West Coast, the California-toWashington area," he says.

Yet with the southern United States now catching on to its products, the company is rethinking its North American manufacturing, possibly opening a plant in America.

To ship fresh products to stores, the company calculates it needs to have a factory within about 1,600 km of each of its more than 930 stores in 49 countries.

All of this leads to a core pressure point in the process: procuring fresh ingredients.

"We buy materials from all over the world, whether that is shea butter from Ghana, or cocoa butter coming in from producer groups in South America that we've been working with. Or argan oil from Morocco. And all of our perfumes come from the U.K., and we buy a lot of other materials from the E.U.," says Heather Deeth, Lush North America's buying manager.

The company tries to work directly with growers, many being small farmers' groups. The difficulty is finding enough ethically grown and environmentally sound raw materials.

"That's what I lose sleep over every day, as I'm the gate keeper for buying. How do we grow our supply chains in an ethical way, over time, to support the growth of the business?" Ms. Deeth says.

"Because we do really feel the impact of climate change, and there are climate-driven shortages of materials. So, I have to diversify. If there are crop failures of jojoba oil in Argentina, I know I will have supply from somewhere else."

Or take cocoa butter, used for various products from body lotions to scented bars made to melt in bath water. "If I wanted to do great things for the bottom line for our business, I would say, I'll just buy conventional cocoa butter off the market. I'd do a three-year contact, and I won't really care where it comes from," she says.

On the contrary, though, Ms. Deeth and Lush's mandate is to care where and how the ingredients are grown. A few years ago, the company decided to start buying certified fair-trade organic cocoa butter. To ensure enough supply, Lush is buying from various producers in Latin and South America, from co-operatives in Peru and the Dominican Republic to groups in Colombia and Ecuador.

"Some of the edgier work that we're doing now is trying to directly trade with a variety of groups in countries that are less developed, that don't even have the infrastructure around exports," Ms. Deeth notes.

While this is a particular challenge for Lush, not all organic and ethically grown ingredients are in short supply worldwide.

Jose Abad-Puelles, account manager at the not-for-profit Fairtrade Canada in Ottawa, notes that, on average, only one third of Fairtrade-certified cocoa is sold. Production is more than sales, largely due to the commodity's higher price.

However, Greg Pinch, who is on Lush's buying team, says this underscores the need to have a closer connection with growers.

Since Fairtrade-certified cocoa is still a niche commodity, it is typically managed on a contract basis. If a company such as Lush oversells its cocoa products, as happened last Christmas, it can take months for more beans to get to a processor and months more for them to make it to Lush's factories.

This means that suppliers are likely going to have to use more techniques to keep up with producer demand.

As Mehmet Gumus, associate professor in operations management at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal, notes, the growth in demand for organic products helps to keep prices high. "However, this is changing," he says.

Suppliers will find themselves having to form partnerships and implement more advanced supply-chain technology to meet the needs of manufacturers and retailers such as Lush.

With producers such as Lush needing to hit the frantic pace of production of bath bombs and other fresh goods, "the supply chain and consistency on that is pretty critical," Ms. Deeth says.

Associated Graphic

Michelle Darby, left, and Bill Majesky package Shoot for the Stars bath bombs at the Lush manufacturing plant in Toronto.


Workers making fist-sized bath bombs produce on average 500 a day by hand.


Premier electric SUV is a shock to the system
With its chargeable family vehicle, Tesla breaks the ice for the rest of the industry - but makes a few slip-ups along the way
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D4


Base price: $154,450 (75D); $224,650 (P100D)

Engine: Electric, with batteries from 75 to 100 kWh

Transmission: N/A

Range (EPA rating): 381 km (75D); 465 km (P100D)

Drive: All-wheel drive

Alternatives: There's nothing else electric, but you could buy two Range Rovers for the price of a P100D.

The Tesla Model X is the world's first electric SUV. It's also the quickest SUV, the only vehicle of any kind with "falcon wing" doors and it's among the most expensive SUVs ever sold.

The top-of-the-line P100D is on the scary side of $200,000.

It seats seven and looks like a fat computer mouse.

What is this monster from the mind of Elon Musk? A great white whale? A kind of automotive messiah? The latest status-mobile for the rich and famous?

American singer/songwriter/ rapper Frank Ocean has one.

Driving the Model X is not like driving other cars. Tesla's own Model S sedan, by comparison, lacks ambition. The Model X was designed in a parallel universe, one in which more than a century of automotive history doesn't exist. Why does the windshield stop at the roof? Why do the doors open sideways? Why don't you open doors or start the car yourself?

You begin the Model X experience by walking up to it, key in pocket. As you get close, the driver's door automatically pops open, allowing you to get in without touching anything. Put your foot on the brake pedal, and the door closes. There's no need to turn a key or press a start button.

The car is on when you get in.

Most of the time, the automatic door works fine. On one occasion, however, it didn't open and I had to use the handle. A handle! Yuck. I was also afraid the door would swing itself wide open into traffic, but it never did.

Clearly not satisfied with inventing automatic doors, Musk looked to do something more radical, so his team created these falcon-wing beauties. Picture the doors on Doc Brown's Back to the Future DeLorean and you're close.

But the falcon wings are double hinged, folding as they open upward. They'll work even in the tight confines of an underground parking lot.

Many early complaints from Model X owners were related to these doors. They wouldn't open or close properly, or wouldn't detect objects in their way, or would open too slowly. Tesla acknowledged these issues and rolled out software updates to fix them. At this point, it seems Tesla has ironed out most of the kinks.

Once under way, the P100D experience is defined by raw acceleration. This SUV could get you in as much trouble with the law as any supercar. It weighs 2.5 tonnes, yet will accelerate from a stop to 100 kilometres an hour in 3.1 seconds. For reference, a Ferrari 488 does it in 3.0 seconds.

That is insanity. The Model X is a ballistic missile with cupholders.

It feels as if it could give a particle at the Large Hadron Collider a run for its money.

Like those falcon doors, such speed isn't necessary. It's another neat party trick. The Model X is a car for showboats, for those who enjoyed show-and-tell a little too much.

Of course, you don't need to drive the Model X like a maniac.

In traffic, it is as smooth, quiet and docile as any luxury car - quieter even, because there's no noisy combustion engine at work.

The ride, however, isn't as cushy as it should be for a vehicle in the $100,000-plus price bracket. Spring is admittedly the worst season for city roads, but the Model X seemed to exacerbate the problem. You feel the Tesla's weight as it rides roughshod over crappy roads. Our fully loaded P100D tester approached Bentley SUV money and is nowhere near as refined.

But back to the question: What to make of it?

Both brilliant and frustrating, the Model X is ahead of its time.

It's radically ambitious, which works for and against it. Early adopters will appreciate the clever solutions - the doors, the drivetrain - but they'll also have to put up with quirks and imperfections: the ride, the price, the doors.

With the Model X, Tesla is breaking the ice for the rest of the industry. Over the next couple years, you'll see competitive all-electric crossovers from Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes and others. As the Model S created a market for electric luxury cars, the Model X creates ones for electric SUVs.


It's a rare sight on the roads and it certainly turns heads. Tesla has created a distinct design language from scratch, without relying on traditional automotive cues such as a gaping front grille.

But the Model X ends up looking like a bloated version of the Model S.


There's not much inside: just seven seats and a giant central touchscreen. The leather is soft, but the cabin's simplicity makes it feel cheaper than similarly priced luxury cars. The windshield is the biggest piece of glass ever fitted to a car, according to Tesla. It stretches up over the driver's head, making the cabin feel like the inside of a bubble. It's wonderful. But I did notice the bright lights of oncoming cars would cause ghosting.


The P100D will snap your head back against the seats under full throttle. It's mildly frightening in such a big, heavy car.

The entry-level 75D offers more reasonable performance: 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. I didn't go through a full charge of the battery, but my projected range in the P100D was about 380 kilometres. That's reasonable considering the temperature was around freezing - meaning the battery wasn't at its best - and I was driving, err, enthusiastically.


Autopilot semi-autonomous mode is available on the Model X. It's a Level 2 system, meaning it won't drive for you, but will provide assistance for steering, braking and acceleration under certain conditions. A regular 110volt outlet isn't enough to charge a Tesla. You'll need to install a 240 V outlet, which will provide 37 km of range an hour of charge, according to the company. A Tesla with dual-charger option and home wall connector will provide up to 83 km of range an hour.


On the seven-seat model, the middle row of seats don't fold down, but the Model X can be ordered with five- and six-seat configurations.


8.0 Flawed but technically impressive, the Model X is ahead of the curve.

Associated Graphic

The Tesla Model X, above, is roomy, with a seven-seat model available. It's also quiet, since there's no noisy combustion engine at work, and impressively fast. Its Level 2 autopilot system won't drive for you, but will provide assistance for steering, braking and acceleration.


The right to bare breasts
In an effort to challenge conservative political policies and cultural opinion, women are using their bodies - and social and mainstream media - to spread their message
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

Sideboob. Underboob. Total boob.

The contours of women's breasts are coming into view from every angle. On the spring/summer 2017 runway at Céline, several dresses had strategically placed crocheted chest panels that drew attention to the bosom, and prints that evoked the naked female form.

Ditto a gauzy embellished dress in Maria Grazia Chiuri's Christian Dior debut, where worshipful embroidered hands seemed to gently reach up and cup the wearer's breasts. In Anthony Vaccarello's Saint Laurent lineup, the black strapless leather look on model Binx Walton went one step further: One side of the bodice was folded down as though it has been hastily pulled away to reveal a pasty-covered breast. As brazen as that was, it wasn't the most discussed look at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. Getting all the attention was something not on the runway, but in the front row at Haider Ackermann.

It was here that Nicki Minaj was perched in a sculptural Thierry Mugler jacket that exposed her left shoulder and breast. A silver-stud pasty covered her nipple in a glib concession to French modesty laws.

Not long ago, outside of prescribed areas - lads' mags, pornography and fashion shoots - the naked female breast was a rarity. But today, it's part of a full-frontal sartorial challenge, one that's particularly relevant because of new repressive policies and positions in the U.S. that trivialize crimes against women and the politics of discrimination.

The trend has a correlation with social and political constriction; these recent displays are on a continuum with the "tit-ins" and other women's rights protests that have been taking place since the 1970s, according to Dr. Rebecca Sullivan, a professor and coordinator of the women's studies program at the University of Calgary.

They're the ultimate in feminist defiance - a shunning of societal expectations and modesty norms at a time when Ivanka Trump's pro-woman claims come clad in body-conscious sheaths that play coy to fall within the bounds of what conservatives deem appropriate female attire and, by extension, behaviour.

