Chamath Palihapitiya wants to save the world
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page P36

A brisk wind d is mussing up Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's curious pageboy hairdo.

It's a sunny autumn morning in San Francisco, with the U.S. election a few weeks off, and Carter is loitering behind a small downtown theatre, the venue for an annual gathering the magazine calls, with some justification, its New Establishment Summit. A senior female aide approaches him, and the editor sits down next to her on a ledge around a planter and, with pens in hand, they go through printouts of seating plans, analog people in a digital era.

Many of the conference's featured speakers have been caricatured by a cartoonist on a scrim out front.

They're all members of the coastal elite that Vanity Fair likes to feature in its glossy pages. Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos fraternizes with artist Jeff Koons and CBS head Les Moonves, while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife, Priscilla Chan, rub shoulders with late-night host Conan O'Brien and wit Fran Lebowitz.

There's another, less recognizable face on the scrim: that of venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who's been invited to speak at the conference for the first time. The Canadian expat is known in Silicon Valley primarily for three things: helping Zuckerberg to grow Facebook from big to supersized; buying a share in the then-hapless Golden State Warriors NBA team; and his willingness, from time to time, to break ranks with his adopted community. Indeed, he's been so ready to criticize his peers that The Wall Street Journal recently called him, in a headline, "the venture capitalist whom venture capitalists love to hate."

Before heading into the theatre, Palihapitiya does a brief TV interview with a Bloomberg reporter. He sits easily in a tall director's chair, his lanky form clad in the requisite tech-exec mufti of black blazer, blue button-down and jeans. He tends to favour clothes in muted colours cut to fit his slender form--casual but not sloppy, and never the fleecies and gadget-lumpy khakis worn by some of his fellow tech travellers.

His caricature on the scrim accentuates his prominent nose, but in person, it's the eyes that have it, darting about, scrutinizing. In his leisure time, Palihapitiya plays high-stakes poker, and he's someone who looks, always, for the tell.

He talks fluently to the Bloomberg reporter about global warming and, more specifically, about a company that is building ocean-going sailboat drones to measure the effects of climate change. It's one of many projects funded by his venture capital firm, Social Capital, to which the Waterloo Universitytrained engineer has directed much of the wealth he acquired as one of Facebook's earliest employees. His net worth is reputed to be around $1 billion (all currency in U.S. dollars).

The seating plans annotated, Carter smooths his silver hair back into place and rushes, like the White Rabbit, through the theatre's back door. Soon, Palihapitiya follows--he's part of the day's first panel, on the state of Silicon Valley.

Tech writer Nick Bilton starts by pitching a softball to Palihapitiya and two fellow panelists. What would he need to know to do their jobs, to earn the keys, he jokes, to their private jets?

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers VC Mary Meeker says she looks to see if start-up heads are willing to surround themselves with people better than they are. Aaron Levie, CEO of the fastgrowing cloud-storage company Box, says he is constantly thinking about the consequences of the industrial world going digital.

These are safe, woolly answers, swimming in the tech community's mainstream.

As is his custom, Palihapitiya goes his own way. "The most important thing in my job is to write down what you believe in," he tells Bilton, "and to use money to amplify your moral and ethical perspective."

From this standpoint, the Vanity Fair conference looks like the last gasp of a more heedless time.

Palihapitiya has been something of a naysayer for a few years now, sober when so many in the Valley have giddily watched the tech market, with a few blips, rise and rise again. He has declined to invest in many of the projects that have made those around him say yes, absolutely.

Instead, he and Social Capital have invested heavily in startups trying to make headway in the risky health and education spheres, where the payoffs come later, if at all, and aren't purely financial. "If life were a race, it's fair to say that the starting lines at birth are unevenly distributed," Social Capital's vision statement reads. "And when people are deprived of an opportunity to excel and contribute, we all lose."

Palihapitiya himself started well behind many of his Valley peers. Certainly, he's a singular creature in the boardrooms he frequents: the Sri Lankan-born, Canadian-bred son of refugees whose socialist father instilled in him a strong belief in the social safety net. But, a contrarian by nature, he also has a strong libertarian streak and has expressed disdain for the problem-solving capacities of government. He's a bro's bro, to be sure--a fast-cardriving, poker-playing lad--but he has also called out the Valley's sexism so hard that a female tech CEO has labelled him the best feminist she knows.

As Silicon Valley struggles to position itself in the Trump era, Palihapitiya finds himself with well-placed friends on both sides of the nation's great, gaping divide. With his long-standing willingness to speak his often complicated truth, this means Palihapitiya is about to hit his moment of peak influence--and he is determined to use that influence. Not to make billions backing the next Uber, but to build a legacy based on his own version of what's right. "Do you know who was the richest person 100 years ago? No. If you want to be remembered, it's because you created a religion, you figured out gravity, you came up with a unified theory." Given the long odds and setbacks Palihapitiya has already overcome, why shouldn't he think big?

Palihapitiya wasn't born rich. His father, Gamage Palihapitiya, was originally a civil servant in Sri Lanka's health ministry. He brought his wife, Srima, and his young family, including six-year-old Chamath, to Ottawa so he could take an entry-level job at the High Commission in the 1980s. When insurgents unseated the government back home, he sought asylum.

Chamath's father eventually found a job as a data entry clerk; the mother worked as a housekeeper and nurse's aide. But the Palihapitiyas often relied on public assistance, with the five of them (Chamath has two younger sisters) sharing a one-bedroom apartment over a laundromat.

For all its privations, Palihapitiya remembers his upbringing, and his father, with fondness. "I absorbed a lot of his world view," he says, "though I didn't end up anywhere near as leftist as he is." His interest in business began early: He remembers reading a business magazine's rich list, fantasizing that, one day, he'd be on it.

Palihapitiya is unusually tight-lipped about his school days. "I was a bit closed in. I didn't have many friends." But that changed when he got to the University of Waterloo to study electrical engineering in 1994. In the hurly-burly of frosh week, he made a close friend, only to lose him later that year to a rare form of cancer. Palihapitiya is still reluctant to speak of the loss, giving up his friend's first name--Amit--only when pressed.

It was during Amit's illness that he grew close to Brigette Lau, a Waterloo computer engineering student who is now his wife. "Chamath was a character," recalls Lau, "someone who gave people a hard time."

Through the process of losing their mutual friend, Lau got behind his formidable wall. "Under the hard exterior, there was this big heart."

Looking back on his time at Waterloo, Palihapitiya is particularly glad the co-op program allowed him to alternate study and work terms. "I was only a marginal-to-decent student, but I realized in the work terms that I was a good practical problem-solver." (In a payback to his alma mater, he arranges for some 20 Waterloo students a year to do lucrative work terms in the Valley.)

After graduation in 1999, Lau joined a big accounting firm's San Francisco office, and Palihapitiya landed a job trading derivatives at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto. "My boss gave me a zero bonus at Christmas, which hurt my ego but woke me up, because I was losing myself in that job. I might still be there otherwise."

Palihapitiya followed Lau to California. The millennium was turning, and the Internet boom was speeding toward a bust. Though the Valley was in a shaky state, Palihapitiya soon found his footing with two early digital music sites. One of them had fewer than 10 employees--all, like Palihapitiya, in their early 20s.

That's when he met (and impressed) Sean Parker, the piratical founder of Napster, who would go on to become president of Facebook.

In 2000, AOL swallowed both the music sites Palihapitiya was working for. He soon found himself running AOL's music division, and then its rudimentary instant-messaging platform. Palihapitiya credits his mentor at AOL, Kevin Conroy--now a top executive at MGM--for plucking him out of the crowd. "He basically was like, 'This kid is really smart, and we pay him next to nothing, and everybody else around him is a bozo.'" At 26, he became AOL's youngest VP, with 200 employees under him.

He has vivid memories of his first meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, in the fall of 2005. "Parker set up some meetings with me and Zuck," Palihapitiya says.

The social network was young--maybe 15 employees, and open only to university students, even though Zuckerberg had dropped out of Harvard and moved to Palo Alto. "Zuck didn't say much," recalls Palihapitiya.

"It was very cold, it was raining, and he had the famous North Face fleece on, Adidas flip-flops."

Palihapitiya recommended to his superiors that AOL buy the social network. He couldn't get the goahead to make an offer, so instead, he proposed a deal to integrate AOL's chat function into the product. "We did a lopsided deal, in favour of AOL," he says. Within a few months, they decided to unwind the partnership, and Zuckerberg and Palihapitiya became friends in the process.

In 2006, with AOL treading water, Palihapitiya joined the venerable Mayfield venture fund, under Silicon Valley legend Yogen Dalal, who'd helped his Stanford professor Vint Cerf come up with the Internet's lingua franca, the TCP/IP protocol.

It was during this time that Palihapitiya started hosting what has since become Palo Alto's top high-stakes poker game, with 14-time World Series of Poker champion Phil Hellmuth. A who's who of founders and VCs became regulars. (Poker wasn't his first card obsession: "I started out with bridge, but these old ladies you think are so respectable, they cheat!") When told that Wikipedia pegs his poker winnings at $175,000, Palihapitiya scoffs, "That's just tournaments."

Dalal laughs when I repeat a story from the AOL period, published in The New York Times, of Palihapitiya, after an all-night poker game, taking his $50,000 in winnings to a BMW dealership, where the salesman refused even to let the unkempt young man test-drive a vehicle. Palihapitiya crossed the street to a Mercedes dealer, bought a sedan, and drove it back to show the Bimmer salesman.

Wasn't this kid a bit hard to handle? If so, the courtly Dalal isn't saying: "Chamath was everything a young man should be."

He was also an able pupil. But when Zuckerberg came calling in 2006, "I said it was too good for him to resist," says Dalal. "You can always be a VC. I told him, 'Go, make great things happen.' And that's what he did." A fter the Vanity Fair panel, Palihapitiya climbs into a black SUV and heads across town for another speaking engagement. In a room in an old Spanish Missionstyle army building with views of Alcatraz, he addresses a gathering hosted by the C100, a group of top Canadian tech execs based in the Valley. He is asked--of course he is--about Facebook, and he gives a fairly jokey thumbnail sketch of his time there.

He joined in 2007, as vice-president of growth, mobile and international. As such, he led one of the teams charged with generating revenue--which it did, he says, without reinventing the wheel. "Google copied Yahoo, and we copied Google. I'd go see the team and check in. 'Are we still copying Google? Good. Keep doing that.'" But in our interviews, he talks seriously about what it was like being part of one of the greatest growth stories of all time.

At first, he had difficulty adjusting to Zuckerberg's valourization of coding, as reflected in the now-massive campus's address, 1 Hacker Way. "I had a chip on my shoulder. I was, I am, an engineer. I felt superior to the people who were just, as I thought then, coders. I had earned this big ring."

He says this is part of what Zuckerberg had to teach him: the insignificance of status. "He doesn't care about labels," says Palihapitiya, a vestige of awe in his voice. "It must be hard to drop out of any university, but to drop out of Harvard? What matters to him is not what car you drive. What matters is, are you a good person, a smart person, an ambitious person? It's hard, but you should want to do the things you want to do, independent of how society judges you."

Now, he says, "I work with people, and I don't even know where they went to school, or if they did." He also says that by placing a high value on coding--for a long time considered the gruntwork of tech--Zuckerberg kept Facebook nimble, a place with the organizational intelligence to readily implement new ideas.

Palihapitiya duly adjusted his attitude on this front and took charge of getting the social network from 50 million users to over the 100-million hump.

One of his early hires, Stanford-trained engineer Ray Ko, is still with him, as a partner and head of growth at Social Capital. "We worked together to figure out how to use data to help the growth team make better decisions," Ko says. "What product should we build, what features should we embed? A team with this focus had never existed in the Valley before. The idea before that was that if you build a great product, they will come."

Ko says, for instance, that they learned how critical it was for a new Facebook user to land a certain number of friends within the first week, and so a function that suggested friends for new users, and nudged existing users to befriend new arrivals, was added.

Retention increased dramatically.

Within a couple of years, Facebook had blown past 100 million and was on its way to achieving the impossible-seeming dream of topping a billion users. Facebook's growth seems inevitable in hindsight, but Palihapitiya points to MySpace and Friendster, two early social networks that drew millions of users, then hit walls, declined and ultimately fell.

Facebook's growth was a big win for Palihapitiya. Another was his push for Zuckerberg to hire Sheryl Sandberg from Google, where she was head of global online sales. Palihapitiya knew her in part because he played poker with Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg, best known for his stint as CEO of SurveyMonkey, and thought she'd make a good chief operating officer. She is now one of the Valley's most respected executives, having managed Facebook's exponential growth and still found time to write Lean In, the influential book of career advice for women.

At the same time, Palihapitiya suffered a loss of face. As the person in charge of Facebook's mobile division, he'd helped pioneer apps for the first iPhone and its competitors. In 2009, he proposed that Facebook launch its own smartphone, and worked with Swiss industrial designer Yves Béhar, Intel and AT&T to devise a prototype. The phone, he says, was beautiful. But Zuckerberg nixed the project, which would have cost an estimated $1 billion--money the pre-IPO company didn't have.

"I made it hard for Zuck to say yes," Palihapitiya says now. "I wasn't wrong to push for the phone, but I let my ego get in the way."

You're no one in Silicon Valley until you've had an exit e-mail go viral, and, when Palihapitiya left Facebook in 2011, his duly made the rounds. It is remembered now mainly for its most abrasive piece of advice: "Don't be a douchebag." But it also has gentler, more nuanced points to make. "Speak the truth," he wrote.

"It's too easy to 'manage'--upwards, sideways, downwards--and be rewarded for it. This is death.Respect the person, but don't let bad ideas go unchallenged."

The phone setback notwithstanding, he left Facebook on good terms. "I had done most of what I came there to do. The team I built, they've all gone on to great things. They run a lot of Facebook, and are top people at Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb."

He and Lau--who married in 2005 and now have three children--remain friends with Zuckerberg and his wife. And though Palihapitiya has not confirmed (or, for that matter, denied) the estimates of his post-Facebook net worth, he is not beholden to anyone. Which means he can afford to cultivate the same independence he so admired in Zuckerberg--to take his commitment to truth-telling to the next level.

Social Capital is as one-off as Palihapitiya himself. He and Lau wanted to find market solutions for problems traditionally addressed by charities. "We felt the discipline of the market was important," Lau says. Their firm would invest primarily in three sectors in particular need, Palihapitiya felt, of reform: financial services, health care and education. Most of his peers, meanwhile, were investing in social media--an area that no longer holds any interest for him. "After I left Facebook, I had people pitch me social networks of all kinds, for people who love fish, people who are more than six feet tall, people who have only travelled within a certain area of the world."

Instead, he's going after much larger problems--how education fails smart kids who grow up poor, the long-term management of chronic diseases. "There are other VCs in the Valley who go at these things sporadically," says Yogen Dalal, "but not in such a systematic way. The risks are big. These are highly regulated areas, with many existing players."

To help him in his quest, Palihapitiya has lined up what Bloomberg has called a "League of Extraordinarily Rich Gentlemen" as backers, among them billionaires like Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing, Germany's Nicolas Berggruen, Brazil's Jorge Paulo Lemann and America's Eli Broad. Palihapitiya also put a chunk of his own money--"hundreds of millions," he says--into Social Capital, as did early partners Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg. (Lau is co-founder and a partner specializing in education.) And he worked his Valley network to get top technologists and thinkers to provide not just money but advice to young entrepreneurs. Why not sit a newbie with a good idea down with Sean Parker or LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and see what happens?

Although the Valley has been good to him, Palihapitiya set up Social Capital because he felt the tech community was losing its way. He agreed with PayPal founder and Facebook backer Peter Thiel that Silicon Valley has too often preferred trivial pursuits to tough ones, giving us 140 characters instead of flying cars.

This differing vision has sometimes set him at loggerheads with those around him. He's become, deliberately or not, the Valley's conscience.

His public set-to with home-stay network Airbnb is just one example of Palihapitiya publicly breaking ranks, at the cost of what might have been a hugely lucrative deal.

In 2011, he e-mailed Airbnb's CEO and some of its backers, criticizing its founders for taking $21 million from an early investment in the company for themselves. Their decision, he said, made him reluctant to invest. "My basic principle on this stuff is that if you want liquidity, that's fine," he wrote, "but you should make it available to everyone."

To the annoyance of Airbnb's investors, the e-mail went public. Palihapitiya justifies his criticism, contrasting the way the Airbnb founders handled money with the way Zuckerberg did.

"Zuck shared with his employees and, at the time, I was a young father, working hard, and we didn't have that much," he tells the C100 crowd. The stock and compensation packages were "all the money in the world to us. It was right, but it also seeds something important in the business, a competitive advantage, when you do that."

Airbnb is now valued at $30 billion, but Palihapitiya appears not to regret the e-mail. Instead, he backed the officecommunication app Slack Technologies, run by fellow Canadian Stewart Butterfield. Slack is one of the Valley's so-called unicorns, start-ups whose market valuation reaches $1 billion, and its employment practices and benefits have earned raves from employees. "Butterfield's is a beautiful, fair and inclusive worldview," says Palihapitiya. "I would fucking murder people to make his way of doing things successful."

As his first answer at the Vanity Fair event suggests, Palihapitiya believes businesses become more competitive, not less, when ethics play a role in decision-making at the top. On similar grounds, he has criticized the tech industry's lack of diversity.

He and his firm collaborated with a respected tech publication, The Information, to quantify the extent of the problem on the investment side. The findings of the 2015 study: More than 92% of senior investors at top venture firms were male, and 78% of them were white.

His own Palo Alto-based firm is the United Nations in comparison to most of his competitors. "I want to be surrounded by people who have a shared set of values, but who manifest those values differently, and so it helps when there are men, women, people who are gay, straight, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, tall, short, underweight, overweight."

He takes the argument one step further. "Women invest differently than men. Your investment decisions are stronger if you have different people at the table."

He has also pushed for big tech to help mitigate the effects of skyrocketing housing costs in the Bay Area, where a one-bedroom will set you back $3,500 a month. He's proposed that San Francisco take a per-cent share in start-ups--to which the city gives significant tax breaks--and use the revenue to build affordable housing.

This position landed him in hot water with Ron Conway, an early backer of Google and PayPal. A video of the senior VC publicly berating Palihapitiya, a resident of Palo Alto, for daring to criticize San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, went viral in 2014. Palihapitiya, in a pink V-neck sweater, remained calm. "Ron, all I was saying is that there's all these people in the city who feel frustrated.

There's a ton of people who feel like they're getting pushed out."

The to-and-fro went on, with Conway screaming at the end: "You don't know what you're talking about."

Palihapitiya doesn't back away from his position. "I tend to be, generally, mostly right," he says. "When I said that, nobody wanted to hear it. 'Why are you being a downer? Why are you raining on our parade?' " F rank discussions of tech's social responsibilities were rarer then. But in the wake of Donald Trump's election, that's all most Valley-dwellers can talk about. Can social media minimize the circulation of false news? Is there some way of encouraging engagement across divides, rather than accentuating the bubble effect? What can be done about unemployed and underemployed Americans in the heartland and elsewhere?

Palihapitiya is likely to play a central role in the tech community's engagement with the incoming administration. He has known Peter Thiel, Trump's tech consigliere, for years and backed his digital security firm, Palantir. Thiel, in turn, is a limited partner in one of Social Capital's funds.

Like Thiel, Palihapitiya has been known to voice Ayn Randian ideals. He once reportedly dismissed the U.S. federal government as "completely useless," and he tends to put more stock in the ability of business, especially the tech business, to solve difficult problems. This way of thinking, of course, animated the Trump campaign, which promoted his lack of government experience as an asset, not a shortcoming.

That said, Palihapitiya is no fan of Trump. At the Vanity Fair event, the moderator asked the panel members whether Facebook should remove Thiel from its board, after reports that he'd contributed $1.25 million to the Trump campaign. Remember, this was several weeks before the election, and few of those present could contemplate a Trump presidency.

Of the three panelists, only Palihapitiya endorsed a purge.

"Absolutely, I would [remove him]...Trump is repudiating all the things that make America awesome." (Zuckerberg kept Thiel on the board.)

After the election, Palihapitiya spoke at a panel organized by Wired and berated himself for not foreseeing a Trump victory.

"My job as an investor is to see these things coming," he said.

"You can't look at data any more. Polls are worthless, pundits are worthless, the unemployment rate that we use is probably worthless."

He goes one step further, chastising himself and his community for failing to ease the problems that led so many to vote for Trump. "We were complacent," he said. "We're all complicit in this. There was an underappreciation of the economic malaise that exists in this country. As a person who grew up in a really difficult economic situation, I look at a lot of these people as my people. I feel like I completely let those people down."

And so, while he doesn't propose collaborating with Trump, he does suggest that Silicon Valley try to solve the problems that got him elected.

That is just one of the legacy projects Palihapitiya has set for himself.

Having recently lost his father to complications from diabetes, Palihapitiya has joined a consortium that backs cutting-edge software to help manage the chronic condition, which afflicts an estimated 420 million people worldwide and is particularly pervasive among South Asians. (Dalal, who was diagnosed with diabetes himself, is another backer and sits on the board.)

Glooko, as the company is called, has worked with the major makers of insulin monitors to develop software to collect patient data. Its system enables any blood-sugar monitor on the market to communicate the patient's levels directly to the doctor. "That data, when aggregated, can give the company all kinds of information about how best to manage this condition," says Palihapitiya. In a remarkably short time, it has become a global force in diabetes management.

The grail for Palihapitiya is the development of a smart, artificial pancreas to help regulate the digestion of sugar. He is not involved in the day-to-day management of Glooko. But still, inventing the smart pancreas--now that's the sort of contribution that tends to get remembered.

On the education side, he has poured money into an app that identifies geniuses--an investment made based on Lau's advice.

Brilliant is an online game that rewards mathematical aptitude and aims to help universities identify superbright students. It brought a young woman of prodigious intellect in Juarez, Mexico, to Palihapitiya's attention, and the couple has enrolled her, at their own expense, at Waterloo. "There are lots of Steve Jobses out there who aren't getting their shot," he says.

These investments aren't likely to generate quick returns. Still, Social Capital is certainly not averse to making money. Besides backing Slack and Box, it made an early $25-million investment in Yammer, an enterprise communication tool run by Palihapitiya's poker buddy David Sacks. When Microsoft bought the start-up in 2012 for $1.2 billion, Social Capital made a profit of $80 million.

These days, Palihapitiya seems driven to make more long-shot bets, if the ultimate aim is a good one.

With Ray Ko's help, he has developed an approach to managing and encouraging growth that he thinks is likely to increase the odds of success--applying the lessons they learned at Facebook to other companies.

In the industry, it's become known as growth-hacking, a term Palihapitiya hates, since it suggests there is a set of facile rules that guarantee success.

After the election, Palihapitiya contributed a stateof-the-Valley op-ed piece to The Information. "The last decade," he wrote, "could be summarized as follows: easy money, easy decisions, easy growth, and easy markups resulting in more easy money, more easy decisions...and so on. The problem is that the cost of these decisions now outweighs the benefits."

Palihapitiya says a lot of surprising things for someone who's done as well as he has. He talks about the corrupting influence of money--"our kids are basically screwed"--and gives a nod to his father's socialist views. "Capitalism, as it's been practised, is not working."

But this boy who once obsessed over rich lists isn't proposing a radical departure from a market system.

All he's asking is that those who've done well address the ways in which the system fails many. "I'm good at what I do," he says. "I've worked hard, but I've been lucky, in the right place at the right time."

Although Social Capital's approach has been market-driven so far, Palihapitiya has floated the idea of working, in the future, with non-profits. And recently, he returned to his native Sri Lanka to suggest ways in which the government might improve the nation's spotty Internet access and make it free, to boot.

His father would surely have approved. After his dad died in 2014, the son reportedly went into counselling to help manage his grief. When asked now what his father thought of his pretty fabulous success, he says: "He was proud, for sure. But I don't think he ever really understood it. He'd have been happy enough if I became a professional and got a nice house in an Ottawa subdivision. With Zuck, I saw his father visit, and take in and appreciate what he had built. My dad and I, we never got that moment."

The star-studded universe of Chamath Palihapitiya

Just a few of the moguls, sports stars and former presidents the venture capitalist pals around with

SEAN PARKER Napster founder who introduced him to Zuck

MARK ZUCKERBERG friend and former boss at Facebook

PETER THIEL investor in Social Capital

KEVIN DURANT plays for the NBA's Golden State Warriors


PHIL HELLMUTH Buddy and 14-time poker champ

ELON MUSK sat on an immigration reform board together

BILL CLINTON friend he calls a "f---ing stud"

GUY LALIBERTÉ close friend

Associated Graphic



Transformation of Tim Hortons
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page P27

It took less than a rear for Tim Hortons' new Brazilian owner, 3G Capital, to erase more than 50 years' worth of corporate culture.

Preparation for the purge started even before 3G's Burger King--backed by Warren Buffett--bought Tim's for $12.5 billion in December, 2014, with the intention of merging the doughnut and burger chains. In the weeks before the deal closed, dozens of vice-presidents, directors and other senior staff were called in, one by one, to meet with Daniel Schwartz, then the 34-year-old CEO of Burger King who would lead the soon-to-be merged company, Restaurant Brands International Inc. In the room with him was Alexandre Behring, one of 3G's founding partners and RBI's soon-to-be executive chairman.

Each employee had just 15 minutes to justify their corporate existence, although Schwartz at times seemed distracted. Some of the meetings lasted as little as five minutes before the employee was politely invited to leave the room.

Some of them took buyouts. But once the merger was officially sealed on Dec. 12, other, more senior, managers began to disappear.

Then, early on Jan. 27, 2015, RBI executives gathered in a second-floor boardroom dubbed the "command centre."

On a large screen was a detailed schedule that showed--in 20-minute increments--when hundreds of Tim Hortons employees were due to be fired.

At the allotted time, employees would walk into a room to find their direct boss and a human resources manager waiting for them. They would be thanked for their service and informed that either they were no longer required or their position had been eliminated. The boss would then leave the room (moving next door to await the next firee), while the HR person outlined the details of a generous severance package. Meanwhile, a "runner" was sent to pack up any essentials from the employee's desk--purse, medication--as they were escorted to the door.

"It was very mechanical," says one former manager. "It was like an assembly line. We finished early."

The job cuts continued for more than a year, with progressively less generous severance. By some estimates, through layoffs and voluntary departures, RBI has shed up to half of the head office and regional staff Tim Hortons employed before 3G came along (though RBI disputes the amount).

Today, there is not one top executive left from the old guard, with the exception of David Clanachan, a 25-year Tim Hortons veteran who was shuffled into the mysterious role of chairman of RBI Canada, a division many franchisees didn't even know existed.

Clanachan didn't respond to interview requests, and the rest of RBI's executive team declined to be interviewed.

Chief corporate affairs officer Patrick McGrade responded to a long list of questions sent by e-mail with a generic statement, stating that the company has "big goals to grow the Tim Hortons brand over the long term," allowing it to "make the right, data-driven decisions and prioritize in the best interests of the brand." RBI also offered up a few hand-picked franchisees and one young executive for on-the-record interviews. As for the 20 or so former employees, current franchisees and suppliers who privately agreed to be interviewed, almost all insisted their names not be used (many were under gag orders as part of their severance).

The interviews paint a picture of ultra-disciplined owners who are sticking to the same playbook they have followed at companies including Burger King, Anheuser-Busch, Kraft Foods and Heinz: massive layoffs, replacing legacy managers with hungry youngsters and, above all, a fanatical devotion to financial benchmarks and cost-cutting.

But cost-cutting can take the company only so far. Even Joshua Kobza, RBI's 30-year-old chief financial officer, admits that. "Most of the cost opportunities are sort of behind us at this point," he said on an analyst conference call this past October. "What we are really focused on at this point is growing the business, growing our sales and growing our restaurant footprint around the world, as we think that's going to be really what drives our growth."

Expanding stateside has long been the holy grail for Tim Hortons, but the chain has never really caught on in the United States, beyond border locations. Perhaps that's because the brand is a singular one, built not on the quality of its coffee and doughnuts, but largely on its ability to arouse patriotism in ordinary Canadians.

So the question for 3G is, will its analytics-driven overhaul of Tim Hortons--using the same template the private equity firm's founders have deployed at railroads, brewers and food makers--succeed in the long run, or is it in danger of cutting the heart out of a Canadian icon?

"The risk, in looking at Tim Hortons through the lens of efficiency alone, is to miss the greatest value of the asset, and that is the Tim's brand and its deep connection to the fabric of the country," says Joe Jackman, founder of strategic retail consultant Jackman Reinvents, whose clients have included Old Navy, Hertz, Rexall and FreshCo. "You can't cost-cut your way to retail nirvana." At the Timmy's in a strip mall in Kitchener, Ontario, the regulars are oblivious to the regime change that has taken place at head office.

Four women sit at a table sharing a box of Timbits as they sip their coffee, while a three-year-old plays on a mobile phone beside them. A group of retirees that commandeers a long, communal table every morning is just leaving as Victor Rubinovski walks in.

The 46-year-old unemployed labourer comes here each day after dropping off his daughter at school. The workers behind the counter know his order by heart--a medium double-double. Same goes for his two buddies, who work in nearby factories and meet him at his favourite spot by the window.

"I come because everyone else is here," says Rubinovski.

"To me, it's not the food. The coffee is good, but we come to hang out," adds Zetin Jakupovski as he slides into the seat next to his cousin.

"Every location has its regulars," says franchisee Graham Oliver, who owns nine Tim Hortons stores. Like many Tim's franchisees, Oliver is a secondgeneration owner. His father bought his first store in 1986, 22 years after Tim Horton, then a star defenceman with the Toronto Maple Leafs, opened the first Tim Horton Donuts in Hamilton.

The legend of the chain's early expansion is well known. It all began in 1967, when Horton teamed up with Ron Joyce, a former cop who often stopped in at the doughnut shop while on patrol. Together, they grew the chain on friendships and kinships, handing head-office jobs and franchises to friends, friends-of-friends and relatives. Many of them were former cops or hockey players, or natives of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, the farming, fishing and lumber town where Joyce grew up. (Oliver's mother, for instance, was Joyce's sister, Gwen.)

The web of closely knit people who ran both head office and many of the franchises helped create a loyal band of Tim Hortons evangelists in communities across Canada, particularly in its core of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

If something went wrong, franchisees could pick up the phone and talk to someone they knew at head office, where keeping franchisees happy was Job No. 1. As for suppliers, it wasn't uncommon to seal a deal with a handshake and nothing more.

Even after Joyce sold the company to Ohio-based Wendy's--another folksy brand--in 1995, management at Tim's remained largely unchanged.

By the time the unhappy merger was unwound 11 years later, with Tim's being spun off as a publicly traded company, it had become a full-fledged fast-food chain, serving soup, stew, chili and sandwiches, and had more than 2,600 outlets across Canada. In the early 2000s, it surpassed McDonald's Canada as this country's largest fast-food brand.

Even so, its expansion south of the border, where it had nearly 300 stores, was stalled. Tim's started to feel the pinch of stiffer competition, and sales growth at existing stores began to slip. At the time, Tim Hortons "was not a devastatingly inefficient organization," says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University's Schulich School of Business. Nonetheless, activist shareholders began demanding that it curb spending on its U.S. expansion, repurchase billions in shares and spin its real estate assets into an investment trust.

Enter Marc Caira, a Canadian who'd spent 36 years at Nestlé, seven of them as a top executive based in Switzerland. The Tim Hortons board had been searching for a permanent CEO for nearly two years, following the abrupt departure of Don Schroeder in 2011. They settled on Caira, the first true outsider to run the company.

He moved swiftly to buy back shares and put a push on Tim's southward expansion, while streamlining the menu (good-bye, Timbit dutchies) and adding healthiersounding items.

Just a year after taking over, Caira announced that Tim's was being sold to 3G-controlled Burger King.

It's safe to say that when the 3G deal was announced on Aug. 26, 2014, very few Canadians had ever heard of the Brazilian-backed private equity firm or the trio of billionaires who'd helped create it.

Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Marcel Herrmann Telles began working together in the 1970s.

That's when Lemann--then a 32-yearold Harvard graduate and national tennis champion--created Banco Garantia.

The investment bank was modelled on Goldman Sachs, where merit trumped seniority. Sicupira and Telles were among Lemann's first hires, and quickly became full partners. In a landmark deal, Garantia consolidated Brazil's top brewers to create AmBev (it went on to absorb Belgium's Interbrew, Budmaker Anheuser-Busch and London's SABMiller to create AB InBev).

The trio teamed up with Alexandre Behring and a fifth partner to launch 3G in 2004. Their aim was to invest in American companies, importing many of the same ideas they'd implemented at Banco Garantia (the G in 3G). Their first acquisition was Burger King, where they established what's come to be known as the 3G way. The company, says Cristiane Correa, whose 2013 book Dream Big chronicles 3G's hardnosed work ethic, "just knows how to do things one way, and they will repeat it indefinitely." Even 3G's Telles calls his own firm a "one-trick pony."

It all comes down to efficiency, which is practically a religion at 3G. Its first move is to fire the old guard--particularly those in the upper ranks--and replace them with young new recruits who embody what's called the 3Hs: hard-working, humble and hungry.

(The partners also call it PSD: poor, smart, with a deep desire to get rich.)

Employees are expected to put in gruelling hours--with clear financial targets, and little oversight or bureaucracy to hinder them--in return for huge potential rewards. At AmBev, for instance, salaries were slightly below market, but bonuses could equal up to 18 extra salaries a year, according to Correa. Anyone who used their entire bonus to buy shares in the company earned an additional 10% in stock, which was redeemable in five years--an incentive to stick around.

Then comes the cost-cutting. "Costs are like fingernails--you have to cut them constantly," Sicupira has been known to say. That can mean anything from ditching office printers to save ink and paper costs, to selling off assets in order to juice the bottom line. After acquiring Burger King in 2010, 3G sold off almost all of the 1,387 corporateowned restaurants to franchisees, thereby shifting costs to them.

To help get rid of unnecessary expenses, 3G also perfected a process known as zero-based budgeting (ZBB), where departments build their budgets from scratch each fiscal year--and the budget must be lower than the year before. (ZBB has proven to be so effective at Kraft Heinz that it is surfacing at other food companies, including cereal maker Kellogg and Conagra Brands, which makes Chef Boyardee pasta.)

All these changes happen remarkably fast, says Correa, and the hard-driving culture is not one that everyone is comfortable with. When it comes to 3G, she says, "you either love it or hate it." Around the time the merger officially closed in December, 2014, Burger King executive Elías Díaz Sesé--who'd been tapped to lead Tim Hortons--introduced himself to head office employees at an event venue in Oakville.

Many of Tim's senior executives had already left. And though Díaz Sesé was upbeat, the 500 employees assembled in the room were anxious. "Everyone was well aware of the 3G way," says one person who attended the meeting.

Díaz Sesé was dressed in khakis and a white oxford-cloth shirt, with a red Tim Hortons logo embroidered on the left side. Proudly, he announced that he'd be working right through Christmas to make his numbers. He mentioned that he'd been away from his wife and kids for roughly 200 nights in the past year.

"Those comments were a big culture shock for a lot of people," says one former worker who was there. "It was clear he was broadcasting that the philosophy was work first, not family first. I had heard banter among the executives of how many days they had gone without a vacation, and that was a badge of honour."

After the meeting, Díaz Sesé invited everyone to celebrate the merger with champagne. But employees were in no mood to raise their glasses--not after having read about the massive layoffs at other 3G targets. "The idea of celebration was somewhat insulting," says one, "as you knew what was to come."

The new owners wasted no time.

Senior managers were ordered to decide over the holidays which of their direct reports were essential to their operations, and which ones weren't.

Overseeing the downsizing was Heitor Gonçalves, whom RBI called its chief people and information officer. No one knew much about him, other than that he was a 3G stalwart.

It was Gonçalves who, on the day of the big purge, manned the command centre. A trailer for RBI's Accenture advisers was parked outside. The operation was conducted with 3G's customary efficiency. "It was planned down to the minute," says a former manager.

Even after that day, "almost every Monday, it felt like people were being let go," says a former employee. Managers spent hours preparing to lay off members of their team, only to be handed pink slips themselves. One HR manager broke down in tears and apologized while firing a manager she'd worked with for years.

"There was this constant fear among everyone who worked there," says a former employee. "Will I have a job tomorrow?" The changes kept coming. In May, 2015, Tim Hortons abruptly closed its Dublin, Ohio-based U.S. head office without revealing how many jobs would be lost. A few months later, even as it beefed up its analytics department, it offered voluntary buyouts to almost 15% of its head office staff, though only about 3% took the offer, a spokesman said at the time. More layoffs followed.

As Ron Joyce puts it today: "The head office has been decimated."

In keeping with another plank of the 3G playbook, the headquarters in Oakville, Ontario, also got a stark new look. Tim's staff was so diminished that they could fit in just one of the two main low-rise buildings they used to occupy. Executives unveiled the new design over the weekend, encouraging employees to bring in their families for a tour. Gone were the bright colours and cubicles, replaced by rows of identical white communal tables, with no barriers between workstations. It could have been a call centre.

Some referred to the open-concept space as the "pen" or "cattle room."

Recalls a former employee: "It creates this feeling--it's 5 or 5:30 in the evening. Normally, I'd be going home but, geez, if I stand up, all eyes are on me."

On one wall, close to where Tim's new senior executives sat at their own communal table, hung a series of digital boards, visible to many in the office. The boards tracked regional franchisee performance--from sales and other financial metrics to cleanliness and speed of service--in red, yellow and green. 3G calls it the GPS, which stands for, depending on who you ask, either Global Performance System or Grade Point System.

Soon, employees got their own personalized version of the performance-tracking system: a frame containing their Management by Objectives goals. Each item--say, reducing costs by 2% or opening seven new restaurants in a given region--is highlighted in red, yellow or green depending on how close employees are to hitting their targets, and they're updated regularly. MBOs became a pain point for some.

"The notion of being open and transparent about targets and performance--that was definitely a dramatic change from the old culture," says a former employee.

Other than the MBOs, desks were barren--management advised staff to keep personal effects to a minimum.

RBI quickly put the six-seat Gulfstream corporate jet up for sale. A top executive sent out an e-mail outlining efficiency initiatives: Travel would be curtailed, and single-sided photocopies and colour printing were banned, except on rare occasions, such as external presentations. Garbage cans at individual desks disappeared, on the grounds that they encouraged waste, and were replaced by central bins.

Before one town hall meeting, each employee received a blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt, embroidered with the red Tim Hortons logo. Employees were encouraged to wear it to the meeting. Then, for two days early in 2015, an embroidery machine was wheeled into a room. Management suggested that employees buy new shirts, or bring in ones they already had in their closet, so the logo could be embroidered on them. Each department was given a time slot for when its staff could use the machine.

"It was very peculiar and pretty heavy-handed," says a former employee who declined to line up for his turn.

"Employees were already loyal to the brand, and a logo on a shirt didn't make them more loyal."

Still, some recruits are thriving inside the new Tim Hortons. Anthony Pagano, 31, is a mechanical engineer who spent about four years at RBC Capital Markets--where insane work hours, intense pressure and bonus-driven compensation are the norm--before joining Tim Hortons in early 2015 as a finance director. Within a year, he was promoted to international vice-president, overseeing the chain's overseas expansion plan--a crucial part of RBI's growth strategy.

After helping strike deals last year to launch Tim Hortons in the Philippines and Britain by teaming up with master franchisees, Pagano got another promotion.

He's now president of Burger King's Asia-Pacific division. Within weeks of landing the new job, he was in Singapore.

Pagano likes the 3G way of doing things, and the company has been very good to him. "I've always been one to work hard," he says. "I've put what I've wanted to into the business to deliver on our objectives. Sure, there are some new faces at the table, but that helps us bring a fresh perspective to what we're doing." Increasing the efficiency of a company is not a bad thing, of course. In fact, it may be just what Tim's needs to survive. As one former manager puts it: "A lot of what 3G's culture dictates makes a ton of sense. They're just strong business practices. What's interesting is how they do it--it's just the ruthless application of it."

Shareholders aren't complaining, though. In the first three quarters of 2016, RBI's profit more than quadrupled, to $227.2 million (U.S.), while total costs fell 12.5%. The company's share price spiked about 25% on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2016, after gaining almost 15% a year earlier. At the end of January, RBI's shares were up more than 50% from when they began trading in December, 2014.

Tim's cost of goods sold (as a percentage of distribution sales), meanwhile, has dropped by more than 10% since the takeover, according to one analyst. And since being acquired by 3G, its selling, general and administrative expenses have declined to about $20 million a quarter (or just over $4,000 a restaurant), down from $40 million a quarter (or $10,000 a restaurant), according to a report by BMO Capital Markets retail analyst Peter Sklar. Over all, Tim Hortons and Burger King "are focusing on fewer but more impactful menu introductions. This has simplified the messaging to consumers and also simplified in-store kitchen operations," says Sklar.

Other efficiencies have been introduced at the store level. Franchisees used to have to buy four different lid sizes for their cups. Now, there are just two--one for small and medium, one for large and extra-large. That helps restaurant staff work faster and simplifies storage, says Dartmouth franchisee Adam Colburn.

He also sees a budding "entrepreneurial" spirit at Tim Hortons, which is shifting more responsibility for real estate and property development of new stores to franchisees. "It's kind of gone back to when Ron Joyce ran the company," says Colburn, who is eager to increase his store count.

Not everyone is thrilled with the changes, however. Some franchisees bemoan the installation of a new automated communication system that puts franchisee requests into an e-mail queue--no more just picking up the phone and getting a regional manager on the line. "If we have an issue, we can't talk to anyone," says one store owner. "In the past, it would be immediate. Everyone is overworked."

And though some franchisees, including Graham Oliver in Kitchener, say their profit and sales are up since the merger, others say they've been pinched in the past year or so as food and other costs rose, and margins were hit by special promotions and combos.

"It's a change--it's hard at first and messy in the middle, but hopefully gorgeous at the end," says 38-year-old franchisee Amit Seth, whose family owns 10 Toronto-area restaurants. His profits were flat in the first nine months of 2016, though he got a bump in December. "It is tough. It is a change in culture."

Suppliers are also feeling the squeeze.

From the get-go, RBI made it clear it would be reviewing vendor relationships. And the company pushed for better terms, including extensions on bill payments to as much as 120 days from 30 days or less. Maple Leaf Foods, a major partner that supplied meat to Tim Hortons, declined to accept the new terms, and walked away. (A Maple Leaf spokesman wouldn't comment.)

"Everybody was scared for their business," says one former employee.

Former employees also say RBI has cut back on product research and development spending at Tim Hortons, offloading some of that work to suppliers. That's not uncommon in the fastfood world, but it can be risky. "Suppliers can do a great job with innovating and R&D, but you're limited to what the supplier is trying to develop," says Darren Tristano, president of market researcher Technomic. "That often doesn't work as well for consumers."

And if Tim's keeps squeezing suppliers, they could start handing their best product ideas to its competitors.

Indeed, some domestic suppliers are becoming frustrated with RBI's rising demands, says Sylvain Charlebois, dean of Dalhousie University's faculty of management and a food specialist.

"It's increasingly becoming difficult to deal with Tim Hortons."

The road ahead could be bumpy.

Both Burger King and Tim Hortons have grappled with slowing sales growth at existing stores in their home markets as competition intensifies and consumers watch their spending. And Tim's has always had a poor track record expanding outside of Canada, except in the Middle East, says Charlebois. Tim Hortons is now borrowing a page from Burger King's international expansion strategy by teaming with master franchisees in new markets, counting on the new partners to spearhead growth with their local know-how. Late in January, Tim's announced it was moving into Mexico, its first foray into Latin America.

Back in the comforting hubbub of Tim Hortons coffee shops across the country, not much has changed--yet.

Timmy's still attracts a diverse crosssection of Canadians, from students and hipsters to senior citizens and new immigrants. It's still seen as a safe and comforting place to stop during road trips, and a great place to take the kids for a hot chocolate after skating.

A lot of that is due to the power of Tim Hortons' marketing, which has focused on the chain's ability to unite Canadians, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. One of the people responsible for developing that connection is Paul Wales, a former executive creative director at ad agency JWT, which produced Tim Hortons advertising for more than 16 years--a tenure that is almost unheard of in the ad world, in which corporations often change agencies every couple of years.

JWT's series of "True Stories" spots, in particular, struck a uniquely Canadian note. One told the tale of an African immigrant father waiting for the rest of his family to arrive at the airport, preparing them for their new Canadian life with snowsuits and a Tim Hortons coffee. Another featured a stern Asian grandfather watching his grandson play hockey and coming to a revelation about family ties--and fatherly pride--over double-doubles with his son.

Wales grew up in Hamilton, the birthplace of Tim Hortons, so he has personal ties to the brand--as a customer and as a father of three kids who participated in Timbits hockey and soccer teams. "It's truly a Pavlovian thing," he says of getting his daily double-double fix. "You would feel better even as you would be pulling up into the drive-through. You haven't even got your coffee yet."

But he has noticed that the focus of Tim Hortons' ads has shifted from branding to product and price--touting the latest combo, rather than pulling at Canadians' heartstrings. "It's important that while you communicate your retail offerings, you should also reiterate what the brand values are about," says Wales. "The True Stories, in particular, were a reflection of Canadian values. I was very proud of that campaign. There are not too many Canadian companies that reflected the authentic Canadian experience."

In addition to the new advertising strategy, RBI has cut back on regional personnel who helped franchisees promote local sports teams and other events, says Alan Middleton, the marketing professor at York University.

Suppliers--now working with much tighter margins--may also become less keen to support Tim Hortons-branded golf tournaments and other initiatives.

Such shifts could, over time, erode customers' and communities' links to the brand. "That emotional connection might start to fade away," says Wales.

"A new generation might not see that."

Some store owners have also been lamenting the move toward more hardsell advertising. Adam Colburn, who sits on Tim Hortons' franchisee advisory council, hints that the company may bring back more of that "share of heart" advertising. "People miss it," Colburn says. "We miss it."

3G has never encountered a brand quite like Tim Hortons. It isn't just another coffee company. It is a Canadian destination, an integral part of many Canadians' day and a brand that defines us, to some degree, around the world.

"It really lives on hockey jerseys and at kids' camps and under the rims of coffee cups," says marketing expert Bruce Philp, founder of Heuristic Branding. It is, he says, "Canada's answer to the pub."

No one is questioning that the 3G way will successfully boost short-term profits.

Streamlining operations, grinding down supply costs and replacing expensive legacy management with a younger, hungrier (and cheaper) team are proven methods for boosting profits. Tim Hortons needs to become more efficient if it's going to compete on a global stage, and recent financials show that, so far, the changes RBI is making are good for business.

But there's a danger the cost-cutting will go too far and start damaging the long-term prospects for the chain. As Tim Hortons drifts away from its deep Canadian roots, its brand could start to get diluted and begin to feel like every other fast-food chain. And let's face it: If Tim Hortons is evaluated solely on the basis of its food offerings--flashfrozen doughnuts, nuked eggs, bready bagels--it could lose its edge.

For all its successes, RBI has not yet demontrated that it knows how to nurture a brand. Its other main holding, Burger King, could take lessons from Timmy's, not the other way around. But brands are durable--Tim's has built up many decades of goodwill--and it will be a while before that lost connection shows up in the bottom line.

If that happens, and Tim Hortons becomes just another faceless--albeit highly efficient--coffee chain, 3G will have changed forever one of this country's most beloved brands.

"There's no one big thing that's going to weaken them," says Middleton. "The danger with a strong brand faced with this kind of change is that you die the death of a thousand small cuts."

Associated Graphic



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

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

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

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

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

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

It was Sept. 18, 2016.

A desperate bid to flee the gangs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An extended family in peril

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A precarious perch in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Persistence, and mounting debt

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

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

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

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

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

"Who are you?" she demands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grateful for 10-hour work shifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive orders, vast backlogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


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

Marriage has gotten a rough ride in recent years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was a whole industry. It was sleazy."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1993: Who needs a piece of paper?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two 2013 provincial decisions took opposite approaches to the problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016: Annulment, 2.0

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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



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





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



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


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

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

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

There are certain admissions to be made from the start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"There was no remorse. No apology."

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

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

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

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

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

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

That money was gone, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were romantic dates, travel, extravagant purchases.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I would disagree," Mr. Leebody replied.

"He had a very good mask."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Beaver's wife sobbed into her hands.

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Canada needs more immigrants

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

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

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

Demographic forces are grinding its labour growth to a halt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too much? Too little?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cities and towns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The will to open up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


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




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


A Globe review shows water treatment plants are failing on reserves across Canada. For every system the government fixes, plenty remain in a shambolic state
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Several days each week last fall, water trucks left Sudbury and drove 130 kilometres west to the Serpent River First Nation, a reserve on Lake Huron's north shore. There, they emptied about 18,000 litres into a reservoir to supplement the community's water treatment plant. John Owl, the plant operator, said it ran 24 hours a day and still could not provide enough water to meet the needs of the reserve's 350 inhabitants. Not that they could drink it - it is subject to a drinking water advisory.

A snowstorm in December shut the Trans-Canada Highway, blocking the water shipments. A pipe ruptured in the crawlspace of an abandoned home, draining about four truckloads of water.

And as temperatures dropped, the plant's output fell. "As the water gets colder, it gets denser and it's harder to push through the filters," Mr. Owl explained.

Serpent River's woes resemble those of the 90 other Canadian reserves under drinking-water advisories. But there is a cruel twist: This water treatment plant is barely a year old. It is a small yet impressive modern facility, a bewildering but orderly arrangement of pumps, piping and gauges.

Diagnosing what went wrong is difficult. But this is no anomaly.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, a federal government department, pays for virtually all on-reserve infrastructure, and sets most of the rules for the design and construction of these water treatment plants. To understand INAC's role, The Globe and Mail studied federal reports, pored over documents obtained under Access to Information laws and interviewed project managers, engineering consultants and First Nations leaders.

The Globe's research, which began last summer, found that one-third of First Nations had systems that were at medium or high risk of producing unsafe water, according to INAC's assessment criteria. Among Canada's 600-plus reserves are numerous examples of failed water-treatment plants, water towers and other infrastructure.

Some were undersized or poorly designed. Others used inappropriate technology. Still others failed prematurely because they were not properly maintained.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to end boil-water advisories on reserves by 2021, and the federal government is pouring billions into these systems.

At a special meeting of chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations in early December, Mr. Trudeau heralded the ending of "14 longterm drinking-water advisories in First Nations communities."

He did not mention that the total number of First Nations water advisories is little changed: As of Nov. 30, Health Canada reported 130 advisories in effect in 85 communities; a year earlier, the tally was 139 in 94 communities. For every system the government fixes, others remain in a shambolic state and at high risk of failing.

'It's your problem' Russell Anthony spent his career in project management, and retired a vice-president of Stantec, a major design and engineering firm. During that time, he became worried that Ottawa's procedures would allow unscrupulous or incompetent contractors to perform substandard work.

"We used to call the First Nations stuff 'design, build and bugger off,' " Mr. Anthony said.

"Because that's what [some of them] did: They designed, built it and buggered off. And they said: 'If the system doesn't work, it's your problem.' " Bob LeCraw, president of RAL Engineering in Newmarket, Ont., witnessed the fallout. He has inspected many small water treatment plants on reserves.

"There was a period of time, back 20, 30 years ago, where the plants they were putting in just weren't right," he said. "They weren't tested properly. They weren't designed properly."

Charlie Angus, the MP for Timmins-James Bay and the NDP's INAC critic, said that, under Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, the department spent $1.9-billion building new plants. "Many of those water plants didn't even meet building codes or failed as soon as they were built," he said. "Others, they didn't put any money in to connect them to homes. So at the end of that $1.9-billion investment, we had virtually the same number of communities that were facing risk. That is a colossal failure, and it has been repeated."

INAC now spends much of its scarce capital budget fixing or replacing poorly constructed infrastructure. Despite apparent improvement in the past decade, The Globe's analysis of federal infrastructure data found that INAC inspectors expressed grave concerns about the design of 13 First Nations water systems built since 2005 - about oneeighth of the 103 constructed during that period.

The 2016 federal budget allocated an additional $1.8-billion for First Nations water infrastructure between now and 2021.

But "if they keep doing it the way they're doing it now in terms of project delivery, they are not going to meet their goal," Mr. Anthony warned.

Blindsided Hopes ran high when construction began on Serpent River's water treatment plant. Bernard Valcourt, then minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development in the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, congratulated the band and pointed to the hundreds of millions of dollars his government set aside to build more like it.

Chief Isadore Day believed it would improve his people's lives. Shortly before the official opening in September, 2015, the plant's engineering consultant and project manager presented the project to their peers at a conference. The community held a contest to name the plant.

The reserve clearly needed it.

When inspectors from engineering consultancy Neegan Burnside visited in 2009, Serpent River was served by four wells, each with its own pumping station. The system did not meet government drinking-water guidelines and lacked the capacity to serve the growing community or provide adequate fire protection. Neegan Burnside recommended a new treatment plant that would draw water from nearby Aird Bay, at an estimated capital cost of $8.9-million.

But a feasibility study years earlier by First Nations Engineering Services Ltd. of Ohsweken, Ont., pointed out problems.

General manager Craig Baker explained that owing largely to nearby rivers, the water of Aird Bay contained significant concentrations of dissolved organics such as decaying leaves and vegetation.

Most treatment plants use chlorine to disinfect water. But chlorine can react with dissolved organics to form a byproduct called trihalomethanes, which are considered carcinogenic.

This requires the organics to be removed before chlorination.

Health Canada sets a maximum allowable concentration of trihalomethanes of 0.1 milligrams per litre. Concentrations in Canadian drinking water are typically well below those guidelines, but trihalomethanes remain a problem for many small municipalities and reserves.

Serpent River ran pilot tests (small-scale trials) on two treatment technologies in late 2009.

RAL Engineering conducted trials using slow-sand filtration, a century-old technology it had installed at six other reserves.

The other featured the Fyne process, a technology developed in Scotland that uses advanced membranes. Fyne systems are found across Canada and in Alaska, typically in industrial settings.

Mr. LeCraw of RAL saw the test results and reported that water from both met guidelines.

The Fyne system won, and a project management team was assembled to supervise its construction. The team included members from the First Nation, INAC, treatment process supplier Membrane Specialists of Hamilton, Ohio, and Ontario engineering consultancy J.L.

Richards & Associates Ltd. The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which reports to the Ministry of the Environment, was project manager. INAC paid $12.36-million toward the total cost; the band contributed more than $700,000 toward new fire hydrants.

Disaster struck immediately after the ribbon-cutting. Newly elected Chief Elaine Johnston said trihalomethane levels in the processed water reached 0.178 mg. per litre during initial testing, almost double the maximum allowable. She contacted Health Canada, which she later accused of playing down the result. "They were basically telling me that we shouldn't be concerned about the THMs," she said. But with a legacy of cancer deaths among members who had worked in nearby Elliot Lake's uranium mines, the band was concerned. It issued a "Do Not Consume" order and began delivering bottled water to households.

The project team determined that the source water was more acidic than anticipated; it damaged the membranes, rendering them incapable of removing organics.

Chief Johnston reported that project team members continue working together toward a solution. Last year, they began testing membranes tolerant of higher acidity. Since June, the plant has produced "excellent quality water," reported David Pearson of Membrane Specialists. In late January, 77 additional membranes were installed, significantly increasing the plant's production capacity and eliminating the need for water to be trucked in. Another 44 membranes are expected to arrive by early March. The drinking water advisory could be lifted within a few months.

The new membranes are tighter than the originals, constraining the plant's capacity. Mr. Owl, the plant operator, said their performance deteriorates further when the temperature falls 15 to 20 degrees. And where the originals were expected to last a decade, the replacements are expected to last half that. The membranes are expensive and are manufactured in Poland; the band waited months for the latest shipment.