It began in earnest in the final, heated months of the U.S. election, as sexist revelations about Donald Trump dominated the news. Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian started wearing transgressive sheer tops and dresses more often, and in spite of headlines written in the language of scolding and titillation, using phrases like "flashes her chest," suggestive of lewd and retro prurience rather than acknowledging that these are adult women who've decided what they want to wear and reveal.

In an untenable, contradictory culture, these topless (or virtually topless) women are undeniably performative. "They're reclaiming their sexuality - not pretending that it doesn't exist with some sort of bulls--t modesty," Sullivan adds, "and not playing coy with it and allowing the camera and the industry both to own it and shame it."

But not all cleavage is created equal.

"Context matters," says Sullivan. "Someone like Rihanna - who wore a sheer crystal-covered dress to the 2014 CFDA awards, sans pasties - is very clear about their intentions." Sullivan likens Rihanna to Rose McGowan who wore a sheer beaded slip dress to the 1998 MTV Awards. It is Sullivan's favourite example of all time: "It is outspokenness, defiance and refusal to conform to the very strict limitations of being an ingenue, and Rihanna is similar in that vein. They're both refusing the ways in which their respective industries want to define the limits of their sexuality and sexual expression for their own purposes."

Minaj's breast-baring outfit was very much a refusal to conform. And though it may not have been a wardrobe malfunction like Janet Jackson's breast-baring 2004 Super Bowl performance, it was just as much of a performance: a topless political demonstration of one, whose goal is to disrupt the male power structure and the male gaze of paparazzi surreptitiously taking shame shots.

"Women are being told to stay quiet. And, even more so, that they need to align or maintain their sexuality in line with men's desires and men's need for control and ownership of their sexuality," says Sullivan. "In that, there are many, many gestures that are possible in defiance, from a refusal of the hyper-sexualization of the breast to the ownership of how one's breast will be displayed and sexualized."

Skirting around Instagram's terms of use that prohibit photographs of female nipples, on March 7, Lena Dunham bared the permissible underside of her girls on the social media site with a caption thanking a Norwegian artist for the new decorative swags on her rib cage - a tattoo that Dunham calls her "warrior's chest plate/tit chandelier." Dunham's warrior allusion is apt now that breasts are the latest and most visible body battleground, coming from high fashion down into mainstream politics. Like the 1960s women's movement, they've gone from Wonderbra to woke.

There's a distinction between the two responses, however. "There's the desexualization and the f--k you sexualization," Sullivan says. Whether it's Miley Cyrus in her silver disco Oktoberfest ensemble (basically leder, minus the hosen) or the topless political protests of feminist groups like Femen, baring the chest is a political chess move. "Breasts in public are meaningful," Sullivan says.

During the fight for the reproductive freedom of the Pill and access to legal abortion of the 1960s and 1970s, for example, avant-garde Rudi Gernreich's most celebrated design was the monokini.

Also known as the topless swimsuit, he launched the counterculture garment in June of 1964 as both an affront to and commentary on repression. It was released on the eve of the Sexual Revolution and while the American government was debating issues of reproductive freedom and gender equality.

If you recall, that second wave of feminists burned their bras, though some fourth-wave feminists today paradoxically still expect women to wear one. Actor Emma Watson learned this after appearing in the March 2017 issue of Vanity Fair; in one photo, she wears a neck ruffle and capelet by Burberry that just covers her bare chest.

Journalist Julia HartleyBrewer took to Twitter and suggested Watson's quasi-topless pose undermined her politics: "Feminism, feminism... gender wage gap... why oh why am I not taken seriously... feminism... oh, and here are my tits!"

Through shaming and finger pointing, Hartley-Brewer made presumptions about both Watson's intentions and the context in which the outfit appears, that it was the result of pandering and the usual celebrity industry conditioning - the imbalance of power behind every ingenue's requisite lingerie pin-up shot and rictal pout on the path to fame. A champion of the HeForShe campaign and outspoken voice on other political issues, Watson has since defended the photographs by reminding everyone that the women's movement is about liberation and equality and freedom of choice - including the decision to bare one's breasts.

Associated Graphic

OUTSPOKEN OUTFITS Nicki Minaj makes a statement by going not-completely topless at the Haider Ackermann show during Paris Fashion Week.


Speaking truth to power on Toronto transit
Three experts, now retired, are blunt in their assessment of city's mistakes and warn biggest is yet to come - the Scarborough subway
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M3

Toronto's transit system was once such a wonder that, even into the 1980s, people came from around the world to study how it planned infrastructure projects, how it executed them and how it operated.

That so-called "golden age" also produced transit experts so revered, they got to travel the globe in return. For some, their views have been valued well past retirement age - although not so much in their hometown.

Three of them - Richard Soberman, Ed Levy and David Crowley - recently gathered for lunch and a gab. The Scarborough subway, which is to be voted on again March 28, was not the focus, but it came up often.

"We have to be careful; this idea there was a golden age is a bit of myth," says Dr. Soberman, former dean of civil engineering at the University of Toronto and lead author of many seminal transportation reports dating to the early 1960s. "We did very good things - on time, on budget - but we made big politically driven errors back then, too.

Building a subway [Spadina] on an expressway median was a huge one. Putting the Queen subway on Bloor has turned out to be a mistake."

"Precisely," says Mr. Levy, jumping in. A planner, engineer and author of Rapid Transit in Toronto: A Century of Plans, Projects, Politics and Paralysis, Mr. Levy says great cities that have been able to expand subways sustainably kept building from the middle out (and they didn't tunnel in low-density areas).

By not doing Queen right after Yonge, "we missed a crucial starting point for network-building. We've never been able to get back to a logical order," Mr. Levy says. "Call it the Queen line, relief line, whatever, the whole GTA has needed this piece of infrastructure for decades, but politicians keep wasting scarce capital on frills and vote buying."

"Toronto's biggest transit problem," says Mr. Crowley, who specializes in data analysis, travel-market research and demand forecasting, "is we've overloaded core parts of the subway. We'd basically done that on lower Yonge 30 years ago, when I was still at the TTC.

We have to relearn the importance of downtown to the whole region, the whole country. We're in danger of killing the golden goose."

Noting that trains from Scarborough and North York are often full before crossing into the old city, Mr. Crowley says that, "data and demand patterns are telling us the stupidest thing we could do is make any of our lines longer [before putting another subway through the core]."

"Much as I like the Eglinton Crosstown idea, and it's overdue, too," Mr. Levy says, "I fear what it will do to Yonge-line crowding. Again, the sequence is so wrong."

Are bureaucrats shirking their responsibility to speak truth to power?

"We sure needed [TTC chief executive] Andy Byford to be blunt about this Scarborough subway plan," Mr. Levy says.

"He should have spoken up."

Might the reticence be what some call "the Webster effect"?

(Mr. Byford's predecessor, Gary Webster, was fired for objecting to then-mayor Rob Ford's insistence the entire Eglinton Crosstown go underground).

"Unwillingness to speak up isn't new," Dr. Soberman says, citing pressure from North York politicians in the early 1970s that spurred two well-regarded TTC executives to vote for the Spadina subway in the expressway corridor "even though they knew only idiots would think it was a good idea."

The difference is, he says, "back then, politicians listened, even if they didn't always take our advice. They respected facts.

Now they only want confirmation of their preconceived ideas, and too many people [bureaucrats and private-sector consultants], who should be providing objective professional advice are playing along with the game."

"On Scarborough," Mr. Levy says, "you won't find a single independent transit professional who can support this, but they won't say so publicly. The three of us can say this stuff without recrimination; we're retired." "The minute the politicians speak," Mr. Crowley says, "the civil service and the consulting community are happy to say, 'Oh, that's a great idea. Yes, let's study that.' I started to see this trend in the 1980s at the TTC.

I'd raised serious, fact-based concerns about Sheppard subway ridership forecasts and the role of the project. It upset people. I was told, 'You're never supposed to do that - you have to play along.' "That's when I knew it was time to get out," says Mr. Crowley, who went on to a career with international private-sector firms. "This Scarborough boondoggle, if we were talking about gas plants, it could bring down a government, but transit is 'special' for reasons I don't understand."

"We've also overestimated the potential of these sub-downtowns, especially on jobs," Mr. Levy says. "It's twisted our spending priorities."

"Transportation planning has become a bullshit field," Dr. Soberman says. "A civil engineer wouldn't say a bridge is going to be safe if his calculations show it might fall down, but a transportation planner can say anything. There's no downside other than you waste public funds."

"And the more we waste public funds, the harder it is to raise tax revenue for transit needs," Mr. Levy says. "We've badly underfunded transit, but people don't trust politicians to spend money well. When was the last time we did anything good? The Kipling and Kennedy extensions? That's nearly 40 years ago. Most people recognized Sheppard was a mistake, but people who learned from it are ignored. It's often impossible to even get good ideas considered. Politicians have a role to play, but ..." "It's always been political - always will be - but we need to get smarter about where politicians join the process," Dr. Soberman says. "If you don't generate good ideas, you're guaranteed bad results. If you generate good ideas and they're ignored, you won't do any better. Current politicians are comfortable ignoring the people most likely to generate the best ideas. And the media, you guys, haven't always helped. This subway-versus-LRT debate was simplistic and maddening.

Scarborough deserves better transit, but the best options aren't even being considered."

(Dr. Soberman would simply buy new rolling stock for the SRT and rebuild a bend to accommodate new vehicles.)

"Maybe we're part of the problem," Mr. Crowley says. "If the professionals had done a better job diagnosing problems, identifying prescriptions and educating politicians and the public on issues and options, politicians wouldn't have moved into the vacuum."

Getting in the last word, Mr. Soberman says, "too many people in positions of power don't seem to know what they don't know. Whether it's at the province and Metrolinx or at the city and TTC, if we don't figure out new governance models, we'll never regain the public trust and Toronto will suffer for generations."

Associated Graphic

From left, Ed Levy, David Crowley and Richard Soberman recently met to talk about public transit.


Anne of Albuquerque
How Moira Walley-Beckett went from Breaking Bad's drug-infested New Mexico to rebooting Canada's most beloved orphan
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Moira Walley-Beckett wrote what's widely considered the best single hour of television ever, the 14th episode of Season 5 of Breaking Bad, titled "Ozymandias," after the Shelley poem about ruined greatness. In it, Hank was killed, Walt betrayed Jesse and pretty much every major character collapsed to his or her knees. She won an Emmy for it, as did Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston. Now WalleyBeckett has a new subject: Anne of Green Gables.

That's not as big a disconnect as you might think. "Ozymandias" was bleak and bitter, thrilling and sad; it was breakneck and elegiac and painful to watch. But it was all that because Walley-Beckett knows the one thing that matters: Character is plot. So while the new limited series Anne is nowhere near as black as Breaking Bad, it's certainly the darkest, truest rendering to date of what being a redheaded orphan in 1890s Prince Edward Island would have been like. (It premieres Sunday evening on CBC-TV, where it will have an eight-hour, sevenweek run before dropping in 190 countries on Netflix.)

"I wanted to tell the story in a different way, in a way important to a new generation," WalleyBeckett says in an interview on Anne's Toronto set - in the worn but tidy Cuthbert parlour - a few weeks ago, the day after Season 1 wrapped. "I read between the lines, to mine what isn't there but has been there all along. Themes of identity, gender boundary issues, bullying, prejudice, being an outsider, being unaccepted, what it takes to belong. Through the eyes of this accidental feminist, who has no boundaries for herself."

Speaking of accidental: Born in Vancouver, Walley-Beckett attended the Banff School of the Arts, where she trained as a dancer/singer/actress. A bombshell blonde, she popped up throughout the nineties and early aughts in episodes of, among many other shows, Danger Bay, 21 Jump Street, The Beachcombers and Diagnosis Murder. She also acted in theatre and wrote plays.

In 2007, she started writing for Raines, an NBC series starring Jeff Goldblum. Although the show was short-lived, her boss was fellow Canadian Graham Yost (Justified). He nurtured her playwright's sensibilities, which translated well onto cable TV.

"In plays, you don't have closeups and master shots," WalleyBeckett says.

"People stand in a box and have conversations. So a depth of human interaction must occur, with nuanced, detailed dialogue.

You become a strong character writer, which transposes nicely onto the small proscenium of television."

She was working on the lawyer show Eli Stone when the 2008 writers' strike shut down the TV business. During her weeks off, she discovered Breaking Bad (then brand-new), fell hard for it and wrote a spec script. It found its way to showrunner Vince Gilligan, who called her in for a meeting.

"We sit down," Walley-Beckett recalls, "and I'll never forget what he said." Here she lapses into a sweet southern accent: "'I don't know how you did that. I don't know how you know the characters so well. But my intention is to offer you a job.' " Beat.

" 'I just don't know if I have a job to offer.' "Two months later, he did, and over the course of 39 episodes, he taught her to think visually about character, too.

"Yes, I have a dark sensibility," Walley-Beckett says now. "But mainly I'm fascinated by the human condition. The reason people were so bewitched with Breaking Bad is that Walter White was an everyman.

Through him, we explored delicate human relationships. I feel that way about Anne as well. For me, it's a cable character drama.

A deep exploration into who these people really are, and an authentic exploration of their environment and circumstances."

Anne has "a documentary level of realism," agrees Miranda de Pencier, the series' executive producer, also on the set. "That's across the board in our costume and set design, the look of the show, and in the writing and performances."

R.H. Thomson, who spent the 1990s in Anne-world on the CBC series Avonlea, was pulled into the new Anne by "the depth of Moira's ambition for it," he says on-set. He plays Matthew Cuthbert, taciturn but goodhearted, who along with his no-nonsense sister Marilla (the British actress Geraldine James), adopts Anne (15-year-old Irish newcomer Amybeth McNulty).

"Twenty years ago, network TV was having a rough time," Thomson says. "The two-dimensional screen ended up in twodimensional drama. That's death for actors, and for writers and directors. Then HBO, Netflix and others started doing drama in three and four dimensions.

That's how Moira writes.

"Puberty, immigration, women's rights, child abuse, sexual abuse - was that happening in 1896?" he continues. "Of course.

Does Moira refer to it? Of course.

Does she push it in your face?

No, she's better than that. But it sits there as background to this little girl's anguish and determination to survive. The character of Anne is in pain: She has no family, no place in the world.

But that pain drives her intelligence, her imagination, her energy. That's the story Moira has gone after."

The producers found McNulty after auditioning 1,800 girls in an international search. She'd grown up outside Letterkenny, County Donegal, in a village "so tiny we don't have pavements," she says on-set, but she began acting in local musicals when she was 5, landed her first agent at 9 (incidentally, the same year she received the novel Anne of Green Gables for her birthday) and spent a summer in The Sound of Music in London's West End. After her taped audition for Anne made the final cut, she flew to Toronto and knocked everyone out. (Born a blonde, she also "bloomin' loves" her new red hair.)

"Moira's writing is not graphic, but it's fully brutal, fully honest," McNulty says. "It's very, 'Let's talk about things, let's get it out there, let's not be afraid of it.' " De Pencier agrees: "[Anne] is a ferocious character, intelligent, thoughtful and full of heart, who comes into a tough world and infuses it with hope. And with a challenge to everyone around her to be authentic. And she happens to be a 13-year-old Canadian girl. That's cool."

Just before our interview, Walley-Beckett was listening to her hero, Gloria Steinem. "She was saying that when people have a competent, capable leader in the seat of power, we can sit back and say, 'That's handled,'" Walley-Beckett says. "But when we don't, that's the moment to activate, to rise, to speak up and fight for change. This is one of those moments."

So the leap from Breaking Bad, she says, is really no leap at all: "I want to be part of something that raises a voice to move forward. Anne does that for me."

Anne premieres March 19 at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Under the influence
In her massive new novel, Men Walking on Water, Emily Schultz drinks up her family's hidden rum-running past
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R9

When Emily Schultz was a child, she learned that her grandfather moonlighted as a rum-runner during Prohibition.

This, of course, came as a surprise; he was a machinist who lived in suburban Detroit and, in his later years, in Sarnia, Ont., where he spent his retirement playing golf with friends. He was "the kind of guy who kept his lawn trimmed," she says, not the kind of guy who smuggled hooch across the border.

"We were told not to talk about it," Schultz recalls, sitting in the back of a quiet restaurant during a visit to Toronto earlier this week. "He was ashamed of the fact that he'd been involved in these illegal activities.

"I have to assume that my grandfather didn't get into too much trouble, because they let him come across the border pretty quickly when he moved here," she clarifies. "Running booze - now, we can be nostalgic about it. But, at the time, it must have been a lot like dealing drugs. I'm sure there was violence that went along with it. I think, 'How bad was it?' If he was not proud of it, maybe there were very bad things."

Men Walking on Water, Schultz's mammoth new novel, which arrived in stores this week, is filled with very bad things. It's a novel rooted in family secrets, double identities and lies, set during the twilight of the Jazz Age and the last months of temperance, a time when bootlegging could earn a man a fortune or cost him his life.

It begins with a gang of smugglers, mostly working-class family men looking to make some extra coin, standing on the banks of the Detroit River. It is night, and it is cold, and the river is frozen solid. Well, not quite solid enough - two cars race across to Windsor to collect cases of whisky, but only one returns.

Alfred Moss, a newlywed with a newborn at home, has crashed through the ice, taking the liquor and a chunk of cash with him into the freezing waters below.

Schultz describes what comes next as being like "a ripple in a pond," with the novel following the consequences of that ill-fated mission. Men Walking on Water, which begins in the final days of 1927 and ends with the first signs of the Great Depression, jumps between no less than 10 major characters, a group that includes con men, murderers, thieves, priests, hookers, teetotallers, widowers, addicts, assassins, cops and federal agents, most of whom live and work in Windsor and/or Detroit, and between the law and their own code.

"I'm a little bit sentimental," Schultz says. "I like movies like It's a Wonderful Life, where one life affects so many others. And that's what I wanted to do: Who were the people who knew this man that went through the ice?" While she's quick to point out the book is "a flight of fancy," there is, in fact, an Alfred on Schultz's own family tree: her great-uncle, who was also involved in rum-running, and who also lost his life when his car broke through the ice while crossing the Detroit River on a similar errand.

"I looked at that river every day when I was in university," says Schultz, 42, who attended the University of Windsor in the mid-nineties. "The idea that he took a car out on thin ice and went through was really haunting."

Men Walking on Water has been haunting Schultz for much of her writing career. She began the book in the spring of 2009, on the day she received finished copies of her second novel, Heaven Is Small, about a recently deceased writer who gets a job working for a Harlequin-esque romance publisher in the afterlife. She wrote the opening paragraph, much as it appears now, and made it about 100 pages in before calling it quits. "I just wasn't ready," she says. Instead, she turned her attention to The Blondes, a darkly comedic thriller in which a virus transforms lighthaired women into vicious killers. (The novel is currently in development with a major American television network.)

Clearly, her latest novel is a departure.

"There's no question this is a big leap forward, in terms of maturity and voice," says her longtime literary agent, Shaun Bradley. "If you look at her previous books, they all have an interesting - I hate to use the word 'fantastical,' but it's a slightly fantastical conceit. And then she spins a quite serious story off of that conceit. Men Walking on Water doesn't have that. It's almost like she had the confidence to finally just jump in and tell the story she wanted to tell."

"My work is strange," Schultz agrees. "It's surreal. And this book is not. But I think that there's a playfulness here that you also see in my other works, and I think that there are politics here that you also see in my other works. Even though I'm writing a historical [novel], I wanted to write it from where we are now, and not just be nostalgic for the past." What's most striking, especially considering it's a book she's been writing, off and on, for the better part of the decade, is its timeliness. Men Walking on Water is a novel about the artifice of borders and the unfairness of laws - how people can be embraced by one country and be considered criminals in another, even if that country happens to be just across a river. (Her family, beyond its rum-running history, has an interesting relationship with the border, too: Schultz's father, who died while she was writing the novel, and to whom it's dedicated, came to Canada in 1970 after receiving orders to ship out to Vietnam. Born in 1974, Schultz was raised in Wallaceburg, Ont., basically a border town, attended university in Windsor, and, six years ago, moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where she lives with her husband, the writer Brian Joseph Davis, and their son.) At times, the novel almost reads like a commentary on the current political situation, a time in which the CanadianAmerican border is in the news on an almost daily basis.

Men Walking on Water ends with the opening of the Ambassador Bridge, and its architect looking at the structure linking the two countries. Writes Schultz: "He stood below, beholding the black arch of steel, the 1,850-foot suspended span, and the long lead-up too, which now connected two nations - one that was heading into a tailspin, and the other, foreign and stable, at least for the time being."

Associated Graphic

Emily Schultz, seen in Toronto on Monday, says her latest novel, Men Walking on Water, is a departure from the 'surreal' nature of her previous books, but is still playful, if historical.