Chief Johnston said she now understands the plant will require additional equipment to pre-treat the source water if it is ever to perform as promised.

Cost estimates for that have ranged as high as $1-million.

"We're going to need INAC to come forward with the money to be able to do that," she said.

How did everyone get blind-sided by these problems? The federal government pilot tested the Fyne process in 2012 at Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario - with mixed results. The final report concluded the Fyne process did "an excellent job of removing the natural organic material," resulting in low trihalomethane concentrations. However, it argued against building a full-scale Fyne plant, partly because the test had operational challenges, including fouled components and breakdowns.

Consulting engineers told The Globe that, ideally, pilot tests should be conducted over a couple of seasons to account for the variability of raw water sources.

Mr. Pearson said Serpent River's pilot lasted two months.

'Built to fail' Reading federal documents, one might conclude First Nations bring such misfortunes upon themselves. INAC's official position is that bands are responsible for designing, constructing and operating their water infrastructure; the department limits its role to providing funding and advice. The implication is that if bands hire slapdash contractors or select inappropriate technologies, they are responsible for the consequences.

Others familiar with INAC procedures describe a different reality.

INAC typically provides most or all of the funding for a new plant. But it never had enough money to meet the capital requirements of Canada's reserves. For most of the past two decades, Ottawa capped annual budget increases of many INAC programs - including capital facilities and maintenance - at 2 per cent. INAC responded by raiding more than $100-million annually from its infrastructure budget, directing it to other priorities.

"Why the First Nations have suffered from some poor work in the past is probably all related to budget, all related to money," Mr. LeCraw said. "They go in and try to do a cheap-and-dirty job, and it just doesn't work out."

The post-construction picture is not any prettier, because INAC provides most of the funding necessary to operate and maintain water infrastructure. In 2009 and 2010, Neegan Burnside and its subconsultants inspected water systems on 571 First Nations and heard numerous complaints about inadequate maintenance budgets. Neegan Burnside president Cory Jones said First Nations budgets are "very low [compared] to what a municipality would use to run the same type of system."

Inadequate maintenance of water infrastructure leads to a need for premature replacement.

An internal INAC document from 2013 acknowledged "some infrastructure on reserve has a reduced life cycle" because maintenance funds were redirected to other priorities.

The additional funds allocated for First Nations water systems in the 2016 budget represent less than half the amount Neegan Burnside estimated was necessary in 2011. And INAC's funding pressures will likely worsen as it finances new plants, which tend to be more expensive to operate than their predecessors.

The next problem is engineering expertise.

Mr. Baker says few First Nations have the technical capacity to make informed decisions about water treatment technology. A 2011 report by the Auditor-General noted that most reserves have fewer than 500 residents and "are hampered by the lack of expertise" to deliver key programs. Chiefs and consulting engineers told The Globe that, in practice, engineers at INAC and consulting firms typically determine which technologies serve Canada's reserves.

INAC said it employs 71 engineers across the country to help First Nations on infrastructure projects. But critics allege few have specialized training and experience with water systems.

"They do not have the technical capacity to make an informed decision on what they should and shouldn't do," Mr. Baker said. Similarly, Mr. Angus accused INAC of employing "generalists dealing with very specific issues that need capital planning and funding."

Hans Peterson has worked on First Nations water issues for almost two decades as part of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation, a charity aimed at solving rural treatment challenges. He was instrumental in developing the integrated biological and reverse osmosis membrane (IBROM) process, which has been installed at more than a dozen reserves, mostly in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Peterson said INAC dominates the technology-selection process. "In reality, if INAC wants a community to have a specific process, the community has to put up a fight to get a different process, even if capital and operational costs are much lower for the process the band favours," he said. "The reason for this is simple: The one with the gold makes the rules."

The rules are the third problem.

Water infrastructure in municipalities is governed by provincial legislation that clearly defines required levels of service. No such regulations exist for reserves. In a 2011 report, the AuditorGeneral of Canada said the absence of standards raised "confusion about federal responsibility for funding them adequately."

Consulting engineers told The Globe that municipal systems in Ontario are built to provide 450 litres per resident per day. Many First Nations systems in the province were built to provide just 180 litres per resident, said Mr. Jones of Neegan Burnside.

INAC's standard has since increased, but is still below Ontario standards.

Canada's indigenous population is growing far more rapidly than the broader population.

"What we find a lot of times is [the] number that it's being designed for gets outstripped far sooner than we expected," Mr. Jones said.

The consequences can be seen at Whitefish River First Nation, just north of Manitoulin Island in Ontario. A plant and associated infrastructure were commissioned in 1997. But Chief Shining Turtle said INAC insisted on "inadequate design criteria" that included a 10-year planning horizon. A decade is all the reserve got: The community quickly outgrew the system, which was soon running 18 hours a day to keep up with demand.

In 2008, INAC spent about $1-million to upgrade the plant - only to finance the construction of a new one the next year.

Chief Shining Turtle said the new, slow-sand plant works well, is cost-effective and easy to operate. But it is designed to provide just 275 litres per person per day. "So if our plant was tested by [the Environment Ministry], it would fail, even though it's a brand-new plant," he said.

"Why? Because it was designed and built to fail."

Chief Shining Turtle said INAC deals harshly with First Nations that agitate for better standards.

"It's their process. And if you don't follow their process, it just stops."

Others say INAC's standards may actually be too high. Madjid Mohseni is an engineering professor at the University of British Columbia and scientific director at Res'eau WaterNet, a partnership that works with small communities to provide drinkable water. He says INAC's standards result in plants that are operationally complex and thus better suited for larger municipalities. (B.C. has the most reserves of any province, but many are tiny.)

"If the communities don't have the capacity, then that system fails very soon after it's built," he said. "You can't expect that everything that can be implemented in the city of Vancouver should be implemented in a remote community of five households."

There is broad agreement that the overall quality of INAC-funded projects has improved. Mr. LeCraw said INAC now largely adheres to provincial standards in Ontario. Mr. Baker said projects built in the past five years in Ontario are of much better quality. Prof. Mohseni deems most systems he has seen in B.C. that were built since the late 1990s to be sound.

Even so, the number of plants requiring immediate replacement might surge if INAC fully embraced provincial requirements. Mr. Baker said he has seen plants in Ontario, built in the late 1980s, with pressure filters that do a poor job of removing microscopic parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium. "If that same type of treatment plant was running in a municipality, there would have been an order from the province to get it fixed within a certain amount of time or there would be fines invoked," he said. And "I've seen plants less than 10 years old in Ontario, on reserves, that are having issues with trihalomethanes on a regular basis."

Remedies INAC acknowledges problems with its approach. In 2015, the department commissioned Orbis Risk Consulting to review 19 onreserve infrastructure projects - six of them water projects. Sixteen had cost overruns. Orbis's report attributed some overruns to poor, inaccurate design. "Project documents submitted for approval do not prove valid in the post-design and/or post-tendering phase," it noted.

Given its budget constraints, INAC's preoccupation with costs is understandable. But there is little evidence it has devoted much attention to understanding why so much of the infrastructure it paid for fails prematurely.

In a statement received on Monday evening, INAC said that according to its data, "77 per cent of First Nations' water and waste-water systems are projected to remain operational for their life-cycles" - that is, a minimum of 30 years. INAC also said "the 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card shows similar results for off-reserve water and wastewater municipal infrastructure."

Mr. Anthony says INAC's main problem is that its methods have evolved little since the 1980s. Back then, it was common to tender each stage of the process separately - design, construction and operation. Now, among municipalities, assigning the design and construction phases to a single bidder - a socalled "design-build" - "is almost standard practice, and it's not being used with First Nations," he said. But he suggests going a step further by requiring the winning bidder to operate the project for several years.

Mr. Baker said INAC's latest design requirements are solid - it just needs to stop meddling and let consulting engineers do their jobs.

Mr. Peterson laments what he regards as hesitance on the part of INAC and consulting engineers to introduce unfamiliar technology. (His IBROM system cleans water using biological processes, not chemical ones, and is unfamiliar to many civil engineers.)

All the conflicting anecdotes and suggestions indicate the deficiencies in INAC's practices defy simple remedies. Mr. Anthony, however, said that of all the daunting issues besetting many reserves - from poverty to youth suicide - providing safe drinking water is relatively straight-forward to address. Succeeding there could lay the foundation for meeting more difficult challenges.

"There's no technical reason why we couldn't solve the drinking water problem," he said.

"And there's no reason we can't solve it within the five-year mandate of this government - if the government is willing to change the way they're doing things."

Associated Graphic

Blain Commanda of the Serpent River First Nation uses bottled water to cook. The reserve is subject to a drinking water advisory.


Marvin McLeod reaches for bottles of water while making deliveries to homes on the Serpent River First Nation, located west of Sudbury, on Dec. 21, 2016.


Serpent River First Nation Chief Elaine Johnston brings bottled water to her parent's home on Dec. 20, 2016. Tensions in her community are running high over an unresolved water crisis.

Water infrastructure in municipalities is governed by provincial legislation that clearly defines required levels of service. No such regulations exist for aboriginal reserves.

John Owl, an infrastructure technician, displays filters used to treat water at the Serpent River First Nation's water treatment plant, which was officially opened in September, 2015.

Serpent River First Nation resident Mildred Johnston uses tap water for washing up and doing the dishes, but uses bottled water for cooking and drinking.

The Big Cheese
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

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

Toyler's chest was tight; he hadn't drawn a full breath yet this morning. May 24th, the Queen's birthday, chosen for its auspiciousness by his employer Mr. Harris, who believed in such things.

(Toyler was a man of science.)

Below where he stood on the top step, the steel sides of the vat sloped inwards. Everything had that brand-new gleam, never used before, not intended to be used ever again after this experiment.

The two workmen were waiting.

Toyler counted his fingers behind his back. (If people saw him do it, they became nervous.) "Pour," he ordered, as shrill as a girl. The men lifted the first 20-gallon can over the edge and tipped the milk in, with a bright, echoing splash.

There were carts lined up outside Mr. Harris's factory with cans from Ranney's and Galloway's; every drop the cows of Oxford County had yielded this morning was on its way. Toyler considered it'd been well worth the effort to convince Mr. Harris to wait till Ontario's heavy snowpack had melted and the trees were in bloom; early spring milk was thin stuff, compared with this creamy flood. Now the men were hurling can after can of fresh milk into the vat; it seemed as if they could work forever and not fill it up.

Toyler knew it could do no good for him to stand and watch; after all, if any of the milk was on the turn, he wasn't going to spot it by staring till his eyes stung. He'd told the men to give each can a hard sniff before tipping it in, but could he trust their noses? He used to have a fine one himself, but years in this factory had dulled it. And if the vast vat turned sour, the whole lot would have to be given to the pigs.

Toyler had felt it his duty to impress on Mr. Harris the hazards attendant on this extravagant speculation. "Not only immediate and catastrophic monetary loss, sir, but lasting damage to your reputation and that of this whole concern."

The factory owner had smirked over his walnut desk. "What a stick-in-the-mud you are, young Toyler. Where's the spirit of the wild Irish?" "I do not ..." Toyler had been going to say he did not have any, but that had a pathetic ring to it.

"I could be said to be a Canadian now, sir. My parents brought me here at the age of -" Mr. Harris spoke across him.

"And are we Canadians entirely devoid of entrepreneurial spirit?" "Ah, no, sir."

"High time we showed those Yankees our muscle, especially now their markets are in disarray after the War between the States.

Perhaps I should advertise for some up-and-coming cheeseman to replace you as my manager?" "No need, Mr. Harris." His pulse like a desperate fish in his throat.

"I mean to make you the biggest cheese in the history of the world."

Toyler forced himself to turn away from the vat, now, and descend the scaffold. (One step, two step, three step, four step.) If he stood over the men, it would only put their backs up. He'd already heard mutterings about this lunatic scheme.

His hands were quivering like butterflies, so he kept them in his pockets. More than ever the young manager felt his limitations. He had been the kind of child the Irish called quare. The taciturn uncle who'd raised him after the yellow fever had taken Toyler's parents had done nothing to change the boy's nature.

There were whole areas of life - apple bees, gossip, music-making, walking out with girls - that were foreign territory to Toyler. He was good at making cheese.

In the evenings, he cooked his chop, brushed his small house, pared his nails to the quick and read the latest publications on the dairy industry.

He'd been perfectly content as an assistant curd-miller.

When Mr. Harris had pressed the promotion on him, Toyler had been so shaken, he'd had to excuse himself to go and vomit. It wasn't the title of manager that had tempted him, nor the wages; only the tantalizing prospect of bringing the Harris factory up to the mark of the very best cheese manufacturies in Ontario.

Perhaps in Canada. Even the world.

But Toyler would never be a good manager of men. If he'd been the kind of man who could make a speech, for instance, he would have gathered all 100-odd workers this morning and thundered, Forget your aching feet, your debts, your dinner pail, your newborn. We have a high ambition: to win fame and a universal hunger for Ingersoll cheddar. This is your moment, if ever you get one: You have been enrolled in the grandest enterprise of your life! Instead, what had he said?


That afternoon was the tri-factory baseball game in honour of the Queen's Birthday. Toyler stayed in his office. He had calculations to work on, ratios to mull over.

Most of the 5,000 inhabitants of Ingersoll were at the game, with their lemonade, their little bristling flags, their raucous children and floppy babies. All these families were depending on Toyler: a fact that sat like an iron collar on his Adam's apple. The farmers had deferred payment for today's milk; the workers at the Noxon Implement Company had manufactured the machines to Toyler's specifications.

"Was it difficult to persuade the other factory owners to go thirds on the costs of labour and equipment?" he'd asked his employer, earlier.

"Transport," Mr. Harris had said, with a chuckle. "That was the sticking point."

"Transport?" Toyler had repeated blankly.

"Why, you don't imagine our wondrous Cheese is going to languish out its days in little Ingersoll?" Until that moment, Toyler had been supposing that the fame of a 7,000-pound cheddar would spread on its own. He was quite shaken by the news the Mr. Harris had got it invited to the New York State Fair already.

Toyler counted his fingers on his desk, now, warding off a wave of panic. The Cheese did not exist yet. How could it have a travel itinerary?

He went to the vat room now and stared into the deep white bath of milk, inhaling the rich hot scent. Twenty men could drown at once in this. He lowered the thermometer into the milk one more time: 86 degrees, almost blood heat. Now was the moment. Toyler was glad to be alone for this. He lifted the can of starter and poured it in. He'd always found it a marvellous coincidence that rennet was made of calves' stomachs: one bit of the beast catalyzing another.

The milk began to curdle almost at once. Toyler felt like a Druid.

Had any of his forefathers back in County Clare worked such magic?

He was tempted to stay all night, but remembering the proverb about the watched pot, he forced himself to leave, locking the room behind him. He unlocked it, then locked it again, twice more, just to set his mind at rest.

That night, Toyler dreamed of a creamy river rushing along, and himself carried in its flow, a tiny gingerbread man, soaked limbs ripping away.

He arrived at the factory the next morning an hour before anyone else. The vat was full of curds, floating in watery whey. He had never seen this routine transformation on such a massive scale, and it thrilled him so much, his skin felt like stretched India rubber. He opened the drain at the bottom of the vat that let the whey drain off into a series of barrels. The mountain of moist curds was a silken white. (The English dyed their cheddar orange, but Ingersoll cheese had no need of cosmetics.)

Today was the trickiest task, the cheddaring. It took two men to operate the gigantic levers of the contraption that would chop the curds into marbles and turn them over. "Steady, now, steady," Toyler murmured, as they lowered the blades into the vat. "Don't forget, it is imperative to turn the curds every quarter-hour," pointing to the wall-mounted brass clock. But would the workmen remember to look at the clock? Perhaps he shouldn't have reminded them. Now they might neglect the curds to spite their fusspot of a manager ... Toyler went back 14 minutes later and stood outside the room, straining to hear the two men's sporadic conversation. He was about to burst in, to denounce them as saboteurs, but he dug his teeth into his lips and made himself wait another minute. Finally, just before the 16th minute, he recognized the sound of the curd-mill in action. So they had remembered, at least this time.

Hunched over his desk, Toyler kept toying with the figures. The sheer size of the Cheese altered everything: the proportion of exposed surface area to weight; the internal temperature ... What if the machines cracked under the pressure, and spilled a stinking mess all over the floor? Toyler groaned to think how much of his science was guesswork. How long should the curds be milled, for instance? He made himself wait till the end of the morning before going back to the milk room and pressing a shred of curd between finger and thumb. A trifle too rubbery? If so, it was too late to do anything about it. Seven-thousand pounds of mediocre cheese: The name of Ingersoll would be a laughingstock to the nations. No brooding, he told himself, tongue counting teeth with infinitesimal flickerings. On with the work.

The huge curd-press hadn't yet turned up from the Noxon Company down the road, so Toyler sent a boy with a sharp note. The wagon toiled into the yard that afternoon. It took the men three hours to get the press off the wagon, take it apart to fit it through the factory doors, and reassemble all the steel and wooden parts inside. The knocking-off bell was ringing before all the screws and nuts had been tightened to Toyler's satisfaction. The sweating workers began to file out of the factory, but he kept four of them back.

They seemed sullen, so he hinted at a bonus. It was all the eloquence he could summon. The room was fiery hot now; the boiler had brought the cheese vat up to 100 degrees. When the men opened the wide pipe from the vat, the curds began their avalanche into the press. A steaming hillock rose, like hot snow. Something in Toyler's stomach unknotted. Good milk, good curds, he told himself, why should it not be a good cheese? He was struck by a sudden memory of his mother on her small stool, crooning fondly: So, so, my bossy, so, alannah, so. Was that in Ireland, or after they came to Canada? He couldn't tell; he couldn't see anything past her reddened hands moving like a harpist's till the froth foamed over the rim of the pail.

The Cheese stayed in the press not just overnight, as was usual, but for four days. On Monday, the wooden sides of the press were dismantled and the last of the whey trickled away. A workman whistled, and for once Toyler didn't rebuke him. The drum of cheddar was just over three feet high, by his yardstick, and a full seven feet in diameter. Firm to the touch, but not hard. Its yellowish rind was forming well; close-textured. Like some vast golden wheel.

Beside him, Mr. Harris beamed.

"Of course, one cannot tell what might be amiss at the core," Toyler said in a low voice. "There could be big eyes or cracks, or hidden pockets of soft matter. As I warned you from the start, sir, quantity is no guarantee of quality."

"Shall I tell you a secret, young man?" Mr. Harris clapped his arm around his manager's shoulder as they turned towards the door.

Toyler stiffened at the touch.

"The Cheese doesn't matter."

He stared at his boss.

"The idea of it, that's the thing! This is the age of advertisement, don't you see? The very existence of such a gargantuan cheddar - that's what'll draw in the hordes at the New York State Fair. They won't be tasting a crumb of it, after all, so they might just as well be gawking at a cardboard model."

"Sir, the Cheese will be as flavoursome as I can make it."

"I'm sure it'll taste like ambrosia," said Mr. Harris with a snigger, "but even if it's more like sawdust or skunk, it's going to cause a sensation."

After that, Toyler felt shaken all day. He ate no lunch, and had to keep arranging the items on his desk in vertical lines. Later, he supervised the wrapping of the Cheese in 45 yards of cheesecloth.

"What about the bottom, sir?" He blinked at the workman who'd spoken.

"How do we wrap that? I suppose, if the thing could be winched up an inch, tilted, like -" "No," said Toyler sharply, visualizing his creation cracking apart on its platform. "The base will just have to stay bare."

It was too dangerous to move the Cheese downstairs to the curing cellar, either, so Toyler decided to keep it in its own room, with blocks of ice in straw all around it to cool it through what was looking to be a sweltering summer.

He was coming to dread his dreams. That night the Cheese was the height of a house, dusty and travelscarred, rolling like thunder along the shore of Lake Ontario, and a tiny wheezing Toyler on top, tripping and scampering like a leprechaun cursed to run on a wheel for ever.

When he read through the letter of invitation from the New York State Fair, he rushed to his employer's office and went in, for the first time ever, without knocking. "I thought it was next August."

"What's the matter with this August?" asked Mr. Harris.

"The Cheese will barely be set!"

"My dear young fellow, by the time it's aged to your liking, those Yankee farmers will have recovered from their war. We must expand or contract; there's no standing still."

Toyler bit down on both lips.

"Nine months, that is the bare minimum for strong cheddar, and I prefer 24."

"It'll have plenty of time to turn savoury when it's touring England," said Mr. Harris.

"England?" Toyler repeated, his jaw juddering.

"It's a world market I want, Toyler. Think big. Why, they've just managed to lay a telegraph cable all the way from Ireland to Newfoundland!"

"Correct ripening conditions -" "Oh hush, you fussbudget," said Mr. Harris. "We're making history."

But all Toyler knew how to do was make cheese.

He haunted the great cheddar's room, though there was little he could do except make sure the blocks of ice were replaced often enough. He never let anyone touch the great swathed disc, but sometimes on his own he went up very close. There was hardly any aroma. Some cheeses such as brick were all nose and no taste.

But cheddar kept its secrets; there was more to it than you'd ever know until you bit in.

July, and the haying had begun, sweetening the air. Every other day Mr. Harris seemed to breeze into Toyler's office waving another invitation for the Cheese, as if it was some lovely debutante, pestered by suitors. Toyler's stomach festered at the thought of its departure. What if it got sweaty, soiled, infested by mites, knocked about? Every day it ripened, it would become a little more liable to crumble. Was this what a father felt when his child went out into the uncertain world?

"Cheese has always travelled well," Mr. Harris told him. "The Roman legions carried it in their rations."

"Regularity and hygiene," Toyler began, his voice shaking - But the factory owner interrupted, with a grin. "I'm sure you'll protect it from all perils."

Toyler stared at him.

"Who else could I trust to tend our mammoth baby all the way to England?" Between his knees, Toyler's fingers were shaking so badly that he miscounted them - eight, nine, 10, 11 - and had to start again.

"That's quite impossible, sir," he managed to say.

"I don't ... I never go anywhere."

"A spot of travel's very broadening, you know; maturing, ripening ..." "I am honoured, sir," said Toyler, "but you have the wrong man." Mr. Harris's mouth turned down. "Then whom do you propose I should send in your place?" Toyler ran through the list of senior cheesemen. They all struck him as careless, grubby, slapdash ... He tasted blood on his lip, and went out of the office without another word.

That night he stayed late with the Cheese. The outside could be rancid by now, the inside still mush. If only Toyler could set his mind at rest - but the rind was all it had to shield it, so he must not damage the rind.

What if he took a tiny sample from the very centre of the drum, then patched the hole with candlewax?

With a boiled knife, he leaned over the gigantic disc and loosened the cloth at the centre. He put the point of his blade to the rind; felt like a violator, an assassin.

With vibrating hands, he dug out a pencil-sized core and held it up to the light. Slightly crumbly; a very good sign. Of course it was only two months old, it would have no flavour yet. Toyler sniffed; put it to his tongue. A grin took hold of his face. He chewed.

The cheese crammed his throat.

Pliable, tangy, with a hint of a sharp aftertaste.

Toyler knelt down, stretched his arms around the draped curve of the Cheese, rested his head as if on a hard pillow.

In his dream that night the Cheese was a colossal disc heaving and falling on the Atlantic waves, and Toyler a giant bestriding it.

The day of departure was a holiday. Bunting, Union Jack rosettes, a small brass band ... even the Negroes from the railway firewood depot had been let off work.

It took Toyler some time to wriggle his way through the crowd to the base of the platform; he sweated under his wool jacket, and got an elbow in his eye. The factory's doors were thrown open, and a wagon emerged, its wheels squeaking under the weight of the brightly bannered Cheese. A huge round of applause went up.

Mr. Harris was introducing local furniture salesman Mr. McIntyre, who was going to treat them to an extemporaneous ode.

We have seen thee, Queen of Cheese, Lying quietly at your ease, Gently fanned by evening breeze, Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

Toyler stood unnoticed near the platform, his face melting like wax. He had his suitcase to pick up from home, plus the pocketbook from Mr. Harris full of incomprehensible tickets and peculiar currencies. Toronto tomorrow, Kingston on Tuesday, then on to Saratoga Springs; he couldn't remember what came after that.

The poet warbled on.

Wert thou suspended from balloon, You'd cast a shade even at noon.

Folks would think it was the moon About to fall and crush them soon! Perhaps Toyler would break down after only a day or two on the road, and have to be carted home ignominiously. His little routines were no comfort any more; all his countings and checkings only served to carry him from one terror-stricken minute to the next.

But there was the occasional becalmed moment, between one worry and another. And what Toyler wondered at those times was, who would he be, in those strange cities, bereft of every daily task and familiar object? Already before having gone a mile he knew he was changing; he could feel himself transmogrifying, one cell at a time.

Associated Graphic


Pipe Dreamer
How did Kinder Morgan get approval for B.C.'s $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline? It had a secret weapon: His name is Ian Anderson, and he's just getting started
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page P50

Just another day on the stump: Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson prepares to defend his pipeline project during a radio interview in Vancouver

TEAM OF PUBLIC-RELATIONS reps greets Ian Anderson as he strides into a cheerless café in the Kamloops airport. It is 9:20 a.m. on a drizzly Tuesday in the B.C. city, and the president of Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Canadian operations is getting ready for another day on the stump.

Anderson, a husky man dressed in a dark overcoat, slumps in a chair and nurses a coffee while his handlers run through the day's itinerary.

For the past six years, his life has been consumed by his employer's bid to nearly triple shipments of oil from Alberta to the B.C. coast via its Trans Mountain pipeline, so he's become accustomed to the routine.

"How do we refer to the traditional territory?" he asks. An adviser pipes up: "Secwépemc." Anderson repeats it, slowly, "Suh-wep-muhc."

Later today, he will address the local chamber of commerce, and he's reminded to stick to the prepared script. "Just like Edmonton," a PR woman stresses--implying not like Vancouver, where Anderson caused a minor panic among his staff by suggesting humans are not responsible for climate change. He backtracked, but the company was forced to issue a clarification. "We're not talking about that stuff," Anderson confirms. "It's done. That was yesterday's news."

Two security guards hover nearby. They are at Anderson's side whenever he attends an advertised event, in case protesters show up.

"I try to limit it," he says of the protection as he makes his way to an SUV idling in the rain. Still, he adds quickly, "better cautious than not."

It's a small but telling indication of the charged atmosphere surrounding Anderson and Kinder Morgan as the U.S. infrastructure giant prepares to start construction on what has become one of the most contentious energy projects in Canadian history. Last fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the $6.8-billion pipeline expansion, which would nearly triple capacity on Kinder Morgan's westbound system to 890,000 barrels a day. Boosters say the expansion will give Alberta's battered energy sector what it has long sought: wider access to global markets, bolstering prices and breaking a near-total dependence on a U.S. market that's awash in shale crude.

But the project still faces daunting hurdles. Perhaps the biggest is a potent combination of environmental and aboriginal activism that has already been blamed for sidelining Enbridge Inc.'s rival Northern Gateway pipeline. TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL also looked doomed until Donald Trump gave it a new lease on life in January.

Last fall, opponents temporarily halted construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. For months, Anderson and other energy executives watched with dismay as protests swelled near the prairie town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, transforming the area into a de facto war zone.

Many saw the demonstrations as a dress rehearsal for looming clashes over Trans Mountain. Indeed, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr raised the spectre of a militarized showdown last fall, although he quickly apologized for suggesting the Canadian Forces could be deployed to quash dissent around the project.

Anderson expects crews to start work this fall, but many observers are doubtful. Privately, some industry executives and analysts say it's a coin toss whether Trans Mountain actually gets built, citing court challenges and other obstacles.

Kinder Morgan must still satisfy 157 conditions, such as habitat restoration for caribou and offsetting greenhouse-gas emissions associated with construction. That's fewer than Ottawa applied to Enbridge's rival Northern Gateway, reflecting the fact that the Trans Mountain proposal entails building a second pipeline alongside Kinder Morgan's current conduit between Edmonton and suburban Vancouver. This pre-existing pathway gave Trans Mountain a huge advantage over Northern Gateway, whose proposed route, carving through B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest, enraged environmentalists and coastal First Nations. "You could be the Pope and you'd probably get shot down on that one," AltaCorp Capital analyst Dirk Lever says of Gateway, which the Trudeau government officially killed last fall. While Enbridge's more controversial proposal drew some of the fire away from Trans Mountain, Lever also gives credit to Anderson for addressing critics' concerns up front. "Whatever he did, it was the right formula."

At 59, Anderson has the polished but slightly worn look of a travelling salesman--which, in some respects, he is. Whereas Northern Gateway's backers were criticized for consulting First Nations too little and too late, Anderson estimates he has had 200 to 300 discussions and meetings to date. He has criss-crossed Western Canada pitching aboriginal groups and local residents on the project's economic benefits. It has paid off: As of mid-December, the company had signed agreements with 51 bands, covering the majority of the route.

The deals commit Kinder Morgan to providing $400-million worth of employment and financial benefits to those aboriginal groups.

Anderson's latest gambit to secure support is audacious: He has offered to pay the B.C. government as much as $1 billion over 20 years in exchange for environmental clearances from the province, which piled an additional 37 conditions on the project in January. The proposal surprised observers and prompted concern that Kinder Morgan was setting an unwelcome precedent for big infrastructure projects.

The deal has also done little to mollify the pipeline's biggest critics, who fear the consequences of a coastal oil spill and the impact on climate change of oil sands' renewed expansion. These opponents include municipal leaders such as Derek Corrigan, mayor of Burnaby, the Vancouver suburb through which the last stretch of the pipeline would weave. Anderson and Corrigan haven't spoken in four years after the city council formally opposed the pipeline and litigation ensued. Anderson now calls the municipality Corrigan's "fiefdom."

It's one more measure of the rancour that has enveloped the pipeline executive. Being the public face of the contentious project has taken a toll.

On a recent evening, after several meetings and a speech, Anderson's voice is hoarse and his eyes are ringed in dark circles. The job "just doesn't turn off," he says wearily, "so you just have to adjust for that."

ANDERSON HAS BEEN LIVING and breathing the proposed expansion since at least 2010. But the roots of the project reach back to 2005, when Kinder Morgan paid $5.6 billion (U.S.) to acquire Vancouver-based Terasen Inc. (formerly BC Gas). For the Houston-based company, the jewel of the deal was a small-diameter pipeline built during the Korean War to send burgeoning Alberta oil production to the B.C. coast for export.

The acquisition instantly made Kinder Morgan a player in the fast-growing oil sands of Northern Alberta. To this day, the pipeline is the lone conduit for Canadian oil to energy-thirsty Pacific markets and the big refineries in Washington State. Kinder Morgan seized the potential for growth, initially committing $1.4 billion to expanding Trans Mountain and another Alberta oil pipeline (which it later sold). The investment would provide much-needed infrastructure to support expected growth in the oil sands, enabling the higher-cost barrels "to be more competitive in domestic and international markets," Richard Kinder, the company's billionaire founder, argued at the time.

Thirteen major oil companies have since signed contracts to ship a combined 700,000-plus barrels a day through the expanded pipeline. The current plan calls for laying nearly 1,000 kilometres of new pipe. About 90% of the new pipeline will follow the existing path or other utility infrastructure such as power lines, the company says. But at its end, a major expansion looms. The company will need larger storage facilities in Burnaby to accommodate the additional volumes. Thirty-four tankers per month could sail past Vancouver's Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge to the company's Burnaby export dock--up from about five today.

It fell to Anderson to execute this vision, though he initially had reservations about joining the company. An accountant by training, he had arrived in Calgary from Vancouver in late 2004 as a senior finance executive with Terasen. Anderson thought he was an imperfect fit for the top job at the Canadian branch of a company so closely associated with Texas crude. "There was a wee bit of nervousness in that I wasn't an oil guy," he says, seated in a boardroom at the company's Calgary offices during a rare lull in his schedule. "I hadn't spent my career in Calgary in the oil patch."

Anderson grew up in Winnipeg--a print by Cree artist Ernie Scoles at the Calgary office hints at his Manitoba roots--with no particular affinity for the energy business. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg, he took a regulatory position with Greater Winnipeg Gas. "It was a job at the beginning," he says with a shrug. A big part of his role turned out to be steering the expansion of natural gas service to remote communities. That led to a role as VP of finance and regulatory affairs with Centra Gas--later bought by BC Gas--as it expanded service to Vancouver Island. At the time, natural gas was new to the island, and Anderson faced considerable bureaucratic and financial challenges. But he relished the opportunity to build a nimble operation within the confines of a heavily regulated power system.

Living and working in Victoria for three years, and later in Vancouver, gave him a crash course on the political and cultural forces at play on the West Coast. He learned about the varying, and at times competing, interests among municipal governments, First Nations and environmentalists. For example, he says the lack of municipal amalgamation around Greater Victoria complicated efforts to build infrastructure as companies had to deal with multiple local city councils.

Another lesson was more subtle but equally influential: Just about everyone had a kayak. "Everybody I worked with and around me had this connection to the outdoors and the ocean," Anderson says. It made a lasting impression on the native of landlocked Winnipeg, helping to shape his understanding of a region that in some corners remains staunchly opposed to oil-laden tankers plying the waterfront. "I think you can appreciate it from afar, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have experienced it directly," he says.

To overcome such deep-seated reservations, he realized he would need to appeal directly to residents of tiny communities from Alberta to Vancouver Island.

AT TIMES OVER THE PAST four years, Anderson's schedule has resembled an old-time political barnstorming tour. Over several days last fall, his itinerary included stops in the Paul First Nation and Enoch Cree First Nation; visits with the Alexis Nakota Sioux and the Alexander First Nation in Alberta, plus the Simpcw and several other indigenous groups nearby in B.C. He has proselytized at conferences in major cities and in out-of-the-way coffee shops. The pace has been gruelling, with near-constant travel and workdays that often start before sunrise and extend into the early evening.

The conversations have informed the project's design, he says. For example, the company will drill under more roads and rivers than originally planned to lessen disruptions and the ecological impact of digging trenches. As a consequence of his travels, he can also tell you where to get the best meal in tiny Sooke, B.C., and jokes about his cache of coffee mugs stamped with chamber-ofcommerce logos.

Because he often eschews prepared notes, Anderson's spiel in public forums tends to be more conversational, if meandering, than is typical of executive speeches.

And he is not afraid to criticize politicians or his own industry. Such was the case when former federal Natural Resources minister and pipeline cheerleader Joe Oliver accused foreign radicals of hijacking regulatory reviews. Anderson publicly chastised him for needlessly sharpening opposition to major projects. At a Calgary speech last fall, he mused about the energy industry's inability to understand the forces aligned against it. It is a theme he returns to often--the need to stop finger-pointing and instead seek out solutions to vexing issues, be it climate change or aboriginal opposition to major infrastructure.

"These are big issues for our society to wrestle with, and that requires conversation, debate and ultimately some accommodation," he says.

"We've approached our project with that in mind: that we weren't going to be looking to others to solve our problems."

Michael LeBourdais, a former chief of the Whispering Pines/ Clinton Indian Band in B.C.'s Interior, can attest to Anderson's willingness to find a compromise. He recalls butting heads with the executive in a Vancouver hotel during negotiations over the pipeline back in 2012.

For LeBourdais, the sticking point was jurisdiction. Decades earlier, the band had been displaced from Clinton, B.C., owing to construction of a major hydro dam. LeBourdais's message to Anderson was blunt: "Don't come here and tell us what to do, or what you're going to do. It's my land." If their temperaments had been different, the enmity could have festered. Instead, LeBourdais and Anderson kicked the lawyers out of the room, leaving the two men to hash out an agreement. Le Bourdais wanted the company to invest in the community's youth and its elders. "And, most importantly, keep the oil in the damn pipe," he recalls telling Anderson. "And he says, 'I want that too.' And that was the epiphany moment. We called our lawyers back in and said, 'We're not going to litigate any more. We're negotiating.'" B.C. media mogul David Black, who has spent years as the chief promoter of a heavy-oil refinery on the province's northern coast, credits Anderson's dogged commitment to this type of engagement for getting the Trans Mountain project this far. "It isn't as simple as trying to get the permits and social acceptance to build a plant in a certain location," Black says. "You're building a plant that's 1,000 kilometres long, and you've got to get all those locations on your side."

NOT EVERYONE IS SWAYED BY ANDERSON'S pitch. To some, he is merely "the friendly Canadian face on the giant American corporation," says Ben West of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative, which opposes Trans Mountain on behalf of the aboriginal group whose traditional territory spans the province's southern coast. Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, adds that opposition to the project extends well beyond aboriginal communities and environmental groups. "These are rank-and-file British Columbians, retired people, grandparents, professionals who do not want to see the province suffer a catastrophic pipeline rupture or oil spill."

Phillip and his allies promise a protracted fight, arguing that public hearings on the project were flawed because they did not subject the company's claims to oral cross-examination. Already, several court challenges have been filed seeking to overturn approvals of the project, including one claiming conflict of interest due to Kinder Morgan and its oil-shipper customers being big donors to B.C.'s ruling Liberal Party.

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan remains staunchly against it, a position he will carry into the provincial election this spring.

In 2014, Kinder Morgan needed a court injunction to perform surveying work on Burnaby Mountain. The RCMP hauled away protesters in a scene that recalled the infamous "war in the woods" over clear-cut logging in Clayoquot Sound. The episode could be a prelude to more widespread demonstrations. The last time Kinder Morgan expanded its pipeline was in 2007, when it started threading 160 kilometres of new steel partly through Alberta's Jasper National Park. The work attracted scant attention from activists and aboriginal groups, but this was before pipelines became proxies for the battle against forces blamed for exacerbating climate change.

Northern Gateway's demise has now thrust Trans Mountain into the spotlight, notes Roger Harris, a consultant who for two years led aboriginal engagement on Gateway as an Enbridge vicepresident. The Enbridge proposal was "the Darth Vader of energy projects," Harris says. "As long as Enbridge was out there, it was a bit of a distraction [from Trans Mountain], but once it was gone, these guys are the ticket. And they will draw all the attention and even more than what Enbridge drew." After all, the expanded Trans Mountain ends within walking distance of public transit connecting Vancouver to its suburbs, whose local governments have come out strongly against the project. "So it's kind of a worst-case scenario for them," says Harris.

Anderson concedes that security is a concern.

Employees at the company's terminal operations in Kamloops who used to quiz him about pensions and salaries now ask how they should cope with civil disobedience. The company has been gathering intelligence on opponents for years. That includes keeping tabs on prominent protesters and their movements, and monitoring what's said on social media. Anderson receives weekly briefings, and the company is in close contact with the RCMP and local police in an effort to anticipate possible scenarios once shovels hit the ground.

Despite threats of blockades, Anderson insists construction will start in September. Oil could flow by late 2019. He deflects questions about specific threats, saying the project is merely entering a new chapter with new challenges. Trans Mountain is one of the largest capital projects Kinder Morgan has ever pursued, at a time when the company is grappling with weak oil prices and high debt. The company's share price slumped about 65% in 2015, though it regained some ground last year. Kinder Morgan is currently hunting for a joint venture partner to help cover Trans Mountain's hefty price tag. It is also considering selling shares of its Canadian business in a public float.

The stakes are high for more than just Anderson and Kinder Morgan. The pipeline has become a test of the Trudeau government's implicit bargain with the energy sector: that a more stringent environmental policy, including carbon pricing, will make major oil projects such as Trans Mountain more palatable to a skeptical public. Anderson knows he'll never get everyone on board, yet he remains convinced that all Canadians have a stake in the outcome. "It's going to take a nation to build this," he says, "not just a company."

Associated Graphic

Anderson at the Tk'emlúps town hall in Kamloops in December (left). Protests against pipelines, such as those that rocked North Dakota (above), have spread to target Trans Mountain (below)



In Burnaby, Kinder Morgan will tunnel through Burnaby Mountain and lay new pipe under roads near schools and houses. The line will link an expanded storage facility with a new export dock.

About 80 killer whales that live in the main shipping channel for crude-carrying tankers are the subject of a federal court case arguing that increased traffic will threaten their survival.

Back in 2008, when Kinder Morgan completed its so-called Anchor Loop expansion through Jasper National Park, it encountered little opposition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My son Matthew is 18 years old.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura MacGregor, 49, lives in Waterloo, Ont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linh Nguyen is an English major.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was just - it was beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There's this kind of fear out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of those terrorists had been foreign fighters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many of the dead were thought to have been Tunisian.

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

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

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

They would be the most dangerous ones."

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


Female First Nations artists get their chance to shine
New exhibitions on Ellen Neel and Susan Point are starting conversations about women in aboriginal art
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

VICTORIA -- On the West Coast, in the rich and diverse world of First Nations art, the master carvers responsible for the totem poles and myriad other monumental works are usually men.

There are exceptions. And two exceptional women - trailblazing female First Nations artists who have carved their way into Canadian cultural history - are getting their due in two new exhibitions.

Pioneering Kwakwaka'wakw carver Ellen Neel is being celebrated at a show in Victoria, 50 years after her death. And Musqueam artist Susan Point has a comprehensive, magnificent solo show opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend.

It wasn't planned, but having these two shows mounted at the same time on the West Coast is notable and meaningful. "As we have come to recognize indigenous art more, the emphasis has been largely on men. And I think it's really important that we call forward the names of indigenous women," said Carolyn Butler Palmer, the curator of the exhibition Ellen Neel: The First Woman Totem Pole Carver.

The name of the Neel show, at the University of Victoria's Legacy Art Gallery Downtown, is intentionally provocative, its organizers say. It's meant to draw out other stories of female indigenous carvers who would have been forced to work underground, along with their male counterparts, during the dark years of the potlatch ban.

"It's really a colonial idea that our women didn't carve. Our women have always carved," said Lou-ann Neel, the carver's granddaughter and an advising curator for the exhibition. "I've already heard a few people say, 'Well, you know, our grandmother was also a carver.' Good, I want to hear about her. Let's talk about her, too. Because all of our communities need these role models to come from the last couple of generations and encourage our young girls and women to pursue the arts, too."

Neel was born in Alert Bay, B.C., in 1916 and died in 1966 - the exhibition commemorates both the 100th anniversary of her birth and the 50th anniversary of her death. Her grandfather Charlie James taught her to carve, and both artists have totem poles at Stanley Park (although the one by James deteriorated, so a replica carved by Tony Hunt was installed instead).

Neel moved to Vancouver in 1943 with her husband. When he became ill, feeding their large family fell to Neel. Her art became the family's bread and butter.

She eventually set up shop in an old military bunker in Stanley Park, the Totem Arts Shop. There, she taught her children the craft and put them to work in what became a family enterprise.

She was an early and strong believer in bringing traditional design into contemporary clothing and objects and saw the potential of the commercial application of First Nations art.

"I believe it can be used with stunning effect on tapestry, textiles, sportswear and in jewellery.

Small pieces of furniture lend themselves admirably to the Indian designs," Neel said in a speech at the B.C. Arts and Welfare Society Conference at the University of British Columbia in 1948.

In addition to monumental and mid-sized totem poles, she turned out small ones, masks and other decorative and useful items - coasters, placemats, ashtrays - that catered to the tourist trade.

She was commissioned by the Royal Albert china company to create Totem Ware ceramics and made wearable art such as scarves, bags and blouses.

She also designed the famous Totemland Pole, a commission from a tourism organization, and made hundreds of them. They were awarded to employees of the year and given to visiting dignitaries, dispatched around the globe in suitcases belonging to the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope.

"My uncle Bob used to say," said Lou-ann Neel, "and he'd say it every time I went to see him: 'I really think people should get up and face the sun every morning and thank God for Ellen Neel.

Because she's the one who made it possible for them to go to market with their products.'" The show, in an intimate space, features a variety of items, including her final work: a pair of clipon earrings (now made into a brooch and pendant) that she made in the hospital.

Probably the most unusual item in the show is a work she created for the White Spot restaurant chain: a totem pole topped not by a thunderbird, but a white rooster with outstretched feathers. The Wonderbird Totem, made in 1953, was first installed at a White Spot restaurant (it's now at company headquarters), and its image appeared on menus, along with the legend of the Wonderbird, which Neel also wrote. "In the beginning, the men of the Pacific Coast were born men and the totems were brown totems made of brown wood. With the coming of the white men came other white things also and among these white things was a white rooster," it begins.

The show also features works by Neel's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including two remarkable masks by grandson David A. Neel, Mask of Ellen Neel (1990) and Mask of the Injustice System (1991). He is also an advising curator for the show and has said the thing he remembers most clearly about his grandmother is that she smelled of cedar.

"She made art and that was really important. But what she also made was this living legacy that continues on for ... generations," said Butler Palmer, the Williams Legacy Chair at the department of art history and visual studies at UVic. "She resonates in the descendants across generations and in their work across generations." Susan Point did not start making art until well into adulthood.

She was 28 in 1981 when she signed up for a course at Vancouver Community College while on maternity leave from her position as a legal secretary with a First Nations organization. What she thought could turn into a hobby became a calling, awakening in her an intense desire to know more about Coast Salish art.

She met with family members and visited and wrote to museums in those preInternet days. "I wanted to understand - wow, we have our own art style?" she said in an interview with The Globe and Mail last week.

In April of that same year, sitting at her kitchen table, Point made her first print. Salmon is one of the more than 130 works in Susan Point: Spindle Whorl, which opened over the weekend at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It's the largest exhibition of her work and her first solo show in British Columbia since 1986.

"We felt it was important if we were going to do another solo First Nations exhibition, how about doing a woman?" co-curator Ian Thom said. "She is for all practical purposes the person that reinvented Coast Salish art."

Point was able to quit her job when she began carving. "Getting into wood in 1990 was a challenge because not many women were carving on a large scale," she said.

She learned the basics, and her attraction to the medium was instant. "I love working in cedar because it's meditative and I love the smell."

Still, she expanded to other materials. She is considered the first Northwest Coast artist to work in glass and one of the first to work in resin.

"She had so much going against her," Thom said. "A., she was Musqueam, where there wasn't a huge Musqueam carving tradition that was available to look at.

B., she was a woman. And C., she came to this relatively late in her life. She didn't start when she was 12. What we hope the show will reveal is just the incredible range of activity that she's done and her willingness to constantly reinvent herself."

Despite her late start, Point's achievements are phenomenal.

While Neel was able to feed her family - and gain some recognition at the time - with the work she churned out, Point, 50 years later, has achieved unimaginable commercial success and art-world fame.

She has been awarded major public commissions - you can see her work in the Stanley Park gateways and at Vancouver International Airport - and she created magnificent stained-glass windows for Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral.

She had a carving pavilion during the 2010 Olympics. She has received a long list of accolades, including the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. And all four of her children have become artists.

On the Musqueam reserve - which is in Vancouver - Point would not have been exposed to totem poles, and masks are sacred in Coast Salish culture so not generally seen. Her exposure to the spindle whorl was key. It is a tool traditionally used by Coast Salish women to prepare wool for garment making, including ceremonial blankets. It consists of a small disc - usually wood, often carved - with a rod through the centre. It is the heart of her practice.

"When I first started and prior to that, everyone was so used to the northern style, and that's what they thought native art was. I mean, I even thought that," Point said. Her brothers carved in the more familiar Pacific Northwest style. So did a cousin. Then she showed him the spindle whorl. "He said: That's not native art. And I said: Yes it is. But because he was doing it for so long, the northern style, he couldn't comprehend the fact that we did have our own style."

Point has consistently used the spindle whorl as a starting point in her work, using a wide variety of materials and forms. Walking through the show, one can see how the motif repeats - yet with glorious originality.

The show features a number of pieces that are either new or installed in new configurations, such as the magnificent People of the Earth, five cast-paper dualcoloured faces in a circular arrangement made in 1998 and installed against a new wooden framework. Her Orca Pod (1997) has been installed with the woven glass waves of Salish Weave (2014) and the carved cedar Salish Moon (2016), essentially creating a new work.

"Once we decided to do this show, there was an absolute burst of activity and she did a whole range of things," Thom said, pointing to the final gallery, where nine new circular sculptures have been installed on one wall.

On a nearby wall, a series of 120 digital prints represents a new area for Point, who shot images with her iPhone and manipulated them to varying degrees.

The rotunda features a tree grate from Seattle with a large, red-cedar basket with a bronze lid in the centre. The works inside the show include a Vancouver manhole cover and a large drum.

"Again, who would have thought: a First Nations woman, Musqueam, making a gigantic, four-foot drum," Thom said.

Everything in Point's work has meaning - and that includes the show's layout. At her request, the false walls on one side of the exhibition have been arranged in the shape of an eagle, one of her family symbols.

Walking through the exhibition while it was still being installed this week, Point said it was never her intention to aim for this kind of show or this level of fame.

"The challenges were neverending," she said. "I never thought I'd get to where I am today."

Ellen Neel: The First Woman Totem Pole Carver is at UVic's Legacy Art Gallery Downtown in Victoria until April 1. Susan Point: Spindle Whorl is at the VAG until May 28.

Associated Graphic

First Nations artists Susan Point and Ellen Neel are celebrated for their accomplishments as women making Indigenous art at separate exhibitions in British Columbia. While Point achieved success 50 years after Neel, her work, top four images, has won major public commissions and art-world fame. Neel created a family enterprise with her carvings after falling on hard times when her husband fell ill.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We made it," Maguire says.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Accommodation is included in the Freycinet Experience Walk package.

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


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


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


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


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

Giving power back to pedestrians
Self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction: Auto makers believe they could hit the market by next decade, redefining travel both on foot and behind the wheel a little more than a century after motorists first seized control of the roads
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

Imagine how carefully you would drive if there were young children running around on either side of the road. Knowing that they could dart suddenly in front of your vehicle, you'd have to go slowly enough to stop in time.

That sort of caution, that deference to people on foot, is what Adam Millard-Bell sees in future cities full of driverless cars.

"This has the chance to change the norms," says the California academic, who has analyzed the emerging technology's possible effects and believes it has the potential to change the way people live and walk in a city. "If you're a pedestrian and you know the car is going to stop, the calculus changes. You can cross with freedom."

As cities ponder how to protect the most vulnerable road users, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are offering the prospect of re-empowering pedestrians nearly a century after motorists seized control of city streets, inventing the concept of jaywalking and pushing foot traffic onto the sidewalks.

The technology is no longer in the realm of science fiction. Car makers and technology firms are investing heavily and expect AVs to hit the market in large numbers as early as next decade. Selfdriving taxis are being trialled by Uber in Pittsburgh. The firm's self-driving freight company, Otto, performed its first truck delivery in Colorado in October. In November, Ontario announced its support for AV testing in the province.

The potential impacts are seismic. Less road congestion, coupled with fewer deaths and injuries, are among the best-case scenarios envisioned by academics and futurists.

With the technology starting to appear, cities are looking at how the vehicles will change transportation patterns and fit into plans to make the roads safer for all users. In Vancouver, planners are working from the assumption AVs will use roads more efficiently, opening up extra space for pedestrians and cyclists.

But there are also fears of technological failures and societal pushback. Say, for example, pedestrians come to expect that they can step safely in front of an autonomous vehicle.

Will they cross wherever they like and aggravate motorists by slowing them down? If so, will motorists insist that pedestrians be kept back, fenced off from the road, to let traffic move freely?

If AVs are programmed to go slowly enough never to hurt someone, will they have any appeal to motorists?

Will manufacturers keen to sell cars program their vehicles to balance speed against safety, judging a certain level of risk to other road users to be acceptable?

As car design has improved and traffic laws have been better enforced, the number of people who die in collisions has dropped dramatically. Transport Canada says that the average annual death toll, which stood at 4,220 in the late 1980s, had been cut in half by the first half of this decade. A few thousand people are still killed on the roads in Canada every year, though, and the benefits of safety improvements have not been shared evenly, with pedestrians and cyclists the most at risk.

"Road-crash injury is a socialequity issue," argues an Ontario coroner's report into 2010 pedestrian deaths that showed people on foot face extra risk. The report called for "equal protection to all road users."

In recent years, several Canadian cities have begun increasing safety efforts to address the imbalance. The concern is particularly acute for seniors, who are more likely to be hurt when hit by a vehicle and form a disproportionate share of the victims.

Canadian society is aging, and the increasing proportion of the elderly is expected to bring a corresponding rise in dementia, adding urgency to the issue.

Driverless cars, which are often billed as a way for seniors to retain their mobility, could also help keep them safe while walking. But the focus on a solution that is still years away is not without controversy.

"One of the things that concerns me about this conversation [about AVs] in general is it's allowing people to imagine themselves past the current problems," said Maureen Coyle, who sits on the steering committee of the advocacy group Walk Toronto. "There is that desire to sidestep the immediate problem of how we solve the road-safety issues facing us so pressingly."

And even though most analysts believe AVs will make far fewer mistakes than human drivers, how safe they will be for pedestrians and cyclists remains to be seen.

A study in the journal Science showed the majority of consumers would not buy an AV unless it was programmed to put its occupants' safety above that of others.

An executive at Mercedes-Benz made headlines last year when he was quoted saying - in a new report promptly disputed by his firm - that their AVs would prioritize saving their passengers' lives over those of nearby pedestrians.

And Google raised eyebrows by patenting a sort of human flypaper for their cars, designed so that when pedestrians are hit, they stick to the vehicle and avoid the further injury of being thrown.

The most critical safety factor, however, will always be speed. In a position paper released last summer, the National Association of City Transportation Officials - a primarily U.S. group which counts Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver as members - called for AV speeds to be restricted in urban centres. The group wants a limit of 40 kilometres an hour. Even at that speed, the typical small vehicle requires approximately 13.5 metres of road to brake to a full stop. But being hit at 40 km/h or less allows most pedestrians to survive.

The association's plea mimics a U.S. safety campaign in the 1920s to restrict vehicles to 25 miles an hour (40 km/h) in cities, a push that was thwarted by motoring advocates. Keeping speeds down continues to be controversial today. Even though some cities, including New York, have already dropped their default speed limit to 25 mph in order to protect pedestrians, Toronto is among the municipalities that have resisted this change.

Complicating matters for vulnerable road users, early AV testing has shown that some of them struggle to understand the behaviour of those on foot or riding a bicycle. And there is research suggesting that humans don't know how to interact with AVs, either.

Michael Clamann, a senior research scientist in the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University in Durham, N.C., recently ran an experiment to explore how an AV could communicate with pedestrians.

A van was fitted with a display board that showed either the vehicle's velocity or a "walk" or "don't walk" image. People on foot were told this was an AV (though it actually had a human driver) and were told to assess the displays and determine when it was safe to cross. Interviews after the experiment showed that 76 per cent of people saw the displays, but only 12 per cent used them to inform their decisions on whether to cross.

"What we ended up finding was ... they didn't pay attention to it," Dr. Clamann said, calling for more work on figuring out how an AV can make its intentions known to someone nearby.

The Swedish company Semcon has floated the idea of having an LED smile or grimace on a vehicle's grille. A 2015 academic paper prepared for Toronto's Transportation Services department raises the prospect that all road users might have to embrace technology to replace subtle human signals. It suggested "as a safety measure, pedestrians and cyclists may one day passively announce their presence to connected vehicles via mobile apps or wearable technology."

Sorting out this communication is crucial because a lot of the interaction now between drivers and those nearby is non-verbal, based on eye contact and small gestures.

Autonomous vehicles operating in a closed environment - a port or a mine, for example - are relatively easy to create. More difficult is programming them for modern cities. Operating safely in an urban environment where drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are all acting unpredictably is the hardest job of all, and achieving this is key to the mass acceptance of these vehicles.

In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a 116-page policy paper on autonomous vehicles. One of the "behavioural competencies" specified is that AVs must be able to "yield to pedestrians and bicyclists at intersections and crosswalks."

This is a key point, and one that Dr. Millard-Ball believes could lead to a profound change in how roads are used. For a paper published in October in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, applied game theory "to develop a new model of road-user interactions" between pedestrians and drivers.

In the paper, he argues that pedestrians often don't assert their right to cross, because they fear the oncoming vehicle won't stop. But a pedestrian who is certain the vehicle will yield will be more assertive. Even before AVs become ubiquitous, he argued, human drivers who encounter newly assertive pedestrians will learn to be more careful. And their new caution could spark a self-perpetuating effect, making walking safer and prompting other pedestrians to assert their rights as well.

"At a crosswalk ... driverless cars potentially might be stuck for hours," MIT professor of robotics emeritus Rodney Brooks posits in a recent blog posting.

"Will people take pity on them as they do on human drivers? To take advantage of this, the cars would need to understand human social signals of giving them a turn, but without a reciprocal signal [from the vehicle] it is going to be confusing to the generous pedestrians and they may soon decide to not bother being nice to driverless cars at all."

Of course, this sort of pedestrian assertiveness requires faith that the technology will be 100per-cent reliable - a level of confidence that remains a sticking point for many.

"There's hope, certainly, that [AVs] can improve road safety, and that certainly would be welcome" said Erin O'Melinn, spokeswoman for the Vancouver advocacy group HUB Cycling. But she added "there's so many variables on the road," citing children and differently-shaped types of bicycle as complicating factors.

Even though most analysts agree that computers will do a better job than human drivers, it remains unclear how much better an AV will have to perform to be good enough in the public mind.

A study released in January by the consulting firm Deloitte suggested that people are open to being convinced, but many currently have little faith in AVs. The report looked at six countries and showed that the belief AVs will not be safe ranged from a high of 81 per cent in South Korea to a low of 62 per cent in China. Canada was not included, but fully 74 per cent of U.S. respondents did not believe AVs would be safe.

Last year's U.S. government policy paper on AVs even raises the concern that a firm might try to cheat on the safety testing, much as manufacturers have been accused of fiddling their emissions results, and urged for strong oversight.

Brad Templeton, a consultant who has worked for years in the AV field, including time at Google, believes that no company will dare release an autonomous vehicle unless their lawyers are satisfied it's safe.

But he adds a sobering followup: "People will die. Perfection is not possible."

Associated Graphic

Top: A Google employee acts as an obstacle for a self-driving prototype car in Mountain View, Calif., in 2015. Centre: An employee drives a Tesla electric vehicle equipped with autopilot hardware and software in Amsterdam. Above: An autonomous version of Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is tested in Concord, Calif., in June, 2016.



Friday, February 24, 2017


A Thursday news feature on autonomous vehicles included an incorrect spelling for California academic Adam Millard-Ball.

Giving power back to pedestrians
Self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction: Auto makers believe they could hit the market by next decade, redefining travel both on foot and behind the wheel a little more than a century after motorists first seized control of the roads
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

Imagine how carefully you would drive if there were young children running around on either side of the road. Knowing that they could dart suddenly in front of your vehicle, you'd have to go slowly enough to stop in time.

That sort of caution, that deference to people on foot, is what Adam Millard-Bell sees in future cities full of driverless cars.

"This has the chance to change the norms," says the California academic, who has analyzed the emerging technology's possible effects and believes it has the potential to change the way people live and walk in a city. "If you're a pedestrian and you know the car is going to stop, the calculus changes. You can cross with freedom."

As cities ponder how to protect the most vulnerable road users, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are offering the prospect of re-empowering pedestrians nearly a century after motorists seized control of city streets, inventing the concept of jaywalking and pushing foot traffic onto the sidewalks.

The technology is no longer in the realm of science fiction. Car makers and technology firms are investing heavily and expect AVs to hit the market in large numbers as early as next decade. Selfdriving taxis are being trialled by Uber in Pittsburgh. The firm's self-driving freight company, Otto, performed its first truck delivery in Colorado in October. In November, Ontario announced its support for AV testing in the province.

The potential impacts are seismic. Less road congestion, coupled with fewer deaths and injuries, are among the best-case scenarios envisioned by academics and futurists.

With the technology starting to appear, cities are looking at how the vehicles will change transportation patterns and fit into plans to make the roads safer for all users. In Vancouver, planners are working from the assumption AVs will use roads more efficiently, opening up extra space for pedestrians and cyclists.

But there are also fears of technological failures and societal pushback. Say, for example, pedestrians come to expect that they can step safely in front of an autonomous vehicle.

Will they cross wherever they like and aggravate motorists by slowing them down? If so, will motorists insist that pedestrians be kept back, fenced off from the road, to let traffic move freely?

If AVs are programmed to go slowly enough never to hurt someone, will they have any appeal to motorists?

Will manufacturers keen to sell cars program their vehicles to balance speed against safety, judging a certain level of risk to other road users to be acceptable?

As car design has improved and traffic laws have been better enforced, the number of people who die in collisions has dropped dramatically. Transport Canada says that the average annual death toll, which stood at 4,220 in the late 1980s, had been cut in half by the first half of this decade. A few thousand people are still killed on the roads in Canada every year, though, and the benefits of safety improvements have not been shared evenly, with pedestrians and cyclists the most at risk.

"Road-crash injury is a socialequity issue," argues an Ontario coroner's report into 2010 pedestrian deaths that showed people on foot face extra risk. The report called for "equal protection to all road users."

In recent years, several Canadian cities have begun increasing safety efforts to address the imbalance. The concern is particularly acute for seniors, who are more likely to be hurt when hit by a vehicle and form a disproportionate share of the victims.

Canadian society is aging, and the increasing proportion of the elderly is expected to bring a corresponding rise in dementia, adding urgency to the issue.

Driverless cars, which are often billed as a way for seniors to retain their mobility, could also help keep them safe while walking. But the focus on a solution that is still years away is not without controversy.

"One of the things that concerns me about this conversation [about AVs] in general is it's allowing people to imagine themselves past the current problems," said Maureen Coyle, who sits on the steering committee of the advocacy group Walk Toronto. "There is that desire to sidestep the immediate problem of how we solve the road-safety issues facing us so pressingly."

And even though most analysts believe AVs will make far fewer mistakes than human drivers, how safe they will be for pedestrians and cyclists remains to be seen.

A study in the journal Science showed the majority of consumers would not buy an AV unless it was programmed to put its occupants' safety above that of others.

An executive at Mercedes-Benz made headlines last year when he was quoted saying - in a new report promptly disputed by his firm - that their AVs would prioritize saving their passengers' lives over those of nearby pedestrians.

And Google raised eyebrows by patenting a sort of human flypaper for their cars, designed so that when pedestrians are hit, they stick to the vehicle and avoid the further injury of being thrown.

The most critical safety factor, however, will always be speed. In a position paper released last summer, the National Association of City Transportation Officials - a primarily U.S. group which counts Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver as members - called for AV speeds to be restricted in urban centres. The group wants a limit of 40 kilometres an hour. Even at that speed, the typical small vehicle requires approximately 13.5 metres of road to brake to a full stop. But being hit at 40 km/h or less allows most pedestrians to survive.

The association's plea mimics a U.S. safety campaign in the 1920s to restrict vehicles to 25 miles an hour (40 km/h) in cities, a push that was thwarted by motoring advocates. Keeping speeds down continues to be controversial today. Even though some cities, including New York, have already dropped their default speed limit to 25 mph in order to protect pedestrians, Toronto is among the municipalities that have resisted this change.

Complicating matters for vulnerable road users, early AV testing has shown that some of them struggle to understand the behaviour of those on foot or riding a bicycle. And there is research suggesting that humans don't know how to interact with AVs, either.

Michael Clamann, a senior research scientist in the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University in Durham, N.C., recently ran an experiment to explore how an AV could communicate with pedestrians.

A van was fitted with a display board that showed either the vehicle's velocity or a "walk" or "don't walk" image. People on foot were told this was an AV (though it actually had a human driver) and were told to assess the displays and determine when it was safe to cross. Interviews after the experiment showed that 76 per cent of people saw the displays, but only 12 per cent used them to inform their decisions on whether to cross.

"What we ended up finding was ... they didn't pay attention to it," Dr. Clamann said, calling for more work on figuring out how an AV can make its intentions known to someone nearby.

The Swedish company Semcon has floated the idea of having an LED smile or grimace on a vehicle's grille. A 2015 academic paper prepared for Toronto's Transportation Services department raises the prospect that all road users might have to embrace technology to replace subtle human signals. It suggested "as a safety measure, pedestrians and cyclists may one day passively announce their presence to connected vehicles via mobile apps or wearable technology."

Sorting out this communication is crucial because a lot of the interaction now between drivers and those nearby is non-verbal, based on eye contact and small gestures.

Autonomous vehicles operating in a closed environment - a port or a mine, for example - are relatively easy to create. More difficult is programming them for modern cities. Operating safely in an urban environment where drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are all acting unpredictably is the hardest job of all, and achieving this is key to the mass acceptance of these vehicles.

In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a 116-page policy paper on autonomous vehicles. One of the "behavioural competencies" specified is that AVs must be able to "yield to pedestrians and bicyclists at intersections and crosswalks."

This is a key point, and one that Dr. Millard-Ball believes could lead to a profound change in how roads are used. For a paper published in October in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, applied game theory "to develop a new model of road-user interactions" between pedestrians and drivers.

In the paper, he argues that pedestrians often don't assert their right to cross, because they fear the oncoming vehicle won't stop. But a pedestrian who is certain the vehicle will yield will be more assertive. Even before AVs become ubiquitous, he argued, human drivers who encounter newly assertive pedestrians will learn to be more careful. And their new caution could spark a self-perpetuating effect, making walking safer and prompting other pedestrians to assert their rights as well.

"At a crosswalk ... driverless cars potentially might be stuck for hours," MIT professor of robotics emeritus Rodney Brooks posits in a recent blog posting.

"Will people take pity on them as they do on human drivers? To take advantage of this, the cars would need to understand human social signals of giving them a turn, but without a reciprocal signal [from the vehicle] it is going to be confusing to the generous pedestrians and they may soon decide to not bother being nice to driverless cars at all."

Of course, this sort of pedestrian assertiveness requires faith that the technology will be 100per-cent reliable - a level of confidence that remains a sticking point for many.

"There's hope, certainly, that [AVs] can improve road safety, and that certainly would be welcome" said Erin O'Melinn, spokeswoman for the Vancouver advocacy group HUB Cycling. But she added "there's so many variables on the road," citing children and differently-shaped types of bicycle as complicating factors.

Even though most analysts agree that computers will do a better job than human drivers, it remains unclear how much better an AV will have to perform to be good enough in the public mind.

A study released in January by the consulting firm Deloitte suggested that people are open to being convinced, but many currently have little faith in AVs. The report looked at six countries and showed that the belief AVs will not be safe ranged from a high of 81 per cent in South Korea to a low of 62 per cent in China. Canada was not included, but fully 74 per cent of U.S. respondents did not believe AVs would be safe.

Last year's U.S. government policy paper on AVs even raises the concern that a firm might try to cheat on the safety testing, much as manufacturers have been accused of fiddling their emissions results, and urged for strong oversight.

Brad Templeton, a consultant who has worked for years in the AV field, including time at Google, believes that no company will dare release an autonomous vehicle unless their lawyers are satisfied it's safe.

But he adds a sobering followup: "People will die. Perfection is not possible."

Associated Graphic

Top: A Google employee acts as an obstacle for a self-driving prototype car in Mountain View, Calif., in 2015. Centre: An employee drives a Tesla electric vehicle equipped with autopilot hardware and software in Amsterdam. Above: An autonomous version of Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is tested in Concord, Calif., in June, 2016.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Associated Graphic

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


Music critic had links to rock royalty
The flamboyant Australian-born scribe became a strong advocate for Canadian talent
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Audacious and entrepreneurial, Ritchie Yorke was the rock star of rock critics. No Roman conqueror ever strode through a crowd with as much majesty as Mr. Yorke did at press receptions in the late sixties and seventies, wrote one of his peers, of whom there were few.

Mr. Yorke may have been a jetsetting Aussie with unparalleled connections to the British rock royalty of the day, but it was his love of Canadian music that he wore on his velvet sleeve. He was a tireless advocate for this country's music at a time when the Canadian music industry was only just beginning to happen.

He drank cold tea with milk and smoked Old Port cigarillos and other things while pounding out copy with two fingers on an Underwood typewriter. During marathon writing sessions at his house in the shadow of Toronto's Casa Loma, he would fulfill his obligations to The Globe and Mail, Rolling Stone, syndicates, Canadian music trades, Billboard magazine and book publishers.

His legs would jiggle and his feet would tap nervously, meanwhile, as the music of Procol Harum, Van Morrison and Led Zeppelin played in the background.

In addition to writing, Mr. Yorke had other music-related engagements, such as an emcee gig at the Toronto club the Rock Pile. It could be said that the industrious and gregarious Mr. Yorke had an idiosyncratic understanding of professional ethics when it came to mixing promotional duties with his journalistic ones. "I think ethics are a personal thing," he told the Toronto Star in 1972. "It's the end result that counts. I think the end justifies the means."

In 1969, his editor at The Globe told him he couldn't work for John Lennon and the newspaper at the same time, and that he had to make a choice.

He chose the Beatle.

Mr. Yorke, who died on Feb. 6 at the age of 73 from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was undoubtedly one of a kind.

He was born in Brisbane on Jan. 12, 1944, as Ian Annable, the son of nurse Joyce Annable and shoe salesman Alfred Ian Annable. Issues with his father, he once explained, would prompt him to change his name, adopting a moniker inspired by the late rocker Ritchie Valens and actor Dick York from the television series Bewitched.

He began his career writing for the Northern News and TV Week in Brisbane in the early 1960s.

He also worked for radio stations, including a rural post in Tamworth, New South Wales.

During the week, he wrote ad copy; on Saturday nights, he hosted an on-air program. A yarn Mr. Yorke enjoyed telling had to do with the 1963 single Fingertips by Little Stevie Wonder.

When told by conservative station programmers not to play the R&B track, Mr. Yorke rebelled against the edict. The story goes that on the following weekend, he played Fingertips over and over again - eight times in total - until the station's program manager arrived to lock him out of the studio.

It's the stuff of legend - the kind of flamboyant shenanigan that coloured the man's life and career.

With a dream of moving to the United States - "the spiritual home of rhythm and blues music," as he described it - Mr.

Yorke got married and ventured from Australia. Initially he made it as far as England, where he struck up connections in the music business. In 1966, he published his first book, Lowdown on the English Pop Scene.

In mid-1967, Mr. Yorke immigrated to Canada, where he would stay for nearly two decades. His break in the newspaper business came that summer with the death of Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles.

Claiming he knew Mr. Epstein (and somewhat exaggerating their closeness), the opportunistic Mr. Yorke was pegged to write the obituary for the Toronto Telegram. It was his entry into music journalism in Canada.

Blond and brash, the muttonchopped Mr. Yorke made quite an impression. "People working in the music industry in Toronto felt they had to play it safe," says the author and music writer Martin Melhuish, a friend and protégé of Mr. Yorke. "They were conservative, and Ritchie was not that. He was something else."

What he was, was on the cusp.

Rock 'n' roll was a new animal, and not many wrote about it fluently. "Ritchie was one of the few who had a handle on it," says Bernie Finkelstein, founder of the Toronto-based record label True North. "He got it. He had a way of expressing it in writing that the people who were making the music and selling the music didn't know how to do."

Mr. Yorke's fortunes took an upswing when he formed a relationship with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. A close look at photographs of the famous couple's "Bed-In for Peace" at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969 reveals Mr. Yorke, bedside, taking notes during the event that produced sing-along anthem Give Peace a Chance.

Later that summer, while holidaying in England with his wife, he dropped into the Apple Corps offices in London to confirm an interview with the Beatles' George Harrison. At the same time, Mr. Lennon happened to be on the phone with John Brower, a Toronto promoter who was attempting to persuade Mr. Lennon and Yoko Ono to appear at his festival, the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival.

Recognizing Mr. Yorke's voice in the corridor, Mr. Lennon asked him about the festival.

"Can you imagine," Mr. Yorke recalled years later, writing about the experience for The Globe. "The honour of being asked by a sage such as John for any kind of advice."

Seizing the opportunity to be of use to one of the most famous individuals on Earth, Mr. Yorke vouched for the concert promoter. The next weekend, Mr. Lennon and Ms. Ono (as the Plastic Ono Band) appeared at an event at Varsity Stadium that included performances by Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley and the Doors.

Mr. Yorke, along with rockabilly musician Ronnie Hawkins, became involved in Mr. Lennon and Ms. Ono's international War Is Over If You Want It peace campaign.

Fellow music writers were not always enamoured with Mr. Yorke's pseudo-celebrity status and heavy connections. "Were we jealous? You're damn right we were jealous," says Larry LeBlanc, a peer and an influential figure in Canadian music.

Mr. LeBlanc recalls a reception for Bruce Cockburn in the 1970s at which Sony Music executives stumbled over themselves to light Mr. Yorke's cigarillos, all the while ignoring the other rock critics in attendance.

Still, Mr. Yorke's passion for Canadian music and his ability at the typewriter were rarely questioned. "He was slippery and he cut corners," Mr. LeBlanc says, "but when he really wanted to write he was pretty well untouchable."

One of Mr. Yorke's closest friends was Frank Davies, a Northampton-born record producer and music publisher whom Mr. Yorke persuaded to come to Canada in 1970. Mr. Davies, a key figure in the growth of the Canadian music industry, remembers his friend as controversial, in speech and in print.

"He was no saint," says Mr. Davies, the founder of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

"He was given to exaggeration to make his point, and sometimes he was a loose cannon, but usually for a good cause or at least with the right intent. There was no middle ground or reason to beat around the bush when it came to issues where he saw one side as the enemy."

Among his enemies around 1970 were Canadian radio stations, which were not inclined to play records by Canadian artists.

Mr. Yorke was involved in the introduction of a system in 1971 that required radio stations to devote a quarter of their playlists to home-grown artists.

Mr. Yorke documented the growth of the Canadian music industry in his 1971 book Axes, Chops & Hot Licks. That same year, he was named the country's top music journalist at the Juno Awards ceremony in Toronto.

In the summer of 1972, Mr. Yorke organized the Maple Music Junket, a boozy endeavour that involved flying in an army of foreign record producers and media to help lift international awareness of Canadian music. A series of concerts in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal spotlighted Canadian artists.

Around that time, the Toronto Star published an exposé about Mr. Yorke's entangled promotional, publishing and writing arrangements. Headlined as Ritchie Yorke: The self-promoting rock promoter, the feature article revealed, for example, that when Billboard objected to Mr. Yorke writing simultaneously for its rival Canadian trade publication, RPM, Mr. Yorke merely switched his RPM byline to E.K. Roy (Yorke spelled backward).

"I don't think people know how badly that article cut him," says Peter Steinmetz, Mr. Yorke's long-time lawyer and friend.

"Here he is promoting Canadian content, and they really took a piece out of him."

After the article came out, Mr. Yorke shifted away from freelance writing and into the burgeoning field of music books. He is responsible for 1975's Van Morrison: Into The Music and 1976's Led Zeppelin: The Definitive Biography.

According to those who knew him well, there was a gentle side to Mr. Yorke. "To artists he was reverent - almost docile - and forgiving as a fan might be," Mr. Davies says.

His hobby was gardening, with his green thumb applied to orchids and towering stalks of plants more medicinal in their effect. "I think he found it cathartic," says Mr. Davies, who recalls Mr. Yorke talking over his back fence with a neighbour one afternoon. "He was growing some very large cannabis plants that were already almost up to his shoulders. In fact, he had to part them to speak with the gentleman."

The neighbour was the city's chief of police. "Nice fella," Mr. Yorke nonchalantly told Mr. Davies.

In 1986, Mr. Yorke returned to Australia, where he lived out his professional life working in newspapers and radio. In 2015, he self-published Christ You Know it Ain't Easy: John and Yoko's Battle for Peace.

Though not a musician, Mr. Yorke is credited for playing the anvil on the Crowbar song Prince of Peace and tambourine on the band's classic hit Oh What a Feeling. What he will be remembered for, however, is a much more important credit. He banged the drum for Canadian music, at a time when it was badly needed.

Ritchie Yorke leaves his third wife, Minnie Yorke; four children, Samantha, Chris, Ian and Emily; and five grandchildren. In honour of Mr. Yorke's love of trains, a portion of his cremated remains will return to Canada this summer to be placed in a railway setting.

To submit an I Remember:

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Associated Graphic

Music critic Ritchie Yorke was on the ground floor of rock 'n' roll journalism and played a large role in promoting homegrown Canadian musical talent in the seventies.


From left: Mr. Yorke, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and John Brower are seen in Mississauga in 1969, the same year Mr. Yorke helped persuade Mr. Lennon and Ms. Ono to play in the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, which was being promoted by Mr. Brower.


Scandinavian sensibility
How Thomas Ingenlath's design direction is making Volvo hip, in a Nordic kind of way
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D1

STOCKHOLM -- To say Scandinavian style is having a cultural moment right now is incorrect. Scandinavian exports - food, furniture, politics, television, music, fashion - have long been and continue to be in vogue. Let's get hygge by the fire, cocooned in an Arne Jacobsen chair, wrapped in a cloud-like blanket from Svenskt Tenn, sipping brannvin, while binge-watching the latest Nordic noir on Netflix. The British lifestyle media are all about best Scandi cocktails and five can'tmiss Scandi slippers or whatever, while the Billboard Top 10 is overrun with hits written in a Stockholm song factory run by Max Martin and his accomplices.

All of which is great news for Volvo, which is staking its comeback on the idea that Scandinavian stuff is cool. The second thing you see on Volvo's Canadian website is, "Award-Winning Scandinavian Design." Its new cars have little blue-and-yellow Swedish flags sewn into the edges of the seats. The headlights are shaped to evoke Thor's hammer.

Thomas Ingenlath is in a better position to see what makes Scandinavia tick than most. He's from Germany but moved to Volvo's headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2012 after becoming vice-president of design. He is responsible for making Volvos feel Scandinavian.

"If your children join a soccer club in Sweden, up to age 13 it's not allowed to announce the winner of a match. They're not counting the goals," he says. One day, Ingenlath's family went on holiday with friends from Germany. One of the little German boys had a tantrum during a casual game of soccer.

"My wife says, 'Oh come on, it's not so bad, it's not all about winning, it's just to have fun.' I mean, us, already so Swedish! And this little boy said, 'But I have fun when I'm winning!' " Ingenlath laughed. "And that's exactly the culture difference."

But how do you translate that into the shape of a car, a roofline, a bumper? Volvo's intention - and the intention of its new parent company, Geely - is to turn the brand into Sweden's answer to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. To do that, they'll need to not only make excellent luxury cars, but also to offer something unique, a reason to buy a Volvo over a German car.

Scandinavian design, a Scandinavian sensibility, is what Volvo is really selling.

CrossCountry On a frozen lake near Are, a ski resort about 600 kilometres north of Stockholm, Volvo's V90 CrossCountry slides gracefully sideways across the ice, drifting around a 180-degree corner, studded tires, scratching for grip, making a noise like TV static. A cloud of snow follows in its wake. It's a mid-size car, as big as a Mercedes E-Class wagon.

Not since the Concord has such a big thing moved so gracefully.

The all-wheel-drive CrossCountry costs $61,900, a figure that can climb to nearly $100,000 if you tick all the options.

The new V90 CrossCountry is a ruggedized version of Volvo's lovely V90 wagon, which the company hopes will lure buyers away from SUVs and draw back the once-Volvo faithful, those nostalgic for the firm's old station wagons.

"Scandinavian design and craftsmanship meet true allroad, all-weather capability," Volvo says of its new car.

But what is Scandinavian design and craftsmanship exactly? And, does the car have any?

"It's super important to understand that this part of the world was very poor, very unlike Europe," says Eero Koivisto, onethird of the Stockholm-based architecture and design firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. Swedish castles imported the French and German styles doing "kind of a peasant version of it," Koivisto says. It was called the Gustavian style. "There were wooden floors and not so much gold on the furniture, not so many exquisite details, simpler but with the same lines."

It wasn't until the 20th century when Sweden became a wealthy country. Following the First and Second World Wars, Sweden's official policy of neutrality meant its industrial sector remained largely intact.

"Swedish iron ores and newsprint, Swedish ball bearings and automobiles, Swedish furniture and freighters provided the impetus for the country's emergence as a rich industrial nation.

On the surplus generated by its export industries, the welfare state was built," Robert L. Heilbroner wrote in a 1980 issue of The New York Review of Books.

"Because the step was so fast from being a poor country to wealthy country, it's always been considered kind of bad taste to flash your money in Nordic countries," Koivisto says. "Real estate agents in Sweden always have two cars. They have one which is a BMW or MercedesBenz or Porsche, and then they have a car like that" - he points at a Volkswagen parked outside - "to meet clients."

Volvo's new design direction isn't as aggressive as its rivals.

The V90 doesn't have angry lines or sharp creases. The headlights don't scowl at other cars.

The V90's sheer scale and proportions are enough to make it feel luxurious.

But the Swedish flags on the seats?

"It's not really considered cool to be nationalistic in Sweden. I would take an X-ACTO knife and cut it away if it was my car," Koivisto says.

"When I sit in a Volvo, I can actually see some things coming from Audi," he says. "They're very analytical. ... Things like brushed aluminum I don't particularly like, to be honest."

This critique makes sense.

Ingenlath started his career at Audi and, before joining Volvo, worked as VW Group's director of design.

The first Volvo concept cars unveiled under Ingenlath's leadership had a more distinct Scandinavian style. Of course, concept cars can be more adventurous, but the crosshatched fabric seats and woodcovered floors and pops of colour on the 2014 Concept Estate all seem like things that could have made it to production.

Scandinavian modern The lounge of the Nobis Hotel is as clear a definition as any of what modern Scandinavian design looks like. The lounge is in the interior courtyard of a late-19th-century building in downtown Stockholm. The courtyard is six storeys high, topped with glass letting the cold blue winter light filter down into the lounge. The floor is marble, the walls off-white plaster with all original mouldings. The sofas, chairs and tables are carefully mismatched, as if collected piece-by-piece over time, like in a home. It's messy, eccentric minimalism. A column of light from a 20-foot chandelier casts a warm glow on the lower half of the room. There are people on laptops, people meeting over coffee. It's quiet.

They're dressed neatly in various shades of black. It's almost too pretty to enter but, once inside, you don't want to leave. Claesson Koivisto Rune did the architecture and interior-design work.

Leaving that hotel in downtown Stockholm and getting into the V90 CrossCountry, I think I'm imagining it when I find the cabin has an airy, openness reminiscent of the lounge.

The car's long roof is all glass; the side windows are tall.

In Sweden, Ingenlath says, "nature has such a difference between how hostile it is in winter and how inviting and open and nice it is in summer. This kind of duality has a very strong effect on you when you live there."

Driving west across Sweden in the middle of winter, the scenery is not unlike Ontario cottage country, with the road cutting through huge rolling rocks that have been blasted out of the way. Everything is cast in orange light before the sun goes down.

It is genuinely beautiful.

There's a gas station en route, full of Teslas plugged into Superchargers. Everyone drives the speed limit.

Is it a stretch to tie the hyggeloving, uniquely stylish, consensus-building Swedish society to the way a car feels? Probably.

Maybe I've watched too many Volvo ads featuring beautiful Scandinavian people driving across beautiful Scandinavian scenery. But, no, there is something to Volvo's claim. Marketing only works if there's truth behind it, and there is some truth to it here. New Volvos are Nordic in both design and temperament - and it's not because of the flags on the seats.

If a German car only has fun when it's winning, a Swedish one enjoys the game. Volvo's particular brand of luxury is cleaner, simpler, than its rivals, more in keeping with the Swedish preference for less-ostentatious finery. It's not quite the difference between the Gustavian style and Louis XIV's, but it's along the same lines.

There is, however, only some truth in this "Scandinavian design and craftsmanship" marketing. Volvo could have pushed the Scandinavian style much further. The 2014 Volvo Concept Estate shows you what that could have looked like.

Customers Niklas Ekstedt is thinking about buying a new car. The Michelinstarred restaurant that bears his name in Stockholm serves New Nordic Cuisine, as made famous by Noma in Copenhagen, but with a difference. At Ekstedt's flagship restaurant, it's about how you cook. Nearly every dish is cooked over an open wood fire in a cast-iron pan or smoked in the kitchen, just like his parents and grandparents did when he was a child in northern Sweden.

He knows Volvo was recently bought by Chinese auto giant Geely.

"The Chinese bought Volvo and are turning it around. The Americans bought Saab and put it down the ... drain and it went bankrupt. That whole community of Trollhattan [Saab's old home] is still devastated, still suffering from that."

Can any car rightly claim to be German or Swedish or anything any more? It's not like they're made with locally sourced organic produce. Cars are hyperglobalized products. The V90 CrossCountry is assembled in Sweden. Some S90 models are assembled in China. Future models will be assembled at a new factory in the United States.

"A car is not Swedish to start off with, not rooted in tradition here," Ekstedt says. "Audi and BMW have looked to Nordic design. The new Audis don't look very German. Everyone is borrowing."

It doesn't matter that Volvo is backed by a Chinese company.

With cars, it's not how you cook - it's what you cook. And what Volvo has managed - through both design and marketing - to cook up here is a genuine luxury car with hints of Scandinavia style. It'll do well.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

Associated Graphic

Volvo's intention - and the intention of its parent company, Geely - is to turn the brand into Sweden's answer to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.


Volvo's V90 CrossCountry slides sideways across ice. It's a rugged vehicle that can drift around 180-degree corners with quiet grace.


Eero Koivisto, of Claesson Koivisto Rune, is an expert in the history of Scandinavian design and craftsmanship.


Volvo hopes its new V90 CrossCountry will lure buyers away from SUVs and attract the once-Volvo faithful, those nostalgic for the company's old station wagons.


Claesson Koivisto Rune's designs, such as those in the Nobis Hotel, offer quintessential examples of modern Scandinavian aesthetics.


Have pads, will travel: Rent-a-goalie business is booming
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

Three or four times a week, John McLeod's cellphone will go off and he will toss his goaltending gear into the car.

Someone at a hockey rink needs a goaltender and McLeod is only too happy to oblige for an hour and a few dollars.

For a game at 1 p.m., McLeod says, he has to leave his house in Toronto at 12:15 p.m.. After the game ends at 2 p.m., it is not unusual to be home by 3 o'clock, bringing his time spent to nearly three hours.

"And that's for 30 bucks," he said.

McLeod is part of a band of vagabonds who provide adult recreational hockey its backbone. Without them, a lot of games in rinks across the country would never be played or would be a lot less fun.

These are not vagabonds in the traditional sense. Almost all of them have regular jobs and they all have a place to live. What they do not have is loyalty to one team. They are the hired guns of beer-league hockey - rental goalies.

Call one of the many services that provide these goaltenders for your league game or shinny session - you can also order one online or through an app - pay the going rate, which is $45 in most places, and someone such as McLeod or Dan Smith or Andy Schonberger will show up to play goal for your team or your scrimmage.

In the past 25 years, as goaltenders became harder to find because of age, injury or the escalating costs of equipment, rent-a-goalie services exploded across Canada.

A quick online search produces a long list of them, from Smith's Goalies Unlimited, which has been around for 27 years, to MyPuck to to Puck App, which lets you book a goalie with a few taps on your smart phone.

"This is my way of playing quite a bit but still having flexibility," said Schonberger, 36, a mechanical engineer by day in Toronto who spends his nights playing goal through Goalies Unlimited. "I'm not paying to be on a team and stuck with Tuesday nights where you're in that slot all the time and have to go.

"I'll have two weeks where work is crazy and I can't play.

Then the next week, Dan [Smith] will give me four skates in three days. So I have tons of flexibility and I just love the game."

The goaltender position has long posed problems for recreational teams and those who just rent the ice at an arena for an hour and play pick-up shinny. It can cost upward of $3,000 for a full set of equipment (Schonberger says you can pay $5,000 for high-end custom gear), which by itself means few people are attracted to the position in an already expensive sport. Add injuries and even for established teams in leagues having a goalie every week can be a recurring headache. Everyone who's ever been part of a shinny group knows the disappointment of shooting at a sweater hanging in the net or having to hit the posts to score if a goaltender fails to show up.

"Even 20 years ago when I started playing goal, if a team was playing once a week and didn't have a goalie some guy would say, 'I'll go in net,' " says Smith, who joined Goalies Unlimited for extra practice when he decided to switch from being a forward and eventually bought the company. "But with the cost of equipment today, and the composite sticks people are using mean everyone can wire the puck so the chances of getting hurt are higher, you don't get that many goaltenders any more."

Smith says the number of goalie services exploded in the wake of a television series called Renta-Goalie, which ran on Showcase from 2006 to 2008. The half-hour comedy series won a string of awards and chronicled the adventures of a haphazard young man who ran a goalie-rental service out of his family's coffee shop.

"That was the one major thing that changed the business," Smith said. "We helped market the show by putting 100 goalies on Bay Street to hand out promotional cards. We got more views on our web page and more calls but it also meant more people starting the same business."

Despite the increased competition, Smith, who runs his business out of Fort Erie, Ont., says he cannot keep up with the demand. He has about 50 goalies on his roster of varying ability, including four women, and he still plays as often as 10 times a week himself. He says he is the oldest goalie on the roster at 55.

His youngest netminder is 18.

Aside from the scarcity of goaltenders, the major factors in the increased demand are the rise of women's hockey and the growing popularity of summer hockey and ball hockey.

"We're getting a lot of women calling for goalies now, even asking for men because there are not enough women goalies to go around," Smith said. "Summer hockey has grown about 50 per cent from a few years ago. Men today are also finding ball hockey is good exercise at a much cheaper cost so there's a demand for goalies there as well.

"We go year-round now and we're covering ice time between 5 in the morning to 12 at night."

Traditionally, goaltender was considered a position for eccentrics and Smith says his roster may not be deep in oddballs but it is an eclectic group. He was a jockey at Woodbine Racetrack in the 1980s until injuries ended that career. He moved on to be a horse-racing official and is now a project manager connected to a religious organization.

"There are goalies from all walks of life who do this," he said. "They are police officers, actors or construction workers."

One of the best goaltenders on Smith's roster is McLeod, who is also 55. He is a film actor, among other jobs, and like Smith and Schonberger, says despite the constant demand, it is almost impossible to make a full-time living as a rental goalie.

For a one-hour game, for example, Goalies Unlimited charges the team $45. The goalie gets $30 and the service gets $15. If the session is before 9 a.m. or after 11 p.m., the charge is $50 with the extra $5 going to the goaltender.

But both Schonberger and McLeod point out they do not get paid for gas, an increasing problem given the traffic in the Greater Toronto Area, so both tend to stick to calls close to their homes. And getting $30 does not mean you only put in one hour.

Neither goaltender knows anyone who does it for a living other than in short stints between jobs.

"But if you're going to the gym, you'll eat up two hours and you won't get paid," McLeod said.

"Hockey is a great workout. It sure beats doing cardio at the gym. After a good game, even against crappy players, it's a great workout.

"If you wanted to make money at this, you would have to join multiple services and stack your games."

Schonberger, in addition to his demanding job as a mechanical engineer, is married and has two young children. But he also has a deal with his wife about goaltending, which means he usually plays between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

"The general rule of thumb is she really doesn't care as long as the kids are in bed, I've done my fatherly duties and the homework is done," he said.

Both McLeod and Schonberger say they put all of the money they make into gas and new equipment. Schonberger, who admits he likes to splurge on the most expensive custom-made equipment, says the wear-andtear means he needs one new piece every year. That means an outlay of anything from $300 for pants to $600 for skates to as much as $1,000 for a helmet.

Sticks at $150 are a constant expense because the other players are all shooting harder thanks to composite sticks and the shots do the most damage to goal sticks.

"You can go cheaper, but I found through experience I want pro-level gear," Schonberger said.

"I don't want to be hurt and I want it to last."

Injuries are the major hazard of the job. McLeod and Schonberger say the most common injuries for goalies are groinmuscle strains, back and knee injuries. Getting hit by the puck is not as dangerous, thanks to improvements in equipment, but it can still be a problem.

"I had seven or eight weeks off last year with a groin injury," Schonberger said. "As I get older the injuries start to happen.

"I have bruises galore, that happens all the time. I have one on my arm right now that's purple. I tell my son look, I'm tough.

But when it happens I try not to cry."

The quality of rental goaltenders varies as much as their day jobs. This can be an issue, especially when it comes to leagues, who have concerns about ringers. However, just about every service allows those paying for goalies to rate them on their websites so people have an idea of what they are getting. Services also have long-term connections to leagues so the right goalies can be sent along when they are needed.

Smith says McLeod, who played university hockey and a little in the professional minor leagues, is one of his most valuable goalies because he can tailor his game to the skill level of the group he plays with. But the human factor also means even a good goaltender such as McLeod can have a bad game. He has played for groups from former NHLers (yes, even they need goaltenders) to ankle-benders and says the common thread for hockey players is that they all are usually understanding when he has an off-night, even if they are paying for it.

"Yes, it can happen but if you try hard and you're friendly they understand," McLeod said. "If I do play like crap I apologize and they accept it."

Despite the injuries and the driving around, all three goaltenders say their main motivation is simply a love for the game.

"I'll do it until I can't do it any more," Schonberger said.

Associated Graphic

Christopher Bassels, right, and Andy Schonberger leave the ice after a pick-up game in Toronto.


Part-time rent-a-goalie Schonberger keeps his eye on the puck during a pick-up game at Toronto's Upper Canada College on Feb. 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associated Graphic

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


Drive-By Truckers: An American band grapples with Trump's United States
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Patterson Hood wasn't supposed to be here.

On stage at Toronto's jampacked and rowdy Phoenix Concert Theatre on a Saturday night - that was the plan, sure. He and the rest of Drive-By Truckers storming through a two-hour set of southern-fried rock, swigging from the bottle of bourbon they passed around, promising not to insult their audience's intelligence with any "bullshit" - they were in their comfort zone as one of the best live acts out there.

Sitting in the atrium of CBC headquarters 36 hours later - plaid jacket over plaid shirt, brown trilby hat atop his head, Thermos of coffee in front of him - struggling to explain to a politics reporter what has happened to his country since its presidential election, before going on a national radio program to try to do likewise ... that was not what Hood expected when this tour was planned many months ago.

"I'm as bewildered as anyone could possibly be about it all right now," he concedes, looking a little more of his 52 years than he does on stage. His country's embrace of a right-wing populist as its president has shaken his faith in his ability to speak for parts of it he thought he knew, just as he's being asked to provide such interpretation more than ever before.

But if Drive-By Truckers' current role is one to which they're uniquely suited - there aren't many middle-aged white southerners with the guts and cred to play music in front of a Black Lives Matter sign, as they have on this tour - it also makes it trickier to keep serving as musical ambassadors for the Deep South.

Interviews like the one we're doing are the reward and the penance for releasing their 11th album, American Band, last September. After establishing themselves during their first two decades as rock 'n' roll's foremost chroniclers of history and culture south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Georgia-based band took a plunge from the past to the present by making an overtly political album - one that tackles everything from police brutality to school shootings to border militias, very much putting their liberalism on their sleeves.

The album came together organically. Hood and Mike Cooley, the fellow Alabama native with whom he co-fronts the Truckers and splits songwriting duties, each independently wrote a song inspired by current events (Hood's was What It Means, a frustrated search for answers after the fatal shootings of AfricanAmerican teenagers Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown), and when they compared notes, they realized that was the direction they wanted to go with the album. They worried that once it was finished last year, it would become a time capsule, expecting that Donald Trump would go down in defeat in November and everything would cool off a little.

Instead, they now find themselves as part of what Hood describes, with a hint of bemusement, as a resistance movement.

"It really didn't dawn on us until after the election that the shelf life on our record has been greatly extended," he says. "That wasn't really the plan, and I would trade it tomorrow to have our country back."

As Hood implies, Trump's win has not been without its upside for them. American Band, wellreviewed upon its release - both for the messaging and for the lean, hard-driving urgency of the music - appears on its way to being their most successful album, commercially. Ahead of an inevitable avalanche of protest music coming from various corners of the music industry, it is providing a ready-made rebuttal to the new president; something for which there appears to be a big market, as evidenced by the fired-up, sell-out crowds at their shows.

The Truckers are hardly shrinking from that demand. They opened their Toronto show on Feb. 4 with Surrender Under Protest, an American Band anthem penned and sung by Cooley that takes aim at Southerners clinging to the Confederate flag, then worked through most of the album with older crowd favourites spliced in. After the election, they added Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World as their set closer. As Hood says, "It seemed like it put a centrepiece on the whole thing." (Also: "It rocks.") They hesitated with what exactly they were supposed to do with their material as they watched the results come in on election night, but then they went on stage in Philadelphia the next night and played one of their best shows of the year. "My feeling, kind of from that point on, is I guess we're part of a catharsis for people who are angry and have all this pent-up emotion they don't quite know how to get out," Hood says. "It's better than getting in a fight."

Embracing timeliness is something new for them because, as Hood puts it, they've spent most of their career aiming for something timeless. With a trio of gloriously, absurdly ambitious albums released between 2001 and 2004 - Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and The Dirty South - the Truckers established a particular gift as songwriters.

They have the ability to puncture stereotypes about the heart of Dixie by celebrating its complexities and contradictions with stories of political and musical icons, outlaws and family lore, traditions and resentments passed between generations.

They hit a lull after those three records, amid turnover that included several messy departures (among them Jason Isbell, once a third singer-guitarist in the band and now a much-celebrated solo artist), before seeming to find their groove again with 2014's English Oceans - the collaborative sprawl of earlier work giving way to a leaner, more Stones-influenced sound. But through highs and lows there remained an obvious romanticism, a fondness for red-state America's eccentricities alongside condemnation of the darker chapters in its history.

That romanticism very much remains a part of their live show, particularly when it comes to their reverence for southern rock heroes past; Lynyrd Skynyrd factored into two of the most reliable crowd pleasers at their Toronto show, Ronnie and Neil and Let There Be Rock. But it seems to be a struggle to maintain it off stage, at the moment.

Hood says writing his contributions to American Band was therapeutic as his mood about the country darkened. But he's been trying to write recently and for the first time he can remember, the songs are not coming naturally to him.

Is it because he's too angry?

"I'm angry and ... it's like I'm shooting for something, but I'm not necessarily hitting what I'm shooting for, I guess. I don't even know what I'm shooting for. I've never had a particularly hard time articulating what I'm thinking, at least when I'm writing. I might when I'm doing an interview or talking or something, but as far as to write, that's never really failed me. But it's been a little weird."

Somehow, he'd like to help those who are politically likeminded figure out how to better connect in places like Alabama and Georgia, the two states where he's lived most of his life.

(A registered Democrat, he's fed up with that party "writing off large swaths of the country," which "is coming back to haunt us in a horrific way.") Maybe that kind of bridge-building, he says, is "what I'm still looking for and trying to articulate that I haven't been able to in a song yet."

It's disorienting, being in a different town every night touring a political album during the most tumultuous political period in modern American history, and audience reactions confuse things further. The most unpleasant show of the Truckers' tour was in San Luis Obispo, on the California coast, of all places, where audience members held up "Blue Lives Matter" signs and a good chunk of the crowd walked out during What It Means. Meanwhile, the band has been getting nothing but good vibes at many of their shows in the South. "There's just no figurin' it," Hood says.

In a way, he may be realizing that the world they've been trying to capture is less geographically defined than he might have once thought. He recently moved his family to Portland, Ore., and loves the famously liberal city so far. But when he drives five minutes out of town and sees Trump signs, he could be back home.

"You could just as well be in rural Alabama or Oklahoma or anywhere if you're in rural Oregon."

And so he finds himself north of the border, trying to play translator for a country rather than just a region. "I sometimes wonder what y'all must think," he says with a laugh. "As a Southerner, I'm used to other people looking at us with bewilderment, cause of all the crazy stuff that happens in the part of the country I grew up, but I mean it's so national right now."

So what advice does he offer people here trying to make sense of it all? What complexities are we missing that might explain why so many Americans have rallied behind a president so offensive to so many others?

Drive-By Truckers have rarely been at a loss to tell us what we don't know about the land they call home, about their people, but Hood pauses for a long moment. "I don't know if y'all are missing anything," he finally says.

Associated Graphic

Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, whose music combines a fondness for red-state America's eccentricities with blue-state ideologies, struggle with the new direction their country has taken under the Trump administration. J.P.


Inside China's celluloid kingdom
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

BEIJING -- The studios who backed The Great Wall leaned on all the Hollywood trappings: a giant budget, tightly choreographed fight scenes, big-name stars, Oscar-winning designers and computer-generated monsters.

But in making the most expensive Sino-Hollywood co-production of all time, they also brought in one of China's best-known directors, experts in ancient imperial weaponry, local set designers and a small army of interpreters.

The Great Wall, which opens this weekend in theatres across Canada, stars Matt Damon as a mercenary who gets caught up in a fight on the Great Wall against attacking giant lizard monsters.

Filmed entirely in China, the film is a $150-million (U.S.) attempt to prove that with enough money and talent, some of the brightest entertainment minds on both sides of the Pacific can assemble a film that audiences in both China and the West want to watch.

It is also perhaps the most visible flagpost in a sweeping attempt to build China into an even greater entertainment power, one with the technical capacity and storytelling savvy to win over audiences far and wide.

In recent years, Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for his country - whose polluted landscapes and repressive tactics have done little to endear it to the Western world - to cement itself as a soft power.

And as Hollywood has shown, few things rival the power of film to cast a nation in a heroic light.

But as The Great Wall has again shown, that may be easier said than done.

The film opened to mediocre ratings in China in December - and an ensuing spat with state media, which for a short while threatened to censor "vicious and irresponsible" bad reviews - although with a domestic boxoffice take of $170-million, it need not worry about losing money.

Outside China, too, reviewers have been less than enthusiastic.

The trade paper Hollywood Reporter called it "nothing more than a formulaic monster movie" that suffers from a "sheer lack of logic." Variety praised its "highly watchable war and monster spectacles" but found fault with Chinese characters "portrayed as flawless paragons."

Friday marks its most serious test yet: Will North American audiences warm to a film that injects fantasy into ancient China, set on the country's single most recognizable landmark?

A series of movies designed to appeal to a Chinese audience - Warcraft most prominent among them - have raked in yuan but struggled elsewhere, and the industry is watching to see whether The Great Wall has found a formula to break that pattern.

It is the first English-language film for acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou, and a strong North American performance will further cement China's role in the entertainment industry, where its companies already own Legendary Entertainment and AMC Entertainment, and have been on the hunt for even bigger prey.

The Great Wall "tries to incorporate the best of China and the best of Hollywood. But is that really a good formula? The right formula? Nobody knows," said Raymond Zhou, film critic for China Daily.

He is skeptical. Co-productions may look good on paper. "In reality, it often does not work," he said. "If you have 50-per-cent input from China and 50-percent from Hollywood, you usually don't get a movie that appeals to both markets. Usually, you end up with a movie that does not appeal to either market."

The man perhaps most interested in the outcome is China's richest tycoon, Wang Jianlin, the chairman of property and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group, who has vowed to "change the world where rules are set by foreigners." Wanda bought California-based Legendary Entertainment, whose offshoot Legendary East is the production house that championed The Great Wall, in January, 2016, for $3.5-billion, and the movie is Wang's biggest attempt yet to tilt the entertainment globe.

"This is the first time that a director from mainland China can have his work play on 2,000 to 3,000 North American screens.

This has never happened before," said Chen Changye, who writes on the film industry in China. "It is a milestone for China."

Even if it flops, few expect it to be the last attempt. Western studios are subject to quotas that keep most of their films out of China - 34 a year under current guidelines, although local authorities are considering a slightly higher number for coming years.

Co-productions, which must typically feature at least 30-percent Chinese content, face no such restriction. With China the second-largest film market in the world - and, although growth is slowing, still expected to one day surpass the United States - there is great incentive for studios to skirt quotas and get more movies into Chinese theatres.

"We are just at the very, very early stages," said Vincent Fischer, an agent with Eastward Entertainment who is also on the board of the China Europe Film Fund, which develops and finances China-Europe co-productions. "The room for expansion is times 10 - at least."

The Great Wall was partially filmed at the Oriental Movie Metropolis, an $8.6-billion moviemaking colossus in the port city of Qingdao, with dozens of sound stages built next to hotels, a school, hospital and yacht club.

In fact, shooting began before construction had finished on the complex, and the film set was built on land that was still settling.

The Great Wall served as "marketing for the Qingdao facility," said Jonathan Garrison, senior vice-president at CastleHill Partners, which invests in media projects, and a former general manager in the investment-management department for Wanda, where he concentrated on entertainment.

"Wanda really wanted that kind of association with a major production ahead of the ultimate opening of their studio, to kind of show they're capable of pulling it off."

It's also the biggest entry in a new era of experimentation by Chinese film investors eager to learn and appropriate Hollywood's secrets.

"There are several projects on hold where the big studios are waiting to see how the Western audience reacts to this movie," said Sherrie Dai, an art director with The Great Wall. "They are definitely looking at it very carefully."

Disney has prompted local hand-wringing by bringing global audiences to Chinese tales, in Mulan and its Kung Fu Panda series. But in Chinese film, storytelling is "not done well," said Huang Guofeng, an analyst with Beijing-based Analysys International. The local industry has set out to fix its shortcomings "by working together with the masters," he said.

"In the current phase, they are driven not mainly by profit, but to learn."

Support for that goal comes from the highest levels of Chinese leadership. "The stories of China should be well-told," Xi, the President, has commanded.

At the same time, the fastchanging character of China's youth has fostered hope that a highly connected generation that guzzles Western pop culture, studies abroad and travels extensively outside China will simplify the task of making movies with appeal in both English and Chinese.

For producer Peter Loehr, the growing size of the Chinese film market and interest by local investors meant the timing felt ripe for The Great Wall. "We thought, 'Maybe we can make a real Chinese story and maybe the world is ready for this in a way they weren't before,' " he told The New York Times. Loehr declined an interview request.

Still, the very act of making The Great Wall underscored the difficulty of pulling that off.

The film's hierarchy blended cultures and languages, with a Chinese director, primarily foreign heads of departments and lower-ranking crew largely made up of Chinese workers. Complicating matters was the installation of a Chinese supporting head of department in many areas - there were, for example, two supervising art directors and set decorators - which was done to ensure a senior Chinese figure whose orders would be followed.

The mere act of speaking on set became so difficult that the filmmakers flew in extra interpreters, eventually accumulating more than 100 people dedicated to ensuring the director could speak with actors, and costume designers with one another, according to two people involved with the movie.

Even the fluently bilingual, however, struggled to translate the names of centuries-old weaponry and siege machinery, their names unfamiliar even to most modern-day Chinese. Eventually, translators developed an on-set linguistic bible to standardize English words for different types of Chinese fabric, horse harnesses, daggers and the like.

In some areas, the meeting of cultural minds created complementarities: Foreign fastidiousness lent itself to a more authentic replication of the stonework in the wall itself, while Western design gave creative wings to science-fiction elements of the film, like the crane rig platforms used by female soldiers to rain down destruction.

"That's a very interesting element no one has seen before in Chinese films," said Dai, the art director.

Elsewhere, different approaches bred conflict. On Hollywood sets, a strict schedule determines what happens and when. In China, crews tend to work according to the unwritten dictates of superiors - and the two work styles often clashed. Even the normal act of defusing tension often fell flat: Crew members telling a joke in English often found their Chinese counterparts scratching their heads, unable to see the humour.

One translator likened the production to a cross-cultural marriage.

"It's two different languages and two completely different cultures and two completely different ways of thinking," said the translator, who asked not to be named because the studio had not authorized a media interview. "But it's a big step - a good try. If you're not trying, then it will never work."

With a report by Yu Mei

Associated Graphic

Director Zhang Yimou, left, speaks with actor Matt Damon on the set of The Great Wall.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


A Saturday Arts story on film in China incorrectly said the Kung Fu Panda series is a Disney production. In fact, Kung Fu Panda is by DreamWorks Animation.

Golfer had the 'perfect' swing
The Hall of Famer was twice named the top Canadian woman in her sport
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S7

Betty Stanhope-Cole was a woman ahead of her time.

Tall and tomboyish, with a charming gap-toothed grin, she was fiercely competitive and independent. Her peers today call her the Wayne Gretzky of women's amateur golf. She amassed a formidable record at home and abroad with the dictum: "I hated to lose more than I wanted to win."

On Jan. 27, Ms. Stanhope-Cole died at the age of 79 of lung cancer in Edmonton, where she grew up and honed her craft. For years her parents lived in the home closest to the entrance of the Highlands Golf Club. When they died, Ms. Stanhope-Cole took over the estate, becoming the unofficial matron of the course. A park nearby was named in her honour in 2011.

"She was different than most moms," said Rob Cole, one of her two children. "She was either always in the curling rink [she played at the national level] or on the golf course. It was the norm for me."

He adds that she was also able to be very present in her children's lives and was careful not to put her sporting career before them.

"I think she did a remarkable job at balancing that during an era that was pretty traditional.

Back then, we lived in a maledominated world, but that didn't bother her. She just marched ahead and did her own thing."

And march she did. "She drove like she played golf," Mr. Cole said. "Like, 100 miles an hour.

Hard, passing people. If you got ahead of her at a light, she'd want to beat you."

While playing for a national team in New Zealand in 1963, Ms. Stanhope-Cole bravely took to the wheel in a country where motorists drive on the left side of the road. Fearless, she sped along the highway, exceeding the speed limit.

When a car loomed alongside her at the same rate of speed, Ms. Stanhope-Cole accelerated, only to find out that the other vehicle was an unmarked police car.

The police officer issued her a steep fine. Ms. Stanhope-Cole threw herself at the mercy of the court, claiming that she was a young woman in a foreign country who was concerned for her safety and that she had no intent to race. Problem solved. She always found a way.

With talent, indefatigable attitude and strong will, Ms. Stanhope-Cole became the top female golfer in Canada in 1974 and 1976. Before that, she delivered a string of triumphs: 1956 Canadian Junior Girls champion, 1957 Canadian Ladies' champion (the first woman from Western Canada to do so), 1967 Canadian Ladies' Close champion and Alberta Ladies amateur champion 16 times. In all, she won 40 City of Edmonton Championships.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole represented Canada five times between 1963 and 1976 and played on 25 Alberta interprovincial teams. She considered turning pro, according to her son, but decided against it because the women's professional golf tour, then in its infancy, offered little financial incentive or support.

In 1980 she gave up competitive golf, but devoted herself to becoming a mentor to young players and to the Canadian Ladies' Golf Association.

She is a member of three Halls of Fame: the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame, the Golf Canada Hall of Fame and the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame. In both the Edmonton and Alberta Halls, she also gained induction on the strength of her curling exploits.

She skipped three Alberta championship curling teams, and placed second in the 1978 Canadian Lassie (national championship).

Betty Stanhope was born in Calgary on Sept. 21, 1937, to Rob Stanhope and his wife, Lillian, a fiery redhead who had been orphaned and worked on a farm from the age of nine or 10 to take care of her sister. "She was tough as nails," Mr. Cole said.

Lillian was outgoing and had many friends and a warmth about her.

Her husband worked hard in the oil fields after crude was discovered at Leduc, Alta., in 1947.

He was "difficult," Mr. Cole said.

He stood more than six feet tall, with broad shoulders, but underneath it all he had a soft heart.

Betty was a product of the two.

She was blessed with the warm fire of her mother, but had a more reserved personality.

Another difference between the mother and daughter could be readily seen on the golf course.

Lillian was a terrible golfer. On one occasion, however, Lillian scored a lucky hole-in-one at Highlands, which drove her daughter crazy.

During her storied career, Betty never accomplished a hole-inone.

Lillian - or Nan, as her family called her - scored her ace with a shot that never got off the ground. It ricocheted off a tree and bounced around before it rolled back onto the green and into the cup.