Don't trust anyone over 52
A self-consciously 'controversial' appraisal of how baby boomers mortgaged the future
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R16

A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America By Bruce Cannon Gibney Hachette Books, 430 pages, $35

Like Thomas Piketty's 2013 must-read (or must-pretendto-have-read) tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Bruce Cannon Gibney's A Generation of Sociopaths proceeds from a deceptively simple premise: that the gains made by the American middle class in the period after the world wars of the previous century were a fluke. Where Piketty's argument merged the economic and historical, arguing that the baby boomers' relative wealth and class mobility was the product of economic growth and the rate of capital return reaching a rare equilibrium, Gibney views the belle époque of boomerism through the lens of psychopathology.

Simply: Boomers are sociopaths. They're antisocial and unburdened by conscience. They squander prosperity, ravage the land of wealth and salt the earth so that the seeds of some future fortune may never again find purchase. As Gibney - a prominent venture capitalist and sometimes-writer - lays it out, his book's driving thesis "is that America's present dilemma resulted substantially and directly from choices made by the baby boomers."

What's remarkable about Gibney's thesis is not how contentious it seems. (Indeed, that the book is being so deliberately situated as "controversial" in press and promotional materials is easily the most obnoxious thing about it.) What's truly astounding is that, by all appearances, Gibney isn't being rhetorical.

He's not saying, "The baby boomer generation behaves as if they are sociopaths, or in a way that recalls clinical definitions of sociopathy." He's being literal.

He makes extensive recourse to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIV) as a way of driving home his argument that baby boomers are, every last one of them, genuine sociopaths. Don't trust anyone over 52.

To make his case, Gibney looks at various ways in which boomers, "the Herods of the New Jerusalem," have mortgaged the future for their own short-term gain. Sociopathic boomers are, for example, to blame for climate change, because "they are just not empathetic or forward thinking." (That American environmentalist poster boy Al Gore is a boomer doesn't phase Gibney much.) In another early example, he develops the idea that boomers cultivated ruthless skills of "hypertechnical compliance and regulatory machination" by skilfully learning to avoid military service in the Vietnam War, using a young Bill Clinton's dextrous ducking and weaving through draft deferments as the definitive example.

He also states that spiked divorce rates among the generation fit sociopathic patterns: "relationships impulsively entered and dissolved, preference trumping duty." It is unclear if Gibney believes that it is somehow more noble (or dutiful) to risk one's life in a meaningless proxy war or slug out a miserable marriage.

The book feels most useful as a forceful, polemical riposte to a decade's worth of risible (but mostly just boring) op-eds about millennials being lazy, narcissistic, unmotivated and blasé.

Many boomers act as if their children just aren't trying hard enough - as if there were a box of money sitting on the coffee table but millennials are too sluggish to roll over, grab it and invest it prudently in some modest bonds.

Such blame-shifting fails to account for what Gibney calls the American economy's new normal: "low growth, hollow employment, mounting inequality and, on the present course, very little to look forward to." As his data show, boomer wealth and prosperity was largely funded by debt and driven by consumerism, which has led to slowed GDP growth, narrowing employment opportunities and diminished expectations for future generations. More than this, wealth and power remains concentrated among boomers who refuse to cede controls.

(Millennials often joke that they're waiting for older professionals in their field to die so they may finally get gainful fulltime work. Except ... it's not really a joke.) It all amounts to the "enrichment of the old at the expense of the young."

A Generation of Sociopaths is, no doubt, a damning, searingly relevant indictment. But it's tripped up by a number of glaring flaws in Gibney's analysis.

The first reveals itself in his book's oxymoronic title. Because if, as the DSM-IV definition the author cites extensively, sociopaths are inherently egocentric, individualistic and unfeeling toward the needs of others, then how could they meaningfully comprise a functional, ruling power bloc? It would, to nip one of Gibney's jokes, be like asking anarchists to form a police constabulary. The author squares this with some wonky tautological thinking, writing that despite their self-interested sociopathy, boomers are "similarly situated" in the sense of being "all about the same age."

So, yes, this generation of sociopaths may be composed of sociopaths. But they are also a generation, and so possess "generational unity." For all its ostensible semantic clarity, it is nonetheless argumentatively unconvincing.

Most patently fallacious of all is Gibney's deterministic application of the term "sociopath." It would be one thing if his book examined the economic and political legacy of the baby boomers to conclude that the generation has consistently expressed sociopathic tendencies.

Instead, Gibney proceeds from this as a premise, reverse-engineering various examples to "prove" it.

In his 2011 journey through the global mental health industry, The Psychopath Test author Jon Ronson repeatedly submits himself to guidelines defining psychopathy, finding occasions in which his behaviour fits the clinical definition. But the point is not that Ronson is actually a psychopath. It's that all manner of slightly antisocial, or even plain innocuous behaviour, can be wrenched and wriggled to fit some pre-existing criteria. It's a textbook example of confirmation bias, and it's something A Generation of Sociopaths repeatedly - and indeed, structurally - lapses into.

Thing is: Gibney's analysis itself doesn't seem altogether wrong. It's certainly exhaustively detailed, even if it's screechingly argued. But this needling desire to seem provocative, edgy and "controversial" makes it seem almost frivolous (and again: very annoying). He seems as interested in proving his case as he is in crudely doodling devil horns on the beaming image of the prototypical, progressive baby boomer. Given the current politics of resentment, one wonders how useful the widening of intergenerational divides really is. Millennials may not be the downtrodden, unmotivated couch potatoes baby boomers paint them to be. But neither do they possess the necessary revolutionary energy to defenestrate their parents or drag them head first to the guillotine.

Against such apathy, and such despairingly harsh realities, the current generation may find cold solace in a satirical, typically prescient 2013 op-ed headline from the Onion, signed by the most perverse, howlingly conspicuous avatar of boomer narcissism, sociopathy and cripplingly myopic short-sightedness, Donald Trump: "When You're Feeling Low, Just Remember I'll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years."

John Semley is a frequent contributor to Globe Books.

Canada mulls joining U.S., Britain on electronics ban for flights
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada is evaluating intelligence passed on by the United States to determine if it should require passengers travelling from some Middle East countries to pack all large electronic devices other than mobile cellphones in their checked baggage.

U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly spoke by telephone Tuesday with Mr. Garneau to explain why the Trump administration has ruled that only cellphones and smartphones will be allowed in the passenger cabin of flights into the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries.

"He made us aware of a situation that we are analyzing very carefully," Mr. Garneau told reporters.

The U.S. directive, compounded with a subsequent ban of large electronics for some travellers headed to Britain, has caught global airlines and travellers in a wave of uncertainty as Canada now also mulls a similar ban and transport officials remain tightlipped as to their reasoning.

Mr. Garneau would not say what type of security threat the Americans are concerned about, but it was reported by The New York Times that intelligence showed Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics. Mr. Garneau would not give a specific timeline for action to be taken but said the government will "act expeditiously." "As a country that takes the security side of transportation very seriously, it is our duty and obligation basically to look at in detail the information that has been provided to us by other intelligence communities and we will do that and make the appropriate decisions," he said.

The U.S. ban affects flights from international airports in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Dubai. About 50 flights a day will be impacted, all on foreign carriers.

An official said the Transport Department is seeking input from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and Canada's intelligence allies to assess the U.S. intelligence provided to the government. The official would not describe the nature of the threat passed on by the United States.

Britain announced Tuesday that it is following the U.S. action with a ban applying to domestic and foreign flights coming from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Of the nine airlines affected by the U.S. ban, eight offer direct routes to Canada, through either Toronto's Pearson International Airport or Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

If Canada were to implement a similar ban, among the routes affected could be Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul to Montreal, Royal Jordanian Airlines flights between Amman and Montreal and Qatar Airways flights between Doha and Montreal.

Representatives from two affected carriers, Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian Airlines, said Tuesday the directives they had received so far had only applied to U.S.-bound flights.

Since Canada has not yet imposed a ban, Air Canada is not affected. The carrier flies three times a week to Dubai, but stopped flying to Istanbul last year.

"If the threat is real, I think the Canadian air security and intelligence apparatus would have to take a pretty hard look at it," said airline industry consultant Robert Kokonis, who heads AirTrav Inc.

"If we don't see Canada reciprocating, either there was no real hard intelligence ... or if there was hard intelligence, it was only U.S.-destined flights."

Robert Mann, a New Yorkbased aviation expert, wondered why Abu Dhabi is included in the U.S. ban.

"Abu Dhabi has a state-of-theart U.S. customs and immigration preclearance facility that was purposely built about two years ago to serve as a remote preclearance centre, much as U.S. travellers preclear in Canada for flights to the U.S." he said.

If the issue is that the screening process at the Middle Eastern and African airports is insufficient, including Abu Dhabi, "it becomes a head-scratcher," he said. "Why did we do that?" The ban begins just before Wednesday's meeting in Washington of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. A number of top Arab officials were expected to attend the State Department meeting. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is one of the participants.

U.S. officials said the decision had nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump's efforts to impose a travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said the government "did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected."

On March 6, Mr. Trump signed a revised executive order barring citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from travelling to the United States for 90 days. Two federal judges have halted parts of the ban, saying it discriminates against Muslims. Mr. Trump has vowed to appeal up to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Carriers have until Friday to comply with the new policy, which took effect early on Tuesday and will be in place indefinitely.

Several of the carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Etihad and Qatar, said early on Tuesday that they were quickly moving to comply. Royal Jordanian and Saudi Airlines said on Monday that they were immediately putting the directive into place.

An Emirates spokeswoman said the new security directive would last until Oct. 14. However, Ms. Christensen termed that date "a placeholder for review" of the rule.

The policy does not affect any American carriers because none fly directly to the United States from the airports, officials said.

Officials did not explain why the restrictions only apply to travellers arriving in the United States and not for those same flights when they leave from there.

The rules do apply to U.S. citizens travelling on those flights, but not to crew members on those foreign carriers. Homeland Security will allow passengers to use larger approved medical devices.

Angela Gittens, director-general of airport association ACI World, likened the move to the years-long restrictions of liquids on planes, which she said also came suddenly, in response to a perceived threat, and caused some disruption.

Airlines will adjust to the electronics policy, she said. "The first few days of something like this are quite problematic, but just as with the liquids ban, it will start to sort itself out."

Reuters reported Monday that the move had been under consideration since the U.S. government learned of a threat several weeks ago.

U.S. officials have told Reuters the information gleaned from a U.S. commando raid in January in Yemen that targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) included bomb-making techniques.