Betty was 11 and playing tennis when her father suggested she take over a lesson at a driving range at Grierson Hill in Edmonton that he could not attend.

Betty claimed it was a set-up, but she quickly became hooked.

Allan Wachowich, a former Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, came to know Betty at the driving range, when he was 14 years old and she was about 12. "I had already learned to golf and was golfing pretty good," he recalled.

"But she was out-driving me. She was probably 30 pounds lighter than I was."

Her raw talent was developed further by Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Henry Martell, known for his sweet swing. She learned from the best.

"Her swing was magnificent," said fellow team member Cathy McMillan, who was 15 when she met Betty. "It was beautiful. So perfect. You look at the kids these days, like Rory McIlroy, her swing was as good as that, if not better.

She didn't try to kill it like the young men today do. It was a beautiful swing, partly because of her height. The takeaway and follow-through were just perfect.

"And, oh god, she was a mean machine and competitive. She was tough." Still, Ms. McMillan found her Alberta team member always willing to impart helpful advice. And because Ms. McMillan lived out of town - in Ponoka, Alta. - Betty would always allow her to crash at her house during Edmonton tournaments. "We had fun," Ms. McMillan said. "She was a special gal. I think she and Marlene Streit are the two greatest golfers that this country has ever produced."

Life didn't always deliver a smooth path. More than 30 years ago, Ms. Stanhope-Cole under.

went a kidney transplant just in time to avoid dialysis. She took anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life, but none of that slowed her down.

She married Gordon Cole, an engineer who eventually became chief executive officer with Interprovincial Pipe Line Ltd., which later morphed into Enbridge Inc.

More than 20 years ago, they divorced. He died of cancer four years ago.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole was known for having a dry sense of humour that could be biting at times. "She was incredibly opinionated," her son said. "She and I fought like cats and dogs, just because we're both the same. But we're probably the only two who could fight like that and still get along, just because we're so strong-minded."

Mr. Cole caddied for his mother for years when he became old enough. "I think I was the only one that could fight back and not be fired," he said. "If it was anybody else, she would have told them to get the hell off her bag. I could put her in her place, although I was very selective."

Yet the two had a special bond, and Mr. Cole ensured that his mother crossed a few items off her bucket list before she died. A couple of summers ago, he talked her into visiting Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont., to view her Hall of Fame display.

"While she was proud of her accomplishments, she was never boastful," he said.

Last spring, he persuaded her to attend the Masters tournament in Georgia. Behind the scenes, Mr.

Cole arranged for her to meet her idol, Jack Nicklaus - without telling her.

"She was just like a schoolgirl," Mr. Cole said of the meeting. "She was so excited, yet she was pretty composed. You could tell after that she didn't have any words as we walked away." Her first concern afterward was that she had offended Mr. Nicklaus by calling him "Jack."

An autographed photo of Ms. Stanhope-Cole with Mr. Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, arrived in time for Mr. Cole to present it to her on Mother's Day.

However, during the Masters, Mr. Cole noticed that his mother was fatigued at climbing the hilly course even though she had been quite fit until then, often walking on a treadmill and going for walks outdoors. "She was always going 100 miles an hour," he said.

She developed a bad cough and cold in the fall. By December, her cancer had quickly advanced.

"She just marched on like she always did," Mr. Cole said. "She never really talked about it. She certainly didn't seek any sympathy."

She left a huge footprint in many areas.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole leaves her son, Rob; daughter, Jackie; and grandchildren, Brian, Tyler, Talia and Tanner.

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Associated Graphic

Golfer Betty Stanhope-Cole holds the Duchess of Connaught trophy in 1957. The storied golfer represented Canada five times between 1963 and 1976, and was a member of three Canadian Halls of Fame.


Inside the portfolios of the pros
We asked three experts to say what they hold in their own retirement accounts and what they expect for the future
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

Retirement planning is top of mind for Canadians in the home stretch of this year's registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) season. To help them plan, we asked three experts to list what they hold in their own portfolios.

Like other investors, they have made decisions based on their personal financial goals, current market outlook and other short and long-term considerations, and their strategies should be viewed in that context.

Joyce Marbach, 56, senior vicepresident and portfolio manager, National Bank Financial Wealth Management, Regina Ms. Marbach's accounts are weighted 90 per cent in stocks and 10 per cent in cash. She owns an RRSP and TFSA, as well as savings instruments outside her registered plans.

"I look for companies that provide a good dividend, particularly companies that have proven to increase those dividends over time. I expect to work for another 10 or so years. Then after I've retired, all things being equal and I live an average lifespan, I expect I've got about a 30-year time horizon," she says.

Ms. Marbach aims for a modest 3-per-cent return annually.

"Then, if I do better, it's much better to have a happy surprise," she says. She does, however, place a lot of emphasis on selecting stocks for their dividend income. "I expect I'm going to make 3.5 to 4 per cent just from my dividend income."

Her strategy: Ms. Marbach tries to contribute to her registered plans as early in the calendar year as she can to earn maximum compounding interest. "If I've got the money available for the TFSA, it gets funded right away in January, and then I contribute to the RRSP as soon as possible," she says.

Even though 90 per cent of her overall retirement portfolio is in stocks, which as a rule are considered riskier than other types of instruments, Ms. Marbach classifies herself as a moderate investor who buys blue chip equities to provide long-term benefits.

"I'm not buying small oil companies hoping for a big win. I'm buying Canadian banks, for example, and putting them away for years, and reinvesting their dividends, which are paid quarterly. The result is I'm compounding quarterly, and [using] dollar-cost averaging," she says of the practice of spreading investments out over a period of time.

In addition to looking for good dividend-payers, Ms. Marbach said she seeks out well established companies that are secure in their market niche, such as utility firms that have a good track record. She owns, for example, stock in both TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. and Enbridge Inc.

One of the tax strategies Ms. Marbach employs is keeping dividend-paying Canadian stocks in her non-registered accounts, to take advantage of favourable tax benefits such as the dividend tax credit. Also, when shares from companies based in the United States are held inside an RRSP, that avoids the U.S. withholding tax that would be charged on them if they had been held elsewhere, she adds.

Her forecast: Ms. Marbach believes that stock markets worldwide are due for a correction in 2017. "I really would not be surprised if we get a 10-per-cent correction this year, because there's so much uncertainty in the world right now."

But she also sees that as part of a normal cycle. "As we've seen in the past, we get these declines, but then things turn around and come back again. I don't know where we'll be in six months or a year, but over time markets tend to rise. So I am more focused on having some cash on hand, so that if we do get that decline, then I've got some money to do some buying with."

Wade Lawrence, 47, certified financial planner and financial adviser, Investia Financial Services Inc., Winnipeg Mr. Lawrence's RRSP and TFSA both consist of 100 per cent mutual funds, with 80 per cent in equity funds and 20 per cent in fixed-income funds. He also has some non-registered investments outside of those plans.

About 50 per cent of his equity mutual fund portfolio consists of Canadian funds, such as CI Investments' Signature Dividend Fund, CI Investments' Cambridge Canadian Dividend Fund, and Value Partners' Canadian Equity Pool.

His strategy: "I am a huge fan of dollar-cost averaging," says Mr. Lawrence, who makes regular monthly contributions to his equity mutual funds to avoid trying to play the market when it is up or down.

How does he select his funds? "I like investment funds that have very well-defined mandates and styles, so you know what you're getting day in and day out from the fund manager. Each fund plays a role in the overall portfolio. I am trying to diversify, and to accomplish this I need fund managers to behave with a predictable discipline."

He also studies "what type of value is being delivered for the management expense ratio [MER]. And to me it is not about the lowest management expense, it is about the value for the management expense ratio," he adds.

He monitors his funds, looking for signs that are independent of normal market fluctuations. "Has there been a fund manager change? Has there been some type of ownership change with the sponsoring fund company that would raise some concerns? Has the manager been behaving inconsistently with their discipline? Has the performance of the fund been below benchmark on a medium term basis or longer? Those would be the red flags," he says.

For tax purposes, Mr. Lawrence tries to hold mutual fund investments that return eligible dividends or capital gains in his non-registered account, whereas interest-bearing instruments, which are less tax efficient, are earmarked for his RRSP or TFSA.

His forecast: Mr. Lawrence expects a mixed bag for both Canadian and world stock markets.

"I think over all it will be positive, and I could see equity markets in the high single digits. But I do expect some volatility."

He is especially cautious about the investment climate for energy and resource funds, which are a major driver for the Canadian economy, and which he holds some exposure to. "I think the outlook for that is still good. But the reason I say I am cautious is because there were some very good returns [from energy and resources] in 2016, which over all was an exceptional year, and I don't think people should be expecting that to repeat."

Andrea Hallett, 44, vice-president, investment management, Mackenzie Investments, Toronto Ms. Hallett's accounts are 100 per cent in mutual funds, with 75 per cent exposure to equities and 25 per cent to fixed-income securities. She invests in the Mackenzie Symmetry Growth Portfolio, a mutual fund that she helps to manage, in both her RRSP and TFSA. She also holds this mutual fund in her non-registered accounts.

"It's meant to replicate what a pension plan is doing. I'm getting the exposure that I want in that one solution. I'm getting the fixed-income exposure, the equity exposure and I'm getting the currency exposure that I want," she says.

Ms. Hallett's overall asset mix within the Mackenzie fund is split into 75 per cent equities and 25 per cent fixed income. The equity asset mix is about 20 per cent Canadian, 40 per cent U.S. and 40 per cent from the rest of the world.

"I'm 44, so I have a good 20 years to retirement. I'm really still in the accumulation phase," she says.

"Long term, I'm targeting about 6 to 6.5 per cent for my portfolio. I tend to be on the conservative side because I think returns could be challenging over the next few years," she says.

Her strategy: Ms. Hallett contributes to her RRSP on a dollarcost-averaging basis, to ensure consistent payments are made irrespective of market ups and downs. "If I tried to time the market myself, I'd probably be losing sleep," she says.

Ms. Hallett characterizes herself as a conservative buy-and-hold investor. "You might not link a conservative investor to a 75-percent equity mix, but I think I'm conservative in what I'm doing because I'm buying a good, balanced solution."

She says she monitors her registered and non-registered accounts on an ongoing basis.

"I've been positioned 75 per cent in equities and 25 per cent in fixed income for quite some time now. At some point I'm going to need to reduce my equity weight in favour of fixed income, but I'm not at that stage yet."

Ms. Hallett, who has had an RRSP since about the age of 20, says she has always been consistent in her preference for hedging her bets with mutual funds rather than individual equities. "I'm not an individual stock picker."

Her forecast: Ms. Hallett expects short-term market volatility in 2017 in the wake of uncertainty surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump. She sees positives to his administration, however, such as anticipated tax cuts. "I think we'll see a short-term pickup in growth as a result of tax cuts, but I'm not sure how long this will persist."

She says she doesn't have strong sector views, but "in terms of country allocation, right now I'm more positive on Canadian, U.K. and emerging-market equities, but less positive on U.S. and Japanese equities."

Associated Graphic

The retirement accounts of Mackenzie Investments' Andrea Hallett, above, are 75 per cent in equities and 25 per cent in fixed-income securities. Below are Wade Lawrence of Investia Financial Services and Joyce Marbach of National Bank Financial.


Devoted CEO fought to preserve history
As head of an aluminum company, he also worked to save historical buildings and found solace in moments of solitude
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

David Culver was an athletic man who liked to keep trim by walking to work from his house in Montreal's Westmount neighbourhood to his office at what was then the headquarters of Alcan Aluminium Limited, downtown in Place Ville Marie.

When he became the chief executive officer of Alcan in 1979, one of the perks was a chauffeur to drive him to work. Instead, Mr. Culver, who died on Feb. 6 at 92, would walk his two black labs over the mountain and have the chauffeur meet him on Pine Avenue - to pick up the dogs and take them home. Then he would continue down the hill on foot.

"It was the best 30 to 40 minutes I spent every day, giving me time to contemplate big issues and small and do it on my own," he wrote in his autobiography, Expect Miracles: Recollections of a Lucky Life. He added that once in the office, life was taken over by phone calls, meetings and office politics. It was before the age of e-mail.

It was on those walks that he became familiar with some of the historic mansions and other buildings along Sherbrooke Street. When McGill University pulled down the Prince of Wales Terrace, a row of Edwardian townhouses on Sherbrooke, he described it as "an act of vandalism unworthy of such a great institution."

But it was another building's demolition that moved him to action. When a developer tore down the Van Horne Mansion at the corner of Stanley and Sherbrooke, Mr. Culver was shocked.

"He also heard about it at home as his children were outraged that the Van Horne Mansion was gone and we were protesting it at McGill," said his daughter, Diane Culver, who was a student at the university at the time.

That set in motion a major preservation of buildings along Sherbrooke Street. Once Mr. Culver became the CEO of Alcan, he came up with a plan to buy three old houses and a newer hotel and convert them into the company's world headquarters.

One of the reasons he wanted a new building was to make a statement: Alcan was staying in Montreal. The Parti Québécois had won the 1976 election, and companies such as Sun Life and Royal Trust moved to Toronto.

"Skittish employees were constantly coming into my office and asking, 'Are we going or are we staying?' " Mr. Culver wrote.

He told them the company, with its huge smelters in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, was a Quebec firm and was staying put. He knew many of them thought he was just saying that because he had to say it. "I felt the only way I could convince them that Alcan was staying in Quebec was to build our own head office in Quebec."

There were some jewels in the row of buildings on Sherbrooke Street. One was Atholstan House, built in 1895 for Sir Hugh Graham, the founder of the Montreal Star newspaper who later became Lord Atholstan. "It wouldn't have been out of place on New York's Fifth Avenue," Mr.

Culver said. Another was Maison Béique, built for a prominent French-Canadian family in 1894.

He hired a Montreal architect, Ray Affleck, and acquired the four buildings - some of them by stealth, so the owners wouldn't push up the prices when they found out the buyer was a rich Canadian multinational. The older buildings were restored, and a modern office building was built behind them. Maison Alcan opened in 1983, with Mr. Culver's office on the second floor of what was the Atholstan mansion. His window overlooked Sherbrooke Street and the site of the old Van Horne Mansion.

The Culver family first arrived in New England in the 1600s (then spelling the name "Colver"), and one of them moved north after the American Revolution. Mr. Culver's father, Ab Culver, was a decorated hero of the First World War, and through him, David was a first cousin once removed of Conrad Black.

His mother, the former Fern Smith, was a remarkable woman who kept a daily diary from 1926 to 1986. It runs to 48,000 pages and is now with Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.

David Michael Culver was born on Dec. 5, 1924, in Winnipeg. His family moved to Montreal, and he grew up in the Golden Square Mile, at the foot of Mount Royal.

He remembered horses grazing in the fields across from the family's 12-room rented house in Elgin Terrace, at the top of Peel Street.

David went to private schools in Montreal and Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont., then graduated from McGill University. He went on to Harvard University for an MBA, graduating in 1949.

That year, he joined Alcan and married the boss's daughter, Mary Powell. Her father, Ray Edwin Powell, had come north from the United States as one of the founders of Alcan.

Fortune magazine called the Harvard Business School class of 1949 "the most successful MBA class in the history of business."

Its graduates ran and built companies from Xerox to Johnson & Johnson. Though business school graduates are relatively common now, there were only 3,000 in the world of 1949.

One of Mr. Culver's first jobs was selling aluminum from the company's sales office in New York. It was the Mad Men era, and he was warned about the three-martini lunch. His solution: order a gin on the rocks - just an ounce and a quarter of gin - while his customer downed six times as much alcohol in three martinis.

Mr. Culver was one of the business elites who helped build the postwar success story of Canada and the United States. By the time he became CEO, Alcan operated on six continents. Bauxite, the raw material for aluminum, came from tropical countries such as Jamaica and Guyana and was turned into aluminum in an energy-intensive process using electricity. The oil shocks of the 1970s gave Alcan a huge competitive advantage, as the company owned its own hydroelectric facilities in places such as Quebec and British Columbia.

Alcan was once the Canadian subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, the acronym for the Aluminum Corporation of America.

Alcan was founded in 1902 and was spun off as an independent Canadian firm in 1928 and run by Mr. Powell. Although it was always called Alcan, its official name was Alcan Aluminium Limited - with aluminum spelled the British way, with the extra "i."

Along with running one of the most important businesses in Canada, Mr. Culver was also president of the Business Council on National Issues, a kind of CEO lobby group. He was picked to represent Canadian business on important trips aboard. In the late 1980s, Japan boasted the second-largest economy in the world, and Mr. Culver led several trips there.

"At the time, he was the senior Canadian businessman on these trips. He was a gentleman, wellinformed and when you were looking for a businessman to represent Canada in Japan, he was it," said James Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador to Japan from 1989 to 1993.

After Mr. Culver's retirement, Alcan was sold to the Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto in 2007 and renamed Rio Tinto Alcan. "He was disappointed to see Alcan sold, but was relieved that the buyer was not Alcoa because he felt the cultures of those two companies were too different to be compatible," said Janice Darrah, who was his executive assistant for 34 years at Alcan and at his private firm after his retirement.

Ms. Darrah said Mr. Culver encouraged her to be independent and think for herself. She said he shared everything with her, making it easier to do her job. He never lost his temper.

Before he was CEO, however, she recalled one time when he got angry after his boss fired someone without telling him while he was away.

"He ordered a truckload of manure, had it dumped on his [own] lawn and went home and worked out his anger spreading it on his garden all weekend," Ms. Darrah said.

Mr. Culver was a devoted family man and spent weekends with them on Lake Manitou in the Laurentians, north of Montreal.

With an architect, he built a modern house there. He always had a fascination with architecture and found the original family house in Westmount boring.

He sold it, bought a lot at the top of Clarke Avenue in Westmount and built a modern structure that some of his more traditional neighbours may not have liked.

"He listened to my brother, who said he wanted it to be so bright that the sun shined on his orange juice in the morning," said Diane, his daughter. "He said when you spoke to an architect you had to tell him in the first five minutes what you wanted in a building."

A lifelong pianist, he was a patron of the McGill Chamber Orchestra and had a piano in his office at Maison Alcan. He was athletic all his life, playing tennis, rackets and golf. He played his last game of golf in April, 2016, shooting in the 40s for nine holes.

Mr. Culver leaves his four children - Michael, Diane, Andrew and Mark - and nine grandchildren.

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Associated Graphic

David Culver took a great interest in architecture, both in his work to maintain old buildings and in the construction of a modern-style home overlooking a lake in the Laurentian Highlands.


Canada, it's time to learn about barbecue - not grilling, but smoky, slow-cooked, succulent barbecue. Corey Mintz explains why it's so hard for us to understand, and introduces a new wave of chefs trying to change that
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

When John Lattuca opened his Montreal smokehouse last year he tried to be as literal as possible with the name.

Some of Canada's modern barbecue restaurants get cute with theirs - Calgary's The Palomino, Barque in Toronto, Boneheads in Halifax - but he went with, simply, Lattuca Barbecue.

Yet customers still come in and expect him to cook them a hamburger. "We don't grill. We barbecue," Lattuca says, explaining that this is a uniquely Canadian mix-up. "There's a problem with the definition of barbecue."

In the United States, using a gas grill to cook burgers or steaks is called grilling, or "grilling out." Southerners, especially, reserve the term "barbecuing" for the practice of cooking for a long time at a low temperature, using smoke from a wood fire.

Here in Canada, it's the rare diner who knows to appreciate the differences between Lattuca's Texas-style brisket (self-basted, salt-and-pepper crusted), North Carolina-style pulled pork (doused in vinegar-based barbecue sauce) and Kansas-style ribs (tomato- and molasses-based sauce). Canada is a country of grillers, confusing the smoky perfume, melting fat and gentle pull-apart tug of carefully barbecued meat with hot dogs and hamburgers thrown on the grill.

Barbecue is so entrenched in Southern U.S. cuisine partly because of history and the passing down of techniques through the generations, and partly because of climate (who's interested in babysitting a smoker in the snow?). But things are starting to change on this side of the border. Kick-started by food television and the rise of a competition circuit, barbecue has been gaining fans here over the past decade. Home cooks are graduating from gas grills to charcoal grills to smokers, while a new crop of smoke-obsessed Canadian chefs is giving diners a taste for the real stuff.

You can see this increased interest on the retail scene, says Duff Dixon, who opened the store Barbecue World 30 years ago. He now has three outdoorcooking-hardware stores in Vaughan, Whitby and Kanata, Ont., stocked with fuel, barbecues and smokers. The "charcoal room" at his flagship location started at 400 square feet then doubled in size before spilling out into the main showroom.

On the restaurant side, Lattuca is part of a movement that includes Dixie's BBQ in Vancouver and Calgary's Hayden Block, both of which opened last year.

At Toronto's Adamson Barbecue, enthusiastic customers line up for lunch-only service, and the day's 1,000 pounds of meat often sells out. Still, owner Adam Skelly regularly has to deal with customer confusion.

"Our most-heard complaint is about selling out," Skelly says.

"People post on review sites how disappointed they are that we sell out. 'Why don't they just make more meat?' I always laugh at that. Do they really think I'm not trying to sell more meat?" His boilerplate e-mail response to customer complaints explains that everything is made fresh each day, that the restaurant never serves leftovers, and that his daily production estimates, determined by sales history, aren't always exact.

It's sort of strange that Canadians don't understand barbecue, since the country has no shortage of the natural resources required to make it (namely, wood and meat).

There are two main reasons that long, slow meat-smoking isn't part of the culinary culture here.

The first is history. "These guys learned how to cook from their granddads. And their granddads learned to cook from their granddads," says Lattuca about his barbecue teachers, the fellow cooks he met while travelling the competition circuit from 2009 to 2012.

Canadians just don't have those granddads (or grandmas), because while our country has a lot in common with the United States, our history is still different.

In Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, South Carolinian Robert Moss charts the rise of barbecue in the Southern United States from the 16th century. It made a transition into restaurants in the early 20th century, took a back seat to cheap fast food in the 1970s and experienced a rebirth toward the end of the 20th century.

Moss's take is that barbecue is a merging of European, Indigenous and African foodways on the east coast of what is now the United States."It's a little fuzzy exactly how [it happened]," Moss said.

"There's just not enough evidence to get the full picture. We don't start getting into any documentary evidence until the 18th or 19th century."

But Michael Twitty doesn't buy the fuzziness. He's the author of the soon-to-be-published The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South. Twitty concurs that the cooking style spread south from Virginia all the way west to California, with barbecues evolving into a premier community event, a way for people to gather outdoors, a place for politicians to court votes.

But he disagrees that the history of barbecue is untraceable.

Instead, he says that the creative product of enslaved Africans has been all but erased. "Robert is a great guy. His book is very thorough," says Twitty. "But it's not the history of black people and barbecue. It's the history of white men and barbecue."

Twitty cites the recent discovery of barbecue pits within the slave quarters of former president James Madison's plantation, Montpelier, as evidence, and cautions against equating the lack of a written record with the lack of a historical record.

"How can you document, on paper, the history of a people who were denied the ability to record their own history?" Twitty says.

"We were the only people forbidden, on pain of death, for picking up a book or piece of paper. Reading and writing could get you sold, or separated from your family. So you have to go by different means to document our culinary journey."

Viewing barbecue as food created by enslaved African-Americans explains why it's not prominent in Canada. In 1834, the enslaved population here was an estimated 4,200 people, about one-third of African origin, the other two-thirds Indigenous. The United States, according to the 1860 census, had close to four million people enslaved, the vast majority of them Africans or their descendants.

The other reason that we weren't early adopters of barbecue is climate. In America, barbecue is usually cooked, served and eaten outdoors. But in Canada, even if customers were willing to line up in the snow, half the year is too cold to be outside fidgeting with a wood fire for 12 hours.

The centre of the dining trend in the United States is the widely celebrated Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Tex. - its owner, Aaron Franklin "made barbecue sexy," according to Lattuca. Part of the culture is long lineups for limited quantities of meat - which Moss attributes to marketing as much as freshness.

I visited Franklin in July, 2015, arriving two hours before opening only to be told that they were already presold out. Fans at the line's front thought nothing of spending hours sitting outside on folding chairs, waiting for their barbecue fix.

Many chefs are taking inspiration from barbecue joints in central Texas, where food is served in a cafeteria setting and meats are weighed by the pound and plopped onto trays lined with butcher paper. It's served that way at Dixie's in Vancouver, where the smoker is located inside the restaurant, so cooks can control the temperature. "Even with it inside, right now we're having this insane Vancouver cold snap," coowner Christina Cottell said. "So even now the boys are having to come an hour earlier to fire up the live wood smoker, because it takes that much longer to get it up to temperature."

Cottell describes many of the same customer complaints as Skelly and Lattuca: a confusion between barbecue and grilling; price critiques that don't account for the current cost of meat, and an obsession with sickly-sweet sauce as opposed to the tangier U.S. styles.

Rather than repeat herself over and over each day, she mounts placards at each table that explain the other styles of southern barbecue, and where in Vancouver customers can find them.

With every slice of brisket served from Vancouver to Halifax, with every Canadian who makes the pilgrimage to the south, our attitudes are changing. And the upside to our lack of connective history is that we're under no obligation to be regional loyalists.

No one is fiercely defensive over "real Alberta barbecue" or "real New Brunswick barbecue." Chefs can take the best of every style and innovate.

Franklin himself says he still has to explain wait times to customers. "My advice to Canadians: keep trying to make good barbecue. And keep taking the time to patiently and thoroughly explain why it is important," he said in an e-mail.

"Sooner or later, they will come around."

Associated Graphic

Pit cook Matthew Pelechaty carries in a cooking sheet full of sausage fresh out of the big smoker at Adamson Barbecue in Toronto.


The daily 1000 pounds of meat ordered and used by Adamson Barbecue often sells out completely.


Left: Jonathan Yen, left, and friend Alex Li tackle an Adamson Barbecue specialty plate. Right: Customers line up for Adamson's lunch-only service, which often generates customer complaints for the regularity at which they sell out.


Barry Hertz tracks the Oscar buzz from nomination to end of polling and offers his best prediction of which film will come out on top on Sunday
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R2

The Oscar race is a wild, unpredictable, endurance-testing marathon - a multimillion-dollar exercise in vanity, ego and, occasionally, art. From the moment nominations are announced to the glitzy ceremony itself, the fortunes of nominees can swing up, down and sideways, depending on everything from box-office numbers to shifting political winds, especially in 2017, the year of Donald Trump. Here, we track the Academy Awards conversation from Jan. 24 (the day nominations were announced) through Friday (three days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences closed its polls) to offer our best prediction of which film will come out on top Sunday night.


Jan. 24: Even before this year's nominees were announced, the La La Land backlash was dancing its way across the industry, high-kicking anyone who dared to profess a fondness for the film. In December, MTV News ran an essay with a headline that neatly summed up the dissenters: "Damien Chazelle's tribute to jazz music is a Trojan horse white-saviour film in tap shoes." Then Vulture warned that "La La Land is clueless about what's actually happening in jazz." No one seems to realize, though, that Academy voters don't care, and have never cared, about jazz. (And the issue of race is an even thornier matter.)

Jan. 28: U.S. President Trump's immigration ban takes effect - at least for a short while - throwing the world into general chaos, and, tangentially, affecting the awards race. Lion, for instance, which tells the tale of a refugee (of sorts) suddenly has more political urgency. Ditto Moonlight, which has nothing to do with Trump's politics but is about as progressive an antidote to the President's administration as can be imagined. And suddenly, the plight of the white men at the heart of Manchester by the Sea and La La Land seems less important to the cultural conversation.

Jan. 28: Not even the #woke-est think-piece or middling Saturday Night Live skit can stop the La La Land train from triumphing among the all-important industry guilds, whose members comprise a good portion of the Academy's 7,000-plus membership. At the Producers Guild of America Awards, Chazelle's film takes top prize.

Jan. 29: Wait, hold that tune. The La La Land narrative gets a slight shift at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, as Hidden Figures captures the top prize, while Fences gets a serious boost thanks to a double SAG hit championing stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. But mostly all anyone wants to talk about is Winona Ryder's face as it experienced approximately 2,000 emotions at once during her co-star David Harbour's acceptance speech for Stranger Things.


Feb. 1: Arrival's Denis Villeneuve is signed to direct a new adaptation of Dune. But it's unlikely the Academy is stacked with Frank Herbert fans and the news does little to boost Arrival's best-picture buzz.

Feb. 3: La La Land steps back into the spotlight as the Directors Guild of America names Chazelle the top filmmaker of the year. (Only two DGA winners have failed to nab the bestdirector statuette at the Oscars.)

Feb. 3: Washington continues to charm on the campaign circuit, accepting the Maltin Modern Master Award at California's small but influential Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Fences remains a long shot for a best-picture statuette, but Washington increasingly looks as if he's a lock for best actor, especially as his nearest competitor, Manchester by the Sea's Casey Affleck, gets bogged down with headlines concerning his ugly legal past.

Feb. 5: The space race is officially on (and that joke is officially over, as of this sentence), with Hidden Figures surpassing La La Land to become the top-grossing best-picture nominee of the year ($119.5-million compared with $118.2-million; all figures U.S.). Although box-office popularity does not ensure Oscar success, it can't hurt, especially as the Academy has long struggled to align its tastes with those of the movie-going public (in 2014, for instance, only one of its bestpicture nominees grossed more than $100million).


Feb. 11: Washington delivers an electrifying speech at the NAACP Image Awards - "Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.

So, keep moving, keep learning, keep growing. See you at work" - all but cementing Fences' chances in the acting categories, although likely not the best-picture slot.

Feb. 12: In London, the BAFTAs largely fall in line with expectations, awarding La La Land best picture. Although the British do shake things up slightly in the acting categories, awarding Lion's Dev Patel a best-supportingactor trophy over Moonlight's Mahershala Ali, the presumed frontrunner. (It should be noted, though, that unlike Ali, Patel is, well, British.) And lest anyone think winning across the pond is meaningless: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has about 500 members who also belong to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Feb. 15: Hacksaw Ridge director and onetime Hollywood pariah Mel Gibson is rumoured to direct the sequel to Suicide Squad. Not that the news helps Hacksaw's chances in the race. If anything, it's indicative the industry feels Gibson is more suited to blowing things up - bodies, buildings, his personal life - than helming prestige dramas, and he'll have to make do with the honour of merely being nominated this year. Also of note: Someone out there thinks it's a good idea to make a sequel to Suicide Squad.

Feb. 15: Moonlight's Ali graces the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, one of the loudest industry declarations so far that the drama is the contender that cannot be ignored, La La Land absolutists be damned.

Feb. 15: In that same issue of The Hollywood Reporter, onetime basketball legend and THR columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams La La Land, focusing on its lack of black characters and its narrative weak spots: "Mia also sings this about her aunt: 'She lives in her liquor / And died with a flicker / I'll always remember the flame.' Sure, you'll remember the flame because you're too blinded by your own ambition to see the real moral: She died with a flicker because she was an alcoholic burnout!"

Feb. 19: The Times of London publishes a vicious, double-barrelled review by Camilla Long of Moonlight and Hidden Figures. But any chance the criticism might knock either film out of the best-picture race is dashed when readers notice that Long makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Feb. 19: Actor and filmmaker Mark Duplass (Cyrus, HBO's Togetherness) pens an open letter urging Academy members to honour Moonlight as voting enters its final few days, calling the drama "his favourite film of the last 10 years."

Feb. 19: Moonlight gets another boost by landing the best-original-screenplay award from the Writers Guild of America. The only wrinkle: Moonlight is not an original screenplay, at least in the Academy's eyes - it considers the fact that it's based on an unproduced play enough reason to place it in the "adapted" category. Arrival, meanwhile, gets a much-needed shot of awardsrace adrenalin thanks to its WGA win for best adapted screenplay - although it will have to compete with, yes, Moonlight for that category at the Oscars.

Feb. 19: La La Land's soundtrack hits No. 10 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, up 33 per cent from the week before. The question is whether the Academy is listening.


Feb. 21: Oh, right, Hell or High Water is also nominated for best picture. Good for it. But let's put it this way: Online betting firm Ladbrokes has it at 150:1 odds of winning. (Although things looked similarly dire for the Patriots, and Trump ...) Feb. 21: A poll by movie-ticket site Fandango reveals average moviegoers would vote for Hidden Figures as the year's best picture, given the chance - although La La Land was the second choice, with a difference of one percentage point.

Feb. 22: As with everything in Hollywood, it pays to follow the money. History suggests the Academy prefers its best-picture winners to be modestly profitable, but not out-andout blockbusters (exceptions: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Titanic and Gladiator - although each of those honours was arguably more about securing a particular filmmaker's legacy than anything to do with the movie's specific merits). Here, it's almost a dead heat between La La Land and Hidden Figures, with the former having earned $134million domestically on a $30-million budget, and the latter raking in $144-million on a $25-million budget. Both are noteworthy surpluses that fit nicely with the Academy's high, but not outrageously boastful, preferences. (The story takes a different turn when considering foreign grosses, though, with La La Land having earned about $180-million more overseas than Hidden Figures.)

Feb. 24: Despite all the twists, turns and surprising stamina of Hidden Figures, it appears that, just as was the buzz when it came out of the Toronto International Film Festival in September, La La Land is destined to take home the best-picture Oscar. But never discount the power of a twist ending.

The 89th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday on CTV and ABC, at 8:30 p.m. ET/ 5:30 p.m. PT.

A formal bidding and voting process is crucial to get everyone on the same page - and the same plane, Josh O'Kane writes
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Here is how my friends and I approximate democracy: seven of us, sitting in an east-end Toronto basement, cornering a lone pal and screaming at the top of our lungs about how dumb it'd be to go to Walt Disney World.

This is the formal proposal process for our annual guys' trip. It is not a clean or easy affair. Billy, who's bidding for Disney World, can't get a word in above our profanity. Tyler's voice rises up when he realizes we could time Orlando to go to WrestleMania, too. He is quickly shot down. The room is in wild disarray. Adrian, his face covered in wing sauce, bows his head in dejection as Tom takes his picture: "I hate this. I hate it here."

The group of us are in our vacationing prime. Straddling either side of 30, we have no kids and, for once, a reasonable amount of disposable income. But because this window is short and mortal, the arguments get fierce and nothing is easy - requiring the kind of formalized bureaucracy generally seen at a United Nations assembly. And besides, after more than a half-decade of voyages together, refining our yearly jovial screaming matches into a science preserves our sanity.

So we've learned a few things.

Here is how to plan a vacation for a giant group of poorly organized adults - without killing each other.

The pitch Preparedness starts with everyone being on the same page. It's why we're all shutting down Billy for suggesting Disney World. His is the first of four Olympic-style bids for 2017. Lisbon, Berlin and Warsaw round out the group.

Having a formal bid process - requiring preparation and, often, a PowerPoint slide deck - means readiness and rationality can win the day.

In 2014, we had to cancel plans for our annual trip because we opened it up to too many people and never formalized the planning.

Anyone can pitch a destination, but winning the annual bid requires research. Chris, the host, comes with a PowerPoint pitch for Lisbon that (I feel) is strong in emotion but light on details. Jeremy makes a dark-horse pitch for Warsaw with lots of numbers, but no A/V. I'm confident in my own proposal: A priced-out presentation on Berlin, bookended by nonsensical jokes about the band Korn.

Each city is far more suited for childless adults than a theme park. Chris's presentation captures the tone and feel of Lisbon - beaches, cheap beer, direct flights - while I hew to specifics: Berlin's history, museums, connections to music culture ('sup, Bowie?) and its like-minded millennials. Jeremy talks for five minutes about how cheap Warsaw is.

I'm confident in my bid, especially since Jer sounds unprepared.

But that's only until he reveals the price of a beer in Warsaw: usually no more than $2.50 (U.S.). After discovering the heinous cost of beer in Reykjavik during our trip last year - upward of $10 - I should have thought to include it. The key to a good pitch is knowing your friends and highlighting what they want. I start to worry.

The vote With a large group, you've got to be strict and fair in your decision making. And while we're generally open to new friends coming on the trip, you've had to put your money where your mouth is to be eligible to vote. That's why we have a hard rule: Only friends who've both been on one of these trips before and plan to attend this year get the privilege of voting.

It takes 50 per cent of votes plus one to win. Before presentations even take place, we remind ourselves each year that no matter who gets the majority, all participants have to support the winner.

It's a peaceful transition of power that saves a lot of complaining.

Now I'm worried about being a sore loser myself - I can't believe I forgot Berlin's beer prices. With solemn faces, we fill out our secret ballots and throw them into a hat. There's eight of us voting. First three go to Berlin. I stop stress-sweating.

Then Lisbon.

Lisbon again.



I jump atop my seat and crouch in anticipation for the final vote.

It's Lisbon. Four votes each.

Well, at least we eliminated Disney World.

Now it's about finding new allies. Billy, his Orlando bid abandoned, joins me in challenging Chris on his lack of specific things to do in Lisbon. "There's a huge castle outside the city that's apparently a cool day trip," Chris responds, fumbling, in my eyes.

I point out that Germany has castles, too. He calls Lisbon the "European San Francisco." We tell him we don't want to walk up hills all day. He starts flicking through his phone. His eyes widen after a few seconds: "You can charter a boat."

The logistics "That might sway my vote," our friend Mike chimes in. Then, after a pause: "Can you even drink on boats?" I counter - "Well, you can drink on boats in Toronto."

The ensuing argument turns into another screaming match.

Chris's wife comes down to check if we're okay. We calm down and divert the conversation to the length and time of the trip.

Figuring those details out is crucial when you're travelling with a big group. Pick the wrong month and, depending on the country, you're sweating buckets or surrounded by students. The duration is even more important.

After a pseudo-scientific study of a subset of our trips from the U.S. South, I can announce that the only good length for an international trip with a large group of adults is six days and five nights.

On our trip to New Orleans, four nights made us feel as if we were missing most of the city; in Nashville, eight days together made us want to strangle one another.

There is literal and existential safety in the middle ground.

That was an easy choice this year. Six days, five nights, no sweat. But a vacation battle hinges on another logistical query: When is the cheapest and easiest to get there? This became a deciding factor in the second round of voting in Lisbon versus Berlin.

In an effort to keep all arguments limited and neutral, Chris and I were given exactly 30 seconds to make our case again.

While I laid out the specifics of fun in Berlin, Chris, who had been scouring travel websites as we argued, pointed out how many direct flights, and how much cheaper, it'd be to get to Lisbon.

We might not even need to take a red-eye. His point is convincing, and I'm scared for my bid again.

The compromise We vote once more and it's just like the last time: three votes Berlin, a bunch for Lisbon, one more Berlin and we're tied. Adrian proposes a bold amendment to the rules, implementing a third round with a potential tie-breaking vote: our WrestleMania-loving friend Tyler, who can't come in 2017 but attended a previous trip, and has spent the past two hours gleefully loading up on snacks.

Another 30 seconds of pleas from each bidder. Chris makes the case, yet again, for the affordability of Lisbon.

I try to point out flaws in his logic that cater to my chances: that he hadn't suggested enough specific things to do in the Portuguese capital; there's no point in calling it cheap when our cost estimates were for different months; and even so, that it's at least six months away, giving us time to save extra cash for the trip anyway.

Two friends agree to independently search for flight costs each city for the same weekend in June. Berlin winds up being more expensive, but only by $250. We go to a third round of voting.

Berlin. Lisbon. Berlin. Lisbon.

Lisbon. Lisbon. Berlin. Berlin. Tie.

So we look to Tyler, the ultimate swing vote, as the final secret ballot is unfolded.

We're going to Berlin.


Start early: For a summer trip, pick your destination in late November or early December.

Start scouring for cheap flights early in the new year.

Get comfy: Find a place roomy enough to fit everyone who's voting. Make sure the host's partner is understanding and calm, in case screaming matches erupt.

Budget well: Google Flights is remarkable at aggregating the aggregators for quick flight pricing. At the very least, look up the cost of a beer on

Keep talking: Once you've picked a spot, organize a group chat or e-mail thread to stay in contact and suggest things to do as the trip approaches.

Book together: One person booking all flights ensures no screw-ups.

Be flexible: Let new friends in on your travel details. If they put in the work and show up, give them a vote next year.

Associated Graphic

The author, crouched on the right (in sunglasses), and his friends in Vík, Iceland, last August. Billy, standing sad and alone with a flask, to the right, made a failed pitch to visit Walt Disney World in 2017.


The group found that four nights in New Orleans, where a couple is shown swing dancing on the street, was not enough time to enjoy the city on a previous annual guys' trip.


Why Hollywood has a Beantown fetish
A wildly disproportionate number of movies are set in Boston, each obsessed with a vision of the city that's no longer true
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R4

Young men scull on the Charles. A cop makes a Dunkin' run. Fenway is seen from above. Someone says, "chowdahead."

These are scenes from Patriots Day, the new Boston bombing movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

But they might have been pulled from any of about a dozen movies made in the past 20 years. Any of the Boston movies.

It's a fact that's been noticed by everyone from Gawker to Seth Meyers to The Simpsons: a wildly disproportionate number of movies are set in the New England city, or in its outlying suburbs and small towns. There are three Boston movies in theatres right now: Patriots Day, Live by Night and Manchester by the Sea. Not so long ago there was Black Mass and Spotlight. Before that, Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, The Departed, The Town, The Fighter and Good Will Hunting.

The genre is so familiar by now, it can be hard to notice how strange it is. There are plenty of movies about New York and Los Angeles, but those are the capitals of American culture. Boston has a population of about 650,000. Why isn't there a similar bumper crop of Philadelphia movies, or Chicago movies?

In a rant on the subject, the writer Hamilton Nolan blamed the proliferation of Boston natives in Hollywood. It's true that movies set in the city tend to feature Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, or an Affleck. But if these local boys nurse an obsession with their hometown, the question remains of why audiences keep indulging them. (For now, anyway. Live by Night bombed and Patriots Day mostly fizzled.)

Boston Magazine has suggested that generous tax credits lure studios to Massachusetts. But Boston movies are not just set in Boston; they're about Boston, and what it does to you: the wages of loyalty, the tug of roots, the comforts and claustrophobia of home.

The movies do not always romanticize this world. But even the harshest depictions of the city evince a grudging fondness for its grit and closeness.

Those qualities are twin manifestations of the nostalgia that's hard not to see as central to the city's cinematic appeal. It's a nostalgia that can be wholesome and sinister in equal measure, pining for a time of closer civic bonds and richer local culture even as it fondly remembers a whiter, manlier, and more violent past.

It's no coincidence that movie Boston is almost perfectly synonymous with Irish Catholic Boston; there's something almost European and Old World about the communitarian ethos at the heart of its worldview. The opening shot of Gone Baby Gone, starring Casey Affleck as a working-class private detective trying to solve a kidnapping, speaks to this with disarming candour. As the camera pans over an American flag painted on the side of a water tower, Affleck's voice propounds a most un-American credo: "I always believed it was things you don't choose that makes you who you are," he says. "Your city, your neighbourhood, your family."

Sure enough, the characters of the Boston film boom are defined above all by their sense of place.

Their parochialism is almost medieval: the Seans and Patricks of these stories never move away from home, speak with thick regional twangs, are forever draped in city sports regalia, and enact folk traditions seen as quaint by the rest of the country, like playing hockey and going to mass. For a North American culture homogenized by cable TV, shopping malls, chain stores, and increasingly by the sleek, antiseptic design of websites such as Facebook, a splash of local colour is refreshing.

Patriots Day hints at the best of this Boston. It shows a city where the gentle strictures of tradition give a pattern to daily life, narrowing the infinite field of choice thrown up by 21st-century consumer culture. In an early scene, before the bombing, a Boston native tells his out-of-towner wife that there are three things you can do on Patriots Day: run in the marathon, watch the marathon, or take in a "Red Sawks" game (as he insists she pronounce it). She is charmed, and so are we: here is life made simple by adherence to the tried and true.

The movie also puts on display the bonds of solidarity that can come from strong identification with a place. Wahlberg's character, a tough-talking cop, knows the street where the bombs went off so well that he can recreate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's movements for the FBI. Later, newsreel footage shows the actual scene of Red Sox hero David (Big Papi) Ortiz rallying a shaken Fenway crowd.

The appearance of Ortiz is remarkable not only for the content of his profanity-laden speech, but for the prominence it gives to a sympathetic character of colour.

In the Boston movie pantheon, it's possible to count such figures on one hand. This is where the darker side of Boston movie nostalgia begins: with its whiteness.

It's where the movies start offering a vision of working-class Boston as a kind of Trumpian Eden, where men acted like men, black folks and immigrants were scarce, and violence was the last word.

Even enlightened characters express the kind of hostile localism that has become a depressingly familiar motif of American politics. In Good Will Hunting, the Mayflower of Boston's cinematic takeover, Matt Damon's roughneck math genius interviews for a job at the NSA, and tells his prospective boss why he doesn't want to work for the military-industrial complex by imagining a kid from the South Boston projects sent off to war. "He comes back to find the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for 15 cents a day and no bathroom breaks."

Anxiety about infiltration by the white-collar and foreign runs through the genre. It's there when Jack Nicholson's deranged mob boss in The Departed complains that no one is "reliable" any more. It's there when the Casey Affleck character in Gone Baby Gone butts heads with a Lousiana-born cop about who's "more from here." It's even a little on the nose when Kris, the troubled ex-girlfriend of Ben Affleck's character in The Town, tells him she's been in a fight with some "Somalians." "All these yuppies out here," she says. "They think there's no more serious white people in Charlestown."

Most Bostonians are eager to point out that Kris is basically right: the hegemony of workingclass Irish Boston has been fading for decades, as neighbourhoods such as Southie and Charlestown gentrify and waves of immigrants make the city multicultural. And even if Boston movie characters lament these changes, the films often don't.

Spotlight tells the story of how a Jewish newspaper editor from Miami led the Boston Globe to expose a pattern of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that the paper's local journalists were too blinkered to see. The corrupting power of Boston's close-knit social fabric is the movie's theme - one it shares with half the genre. Even Doug MacRay, Ben Affleck's character in The Town and the prototypical Boston movie tough guy, is determined to put the suffocating warren of criminal Charlestown in his "reah-view."

This is a man who works for a company called Boston Sand and Gravel. He "breaks rocks" for a living, used to be a junior hockey prospect, and has biceps that look like thighs. MacRay is also a bank robber. His preppy girlfriend, Claire, doesn't know that, and he woos her with an idyllic picture of his blue-collar life.

"Punch the ticket at the end of the day, slide down the back of a Brontosaurus like Fred Flintstone, call it a night." Claire gazes back adoringly.

The film is laying the dramatic irony on thick here: Claire is also the bank manager that MacRay's gang took hostage during their last heist. He was wearing a mask; she doesn't know that her kidnapper and her lover are the same person. In these oblivious moments, Claire becomes us: drawn to the authenticity and strength of a character whose best qualities are shadowed by a tribal narrowness and lust for violence. The film hardly has to endorse this complicated attraction in order to reproduce it.

The same ambiguous appeal shines through during a key sequence in Patriots Day, the rare Boston movie to remark directly on its political moment. In this scene, FBI analysts believe they've found reasonably clear photos of the marathon bombers.

Tommy Saunders, the Wahlberg cop character, is imploring the starchy, technocratic feds to release the photos. He knows the city will unite to hunt down the attackers if only it's given a clue.

The blurriness of the pictures is dismissed, and the risk of siccing a mob on innocent dark-skinned men is brushed aside.

"You gotta let Boston work for us," Saunders says.

In the heat of his speech, and in our atavistic love for this oldfashioned town, the words ring true.

Associated Graphic

Mark Wahlberg stars in Patriots Day, a movie that shows a Boston where the gentle strictures of tradition give a pattern to daily life, narrowing the infinite field of choice thrown up by 21st-century consumer culture.

A speculation-free zone
A $25-million piece of land for sold for 10 bucks: How community land trusts could help build affordable housing in Vancouver
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

VANCOUVER -- The three buildings - two towers, one lower-rise building - being hammered on and coated with insulation on the banks of the Fraser River in southeast Vancouver don't look any different from the dozens of other buildings going up near them.

On the outside, they're not.

But these three, along with a fourth on Kingsway, are part of an experiment in Vancouver that many hope can kick off a boom of reasonably priced housing in this expensive city.

That's in part because the 358 units are being built on city land that will be protected from the speculative market that has wreaked such havoc here.

It's also because their developer is not a private company but an entity called the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, the organization the city was willing to give, for $10, a 99year lease for land worth $25-million.

The recently created land-trust foundation is the Vancouver version of a concept for creating and preserving low-cost housing that has sprouted in a few cities around North America.

A growing number of people in British Columbia are viewing this fledgling organization, and community land trusts in general, as the way to provide an important new option in the escalating struggle over housing.

"We see this as a model," says Kira Gerwig, the manager of community investment at Vancity credit union, which is involved with the current foundation project. "This is a new take on the market sector. It's like a socialenterprise development company."

Residents in South False Creek, that huge swathe of city-owned land around Granville Island that sparked Vancouver's rush to urban living in the 1970s, are considering whether a land trust might be the answer to some of their problems.

That group of residents live in 1,800 units that are divided among co-ops, non-profits, or leasehold strata buildings on a chunk of some beautiful waterfront that faces downtown. They have been trying for years to find a way forward that would ensure they get a strong say in future development or redevelopment in the areas - with vacant land along 6th Avenue and a few available parking garages being prime targets - as well as in negotiating leases with the city.

"We've been intrigued by this idea for a long time because of the possibility of achieving something that will meet the community's needs," says Richard Evans, an architect and 30-year resident of the area. People want to ensure future development matches the unique look and feel of the area, with its pattern-language design, numerous walkways and many enclosed courtyards that are ideal for families with children.

City planners have agreed to look at the idea as a possibility.

"The whole purpose [of the plan just approved] is to help us understand what the trade-offs are around that," said the city's manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas.

If the South False Creek group joined the existing Vancouver foundation, it would make it the biggest land trust on the continent.

Advocates talk passionately about how land trusts help remove property from the speculative land market and preserve it forever.

But, in the Vancouver version, people are also attracted by the other power of land trusts - their ability to harness the energy of hundreds of isolated non-profit housing societies and co-ops, combining their land equity and their clout to be able to finance new development.

"It's a combination of a vehicle for growth and a way to redevelop some sites we already have to greater density. This is a way to form partnerships," says Thom Armstrong, chief executive of the Co-op Housing Federation of B.C.

Mr. Armstrong is a driving force behind Vancouver's reinvention of this idea. Until recently, his main job was just managing the problems of the existing 264 coops, with their 15,000 homes, in British Columbia - mostly a maintenance position.

But the city's decision to experiment with a new way of producing affordable housing prompted him and others to come up with the new land-trust foundation.

(As well, he said, "We stole this idea from a group in Australia, Common Equity Ltd.," which has transformed that country's nonprofit sector.)

Mr. Armstrong is now also the CEO of the Vancouver land-trust foundation, which was formed three years ago, the product of a collaboration among a group of non-profit and the co-federation.

When the buildings they are now constructing are completed, some units will be rented out at whatever price the market will bear. A few others, just as nice, will be rented for $375 a month, the amount that the provincial government provides for housing people on welfare. Some others that are, again, same quality and size, will be rented to people for no more than 30 per cent of their declared income.

Within this small project, the well-off will subsidize the less well-off. Even better, this arrangement won't end after 10 years or 60 years, as do some city affordable-housing projects.

That was all possible because the trust was able to take the assets and expertise of the groups under its umbrella. That allowed it to take on a massive new development and a complex cross-subsidization scheme.

Community land trusts have been around a long time in various forms. One of the best known is in Burlington, Vt., where a then-little-known mayor named Bernie Sanders helped make it possible by championing the idea of land trusts in the 1980s.

The Champlain Housing Trust in Burlington, founded in 1984, now manages 565 houses and 2,100 apartments. Some residents own their homes, with the trust retaining some equity, while the owners buy the rest. It is the largest land trust in North America.

Burlington's gift of land is unusual. Most municipalities are unwilling to give away land. And, unlike nature conservancies and trusts that get donations of vast tracts to preserve, there are few private donors willing to give more than a small single lot in expensive cities.

But cities will lease to community land trusts, which provide even better benefits than individual non-profits because they are bigger, more capable of managing multiple projects and they have the capacity to finance large projects.

That emulates, in a way, the social-housing systems that exist in many European cities. There, social-housing organizations are sometimes the biggest developers in a city, as a result of the land and capital they were given by governments after the Second World War to replace decimated housing stock.

Vancouver's land-trust foundation is a long way from that, but Mr. Armstrong is seeing the possibility for the idea to grow spectacularly, performing a service for the many smaller cities in British Columbia that don't have the expertise to develop housing on their own.

His organization has already set up a second foundation to work with communities outside the B.C. Lower Mainland.

The foundation is currently in negotiations with North Cowichan District to work together on that municipality's first-ever lowcost housing project.

Mr. Armstrong's group is also stepping in to help small nonprofits that have found themselves in trouble. The foundation has now taken in the Bakerview Housing Co-operative in Abbotsford, which didn't know how it was going to manage the $6-million in necessary renos.

The co-op also had a 25-percent vacancy rate because it was so run down.

Now, the land is being transferred to the foundation, which is taking out a $7.5-million loan, backed by its current $225-million in holdings, to do the renos and pay off the last of its federal loan.

"The possibility of doubling our portfolio in a year is high," says Mr. Armstrong, who sees similar needs in many places.

Ideally, that will mean potentially hundreds of new units of low-cost housing developing, as the foundation works with a wide variety of non-profits, coops and cities to develop vacant land or redevelop properties whose original low-rise buildings don't take advantage of the maximum possibilities. He is also working with some private developers in Vancouver who are intrigued by the idea of having the foundation take over the lowcost housing the city requires them to build within large projects.

Others who watch this would agree there's a new movement afoot.

"The land-trust deal that Thom did - people all over are taking inspiration from that," says Michael Walker, a lawyer at Miller Thomson, who has worked with many different kinds of land trusts.

The ultimate benefit for people in British Columbia, if it succeeds, is the possibility of significant numbers of new low-cost housing, run by a foundation whose aim is to serve the community.

"When your mandate is to deliver affordable housing," Ms. Gerwig says, "your math is very different from other developers."

Associated Graphic

A project under construction by the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is seen along the Fraser River. It sits on one of four pieces of city land the foundation got at a reduced price.


The glory that is Cheyrou
After an illustrious career in France's Ligue 1, the veteran midfielder finds new life and a new role with TFC
The Canadian Press
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

CHAMPIONSGATE, FLA. -- Think of a European player at Toronto FC. Now think of swerving free kicks, long-range rockets and deft touches that leave defenders gasping for air before the goalkeeper picks the ball out of the net.

Sebastian Giovinco, right?

Try veteran French midfielder Benoît Cheyrou, whose gilt-edged résumé sometimes gets forgotten on this side of the Atlantic. For anyone needing a reminder, check out his montage of Olympique Marseille goals on YouTube.

There is the beauty against Bordeaux when Cheyrou chests down a ball at the edge of the sixyard box, angles his body back to make room and then lashes the ball home with a left foot as he falls to the ground. He goes one better against Paris Saint-Germain, taking a header just inside the penalty box, using his left foot to nutmeg a defender before beating the goalkeeper with his right.

Watching the video, the 35-yearold Cheyrou jokes that most of his highlights came before YouTube - in the era of black-andwhite TV.

"It's not my job actually to score," Cheyrou said. "Sometimes the team needs it, I try to help.

But it's not my job."

These days the Frenchman is elegant cover for Toronto captain Michael Bradley, with the intelligence to break up plays and the vision to launch attacks. But he can still produce a goal when his team needs it.

He did it in style in the 96th minute of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against Montreal, just two minutes after coming on for a cramping Giovinco with the series tied 5-5 on aggregate.

It's a goal worth revisiting. Bradley finds Jozy Altidore who, closed down by a Montreal player, contorts his brawny body to send the ball out to Steven Beitashour on the right flank. Beitashour uses some fancy footwork to create space from his defender and send a perfect leftfooted cross that a diving Cheyrou - with a defender draped all over him - heads into the net.

"One of my greatest moments, for sure," Cheyrou said.

He turned heads again with fewer watching recently in a 6-1 preseason win over Miami. Playing defensive midfielder, he saw a crease in the opposition ranks and surged forward. As the ball came to him, he took a touch and shifted his body weight to get the 'keeper leaning before beating him with a left-footed flick to the back post.

"The goalkeeper has no idea what's going on," Toronto coach Greg Vanney marvelled.

Cheyrou moves with grace, his feet like feathers. He reads the game beautifully. And he can deposit a pass on a dime 50 yards down the field.

Cheyrou's value is not only felt on game days, however. Vanney credits the Frenchman for driving and organizing the so-called scout team at practice as it drills the starting 11, forcing Bradley and company to excel.

'It was a very quick learning'

Cheyrou comes from Colombes, a northwest suburb of Paris. Several generations of Cheyrous played soccer for the venerable Racing Club de Paris, and Benoît, growing up 500 metres from its stadium, was no different.

He learned his soccer there, as well as a dislike for rival PSG.

He was with the club from 6 to 16 before moving to Lille's academy.

He graduated to the senior side at 18, spending five years in the north of France.

Cheyrou has fond memories of Lille. It was his start as a pro and he helped the club win promotion to the French top flight. A year later, the club qualified for the Champions League.

"It was a very quick learning," he said. "So intense."

Cheyrou left for Auxerre when Lille coach Claude Puel, now in charge of England's Southampton, told him he was no longer needed.

A month later he got a call from Guy Roux, the legendary coach of Auxerre, saying he had an opening due to injury.

He spent "three amazing years" at Auxerre, confirming he belonged at the highest level.

With Cheyrou, Auxerre won the French Cup in 2005, Roux's 44th and last year at Auxerre's helm.

'Marseille is a special place for players'

Cheyrou moved to Marseille in 2007 in a 5-million ($7-million Canadian) deal that sent a player the other way.

Founded in 1899, Olympique Marseille has history. And the fans who come to the 67,000-capacity Orange Vélodrome have high expectations.

"Marseille is a special place for players," Cheyrou said.

"You can grow up fast [there].

But you can be destroyed by the environment there - [There's] a lot of pressure."

Players are under the microscope. Unlike many other teams at the time, OM games were always available on TV. There is no hiding wearing the blue-andwhite Marseille jersey.

His older brother Bruno spent 2004-05 there on loan from Liverpool. It did not go that well.

"I was confident because I knew my quality and what I was able to do," said Benoît Cheyrou.

"For me it was a success because I'm not a guy who speaks a lot in the media. I want to be judged on what I'm doing on the pitch. And it was a perfect place for that."

There was Champions League soccer and the team won the French title in 2009-10, ending an 18-year drought. Cheyrou still gets goose bumps recalling the victory parade through the city.

The city has become Cheyrou's French home. His son was born there, his daughter grew up there and his parents moved there upon retirement.

He has favourite haunts such as Chez Jo, a restaurant owned by a good friend.

Soccer players are always in the spotlight there. But Cheyrou said he was treated well and understood it was not a big sacrifice to make a fan happy by posing for a photo.

'He was able to have the answer'

Bruno Cheyrou, three years older than Benoît, was dubbed "the new Zidane" by Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier. While he did not live up to that gaudy praise, he did enjoy a long club career and won three caps for France.

Benoît said the two were not that competitive growing up.

"Not really. He was more talented, more gifted than me."

Bruno was a great example, however. Benoît said he wanted to be like him and regularly relied on his brother's counsel.

"He has always been the best adviser. All [the] steps I did, he did it before," Benoît said. "Every time I wanted to ask him something, he was able to have the answer."

Bruno is now a TV commentator for beIN Sports France.

Benoît represented France at the under-19, U-20, and U-21 levels, winning the UEFA U-19 championship in 2000. He earned a call-up to the senior side in 2010 but didn't earn a cap.

He has no regrets, saying he can only do his best on the pitch and accept the manager's decision.

'He knows so much tactically and technically'

After seven seasons in Marseille, Benoît Cheyrou was told in 2014 by new coach Marcelo Bielsa that he was no longer needed.

He spent three months without a club, admitting that while he enjoyed time with his family he was getting restless as the weeks wore on. He had offers in France and elsewhere in Europe "but I wanted something different."

Toronto FC, with its plentiful resources and heartfelt quest for a title, fit the bill. Cheyrou played 46 regular and postseason games in his first two MLS seasons and has served as a mentor to many of its young players.

"He knows so much tactically and technically," said 25-year-old Toronto defender Clément Simonin, a fellow Frenchman.

"It's always good to learn from such a great player like him. He's also a good friend off the field.

We have a more-than-soccer relationship."

The club considers the classy Cheyrou a home run of an acquisition.

Signed to a new playing contract prior to this season, Cheyrou has also started taking his coaching licence - an endeavour that has and will take him back to France for short periods.

Toronto has said it hopes to keep him in the fold once he calls it quits.

But he is not ready to retire yet.

"Obviously I have less seasons in front of me than behind me, so I want to enjoy it," Cheyrou said of his playing days. "I feel great on the pitch."

Added Vanney: "He still has more to add and give to this team as we pursue another season."

Cheyrou has no regrets about a storied résumé that includes more than 400 Ligue 1 appearances in France and has a chapter or two still to be authored in North America.

"I'm proud of my career ... when I was 6 at Racing Club de Paris, I wouldn't expect that career."

Associated Graphic

Toronto's gifted midfielder Benoît Cheyrou, left, brings strong play on the field and acts as mentor to TFC's young players.


Former NBA all-star Stackhouse thrilled to be D-League coach
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

MISSISSAUGA -- Jerry Stackhouse has attended NBA all-star weekend countless times - as a player, a broadcaster, or just to be part of the annual revelry of basketball and celebrity. But this year he's there in a unique capacity.

While most are readying for Saturday night's skills challenge and slam-dunk contest in New Orleans, Stackhouse will coach in the Development League all-star game. He earned it for leading the Toronto Raptors' 18-monthold D-League affiliate - Raptors 905 - to one of the best records in the league. He did so in just his first few months as a head coach.

The two-time all-star, who retired in 2013, has made no secret about wanting an NBA headcoaching job. The veteran of 18 NBA seasons once believed he could be one of those rare players handed his own team immediately after retirement. It didn't happen that way. The path he's taking through the D-League isn't typical for a former star player, but don't be surprised if others start to follow it.

Stackhouse saunters through the narrow basement hallways of the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, his lively voice echoing as he cracks jokes with assistant coaches down the hall as music filters out of the locker room. The 42year-old looks just as he did during his playing days. He veers into a tiny concrete room and settles his 6-foot-6 frame in for a lengthy interview. It's a sharp contrast from the lush meeting space where he convened with the other Toronto Raptors assistant coaches on Dwane Casey's staff last season just off the locker room at the Air Canada Centre, or in the offices of the NBA team's lavish new practice digs.

"I would have loved to jump right into an NBA head-coaching job after my playing days like Derek Fisher or Jason Kidd, and the competitor in me was a little salty about that when it didn't happen, but I know now I wasn't ready for that," Stackhouse said.

"I spent a year on Casey's staff, and some people told me I would be perfect for developing young players in this D-League job. Others said 'You're already in the NBA, you don't need that.' But honestly, I love it. It's been a godsend."

Stackhouse grew up in Kinston, N.C., the youngest of 11 kids - eight boys and three girls. He honed his basketball skills against his big brothers, working himself into one of the state's best high school talents.

The high-scoring phenom starred at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith - an All-American and Sports Illustrated's 1995 national player of the year.

Some of Stack's moments remain the stuff of Tar Heel alltime highlight reels.

His reverse one-handed slam in a 1995 rivalry game against Duke made broadcaster Dick Vitale shriek "Stackhouse, Oh America! Are you serious?

Look at him strut! Look at him dancing! He's incredible!" as the cocky youngster swaggered to the applause.

He became the third overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1995 NBA draft, and from there, his 18-year career spanned eight teams and some 970 games. He was a rookie standout, then a franchise star.

In 2000-01 as a Piston, he was the league's second-leading scorer behind Allen Iverson.

Eventually he transitioned into a veteran leader.

"I always gravitated to helping the younger players," Stackhouse said. "When I played in Detroit, I'd get them to practice or bring them to my house - guys who hadn't even made the team yet. I loved teaching them things."

As his NBA career was winding down, he helped coach his 13year-old son Jaye's team. Eventually he started his own Amateur Athletic Union program - Stackhouse Elite Basketball - stressing defence and ball-sharing and helping produce talents such as Brandon Ingram, today a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stackhouse already knew Casey from his days as a veteran with the Dallas Mavericks when Casey was an assistant. But he got noticed by Raptors president Masai Ujiri while coaching a U.S. select team at a European tournament. Just two years after retirement, Stackhouse came to work as a Casey assistant.

Stackhouse sat in the second row during games, as Casey kept his more experienced assistants beside him up front. His biggest role came in development. Still in great shape, Stackhouse got on court and went toe-to-toe with young Raptors during instruction. He would push guards Cory Joseph or Norman Powell in practice, sweating it out in physical drills.

"I have gravitated to him, because I play with that same chip on my shoulder," Raptor Norman Powell said last season.

"I respected his game growing up, but he'd always kill my Lakers and that made me mad. I idolized him, his focus on going at everyone no matter who they were."

The Raptors 905 head-coaching gig opened up when inaugural coach Jesse Mermuys left for an assistant's job on Luke Walton's Lakers staff. The Raptors floated the opportunity to Stackhouse and another assistant, Jama Mahlalela. Stackhouse jumped at it, especially considering the unique, tight relationship between the Raptors and their D-League affiliate, squads that play just 30 kilometres apart.

Mermuys and general manager Dan Tolzman built the foundation for a strong expansion team, and now Stackhouse has led the 905 to a 25-9 record - tops in the Eastern Conference.

He juggles an ever-changing lineup - one full of players trying to make the NBA, mixed in with whichever Raptors get sent down on assignment each night - veterans working back from injury or youngsters in need of experience.

Stackhouse has brought his long-time friends, former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Keith Bogans, to work with his 905 players. He tells them stories about his old teammates such as Michael Curry or Darrell Armstrong who went undrafted and battled their way into the NBA.

Stackhouse has been known to send his 905 players out to dinner with his credit card after they've played particularly well.

And he still goes at them on the court, full-speed, daily.

"For a few minutes every day, I get to jump into a shell drill and be Jerry Stackhouse again. That's fun for me, and the guys get a kick out of trying to stop me," Stackhouse said. "I say 'If y'all bring this kind of defensive effort in the game that you're bringing right now to try and stop me, we're going to be all right tonight.' " He's known for his unique three-piece suits on game nights, and he was D-League coach of the month for December. His team has sailed into the all-star break on a three-game win streak. Two 905 players - Edy Tavares and Axel Toupane - earned nods to the game, while another - John Jordan - will vie for the D-League slam-dunk title.

Most D-League teams have head coaches who came from college or gigs as NBA assistants.

There are a few recognizable names who spent time as NBA players. including Darrick Martin or Coby Karl, son of coaching legend George Karl. But the depth of Stackhouse's NBA playing experience makes him unique in among current D-League head coaches.

"We have a coach who was an all-star and still has the ability to practise hard with our players, giving them the chance to measure themselves against him every day - that's a real advantage we have," Tolzman said. "When people see the success he's having in the D-League, I think NBA teams will notice his coaching talent, but I also think ex-NBA players at the end of their careers may be more likely to look at coaching in the D-League, too."

As a player who had to transition from power forward in college to perimeter player in the NBA, Stackhouse can relate to the crop of mostly undersized players all trying to develop or morph into other positions in the D-League, just battling to get noticed. Players in many situations benefit from on-court moments with him.

"I want to beat him on the court - it motivates me," said Raptor Bruno Caboclo, who comes down from the big club to play most games with the 905. "He makes a good move - like a crossover - and every player starts yelling and laughing. He's a very fun coach and he's very smart, also sometimes very serious."

While the top priority of a D-League franchise is to develop the NBA club's talent, the Raptors want to send their players down to an affiliate with a winning atmosphere.

"Some say the D-League is not about winning, it's only focused on development, but I say that's bull," Stackhouse said. "Winning should be at the forefront of everything we do."

Associated Graphic

Former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse, right, works with Corey Joseph at a Raptors team practice in Toronto.


Charting a path for Canada's future
In a posthumous book, more disquisition than memoir, the late Jim Prentice elucidates his vision for the country's energy sector
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R18

Triple Crown: Winning Canada's Energy Future By Jim Prentice, with Jean-Sébastien Rioux HarperCollins Canada, 339 pages, $32.99

Jim Prentice, who died in a plane crash last October, was a prominent lawyer, business leader and politician who served as a key cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's Conservative government and as the 16th premier of Alberta. In all those roles, he was immersed in the often-bitter national debate about the benefits, and costs, of developing Canada's enormous energy resources.

After his (brief) stint as premier, which ended with a crushing defeat at the hands of Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party in May of 2015, Prentice returned to a dormant book project that he'd begun with his friend and former chief of staff, University of Calgary political scientist Jean-Sébastien Rioux.

The result is Triple Crown: Winning Canada's Energy Future, a 300plus-page essay that lays out his views on the critical importance of resource development - specifically oil and gas - to Canada's future well-being, and that underscores the urgency of finding answers to real environment challenges and legitimate opposition from indigenous communities.

Triple Crown will be published next week - four months after the Cessna crash near Kelowna, B.C., that killed Prentice; his friend and daughter's father-inlaw, Dr. Ken Gellatly; retired Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid, and pilot Jim Kruk. In it, the author portrays himself as a product of Canada's fossil-fuelled prosperity - promoting a bright future of the oil sands sector, rather than musing about "phasing it out," as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did recently.

For Prentice, writing the book was a way to re-engage in public policy discussions after his devastating loss in Alberta, his widow, Karen Prentice, said in an interview. It now stands as the final word from a man whose willingness to listen won him respect from Canadians on all sides of issues that so often create unbridgeable divides.

"I never read the book until after he died," Karen Prentice told me recently. "When I did read it after his death, I realized it was the culmination of his life's work, that the three topics - energy, environment and First Nations - and how they connect are what he worked on his entire career."

Enlivened by anecdotes of his travels among First Nations in British Columbia, the most compelling section of the book deals with reconciliation. Prior to his political career, Jim Prentice worked in indigenous law and land claims. His long-standing call for full partnership for indigenous communities in resource projects - reiterated in Triple Crown - is not widely shared in corporate Calgary. It is also at odds with the views of many indigenous leaders who want to block pipeline projects, not share ownership of them.

The issue is particularly vexing in British Columbia, where the industry's urgent demand for export terminals in order to access new markets has collided with First Nations' insistence - backed by aboriginal title - to determine what development occurs on their traditional land.

"Frankly, the imposition of energy infrastructure on this scale, without their ongoing consent, is a practical, if not legal, impossibility," he writes. "The task at hand is therefore to achieve an alignment of interests - an alignment of Canada's national interest with the financial interests of the project proponents and the legal and community interests of the affected indigenous peoples."

At its essence, Triple Crown is a plea for crude pipelines to Canada's coasts, arguing that infrastructure is required to ensure a vibrant future for a critical Canadian industry.

In that view, the former Harper cabinet minister is in broad agreement with Prime Minister Trudeau and, for that matter, Alberta Premier Notley. Trudeau's recent comment about "phasing out" oil sands raised hackles in Alberta, but at the same time the Prime Minister argues that growth in production is consistent with the government's climate plan and has approved pipelines that would facilitate its expansion.

Readers will be disappointed if they're looking for political gossip or insider stories of Harper government machinations or Prentice's own stunning political downfall. There are some anecdotes about his life and time in power. However, this isn't a memoir; it's a disquisition.

From the outset, the author makes it clear that he shares none of the doubts about that benefits of a fossil-fuel economy that have provoked passionate opposition to pipelines projects in B.C. and central Canada. For Prentice, working in the resource industry is as Canadian as hockey.

In his opening line, he introduces himself as a "the descendant of a long line of Canadian hockey players and underground miners." As a young man, he spent "seven long summers breaking rocks" in coal mines in southern Alberta.

While Canada's reliance on the resource industries is disparaged in some quarters as being relegated to "hewers of wood and drawers of water," Prentice argues that much of the country's wealth depends on it. That extends far beyond Alberta. It includes Toronto's financial industry that remains heavily exposed to the resource sector; a federal government that relies on the industries for tax revenue and poorer regions whose unemployed young people travel to find work.

Prentice served as a key cabinet minister in Harper's Conservative government, and - for just eight months - as premier of Alberta.

So it's not surprising that he would write a book that promotes the oil and gas industry, and urges Canada to "reclaim the dream of converting Canada's vast energy resources into a secure, prosperous, environmentally responsible future."

However, he leaves a warning for the energy industry, the politicians that support it and the communities that rely on it. In order to win public support, he argues, the industry faces two imperatives: Development must be consistent with environmental protection including international climate-change commitments, and industry must enter into a full partnership with indigenous people to ensure they reap the economic rewards from projects.

Declaring himself as an optimist, Prentice writes that both conditions can be met, though his case is not always convincing.

Coming from a province where a majority still doubt whether humans are mostly responsible for climate change, the former premier hedges his bets, writing he was "ill-equipped to debate the science surrounding climate change." Still, he believes Canada needs to show leadership in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and he proposes a five-part climate-change strategy that looks remarkably like the agreement Trudeau reached in December with eight of 10 provinces and the three territories, including Alberta's NDP government.

That strategy would include national carbon pricing - a policy that is anathema to many conservatives, including Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Prentice's former Conservatives colleagues who for years have adamantly opposed what they deride as a "jobkilling tax on everything."

But Prentice qualifies his support for climate-change policies, saying they must be applied in a manner that does not erode Canada's competitiveness with key trading partners such as the United States, where President Donald Trump is now backtracking on the country's commitments.

He also opposes Notley's imposition of an emission cap on the oil sands sector, saying such a limit is not "prudent in the absence of a commitment from our continental partners to do the same."

There is plenty of room to debate the positions that Prentice takes in Triple Crown. And there are some glaring omissions. For example, he doesn't mention that, prior to becoming premier, he worked for Enbridge Inc. in trying to win First Nations' support for its ill-fated Northern Gateway pipeline.

More fundamentally, Prentice counts on continued global growth in demand for crude that would underpin growth in the high-cost oil sands industry. He cites International Energy Agency forecasts to support that rosy view, but the Paris-based agency has issued another scenario, which paints a picture of declining global demand as the world moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under that scenario, investments in oil sands and pipelines could be stranded assets.

Still, Triple Crown stands as an important contribution to Canada's challenging debate over resource development, climate change and First Nations' rights - a discussion in which he intended to play a prominent role. Perhaps no one in Canada was better placed to provide sorely-needed leadership in these areas than was Prentice, who was well regarded by corporate executives as well as many indigenous leaders and environmentalists.

His voice will be missed.

Shawn McCarthy covers the global energy beat for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Published mere months after Jim Prentice's untimely death in an airplane crash in October, 2016, Triple Crown stands as a swan song of sorts for the former Alberta premier, unpacking his life's work and ambition.


Ambrose denies link between federal funding and spouse's billionaire friend
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- Rona Ambrose vacationed on a yacht owned by a billionaire Calgary oilman whose aerospace company benefited from tens of millions in federal funds from the Conservative government during her tenure in cabinet.

But the Conservative interim leader insists there is no link between her relationship with businessman Murray Edwards, who she says is a close friend of her spouse, and the fact that Magellan Aerospace Corp., of which Mr. Edwards is chairman and majority shareholder, received federal money.

"No," she told The Globe and Mail in a brief interview this week.

Ms. Ambrose has come under fire in recent days, after it was revealed she was vacationing aboard Mr. Edwards's yacht in the Caribbean at the same time she was criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for embracing the "billionaire lifestyle" for his trip to the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas.

Mr. Trudeau is currently under investigation from the Ethics Commissioner for potentially breaking the federal Conflict of Interest Act.

But Ms. Ambrose, who is no longer subject to the law because she is not a minister or parliamentary secretary, broke no rules under the MP conflict of interest code for her January trip, the Ethics Commissioner's office said.

"As I said, I have always complied with the rules that are in place, and I have had many discussions with the Ethics Commissioner around that. I have complied with the rules that are in place," she said.

Ms. Ambrose and her senior staff are insisting that she never acted unethically during her government tenure when it came to contracts awarded to Mr. Murray's company. Her office, however, gave different accounts of when she began a relationship with her commonlaw spouse J.P. Veitch - a longtime friend of the billionaire businessman, who recently relocated from Calgary to London.

Archived public records show Magellan, or one of its divisions, won federal contracts or benefited from funding worth almost $100-million between 2008 and 2015, when Ms. Ambrose held a series of cabinet roles, including public works.

Her office initially said her relationship with Mr. Veitch became serious only in late 2012 or early 2013, although a February, 2016, Globe and Mail profile of Ms. Ambrose noted they had been together for six years. Her office later said the two first met on July 17, 2010.

Conservative spokesman Jake Enwright had told The Globe Ms. Ambrose "did not begin her relationship with Mr. Edwards as friends until after she was elected [interim] leader of the Official Opposition" in November, 2015.

Mr. Edwards was out of the country Thursday and could not be contacted, a spokeswoman said. He is currently listed to lobby for another company of which he is chairman, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. A representative for Magellan said questions about Mr. Edwards should be directed to his spokeswoman.

Lobbying commissioner records show Ms. Ambrose met with Magellan in 2012 and 2013, when she was public works minister, although her office said she set up a self-imposed screen in February of 2013 to remove herself from dealings with Magellan. Her former chief of staff, Lynette Corbett, said Ms. Ambrose asked to be removed from decisions about the company.

"The rule we had was that I would deal with the issues with the officials and she wouldn't be briefed on them," Ms. Corbett told The Globe.

But Magellan's former president and chief executive officer James Butyniec, now the company's vice-chairman, filed a report with the lobbying commissioner that recorded a meeting with Ms. Ambrose and her officials on June 17, 2013, four months after she said she stopped dealing with the company. The subject matter of the communication is "government procurement."

Both Ms. Ambrose's office and Ms. Corbett told The Globe there was no recorded meeting with Magellan in her calendar but Ms. Ambrose opened the Canadian pavilion at the Paris Air Show that day.

"She toured the pavilion at the air show, and spoke at a reception in the evening. She also had a few other meetings, but not with Magellan," Ms. Ambrose's spokesman, Mike Storeshaw, said in an e-mail. "So I don't know why Magellan would have recorded a communication. I suppose it's possible they bumped into her at one of those two events and decided to record it as a matter of practice."

When asked about the meeting, Ms. Ambrose said, "All of those questions have been answered, and you've got all the paperwork to show that I had no involvement with any of that."

A letter dated Feb. 13, 2013, from the Ethics Commissioner's office, provided to The Globe by Ms. Ambrose's office, says the chances of conflict are "very minimal considering your portfolio and Mr. Veitch's private interest, making a public declaration of a conflict of interest screen is not necessary," according to adviser Lyne Salloum.

Ms. Salloum wrote that Ms. Ambrose can establish a screen within her own office, "if you would rather not be involved in any matter or decision ... which could potentially affect Mr. Veitch's private interest."

The bulk of the letter is blacked out and it is unclear what Ms. Ambrose specifically discussed with Ms. Salloum or whether Ms. Ambrose discussed Mr. Veitch's friendship with Mr. Edwards.

"Once [Mr. Veitch] and I became common-law, and our relationship became serious enough, then we had a conference call with the Ethics Commissioner to make sure that anything to do with my common-law partner, that I understood what that meant," Ms. Ambrose said. "I had been single for a number of years; now I had someone that was part of my world and so I wanted to understand all of that and she outlined all of that to me."

According to a September, 2008, archived Industry Canada news release, the government invested $43.4-million in Bristol Aerospace Ltd. - a division of Magellan Aerospace Ltd. - to develop technologies to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Ms. Ambrose was minister of Western economic diversification at the time, and records show she, along with numerous departments, was lobbied by Magellan throughout her tenure.

Her office said she had not met Mr. Veitch at this time.

In April of 2014, Magellan announced a one-year contract renewal, through a competitive bid, for engine repair and overhaul for Canada's fleet of CF-188 Hornet aircraft.

The company said there is an option to renew and it is expected to generate sales of approximately $55-million over the two-year period. The announcement came nine months after Ms. Ambrose headed up public works.

Tom Ring, the former assistant deputy minister at public works, said Ms. Ambrose never inquired about Magellan, or any company, during her three-year tenure.

"There was never, ever such a call ever on any file," he told The Globe. "I never met anybody more ethical."

Magellan has also received contracts from the Liberal government, recently announcing a $45-million contract from Public Services and Procurement Canada for engine repair and overhaul on the CF-188 Hornet aircraft.

Archived public records show that Red River College in Winnipeg received $4.4-million from Western Economic Diversification in March, 2011, to establish the Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection Technologies, which would be located on the industrial campus at Magellan Aerospace in Winnipeg.

In March, 2015, the University of Manitoba unveiled a new satellite integration facility at Magellan's facility in Winnipeg, funded with $2.4-million from Western Economic Diversification Canada. Magellan also invested $1.5-million in the project, including $625,000 for a research chair, and contributed to the construction of the facility, according a release.

Ms. Ambrose was the minister of the file between 2007 and 2008, and again between 2010 and 2011, although she is listed as the senior minister on the file until 2015, according to an online document from the Privy Council Office. Her office said she had delegated authority to the ministers of state from 2011 to 2015.

Ms. Ambrose's lawyer, Peter Downard, sent a letter to The Globe and Mail on Thursday stating, "Ms. Ambrose had no relationship with Mr. Edwards prior to July of 2010, when she met Mr. Veitch."

He went on to say: "It would be irresponsible for The Globe and Mail to state or suggest that Ms. Ambrose has acted inappropriately ... Any such statement or suggestion would be false and unfounded."

The office of Ethics Commissioner said while there is no requirement for spouses or other family members to use blind trusts, cabinet ministers are still covered by the general provision to avoid acting in a conflict.

They are subject to "the prohibition against using insider information to seek to further their private interests or those of their relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's private interests."

Crosby notches point No. 1,000, 1,001, 1,002
Penguins superstar is 12th-fastest in league history to reach milestone, but points-per-game average among best of all time
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby's original landlord in Pittsburgh, is usually the most reclusive of the NHL's living legends, rarely making public appearances to offer his thoughts on the state of the game.

But a few weeks ago, at the allstar game in Los Angeles, Lemieux broke his customary silence to help the NHL celebrate the 100 greatest players in history.

Lemieux, the Penguins' part owner, was on that list, as was his primary asset, Crosby, one of five active players who'd accomplished enough in their careers to warrant inclusion.

Crosby is just 29 and has played in the lowest-scoring era of the past half-century.

And yet on Thursday, playing in his 757th career NHL game, Crosby became the 86th player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points. It happened 6 minutes 28 seconds into the first period of a game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets, when Crosby outfought Blake Wheeler for a loose puck and shovelled it over to longtime linemate Chris Kunitz, who beat goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from point-blank range for a 2-0 Penguins lead.

Crosby had been on the cusp of 1,000 points for the better part of a week now, something the crowd at PPG Paints arena - which included his parents Troy and Trina - was acutely aware of. Whenever Crosby ventured into the offensive zone, a murmur ran through the building, anticipating the milestone at virtually every foray.

Finally, when it happened, the place went wild, Crosby acknowledging the standing ovation with a wave of his stick.

Crosby went on to add his 1,001st career point when he assisted on a third-period goal scored by Phil Kessel, and his 1,002nd was the 4-3 overtime winner.

Kunitz, who had a hand in 185 of Crosby's 1,000 points, laughed when that was pointed out by commentator Bob Errey and remarked: "That's not very many, is it? But it's a special moment for him. He's been a great player every single day since he's stepped into this league. It's nice to be part of this milestone, but we all know, he elevates the play of every single one of us when we're on the ice together.

"We're good friends. We've become so close all the years we've spent together on the road.

He's done so many special things, in practices and in games - and you're in awe of most of them."

There is probably no one better positioned than Lemieux to put into context everything Crosby has accomplished in his career. To Lemieux, talent can only take a player so far. Crosby's greatness, he believes, can be attributed to his work ethic and his innate desire to improve every year.

"Just like Wayne [Gretzky] was when he played, Sid is the hardest-working guy out there," Lemieux said. "Whether it's at practice or a three-on-three game at practice, he wants to win. He wants to be the best."

Crosby is the 12th-fastest player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points, but his overall points-per-game average has him fifth all-time among players who've scored a minimum of 500 points or more, according to figures supplied by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Only Gretzky (1.921), Lemieux (1.883), Mike Bossy (1.497) and Bobby Orr (1.393) had averaged more than Crosby's 1.321 points per game, ahead of Thursday's contest, over their respective careers.

Colby Armstrong was one of Crosby's first linemates in the latter's rookie NHL season, 2005-06, and remembers how intrigued he was at the prospect of playing with Sid the Kid after spending three seasons apprenticing for the Penguins' minor-league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

"The first time I saw my name next to his, on the board in the dressing room where they post the lines - it was Crosby, Zigmund Palffy and me," Armstrong said. "I was like, 'Wow, I'm playing with Sidney Crosby on the first line in an NHL hockey game. That's really awesome.' "I went from 31/2years in the minors and not getting an NHL game to playing with this young phenomenon that everyone's been talking about - and lighting it up on what was a pretty bad team at the time. I was like, 'Okay, here we go. I'm in the NHL now.' " In the same way that people in the hockey industry had become aware of Connor McDavid by the time he was 15, Armstrong says everyone in the Pittsburgh organization knew of Crosby's potential long before the team drafted him first over all in 2005.

"We had some guys from Montreal and the Quebec area who were our strength coaches and they told us, 'This kid's the real deal,' " Armstrong said. "You'd hear the buzz, but I didn't actually see him play until the Memorial Cup that year when they lost in the final to London - and he was pretty much his whole team.

"He's got skill and drive and work ethic and all that stuff, but the way I look at it, the sun shines on him differently than anyone else. He was touched by the hockey gods. He's just one of those guys - like McDavid - who are legitimately different from everyone else.

"I don't know how to explain it because when you hang out with him, he's just a regular guy and a good person. He's like all my regular hockey buddies - until he puts his skates on, and then he's different. He's just special."

Lemieux scored his first 1,000 points in 513 career games. Only Gretzky got there faster, in 424 games. But they played in a different, higher-scoring era, which makes generational comparisons difficult.

Gretzky is a keen follower of NHL history and pays close attention to what's going on in the game. Even though he now works for the Oilers, and acknowledges that McDavid has Crosby in his sights, the Great One still believes Crosby is atop the NHL heap and will be until someone wrenches that title away.

"Right now, Crosby is the best player," Gretzky said. "And you have to earn your stripes. Until somebody knocks him off the castle, that's the way it's going to be."

Lemieux was on the scene when Crosby and Alex Ovechkin went head to head in their rookie seasons, 2005-06, both exceeding 100 points. There have been the bumps in the road since then for Crosby, most of them related to the concussions that derailed his career for the better part of two seasons. But there was also a triumphant surge in 2016, a singularly successful calendar year that saw him win both the Stanley Cup and the World Cup and earn MVP honours in both events.

There is something unique about the make-up of the true generational players - qualities that set the all-time greats apart from the good and the very good.

Lemieux thought it began with Crosby's skating ability, which he described as "second to none. His strength, his lowerbody strength, is unbelievable. If he goes one on one in the corner, he's able to come out and make a play. His passing ability is probably the best in the league. And his vision, of course, is also one of the best. You put all that together, and now he's starting to score some goals this year, leading the league in scoring. He's just a special player that comes along not too often. I've been very lucky to have him at my house for a few years as a tenant, and to be able to watch him every night is very special."

Apart from Crosby's on-ice achievements, Gretzky believes the way he conducts himself off the ice sets him apart from other players in his peer group.

"He's won two Stanley Cups and two gold medals and handled the pressure and everything with grace and dignity," Gretzky said.

"He deserves all the accolades he's getting. He's really been special. And he's been very lucky in the sense that he had Mario to lean on, a guy who's been through all of it and a guy that understands the pressures that go with being the best player. That's something Sidney probably took advantage of."

Associated Graphic

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins passes the puck while being chased by Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler. Crosby's pass resulted in his 1,000th career point, recorded in the first period of their game at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Thursday.


In Charlottetown, government tries to mend cradle of Confederation
Canada's journey to becoming a country began in September, 1864, inside a stately building that is now in serious disrepair - and while PEI owns Province House, Ottawa is on the hook to fix it. Chris Hannay explains what the costly, complex renovation work entails
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

OTTAWA -- On Sept. 1, 1864, as Islanders tell it, some Central Canadians got off a steamship, crashed a Charlottetown party and formed a nation.

The Central Canadians included future prime minister John A. Macdonald, his political opponent George Brown and prominent French-Canadian George-Étienne Cartier.

The party was a conference of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island politicians gathered to discuss a Maritime union of British colonies.

The nation became Canada.

"Having dressed ourselves in correct style, our two boats were lowered man-of-war fashion ... and landed like Mr. Christopher Columbus who had the precedence of us in taking possession of portions of the American continent," Mr. Brown, founder of The Globe newspaper, wrote in a letter home to his wife in Toronto.

The delegates came, he wrote, to see "whether the whole of British America could not be included in one government."

This July will be the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. The foundations of our Dominion were laid in that first conference in Charlottetown, and two more that followed, in Quebec City and London. The site of those first talks - billed as the "Birthplace of Canada" - is Province House, a stately, three-storey sandstone building in the heart of Charlottetown.

But while our union is still sound a century-and-a-half later, the foundations of its cradle are falling apart - and the government is working furiously to save it.

Province House is in bad shape. Inside, mortar between Maritime sandstone has turned to dust, timber is rotting and plaster has fallen off the walls.

The Prince Edward Island legislature moved out two years ago after decades in the east wing, and the building is closed for renovation work until at least 2020.

"It is a sick building, you might say," Greg Shaw, a project manager at Parks Canada, told The Globe and Mail.

In 2013, as PEI got ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, crews began some cosmetic masonry work on the outside of Province House. They soon discovered that minor blemishes were actually symptoms of deeper problems. Investigators were dispatched to peel back the layers of the building, and they found that decades of water damage and past stopgap repairs had taken a greater toll on everything from the roof to the floors than anyone had thought.

"You don't know, really, what you have until you open the thing up," Mr. Shaw said.

Thanks to an agreement reached when Justin Trudeau's father was prime minister, Province House is the federal government's responsibility to fix - even though the building is still owned by PEI. When the memorandum of agreement between Ottawa and Charlottetown was signed in 1974, Parks Canada was using most of the available office space, and agreed to be responsible for maintenance of the building for 99 years. Since then, though, the needs of PEI's legislature grew and it took over two-thirds of the space.

The imbalance has led the federal government to rethink the deal. In 2014, senior public servants at Parks Canada recommended Ottawa figure out how to get out of its Province House obligations, according to briefing material obtained through Access to Information laws. The PEI government says it has no interest in renegotiating the deal, and points out it covered the cost of relocating the legislative chamber while the building was closed.

In a statement, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would only say that the federal government "is committed to [the building's] long-term conservation and has invested $41million towards this goal."

That bill - roughly the same cost as a proposed plan to fix up the Prime Minister's Ottawa residence at 24 Sussex Dr. - may not be enough.

In a report filed in November, 2015, for Public Services and Procurement Canada, architectural consultants DFS Inc. (who are also contracted on the renovation of Parliament Hill's East Block) said their current estimate of how much it will cost to fix Province House "is higher than the current available project funding." In a subsequent report, filed in May, 2016, the firm recommended injecting more money into the renovation so the "root causes" of the building's structural problems could be fixed.

Parks Canada wouldn't say what budget its consultants are recommending.

PEI Senator Diane Griffin, a long-time conservationist who was appointed to Parliament last fall, says the project should get what funding it needs to be done properly.

"The ideal situation is to do the restoration fully and completely the first time around," she said, "because often delayed work ends up being more costly in the long run."

For now, the department is working within its budget.

That's meant the team has decided to focus its energies on preserving the neoclassical outsides of the building.

At first, the team had hoped to restore the original foundation, which was made of blocks of sandstone stuck together with mortar and filled with a rubble core. Seeping moisture had softened the porous stone and turned the mortar into dust. Instead, with not enough money or even enough qualified heritage masons to do the job, Parks Canada will pull out the sandstone that is salvageable and replace the whole foundation with modern poured concrete.

"We really want to focus all of our efforts and the funding that we do have on the areas of highest priority, the characterdefining elements of the building," Mr. Shaw said.

The restoration work will happen in two phases, the first beginning this spring. Contractors will build a giant steel exoskeleton to support the building, before diving headfirst into phase two: the pullingapart and putting-back-together of the exterior stone walls, as well as the other interior and foundational work.

Parks Canada is still planning to reopen Province House in 2020, though consultants warn that timeline could be threatened if any more secrets are discovered in the building's walls.

Some in Charlottetown say the reopening would be a good time to change the House's purpose.

"Through the years, there's been this not-great marriage between the building trying to serve as a legislature and the building trying to serve as a national historic site," said Gary MacDougall, a long-time editor at Charlottetown's daily Guardian newspaper who reported from the legislature for years.

He's been pushing for Province House to become exclusively a museum, and for the provincial government to build a new legislature across the street. Given the cost of constructing a new building amid the other pressing issues facing the province, Mr. MacDougall admits his plan might be a little "pie in the sky."

In the meantime, as 150thanniversary celebrations spread across Canada, Province House sits empty. Mr. Shaw of Parks Canada says it's been odd to have such a busy building go unused.

"We used to have all kinds of visitors around, and now just to have it vacant," he said, "it's very quiet and eerie throughout the building."

How water gets in One of the most serious points of deterioration in the building is the foundation. Decades of moisture have seeped into the porous PEI sandstone, weakening it and turning the mortar into dust.

Government contractors are planning to replace the structure with a modern concrete foundation.

Steps to take Harsh and wet PEI winters have taken a toll on the stone stairs leading into the building. De-icing salts have also done their part in degrading the steps. Workers will rip apart the stairs and put them back together again, with further measures to keep them secure long term.

Up top Water has rotted much of the edges of the timber holding up Province House's roof. As well, the design of its tresses don't share the load effectively and leave some parts of the roof supports badly overstressed.

Strengthening the floors Investigators initially overlooked the floors, but soon discovered that the places where timber had connected with the exterior walls had become rotten. Floors will need to be held up by temporary shoring while new steel parts are added to strengthen the building's structural integrity.

Associated Graphic

The foundations for the Dominion of Canada were laid during a conference held in Charlottetown's Province House in 1864. The conference, attended by future prime minister John A. Macdonald and prominent French-Canadian George-Étienne Cartier, brought together Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island politicians to discuss a Maritime union of British colonies. In recent years, building inspections have revealed the true extent of re prime minister John A. Macdonald and prominent French-Canadian the structural damage to the site, which will be closed till 2020 because of the needed repairs.



Bombardier loan risks Brazil relations
Former Embraer executive says Ottawa's cash infusion a 'big step back' for countries' relationship, regardless of the WTO's decision
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

OTTAWA, RIO DE JANEIRO -- A Brazilian diplomat says the country hopes the conflict over Canadian government aid to Bombardier Inc. will not poison bilateral relations, which only recently fully recovered from the impact of a similar fight 15 years ago.

On Wednesday, Brazil complained to the World Trade Organization about a $372.5-million federal cash infusion for Bombardier, setting the stage for a lengthy dispute that could see Canada launch a counter complaint. If Brazil wins this fight, it could be awarded the right to hit Canada with retaliatory tariffs.

At the height of the previous dispute, the Canadian government threatened to use hundreds of millions of dollars of trade sanctions against Brazil for its use of cut-rate loans to Embraer SA, which is Bombardier's direct competitor in the global aerospace market.

This time, Brazil would like to keep things cordial. "Disagreements are a natural part of human relations," said Marcelo Ramos Araujo, head of the economic-affairs section of the Brazilian embassy in Canada.

"It is the same with countries.

Countries with strong relations will differ in some aspects and agree and co-operate in many others. We should not ignore disagreements, but bilateral relations should not in any circumstance be contaminated by those disagreements."

But the last dispute between Bombardier and Embraer clouded those relations for years. "We are probably going back to a situation that is lose-lose for everybody," said Henrique Rzezinski, a former vice-president of external relations for Embraer, who led the firm through its last round of international trade disputes. "This is a big step back no matter who wins ... [we had] a level playing field on financial conditions and on no subsidies - we made competition dependent only on price, delivery and quality."

The Canadian government on Tuesday announced the financial aid to the Montreal-based company, in the form of a repayable contribution that will be disbursed over four years. Repayments will be structured as royalties, with Ottawa receiving funds based on aircraft deliveries.

This is on top of a $1-billion (U.S.) equity stake the Quebec government took in Bombardier in 2016 and a $1.5-billion investment by the province's largest pensionfund manager - Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec - in Bombardier's rail unit.

Ottawa appears to have structured the Bombardier bailout as a "repayable contribution" in the hope that a WTO panel will not view it as a straight-up subsidy.

Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the loans comply with WTO rules and the government will defend itself against litigation.

But in Brazil, industry watchers say the government must be confident it stands a good chance of winning this complaint.

"I don't think Brazil would get into a dispute like that without having at least some evidence that [it will win], otherwise it's just spending time and money, and it's not cheap," Mr. Rzezinski said.

"[The last dispute] was a very costly process, not only in money but also politically for Brazil and Canada - it was a very painful process that had dramatic implications, that made problems in the relationship ... and it spread over many other areas."

The last fight over aircraft coincided with Canada's much-criticized decision to temporarily ban Brazilian beef; protesters in Brazil threw Canadian Brome Lake ducks in the trash and poured out Canadian liquor to demonstrate their frustration.

Mr. Araujo noted that relations are since much improved - to the degree that Embraer now buys Canadian parts for its planes, and Air Canada flies Embraer jets. "In the last three years, Embraer has imported from Canada approximately $300-million [U.S.] in parts and components," Mr. Araujo said. "There are currently 50 Embraer commercial aircraft operating in Canada."

Yet there is still considerable scope for trade expansion: Canada and Brazil did just $7.1-billion in trade last year, according to Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although Brazil is Latin America's largest country and still the world's eighth-largest economy, despite its economic woes.

Three years ago, Canadian firms and investors were flooding into Brazil; there were delegations from the energy sector courting Rio state's offshore oil business, plus agribusiness and mining firms seeking deals, arriving here almost every week.

But the country's continuing political turmoil and simultaneous economic collapse stifled the optimism and the new ties.

Brazil is in its worst recession in almost a century, with unemployment at nearly 12 per cent, inflation at 11 per cent and GDP expected to grow just 0.4 per cent this year, despite frantic government efforts at recovery.

"One of the key political moves of the [Michel] Temer government is to try to boost economic recovery through trade - by increasing Brazil's competitiveness in exports," said Francisco Niclos Negrao, director of the Brazilian Institute of Studies on Competition, Consumer Affairs and International Trade in Sao Paulo.

That context helps to explain Brasilia's willingness to go to the WTO over aerospace subsidies, he added: Embraer is a flagship company for Brazil, so the central government is keen to prevent it from being squeezed out of the market by subsidies to competitors. The fact that Bombardier recently won a large order for aircraft from Delta Airlines may have spurred this complaint, added Mr. Negrao, who also practices international trade law.

"Bombardier may have offered a very, very low price due to these financial contributions," he said.

And Bombardier's financial troubles before the Quebec cash infusion were widely known, he added.

If Embraer is getting shut out, Mr. Negrao said, "I do not think Brazil would simply sit and wait - I imagine Embraer and Brazil would strive, within WTO rules, to try to boost its competitiveness."

Carlos Marcio Cozendey, viceminister for economic and financial affairs at Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Brasilia on Wednesday that the multiple levels of government support for Bombardier's C Series jets make a mockery of the idea that the Montreal-based firm is a private company. "Today, the C Series is an aircraft that belongs more to the Canadian government than to Bombardier," he said.

Embraer chief executive officer Paulo Cesar Silva said in a statement that the continuing subsidies "have not only been fundamental in the development and survival of the C Series program, but have also allowed Bombardier to offer its aircraft at artificially low prices." Competition must be "between companies, not governments," he said.

However, Mr. Cozendey also said that diplomatic relations between Canada and Brazil will not be affected by this complaint and that discussions about Canada providing favourable trade status to products from Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, would continue.

Aerospace is traditionally a capital-intensive industry, with a need for significant research-anddevelopment investment, and with just a few players who have outsize weight in their native countries, Mr. Negrao observed.

Bombardier's defenders were quick on Wednesday to point out that Embraer also gets support from Brazil's government, and indeed that government assistance of one kind or another is a feature in every country with an aerospace industry. Embraer, for example, has a guaranteed line of low-interest credit for "innovation research" from the government's National Bank for Social and Economic Development, or BNDES.

Mr. Rzezinski, who is a trustee of the Brazilian Center for International Relations, said that Embraer's support from government cannot be compared with that now being given to Bombardier, and that the Brazilian firm has been careful to keep within WTO rules.

"The rationale for Brazil not to do this is stronger than any other country because Brazil is the least-developed country in the market and has the weakest capacity to subsidize," he said. "Brazil would not voluntarily break the rules - this would damage Brazil on the competition field."

He said that Embraer's ability to compete will be badly undermined if the WTO complaint is not successful and Bombardier has unfettered access to bailout cash.

"This is a deal breaker, absolutely; it creates a very important asymmetry that makes competition unfair - it can make all the difference," he said. "Brazil will certainly try to protect one of its most important industries."

The two countries now have up to 60 days to try to settle the dispute, or else the WTO convenes a panel of experts to rule on the case. The last such dispute over aerospace began in the mid-1990s and did not produce a final ruling until 2002.

Associated Graphic

Bombardier, helmed by CEO Alain Bellemare, seen before a news conference on Tuesday, is in danger of meeting WTO involvement due to a complaint by Brazil, which claims Ottawa's recent funds create unfair conditions for Embraer SA, one of Bombardier's direct competitors.


Rare-disease drugs a rarity in Canada
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5

Alex Chiabai has been living with the effects of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disease that weakens and eventually destroys muscles, for most of his young life. The 16year-old now relies on a wheelchair to get around, but he still has good upper-body strength, something his mother attributes in part to deflazacort, a steroid that helps keep some of the disease's nefarious symptoms in check.

Deflazacort, a decades-old generic drug, is one of the frontline treatments for DMD and patients across the country depend on it to slow the progressive muscle weakening, as well as to help keep their lungs and hearts strong, and weight down, which are some of the other difficult symptoms of the disease.

Despite this, deflazacort hasn't been approved in Canada to treat DMD or any other medical condition. Patients must apply to Health Canada's Special Access Program, which is designed to help patients with serious diseases get their hands on medications that are not available in Canada, usually through importing from other countries.

Since deflazacort isn't approved here, patients typically must pay out of pocket for them, which can be a major financial burden for some families depending on their income, child's weight (the dose is determined by body mass) and whether they have more than one child with the genetic disease.

Alex's mother, Debra Chiabai, said she thinks companies don't see it as worthwhile to spend time and money getting drugs such as deflazacort approved in Canada, considering how little it costs and how few patients will take it.

"It's a very small patient population. It's just not cost-effective for the company to go through the whole approval process," she said.

Ms. Chiabai said her family is fortunate because they can afford to pay the out-of-pocket costs for deflazacort. But many other families can't and some have to do without the medication as a result, she said, which can have a detrimental impact on DMD patients. "It sometimes comes down to a choice between food and drugs," she said.

But Canadians with DMD learned this month that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved deflazacort to treat DMD, which some took as a sign the company manufacturing the drug, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, would also try to get it approved here, which would make the drug eligible for coverage under public and private drug plans. Muscular Dystrophy Canada said in a press release the FDA approval is "encouraging and raises hopes that Canadian children may also have access to this medication in the near future."

So far, no company has applied to bring deflazacort to market here. In an e-mail, a spokesperson for Marathon said there are no plans to seek approval in Canada as "the U.S. is our main market."

But the case highlights continuing problems faced by patients in Canada, which doesn't have a formal rare-disease drug policy or framework, meaning patients are often forced to contend with red tape and high out-of-pocket costs.

"We're the only developed country that doesn't have an orphan-drug framework," said Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders. "This is really a challenge."

Many were surprised to learn Marathon Pharmaceuticals planned to charge $89,000 (U.S.) a year for the drug, despite the fact that deflazacort currently costs a few hundred dollars a year to import from other countries.

For instance, Debra Chiabai estimates her family pays roughly $300 a year under Health Canada's Special Access Program.

News of the massive price hike set off a major controversy, with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings sending a critical letter to Marathon.

The company has since backed down and said it is "temporarily pausing" the launch of deflazacort. Dr. Hugh McMillan, a clinical investigator at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and member of the scientific advisory committee of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, said the deflazacort price hike is a result of the U.S. regulatory system for rare-disease or "orphan" drugs and would not likely happen here.

The FDA allows companies to exclusively market new orphan drugs for seven years as a way to encourage research and development of treatments for rare conditions, and some companies may be using the rule to bring older generic drugs to market through the back door, McMillan said.

Rare diseases, also called orphan diseases, are those that only affect a small number of people. In Europe, rare diseases are defined as those that affect fewer than one in 2,000 people.

The small number of patients poses unique challenges when it comes to drug availability and pricing. For instance, companies may not try to go through the time-consuming, costly process of getting drugs approved in Canada if only a few patients will ever use the drugs.

In recent years, more drug companies have been focused on developing innovative drugs to treat rare diseases, but the price tags are often so high that drug plans may refuse to cover the cost. One of the most notorious examples of this is Soliris, a drug used to treat two rare blood diseases that can cost more than half a million dollars a year. Ottawa's Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is in the midst of a hearing into the alleged excessive pricing of Soliris.

The continuing challenges with rare-disease drugs have WongRieger and others pushing federal and provincial governments to adopt a strategy to help patients navigate the system and get the medication they need. She said she's been involved in discussions with Health Canada for years to adopt rare-disease policies, and while some progress has been made, many problems remain.

For instance, she said, Health Canada has been making it easier for companies to bring older generic treatments for rare diseases into Canada by relaxing some of the usual requirements for large randomized controlled trials. Because rare-disease populations are typically small, it can be difficult for companies to do such trials, Wong-Rieger said. But Canada still doesn't have a formal definition of what a rare disease is and patients are left to navigate a confusing system.

"I do think we are lagging a little bit behind in Canada with a rare-disease strategy on a federalprovincial level," said Dr. Ronald Cohn, pediatrician-in-chief at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. "If you end up having to pay out of pocket, it's a huge financial burden."

Health Canada's website says the department is in the process of developing an orphan-drug regulatory framework "that seeks to encourage the development of orphan drugs ... and increase the availability of these products on the Canadian market," but no other information is available on timing. Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott's office did not provide information about the status of a rare-disease framework in Canada.

But even when drugs have been approved for use in Canada, it can be hard for people with rare diseases to get their hands on them.

For instance, people with PraderWilli syndrome - a genetic disease characterized by weak muscle tone, abnormal growth, developmental issues and other problems - can benefit from taking growth-hormone therapy. But because growth hormones aren't specifically approved to treat Prader-Willi, many families have to pay for the drugs themselves, as private and public plans often won't cover those costs.

Holly Sine's three-year-old son has Prader-Willi syndrome and because his growth-hormone levels were so low, he was able to qualify for funding under Ontario's drug benefit plan. But many other families have to pay thousands of dollars a year in out-ofpocket costs because their children's hormone levels didn't meet the provincial cut-off, something that seems inherently unfair, Sine said. Children that don't qualify for funding may still get access to the therapy through a doctor, but may face steep costs depending on whether they have private insurance and if their plan will cover the cost, she said.

Chiabai said she wants the obstacles removed so that it's easier to get her son the best treatment he needs. Deflazacort is just one of the drugs that can help treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

But each time a new treatment is developed, there's no telling whether it will make it into the hands of patients, she said, which is why there needs to be a separate strategy for orphan drugs.

"It makes logical sense for me that there needs to be two separate processes," she said.

Twelve cool concepts
Automobile ideas on the road to the future
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page E2

Auto makers create concept cars for different reasons.

Some hint strongly at what an upcoming production vehicle will look like. Some are "dream cars" in the tradition of General Motors' legendary Autorama exhibits of the 1950s, while others are internal exercises never seen by the public.

"I like to think of concepts as beautiful research projects," says Ralph Gilles, the Canadian who heads global design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

"We take some concepts to auto shows and events to gauge public and media feedback. Others are created for internal purposes and help us to understand feasibility.

"The driving factor to build a vehicle lies heavily on whether it has a solid business case that meets the needs of our consumers and the standard and direction set by the brand."

Wild concepts can make it to production. Gilles points to the Dodge Viper, a two-seat highperformance car powered by a V-10 truck engine, first shown at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It went on sale largely unchanged three years later.

Often, it's elements of a futuristic concept's design or technology that find their way into production models - for example, FCA's Portal minivan concept that targets millennials, shown at Detroit this year but not coming to the show in Toronto.

Some of its ideas on connectivity can be implemented quickly.

"Even the design language for me is something that could potentially pave the way for where we want to take the Chrysler brand," Gilles says.

The concepts appearing at this year's edition of the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto were revealed at other auto shows such as Detroit, New York and Paris.

Lincoln Navigator

The Navigator exterior is said to strongly telegraph the lines of the 2018 model of Lincoln's full-size luxury SUV, whose sales are less than half what they were a decade ago. But you can probably forget about its gull-wing doors and telescoping steps. The interior is a cornucopia of connected infotainment tech, while the nearly threetonne vehicle's engine, a 3.5-litre, twinturbo V-6 used on current models, is uprated slightly to 400 horsepower.

Genesis New York

Hyundai's premium brand debuted the hybrid luxury-sports-sedan concept last March at, you guessed it, the New York show. The sportiness of its coupe-like lines are underscored by the large vent behind the front-wheel arch and sharply sculpted flanks. The interior features a 21-inch floating curved screen that displays driver instruments and infotainment options, which the company says addresses some of the negative aspects of the increasing tech burden found in luxury vehicles.

Power comes from a two-litre dieselengine electric-drive combination.

Cadillac Escala

The Escala sedan concept shows off the next generation of the brand's design language for upcoming production vehicles.

Current models' sharply bevelled edges have been softened and front and rear lighting treatments have been updated.

The interior blends luxury with the latest in electronics. Power comes from a fourlitre, twin-turbo V-8.

Acura Precision

The Precision concept is another example of auto makers' struggle to make the increasingly tech-heavy cockpit more user friendly. It's all about a more intuitive "human-machine interface." Instead of clusters of buttons and knobs, the Precision's driver would use a single consolemounted curved touchpad to control most functions on its two screens. The fiercelooking Precision is a low-slung pillarless sedan with clamshell doors each hung from single massive hinges. It's no accident if you see aspects of the new NSX in the Precision because the concept's lead designers worked on Acura's hybrid supercar.

Mitsubishi GT-PHEV

Mitsubishi's concept, whose Canadian debut was at the Montreal International Auto Show, may hint at the next Outlander, except for the impractical clamshell doors. The GT kicks luxury up a notch, offering a sporty but rugged all-wheeldrive grand tourer. The plush interior features a horizontal dashboard that Mitsubishi says makes it easier for the driver to sense changes in the GT's attitude, presumably while on some stump-jumping adventure.

Nissan Vmotion 2.0

The Vmotion 2.0 is another showcase for an auto maker's direction in connectivity and autonomous driving wrapped in sexy, faceted sheet metal. Its front-end design already shows up on existing Nissan models such as the Murano crossover and Maxima sedan. Tech features include Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which aims at zero emissions and zero fatalities. ProPILOT technology allows some autonomous-driving support on urban roads and intersections.