AQAP, based in Yemen, has plotted to down U.S. airliners and claimed responsibility for the 2015 attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

The group claimed responsibility for a Dec. 25, 2009, failed attempt by a Nigerian Islamist to down an airliner over Detroit.

The device, hidden in the underwear of the man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, failed to detonate.

With files from Reuters

Six small-cap stocks with room to run
Small companies had a great year in 2016, but a recent pullback has produced bargains. Some also pay dividends
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

Investors who missed last year's rally in Canadian small-cap stocks can still find attractive bets in the sector.

Resource stocks helped to drive this space higher in 2016 as commodity prices rebounded. But a recent pullback in energy and other areas has produced bargains, while other small-company stocks remain under the radar due to lack of analyst coverage.

Some stocks also pay a dividend, making it a bit easier for investors to wait for an industry recovery or for the market to recognize a company's prospects.

We asked three portfolio managers to pick small-cap stocks that are good deals, or have much more room to run.

Don Walker, Norrep Capital Management

Ltd., Calgary The pick: Pollard Banknote Ltd.

52-week-range: $7 to $9.75 a share Annual dividend: 12 cents a share for a yield of 1.2 per cent Shares of the world's second-largest printer of instant lottery tickets are poised to gain should its cash offer to buy Innova Gaming Group Inc. succeed, says Mr. Walker, who runs the Norrep Entrepreneurs fund. Los Angeles-based Innova operates lottery-ticket machines with an interactive video screen. Pollard, based in Winnipeg, has a lock-up agreement with Amaya Inc. to pay $2.10 a share for its 40-per-cent stake in Innova. A committee on Innova's board is evaluating the proposal.

Potential earnings and cost synergies from a merger would generate free cash flow to pay down debt and maybe increase the dividend, Mr. Walker said.

Pollard's stock is compelling because it operates in a stable market where it's tough for a new rival to enter, he noted. "Its valuation looks quite attractive when I look at its earnings potential."

The pick: Orbit Garant Drilling Inc.

52-week-range: 72 cents to $2.21 a share

The stock of this Quebec-based mining driller should benefit from recovering metal prices, says Mr. Walker. "Eighty per cent of what they drill for today is gold, and gold seems to be leading the industry out of the downturn." Orbit's stock trades below tangible book value of $2.20 a share, but that is not really a true figure, he said. The company makes its own rigs, so their value is understated by 30 to 50 per cent on its books, he said. Orbit is also growing by acquisition; it recently bought a driller based in Chile.

Orbit's shares, which peaked at more than $6, fell below $1 last year before rebounding. Lack of new mining investments since 2012 has squeezed the supply of metals and helped to raise prices.

Orbit's earning power is "a lot higher than reflected in the stock today," he suggested.

Jason Whiting, portfolio manager, Invesco Canada Ltd., Toronto

The pick: Cervus Equipment Corp.

52-week-range: $10.41 to $16.52 a share

Annual dividend: 28 cents a share for yield of 2.3 per cent Shares of this operator of dealerships selling John Deere agricultural equipment have struggled amid weak crop prices and a dividend cut, but its stock has started to rebound. "I think commodity prices have generally stabilized," said Mr. Whiting, who oversees the Trimark Canadian Small Companies Fund. More than 60 per cent of sales come from its agricultural brand, while transportation and construction equipment represents the balance. Its main competitor is Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc., but the two operate like a duopoly in Western Canada, so pricing competition is not a concern, he noted. Calgary-based Cervus just reported cash flow per share of about $1 for 2016, down from a peak of about a $1.50, but that could double to $2 a share in a recovered market, he said.

The pick: Pulse Seismic Inc.

52-week-range: $2.11 to $2.72 a share

Shares of this Calgary-based seller of seismic data fell after the downturn in energy prices, Mr. Whiting says. Oil and gas companies pay a licensing fee to access its data, which help them decide where to drill in Western Canada. Pulse Seismic, which has about 35 per cent of this market, has "a very attractive business" because it doesn't have to compete on price since no one else has its particular regional data, he noted. Sales are off 80 per cent from the peak, but low operating costs allow it to still make money, he said. "It's a really great asset, so it's just a waiting game for a turnaround." The stock of Pulse Seismic, which has about $5-million in cash and no debt, could be worth $5 or $6 a share in a better market or if it were to become a takeover candidate, he said.

Steven Palmer, president and portfolio manager, AlphaNorth Asset Management, Toronto

The pick: Kraken Sonar Inc.

52-week-range: 10 to 27 cents a share

Shares of this Newfoundlandbased maker of underwater robotic systems have upside potential because of emerging uses for ocean drones, says Mr. Palmer, who runs the AlphaNorth Partners Fund. Oil and gas companies use them to monitor pipelines, while the military uses them for mine detection and surveillance. Kraken is a leader in sonar technology, and its approach is less pricey than that of its rivals because it's softwarecentric, he said. It reported a small profit in the third quarter last year, with 91-per-cent higher revenue compared with a year earlier. Potential catalysts include two contracts that could be announced in April, he said. Risks to Kraken stock include competition from technology and defence companies, but it is comforting that management has skin in the game with a 50-per-cent stake, he added.

The pick: Cobaltech Mining Inc.

52-week-range: 2 to 45 cents a share

This mining junior is a rare pure play on cobalt, a byproduct in silver and copper production, says Mr. Palmer. But cobalt demand is growing, particularly for batteries in electric cars, he said. Prices have surged to about $24 (U.S.) a pound from $10.80 at the start of 2017 amid news that some hedge funds are stockpiling the metal.

Sixty per cent of the world's cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but political instability and reports of child labour have buyers looking elsewhere. Cobaltech last fall acquired a past-producing silver and cobalt property near Cobalt, Ont., and will need to spend more than $2-million to get the mill back into running condition, he said. While the plan is to process the tailings, Cobaltech is still a speculative play, he said.

Associated Graphic

Clockwise from above left: Pollard Banknote Ltd., a printer of lottery tickets; Orbit Garant Drilling, a Quebec-based mining driller; Cervus Equipment, which operates agricultural-equipment dealerships; and Pulse Seismic, seller of drilling data for Western Canada.




Sears Canada concerns surface amid turmoil at its U.S. parent
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

Mounting troubles at U.S. parent Sears Holdings Corp. raise questions about the fate of Sears Canada Inc., which has also suffered from declining financial results.

Sears Holdings Corp, once the largest U.S. retailer, warned this week in its annual report there is "substantial doubt" that it will be able to continue as a going concern after years of losses and sagging sales.

In Canada, Sears operates separately from its U.S. parent but is still controlled by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, who is chairman and chief executive officer of the U.S. chain. The retailers on both sides of the border struggle with rising e-commerce and other competitive threats.

"It's turbulent times for Sears," said John Williams of retail consultancy J.C. Williams Group.

Still, Sears Canada spokesman Vincent Power said in an e-mail that "we continue on ... . The Sears Canada operation runs separately from Sears U.S. All our plans regarding Sears 2.0, Initium [its new digital strategy], etc. go on as always."

Jason Hollar, chief financial officer of Sears Holdings, said in an online blog on Wednesday that the doubts referred to in its annual report were potential risks that regulators require companies to disclose but Sears also highlights actions to mitigate those risks.

Mr. Hollar said independent auditors have provided Sears with an "unqualified audit opinion" that indicates the retailer remains a "going concern, which means we are a viable business that can meet its financial and other obligations for the foreseeable future ... . We are firmly focused on improving the operational performance and financial flexibility of Sears Holdings."

Even so, Sears's warning is a departure for the retailer and "reflects increasing risk," said Keith Howlett, retail analyst at Desjardins Securities.

Sears Canada has raced over the past few years to stem its losses by selling off some of its best assets, including prime store leases such as those at Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Mall, while cutting staff and other costs.

Last fall, it unveiled a new store prototype aimed at focusing on newly launched "off-price" discount fashions, more private labels and matching rivals' lowest appliance and mattress prices - all in less space - while adding groceries. But the initiatives haven't been enough to reverse its downward spiral.

In its third quarter, Sears Canada's loss more than doubled to $120-million from $53.2-million a year earlier, tied partly to its failure to regain business lost after the termination of its credit-card agreement in 2015. The retailer's overall revenue tumbled 21 per cent to $625.2-million while same-store sales fell 7.1 per cent; those sales, which exclude the effects of annual store openings and closings, are considered a key retail measure.

On Tuesday, Sears Canada said it had sealed a credit agreement for a five-year secured term loan of up to $300-million with KKR Capital Markets LLC and GACP Finance Co. LLC as joint lead arrangers.

Mr. Howlett said Sears Canada has been busy lining up liquidity with leaseback transactions and the new KKR loan, which can cushion what he expects to be "likely awful" fourth-quarter results. The retailer is scheduled to release them next month.

With Sears Holdings faltering, joint merchandise procurement is likely to be the biggest issue for Sears Canada, he said. "Also spillover anxiety could further hurt appliance sales in Canada."

If Sears stumbles, its landlords could be in a tough spot because many of them are still grappling with trying to fill empty Target stores following that U.S. retailer's failure in Canada in early 2015. It resulted in Target closing all 133 of its outlets here.

Landlords are now looking at splitting up remaining Target locations for multiple retailers, rather than replacing Target with just a single merchant, although chopping up the space for multiple merchants can be costlier, said consultant Mr. Williams.

The landlords have contingency plans, or are developing potential blueprints, for Sears sites, anticipating possible problems at the department-store retailer, he said.

"This is no longer Plan B - it's Plan C," Mr. Williams said. "They did their Plan B on Targets."

He said landlords no longer see category-killer superstores as hugely attractive alternatives to Target or Sears because consumers can now find the widest array of product offerings online at Inc. or other e-commerce destinations. And big chains such as Staples Inc. are shrinking their stores as a result of digital rivals and their own expanding online business.

Alex Arifuzzaman, founder of retail real estate specialist InterStratics Consultants, said the turmoil at Sears and other retailers underscores the urgency for them to transform their businesses quickly to respond to the shifting digital times.

"It's forcing retailers to shape up," he said.

Struggling Payless ShoeSource Inc., once a leader in low-cost footwear retailing, is the latest chain whose fate is now uncertain, he said. In Canada, apparel retailers such as BCBG Max Azria and Tip Top Tailors are shutting stores.

Sears Holdings lost $2.22-billion (U.S.) in the year to Jan. 28. Since 2013, it has accumulated $7.4-billion in losses and seen revenue fall 44 per cent to $22.1-billion. Its total liabilities stand at $13.19billion.