Infiniti QX50

The QX50 concept looks as if it's ready for production, and probably is. At least it's a strong indicator of what the next generation of Infiniti's compact crossover will look like. The cabin is pushed forward and the sharply creased sheet metal removes any hint of flabbiness. There's autonomous-driving technology on board geared to ensuring the driver retains control of the vehicle, the company says. Power comes from a variable-compression, twolitre, turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine - the current model has a V-6 - said to offer the torque and efficiency of a diesel.

Subaru VIZIV-7

VIZIV is Subaru-speak for Vision for Innovation which, in this case, defines the Japanese auto maker's vision of next year's replacement for the slow-selling Tribeca SUV that was canned in 2014. Characteristically for Subaru, the mid-sized VIZIV eschews swoopy design in favour of chunky, squared-off styling cues that leverage its reputation for ruggedness and safety. Subaru offered no drive-train details or what the interior might look like. While the production version due for 2018 may not be styled quite the same, it will be Subaru's biggest model and its flagship.

Lexus LF-FC

The LF-FC was first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2015. But Toyota clearly thinks it's still relevant to demonstrate its commitment to offering hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles in the "not-so-distant future." The fuel cell powers the rear wheels but also supplies juice to two electric motors in the front, making it functionally all-wheel drive. The four-seat sedan's styling, featuring the luxury brand's massive signature grille, is meant to be rakish and sporty, with handling to match. The interior is nicely detailed and includes a system of controlling functions with just a wave of the hand without touching the panel.

Lexus UX

The UX compact-crossover concept is from Lexus's design studio in the south of France and debuted last fall at the Paris show. It exudes a no-nonsense stealthfighter vibe, with sharp exterior angles.

The interior features minimalist webbed front seats, while back-seat occupants are treated to a lounge-like ambiance, all aimed at well-heeled young urbanites. The UX also serves to show off Lexus's kinetic seat design - a concept within a concept.

Its webbed netting is made of environmentally conscious synthetic spider silk said to offer superior shock absorbance but able to mould to your body shape and be kinder to your spine, to make long drives more comfortable.

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar

Hypercars are for those for whom ordinary supercars are too tame. There's no firm definition, but usually they feature million-dollar price tags, thousand-horsepower motors and top speeds above 320 kilometres an hour. The AM-RB 001 is a collaboration between British luxury-car maker Aston Martin and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and its legendary tech chief, Adrian Newey. Its carbon-fibre body incorporates "unprecedented levels of downforce in a road-legal car," which should translate into incredible road-holding. And the reported numbers are stupifying: A 1,000-horsepower V-12 engine would rocket a car weighing about the same as a Toyota Yaris to 320 km/h in about 10 seconds. A limited production run of 175 cars (plus 25 track-only models) is planned starting next year with a $3-million (U.S.) asking price.

Buick Avista

The year-old Avista concept is a sleek twoplus-two coupe aimed at reviving the staid brand's performance reputation. It features a 400-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6 driving the rear wheels only. The body design, smooth and fluid, avoids any radical gestures and is tied to the design language used in the Buick LaCrosse. The simple lines carry into the cabin design and the Avista's controls follow the trend toward large display panels and touchscreen controls.

Associated Graphic













When generations collide
Family photo heirlooms, augmented by Ginsberg poetry, inform Geoffrey Farmer's Canadian contribution to the Venice Biennale
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L4

Geoffrey Farmer has become an international art-world superstar working with found photographs.

Years ago, while out for a walk in Vancouver, he stumbled upon a discarded Reader's Digest encyclopedia. From that emerged a seminal work, The Last Two Million Years (2007), a series of paper sculptures created by cutting out photos from the book. A few years later, his installation Leaves of Glass, made with thousands of photos cut out from old Life magazines, was a giant hit at Documenta (13) in 2012.

But the two photographs that emerged last April - well, this was the find of his life.

Add to the black-and-white photos Allen Ginsberg's poetry and a bit of Venetian history, and Farmer found the spark for the most high-profile commission of his career: representing Canada at the Venice Biennale in this sesquicentennial year. In A way out of the mirror, Farmer has created a project that contemplates the damage that seeps down through generations. It pushes off from his own history and dives deeply into a more universal contemplation of truth and reconciliation.

"Really, what the project in Venice is about is this collision; almost like I'm citing or quoting from my life and bringing it together," Farmer said during a recent interview in his Vancouver studio.

The e-mail from his sister arrived on April 14, 2016 at 6:24 p.m., as Farmer was casting about for ideas for the project. It contained scans of two photographs she had found in their parents' basement. Both depicted the same accident scene: an old GMC flatbed truck inches away from a wooden stop sign, a railway crossing sign upended and lying on top of the cab, lumber scattered around. In one photograph, a train is whizzing by in the background. In the other, a boy in a short-sleeved shirt surveys the scene, holding a halfeaten apple.

The accident, Farmer learned, involved his paternal grandfather in 1955. Victor Topham had been driving the truck for a lumber yard when a train slammed into it and pushed it down the track until it was halted by the sign.

His grandfather walked away from the accident, but had a massive heart attack a few months later and died. Farmer's father suspected the two events were related.

This was all news to Farmer, who had known nothing about his grandfather's life or death.

Nobody spoke of it.

"It wasn't anything that we ever thought about as being something significant or important," he said, the two original photos between us on a work table, protected inside transparent plastic folders. "I can only describe it as there was kind of a void there that had a shape, but we didn't even know it existed."

The photos provided a catalyst for Farmer and his sister to sit down with their father, and ask questions. They understood immediately that he had been deeply affected by the experience. They also learned about Victor. Impoverished, he worked as a labourer, delivering lumber by day and cutting up kindling in his basement at night for extra money. His life was hard.

Farmer started giving a lot of thought to intergenerational trauma, the "untold, unprocessed, untalked about story" that nonetheless seems to have affected, even infected him.

For instance, when Farmer was about the age his father was when Victor died, he changed his name. The young artist took his mother's maiden name - Farmer - and discarded the names he had inherited from his father.

But why? "I can only explain it this way: I remember my father sort of describing a kind of curse or something associated with our last name," Farmer responded. "I remember there was some shame; I think I was talking to him about being chosen last on the sports team or something like that and he sort of explained to me in this kind of spooky way that there was a kind of curse to the name."

It's unclear who took the photos, but it was likely a news photographer. While the family also found a small news clipping about the accident, there was no photo. As far as Farmer knows, the photos did not make it into print - perhaps because his grandfather survived the accident, making it less of a news event.

"These press images never got a chance to fulfill their destiny as news," Farmer said. Nor did his grandfather get to fulfill his destiny - living a full life. Perhaps his father didn't either, being weighed down by grief. This was something Farmer began to understand only with the discovery of these photos.

There are more collisions and coincidences in the creation of Farmer's Venice show.

When he received that e-mail, he was holding a copy of Howl, Allen Ginsberg's epic poem. He had been reading about the students at the San Francisco Art Institute who had organized its first performance - in 1955, the year the accident happened.

Farmer also went to SFAI and there he heard Ginsberg sing Father Death Blues - which rattled him. That was 1991 - the same year Farmer first learned about the Biennale. He was 24, about the same age his father was when he lost his father.

With these photos alive in his brain, Farmer went back to Howl and other Ginsberg work, including Kaddish and Other Poems.

Kaddish is about his mother's death (Kaddish is the memorial prayer Jews say for immediate family members who have died).

One poem in particular (Laughing Gas) resonated with Farmer, reflecting this revelatory series of collisions - and giving him the title for his Biennale project.

"'A way out of the mirror / was found by the image / that realized its existence / was only ... / a stranger completely like myself,' " Farmer reads from the book.

"In a way, this piece is a Kaddish for the grandfather I didn't know," he says.

The Canada pavilion at Venice was built in 1958, but its beginnings are traced back to a letter written in, yes, 1955. The pavilion is built on a hill constructed of rubble created during Napoleon's invasion of Venice, Farmer explains. Further, the pavilion itself was part of Italy's war reparations to Canada, following the Second World War.

"So of course being an artist who works [with] context, these things have affected the project," Farmer says. "Obviously, I'm looking at my own family, but I believe the role of the artist is to make it significant beyond the personal."

He has expanded on his personal story to incorporate other elements and narratives. We talk about truth and reconciliation.

"The sense of empathetic understanding, the ability to hear others' experience of trauma or of understanding the kinds of collisions that occurred within the nation culturally, with colonization and the effects that has had on individuals and on communities."

The one thing Farmer won't say much about is the show itself; he, understandably, wants it to be a surprise for the May opening. He does say that the pavilion will be transformed - and perforated; that the show will open to the outside. "You could say that it's powered by water," he adds, laughing. And he talks about one element: a sculpture that draws from a centuries-old medical image Wound Man, which illustrated for physicians various wounds a man might get in battle - a club to the head, an axe in the shoulder, a sword pierce to the thigh.

The sculpture, Farmer says, is a portrait of his grandfather, his father and himself combined.

But it is also a portrait of men in a larger sense and the battles they endure - in war and at home.

Farmer's father is now 85; he and Farmer had a "very difficult" relationship in the past; they're good now. This project has helped bring about understanding and reconciliation between them. Farmer, turning 50 this year (he was a centennial baby), says he didn't comprehend his father before because he didn't have a fuller picture of his experiences, especially the trauma that accompanied the loss of his own father and the poverty they endured. Farmer uses the term "misunderstanding" repeatedly.

Listening to the story, it feels more like a missed understanding - now, with this project, being found.

Associated Graphic

Two photographs of a 1955 accident involving Geoffrey Farmer's grandfather were found in his parents' basement. Grandpa was unhurt, but the images symbolized a 'kind of a void' that existed in the family. Their inclusion in Farmer's Venice Biennale project is 'a chance to fulfill their destiny as news.'

As Toronto's housing market reaches dizzying heights, observers worry Ontario isn't moving fast enough to track overseas buyers
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

VANCOUVER -- 'Up! Up! Up!"

That's where Toronto's real estate market is heading, according to a Chinese-language promotional article posted last month on, a Beijingbased web portal that lists thousands of homes for sale in countries around the world.

"You will really cry if you still don't buy," the same posting blares.

Toronto has become the "dark horse" of the Canadian real estate market, asserts, another site jammed with Canadian home listings. It contrasts Vancouver's continuing drop in prices with a prediction that Torontoarea homes will rise 8 per cent in value this year.

In the months since British Columbia began taxing international buyers 15-percent extra on homes in and around Vancouver, those marketing Canadian real estate overseas have shifted their focus to Toronto. Last year, Toronto overtook Vancouver to become the most soughtafter Canadian city for Chinese home buyers searching the property listing service, peaking in August just after British Columbia announced the tax aimed at curbing the public outrage over skyrocketing prices. Searches for properties in Toronto proper now surpass the total inquiries for Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa combined.

Richard Silver, a Sotheby's realtor and past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, estimates close to 20 per cent of his clients are international buyers - from China, India and the Middle East - interested in the luxury condos and houses he sells in and around the downtown core.

Prospective clients he talked to on his latest business trip to East Asia, just more than a year ago, were curious to learn more about the city.

"When I've gone to China, people ask me the difference with Vancouver and I say, 'Toronto's where you make the money, Vancouver's where you spend the money.' " Anecdotes abound throughout the Greater Toronto Area, notably in places such as Markham, describing international buyers calling their realtors from overseas to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure a new home.

Despite fears that foreign speculators are juicing the region's already-booming real estate market, it is impossible to know what impact international capital is having because no official data are being collected.

And, as long as this statistical black hole remains, observers warn Toronto could be following in Vancouver's footsteps toward a housing crisis for locals.

"One of the risks that Toronto has is that, because wages are a little bit higher there, prices could escalate for longer than they did in Metro Vancouver before the government takes action," Vancouver MLA David Eby, the New Democratic Party's housing critic, says. "It's hard to know where the ceiling is on these real estate prices if international speculation is left to run its course. We don't know how much capital is out there looking for investment in housing in major Canadian cities."

The best and latest data - provided by Toronto's private real estate board last month - peg international citizens as representing almost 5 per cent of all home buyers last year. For years, British Columbia relied on similar industry-provided data that showed foreign investment in the single digits, before it modified its land-transfer documents last spring to force buyers to disclose whether they are a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and, if not, where they hail from.

Cameron Muir, the economist in charge of tracking B.C. housing prices for the province's real estate industry, says until the government heeded his trade association's call to begin collecting this information, realtors provided some of the best data.

Still, surveys of real estate agents are not complete enough to inform official policy or assuage public anger over the murky role foreign money plays in a hot market, he said.

"The issue is welling up in Toronto the same way it did in Vancouver ... The government collecting accurate data on the extent of foreign ownership would be a really good way of at least having the focus on actual data rather than supposition, which was rampant in Vancouver before the government monitored it."

In British Columbia, the first 21/2 weeks of foreign-buyer statistics surprised the government by showing pockets of investment - such as double-digit percentages in the suburbs of Burnaby and Richmond - that were much higher than previous estimates. After this first tranche of data, B.C. secretly went to work on the tax that would help flatten a market that was already cooling.

The Ontario government has repeatedly said it opposes any move to implement a B.C.-like tax on international buyers, which the province worries could crash the housing market and decimate the equity built up by homeowners.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa was unavailable for an interview, but his spokeswoman Kelsey Ingram told The Globe and Mail that Ontario is working with stakeholders to bring in a new system for collecting more data by this spring as part of an effort to modernize the Land Transfer Tax Act. She said this data may include whether the new owner intends to live in or rent the home, as well as the citizenship or residency status of the buyer.

"We are working closely with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in developing this regulation to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect any personal information collected," she said in an e-mailed statement.

This week, Markham city council voted down a motion brought by councillor Karen Rea calling on the provincial government to introduce a foreign buyers' tax.

Ms. Rea, a licensed realtor, said she began the push after seeing more homes being left empty ("three vacant properties on the same block") and watching her city become way less affordable for locals.

"If you want to buy a property here and you're living here and you're putting gas in your car and you're eating at restaurants ... you're contributing to the economy, I have no problem with that," she said. "What I have a problem with is somebody living in another country and using our homes as commodities."

Her motion was defeated 8-4 after a heated debate and correspondence from residents and stakeholders, including a letter from the province's real estate industry association, warning that such a levy would have no effect on affordability in the region and could hurt the broader economy.

Tim Hudak, chief executive officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association and former leader of the province's Progressive Conservative party, told The Globe after the vote that any tax on foreign buyers - most of whom are immigrants looking to buy a family home - is based on the "cheap politics of division." (In B.C., permanent residents are not taxed and the government announced last month it was relaxing the rules to allow those on work permits to also avoid the levy.)

"Scapegoating foreigners as the reason for increasing home prices is not based on sound public policy or reliable data," he said.

Mr. Hudak maintains the only way to make homes more affordable is to build more throughout the region.

Mr. Eby, whose Vancouver riding houses some of B.C.'s most expensive mansions, said focusing solely on increasing supply to meet demand does not work.

"That belief, unfortunately, was clearly mistaken and resulted in prices that bear no recognition to the amount of money that people can earn locally," he said.

"At first, as prices started to rise people were generally happy about it, but then as the prices continued to go up they realized that they couldn't actually access the money without selling their home or going into debt on the belief that the market would continue."

Ms. Rea, who has seen homes around her increase in value by over a million dollars in the past five years, said she doesn't understand how such a levy could be so disastrous if foreign buyers truly are such a small percentage of the market.

"You can't have it both ways: if it's less than 5 per cent, implementing a tax will have no effect - but the real estate industry is up in arms over it."

With a report from Nathan VanderKlippe in Beijing

Associated Graphic

Honk Kong's The Standard newspaper, displaying a cover advertising for real estate in Toronto.

Anecdotes abound throughout the GTA of foreign buyers calling realtors from overseas to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure new homes.


Underdog defender fought to right wrongs
The politician always spoke his mind, even at the cost of his career path, and never left home without a suit and tie
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

In a political career that spanned more than 45 years as a Liberal MP and then as an independent senator, Marcel Prud'homme was a fierce federalist, an eloquent defender of the underdog and a man who never appeared in public dressed in anything less than a natty suit and perfectly knotted tie. Tall, with beetling eyebrows and a sometimes impolitic tendency to speak his mind, he was beloved by his constituents in the working-class riding of SaintDenis, in east-end Montreal, and he was in demand as a speaker across the country, from major rallies to church socials.

But Mr. Prud'homme, who died at 82 in Ottawa on Jan. 25 from complications after a fall, also spoke out about what he saw as human-rights violations, which may have led to him being passed over for a cabinet seat by three Liberal prime ministers. For him, the plight of Palestinians, for example, was a matter of calling out a wrong and trying to help, no matter the consequences for his career.

He helped cultivate relations between Canada and Russia, China, Cuba and Libya, and, in his last speech to the Senate before retiring in 2009, he said: "It is my fervent hope that Canada will fill the unique role that has fallen to it in the world, by unfailingly taking the healthy and essential approach of engaging in the dialogue that is needed to guarantee that humanity will have a future."

"My uncle always told me it was easy to say, 'I don't want to do something because it's uncomfortable for me.' He taught me to do what's right, no matter how tough and the price you have to pay," his nephew Geoffrey Prud'homme said. "And he did pay the price."

Mohamad Barakat, Mr. Prud'homme's former chief of staff in the Senate, recalled walking with his boss in 2009 through the streets of Montreal's Park Extension neighbourhood, which had been part of the riding he represented as an MP from 1964 to 1993. People were coming out of stores to talk with him and shake his hand - to tell him of how he had helped their father or grandfather or mother or sister.

"He always supported the diversity of the district and he was elected nine times there as a Liberal," Mr. Barakat said. "He understood that part of democracy was agreeing to disagree and always insisted when we were working on a file that I present him not only with facts he wanted to hear but those that he didn't. He felt that if people really talked there would be fewer wars."

Marcel Prud'homme was born in Montreal on Nov. 30, 1934, the youngest of Dr. Hector Prud'homme and the former Lucia Paquette's 12 children. It wasn't an easy life. The family was crammed into the second floor of a house in the east end, with Dr. Prud'homme using the front rooms for his practice. One sibling, Laurent, died at the age of 11 when he fell off the roof of the school across the street while attempting to put up a flag. And Lucia died when she was in her 50s, leaving her large family motherless.

Dr. Prud'homme, who delivered more than 10,000 babies in the neighbourhood, became a city councillor, showing his children the importance of being engaged in the world around them. He taught them to love reading - newspapers, magazines, all kinds of books - a habit they carried into adulthood.

He taught them to be proud of their French language and to champion the rights of everyone, not just those of select groups. Platitudes were not enough, he said. Create a dialogue with people who may not share your opinions. And stand up, speak out and fight for what is right.

Soon enough, Marcel was gearing up for a life in politics, completing a BA in social sciences, economics and politics at the University of Ottawa in 1959, then studying law at the University of Montreal.

While still at school, in 1958, he was elected president of the Young Liberals of Canada. Then, while studying law, the natural performer would take on a future prime minister named Brian Mulroney, then a law student at Laval University in Quebec City, during mock parliamentary debates and conferences. The two became lifelong friends, and in 1992, as Canada turned 125, Mr. Mulroney had him appointed to the Privy Council. The following year, he named Mr. Prud'homme to the Senate.

"When I arrived in Parliament, it was clear he had been excluded from all cabinet posts even though he was one of the finest orators on the Liberal side," Mr.

Mulroney said. "Having been excluded, he did not have the right to the title 'The Honourable,' and I thought it would be appropriate for Marcel."

In occasional chats with his friend, Mr. Mulroney said he learned that Mr. Prud'homme, who never married, considered Parliament Hill his life and his home. "I decided the way to make certain Marcel never had to leave home was to make him a senator," he explained. "He stayed until the end and he continued to go by what he believed was right."

Mr. Prud'homme's first foray into politics almost took him on a different path. He was tapped to run for the provincial Liberals in the riding of Montreal-Laurier, only to be asked to step aside at the last minute for a star candidate named René Lévesque.

Mr. Prud'homme was first sent to Ottawa in a by-election in 1964, and he won again by large margins in 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1988. Indeed, he was one of the few Liberals to survive the Progressive Conservative Party's victory in 1984, winning by 6,628 votes; four years later, when Mr. Mulroney won his second mandate, Mr. Prud'homme increased that margin of victory to 7,085.

Along the way, he served as parliamentary secretary several times - once for the secretary of state for Canada and twice for the minister of regional economic expansion. In 1987, he was elected president of the federal party's national caucus and served a similar position for the Quebec caucus at the end of the 1970s and again in the early 90s.

He was given five Canadian commemorative medals, received citations from countries such as Russia, Morocco, Cuba and Hungary and was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of Algiers.

Retired Liberal senator Jack Austin - who in 1974 was thenprime minister Pierre Trudeau's chief of staff and later, as a senator, a member of the cabinet - recalled Mr. Prud'homme as a diligent young MP willing to speak in ridings that were hard to win, especially in the West.

"He made a lot of friends in the party in his younger years because of that outreach," Mr. Austin said. "He had high energy, charm and empathy. And if you wanted a speaker from Ottawa, Marcel Prud'homme would come before anyone else.

"He was his own version of a Liberal - a social progressive and a federalist - and that made him genuinely a Liberal in the Trudeau era," Mr. Austin continued.

Near the end of his life, Mr. Prud'homme suffered from heart and kidney problems, but whenever he had to go to the hospital for dialysis, he would dress up in a suit and tie. It was about image. It was about respect. It was the measure of the man.

Mr. Prud'homme was predeceased by his 11 siblings. He leaves his nieces and nephews, their spouses and children, friends, former colleagues and former staff members.

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

Marcel Prud'homme spent his career as an advocate for sometimes unpopular issues, which may have led to him being passed over for a cabinet seat over the span of three Liberal prime ministers.


Mr. Prud'homme shakes hands with Mikhail Gorbachev while former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who calls him 'one of the finest orators on the Liberal side,'stands with his wife.


Final weekend of the season sees Inferno and Les Canadiennes meet in Calgary with first place on the line. The players have been gearing up for the showdown for months, Eric Duhatschek reports
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- In her day job, Jessica Campbell is the director of communications for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, which is why she was at Holy Cross Elementary Junior High School in southeast Calgary on a Wednesday afternoon, co-ordinating a mental-health initiative with the local middle school.

By night, Campbell has a second profession - playing forward for the Calgary Inferno, the No. 1 team in the Canadian Women's Hockey League and the defending Clarkson Cup champions.

This weekend, Campbell's twin career paths collide when the Inferno play Les Canadiennes de Montreal in a first-place showdown Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at Calgary's WinSport Arena A, a season-ending two-game series between the two best teams in the league with first place on the line.

For the Saturday game against Montreal, the Inferno players will be wearing limited-edition purple jerseys, provided by Scotiabank, which will be auctioned off on behalf of Start the Spark, an annual mental-health awareness campaign supported by the team and the Kennedy organization.

Campbell, the liaison between the two groups, is expecting sellout crowds, thanks to an online ticket campaign, in which sponsors and donors purchased tickets for the game and then returned them to the team to distribute in schools and arenas across the city.

The Inferno, at 19-3-0, leads Montreal (16-4-2) by four points.

The two teams ran away from the pack this season with second-half surges.

"We've been prepping for this weekend for weeks and months - pretty much the whole year - so when the puck drops, we're going to be so pumped up," said Campbell, who noted there will be a significant home-ice advantage for the Inferno, "a massive fan base behind us, hooting, hollering and cheering and making it that much more exciting for both teams.

"I know we're deserving of a sold-out crowd," Campbell said.

"This is an opportunity for fans to come out and see two unbelievable teams. Once they see us play the Canadiennes, they're going to be hooked and want to come back and buy season tickets for next year. It's a great game, an awesome matchup and first place is on the line.

You can't ask for anything more."

Campbell added.

Montreal features the top line in the CWHL - the trio of Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette and Ann-Sophie Bettez.

Many of the top players on Montreal and Calgary have also been teammates on Canada's national team, and they will get together again in the fall, when they centralize in Calgary to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Until then, however, friendships are, out of necessity, put aside.

An example, in a game last month, Inferno goaltender Geneviève Lacasse was caught in a playful moment when she put Poulin into a headlock after Poulin had crashed her crease.

Lacasse wasn't about to let her up - at least not right away. Cameras caught it all - and the two had a good chuckle about it afterward.

"Poulin crashed into the net, and I put her in a headlock a little bit, and the play had left our zone, and I just kept holding on," Lacasse said. "And she's trying to scramble out of it, and I'm laughing, and she's looking back and laughing, too, and gives me a shove and gets out of there.

"It's definitely weird to play against her, but there's so much respect on the ice. I'm sure, if you're at a game, you'll see - if you make a save, there's a little tap on the pads of a goalie, or a little chirping going on, but it's all done in a friendly way.

"But it is small things like that that make it real fun as well."

Lacasse is a perfect 8-0 this season for the Inferno and her numbers trail only Montreal's Charline Labonté in the overall goaltending stats. Lacasse, a Providence College grad, is in her first season in Calgary. At her request, she was traded to the Inferno this past August from the Boston Blades in order to pursue a job opportunity.

Living in the United States, where she couldn't work, was becoming increasingly expensive, as a result of the shrinking Canadian dollar.

Just about every CWHL player juggles work and hockey schedules, which occasionally means practice times are adjusted to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Earlier this week, after the ice plant broke down at their regular practice facility, the Inferno players endured the fresh hell of 7 a.m. practices on both Tuesday and Thursday in order to prepare for this weekend's games.

That sort of flexibility and adaptability is necessary in the CWHL, though Lacasse will tell you it wasn't all bad.

"It was a little tough to get the legs going that early," she said, "but once they were moving, it was good. It gets your day off to a good start and brings you back to the old days, which is kind of nice."

Lacasse described her experience playing for Boston last season as one of the best in her career because of the camaraderie that developed on a rebuilding team. But coming to Calgary this year opened her up to a whole different world.

"Just to see the development in the skating, which has improved the most over the years - girls just getting to play with better girls means you're pushing each other on the ice. The speed obviously, too - you've got so many good upand-coming players, the Jess Campbells, really speedy, really fast. It has been really amazing."

For her part, Campbell believes the CWHL's profile is growing incrementally, largely because of greater community awareness, something that didn't happen by accident.

"I know we've taken the right strides in Calgary," she said. "We have a partnership with Girls Hockey Calgary, with over 40 teams from novice to midget that we mentor and go to their practices. They've rebranded this year as the Junior Inferno so when we've been in the rinks we see our logo, literally all over the place.

Seeing those kids, in the malls, in the movie theatres, wearing that Inferno logo, that's what's going to grow the league - people in the community, asking, 'Who are the Inferno? Oh, we have a professional women's team? Let's go watch. Tickets are only $15? Let's take the whole family.' "The next step is generating enough revenue to sustain a salaried league, which Campbell believes is "absolutely on track.

"What it will take is creating a consistent fan base. But we're in it for the long haul. It's a different game than the NHL, so we're starting from a point of showing fans, 'This is what women's hockey is. Don't compare it to men's hockey.' It's just as good, it's just a different game. That's what it's about. So I'm very optimistic about the direction we're going as a league."

As for the weekend showdown against their rivals, the Inferno's Rebecca Johnston is cautiously optimistic, noting that this year's team includes a lot of new faces "who've helped us throughout the year.

"I think definitely we are a better team. We are more prepared.

We've been to the Clarkson Cup before, so for us, that experience will go really far.

"Our end goal is to win the Clarkson Cup again, so we take every weekend and every game and focus on that and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves. Montreal is a great team. We've split with them both weekends we played against them, so it should be close. Hopefully we continue to move in the right direction."

Associated Graphic

Calgary goalie Emerance Maschmeyer hits the ice prior to a Les Canadiennes-Inferno match in Montreal in December. The CWHL's top two teams meet again this weekend in Calgary.


Marie-Philip Poulin of Les Canadiennes checks Calgary's Louise Warren in CWHL action in Montreal in December.


Chinese home buyers look east, flooding Toronto markets
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- 'Up! Up! Up!"

That's where Toronto's real estate market is heading, according to a Chinese-language promotional article posted last month on, a Beijingbased Web portal that lists thousands of homes for sale in countries around the world.

"You will really cry if you still don't buy," the same posting blares.

Toronto has become the "dark horse" of the Canadian real estate market, asserts, another site jammed with Canadian home listings. It contrasts Vancouver's continuing drop in prices with a prediction that Toronto-area homes will rise 8 per cent in value this year.

In the months since British Columbia began taxing international buyers 15-per-cent extra on homes in and around Vancouver, those marketing Canadian real estate overseas have shifted their focus to Toronto.

Last year, Toronto overtook Vancouver to become the most sought-after Canadian city for Chinese home buyers searching the property listing service, peaking in August just after British Columbia announced the tax aimed at curbing the public outrage over skyrocketing prices.

Searches for properties in Toronto proper now surpass the total inquiries for Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa combined.

Richard Silver, a Sotheby's realtor and past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, estimates close to 20 per cent of his clients are international buyers - from China, India and the Middle East - interested in the luxury condos and houses he sells in and around the downtown core.

Prospective clients he talked to on his latest business trip to East Asia, just over a year ago, were curious to learn more about the city.

"When I've gone to China, people ask me the difference with Vancouver and I say, 'Toronto's where you make the money, Vancouver's where you spend the money.' " Anecdotes abound throughout the Greater Toronto Area, notably in places such as Markham, describing international buyers calling their realtors from overseas to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure a new home.

Despite fears that foreign speculators are juicing the region's already-booming real estate market, it is impossible to know what impact international capital is having because no official data are being collected.

And, as long as this statistical black hole remains, observers warn Toronto could be following in Vancouver's footsteps toward a housing crisis for locals.

"One of the risks that Toronto has is that, because wages are a little bit higher there, prices could escalate for longer than they did in Metro Vancouver before the government takes action," Vancouver MLA David Eby, the New Democratic Party's housing critic, says. "It's hard to know where the ceiling is on these real estate prices if international speculation is left to run its course. We don't know how much capital is out there looking for investment in housing in major Canadian cities."

The best and latest data - provided by Toronto's private real estate board last month - peg international citizens as representing almost 5 per cent of all home buyers last year. For years, B.C. relied on similar industry-provided data that showed foreign investment in the single digits, before it modified its land-transfer documents last spring to force buyers to disclose whether they are a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and, if not, where they hail from.

Cameron Muir, the economist in charge of tracking B.C. housing prices for the province's real estate industry, says until the government heeded his trade association's call to begin collecting this information, realtors provided some of the best data. Still, surveys of real estate agents are not complete enough to inform official policy or assuage public anger over the murky role foreign money plays in a hot market, he said.

"The issue is welling up in Toronto the same way it did in Vancouver ... The government collecting accurate data on the extent of foreign ownership would be a really good way of at least having the focus on actual data rather than supposition, which was rampant in Vancouver before the government monitored it."

In B.C., the first 21/2 weeks of foreign-buyer statistics surprised the government by showing pockets of investment - such as doubledigit percentages in the suburbs of Burnaby and Richmond - that were much higher than previous estimates. After this first tranche of data, B.C. secretly went to work on the tax that would help flatten a market that was already cooling.

The Ontario government has repeatedly said it opposes any move to implement a B.C.-like tax on international buyers, which the province worries could crash the housing market and decimate the equity built up by homeowners.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa was unavailable for an interview, but his spokeswoman Kelsey Ingram told The Globe and Mail that Ontario is working with stakeholders to bring in a new system for collecting more data by this spring as part of an effort to modernize the Land Transfer Tax Act. She said this data may include whether the new owner intends to live in or rent the home, as well as the citizenship or residency status of the buyer.

"We are working closely with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in developing this regulation to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect any personal information collected," she said in an e-mailed statement.

This week, Markham city council voted down a motion brought by councillor Karen Rea calling on the provincial government to introduce a foreign buyers' tax.

Ms. Rea, a licensed realtor, said she began the push after seeing more homes being left empty ("three vacant properties on the same block") and watching her city become way less affordable for locals. "If you want to buy a property here and you're living here and you're putting gas in your car and you're eating at restaurants ... you're contributing to the economy, I have no problem with that," she said. "What I have a problem with is somebody living in another country and using our homes as commodities."

Her motion was defeated 8-4 after a heated debate and correspondence from residents and stakeholders, including a letter from the province's real estate industry association, warning that such a levy would have no effect on affordability in the region and could hurt the broader economy.

Tim Hudak, chief executive officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association and former leader of the province's Progressive Conservative party, told The Globe after the vote that any tax on foreign buyers - most of whom are immigrants looking to buy a family home - is based on the "cheap politics of division." (In B.C., permanent residents are not taxed and the government announced last month it was relaxing the rules to allow those on work permits to also avoid the levy.)

"Scapegoating foreigners as the reason for increasing home prices is not based on sound public policy or reliable data," he said.

Mr. Hudak maintains the only way to make homes more affordable is to build more throughout the region.

Mr. Eby, whose Vancouver riding houses some of B.C.'s most expensive mansions, said focusing solely on increasing supply to meet demand does not work.

"That belief, unfortunately, was clearly mistaken and resulted in prices that bear no recognition to the amount of money that people can earn locally," he said. "At first, as prices started to rise people were generally happy about it, but then as the prices continued to go up they realized that they couldn't actually access the money without selling their home or going into debt on the belief that the market would continue."

Ms. Rea, who has seen homes around her increase in value by over a million dollars in the past five years, said she doesn't understand how such a levy could be so disastrous if foreign buyers truly are such a small percentage of the market. "You can't have it both ways: if it's less than 5 per cent, implementing a tax will have no effect - but the real estate industry is up in arms over it."

With a report from Nathan VanderKlippe in Beijing

At the Junction Workshop in Toronto, professional furniture makers teach amateurs how to create - and appreciate - beautiful, handmade pieces. It's just one of many studios across the country opening up the woodshop doors to the public, Matthew Hague writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Slow is not my normal speed.

So, when I signed up for a two-day woodworking class to learn how to make a memento box, naturally I showed up late, running in with my headphones blaring a podcast, one hand holding a spilling coffee cup, the other hand checking my e-mail.

When I joined the class at Heidi Earnshaw's Junction Workshop in Toronto, we were told by e-mail to arrive at the studio early to get settled in. It was a Saturday, but I was rushing in from a work appointment that morning and was already stressing that I might be late for another appointment afterward. I was off to a great start.

Earnshaw, who has designed furniture that sits alongside artwork by Emily Carr at the Canadian High Commission in London, is co-ordinating a spate of classes including box, stool and table-making at her downtown studio, with a standout lineup of instructors. Though she teaches some classes herself, my memento-box course ($275) was led by her workshop cofounder, Carey Jernigan, and associate Simon Ford, both accomplished makers in their own right.

After each of the seven students (a mix of ages and backgrounds) introduced themselves and explained why they had signed up (curiosity, "therapy," rekindling an old passion, getting over a bad woodworking experience at university), Jernigan started with a warning. Not about the risks to our fingers as we used the various sharp and fast-moving saws. Not about the dangers of gluing various parts of our body - as opposed to the wood - together.

Instead, she cautioned that at times the class would feel slow.

It takes time to set up the equipment properly, let alone learn how to use it and wait as other students take their turn.

True to character, during the first hour or so I struggled with the pace. Ford and Jernigan carefully and deliberately walked us through the materials we would be working with (North American maple and walnut) the design of the box we would be making (roughly the size of a bread box, with keyed mitre joints in the corners and a friction-fit top) and the process we would use to make it. It was a shift from my typically frantic way of learning: jumping through YouTube videos and searching for keywords while flipping between too many websites.

Recently, some of Canada's top modern-furniture makers - true artisans who typically toil in relative anonymity, painstakingly building their clean-lined, highcost creations - have adopted an unusual side hustle. They have opened their studios to the public, offering workshops for amateurs. Some are as short as one or two days, like the one I took, others can last up to 10 weeks; all teach the secrets of the craft.

The practitioner-to-professor phenomenon is happening across the country. Union Wood in Vancouver, which normally makes $4,000 credenzas with charming leather drawer pulls, offers a class on making handcarved spoons. Edmonton's IZM, whose Iconoclast Table features Daniel Libeskind-esque geometries rendered in wood, hosts classes to make, for instance, side tables shaped like architectural I-beams.

Most are geared to adults, but there are even kidfriendly options. Toronto's Michael Greenwood, who makes bespoke, beautifully tailored furniture for high-end homes, is starting a series for people as young as 6. "We're doing one over March break to make skateboard decks," Greenwood says.

"It's a really fun, accessible project."

Despite the diversity of options, the studios have common motivations for inviting the public in. The workshops help offset the rising rents in Canadian cities that are pushing creatives farther and farther out of the core. Earnshaw's space, a rare vestige of light-industrial space downtown, is just minutes from the subway - the kind of location that sadly seems prime for condo developers.

The workshops also offer proprietors the opportunity to "raise awareness," according to IZM's Shane Pawluk. "We're showing you what goes into a $1,500 table," he says, "and why it costs so much. The things the students build have value." Pawluk's tablemaking class costs $600 for two days, including beverages and food.

That value is clear when looking at the output. The workshops purport to enable just about anyone to build the kind of pieces any modern-furniture lover would be proud to display in their home (and not the kind of basic, boring birdhouse commonly produced in high-school shop classes). The joinery and finishing are ambitious. The aesthetic is sharp. The question, however, is can those who have all the skills teach how it's done?

And what is it like for someone with little to no woodworking abilities (that would be me) to learn from them?

This month, I found out. As we got started on our memento boxes, it was easy to see that the precision of the instructions would result in a precisely made object.

With the raw boards we were given at the start of the workshop beginning to take shape, I felt myself unwind and enjoy the experience.

The space helped. The studio's tall, sky-lit ceiling flooded the room with soft northern light.

The walls were covered in character. Finished, half-finished and never-to-be-finished furniture, both new and old, was stacked on shelves next to chisels, hammers and other tools. The sweet, caramel smell of freshly cut wood filled the air.

It was also inspiring to see the other professional furniture makers who share the space and work there full-time practise their craft. Near our group, furniture maker Peter Coolican, whose work has been touted by interior designer Sarah Richardson and featured by House & Home magazine, spent hour after hour hand-weaving the seat of his Madison chair (which costs $1,390). His dedication and focus on his art was admirable to witness. Each one takes 11 hours just to weave together - an anomalous commitment in our world of instant gratification.

The class was not always easy, but it was a challenge in a good way. Even though Ford and Jernigan took care of many of the hardest parts inherent to woodworking - starting with the design of the object and all the measurements - it still felt as though we were all working toward a high standard, to get the joinery all flush and have the lid fit exactly so that it slid on smoothly, without being too loose or too tight. We all had to focus, take care and sand zealously to get the surfaces perfectly smooth and free of the glue used to secure the corners together.

At one point, pressing too hard on my sandpaper, I accidentally sanded the tips of two of my fingers to the point of bleeding. Jernigan, in an effort to make me feel better, said, "That's okay.

When the revolution comes you'll be spared because they'll know you're a working man." I felt the ease with which my fingers chafed (I wasn't sanding that aggressively) suggested just the opposite.

Over all, the experience was a revelation - and I left with a beautiful box, to boot. When I brought it home, I felt extremely proud - a feeling shared by my other classmates. I wasn't sure what to use it for at first, but decided on storing a set of silverware that was handed down to me by my grandfather after my grandmother died. When I put the lid on after placing the cutlery inside, and it slid down just so, I felt satisfied. I was storing a family heirloom in an heirloomto-be that I had made myself.

Associated Graphic

Carey Jernigan, left, co-founder of Junction Workshop in Toronto, works with a student. The initiative was established with the goal of teaching the intricacies of woodworking.


Above: Heidi Earnshaw, left, and Zeid Zabaneh are seen in Toronto's Junction Workshop.

Left: The classes purport to enable almost anyone to build the kind of furniture even the most persnickety aficionados would be proud to display in their homes.


Survivor of the Armenian genocide
She and her family escaped the wave of violence by hiding in a barn, then later converted to Islam to stay alive
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S8

She was one of Canada's last living links to an atrocity that occurred more than 100 years ago. Although Knar Yemenidjian, who died on Jan. 19, reached the age of 107, her childhood was marred by unfathomable violence that nearly ended her life.

"We're all grieving with the family," Armen Yeganian, Armenia's ambassador to Canada, commented after Ms. Yemenidjian's death.

"But she was also a bigger symbol, I would imagine, for the Canadian Armenian community and for Armenian people in general."

She was born Knar Bohjelian on Feb. 14, 1909, in Caesarea, a city in central Turkey now known as Kayseri. Less than a year earlier, a group of Turkish reformers known as the Young Turks overthrew Sultan Abdul Hamid and established a constitutional government. Although the Armenian population of Turkey was initially optimistic about the new regime, they were caught off guard by the xenophobia of the Young Turks and their targeted hatred aimed at Christians and non-Turks who they believed were a threat to the Islamic, "pure Turkish" state they envisioned.

When the Young Turks began their campaign of mass murder on April 24, 1915, the first order of action was arresting and executing several hundred Armenian intellectuals. After that, other Armenians were either systematically slaughtered by marauding killing squads or forced on death marches across the Mesopotamian desert without food or water.

Six-year-old Knar and her family survived the first wave of violence by seeking sanctuary in a barn. Ms. Yeminidjian's niece Nazar Artinian told CTV News that the family survived only because Knar's father had been warned by a Turkish friend that "all the Armenians were going to be killed."

According to Ms. Artinian, the family friend insisted, "if you want to live, leave your house, take your family and go to this farm and hide yourselves there."

So the family hid among the livestock. They were besieged by typhoid and had barely enough food to sustain themselves, but they survived.

When the violence subsided, Knar and her family returned to find many of their neighbours murdered, and all the Armenian homes - including theirs - burned to the ground.

The family's only hope for continued survival was converting to Islam. So, after they left the barn they adopted Turkish names and Muslim identities. Ms. Artinian said that a great aunt convinced them that it was their only salvation. "It is better to change your religion and live longer than remain Christians and die." So they rebuilt the family home and lived under Muslim identities in Caesarea for 10 years.

Despite their conversion, the family lived in constant fear. In an interview with historian Lalai Manjikian in 2015, Ms. Yemenidjian confided that while growing up, she remembered how her mother would wrap a scarf around her brother's head, "so that he might pass for a girl, given that all the men were being rounded up or killed."

Joseph Yemenidjian, Ms. Yemenidjian's son, told The Globe and Mail about an incident that long haunted his mother: "A halfdozen years after the genocide first started, my mother was walking with her aunt, who was only a few years older than her, down a street in Caesarea." When they turned a corner they happened upon soldiers who were dragging the body of a dead man by his feet. "He was a victim of the government-sanctioned violence.

When my mother's aunt, who was already suffering from jaundice, witnessed the scene, she collapsed with terror. She never recovered, dying just a few days after the incident."

As the genocide continued, Knar got older and began attracting potential suitors, Joseph said.

During the family's remaining years in Turkey, however, her father refused all requests for her hand. "My grandfather was desperate to leave Turkey," he said, "and he had no intention of leaving his daughter to fend for herself in such a place."

Once a ceasefire was established, the family fled the region.

They travelled to Ankara in 1928, then Istanbul. Eleven months later, they headed to Greece by boat before immigrating to Alexandria, Egypt.

Even after they settled into their new home, Knar's father continued to reject the suitors who pressed for his permission to marry her. Joseph said that his grandfather insisted that she marry into a respectable family. In the end, his prudence paid off. "My mother was 34 when she finally met my father, who had a family member who was already connected to my mother's family via marriage." Once the family patriarch deemed Jean Yemenidjian acceptable, the couple married in 1943.

Joseph explained that his father believed that meeting Knar was fate. "He was already 41 and a goldsmith whose extended family was left destitute following the genocide. The welfare of his family fell upon his shoulders." Joseph noted that his father worked around the clock and had confessed that until Knar stole his heart, he had given up on romance.

"I never heard either of my parents utter a negative word about the other. It was just the opposite, in fact." Joseph said that his father's love for his wife and children inspired him to bless others with a singular wish. "I hope that you are lucky enough to find yourself with a family just like mine."

The couple lived happily in Egypt until 1956, when the Armenian community in Egypt once again found itself the scapegoat as a result of the Suez Canal crisis.

Arab nationalism swept the country, inciting rage and intimidation that was directed at Armenians. As a consequence, Ms. Yemenidjian's two sons, Joseph and Noubar, left for Canada and settled in Montreal.

While paying a visit to Montreal during Expo 67, Ms. Yemenidjian was wooed by the city's charms, and the couple settled there permanently in 1971.

A few years ago, she required the type of assistance that only a nursing home could provide, Joseph said. "When she moved in, and we met the medical staff, they inquired about the medications she was taking. They couldn't believe that a person might reach the age of 106 without prescription medication."

Ms. Yemenidjian's son said that his mother had a wonderful, selfeffacing sense of humour. He noted that, although she spoke very little English or French, the other residents surprised him one day, when they remarked to him how funny his mother was. "We can't understand her and she can't understand us, they told him, but does she ever make us laugh!"

In 2004, Canada was among the first countries to officially recognize the genocide.

At the age of 106, Ms. Yemenidjian was among a handful of Armenian-Canadians who attended a special ceremony on Parliament Hill in 2015 to mark the centennial of the start of the genocide.

To this day, despite widespread agreement among historians, the Turkish government denies that an Armenian genocide occurred.

Since 2003, Turkish teachers have been forbidden to use the term "genocide" in the classroom.

Last year, the country recalled its ambassador from Germany after the German parliament voted to recognize the genocide.

Historians conclude that approximately 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the genocide, but Turkey says the death toll has been exaggerated and considers those who were killed as casualties of a civil war.

Knar Yemenidjian leaves her two sons, Joseph and Noubar, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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

Associated Graphic

Knar Yemenidjian, centre back row, is seen with her family in Egypt in 1931, with her father at the bottom right. For years, the family had lived in constant fear in Turkey under the Young Turks' regime. When a ceasefire was established, they fled the region, first travelling to Ankara, then Istanbul, then Greece and finally Egypt.

Ms. Yemenidjian is seen with former defence minister Jason Kenney in Ottawa in 2015 to mark the centennial of the start of the Armenian genocide.


Trump vows only 'tweaking' of Canadian NAFTA provisions
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won personal assurances from President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting on Monday that the United States only wants to tweak the North American free-trade provisions that govern commerce with Canada.

Mr. Trudeau steered clear of controversial subjects - refusing to criticize Mr. Trump's ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries - opting instead to win the President over by convincing him Canada can help his economic agenda.

Mr. Trudeau came to the White House with the overarching aim of obtaining U.S. guarantees that Canada's export-driven economy wouldn't be sideswiped by the President's plan to renegotiate NAFTA.

"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it. We'll be doing certain things that will benefit both of our countries," Mr. Trump told a joint news conference in the White House after the sit-down. "Our relationship with Canada is outstanding. We are going to work together to make it even better." The U.S. President promised "to have a great relationship with Canada ... as good or better, hopefully, than ever before."

But the President said the United States will be seeking more "reciprocity" in trade with Canada, which could include demands that U.S. firms are able to bid on provincial and municipal projects. And he said "you can never be totally confident" that the U.S.Canada border is secure, hinting at two possible areas of friction when talks begin in earnest.

Some Canadian provinces and municipalities have local content or "knowledge" requirements written into their procurement policies, giving an edge to Canadian companies. Infrastructure Ontario, for instance, which oversees tens of billions of dollars' worth of provincial transit, hospital and school construction, favours contractors with local knowledge as a way to boost Ontario-based firms. This protectionist policy is important enough that the province fought to ensure it would be allowed to remain in place when Canada negotiated a free-trade deal with the European Union.

For the most part, however, Mr. Trump reassured Mr. Trudeau that he has nothing to fear from the new administration in Washington. Mr. Trump said his main aim in revamping NAFTA was to take aim at Mexico, which has a $58-billion (U.S.) trade deficit with the United States, compared with an $11-billion surplus with Canada.

"It is a much less severe situation than what is taking place on the southern border. On the southern border for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction ... we are going to make it a fair deal for both countries," Mr. Trump said.

A senior Canadian government official said Mr. Trump and his advisers did not say when they expected NAFTA talks to begin.

"We have no clarity on that," said the official, who added the Trump team got along well with their Canadian counterparts despite the ideological differences.

The Prime Minister, who was close to former president Barack Obama, is seen by many Americans as a progressive voice on refugees after letting 40,000 Syrians into Canada at the start of his term. But he resisted a push from U.S. journalists to speak out against Mr. Trump's immigration ban.

"The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they should choose to govern themselves," Mr. Trudeau said. "My role, our responsibility is to continue to govern in such a way that reflects Canadians' approach and a positive example to the world."

However, Mr. Trudeau said Canada's policy of welcoming refugees would continue and he noted U.S. security agencies had a role in vetting the Syrians who came to Canada.

The President strongly defended his controversial immigration ban even though the executive order has been blocked by the U.S. courts.

"It's stance of common sense and we are going to pursue it vigorously and we don't want our country to have the kinds of problems taking place not only here but all over the world," Mr. Trump said. "We're not going to let it happen."

The pair largely stuck to trade, with Mr. Trudeau repeatedly drawing parallels between his concern for the middle class and Mr. Trump's.

"At the end of the day, the President and I share a common goal:

We both want to make sure that hard-working folks can go to work at a good job, put food on the table for their families and save up to take a vacation every once in a while," he said.

The two leaders promised joint co-operation on border security, continental defence and infrastructure spending - and to stop the flow of opioid drugs coming across the U.S. border.

"The illegal use of opioids in our society is nothing less than a tragedy. We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of Canadians and Americans," Mr. Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister's Office is also keen on rebuilding electrical transmission links across the international border, something that could dovetail with Mr. Trump's promised spending on infrastructure.

Mr. Trump, for his part, appeared to pick up on Mr. Trudeau's insistence that trade with Canada could actually help his agenda. At one point, Mr. Trump included Canada in his vision for stopping the export of jobs overseas.

"Having more jobs and trade right here in North America is better for both the United States and it is also much better for Canada ... we will co-ordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent," Mr. Trump said, adding that he wanted a "stronger trading relationship" and "more ... bridges of commerce" with Canada.

Such comments are a sharp contrast with the protectionist rhetoric for which Mr. Trump is usually known.

While Mr. Trudeau and the President did not appear to develop the friendly banter the Prime Minister had with Mr. Obama, they were cordial with each other and seemed to have developed a rapport.

Mr. Trump spent half a day with the Prime Minister and his senior cabinet ministers that included an hour-long meeting in the Oval Office, a luncheon with key administration figures, including Vice-President Mike Pence, and a roundtable with female business executives from Canada and the United States.

During a walk from the West Wing to a luncheon, Mr. Trump and Mr. Trudeau were engrossed in conversation, with both strolling slowly and Mr. Trump placing his hand on Mr. Trudeau's back.

Mr. Trump's strategist, Steve Bannon, meanwhile, could be seen speaking animatedly and gesticulating to Gerald Butts, Mr. Trudeau's principal secretary.

Mr. Trump praised Mr. Trudeau and his father, Pierre Trudeau, at the roundtable announcing a Canada-U.S. women's business council, after Mr. Trudeau presented him with a photograph of the elder Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump at an awards dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1981. Mr. Trudeau also gave Mr. Trudeau a sculpture of a lion, carved out of sandstone from an Ohio quarry.

Mr. Pence's office said he and Mr. Trudeau's ministers discussed ways to "deepen" trade, and work together on fighting the Islamic State.

Mr. Trudeau also held a chummy meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.

Seated in front a fire, Mr. Ryan ribbed Mr. Trudeau for the way Canadian hockey teams scoop up players from his home state of Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan's office afterward said he and Mr. Trudeau discussed "breaking down trade barriers" between Canada and the United States - suggesting that Mr. Trump's Republican Party may be pushing the President for more free trade rather than less.

Associated Graphic

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the West Wing to a luncheon at the White House on Monday.


Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump meet in the White House's Oval Office on Monday. The two leaders were cordial with each other.


The must-see vehicles sharing the spotlight at the Canadian International AutoShow
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page E1

What is there to say about the Toronto auto show?

You pay your money, you see all the cars. Simple.

Officially, it's called the Canadian International AutoShow, and this year it runs Feb. 17-26 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's no Canada's Wonderland, but children of all ages will enjoy checking out the rare and exotic cars up close, sitting in the driver's seats, getting fingerprints on the shiny paint. Who knows? It may be a formative experience.

If you don't have the time or patience to wade through an endless sea of crossovers, we've picked out the top five must-see cars at the show this year.


Aston Martin and an energydrinks company are working together to create the ultimate supercar. It's said to pull four times the force of gravity, sideways, when cornering and accelerates from a standstill to 320 kilometres an hour in 10 seconds, according to The Wall Street Journal. Interested drivers should enroll in Top Gun school to acquaint themselves with such gut-twisting speed.

The AM-RB 001, codenamed Nebula, is making its Canadian debut at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.

Aston is only building 175 of them, each worth something like $3-million. See it here while you can because, out in the wild, you have a better chance of seeing a pig in yellow slippers climbing a pear tree.

The Nebula is the brainchild of Adrien Newey, of the Red Bull Formula One team, which counts Aston Martin among its sponsors.

Newey has designed 10 Formula One World Drivers' Championship-winning race cars, but the Nebula is his first crack at a roadgoing machine. He told Top Gear several current F1 drivers have already ordered one for themselves. No doubt the AM-RB 001 will stake out unchartered territory for what a car is capable of, but it's not without competition.

Recently, Mercedes-AMG announced it's working on a supercar, with the engine adapted from its championship-winning F1 car.

2018 AUDI RS3

On the opposite end of the performance-car spectrum is this little Audi. It may look harmless - hardly different from the budgetfriendly A3 sedan at first glance - but it's packing 400 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a new, fivecylinder turbocharged engine.

The ultimate sleeper? We won't find out until it goes on sale later this year.

The RS3 has the potential to be all things to all gearheads: a classier alternative to a Ford Focus RS, a more practical BMW M2, a spicier VW Golf R or a nonugly Subaru WRX STI.

Audi denied previous versions of the RS3 to North America drivers, citing lame excuses such as "there's no business case" or "it'll never make money!" The 2011 and 2015 RS3 hatchbacks received mostly positive reviews from the European media, but were criticized for high prices and tame handling.

When it finally lands in Canada, the 2018 RS3 will arrive in sedan form only. It'll have more power than before thanks to the new aluminum, 2.5-litre five-cylinder borrowed from the Audi TT RS.

It's enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. Pricing hasn't been announced, but we estimate it'll be closer to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 ($51,800) than to the BMW M2 ($63,500).


The all-new 2017 Jeep Compass is here to erase the memory of two less-than-stellar products in Jeep history.

The old Compass and Patriot SUVs were far from class-leading, to put it politely. The Patriot, in particular, had a reputation for being underpowered, with poor fuel economy and a cramped interior. At least it was cheap.

The new Compass is shaping up to be one of the biggest turnarounds for any single model. On paper, the 2017 model looks to right its predecessor's wrongs, and then some. In person, it looks better, too - as if it were a shrunken Grand Cherokee.

Fiat Chrysler is offering 17 different powertrains in the Compass across the world, but only one will come to North America initially: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder.

The company promises muchimproved fuel economy from the new motor. Also on the spec sheet is optional all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Trailhawk edition is the most exciting, promising respectable off-road performance from an affordable cute-ute. Beyond the two-tone paint and flashy wheels, the Trailhawk features increased ground clearance, skid plates and a 20:1 low-range for crawling over big rocks. The bumpers are also redesigned to offer better clearance. It'll wade through nearly a half-metre of water and tow up to 2,000 pounds. The Compass is dead.

Long live the Compass.


The Canadian International AutoShow lives in the shadow of bigger car shows, truly international events - such as Detroit and CES - which happen just a few weeks earlier. The inferiority complex is justified; it's rare that auto makers bring their big Detroit debuts to Toronto. Often, we have to wait a year or more to see them, by which time they're old news. And so, yes, it is flattering that Kia is bringing its new Stinger sedan to Toronto, fresh from its world premiere in Detroit.

The importance of this car for Kia can't be overstated. It's not that Kia Canada expects the Stinger to be a big seller; it probably won't be. Rather, it's meant to change perceptions of the brand, to move Kia upmarket and earn some high-performance credibility.

During development, the benchmark for the Kia Stinger was the BMW 4 Series. In fact, the chassis was honed by Albert Biermann, the same engineering wizard who fine-tuned many of BMW's greatest M cars.

Based around a new rear-drive chassis, the Stinger GT has a 3.3litre, twin-turbo V-6 putting out 365 hp. It's enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, which would put it in a dead heat with a BMW 340i.

Is the fastback Stinger really desirable enough to lure buyers away from sports sedans by Audi, BMW, Benz, Cadillac and Jaguar?

The Toronto show offers the chance to find out, before the Stinger arrives in dealerships later this year.


Like the Aston Martin supercar, this Mercedes monster truck is likely to reduce grown adults to fits of childlike awe; it is the stuff of daydreams.

Before you write it off as mere fantasy, know that this Benz SUV is real. If you are an adult-child with a couple thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you could walk into a Mercedes dealership and drive away in a G 550 4x42. Just be careful you don't run over any Smart cars on the way out.

Compared with the already rugged G-Class, the Squared version is exponentially more rugged, as rugged as Bear Grylls multiplied by Bear Grylls. How is that possible? Mercedes has added portal axles - which raise the axles above the centre of the wheels - as well as dual springs and damper struts at each corner. It means it'll drive clean over obstacles 43 centimetres-high and wade through water one metredeep.

However, we doubt Mercedes's claim that, "the enhanced G-Class drives through bends so dynamically that the occupants feel as though they are in a sports car rather than a crosscountry vehicle." Nothing more than two metres-tall and weighing around three tonnes is going to feel even remotely sporty, even when powered by a twin-turbo V-8.

Like the Aston Martin supercar, you'll probably only ever see one at the auto show.

Associated Graphic







Tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, and sales are continuing to increase. Sampling some of the more high-end options, Maryam Siddiqi finds that the market is well-positioned to capitalize on a growing thirst for luxury blends
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5

On an early December evening in Vancouver, hundreds donned sparkles and suits to walk a red carpet downtown despite the unusually snowy weather.

Supermodel Coco Rocha was a guest of honour and posed with party patrons, as well as with the event's hosts, Taha Bouqdib and Maranda Barnes. The couple had invited the crowd to celebrate the opening of their new store, TWG Tea, which includes a boutique, tea salon and restaurant. As attendees sipped on teainfused mixed drinks such as the Prestige Cocktail (TWG Tea Pink Flamingo tea syrup with La Marca prosecco), they likely clued in to the fact that TWG isn't your standard tea shop. Of the 500 varieties available in store - the Singaporean brand's fi rst foray into North America - prices range from $17 for 100 grams of Napoleon Tea, a black tea blend, to $2,723 for 100 grams for Imperial Gyokruo, a Japanese green tea, only three kilograms of which are available worldwide.

The thought of someone paying almost $3,000 for tea, however rare, might seem decadent even though tea, like fi ne wine or spirits, exists at all price points that depend on similar factors, from terroir to Mother Nature's whims. But while seasoned steepers in prime tea-growing and consuming countries such as China, Japan and India are more educated on the diversity of the beverage, North Americans are just learning about the luxe possibilities for filling their china cups. By opening TWG in Vancouver, Bouqdib and Barnes hope to be leaders in this education process. "We're trying to be a reference, so that you'll know where you can ask questions and fi nd information," Barnes says. To the average consumer, they may seem ahead of their time, but many in the industry think tea's moment is now.

Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, behind only water according to market research firm Euromonitor International. Canada - where the average tea drinker has 11 different varieties in their kitchen cupboards - has a particularly progressive tea-drinking population, which Euromonitor attributes to immigration from countries with strong tea-drinking cultures (China, India, the Middle East and Russia), an interest in being health conscious, and a penchant for learning about different varieties. Sales of tea reached $1.3-billion in Canada in 2015 - a 23 per cent increase over the year before.

"In Canada, it's all about specialty tea," says Louise Roberge, president of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada. "The image of tea is changing so you won't be afraid to show yourself with a cup of tea and think that you're old.

Millennials are drinking tea, and they love the culture." By 2020, Euromonitor forecasts that the tea industry will see $20-billion (U.S.) in growth, and calls it the most dynamic category in global beverages, adding that it is now in "an era of value creation," with ultra-premium and luxury tea claiming a share of the increase.

All facets of the industry are reacting to the rise in consumption of specialty tea. Last February, Mohammed Bin Yahya and Tariq Al Barwani opened Plentea Tea Bar in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood.

The industrial-looking café specializes in tea-based hot and cold takeaway beverages, and is a laboratory of sorts for customers who want to learn about blending.

"Coffee is popular here because of the varieties. If you go to Starbucks you're going to see things you can mix with lattes," says Bin Yahya. "We decided to take it to that level, where we can make tea with the same varieties as coffee. I think that brings more attention to people and they're interested in trying it and making it part of their lives."

There was a time when TWG wasn't sure there would be an audience for luxe tea. The company opened in 2008 in Singapore's financial district. "We opened about a month before the financial crisis," says Barnes. "It was a shock. The irony of it was that everyone needed a cup of tea. Businessmen were having meetings there, all the bank CEOS in the general district were coming in, and it was a time when people didn't know what was going to happen. And we thought if we can survive in this time of uncertainty then there's no stopping us because [tea] is an affordable luxury, rather than going out to buy a luxury handbag or car. It was an eye opener for us." The following year, the company opened four locations including two more spots in Singapore plus outlets in Tokyo and at Harrods in London. It now operates 57 locations in 17 cities.

From day one - lining up alongside the businessmen - millennials have shown keen interest. "Asia has a very large population of people under 25 who have some means and want to experience new things," says Barnes. "They travel immensely. They are aware of cool pastry shops, tea shops, coffee, shoes. They recognized the cool, chic factor without the huge price tag." Vancouver's location stocks the company's Instagram-friendly Haute Couture collection of loose-leaf tea packed in colourful boxes that boast original artwork. For entrylevel shoppers, the same blends can be bought in tea-bag form in a nondescript box at a lower price point (the loose, Haute Couture version of a green-tea blend called Silver Moon costs $47 versus $29 for the same blend in tea bags). The company's shop floor staff, dubbed "tea connoisseurs," spends an average of 20 minutes with each customer, teaching them not only about the differences between teas, but how they should be prepared and what foods they can be paired with.

Tea can be blended or used as an ingredient in alcoholic cocktails (Forbes identified tea-infused cocktails as one of the 2017's top food and drink trends).

And it has its own impressive array of mixing and serving accoutrement. Like wine, tea is best enjoyed when served in specific glassware. In 2013, for instance, a handful of hotels and restaurants in London began serving premium looseleaf teas in stemless Riedel glasses (the same model recommended for pinot noir). Joining Riedel in offering fi ne tea accessories are brands like Tom Dixon, which sells a spun brass tea pot for $365, and Hermès, whose Carnet d'Equateur cup and saucer cost $805. In August, Kitchen Aid debuted a glass tea kettle that costs $199.99 and comes with five specialty settings so that water is boiled to the temperature that best enhances a specific type of tea's flavour profile, whether white, oolong or herbal.

Bouqdib says the biggest trend in tea this year will be "refinement." Customers who might have their interest piqued at a place such as Plentea or treated themselves to a fancy new kettle will fi nd their way to a shop like TWG to dig deeper and learn more. Or more refined tea options will come to them where they usually grocery shop. On Feb. 18, Loblaw is launching three specialty loose-leaf teas under its PC Black Label brand: rooibos with chai spices, Chinese green tea with ginger and pineapple, and a black tea blend of Darjeeling and English breakfast with blueberries.

What the tea industry hasn't developed yet is its version of a wine tour.

You can't visit a tea plantation like you might a vineyard or distillery, sampling product and meeting the faces behind the brands, learning about varietals and perhaps splurging on a premium tin.

"The estates in the tea industry are very private and they don't sell directly to customers," Barnes says. "You can't get in a car and drive around to tea plantations in China; they won't let you in."

Until they do, TWG hopes to act as the industry's cellar door.

Associated Graphic


Tough luck, pundits: Everyone gets a ribbon
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

I see their columns and their comments, their Facebook posts and their tweets. It seems a lot of people are spending a lot of their time thinking about ribbons and the distribution thereof. The inappropriate awarding of ribbons has apparently been the source of great suffering in the lives of many.

"Not everyone deserves a sticker!" I read in the same vein last week, and this morning, I promise you that someone, somewhere, ordered a non-fat latte in a busy coffee shop, but the latte they received was made with two-per-cent milk and their name was spelled wrong on the paper cup. I know without reading their anguished essay on those events that they are certain that the blame for this travesty lies squarely on the shoulders of their barista's second-grade gym teacher - that ribbonbequeathing madman. And, of course, that disappointing coffee provider's mother, who let Bad Barista keep that ribbon when they brought their treasure home, thus breeding entitlement - a quality which, if you believe these people, is responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire.

The mother and her ribbon-pride - her ribbonextorting ways - is usually posited as the root of society's awards crisis. The ground between "helicopter parent" and "neglectful mother" is the size of the ideal packed lunch, which is to say, it is an illusion.

There's either too much or too little sugar, always.

Maternal goalposts move faster than a hockey net being whisked off the road at the shout of "Car!" because, apparently, you think your little snowflake is too good to grease the wheels of that SUV.

I am not part of the lost so-called "Everyone gets a ribbon" generation. I'm a Generation Xer, not a millennial. I am not part of that generation reportedly - by which I mean, reported everywhere, every week - ruined by out-of-control decorative-tape inflation.

Although, the odd thing is, back in the seventies, we were also given ribbons for merely participating.

As I recall, when we signed up for shot put, we got a ribbon just for trying shot put. That's right, we got a ribbon just for showing up at the shot-put event on the other side of the sports field at the allotted time.

Small children being notoriously acquisitive of bright objects, a lot of us went and got ribbons. That much is true. We pinned them to our little shirts, and the thing about participation ribbons is, we all knew exactly what they meant, and it wasn't that we won, and I have no reason to think this knowledge was lost to the next generation.

Despite what I keep reading, those ribbons may not explain why millennials work as baristas, or don't work as baristas. Ribbons may not explain why millennials have no ambition, or expect too much out of life, or live in their parents' basements, or pay too much rent and thus carry too much debt.

They are likely not why millennials disappoint the ribbon-anxious by simultaneously pushing for a raise or promotion because they're just so entitled, or never asking for a raise or promotion because they're just not motivated.

Those ribbons may not explain some young people being arrogant, or feckless or annoying, as they can, admittedly, be. I am pretty sure young people annoying old people predates not just Sports Day ribbons but the entire textile industry. Young people getting under the skin of older people predates the wheel. Young people standing there being hotter and more energetic and optimistic than you and irritating you for a reason you can't quite put your finger on is a tradition that goes back to the days when our ice-age ancestors complained to each other around the fire.

"Tharg Jr. think too good hunt mammoth with big rock like Tharg Sr. do! Expect (and make) pointy stick! Tharg Jr. no listen to me explain that pointy stick anger Great Sabre Tooth Tiger in Sky, make avalanche! Tharg Jr. roll eyes, check smoke signals at dinner."

I want to reassure the ribbon-anxious that there were different ribbons for winning at those schoolyard events, and also people saying, "Hey! You won! You're great" and trying to recruit you for the shotput team next year, instead of laughing at you for twirling around three times and then falling over and I don't want to talk about it.

I will say that abject failure and ridicule are not the motivating factors many people make them out to be.

Also, for over a hundred years, the Boston Marathon has been giving out finishers' certificates and medals to everyone who completes the run before the timekeepers pack it in; and last I checked, as of filing anyway, America is still standing. Although I admit it's not looking good.

All these things are souvenirs and, as a means of motivating little children to try a new challenge, an extra ribbon can be helpful. The idea seemed to be to look like a maypole by the end of the day, when everyone at my school also got a Popsicle. That's right, we'd all get Popsicles. Even the total losers. It's amazing we go to work in the mornings instead of wandering around the park, throwing big pine cones and attempting to leap over the lower branches of trees, and then holding up the nearest icecream truck because we believe we're entitled (this word is like the centre square in Boomer Bingo) to a frozen treat.

Maybe teachers recognize that the purpose of Sports Day is not to separate the six-year-old standing-long-jump wheat from the six-year-old standing-long-jump chaff, but a lot of other people clearly don't. It keeps them up at night. I have, in the past few years, grown increasingly worried about the seemingly large number of earnest citizens among us who apparently, as children, were not given enough ribbons or medals or stickers. The specific nature of the object they were deprived of varies, but the pain doesn't.

I want to suggest that everyone does deserve a sticker. Because it's a goddamn sticker, and perhaps recognizing the innate value of our fellow beings - and yes, ourselves - will, more than winning or recognizing a winner, one day be the thing that gets us out the door, or stops us from closing the door on someone else.

Anyway, in an effort to make peace, or at least free up some column space, I have a proposal: Dear Young People of the Alleged Participation Award Generation, I ask you to spare a thought and, more importantly, a ribbon for all those inadequately decorated people out there. You might not remember where you put that small piece of cloth your teacher gave you for playing dodge ball that one time. It probably isn't all that important to you after all these years. But know that it weighs heavily on some poor pundit's mind. The next time you see that look in someone's eye that tells you they're just certain they wouldn't be stuck in line behind you at the supermarket if only your teacher had made it clear what a terribly disappointing ball-dodger you were, pull one of those old ribbons out of your pocket and say, "Wow, you're doing a great job being in line to buy onions. This is for you, sport!"

They might be disappointed at first; they have built up some pretty high expectations for the power of these ribbons.

In fact, studies show that these awards mostly just fill up cork boards and the drawers of bedside tables. Well, except for T-ball ribbons. Those things grant the power of levitation, which is pretty neat, I'll grant you.

Banks, police following money trail to target human trafficking
Project Protect partnership tracks suspicious transactions to back up victims' stories, and may eventually aid in securing convictions
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Canada's financial watchdog has sent more than 100 disclosures to police in the past year on human trafficking in a quiet new initiative that targets traffickers by following their money.

Project Protect is a partnership between the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FinTRAC), financial institutions and law enforcement that is using money trails to detect and investigate traffickers. Banks' anti-money laundering arms are starting to red flag suspicious accounts, based on indicators such as multiple motel bookings, large expenditures at drug stores and frequent ATM deposits in the middle of the night.

They report suspicious activity to FinTRAC, which in turn notifies law enforcement.

In the year since the project was launched, FinTRAC has made 102 disclosures to police across Canada under the Project Protect label. By comparison, in the year before, there were 19 such trafficking-related disclosures.

Those who work to counter human trafficking say following the money trail can help back up a victim's story and potentially reveal other people who are being exploited. It may also, eventually, help secure convictions, which are still rare for this crime.

"It's a great tool for us," said Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi, head of the Toronto Police Service's Sex CrimesHuman Trafficking Enforcement Team, which is part of the project. "We've had three or four investigations where the information that we received in the FinTRAC reports has helped us in our investigation."

Its usefulness comes largely after the arrest is made, as "it really does corroborate everything that a victim says," he said.

Human trafficking is defined as recruiting, transporting or controlling the movement of someone for the purpose of exploitation. More than 90 per cent of human-trafficking victims are female, and a quarter of victims are under the age of 18, according to Statistics Canada. Most police-reported cases in Canada are domestic, rather than cross-border, and most involve sexual exploitation.

It is a hidden crime, though not uncommon. Last year alone, Toronto police made 77 humantrafficking arrests, and laid 529 charges for trafficking or related offences. Police also found 67 victims last year - 60 per cent of whom were 16 and under. The youngest victim was 13 years old. So far this year, police have found another 12 victims, Det. Sgt. Tramontozzi said.

The new initiative was hatched in late 2015, when a crowd of bankers and consultants gathered in Toronto for an annual conference on financial crime and anti-money laundering.

Appearing at the final day's event was a survivor of human trafficking, Timea Nagy, and an RCMP constable who both spoke of the impact of the crime and the importance of looking at money flows. They appealed to the audience to help tackle the crime.

Peter Warrack, director of the Bank of Montreal's anti-money laundering unit, stood up and publicly pledged his support.

"I just knew that financial institutions held an important key to identifying the traffickers, by seeing the money," said Mr. Warrack, who has worked in the field for more than 20 years.

"What was going through my head was, as regulated financial institutions, we have a mandate to identify and report suspicious transactions, and human trafficking fell within that mandate."

By the end of the day, he says FinTRAC - an independent federal agency created in 2000 with a mandate to detect and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities - and all the other major banks were on board. Project Protect was officially launched in January, 2016, and has spurred information sharing on the warning signs and common financial indicators of trafficking.

In December, FinTRAC released an operational alert to 31,000 businesses, partners and police that included a lengthy list of indicators that point to signs of trafficking. Red flags include payments for online escort ads, frequent hotel and motel bookings along with air and rail purchases, frequent large purchases at pharmacies and lingerie shops, payment in bitcoin and frequent deposits or withdrawals between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., along with banking activity at ATMs in different cities or provinces.

In the year before the project, financial institutions sent about 400 suspicious-transaction reports (STRs) to FinTRAC that involved human trafficking, human smuggling or related activity. In the year since, the number of human traffickingrelated STRs rose to 2,000, FinTRAC said. They came from all of the Big Five banks along with money-service firms such as Western Union. Another 500 were sent in the first month of this year.

"I don't think I really had an appreciation for how large it was going to get," Michael Cowley, manager of FinTRAC's central region intelligence unit, said in an interview at the agency's Ottawa headquarters. "The quantity of reports has gone up, and the quality of the reporting has increased significantly, as well."

It's too early to evaluate how effective the project is in leading to arrests, additional charges or convictions, which are still rare.

Since Canada introduced trafficking in persons legislation in 2005, there have been 53 completed adult court cases that had human trafficking as the most serious offence. Of those, as of 2014, less than a third resulted in a guilty finding, Statscan says.

And it may also raise concerns in some quarters over the balance between protecting clients' privacy and efforts to curb crime. FinTRAC doesn't automatically send all STRs to police; it evaluates and analyzes the reports and sends disclosures only if certain thresholds are met, said Barry MacKillop, FinTRAC's deputy director of operations. (Under law, banks are already required to report to FinTRAC suspected cases of money laundering).

The financial disclosures "don't typically, in my opinion, help us to identify a trafficking situation," said Detective Cam Brooks of the Calgary Police Service's Counter Exploitation Unit, in part because they don't indicate whether a woman is working by her own free will in the trade, or whether she's being exploited. But they have been useful in corroborating a victim's story.

For example, an arrest last fall involved a man who coerced a woman into the sex trade, often abusing her. Over the next two years, she was allegedly moved across the country. The man would advertise her online, and then funnel money electronically into his own bank account, leaving the victim with almost nothing to support herself. She was cut off from friends and family, and denied routine medical treatment for diabetes, which several times led to her going to hospital.

The Project Protect disclosure was helpful in validating her story, he said. "We have to dig deeper than just what that information provides us. But it gives us a starting point."

It's not just banks getting on board. Accounting firms are, too.

Grant Thornton LLP joined the project a year ago, and has produced two reports for clients in different sectors on the financial red flags for trafficking. "There's been a strong response to stop this; we need to eradicate this and get this out of our communities," said Jennifer FiddianGreen, partner and anti-money laundering expert, who went to Winnipeg this month to train credit unions on what to watch for.

The project is a good addition for law enforcement, but it's just one part of tackling the problem, said Barbara Gosse, CEO of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, who wants to see more focus on awareness and prevention.

"You need to have a multipronged approach," she said.

"Yes, Project Protect should be one of those prongs, no question, looking at the financial side of this, forensic accounting is positive. And yes, it can assist victims. But Project Protect takes place while the trafficking operation and exploitation is happening.

"We need to do more on the prevention side, we need to have other supports and right now."

Planting peace in Syria: Why I still have hope for my mother country
Syrians are drained after years of conflict, but, as Bushra Nassab writes, reconciliation and resilience persist in the war-torn streets of Deir Atiah
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

I convinced myself before leaving for Syria that I would not cry once I got there. No matter what horror I saw or heard, I would be strong and I would not cry. But it was one of the first things I did once I arrived.

My parents immigrated to Canada from Deir Atiah, Syria, a small city just northeast of Damascus, when I was only a year and a half old. Nevertheless, until the Syrian war began in 2011, we made frequent summertime visits, which kept me deeply connected to the country.

Year after year since the war started, I put off a return trip in the hopes that the situation would get better. It never got better. If anything, it only got worse.

But I was not willing to wait forever to see my family - many of whom refused to leave Syria and become refugees - so I gathered my courage and booked our tickets.

People are leaving Syria, my friends and colleagues said before I departed. Why was I going to visit?

With no direct international flights into Syria, last July my mother and I flew from Toronto to Beirut, and then drove across the border to see my relatives. In normal circumstances, it would have taken us no longer than two hours to drive from the Lebanese border to Deir Atiah; however, this time we had to stop at more than 15 military checkpoints. The drive took more than five hours.

The man who picked us up from Beirut's airport was a dual SyrianLebanese citizen who shuttles Syrian expatriates across the border. This man's job did not exist before the war. Although his job is extremely risky and stressful, it pays well, and anything that pays well is sought after in Syria's nowchaotic economy, where the stark rise in the cost of living has left many in poverty.

Not long after we crossed the Lebanese border we passed Harasta, a city empty of inhabitants and entirely destroyed. Since the onset of Syria's war, I have come across countless photos and videos of the destruction, but a part of me has always been in a state of denial. This cannot possibly be Syria, I'd tell myself.

But I could not deny what was before my eyes: windows shattered, buildings in ruins, you could see exactly where a bomb had dropped and bullets had landed. I cried silently as we drove by because I did not want to appear weak. I knew this was just the beginning of what I would see and hear. I wanted to be strong. So, I put on my sunglasses in the hopes that neither my mother nor our cab driver would notice.

As soon as we were in Syria, my first instinct was to take a photo.

"Put your phone down!" our cab driver screamed. I obliged without objection, and later learned why I needed to be careful: Any photo that accidentally captured a Syrian soldier or military checkpoint could get me in serious trouble with the government, and along the highway, Syrian soldiers and military checkpoints were everywhere. With my phone back in my purse, I merely observed and captured mental images of a country that I did not recognize. The peaceful, stable and secure Syria of my childhood was a thing of the past.

That evening, we arrived safely at my maternal grandparents' home in Deir Atiah and gathered with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I had longed for this family reunion for years. Everyone laughed and happily welcomed us as if there was no war, but it was clear from looking into their eyes that the conflict had taken a physical, emotional and mental toll.

In November, 2013, Deir Atiah was a battleground between government and opposition forces; my family had been forced to live in basements and get by on an inadequate amounts of food, electricity and water. The sound of gunshots haunt them still.

"You see those black dots?" my cousin said, as he pointed at the walls of their living room. "Those are where the bullets went through."

Shivers went down my spine.

Despite peace being relatively restored in Deir Atiah, their pain and heartbreak cannot be easily mended or erased. One of my cousins doesn't know whether her husband is dead or alive. He's been missing for more than three years, and she now runs her husband's business while raising their three little boys. One of my uncles was kidnapped and returned home only after being tortured and paying the kidnappers a $20,000 ransom. Another cousin and her husband lost their life savings on a home in Harasta that's been destroyed. My aunt had to fight through Islamic State militants in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus, while trying to retrieve important documents from her law firm. My cousin escaped death when her faculty at the University of Damascus was bombed - luckily, she went home early that day. Many of my male cousins have been forced into the army to fight in a war that has no clear end in sight. And recently, in December, 2016, Damascus's water infrastructure was deliberately attacked and polluted, making life even more difficult for my many family members who live in the capital city.

While in Syria I asked those around me: "If you wanted me to say anything to people in Canada, what would it be?" No one gave me their political opinion or bothered pointing fingers at the different parties. Syrians in Syria are tired. They are drained, physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead, I received one common answer: "Tell them we want peace, we want this war to stop and we want our normal, war-free lives back." But Syrians are not waiting - nor relying - on the mercy and initiative of the international community to push for peace. I witnessed this phenomenon with my own eyes.

There is a wall along one street in Deir Atiah that is full of art dedicated to spreading peace and how Syrians need to put their differences aside to rebuild the country. Not just the country's infrastructure and economy, but also its fragile and divided social fabric. In another neighbourhood, one man has planted flowers in a bombed area as a way of symbolizing that we should be planting peace in Syria, not bombs.

In Damascus, street banners advocate for Syrians to have mercy and forgive one another: two crucial pillars required for reconciliation in this country.

Many civil-society groups across Syria are taking it upon themselves to organize charity and food drives, as well as organizing children's sports, arts and educational activities to help rehabilitate children who have been traumatized.

Syrians are moving forward with their lives. War or no war, life goes on. The souk markets are crowded, there are weddings (I attended one while there!) and people still go out and have fun: They just place their faith in God that they'll make it to the next day.

Official peace talks in Geneva or Kazakhstan can try to stop the bloodshed, but I would argue that what's really going to mend this country are everyday, ordinary Syrians who have come to realize how important it is to stand as one and start building a foundation for long-term, durable peace.

Associated Graphic

Bushra Nassab is seen in an area of Syria where someone decided to plant flowers on the site of a bombing. The act was meant to suggest the country's people should be planting peace, not explosives.


Bushra Nassab, third from left, is seen in Syria with her cousins. While the Syrians who Nassab spoke to long for peace and a return to their old lives, they are not waiting on the initiative of the international community.


As the costs of housing, food and daycare rise, Dave McGinn writes, Canadians are realizing that their dreams of having a big family - or even one child - might not be affordable
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Mike Neudorf and his wife, Melissa, always hoped to have two children, spaced two years apart.

"I have a younger brother who is two years apart and that seemed to work fairly well," he says.

The Surrey, B.C., couple had their first child, a daughter named Chloe, in the winter of 2015. That joy was followed nearly a year later by some sobering number-crunching.

"As we were coming up on Chloe's first birthday we looked at what we were spending on everything that was not discretionary and I realized, I don't think we can double this and still make a reasonable life for ourselves here," Neudorf says.

He and his wife don't know when they'll be able to have a second child, if ever.

First comes love, then comes baby, then comes the crushing financial realities of raising children in Canada - and that's assuming you can even afford to have one child.

Faced with exorbitant daycare fees, skyrocketing housing costs and a declining standard of living (not to mention studentloan debt many people have to shoulder well into their 30s), many Canadians say they simply can't afford to start a family or have more than one child. It is a situation that should trouble us all, experts say.

Although raising a child has never been cheap, the bill today is eye-popping. South of the border, the latest estimate from the Department of Agriculture says that a middle-income, married couple will shell out $250,200 (U.S.) to raise a child born in 2015. That covers from the day they are born until they turn 18, and works out to $13,900 a year.

Here in Canada, two years ago MoneySense magazine put the annual cost at $13,366.

The three biggest factors that account for these numbers are housing, child care and food.

On the housing front, the average price of a house in Canada as of last November was $491,509. That's more than six times higher than the average in 1984.

It's likely one reason people are delaying starting families.

"Whereas it took five years of full-time work to save a 20per-cent down payment on an average home in 1976, it now takes from coast to coast over 13 years," says Paul Kershaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia. The founder of Generation Squeeze, a group that highlights generational inequities, Kershaw likes to use 1976 as a comparison because that's when many baby boomers were buying their first homes and having children.

Chris Jappert has a mortgage on the Calgary home he bought with his wife three years ago, as well as more than $40,000 in student-loan debt. He works for Alberta Health Services; his wife works for a company that makes analyzers for natural-gas pipelines.

They have been married for five years and want to have kids but can't afford to, Jappert says.

"Right now we're barely getting by," he says. "People tell me, 'If you wait until you can afford a kid you'll never have a kid.' But I also don't want to have a kid starve to death because I can't afford to buy food."

For many couples who have one child, the financial drain of housing and daycare makes contemplating a second child impossible, at least for the time being.

Daycare costs across the country have risen by 8 per cent since 2014 - more than three times the rate of inflation, according to a study released last year by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In most big cities across the country, it is fairly common to spend $1,000 a month on a licensed daycare spot, says David Macdonald, an economist who conducted the study.

That number is even higher in Toronto.

"Once you've got two children ... it wouldn't be uncommon for you to pay $30,000 a year in child-care fees in Toronto," Macdonald says.

That's more than university tuition. And it's certainly enough to influence family-planning decisions.

"For some, it's not a matter of choice. It's a matter of circumstance. You have no choice," says Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family, an Ottawa-based charitable organization.

"And that may also mean somebody stays home or doesn't return to work after parental leave. Or it means that you either postpone or choose not to have a second or subsequent children."

But it also has broader implications, she says. "If families are choosing not to have children because they can't afford care or they can't find care, that's going to come back to us as a society," Spinks says.

Statistics Canada puts the country's current fertility rate at 1.6 children per woman. This could jeopardize the country's social safety net in the future, as there will be fewer people paying taxes to pay for it.

Daycare may be the biggest cost for new parents, but there are also rising food prices, hydro bills and all the other costs of getting by, while wages are hardly keeping pace with the demands of pocket books.

"The typical 25- to 34-year-old earns around $4,500 less [annually] for full-time work once you adjust for inflation compared to 1976," Kershaw says.

"It's just a plummeting standard of living."

The standard objection is to point out how much people in that age group spend on coffee or tattoos or eating out. Kershaw hears this all the time.

But, he says, our standard of living is driven by two factors.

"How much can you sell your labour power for and what's your primary cost of living? One is deteriorating dramatically ... and the other is skyrocketing even at a more frightening pace."

Isaac Otway once thought he'd have four or more kids. Instead, the Edmonton father, who works as a payroll and benefits consultant, has one. Feeling "squeezed from all sides," he has accepted that it is better to be able to provide for his three-year-old son than to risk barely scraping by, or worse, with a second child.

"If he comes to me one day and says, 'Dad, I want to play hockey,' if I have two kids I probably couldn't afford to put him in hockey. But maybe with only one I can," Otway says. "Even that's a maybe because hockey is expensive."

For Neudorf and his wife, not being able to afford to have a second child is still frustrating.

"We've done a lot of things leading up to this point that we thought would set us up for living the kind of life that we wanted to live," he says.

"Put it another way. What else could we have done to make this easier?" Whatever some people's objections might be - that there are already too many people on this planet, that you should be happy to have one child - the Neudorfs' situation should be deeply troubling to us all, Kershaw says.

Canada is a wealthy nation and yet members of a younger demographic feel as if they can't afford to provide for the children they'd like to have, he says.

"That has to grab all of us in the gut and make us wonder what's going on with the standard of living in Canada."

Associated Graphic

Melissa and Mike Neudorf, with their daughter, Chloe, aren't sure they are financially able to have a second child.


Melissa and Mike Neudorf are frustrated they may not be able to afford to have a sibling for 15-month-old daughter Chloe.


Wal-Mart's 'test lab' is a sign of the digital times
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

ANCASTER, ONT. -- An affluent suburb of Hamilton is ground zero for Lee Tappenden's discount store of the future.

The chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Canada Corp. is touring a supercentre in Ancaster that is designed for the digital age. It makes big bets on some of the retailer's top product categories, such as groceries, toys, children's clothing and health and wellness items, and scales back on others, including furniture, cribs and strollers - items that customers are often buying online.

At the store's entrance, Mr. Tappenden reaches for one of the mobile scanning guns available for shoppers as a test here. Customers can scan each of their purchases as they move through the aisles, with the bill already tallied by the time they get to the checkout. The CEO makes a beeline for the refrigerated (8 C) walk-in fruits-and-vegetables room - another first for Wal-Mart Canada - and admires the rows of lettuce, strawberries and other wilt-prone produce.

Mr. Tappenden, a 21-year WalMart veteran who took the top job in Canada in August, is overseeing the reinvention of its supercentre, adapting it to an e-commerce landscape that is forcing the company to rethink its operations. He is considering not adding any new stores this year, which would be the first time since Wal-Mart arrived in Canada in 1994 that it would not open a new outlet. Instead, the company will focus on revamping some of its 400-plus existing locations, he said. "Our supercentres look quite tired - quite old - this is more modern, more contemporary," said the CEO, clad in jeans and a brown pullover, his name tag with his photograph clipped to it.

"We just have to iron out some of the issues."

At a time when consumers are heading less often to bricks-and-mortar stores, WalMart is looking for ways to lure back shoppers by trying to speed up the checkout process (with the mobile scanners, which it will later this year replace with scanning apps on customers' own smartphones); widening grocery aisles (by one foot to up to seven feet for easier navigation with bulky shopping carts); and focusing more on its leading products, such as toys and diapers, while directing customers to for their other needs.

The efforts come as Inc. experiments with a high-tech physical store in the United States, featuring digital scanning and checkouts, while luring cybershoppers to its low-cost online shopping with its Prime loyalty program, which includes free shipping.

Wal-Mart's prototype store in Canada is so important to U.S. parent Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that David Cheesewright, who heads its international division (and at one time led its Canadian division) recently called out the Ancaster prototype as a "test lab" for the world's largest retailer.

Hugh Latif of management consultancy Hugh Latif & Associates said Wal-Mart's store in Ancaster reflects the big changes sweeping through the retail sector. "The key, strategically, will be how they use both online and stores to combat companies like Amazon."

Wal-Mart's mobile-scanner test, along with its growing number of self-checkouts, will eventually help it reduce labour costs, he said. (A Wal-Mart spokesman said the retailer has made no staff cuts as a result of the technology.)

Huw Thomas, CEO of Smart Real Estate Investment Trust, which is Wal-Mart's largest landlord, said it's pleased that WalMart continues to invest in its stores, even as its pace of expansion slows.

"They're doing, I think, what all large retailers are doing: They're trying to figure out how to do 'bricks and clicks,' " Mr. Thomas said. "The store in Ancaster is an evolution." His company owns that location.

Faced with Amazon's digital threat, Wal-Mart has "got to be really smart about what they're doing. ... They have no choice."

Wal-Mart Canada is counting on its "refresh" store strategy to give it a lift. Its same-store sales at outlets open a year or more - an important retail metric - rose just 1.1 per cent in each of its second and third quarters of 2016, lower than a year earlier, when it benefited from the demise of rival Target Canada. Even so, Wal-Mart keeps stealing market share from competitors in food, consumer products and health and wellness items. They now make up more than 50 per cent of the retailer's total annual sales here (which are estimated at more than $25-billion). That's up from 43 per cent in 2013, Mr. Tappenden said.

At the Ancaster store, the retailer has shrunk the space it devotes to some departments, such as large furniture, hardware, paint, strollers, car seats and adult clothing, and expanded its space for other sections in which WalMart has a top ranking, including toys and children's apparel.

As he arrives in the toy section, which is about 30-per-cent larger than the one in other supercentres, he bends down to peer at the Lego sets on one of the top shelves, whose height has been cut in half to ensure children can get a clear eye-level view of the enticing products being showcased.

"On a Saturday morning, the dream would be that the kids say: 'I want to go to Wal-Mart,' " Mr. Tappenden said.

The store has stopped carrying cribs, although stocks about 200 different kinds. Mr. Tappenden said the retailer has to learn how to use better signs to steer shoppers to Wal-Mart's e-commerce site for those types of products, to discourage them from purchasing from Amazon or other e-tailers.

In the all-important grocery section, which brings shoppers to stores more frequently than general merchandise, Wal-Mart has rearranged the aisles so that the fresh-food departments are more prominent and closer together, he said. "We've been in fresh [food] for 10 years but we don't have the credibility yet," he said.

"A lot of people haven't shopped us for fresh yet."

The new walk-in refrigerated room with sliding doors is aimed at boosting its "credibility" in fresh produce by helping ensure the food lasts longer, he said. It borrows a leaf from Costco stores, which also have "cooler" rooms, he noted. "We were worried customers wouldn't find their way in here and they'd think it is just part of the back room."

The mobile scanners are another way that he wants to make WalMart supercentres more appealing. His research found customers are keen to get their shopping done faster. The "Scan & Go" test is designed to let shoppers tally up their own purchases with the scanner and bag them in their shopping carts so that by the time they get to the checkout all they have to do is pay, he said. WalMart's research has found that customers buy more items with the scanners - on average 18 compared with 13 on regular shopping trips. The retailer plans to equip 20 more stores with scanners this year and move to scanning with customers' own mobile devices by the end of 2017.

About 5 per cent of shoppers' purchases at Ancaster are made with Scan & Go, which was introduced in November, he said.

Brenda Melnichuk, a 51-year-old homemaker, was one of the customers who was keen to try out a scanner for her $202.36 shopping trip early this month. "It takes a bit of getting used to," she said as she got staff to help her weigh and scan some apples. "It's nice to see the prices. It's kind of fun."

Associated Graphic

This Ancaster, Ont., Wal-Mart store has become a prototype for the company's future.


Stuck in the waiting room
A survey of 11 countries finds Canadian patients have trouble seeing their family doctor right away or on nights and weekends. Health reporter Kelly Grant takes a closer look at the numbers
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

Canada lags behind other well-off nations when it comes to timely access to health care, according to an influential survey of patients in 11 countries, including the United States.

Canadian patients reported having more trouble scoring same-day or next-day appointments with their family doctors than patients in any country but Norway, which tied Canada for last place.

Canada also placed second-last on the availability of doctors on nights and weekends, which contributed to making patients in this country the most frequent users of emergency departments and the most likely to wait four hours or more for emergency care.

However, the report found that once Canadians get in to see their physicians, they rate the care they receive from their regular doctors as among the best in the world.

The wide-ranging survey of adults in 11 countries was conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation whose reports are frequently cited by Canadian politicians and policy makers looking to see how the country's health-care system stacks up against its peers in Europe, Australia and the United States.

An overview of the 2016 survey's results was published in the journal Health Affairs in November, but on Thursday, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released a deeper dive into the Canadian findings, including breakdowns by province.

"The overall message is that on timely access to care, we still have a fair amount of work to do," said Tracy Johnson, the director of health-system analysis and emerging issues at CIHI, the country's official agency for health-care statistics.

"We're below the international average in seven out of the eight areas that were measured. For person-centred care, though, we appear to be doing better, generally, than the international average."

The survey also found that waiting times to see a specialist were longer in Canada than in any of the other countries, as were waiting times for all elective surgeries.

Survey results should always be taken with a grain of salt, Ms. Johnson warned, because they rely on patients' memories of their experience with the health-care system, unlike data directly from hospitals or clinics.

But in cases in which CIHI has hard data - as it does for emergency-department waiting times, for instance - the Commonwealth Fund survey findings tend to track roughly with the other evidence, she added.

CIHI oversaw the Canadian portion of the Commonwealth Fund study, which surveyed 4,547 Canadians from March to June of last year. The Commonwealth Fund asked the same questions about timely access, cost barriers to medical care and quality of care during the same time period in Germany, France, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and Britain.

"Over all, Canadians were the most likely to rate the quality of care they receive [from their own doctors] as excellent of all the countries," said Robin Osborn, vice-president of the international program in health policy and practice innovations at the Commonwealth Fund.

"Where it stands out in terms of having room to do better is on the access."

The survey found that only 43 per cent of Canadians were able to secure sameday or next-day appointments with their primary-care physicians, a tie for last place. Still, that figure was an improvement over the last time the Commonwealth Fund asked the question in 2013, when only 38 per cent of Canadian patients said they could see their doctors right away.

In top-performing Netherlands, 77 per cent of respondents reported snagging a same-day or next-day appointment the last time they were sick, followed by New Zealand (76 per cent) and Australia (67 per cent).

Only 34 per cent of Canadians said it was easy or somewhat easy to get medical care outside the emergency department on evening or weekends. Only Sweden fared worse.

Colleen Flood, the director of the University of Ottawa's Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, said part of the explanation is that Canada has fewer physicians per capita than any of the other countries surveyed, except the United States - 2.6 doctors for every 1,000 Canadians, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The CIHI report pegs it even lower at 2.5.

The United States also has 2.6 doctors for every 1,000 people, the OECD says.

Norway, by contrast, has 4.4, Germany has 4.1 and Britain has 2.8.

But the deeper reason Canadians struggle to access primary care, Prof. Flood said, is that provincial governments here exert less control over when and how doctors work than do the public and private payers in the other countries surveyed.

"Our physicians are relatively autonomous," she said. "They still decide, largely, what they do and when they do it. They decide their work hours and how many days a week they want to work."

Some provinces are trying to rectify this by encouraging family doctors to join group practices, where they can share the burden of night and weekend shifts. In Ontario and Alberta, where provincial governments have made an especially strong push for team practices, survey respondents reported better access to night and weekend appointments.

However, in December, Ontario's Auditor-General criticized the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for failing to set and enforce clear requirements for night and weekend work for doctors who had joined group practice models.

The Commonwealth Fund survey also asked about financial barriers to medical care.

For services covered by the Canada Health Act, Canada received high marks, above the average for the 11 countries.

Only 6 per cent of Canadian respondents said they did not visit a doctor or skipped a medical test or treatment because they could not afford it. In the United States, 22 per cent said they declined to visit a doctor because of the cost.

But when it comes to prescription drugs and dental work - which fall outside the universal coverage guarantee of the Canada Health Act - Canada is second-last to the United States.

Ten per cent of Canadians said they failed to fill prescriptions or skipped doses of medications because they could not afford the out-of-pocket price.

"In all of the countries in this international survey, with the exception of the United States and Canada, you have universal health insurance that includes universal coverage of medicines, regardless of your age or income," said Steve Morgan, a health economist who teaches in the department of population and public health at the University of British Columbia.

Canada's best results came in a part of the survey dubbed patient-centred care.

Seventy-four per cent of Canadians rated the care they received from their own doctor in the last year as very good or excellent, second only to New Zealand.

Canadian patients said their doctors were more likely than the survey average to know their medical history, spend enough time with them, involve them in decisions about medical care and explain things in a way they could understand.

Yet that did not lead patients to bestow high marks on the system over all. Only 45 per cent of Canadians rated the overall quality of medical care as very good or excellent, the third-worst result in the report.

In 2014, Canada spent $5,543 per person on health care, well above the OECD average of $4,463.

Associated Graphic

Canada ranked second-last in a survey of 11 countries on the availability of doctors on nights and weekends, resulting in increased use of emergency departments.


For services covered by the Canada Health Act, Canada received marks above the average for the 11 countries surveyed.


Mexico asks Canada to stand firm on NAFTA
Economy Minister says the countries must push to keep trade agreement trilateral, despite temptations to divide discussions
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A3

MEXICO CITY -- Canada and Mexico must maintain a united front in confronting U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico's Economy Minister says, because they stand to gain more together than they might negotiating alone.

"You cannot fall into the temptation to get a specific privilege that will cost certainty and direction to the world," Ildefonso Guajardo told The Globe and Mail in an interview in his office in Mexico City. "NAFTA is trilateral and should be handled as a trilateral discussion ... Regardless of the temptations in this process to go different ways, you can never go against principles. The first one is: Nothing that results in tariffs and quotas in trade - that would be a move to the past."

His words were echoed in recent days by several senior advisers to the administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto who are anxious to see Canada back Mexico in standing up to Mr. Trump's threat to "tear up" the North American free-trade agreement.

Of course Canada must defend its own interests, Mr. Guajardo said. "It's the same for Mexico: Our first responsibility is to look after our country's interest, and no one can contradict that. But ... in doing that you do not need to run over other nations with your bus. You can do both things."

The United States is by far the largest trading partner of both Mexico and Canada. In 2015, Mexico and Canada each exported about $295-billion (U.S.) in goods to the United States. But the U.S. goods-trade deficit with Mexico was much larger - about $58-billion - so Mexico has become the focus of Mr. Trump's criticism of U.S. trade policy; he has said that trade terms with Canada require only "tweaking." But the Mexicans are hoping Canada stands by them.

Mr. Guajardo also made explicit the threat that Mexico will bring to any trade negotiations with the United States: an end to co-operation with the U.S. government on drugs, migration and intelligence.

"There is so much at stake for the interest of the U.S. as a country," he said. "We have been a great ally to fight problems with migration, narcotics ... If at some point in time things become so badly managed in the relationship, the incentives for the Mexican people to keep on co-operating in things that are at the heart of [U.S.] national-security issues will be diminished. You cannot ask me to [accept poor] conditions in terms of trade and then request my help to manage migration issues from other nations or ... the prosecution of criminal activities and narcotics."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Mr. Pena Nieto shortly after meeting with Mr. Trump in Washington on Feb. 13, their third phone conversation in three weeks.

"Since we were not able to have our President going to Washington, I would imagine that President Pena would love to know what happened and what kinds of discussions they had internally about NAFTA and the bilateral and trilateral relationships," said Jaime Zabludovsky, who was Mexico's deputy negotiator on NAFTA and now advises the Mexican President.

Mr. Pena Nieto cancelled a trip of his own to meet Mr. Trump after the U.S. President insisted via Twitter that he must come prepared to pay for a planned wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Canadian government has been reiterating the value of its relationship with Mexico while avoiding any commitment to a purely trilateral discussion of NAFTA.

"Mexico is our friend," Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Berlin on Thursday. "We'll see how the process is going with respect to NAFTA ... We'll let them do their process with the United States, but we've been clear to them that the Mexicans are our friends and we'll always be willing to talk to them because trade has been beneficial ... Certainly we'll let them do their process with the U.S., but we'll always be there for a friend to look at what we can achieve together following their own process with the U.S.s" There is intense frustration among those advising President Pena Nieto that Mr. Trump and his closest advisers seem to have a limited understanding of how international trade works and focus obsessively on the trade deficit with Mexico without acknowledging that it is just 8 per cent of the overall U.S. trade deficit and far below its trade deficit with China. "They are obsessed by the trade deficit - that is the only indicator that they use," Mr. Zabludovsky said.

The focus now, said one senior Mexican trade negotiator, is to find "a fig leaf that is big enough to give these guys" - that is, offer Mr. Trump a way to avoid embarrassment and tell his supporters he successfully renegotiated NAFTA while actually improving the deal for all parties.

Mexico's broader strategy is to let the process unfold as slowly as possible, allowing time for Mr. Trump's advisers to understand the degree to which North American supply chains are integrated and how difficult it would be to break them up; for the pro-trade lobby in Congress to organize; and for representatives of the states that rely heavily on agricultural exports to Mexico to make their case that NAFTA must be preserved.

Luis de la Calle, a former NAFTA negotiator who now advises the government, said the threat of losing Mexico as a market for pork, corn and poultry is a significant one.

"The key to a successful negotiation strategy with the U.S. is not to have a strategy to diversify your exports but a strategy to diversify your imports. This is counterintuitive, but the driver for U.S. lobbying efforts to convince the Trump administration and the Congress that Mexico is important to them is if they know we have suppliers outside the U.S. for the very large Mexican market.

Mexico is going to be the largest market for the U.S. in five years - larger than Canada and larger than the EU," Mr. de la Calle said.

Canada and Australia will be held up as the potential replacements, because they have already negotiated terms and because they are "an easy substitute for the U.S. Midwest."

Mr. Guajardo said Canada and Mexico need to retain NAFTA regardless of what the United States opts to do. "NAFTA is not all about trade rules. It's about rules that give certainty to investors. And sending the message that the instrument is alive, and will continue, is of extreme value to world investors to come to Mexico and probably to Canada."

Mr. Zabludovsky, who was also the lead negotiator on Mexico's free-trade pact with Europe, said Canada and Mexico now have a global opportunity and obligation to fill a leadership vacuum in the absence of the United States.

"Hopefully, Mexico and Canada are able to really play that role that the U.S. is not willing to play any more." He cited the regional integration of the Americas under way and the now-scrapped TransPacific Partnership.

"If Mexico and Canada are able to start with NAFTA and show that we are willing to work together and defend and protect and hopefully enhance and improve NAFTA, then we will be in a position to talk to the rest of the world as two countries that are really committed to integration ... To some extent nobody can substitute for the U.S., but if the U.S. is not willing to play that role, I think that there will be the need for countries like Mexico and Canada."

Associated Graphic

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, seen in 2013, says NAFTA should be treated as a trilateral discussion.


Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Dear People of Colour, I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm mortified that over the past week, many of my fellow white people watched a 25-second teaser trailer for an upcoming Netflix series, and then called for a boycott of Netflix itself, just because the series is called Dear White People.

You and I know what's going on here. There was no boycott in 2014, when an independent film came out with the same title, written and directed by the same man who's doing the series, Justin Simien. The movie had the same gently satiric sensibility as the series' teaser and seems to have the same characters and plot: a handful of black students navigating life at a (fictitious) U.S. Ivy League university.

In the film, black female student-radio host Sam White (Tessa Thompson) gives tonguein-cheek advice on her show, Dear White People. Students of every colour listen and react - some are offended, others amused. The story climaxes with a small group of black students disrupting an "Unleash Your Inner Negro" fraternity party full of white students dressed in blackface. Then, the closing credits are illustrated by datestamped photos of actual university students in blackface at parties. But throughout, people of every race are called out for their intolerance of the other, and the central idea is that we should all try harder to not stereotype, and to bridge divides.

The new teaser trailer begins where the film ends: Sam White (Logan Browning) advises white people to not dress in blackface for Halloween. So why the hubbub now? Because the film came out in pre-Trump 2014, and the trailer dropped Feb. 8, into one of the most chaotic first month in U.S. presidential history.

Minutes after it appeared, fearsome trolls and their bot army whipped up a #NoNetflix campaign urging people to cancel their subscriptions.

Their de facto leader, professional agitator Timothy Treadstone, whose @BakedAlaska Twitter page's wallpaper is (surprise) a photo of Donald Trump, went all the way right away, claiming that the as-yetunseen show (it arrives April 28) "promotes white genocide."

I can't comprehend how Treadstone inferred that, since there's no such suggestion in the teaser.

In the film, the only thing that's flat-out mocked is the claim that America is a postracial society.

The #NoNetflix boycott certainly proves that mockery correct.

As of noon this past Wednesday, the teaser had just more than 50,000 likes on YouTube - and more than 393,000 dislikes. A shouty vlogger called it "a black revenge fantasy series," and comments included these gems: "Because of this show I am going to be blackface Obama every year for Halloween for the rest of my life"; "I'm taking my white dollars somewhere else"; and "Netflix is owned by Jews, what do you expect?" Their parents must be beaming with pride.

In the week since the teaser arrived, Simien wrote an open letter on his Facebook page and gave several interviews, saying he feels "strangely encouraged. To see the sheer threat that people feel over a date announcement video featuring a woman of colour (politely) asking not to be mocked makes it so clear why I made this show... . Thanks, white supremacists, you really helped me promote it."

Netflix isn't saying how many people cancelled their subscriptions as a result of the boycott or how many people signed up because of it. But Simien says many Netflix executives, including the chief executive, e-mailed to make sure he was okay, and to assert that they believed in the show and had his back.

For a short while, Simien tried responding cheekily to nasty comments. To a man who tweeted, "Dear White People, never forget that blacks' only purpose in life is robbing, raping, killing and exterminating you," he replied, "It's literally all we talk about in our secret meetings."

But he quickly gave that up.

"Even though I have the wherewithal to recognize their hatred as just a knee-jerk attempt to avoid experiencing the deep pain of feeling powerless," he wrote, "I'll be damned if I allow for someone else's pain to become my prison. No. That particular American tradition had been endured by enough generations." Instead, he's emphasizing what he and his haters have in common. Those boycotting him, Simien says, "feel they've been looked over, counted out and ridiculed by mainstream society.

That's a pain I understand deeply.

It has been with me my whole life. It's that very pain that my series speaks to."

So, dear People of Colour, I'm not just apologizing for my fellow white people's bad behaviour. Or for their utter inability to recognize or understand irony. Or for their woeful underappreciation of freedom of speech and the ability of art to minimize strife through empathy.

I'm also apologizing for my own complacency. An American democrat, I live in liberal Toronto. I think racism is vile, but I understand that, as Simien says, a challenge to people's most cherished beliefs (no matter how wrongheaded) feels like a threat to their lives.

So I should not be shocked when I scroll the comments made by Simien's detractors, and see their complaints that "racism isn't real" sitting right beside comments calling him the n-word. I shouldn't gasp when I read assertions that "black people destroy property" sandwiched between their own threats to burn the United States to the ground.

I shouldn't be stunned by how blatant and brazen discrimination still is. A #NoColbert campaign didn't arise after white man Stephen Colbert began doing a segment called "Hey White People," where Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Hart and others take amusing jabs at white folks' presuppositions. No one boycotted "Stuff White People Like," a blog created in 2008 by Christian Lander, a white Canadian. But people, including Trump himself, slammed Kenya Barris, who is black, just for calling his show Black-ish.

I shouldn't be surprised by any of this, because I see how the current U.S. administration has encouraged white people to let their long-simmering resentments bubble over; how it's made them feel that they can be proud of things they used to be ashamed of. It's made bile such a staple of our daily diet, I fully expect that whoever Trump appoints to run the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will include it in the food pyramid.

Even on the Internet Movie Database, which was created as a resource for film and television lovers, the comments have grown so ugly that on Monday, after two decades of use, the site will permanently close its message boards. Their statement reads, "We have concluded that IMDB's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide." The haters won.

Yet shocked I am, and embarrassed. Dear People of Colour, if a 25-second teaser for a comedy about tearing down racial divides can stir up this much vitriol, what must you face in your daily lives?

I'm ashamed to admit I don't think about that nearly enough.

I'm grateful to art such as Simien's because it keeps pinching me further and further awake - in ways that it intends, and in ways that (I hope) it never imagined.

Associated Graphic

Dear White People, which first came out as an independent film in 2014, is coming to Netflix as a series.

Justin Simien says many Netflix executives contacted him to make sure he was okay after the teaser trailer for Dear White People provoked anger and reaction that the show 'promotes white genocide.'


Developer predicts another Alberta boom
Toronto-based Brad Lamb plans 'five or six' new towers in Edmonton, is buying two more sites in Calgary
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G4

Brad Lamb has big plans for Calgary and Edmonton; predicting a land-value boom to rival Toronto, he says Lamb Development Corp. is planning "five or six more high-rises in Edmonton alone over the next 20 years."

Furthermore, the Torontobased developer claims the economic downturn in Alberta has been "irrelevant" to the delayed build of Edmonton's Jasper House, a 38-storey luxury condo development in the downtown core.

"We didn't delay [Jasper House], it was delayed. There's a difference. We closed on the site in February, 2014, launched sales in November, 2014, and by December, 2014, oil prices had collapsed and Alberta was headed for a recession. But we kept our sales centre open and we continued to push ahead with getting the site rezoned," he says.

It was originally hoped that construction of Jasper House, which is located at 106 Street Northwest and Jasper Avenue, would start in late 2015. Mr. Lamb says the development is currently 50-per-cent sold.

"Jasper House was the canary in the coal mine. It was the first project in the Warehouse District that was moving for that kind of height. The site was zoned for eight storeys and I want 40. That means the city's plan has to be re-evaluated and that can take years," Mr. Lamb says.

"The reality is that the rezoning and development-plan process still isn't complete, so even if the economy in Alberta didn't have a hiccup, we still wouldn't be building Jasper House today," he adds.

Mr. Lamb hopes the approval of Jasper House will be "imminent," which would mean the build could commence this year.

"It's next in line to break ground, but eight months from now is the earliest that will happen. Which means we'd be looking at completion in 2020," he says.

Currently, Lamb Development has "more than $2-billion worth of projects rolling out in Canada," including four buildings under construction and 20 in development in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.

Mr. Lamb says he's well used to dealing with "recessions and downturns and problems," which "are a daily occurrence" in the industry.