In recent years, Sears has placed some of its U.S. stores into a real estate investment trust, put some brands up for sale and repeatedly raised debt from its billionaire CEO Mr. Lampert's hedge fund. Mr. Lampert owned nearly 10 per cent of the real estate investment trust that paid Sears $2.6-billion for stores that it purchased, many of which were then leased back to the retailer.

The company said last month it would cut costs by $1-billion and reduce debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5-billion this year.

Sears said on Tuesday actions taken during the year to boost liquidity, including its $900-million sale of the Craftsman tool brand to power tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc., could mitigate the going-concern doubt and satisfy its capital needs for the current fiscal year.

Additional asset sales could prove problematic, according to Sears's report. As part of the Craftsman sale, Sears Holdings reached an agreement with the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. that puts a claim on some Sears assets in an effort to protect pensions of retired employees.

The agreement "contains certain limitations on our ability to sell assets, which could impact our ability to complete asset sale transactions or our ability to use proceeds from those sales to fund our operations," the company said.

Sears Canada (SCC)

Close $1.66, down 7¢

Sears Holdings (SHLD)

Close $7.98 (U.S.), down $1.12

Associated Graphic

Despite warnings issued in an annual report this week, it's business as usual on Wednesday at a Sears store in Springdale, Ohio.


Since you've been gone
With Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas builds a quietly evocative ghost story around Kristen Stewart, the most enigmatic actor of the moment. In New York, Durga Chew-Bose sits down with the director to discuss his haunting, divisive new drama
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

'What now?" It's a question that, in grief, becomes not just ubiquitous but an appeal. A condition. Less of an inquiry and more of an acknowledgment of how vague things will feel for the foreseeable future. As Max Porter's narrator - a devastated widower and father of two - describes in his remarkable first novel published last year, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, it's a "shuffling around, waiting for shock to give way, waiting for any kind of structured feeling to emerge from the organizational fakery of [one's] days." Grief is "fourth-dimensional," he remarks. "Abstract, faintly familiar." It leaves you pitted, "hung-empty."

It was Porter's words, his depiction of grief as camaraderie, that first came to mind while I was watching Olivier Assayas's quietly evocative, albeit divisive, (although one wonders if audience boos at Cannes are a blessing) new film, Personal Shopper. Set mostly in Paris, with one particularly thrilling sequence unfolding on the Eurostar to London - that calibre of suspense somehow elemental to movies and moving trains - the film stars Kristen Stewart as Maureen, a young American expat mourning the death of her twin brother, who died not long ago from a heart condition she, too, shares. While moonlighting as a medium (yes, this film has a lot of unlikely parts), Maureen also works for a celebrity named Kyra, zipping around Paris on her motorcycle, picking up clothes at various ateliers, working with a honed quickness that establishes her skill not just as a stylist but as someone who can personify something as instinctive as another woman's taste.

The formal, totally tactile intimacy of shopping for Kyra - who's given Maureen strict instructions never to try on the clothes herself - suits Stewart's knack for gaining momentum with slight tics and glitch-like mannerisms. She is a human pivot whose false-start gestures are just Stewart being deliberate, considered, a natural. The way she ducks in and out of her messenger bag's strap, reminding us that her character is comfortable, perhaps even most at home, when she is on the move, or the way Maureen zeros in on one vintage belt among the chaos of a consignment store or surveys hanging necklaces at Chanel, or even at the film's very start, how she exits a car before it's come to a complete stop, again, requires of the audience ... something. There's no choice but to calibrate our viewing to Stewart's speed; the sleek quality of her unease.

"I think that's Kristen's talent," Assayas tells me one morning at the Bowery Hotel in New York.

"That's what's been fascinating me about her. Every single time you give her the tiniest thing to do, she finds a way of making something out of it." He recounts a moment in the film involving a SIM card, where Maureen handles the piece of plastic with her teeth, spitting it out instead of tossing it into a bin. The idea was Assayas's, who tells me "the visual logic of the film comes to [him] in the process of making [it]." He shoots a lot of material, sometimes 20 takes, though he insists they are all unique. "The tiniest thing, or something that happened as an accident, or something unexpected, makes the whole thing breathe."

Perhaps that's why Assayas and Stewart, who've now collaborated twice, the first time being on Clouds of Sils Maria, make a great pair. His trust in what crystallizes on-set and Stewart's gift for converting energy, together are alchemic. "She's not exactly like a dancer," he tells me. "But she has such an incredible ability at understanding the relationship between body and camera."

Which is perhaps why Stewart's portrayal of Maureen's grief photographs onscreen like a ghost story. She conjures in order to grieve, or maybe it's the other way around. In one scene, Maureen (as a medium) is walking through an empty, Gothic house, navigating the interior space as if trying to place a memory in time. She is hesitant but curious. She calls out her brother's name and suddenly, grieving looks innocent. Calling out someone's name is pure childhood. It's hide-and-seek. It's imaginary. It's desperately tender because it's asking for reassurance -the belief that someone will answer back, and in this case, that someone is the same person who came into the world with you, so why has he left without you?

"Loss really finds you," Assayas says. "It really finds your position in the world. So it's about filling an empty space and absorbing it. Because the conversations will keep happening but the conversations will be happening inside of you. It's kind of an abstract idea but it's what this film is about. I think that's really [Maureen's] journey. She's an empty vessel in a certain way. At the end of the film, she has all of sudden filled that vacuum and she understands that that conversation will be an inner conversation."

While much has been written about the film's hybrid-genre - ghost story meets workplace drama, meets thriller meets comingof-age story - the film's truest haunting occurs between the film and its audience.

"What is interesting to me about that form of collage is that it can shock," Assayas tells me.

"The audience can feel uneasy.

So many movies are about doing things by the numbers and I think it's boring for the viewer and most of all, it's boring for the filmmaker. Of course movies have to be entertaining, but ultimately, it's so frustrating. People are there eating their popcorn and watching your film, and I'm fine with the popcorn, but it's very passive. And I like the idea of having an active relationship.

Of generating some active relationship with the film. It's so much better if audiences stay with their questions. It's the way a movie echoes."

For Assayas, the ghost story is what occurs when accumulation doesn't culminate. A lack of payoff is, in its way, disturbing and like grief - there should be no expectation for full recovery.

Communing with your ghosts might simply mean building a richer inner life. And anyway, as Porter writes, "moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project."

Personal Shopper opens March 24 in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and April 7 in Ottawa.

Associated Graphic

Olivier Assayas says of Kristen Stewart: 'Every single time you give her the tiniest thing to do, she finds a way of making something out of it.'

'Loss really finds you,' Olivier Assayas says. 'It really finds your position in the world. So it's about filling an empty space and absorbing it.'


When the news and art collide
A reported social-media cult game, epitomized in sci-fi show Black Mirror, symbolizes fear of the Internet
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

A new moral panic is working its way across Europe and will no doubt be seized on by North American media. It is an account of a shadowy online Russian suicide cult, apparently entrapping teenagers, called the Blue Whale game. There is little evidence that the game has actually caused suicides, or that it even exists. But some European police forces have put out a warning to parents to monitor their teenagers' contact with the Blue Whale, just to be safe, and once the police have said they are on the lookout for something it understandably becomes real in the minds of most people.

What the Blue Whale myth reflects, really, is not a suicide trend among teenagers, but a creeping fear that the Internet itself can spy on us and control us, the way a cult or an authoritarian state can. This fear has been represented in recent art - particularly in one widely praised episode of the sci-fi TV show Black Mirror - and is present even in Donald Trump's wiretap paranoia.

But first, let's back up to where the Blue Whale meme began. In May, 2016, the state-funded television network Russia Today (RT) aired a news piece about pro-suicide groups on the social network VKontakte (VK). A teenage girl had killed herself apparently after joining one of these groups.

The groups seduced teenagers with cryptic videos filled with ciphers and codes. RT claimed there were dozens of these groups and that many suicides were traceable to their influence.

It called the trend a "cyber suicide industrial complex."

Another Russian news outlet, Novaya Gazeta, published a story with the first specific references to a game called Blue Whale, in which an anonymous moderator gives participants a series of challenges to complete over 50 days.

These are usually some form of self-harm, such as cutting an image of a whale into your arm.

At the end of the 50 days, you are told to kill yourself. The name Blue Whale supposedly refers to a habit of whales who beach themselves and die. The agency reported that 130 recent suicides had been "linked" to this practice.

Many of the reports on this phenomenon claim that if you don't complete the tasks, you are threatened with some kind of awful retaliation, usually a threat to reveal some kind of secret (which of course the moderator knows about, from having monitored your computer use). You are told that the moderator knows exactly where your live because of your computer's IP address.

In November, the Russian news site RBTH reported that a young man had been arrested for administering a so-called "death group" (a pro-suicide chat group) on VK. It did not specifically blame the Blue Whale hashtag, but by then, belief in the power of this group was already established and the arrest became proof of its existence.

The story of the Blue Whale deaths was picked up in late February and early March by British tabloids. The Daily Mail, the Daily Express and The Sun ran stories about this potential new threat - by repeating the claims made by the first Russian reports, and including the "130 Russian deaths" statistic. They also gleefully ran photos of the pretty and seductive teenage girls who died supposedly after playing the game.

(The sexuality of the victims is an element in this particular obsession.)

Most of the British stories included some kind of caveat, admitting the numbers of deaths were not confirmed. This didn't stop the Devon police from tweeting out a warning to parents to be on the lookout for the Blue Whale and its associated hashtags. The tweets repeated the "130 deaths in Russia" number.

Radio Free Europe has investigated the phenomenon and tried to participate under aliases, but got nowhere. They point out that neither the suicides nor the arrest have been definitively linked to this game. Snopes, the respected hoax-monitoring website, has deemed the story "unproven."

The fear of a widespread teenage suicide cult is not new. The victims in reported or fictitious suicide clubs are usually teenage girls, not boys, which reflects a larger societal obsession with teenage girls and sexual violence.

The notoriously gory 2001 Japanese horror film Suicide Club exploited this fear: It depicts a spate of mysterious deaths. It begins with 54 schoolgirls throwing themselves under a train. As police investigate, they find a website that seems to be predicting the deaths. Hidden codes and symbols feature in this scenario as well.

The Blue Whale story is more contemporary in that it involves computers as instruments of punishment for those who use them. It is about control through surveillance. We commit our secrets to our computers, in our private communications, our Internet searches and our hidden photo files. We have discovered hackers can find any of our secrets and that we may ourselves be inviting these malicious forces into our lives by frequenting unwholesome sites. It is punishment for our own immorality.

We also know that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg himself covers his computer camera with tape so that he can't be spied on. The recent Wikileak confirmed one of our oldest fears: The CIA could actually turn an Internet-connected television into a recording device. George Orwell predicted this in 1984. And Trump's spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway, is working this literary trope when she speaks of "microwaves that turn into cameras."

The worst possible outcome of some Internet vigilante looking to punish everyone for their secret crimes was imagined last year by a particularly gruesome episode of Black Mirror called "Shut Up And Dance." In it, various characters inadvertently download malware that spies on them and finds a dark secret, such as the viewing of child pornography. An anonymous hacker then blackmails the characters, forcing them to commit increasingly violent and grave crimes to avoid exposure. The characters are exposed anyway - thus punished both for their original crimes and for the new, imposed ones. The vindictive mastermind behind the plot is never revealed.

The dark force, it appears, is the all-knowing Internet itself, transformed into a huge engine of vengeance.

This plot is so uncannily close to the purported function of the Blue Whale game that one wonders if the news is simply science fiction, too. Here is not a question of life imitating art, but of news drawing from art. What the urban legend evinces is a real moral panic going on in the world right now - a fear of surveillance, control and punishment by the very systems of communication we depend on.

Associated Graphic

Black Mirror's Shut Up And Dance episode is so uncannily close to the reported Blue Whale game on the Internet, it begs the question if the news is science fiction too. The Blue Whale myth reflects the fear that the Internet can control or spy on us.

Federal agency bowed to meat industry
Documents show CFIA planned significant decreases in animal transit times, but companies' economic concerns eventually prevailed
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A7

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency revised its plan to impose stricter animal transport rules after being met by industry pressure - setting aside scientific evidence in favour of economic concerns, according to internal documents.

For more than 10 years, the federal agency has been working to update its transport rules for the meat industry to ensure its regulations are "modern and meet international standards, and are supported by science."

By 2013, the agency had put together a plan to drastically reduce the length of time animals can be transported without food, water and rest - in some cases cutting that time in half or more.

But internal CFIA documents obtained by the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, an animal welfare group, and reviewed by The Globe and Mail illustrate how concerns from the meat industry about "negative economic impacts" persuaded the agency to increase allowable transport times for the majority of species.

In the case of day-old chicks, for example, the CFIA's 2013 plan proposed a maximum of 24 hours in transport.

By the time the proposal was published in December in the Canada Gazette, the federal government's official newspaper, that had been changed to 72 hours. In the case of cattle, 28 hours had become 36 hours. And with spent hens (older laying hens sold for meat once they no longer readily produce eggs), the limit had doubled to 24 hours from 12. Spent hens - which tend to be weaker - are categorized separately because of their vulnerable condition.

CFIA's animal transport rules have not been updated since 1977 and, depending on the species, currently allow for transport times of 18 to 72 hours. Once the maximum is reached, the animals must be given a rest period.

Europe only allows most animals to be transported for a maximum of eight hours. In New Zealand and Australia, the limits generally fall between 12 and 24 hours. The rules in the United States, which have been subject to criticism from animal-rights groups, allow transport up to 28 hours.

In CFIA's briefing notes and in correspondence among staff, agency officials acknowledge that shorter transport times - generally between eight and 12 hours - are ideal.

"Scientific research supports the lowest possible FWR for [redacted]," one briefing note reads, referring to food, water and rest intervals. Another discusses a 12hour maximum as "supported by science." Meanwhile, research papers cited in the briefings describe "increased stress" and "behavioural changes" associated with longer transport times.

But throughout, CFIA employees describe industry push-back. In a document from July, 2015, staffers say one unidentified group "continues to voice strong opposition" to reduced transport times, citing "significant negative economic impact."

Another document outlines how an unidentified group warned that reduced transport times "would result in cessation" of an industry.

As a result, the agency altered its original proposal. "CFIA initially proposed 12 hours for [redacted] this was based on research and the needs of [redacted]," a CFIA manager wrote in a 2016 e-mail. "CFIA is now proposing 24 hours as a result of industry concerns."

In an e-mailed statement, a CFIA spokesperson said the 2016 proposal still represents a significant improvement over current rules and added that the matter is subject to further changes.

"Under the proposed amendments, the maximum times permitted for animals to go without food, water and rest are being reduced for most species, in line with scientific research," the statement said.

"The CFIA readjusted the proposed maximum time intervals for animal welfare to improve the transportation times; address public concern; and, better align Canada with major trading partners and international standards."

But critics say the agency is prioritizing industry over animal welfare. "On a balance, they hear from animal people, they get letters from public citizens. But who they really listen to is industry," Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals director Stephanie Brown said.

Of the 951 groups consulted by the CFIA, only 12 were animal welfare groups. The agency said it reached out to the "major animal protection organizations of which we are aware."

Maureen Harper, who retired in 2011 after more than 30 years as a CFIA veterinarian, said the current proposal "falls far short" of expectations. In 2003, Ms. Harper served as the acting program officer in charge of the CFIA's animal transport program in Ontario.

"It's the tail wagging the dog," she said. "This is what industry wants."

She pointed to the decision to double transport times for spent hens. "Half the time they're barely feathered," she said. "They're a very fragile, frail animal at that stage of their life. Truth is they probably shouldn't be transported at all."

Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a decision to fine Maple Lodge Farms Ltd.

$6,000 for causing "undue suffering" to a truckload of spent hens after "undue exposure to the weather." In that January, 2013, case, the hens travelled for more than 12 hours from Chazy, N.Y., to Brampton, Ont., in temperatures that at one point dipped below minus 18 C.

Once they arrived, the birds were held in an unheated barn for an additional 12 hours in minus-3 temperatures. By the time employees unloaded the truck, 860 of the 7,680 birds were dead.

In an e-mailed statement, Maple Lodge spokeswoman Carol Gardin said the incident was the result of a mechanical breakdown with the transport company. She added that Maple Lodge has improved its processes and no longer works with the company in question.

Still, Maple Lodge is pushing for looser transport rules.

Ms. Gardin said reduced transport times can in fact be a detriment to animal welfare. She said transporters will often make adjustments to avoid travelling during extreme weather conditions - either picking up birds earlier or keeping them longer on trucks or in barns to prevent exposure.

"By eliminating the flexibility in transport time required to ensure poultry welfare, we are concerned welfare will be reduced instead of enhanced," she said.

Others, such as the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, also told The Globe it lobbied against reduced transport times.

CPEPC president Robin Horel said the eight-hour standard set by the EU isn't realistic for Canada.

"We are moving poultry, including spent hens, pretty long distances because of the geography of Canada," he said.

He echoed the warning described in the CFIA internal documents about the potential "cessation" of an industry. Shorter - and in his view, unrealistic - transport times, Mr. Horel said, would lead to birds being euthanized instead. "Those birds just wouldn't be part of the meat supply."

The internal documents show that, after doubling the time limit for spent hens, one unidentified industry group pushed to increase that further. In that case, the CFIA held firm. "Further prolongation," an agency staffer wrote, "is not recommended."

Associated Graphic


Why Not Theatre: the sleeper outfit with a bright future
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

Not many Canadian theatregoers know the name of Ravi Jain's 10-year-old theatre company - but, if you scratch deep enough, you'll find its fingerprints on many of the most notable new Canadian plays of recent years.

A Brimful of Asha, Concord Floral, Mouthpiece ... these are just of a few of the four-star, outside-thebox shows that the collaborative and co-operative Why Not Theatre has been involved in premiering in one way or another. A whole new audience will get to know the so-called "Torontobased company with international scope" by name this month, however, now that it's partnering with the biggest theatre company in town.

Commercial producer David Mirvish is presenting Why Not's acclaimed production of Nicolas Billon's thriller Butcher as part of his Off-Mirvish season starting this Saturday at the Panasonic Theatre. And that remount, which opens at the 700-seat venue on Saturday, is just the start of an ambitious 10th-anniversary season for the company.

"It's a too-busy spring," says Jain, over coffee at a Dundas Street West bar along with Why Not's artistic producers Owais Lightwala and Kelly Read. "A big question for us is how can we find ability to grow ... without becoming a fixed entity that isn't as reactive or agile."

An independent theatre company of no fixed address, Why Not does indeed have a lot on the immediate horizon. It will take over the Theatre Centre - the Queen West theatre where it first co-produced the Toronto premiere of Butcher in the fall of 2015 - in April shortly after Butcher closes. Prince Hamlet, Jain's own adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy that he first launched Why Not with in 2007, will be staged in the mainspace - with Dora Award-winning actress Christine Horne playing the title role this time around.

"I thought it was something to revisit, in particular, with all this [recent] talk about casting and diversity," says Jain, who has also cast Rick Roberts as Claudius, Karen Robinson as Gertrude and - in another gender swap - Jeff Ho as Ophelia in the show.

Meanwhile, in the smaller studio downstairs at the Theatre Centre, Why Not will present four shows as part of the third edition of what it calls the "RISER Project" - in which well-established companies mentor and share resources with newer indie ones.

RISER has been a very successful initiative to date - with five of the 15 productions born through it going on to future productions and tours. One example: Mouth.

piece, Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken's highly entertaining physical-theatre piece about women's voices, which premiered at RISER in 2015 before getting a longer run through Nightwood Theatre and then heading to Vancouver's Push Festival and Calgary's High Performance Rodeo.

RISER Project's slogan - "From independent to interdependent theatre" - could very well be the overarching philosophy of Why Not, which has collaborated with an astounding 70 different companies around the world since Jain founded it upon returning to the GTA after living, studying and working abroad for seven years.

Jain, Lightwala and Read's penchant for sharing resources and the spotlight is one of the reasons few beyond theatrical insiders know the Why Not brand. The others are that it doesn't have its own permanent venue or present a subscription series.

Instead, Why Not thinks of each show it presents or produces individually. "We embrace that you have to build different audiences for different things," is how Lightwala, who joined the company as artistic producer in 2011, puts it.

(Read joined as a second artistic producer two years ago.)

One of the first Why Not projects Lightwala worked on was Beyond Bollywood - a presentation of two shows starring Indian film star Naseeruddin Shah and his wife, Ratna Pathak Shah. Realizing that many in the target South Asian community didn't want to buy tickets online, Lightwala put his personal cell number on the publicity materials. "I would speak to people in Hindi and sell tickets one by one," he recalls.

It worked: The double-bill sold out both at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ont., and the Daniels Spectrum in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood.

Lightwala has embraced a similar approach to reaching diverse audiences for other projects - such as a Why Not's presentation of Cine Monstro, Brazilian actor Enrique Diaz's acclaimed Portuguese-language adaptation of Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor's one-man show Monster.

He helped sell that show by going store to store in Little Portugal. "I bought so many custard tarts," he says.

Over all, Why Not shows - whether presentations of international work or new Canadian plays - sell 80 per cent or more of capacity according to the company, an average of 25,000 tickets a year in Toronto and on tour.

And this box-office success is directly due to tracking down the right audience and partners for each show, rather than building a single audience and expecting it to be interested in every artistic project they do.

This also allows Why Not to be "reactive and agile" as Jain puts it - and produce what it wants rather than being forced to adopt the same aesthetic, location or even language for all its work.

Another major moment for Why Not comes this July: the New York debut of A Brimful of Asha - a heartwarming performance in which Jain and his mother Asha tell the true story of her attempts to arrange a marriage for him in India. It's heading to the Pershing Square Signature Center offBroadway as part of Soulpepper Theatre Company's upcoming residency there. (Jain, who has also recently freelanced for the Shaw Festival and Factory Theatre, is an associate artistic director at Toronto-based Soulpepper.)

And an even bigger Why Not show is coming down the pipeline - although no one is at liberty to talk about it. The indie company recently received a $375,000 grant from the Canada Council as part of the New Chapter sesquicentennial funds for a major international collaboration that its partners aren't ready to announce yet.

This is an exciting, but also a little scary, time for the three individuals who operate an indie company that still only operates at an annual budget of $550,000.

"I've been chasing so long to get opportunities and all these opportunities are presenting themselves and now I'm staring them all in the face," says Jain, whose gorgeous production of David French's Salt-Water Moon for Factory Theatre is also set to go on tour and be a part of the Off-Mirvish season in the next year. "I have a desire to make great art and make a place for other artists - and I'm fortunate to be able to do that in a many great places.

My only challenge is time."

Outsiders take charge in French debate
Le Pen maintains vow to 'stop immigration, legal and illegal,' as Macron underscores political independence, experience in business
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A11

France's presidential election campaign entered a new phase Monday night with a fiery television debate that marked a first for France.

All five leading contenders in the race met for 21/2 hours on TF1, tackling a range of topics from immigration and security to the display of religious symbols in public. It marked the first time a debate has been held before the first round of voting and it signalled the intensity of the campaign and the public's interest.

Typically, only the two candidates facing off in the second round meet in a debate.

There was much at stake during the evening with the frontrunners: The National Front's Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! came under attack from the other three - Socialist Benoît Hamon; François Fillon of the Republican Party; and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Mr. Macron turned on Ms. Le Pen at one point, accusing her of lying about his platform and defaming him about being beholden to wealthy backers. He told her to stop putting words in his mouth, saying: "I don't need a ventriloquist to speak in my place." Ms. Le Pen largely stuck to her positions on immigration and security, attacking radical Islam and saying she would "stop immigration, legal and illegal."

Opinion polls show French voters are turning away from establishment politicians and embracing Mr. Macron and Ms. Le Pen, who are both campaigning as outsiders. That has increased uncertainty across Europe about France's future in the European Union. Financial markets have been rattled, too, and yields on French bonds have been rising in recent days, a sign of insecurity among investors.

The recent election in the Netherlands has given EU backers hope that Mr. Macron, a centre-left candidate who supports France's continued membership in the Union, can beat back Ms. Le Pen, who wants to pull the country out of the EU and restrict immigration. Dutch voters turned away from firebrand Geert Wilders, who also campaigned on a platform of cutting immigration and quitting the EU. The economies in most euro-zone countries, including France, have also begun to turn around and unemployment is falling, giving a further lift to supporters of the EU.

During Monday's debate, Ms. Le Pen, 48, poured scorn on the EU, saying she didn't want to be the "vice-chancellor of [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel," and adding, "I don't aspire to be the administrator of a vague region of the European Union." But the other candidates attacked her for allegedly being fiscally irresponsible and pitting communities against one another.

Mr. Macron, 39, stressed his political independence and experience in the business world. He formed En Marche! last year after stepping down as the economy minister in the cabinet of President François Hollande, a position he'd held for two years.

"I have not been part of political life for many years, or many decades," he said, a pointed reference to Mr. Fillon, 63, who is a former prime minister and has been an elected official for more than 30 years. And Mr. Macron added that he had decided to "take responsibility and take my leave" from the cabinet, where he'd had many disagreements with Mr. Hollande. The others criticized him for his inexperience and for accepting donations from wealthy backers.

Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron have been pulling away from the field, according to recent opinion polls, and they are now tied with around 25-per-cent support each.

Mr. Fillon had been considered a front-runner a few months ago, but he is now lagging in third place. His campaign has been derailed by a police investigation into allegations he put his wife on the public payroll, even though she did no work. He has been trying to relaunch his campaign, which is focused on slashing France's public service and overhauling the government.

If the polls are correct, Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron would finish first and second in the first round of balloting on April 23 and advance to a second-round faceoff on May 7. Polls show Mr. Macron would win handily.

The big loser so far has been Mr. Hamon, 49, the candidate of the Socialist Party, which once ruled the National Assembly and holds the presidency under Mr.

Hollande, who was elected in 2012 but decided not to run again because of his low standing in opinion polls. Mr. Hamon is in fourth place and could fall to fifth behind Mr. Mélenchon, who is 65.

The debate and the campaign have been closely followed in France. "If we look at the [television] ratings of the debates during primaries, whether conservative or on the progressive side, the ratings were very, very high," said Nicole Bacharan, a political scientist who lectures at Sciences Po University in Paris.

Ms. Bacharan and other analysts said Mr. Macron had the most at stake in the debate. He has come out of nowhere and taken the lead in some polls.

Much of his support comes from urban professionals and it's not clear how his message of reform will resonate in the countryside, which is the stronghold of the National Front. Some polls have also shown that Mr. Macron's support is soft, with about 40 per cent of his backers saying they will definitely vote for him. That compares with 80 per cent for Ms. Le Pen and 70 per cent for Mr. Fillon.

"Most definitely, without any doubt, it's Emmanuel Macron who has the most to win or lose from the debate," Ms. Bacharan said. "He has to prove that he is strong, that he's clear that he knows how to live with competition. He's untested."

By contrast, she said Ms. Le Pen has to try to broaden her appeal.

Most polls indicate she is stuck at around 40 per cent of the vote, enough to get to the second-round ballot but not enough to win. She has been at pains during the campaign to tone down the National Front's rhetoric, going so far as to banish her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, from the organization and to moderate the party's hard-line positions on issues such as abortion, which she now accepts in some circumstances.

"Her strategy of transforming the National Front into a mainstream party has been working very well," Ms. Bacharan said.

"And her main competition so far is Emmanuel Macron and she has to prove that he is not ready to be president."

Associated Graphic

The National Front's Marine Le Pen, left, and the Republican Party's François Fillon, a former French prime minister, prepare for a debate in Paris on Monday for this year's presidential vote in France.


Retirement goals call for strong medicine
Doctor advised to cut spending target, defer OAS till age 70 and stop supporting her adult children
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B11

Harriet, who will turn 61 soon, describes herself as a single-parent doctor with no hope of retirement. That may seem odd given she brings in $276,000 a year.

"I have been a physician for 30 years, first as a family doctor, then as a [specialist], now as a senior medical leader," Harriet writes in an e-mail. "I make a lot of money and am in the top 10 per cent by anyone's definition," she adds.

"Despite this, and despite the fact that I am relatively frugal, have incorporated [as a selfemployed professional], contribute to an RRSP and have some investments in my corporation, my money manager and I have decided that if I retire at age 70, I will just have to jump off a bridge at 80," Harriet writes.

"Either that or take up smoking and heavy drinking."

Harriet's biggest expense has been the $50,000 or so a year (it varies) she has been shelling out to her two children - now in their mid-20s - to help them with their higher education. The corporation has paid this money out in dividends so it does not show up in Harriet's monthly expenses. Because she takes dividends rather than salary, Harriet does not qualify for Canada Pension Plan benefits.

Her goal is to retire at the age of 70 with a budget of $75,000 a year after tax.

We asked Stephanie Douglas, a portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management in Toronto, to look at Harriet's situation. Ms. Douglas holds the chartered investment management (CIM) designation.

What the expert says If Harriet goes ahead with her plan to retire at the age of 70 and spend $75,000 a year, she will run out of savings in her early 80s, Ms. Douglas says.

Assuming a 30-per-cent tax rate, Harriet would need about $108,000 a year gross. She bases her calculations on a life expectancy of age 90.

"At this withdrawal rate, Harriet's investable assets would be depleted in her early 80s," she says. If the condo is included in the analysis, Harriet would completely run out of assets by age 85. This is based on the assumption that Harriet gets a 3-percent net return from a blended portfolio of mutual funds (her current investment strategy) and of a 2.1-per-cent inflation rate.

Ms. Douglas assumes that Harriet's mortgage will be paid off in 2020.

Harriet is saving about $24,000 a year. In nine years, she will have investable assets of about $1-million. She would need $1.5million to support her desired lifestyle. "This would mean she would need to save roughly $70,000 a year for the next nine years." Ms. Douglas offers 10 suggestions to improve Harriet's financial position.

One, she may want to sit down with her accountant and review her income strategy to make sure it is suitable. She is still nine years away from retiring. If Harriet took some or all of her income as salary rather than dividends, she would be entitled to CPP.

Two, Harriet should defer Old Age Security benefits to age 70.

If she waits until then, she will get 36 per cent more OAS, "which means her monthly payments would increase to $948.63." This assumes her income will be below the clawback threshold ($73,756 a year in 2016).

Three, Harriet can cut her retirement spending target to about $55,000 a year before tax, rising in line with inflation.

While cutting back so drastically may seem difficult, she will no longer have mortgage and line of credit payments.

Four, Harriet should review her fund-of-funds portfolio, which is "overdiversified." Harriet is paying a management expense ratio of 1.72 per cent, "a high fee especially considering the portfolio's allocation of 40-per-cent fixed income," Ms. Douglas says.

She should shift the fixed-income portion of her portfolio from government bonds to highgrade Canadian corporate bonds for their better returns.

Five, Harriet might want to track her spending to see exactly where the money goes. She can account for $10,506 of the $13,500 she nets each month, although some of that may be going to her children. As well, she could cut back on her clothing and grocery bills.

Six, Harriet should stop supporting her children. With the older child now working, Harriet should encourage the younger one to take out a loan or get a part-time job to help pay for his education.

Seven, "consider working parttime for a few more years past age 70" to preserve her capital.

Eight, Harriet should focus on paying off her $50,000 credit line - on which she is paying 4.7 per cent interest - as soon as possible.

Nine, Ms. Douglas suggests Harriet contribute to her tax-fr