"Real estate markets don't always go up. Look at 2011 in Toronto; it was one of the worst years in history for selling condominiums. I'd say it was almost equal to 2014 and 2015 in Calgary and Edmonton. There was a huge oversupply and we weren't selling anything," he says. "But as a developer, you have to be able to weather the storm and not be derailed by these things because they're inevitable."

"The timing of the recession has been perfect for us actually," he continues. "Sales have been better in the last four months than they've been in the past two years. Visits to the sales suite are up; we sold four units in Jasper House in February. Things are looking up and it happens to coincide with progress on the development."

Mr. Lamb describes Edmonton's new Arena District as "the best in North America" and "a real kick of economic growth" for the city.

And he's further buoyed by news that Edmonton is planning a "a substantial city park" immediately to the southwest of his development.

"Jasper House will be the only building immediately adjacent to the park. It's a phenomenal asset that we're lucky enough to be the benefactors of," he says.

"By buying up some of the parking lots in the Warehouse District and turning it into a city park, the city's driving up the value of the surrounding sites and making development of those sites more likely," he continues.

"A really exciting neighbourhood is going to emerge there in the coming years." Mr. Lamb's other Edmonton development site, North, also located on 106 Street Northwest, will also benefit from the proposed park. He hopes to break ground on that site in 2019, although he's currently undecided whether it will be an apartment building or a condominium.

"The idea with the North was to create an economy of scale for us as a company based in Toronto.

The plan was always to start that build only when Jasper House was well under way or completed," he explains.

It's a tactic Mr. Lamb employed in Calgary, where his Beltline development, 6th and Tenth, is nearing completion, while his Victoria Park development, the Orchard, will break ground in the next six months.

Lamb Development is in the process of acquiring two more development sites in Calgary, taking his current development investment in the city to $350million.

"One will be a very high-end building in the city centre, while the other will be another highrise, 40 storeys, in Victoria Park, " he says.

Calgary Municipal Land Corp.

will be revealing a new masterplan for a cultural and entertainment district in Victoria Park in June. "We have a big financial stake there," Mr. Lamb says, "so we certainly want to have a say in what happens. If another opportunity came up in that neighbourhood, I think we'd be interested."

Mr. Lamb says investing in development sites that provide an immediate income stream has ensured financial stability for Lamb Development in the province.

"We don't burn a lot of cash in Alberta because all of our assets there are parking lots. We rent them to an operator, we get a cheque every month and they're doing well."

It's one of the reasons he says Alberta continues to make good financial sense, despite the slow economy.

"There was a time when land in Toronto was $10 a buildable square foot. Now, it's $200 a buildable square foot. Development is easier and density has tripled, so land prices have gone up exponentially. The exact same thing happened in Vancouver and it's going to happen in Calgary and Edmonton," he explains.

"After the last recession in 2008, land in Calgary was $20 a buildable square foot. It went up to $60 at the peak before the oil price collapse and now it's back down to around $35. But land in Calgary will be $100 a square foot in the next five to 10 years. That's coming because there's not a lot of fallow land left in the downtown core any more. The same will happen in Edmonton over time as areas like the Warehouse District see further development," he continues.

Mr. Lamb has spent nearly 30 years watching trends in Canada's real estate industry and he's learned the hard way that patience is a virtue when it comes to urban land values in Canada.

"In 2003, I bought a parking lot in Toronto for $3-million. Two days later, a parking-lot operator offered me $3.3-million for it, so I sold it. That parking lot today is worth $150-million," he says. It's not a mistake he plans on making in Alberta.

"I think 2017 will be a good year, 2018 will be a great year and I think 2019 will be absolutely back to soaring real estate prices and huge net migration from the other provinces back to Alberta for jobs. We absolutely plan to be a part of that."

Associated Graphic

Lamb Development Corp. is slated to begin construction of the Orchard condominiums in the Victoria Park district of Calgary in the next six months.


Jasper House is a planned 38-storey luxury-condo development in downtown Edmonton. The project could be the first residential building in the city's Warehouse District to reach that kind of height.

Brad Lamb

Will the foreign buyers tax endanger B.C.'s housing windfall?
Premier Christy Clark is feeling generous these days, promising to spread provincial largesse that has ballooned from real estate transactions. But with signs the bonanza's days are numbered, there may be strings attached
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VICTORIA -- B.C. Premier Christy Clark promises the budget her government will introduce on Tuesday will include a financial gift to the province's taxpayers.

Her Liberal government is expected to introduce its fifth consecutive surplus and, with an election just three months away, this is a budget plan aimed at giving voters something to cheer about.

The province is flush with cash, having consistently collected more revenue than it has spent on its citizens for the past four years. But a large part of that happy circumstance is a result of the real estate frenzy that has emerged as a huge force in the British Columbia economy.

Some of the higher-than-forecast income to the province is coming from rising corporate and personal-income taxes, but a significant share was paid by people who bought real estate over the past five years in a superheated market.

The property transfer tax alone is set to net the provincial treasury $2-billion in the fiscal year that is just ending.

"I think government should find ways, when we are running a surplus, to give some of that money back to you," she said to appreciative applause from wellheeled supporters at a packed party fundraiser Tuesday night.

"It is your money."

But that steadily rising revenue stream appears to have crested. Finance Minister Mike de Jong must now meet expectations of an everything-toeveryone budget just as his cash cow is ready to take a little rest.

In that ballroom with 850 party donors, Ms. Clark had no trouble selling the notion that taxpayers are entitled to a reward for suffering through years of austerity measures to eliminate the provincial deficit.

Having raised expectations for tax cuts, the Premier is counting on her Finance Minister to find the money - on top of promised spending increases for health, education, housing and social services.

Mr. de Jong knows he cannot count on a repeat of the projected $2.2-billion surplus that the government enjoyed in the 2016-17 fiscal year. It is not just the property transfer tax revenue that is poised to decline, but all the associated economic activity, from construction to finance, that will likely cool.

The B.C. Real Estate Association says the province's housing market has tumbled from record highs posted in 2016. It is not a collapse, but a return to historic, long-term averages.

It all looked so much nicer last fall. In September, Mr. de Jong held his regular quarterly financial update for reporters, where he revealed that revenue from the property transfer tax for the year was $1-billion above the budget forecast.

It brought to light a remarkable shift in the provincial economy: British Columbia is set to haul in more tax revenue from the real estate industry in the current year than the combined direct revenues from the province's historical economic foundation of mining, energy, forestry, Crown-land tenures and natural gas.

Working from those figures, the Business Council of B.C. calculated that the real estate sector - including construction, renovations and other spinoffs - accounted for 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the province's economic activity.

"It has played a big role in B.C.'s growth story," said Jock Finlayson, economist and chief policy officer for the Business Council. "It's not the only thing, but it has made an outsized contribution. And the government's stronger-than-expected revenues are due in part to the strength of the housing industry - which of course is now diminishing."

Since 2012, growth in the province's real estate sector outpaced the rest of the economy.

Each year, it expanded at a rate of between four and 6 per cent, while the rest of the economy was averaging 2-per-cent growth.

It means the overall economic growth that British Columbia has enjoyed has been pulled up by real estate.

But now that sector is diminishing - in part because the government was under pressure to tackle the rising cost of housing, so it moved to cool the market with a foreign-buyers tax on property purchases.

On Friday, Central 1 Credit Union released its latest economic update for British Columbia, and the highlights offered little encouragement for Mr. de Jong. Home sales have edged down, and the average price of a home in British Columbia. in January of this year was 17 per cent lower than in January, 2016.

However, Central 1's senior economist, Bryan Yu, said it's not all bad news. The 15-percent foreign-buyers tax did help temper the market in the Lower Mainland, but in other communities where the tax was not applied, sales are still strong.

"In terms of the cooling of real estate, 2016 was a blockbuster year and we are coming off of that," he said in an interview.

"But overall sales levels will be high. It won't be as high as 2016, but we are still seeing higher prices in markets like Victoria and Kelowna."

Still, the finance ministry has downgraded its revenue expectations from its property transfer tax since last September.

And in an interview last week, Mr. de Jong said he isn't counting on real estate to keep the books awash in black ink in the coming year.

"You have to be cautious about assuming that a $2-billion surplus will repeat itself year after year," he said.

"The landscape is littered with the carcasses of governments past and the deficits that they incurred because assumptions were made that a present set of circumstances would repeat in perpetuity."

His independent forecast council is predicting the economy to grow at a slower pace in the coming year, from 2.9 per cent in 2016, to 2.3 per cent in 2017.

"We are in a position where we can and we will look at the challenges our most disadvantaged citizens are facing," Mr. de Jong said, "and we are in a better position to address that, to try to make life a little easier for them."

It will be a trick for the opposition New Democrats to argue against making life a little easier for the needy.

But NDP finance critic Carole James says that kind of assistance should not have been withheld until now.

"They have built their economic plan on a speculative real estate market," she said. Now, just when they plan to cash in, there is uncertainty - and a whole lot of needs to be met.

"This Premier has the approach that you starve the system for years, and then at election time, you put the money back in. It's a terrible approach. When you take it apart and then put it back together, it costs more than if you had supported the system all along," she said.

The New Democrats have not yet produced a simple campaign slogan that says tax cuts are a bad thing, but Ms. James says she doesn't think voters will accept this sudden desire to share the surplus.

Whether it is the lack of affordable housing or the chronic shortfalls in providing care for vulnerable children, citizens have felt the B.C. Liberals' budget squeeze for years, she said.

"Now, going into the election, the government says 'we are going to give it back.' I found that insulting."

Associated Graphic

An annual international survey rates Vancouver as the third least affordable housing market on the planet.


Real estate, such as in Vancouver, 'has played a big role in B.C.'s growth story,' an economist observes - but how long can it last?


Designing dissent
A a tense political As cclimate becomes fodder ffor the fashion industry, T Trey Taylor suggests it sshould leave resistance tto real protesters
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Fashion as protest is dead. The death knell was sounded by Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, who on Jan. 18 in Paris showed a series of garments appropriating Bernie Sanders' Democratic leadership campaign logo as part of his Fall 2017 collection. In place of Sanders' name was "Balenciaga" emblazoned across purposely ill-fitting T-shirts and puffer jackets. Was the label being cynical? Or was it an earnest attempt at a runway-to-retail protest to align the storied luxury brand with a figure who so actively opposes the current U.S administration? The latter theory - a multibillion-dollar corporation hawking Sanders' ethos to its consumers - seems directly opposed to the democratic socialist values that the politician stands for. Either way, the fickle fashion crowd will likely flock to the nearest Balenciaga boutique to buy a piece when they arrive in stores in August. To them, Gvasalia's motivation likely doesn't matter at all.

According to British academic and author Elizabeth Wilson, signalling one's political stance through clothing is nothing new. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, groups including avant-garde artists and anarchists expressed their critiques of society through dress. "Most recently, it was hippies, punks and goths whose styles and modes got taken up and commercialized," she says. "The force and bite of them completely drained away in consumerism, so that they became just styles instead of the expression of ideas." As that practice has progressed, it seems that true expressions of activism on the runways has vanished.

To further confuse the messaging at Gvasalia's show, the logo for Kering, Balenciaga's multibillion-dollar parent company, also turned up on many of the garments. It was explained in the notes handed out to press at the show that this was a gesture to celebrate Balenciaga taking up residence in the same building as Kering's headquarters. A nice acknowledgment to your bosses, perhaps, if it wasn't sandwiched between hoodies sporting an emblem of anti-commercialism.

"Balenciaga's use of the Bernie Sanders logo would have probably felt more powerful coming from an American brand," says Louis Wong, a designer at minimalist French label A.P.C. and of his own collection, Louis W. "There's been a trend of ironic, look-at-me graphic visuals in fashion, and it's interesting that this trend has crossed every type of brand from mass market to luxury. If the purpose is to fund the protest - I don't mind."

Balenciaga isn't the only label co-opting garments and symbols with political implications for their collections lately. Chanel faced a backlash in 2014 over its runway show-turned-faux feminist march, where models brandished signs sporting sayings such as "History is Her Story." In September, the debut collection of Dior's fi rst female artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, included a $700 slogan T-shirt bearing the phrase "We Should All Be Feminists."

While political statements through dress is nothing new, the recent politicization of runway shows "seems to be a new thing," says Wilson. "At the turn of the millennium, the British scholar Caroline Evans wrote about the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, arguing that political protest, in decline, had migrated to his fashion performances and that they were the only places that were showcasing protest. In the past couple of years, other designers seem to have taken up this idea."

Berets, a symbol of defiance for everyone from Che Guevera to the Black Panthers, were omnipresent at Milan's most recent men's-wear shows, appearing on the runways of Missoni, Louis Vuitton and Prada. Recently, actress Natalie Portman and singer Rihanna both wore the Dior slogan T-shirt to advocate for economic and social equality at Women's Marches in Los Angeles and New York ("Of course, Rihanna was the most stylish Women's March attendee" was the headline for a story on Harper's Bazaar's website). Both stars are ambassadors for Dior, and a real-life protest was the ideal opportunity to show support for two causes: one political, one commercial.

The latest politicized concept to be co-opted is the idea of being "woke," or clued-in to the nuances of identity politics (the term purportedly gained pop cultural currency in a 2008 Erykah Badu song, Master Teacher, and became linked to the Black Lives Matter movement around 2014).

A recent Vogue article attempted to translate this new wave of antiestablishment awareness into a style of dress, describing actress Zoë Kravitz - who wears, Vogue says, "OVO Revenge sweatshirts, Kurt Cobain-inspired bug-eye sunglasses, and oversize Dickies" - as its poster girl. The magazine stated: "If anyone can claim to have the uniform of the woke cool-girl down pat, it's her."

Only when a garment is adopted by marginalized segments of society can it become a symbol of a wider movement. In 2013, Black Lives Matter demonstrators showed solidarity by wearing hoodies to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin by Florida police.

In what was perhaps the most authentic example of a staged fashion protest recently, New York label Pyer Moss amplified the Black Lives Matter movement by opening his fall 2016 show with a 15-minute video about police brutality. The brand's founder, Kerby Jean-Raymond - who said he had been stopped and frisked by officers a dozen times by the age of 18 - listed the names of police brutality victims on a T-shirt he sold with all proceeds going to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Likewise, the sincerity knitted into the pink pussy hats on parade at the Women's Marches in January made them integral to the visibility of the grassroots movement they represent. The free pattern for the tuque was downloaded nearly 100,000 times from the Pussyhat Project website, creating a sea of pink in aerial photos of the crowds that took to the streets around the world on Jan. 21. Organizers say they were created in response to American president Donald Trump's notorious "grab them by the pussy" comment and the extent to which the beanies were worn amounted to a visual shout of the anti-Trump slogan "pussy grabs back."

On the other hand, Miuccia Prada, who has often looked to waves of feminism for collection inspiration, sounded anything but revolutionary when explaining why she popped berets on some of the model's heads at her men's-wear show. "I didn't want to do it," she told The New York Times about the audience's interpretation of the collection's 1970s influence. "But it came out anyway, because it was a very important moment for protest, for rights, for humanity...that could be very necessary now."

"Fashion translates our world but rarely offers social commentary," says Wong. "What's relevant, though, is the powerful look of the protest. Punk clothing defi nitely encouraged social activism. But punk was the clothing answer to anarchism.

When it got popular, it lost any type of activism."

Whatever the agenda threading the figurative needle at the most recent shows is, there is rarely any follow up by the brands after the lights fade. Instead, the message boils down to "buy our clothing." Protest in the fashion industry rarely makes it past the end of the catwalk.

Associated Graphic

PICKET LINES Designer brands have embraced political messaging of late, both overtly as in the case of Dior's feminism T-shirt (top right) and Balenciaga's Bernie Sanders-style logos (left), and symbolically such as Prada's berets.


Against all odds, CETA moves forward - now what?
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canada's trade pact with Europe has become the little deal that could.

Against significant odds, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) passed its last major hurdle Wednesday - approval by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Phase-in of the vast majority of the deal's benefits, including elimination of 99 per cent of tariffs on goods, is expected to begin within weeks.

Passage comes as the promise of freer trade is under threat amid rising protectionism, in the United States and elsewhere.

Since CETA was negotiated, Britain has voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump has moved to pull the United States out of the massive 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership and talks on a U.S.-European freetrade deal have fallen dormant.

CETA is about much more than just tariffs on cars, farm products and other goods. It also creates common rules covering a broader swath of trade activity, including services, government contracting, intellectual property and resolving disputes.

What's next for CETA?

Canada's Senate must still ratify the deal, following approval by the House of Commons this week. Passage is a virtual certainty. The provinces must also bring some of their own laws and regulations into compliance, including allowing European companies to bid on some government contracts.

The 28 EU member states, including Britain, must also approve sections of the agreement that stray into areas of national control. But the vast majority of the deal's benefits will come into effect as soon as Canada completes ratification.

Until Britain formally leaves the EU, it will be bound by CETA.

The future of one section of the deal remains in doubt: the rules that allow investors to directly sue Ottawa and the EU for compensation for government decisions that impair the value of their investments.

The Trudeau government and the EU renegotiated that section of the deal to appease critics in Europe, creating a special permanent court to resolve disputes.

The fate of the investor court now hinges on all EU member states giving their approval, which could take years.

What is it? Is it bigger than NAFTA?

Canada's trade with the United States is many times larger, but the trade deal with the European Union covers a broader scope of trade issues, and a much larger market. Both deals cut tariffs on goods. But unlike NAFTA, CETA covers "sub-national procurement," the public contracts of Canadian provinces and cities, so European companies can bid on hydro or subway deals, and Canadians can do the same in Europe - though the final deal will include many caveats and exceptions. The EU deal covers extensions of drug patents in Canada and bigger trade quotas for agricultural products. It also appears to cover services more broadly than NAFTA, and allows more labour mobility, including efforts to work on recognizing each other's credentials for professionals such as architects and engineers.

Cheese concessions, but no wine provisions for Ontario The agreement will more than double the quota of cheese imported from the European Union to about 30,000 tonnes a year, which could take a bite out of Ontario and Quebec dairies' market share. However, Ottawa has assured the provinces it will pay compensation to cheese producers. The deal will also chip away at a trade barrier that currently protects Ontario wines and hard liquor, ultimately making European booze less expensive.

A boon for beef, more for pork The agreement includes guaranteed access to European markets for 50,000 tonnes of Canadian beef, a key objective of the Conservative government, which wanted to balance off concessions on European cheese. For pork producers, the number is higher at 80,000 tonnes. In both cases, some of the access will be phased in over time.

Drug prices could rise The EU has long been unhappy with Canada's legislation concerning patent protection for drug companies, believing it lags other countries and puts European drug makers operating in Canada at a disadvantage. Under CETA, Canada has agreed to adopt EU measures on so-called "patent term restoration." Drug patents typically last for 20 years, but if it takes more than five years between when a patent on a new drug is filed and marketing authorization is granted, the drug maker will now get an extra two years of patent protection as compensation. This could raise drug prices and cost provincial health plans, but the federal government says the price hikes will be small and won't kick in for years. And the government is considering compensating the provinces.

Cheaper BMWs and a new definition of Canadian-made The outline of the agreement suggests big changes ahead for Canada's auto sector, which is deeply integrated with the United States. Vehicles that are at least 50 per cent Canadian-made will enjoy open access into the EU market. Meanwhile, Canada will be allowed to export to the EU up to 100,000 vehicles a year that are at least 20 per cent Canadianmade. Considering Canada's total auto exports to the EU are currently only about 13,000, that's a big change. Sorting out how much of a car is Canadian-made could soon be a moot point, if the EU follows through with a similar trade deal with the United States. For Canadian consumers, the end of a 6.1-per-cent tariff on European imports will make German-made vehicles more affordable. The challenge will be making these new rules fit with Canada's existing deep relationship with the United States when it comes to auto manufacturing.

Hire a European architect! Recognizing foreign credentials is an issue that has dogged federal and provincial governments for years. Under the agreement, Canada and Europe will recognize professional certifications of each other's jurisdictions. However, a closer look suggests there is still plenty of work to do on this front. It is being left to the professional organizations in Canada and Europe to work out their own deals to recognize credentials under "mutual recognition" agreements. Professional groups, such as architects, engineers and accountants, are working towards mutually recognized qualifications.

Bonds in the banking sector Canada prides itself as a leader in financial services. While the United States and Europe took measures to support their banking sectors, Canadian banks avoided a bailout from taxpayers. The agreement proposes deeper links between the Canadian and European banking sectors. The EU estimates that half of the overall Gross Domestic Product gains it expects to receive from the deal will come from liberalizing the trade in services, including in the banking sector. Canada says the deal will open new markets for its domestic banking sector, while ensuring it can maintain government rules for the sector.

European takeovers get a break Under the Investment Canada Act, the Canadian government can review foreign takeovers based on a "net benefit" test. The minimum threshold for the review is being raised to $1-billion. Under CETA, that threshold will be increased to $1.5-billion, meaning the review won't be triggered unless a takeover involving an EU company reaches that threshold. The change reflects "the special relationship Canada has with the EU," the government said. However, CETA does not alter Canadian ownership restrictions in the airline, cultural and telecommunications sectors.

With files from Barrie McKenna, Bill Curry, Campbell Clark and Adrian Morrow

Associated Graphic

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday.


Comfort is overrated
These distinctive bottles will challenge your perceptions, biases and taste buds
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L6

In wine, as in life at large, familiarity is a doubleedged sword. Stick to the tried and true and you'll be spared the nuisance of surprises. That's one way to live.

But it's why God made megabrand beer, isn't it? Fine wine ought to be about adventure and discovery, at least a good part of the time.

Perhaps you've been sticking more than usual to the tried and true, uncorking the nearest full-bodied red to go with the evening's saucy mid-winter comfort food. Maybe you've been hoarding it by the case because it's too darned cold outside to make frequent trips to the liquor store. Or maybe I'm just talking about myself.

As personal penance, and hopefully for the benefit of a few others, I offer my latest instalment of an occasional series devoted to stepping outside the comfort zone. Each selection is distinctive in at least one way, in some cases two - an offbeat grape, a growing district less travelled or an uncommon production technique. If it's an organic pecorino you seek, or a Tasmanian sparkler, a mevushal syrah or a craft-made B.C. "prosecco," this column - with apologies to a fi ne beer slogan - is for you.

Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso 2012 (Italy)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $29.95

Tuscany is not exactly an obscure wine region but this excellent red comes from an unsung corner better known for slanted floors than rolling vineyards.

The Terre di Pisa, an appellation created only in 2011, lies near the Tuscan coast, well north of chic wine districts Bolgheri and Maremma and 40 kilometres from the city of the Leaning Tower, an old-timey farm country where they still grow wheat and sunflowers as well as high-priced grapes and olives.

Produced from organically farmed vines, this is a blend of mostly sangiovese with a dollop of cabernet sauvignon, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured entirely in used, versus new, barrels. Full-bodied, it shows enticing sweet-tangy tension, with a whiff of funky earthiness, like salted cherry jam consumed while walking through a barnyard. Available in Ontario.

Kew Marsanne 2014 (Niagara)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $19.95

Here's a compelling case for greater grape diversity in Niagara. Marsanne, a white variety most closely associated with France's Rhône Valley, including the famed Hermitage appellation, gets a tasty rendition in the hands of distinguished Kew winemaker Philip Dowell. Midweight and silky, it's tantalizingly floral and honeyed, with juicy tangerine, yellow plum and crisp peach flavours softened subtly by smart oak-barrel maturation. Available in Ontario.

Jansz Premium Cuvée (Australia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $26.95

Sparkling wine from Tasmania - it's a far cry from Champagne but only in terms of mileage. This is bottle-fermented just like true-blue champers and blended from the three grapes for which France's luxury bubbly is known: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Bone dry, it's big on lemon and green apple fruit, with a toasty overtone and impressively integrated, elegant acidity. Familiar yet somehow different. Available in Ontario at the above price, $27.99 in British Columbia, $34.95 in Manitoba, $36.79 in Nova Scotia.

Narrative XC Method 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24.90

A sparkling wine made in the manner of Italian prosecco, only with a twist - or perhaps that should be "with a tilt."

Okanagan Crush Pad, the company behind the Narrative brand, completes the secondary, bubble-producing fermentation in large tanks (versus individual bottles) in what's known as the charmat method. But OCP - one of the most pioneering wineries in the New World - has newfangled tanks designed to lie on their sides, just as individual bottles do in the Champagne method. This apparently yields more thorough contact with the flavour-enhancing dead yeast cells. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, the wine is bone dry and delectably creamy, with ripe pear and green apple notes that mingle with toastiness and what comes across, strangely but wonderfully, as a subtle whisky-barrel note. Adding to the coolness factor, it's sealed with a crown cap. Available direct,

Domaine Les Pins Cuvée Les Rochettes Bourgueil 2014 (France)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $17.95

Cabernet franc may be a mainstream grape but it's generally reserved for blending with bigger names, such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. In Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, where the cool climate favours its early-ripening profile, it gets star treatment. Even here, though, cab franc is made for those who like their reds bone dry and herbal.

Medium-bodied, this fine effort delivers a chalky texture that carries bright cherry fruit and a relatively restrained herbal essence. Well done. Available in Ontario.

Domaine Costa Lazaridi Amethystos White 2015 (Greece)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $19.95

Amethystos means "not drunk" and is Greek for amethyst, a term given to the prized stone in the ancient belief it would protect against intoxication. Make no mistake, this is full-strength wine, at 13-per-cent alcohol. It's a blend of 85-per-cent sauvignon blanc (of Bordeaux and Loire Valley fame) and 15-per-cent assyrtiko, a native Greek vine. Light bodied and dry, it comes with a pleasantly oily texture and flavours suggesting lemon, tropical fruit and grass, with well-tuned and relatively soft acidity for the grapes in the mix here. Available in Ontario.

Teperberg Impression Sirah 2014 (Israel)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $23.95

The label reads "Sirah" but you may know the grape better by its common spellings, syrah and shiraz. This is not your typical example, however. It's from the Judean Hills in Israel and is both kosher for Passover as well as mevushal, meaning it has undergone brief pasteurization and thus would retain kosher status even at functions where the wine is to be poured by non-Jews. Rich and ripe yet structured, it's built around a sweet, almost syrupy core, with a savoury, gamy essence and added notes of mocha, licorice and peppercorn. Imagine a Barossa Valley shiraz crossed with northern-Rhône syrah. Available in Ontario.

Xenysel Pie Franco Monastrell 2015 (Spain)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $14.95

Xenysel is the producer and monastrell (a.k.a. mourvèdre) the grape. But what about "pie franco?" It's a qualifier here denoting a "free foot" or, more specifically, a vine grown from ungrafted rootstock, which is rare. This hails from Jumilla in southeast Spain, one of the rising bargain districts of the world.

Full-bodied and very ripe and syrupy, it's a strawberry-jam festival. There's some welcome spicy-herbal lift, too, but I'd prefer a lot more acidity. Yet it's impressive for the money, particularly if you throw it at some sticky ribs or spicy chili. Available in Ontario.

Sentieri Pecorino 2015 (Italy)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $15.95

It's a cheese, yes. But pecorino is also a grape. The variety is native to the Marche region of central Italy but this organic and biodynamically grown example hails from Abruzzo next door. Light bodied, the wine is dry and crisp, with a flavour that comes across like an apple coated in lemon candy (which, come to think of it, might be a nice twist on the standard candy apple). It's not hugely complex but it's a refreshing alternative to your big-brand pinot grigio. Available in Ontario.

A speculation-free zone
A $25-million piece of land for sold for $10: How community land trusts could help build affordable housing in Vancouver
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S5

VANCOUVER -- The three buildings - two towers, one lower-rise building - being hammered on and coated with insulation on the banks of the Fraser River in southeast Vancouver don't look any different from the dozens of other buildings going up near them.

On the outside, they're not.

But these three, along with a fourth on Kingsway, are part of an experiment in Vancouver that many hope can kick off a boom of reasonably priced housing in this expensive city.

That's in part because the 358 units are being built on city land that will be protected from the speculative market that has wreaked such havoc here.

It's also because their developer is not a private company but an entity called the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, the organization the city was willing to give, for $10, a 99-year lease for land worth $25-million.

The recently created land-trust foundation is the Vancouver version of a concept for creating and preserving low-cost housing that has sprouted in a few cities around North America.

A growing number of people in British Columbia are viewing this fledgling organization, and community land trusts in general, as the way to provide an important new option in the escalating struggle over housing.

"We see this as a model," says Kira Gerwig, the manager of community investment at Vancity credit union, which is involved with the current foundation project. "This is a new take on the market sector. It's like a socialenterprise development company."

Residents in South False Creek, that huge swathe of city-owned land around Granville Island that sparked Vancouver's rush to urban living in the 1970s, are considering whether a land trust might be the answer to some of their problems.

That group of residents live in 1,800 units that are divided among co-ops, non-profits, or leasehold strata buildings on a chunk of some beautiful waterfront that faces downtown. They have been trying for years to find a way forward that would ensure they get a strong say in future development or redevelopment in the areas - with vacant land along 6th Avenue and a few available parking garages being prime targets - as well as in negotiating leases with the city.

"We've been intrigued by this idea for a long time because of the possibility of achieving something that will meet the community's needs," says Richard Evans, an architect and 30-year resident of the area. People want to ensure future development matches the unique look and feel of the area, with its pattern-language design, numerous walkways and many enclosed courtyards that are ideal for families with children.

City planners have agreed to look at the idea as a possibility.

"The whole purpose [of the plan just approved] is to help us understand what the trade-offs are around that," said the city's manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas.

If the South False Creek group joined the existing Vancouver foundation, it would make it the biggest land trust on the continent.

Advocates talk passionately about how land trusts help remove property from the speculative land market and preserve it forever.

But, in the Vancouver version, people are also attracted by the other power of land trusts - their ability to harness the energy of hundreds of isolated non-profit housing societies and co-ops, combining their land equity and their clout to be able to finance new development.

"It's a combination of a vehicle for growth and a way to redevelop some sites we already have to greater density. This is a way to form partnerships," says Thom Armstrong, chief executive of the Co-op Housing Federation of BC.

Mr. Armstrong is a driving force behind Vancouver's reinvention of this idea. Until recently, his main job was just managing the problems of the existing 264 co-ops, with their 15,000 homes, in British Columbia - mostly a maintenance position.

But the city's decision to experiment with a new way of producing affordable housing prompted him and others to come up with the new land-trust foundation.

(As well, he said, "We stole this idea from a group in Australia, Common Equity Ltd.," which has transformed that country's nonprofit sector.)

Mr. Armstrong is now also the chief executive of the Vancouver land-trust foundation, which was formed three years ago, the product of a collaboration among a group of non-profit and the cofederation.

When the buildings they are now constructing are completed, some units will be rented out at whatever price the market will bear. A few others, just as nice, will be rented for $375 a month, the amount that the provincial government provides for housing people on welfare. Some others that are, again, the same quality and size, will be rented to people for no more than 30 per cent of their declared income.

Within this small project, the well-off will subsidize the less well-off. Even better, this arrangement won't end after 10 years or 60 years, as do some city affordable-housing projects.

That was all possible because the trust was able to take the assets and expertise of the groups under its umbrella. That allowed it to take on a massive new development and a complex crosssubsidization scheme.

Community land trusts have been around a long time in various forms. One of the best known is in Burlington, Vt., where a then-little-known mayor named Bernie Sanders helped make it possible by championing the idea of land trusts in the 1980s.

The Champlain Housing Trust in Burlington, founded in 1984, now manages 565 houses and 2,100 apartments. Some residents own their homes, with the trust retaining some equity, while the owners buy the rest. It is the largest land trust in North America.

Burlington's gift of land is unusual. Most municipalities are unwilling to give away land. And, unlike nature conservancies and trusts that get donations of vast tracts to preserve, there are few private donors willing to give more than a small single lot in expensive cities.

But cities will lease to community land trusts, which provide even better benefits than individual non-profits because they are bigger, more capable of managing multiple projects and they have the capacity to finance large projects.

That emulates, in a way, the social-housing systems that exist in many European cities. There, social-housing organizations are sometimes the biggest developers in a city, as a result of the land and capital they were given by governments after the Second World War to replace decimated housing stock.

Vancouver's land-trust foundation is a long way from that, but Mr. Armstrong is seeing the possibility for the idea to grow spectacularly, performing a service for the many smaller cities in British Columbia that don't have the expertise to develop housing on their own.

The ultimate benefit for people in British Columbia, if it succeeds, is the possibility of significant numbers of new low-cost housing, run by a foundation whose aim is to serve the community.

"When your mandate is to deliver affordable housing," Ms. Gerwig says, "your math is very different from other developers."

Associated Graphic

The Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is building four projects on city land it got at a reduced price.


Why we can't afford another #OscarsSoMale
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

At a luncheon Monday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, 163 of 2017's 172 Academy Award nominees gathered for the annual "class photo," six rows of people arrayed in a semi-circle around an oversized gold Oscar. What is the main thing you see in the photo? Suits. Mostly grey or blue. Men's. Once again, the question arises: Where are the women?

Every year, we're guaranteed 10 female nominees, the contenders for best supporting and lead actress. The same goes for male actors, so in terms of parity, that's a wash. But there are also 152 non-acting nominees this year. How many of them are women? A mere 37, or 20 per cent.

No women were nominated for best director. No women for best cinematographer, either, although that's nothing new - no woman has ever been nominated in that category. One woman was nominated for screenwriting, Allison Schroeder for Hidden Figures - and that's in a category that nominates at least 10 people (five for original screenplay, five for adapted), and often more, if there are cowriters.

The Hollywood Reporter noted some progress: Nine out of the 30 producer nominees are women, including Adele Romanski and Dede Gardner (Moonlight), Donna Gigliotti and Jenno Topping (Hidden Figures), Kimberly Steward and Lauren Beck (Manchester by the Sea), Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn (Hell or High Water) and Angie Fielder (Lion).

That's a record, but with a caveat: For most of the Academy's history, there were only five best-picture nominees.

This year there are nine, upping everyone's odds. The Hollywood Reporter even suggested it might be time for a new hashtag campaign: #OscarsSoMale.

The sole category that does have parity - outside the standard "women's categories," makeup and costume design - is a telling one: documentary short. You don't need hefty studio backing to make a doc short; you don't need someone to believe in you enough to hire you and give you a budget. All you need is a camera, a credit card and a story. It's a so-called "smaller" category. Woman-sized.

Why do the numbers of nominees for an awards show matter?

Because what we choose to honour doesn't only tell us who excelled; it tells us who we are. If women aren't integral to our storytelling, it skews the perspective of which stories are "worth" hearing, and how they're told.

At this point, you're likely smacking your head, thinking you've heard all this before. Listen, I would give anything not to be still writing it. But the statistics keep forcing me to, like some film-columnist Ancient Mariner with a dead Oscar hanging around my neck.

According to San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which compiles the figures annually, women directed 7 per cent of the top-250 box-office films of 2016, a 2-per-cent decline from 2015. Of those same films, women performed 17 per cent of the non-acting jobs - again, down two points from 2015.

Another study, this one from the University of Southern California, analyzed the gender of the directors of the 1,000 topgrossing films of the past 10 years and found something startling: 80 per cent of the female directors made only one movie in that span. (By contrast, 54.8 per cent of the men directed just once in the same time frame.) It didn't matter how well or poorly their films performed. What mattered, it seems, was that someone in power had given a female director a shot - one shot - and then brushed off their hands, satisfied that was done, and went back to hiring men.

You think I'm exaggerating?

The study also found that over the past 10 years, the share of films directed by women has experienced no significant statistical shift. The gap is so institutionalized, nothing seems to close it. And it moves on down through every department, because female directors are more likely to hire female crew.

Without work, women can't get experience; without experience, they can't get work. And so it goes.

I've seen a lot of movies, and I believe there are certain things we see only if a woman puts them there. Details, such as how a woman who lives alone would know how to zip up a tight dress by using a fork, as writer/director Maren Ade shows us in Toni Erdmann. Textural things, such as the light shining through the tiny hairs on Dakota Johnson's thighs, which director Sam Taylor-Johnson included in Fifty Shades of Grey, adding an intimacy we don't often see in sex scenes.

Significant things: The director of the miniseries The Night Manager, Susanne Bier, not only made the lead investigator a woman (in John le Carre's source novel, it was a man), she cast a very pregnant Olivia Colman, which deepened the life-force/ death-force dichotomy in the show immeasurably. And entire plots: It's unlikely that a man would have written and directed Maggie's Plan, about a woman who wants to give her new husband back to his ex-wife. (Although if a man had written a script as tight and funny as Rebecca Miller did, I bet he would have received an Oscar nod for it.)

As Jill Soloway, the creator of the TV series Transparent, said in a video that aired this past Tuesday at the Maker Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. (its theme is #BeBold), "The show is this incredible opportunity for me to think about things that matter to me as an artist, like gender, politics, feminism, Judaism, God, love, shame."

That's her list, her perspective.

We're only getting to see it, Soloway continues, because despite her many successes writing for Six Feet Under, no one would hire her to make her own show.

Instead, networks and producers gave her these notes: "Could you make your hero a rootable male?" and "I find her dialogue castrating." Eventually, Soloway took a loan from her agent, made the film Afternoon Delight (starring two women) and won a directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. Only then did Amazon give her show a shot.

Now, she's the third woman ever to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series.

The simple fact is, work gets you work. Chances beget chances. In 2012, Colin Trevorrow made a small film called Safety Not Guaranteed. It grossed just over $4-million (U.S.). But then Steven Spielberg caught it, and - his words - saw himself in Trevorrow. He hired him to direct a very large film, Jurassic World. It grossed more than $650-million.

You know what else came out in 2012? Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It grossed more than $95-million. Bigelow is the only woman to have ever won a best-director Oscar, for 2008's The Hurt Locker. But if Spielberg saw himself in her, he hasn't said so. And she's not directing Star Wars: Episode IX, either. Colin Trevorrow is.

Associated Graphic

Nominees of the 89th Academy Awards pose for a group portrait at the Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday. There is a distinct lack of female nominees present.


Friday, February 17, 2017


A Globe Film column on Feb. 10 on the Oscars incorrectly said there are 152 non-acting nominees, of which 37 per cent or 20 per cent are women. In fact, there are 197 non-acting nominations, 38 per cent or 19.3 per cent of which are for women.

Threat of mass deportation fills Mexican migrant towns with fear
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

SAN LUIS DE LA PAZ, MEXICO -- The Trump administration's new plan to accelerate deportation of undocumented migrants has created a sense of deep disquiet in towns such as this one, where families have sent generations of migrants to the United States and are unsure what may happen if they are forced to return.

Esmeralda Sanchez has three daughters living undocumented in the United States. "They don't know what to do, they don't have a plan for if they are deported," she said. "My roof isn't big, but I will have to make a plan - I will have to make a place for them."

Some of her grandchildren are U.S.-born and citizens, while others are undocumented, and the family is uncertain about what would happen to them in the event the parents are deported. "It's terrible to have families cut in half," said Ms. Sanchez, 58, who lives on what she earns selling shoes and lingerie and on cash her daughters send home.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government released a memorandum detailing steps to implement the Trump executive order on unauthorized migrants; it says that staff and detention facilities will be expanded rapidly to accelerate the removal of those detained and the categories of those who would be targeted for removal will be broadened.

The majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States are Mexicans, about 5.8 million people. They sent $26.97billion (U.S.) in remittances home to Mexico last year - 2.6 per cent of GDP, according to the Centre for Latin American Monetary Studies.

"The new Trump plan ... puts Mexico in a difficult position because we're not prepared for a massive return," said Guadalupe Chipole, who runs the Centre for Care and Support of Migrants in Mexico City.

Many of those who now face deportation have been living in the United States for years; they may have no homes here, and only fragile ties with the families and communities they left behind and could not visit through that time, she said. In many places, the conditions that drove them to leave have not changed.

"Most of these people left hoping for an easier life, for ways to earn a living, access to services ... and now they are going to come back to these same places with a lack of jobs, as well as a growing problem of violence and the presence of organized crime."

"Clearly, this is going to cause more social pressure," she added.

"We don't know how many people will be coming back," Juan Carlos Romero, a federal senator, said in an interview. "We don't know what we're going to be facing. We're not ready for them."

On Wednesday morning, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray reacted angrily to the Trump plan and made one of his government's strongest statements to date about its commitment to protecting migrant rights.

"The Government of Mexico will act by all means legally possible to defend the human rights of Mexicans abroad, particularly in the United States," he said. The government "will go to international organizations beginning with the United Nations to defend, in accordance with international law, human rights, freedoms and due process for Mexicans abroad."

Gretchen Kuhner, director of the Mexico City-based Institute for Women in Migration, said migrants in the United States are feeling "terror and ambiguity" in the wake of the Trump announcement. "Our concern is that people are going to be picked up and their kids are going to be left behind," she said. Her organization is urging undocumented Mexican women in the United States to leave an emergency plan with schools, in case parents do not show up to pick up their children one day, and to make sure a trusted friend or relative has a temporary custody letter.

The institute is already working with dozens of women deported by the Obama administration to help them get their children to Mexico and to try to restore parental rights that may have been terminated by child protective services.

Ms. Kuhner said she anticipates that most of those deported will go first to the towns and villages where they have family that will take them in, but before long will need to move to cities in search of work. And many will head for border towns, she said, where shelters are already overflowing - because if they have U.S.-citizen children, they can be brought across the border for visits by documented relatives.

The institute and other advocacy organizations recently succeeded in persuading the government to change education policy so that Mexican schools are required to accept all children, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. But the school system remains ill-prepared to handle children who arrive with limited knowledge of Spanish and are used to a very different curriculum, she said.

Socorro Prado, a 53-year-old tailor in San Luis de la Paz, described her family's anxiety for her brother, who is in the United States with his three children, only one of whom is U.S.-born. "My brother owns a piece of land here, but he doesn't have a house. And who knows what kind of work he'd be able to do here if they send him back? Any job you can get here you need a car. He has a car there, but he won't be able to bring it if he's deported. And nobody here is in a position to give him a car."

The municipality of San Luis de la Paz, which is home to 121,000 people, received $104-million in remittances last year, a significant chunk of its economy. "If they deport lots of people, there will be a crisis of unemployment," said Rodolfo Nunez, a 43-year-old maintenance worker who himself spent seven years working undocumented in California. "There are no jobs now as it is."

The people in town with successful businesses depend on capital sent by relatives in the United States to set them up, he said, and they depend on customers who are also living on remittances. "If they start deporting everyone, that will be the end of all these things," he said, gesturing at the appliance and clothing shops that ring the town square.

In Mexican towns where the economic prospects remain limited and where there is a long tradition of migration to the United States, there is as yet no sign that the Trump administration's orders are deterring would-be migrants.

In Xichu, for example, which sits at the end of a road winding into the sierra above San Luis de la Paz, a group of young men left a couple of weeks ago. They crossed into Texas undetected, the town's economic development officer Manuel Casas said, while another batch went this past week. "We're waiting to hear about them."

It is difficult to assess, he said, whether the Trump orders will change the flow of migrants who attempt to cross, or what accelerated deportations will mean for the town. "Ninety per cent of people here have either gone to the U.S. or live off someone there," Mr. Casas said.

And while people who live close to the industrial centres may find jobs at home in Mexico, in more isolated towns such as his, "Your only option is still to leave."

A quarter-century of division highlighted
The furor over Trump's Supreme Court pick signals a new era of U.S. politics, one borne out of years of partisanship in Washington
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

Only rarely do the three separate, equal and sometimesconflicting branches of the U.S. government converge on one political issue, but this winter's collision over President Donald Trump's selection to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has engulfed them all in a highstakes conflict that illuminates the emerging new politics in the United States today.

When Mr. Trump exercised his right as the chief of the executive branch to shape the highest level of the judicial branch, he threw the legislative branch into the first consequential battle of the Trump era, underlining the rivalries and resentments that are likely to define the next four years. And while some of the elements of this clash grow out of the ascendancy of Mr. Trump to the presidency, many of the components of this conflict were years in the making.

In any political atmosphere, the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch - a devoutly conservative scion of a controversial Colorado political family reviled by liberals and environmentalists - to replace the late Antonin Scalia would cause angst among Democrats, worried that the new jurist might help overturn abortion rights and erode civil rights.

But Mr. Trump's scathing critique of various judges as "disgraceful," combined with the failure of the Republicans who control the Senate even to hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland, former president Barack Obama's selection for that vacancy, has sent the Democrats into a white fury, prompting vows to kill the Gorsuch nomination and threatening a paralysis in the high court.

So in an episode this week, culminating with Mr. Gorsuch's comments that the Trump remarks were "disheartening," all of the hurts, bitterness and rancour of the past quarter-century have been exposed: Deep partisanship on Capitol Hill.

Political polarization in the public. The politicization of the U.S. judiciary. The upheaval of the populist insurrection that Mr. Trump identified a year ago and harnessed in the election three months ago.

"All of the moving parts in American politics are encapsulated in this fight," said former GOP congressman Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, a onetime national chairman of the American Conservative Union who held an endowed lecture chair in legislative politics at Harvard. "The problem is that both parties now have litmus tests. The idea of independent judiciary is in danger, but so is the idea of an independent legislature."

The result is that the business of U.S. politics no longer has the tint of business-as-usual. In the past, Supreme Court nominees generally were approved regardless of the ideological rigidity of the nominee. Some 30 years ago the most ardent conservative jurist of the age, Mr.

Scalia, was approved by a 98-0 margin. About 25 years ago, the leading liberal jurist of the time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was approved on a 96-3 vote. The nomination of Mr. Garland was deferred by GOP leaders because they feared he was a liberal, and the nomination of Mr. Gorsuch is threatened because Democrats know he is a conservative.

Mr. Gorsuch's expression of indignation Wednesday at Mr. Trump's commentary on various judges may help mollify liberals and win him some credibility among Democratic skeptics, but his very nomination underlined the importance that the Supreme Court - today roughly divided between four liberals and four conservatives - has in contemporary U.S. politics.

About a fifth of those who voted in the 2016 election identified Supreme Court appointments as "the most important factor" in their decision. More than half of those who identified the high court as the preeminent issue voted for Mr. Trump. The President, elected without a majority, knows that this is no peripheral issue for his constituency.

In the end, Supreme Court nominees are tasked with settling cases. In this case, a Supreme Court nominee has unsettled all of U.S. politics.

Now that Mr. Trump has, like a medieval knight, thrown down the gauntlet, the fight begins - an early but vital test both for his administration and his Democratic rivals. That armoured glove on the political landscape immediately created multiple complications, some procedural (should the Senate change its rules to ease Mr. Gorsuch's way to the high court?), some purely political (should Democrats who face the voters next year in states carried by Mr. Trump find reasons to support Mr. Gorsuch to bolster their own re-election prospects?).

Both questions have the potential to resolve the Gorsuch issue but to leave broad questions in U.S. politics unresolved.

By changing the Senate rules, essentially permitting Mr. Gorsuch's nomination to proceed with the support of 50 lawmakers rather than 60, the Republicans would infuriate the Democrats even as they endanger their own prerogatives the next time a Democratic president presents a Supreme Court nominee to a Senate with a small Democratic majority. Or, by siding with Mr. Gorsuch in a bald effort to salvage their own re-elections, endangered Democrats very likely will create a schism within their own caucus and undermine both the trust and the unanimity that a minority party requires to have any influence in the chamber.

Already, some Democrats have drifted from the party's buoys, evidence that in the end Mr. Gorsuch may prevail. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia took on the noticeable gesture of introducing Rick Perry, Mr. Trump's selection for energy secretary, at the former Texas governor's confirmation hearings; both men represent energy states, to be sure, but Mr. Man.

chin, facing re-election next year, also knows that Mr. Trump carried his state by 42 points in November. Mr. Manchin's support of the controversial nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as the Trump administration's Attorney-General is a further hint he may be congenial to supporting Mr. Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

In all, 10 sitting Democratic senators are seeking re-election in states where Mr. Trump prevailed. One of them, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, is running for re-election in North Dakota, where Mr. Trump's victory margin was 36 points. The state's other senator, its lone member of the House of Representatives, and its Governor all are Republicans, leaving Ms. Heitkamp virtually isolated politically - and vulnerable to entreaties from the Trump camp.

Already the lobbying has begun, in some cases with genuine fury, the targets being those 10 Democratic lawmakers from Trump territory, and the pressure coming especially heavily from supporters and opponents of abortion rights - an issue Mr. Trump hardly spoke about in the campaign and as President. One surprise focus of attention: Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, a rare Democrat who opposes abortion rights.

To heighten the drama, the Trump team has selected Kelly Ayotte to shepherd the Gorsuch nomination through the senate.

Ms. Ayotte, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire who was defeated for re-election only months ago, nonetheless is a popular figure in the chamber, especially among moderate Democrats who admired her hard work, diligence and openness. This fight will require all of those attributes, and perhaps more.

David Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his coverage of U.S. politics.

Associated Graphic

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch, centre, to the Supreme Court, coupled with the failure of Senate Republicans to even hold a hearing for Barack Obama's nominee, have sent Democrats into a fury.


Industry insiders applaud TIFF overhaul
Many welcome the cutbacks, believing the festival's purpose of promoting Canadian talent has gotten lost in Hollywood glitz
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A11

Robert Lantos, one of Canada's most prominent producers, is a busy man during the Toronto International Film Festival - maybe too busy. And he's tired of getting stuck in traffic. "I think it has become too sprawling and in some ways it could use a little bit more curatorial discrimination," he says, putting the emphasis on the latter.

Mr. Lantos is hardly alone in this assessment. In the blood sport that can be navigating TIFF - the film screenings, celebrityspotting, deal-making and partygoing (add news conferences for reporters) - another requisite activity is the griping. It's too big, too Hollywood, too expensive.

It's lost its way. What about the Canadian films? Indie films? People point to other festivals - Cannes, Telluride - that are more tightly curated and lament how overwhelming it is to sift through nearly 300 features for the hidden gems.

"There's been a lot of pride watching TIFF's elevation into [one of the top] film festivals in the world," Tyler Levine, a Toronto-based producer, said. "But watching TIFF's prominence increase has also made it slightly more difficult for a smaller Canadian producer like myself. It's like watching your best friend become famous."

On Thursday, TIFF announced major changes. "We're offering a refreshed, more tightly curated edition," a news release stated. It will show 20 per cent fewer films, scrap the Vanguard and City to City programs and drop two venues - the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and the Isabel Bader Theatre.

While we won't call it a standing ovation, the move is receiving cautious applause from the industry.

"There's a great temptation in any organization to grow and I think sometimes a bigger organization can lose focus so I admire that they're intent on honing their curatorial focus by restricting their growth," says Martin Katz, president of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, in Los Angeles for the Oscars.

"TIFF has become quite unwieldy and the selection was way too large and a lot of things were getting lost in the process ... so I think a more rigorous selection process is definitely a good move," said Hussain Amarshi, whose Mongrel Media had 16 films at TIFF last year.

Mr. Lantos (Eastern Promises, The Sweet Hereafter) also supports the changes. "The festival can't afford to be known to tamper with its pristine reputation and to become known as a dumping ground for any movie which can attract lots of noise on the red carpet because some celebrity walks on it. ... For a festival to remain considered one of the top in the world, it has to be about quality, not quantity, and not celebrities."

His comments reflect the concerns outlined in a widely read column this past September by Variety's chief film critic Peter Debruge, which brought the criticism to new public prominence.

"To put it bluntly, TIFF has become a dumping ground, serving up hundreds of new movies with hardly any discernible sense of curation," Mr. Debruge wrote.

"What I was saying in my piece was nothing that hadn't been said before, but I gave a megaphone to opinions I was hearing and have been hearing around the festival for years ... and it seemed to be a real wake-up call," Mr. Debruge said on Thursday, adding that he didn't want to take credit for the shift - and that he has a lot of respect for the festival.

Whether the changes announced Thursday address these concerns is another story.

For instance, Mr. Debruge says Vanguard and City to City offered strong programs.

"The problem is it all sort of gets overwhelmed by the poorest programming in the festival, which is the Galas and Special [Presentations] where a lot of flat-out awful movies will premiere because they have movie stars and because the festival needs to fill its biggest venues," he said. "And they have to sell those tickets that are way more expensive so they fill those theatres with the prospect of 'hey you get to see a movie in the same room as Nicole Kidman,' never mind that this is not a great Nicole Kidman movie."

Toronto filmmaker Matt Johnson has also been outspoken about his concerns about TIFF and chose to release his most recent film, Operation Avalanche, at Sundance instead. Reached Thursday, Mr. Johnson said he would like to see the number of films at TIFF reduced even further and a stronger focus on Canadian films.

"It is extremely challenging for first-time Canadian filmmakers to get noticed at that festival.

And it shouldn't be. In fact, that should be in many ways the thrust of TIFF in my opinion," he said. "It should be: We're bringing you new Canadian voices - and it's important; you should listen to this."

Suzanne Cheriton, a publicist who works regularly with the Canadian film industry, also has concerns about homegrown films becoming lost at TIFF.

"I think that downsizing the festival somewhat is a great opportunity to continue to try to balance the curation of the festival. And that would be amazing if that's what were to happen, to try and keep the balance between the big galas and the celebrity element balanced with that spirit of discovery," said Ms. Cheriton, who has raised her concerns about Canadian films getting lost in the mix with TIFF's artistic director, Cameron Bailey.

"It is a challenge, given the high profile of some of those big Oscar contenders, for the Canadian industry to benefit from the international profile and presence at TIFF."

The loss of Vanguard received a fair bit of attention on social media Thursday. And a number of people posted concerns about what the cuts at TIFF might signal about the festival. But filmmaker and former TIFF board member Barry Avrich says there's no reason to panic.

"I don't think it's a death knell, I don't think it's a major red flag that says, 'oh my God an organization's in trouble,' " Mr. Avrich said.

"Given the changes in the film and television industry that are going on, paramount changes that involve the complexity of how people are consuming film and television, it's impossible to think that film festivals would be immune to those changes and those challenges as well. I applaud TIFF for looking within and saying 'how do we best represent a changing demographic and a changing industry?' And I think it's smart at the end of the day."

As for the decision to no longer screen films in the Yorkville area, Mr. Lantos said it has become challenging for industry professionals to travel to those venues from the festival's epicentre further south. "Ultimately, it's the City of Toronto's fault for becoming a traffic nightmare," he said.

"That's a Toronto problem, not TIFF's problem, but TIFF suffers as a result." The Hot Docs organization, which owns one of the theatres affected, declined to comment.

Associated Graphic

Canadian producer Robert Lantos, seen at his home in Brentwood, Calif., supports TIFF's recent changes. In order for the festival to remain one of the world's best, he says, 'it has to be about quality, not quantity, and not celebrities.'


Young and the Restless star works himself into a lather
Eric Braeden opens up about soaps, villainy and his signature facial hair
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R13

It's been 37 years since Eric Braeden stole his first scene as businessman Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless. In his new memoir, I'll Be Damned, the German immigrant shares details about growing up in the years following the Second World War, the decision to change his name (Hans-Jorg Gudegast) to make it in Hollywood, and - of course - a whole bunch of dishy details on playing Genoa City's beloved Black Knight.

You have been playing Victor Newman since 1980, so about half of your life, shooting four days a week. Do you ever have to remind yourself that you are not a billionaire who lives in Genoa City?

It's an interesting question, but no, never. Of course, I wish I could call my pilot to fly to Paris for lunch [like Victor], but as soon as we are finished shooting I don't think about him for one moment. As soap-opera actors, we memorize pages and pages of dialogue. You get into your dressing and you start cramming. You learn to focus on one thing very closely and then you shoot it and then it's done. We shoot over 100 pages every day. A nighttime series does about 10. A film does about two to three. Imagine that.

There isn't time to sit around and bullshit. It's bing, bing, bingDone.

I was surprised to find pictures of you from a premustache era.

What came first, the role on The Y&R or the signature facial hair?

Actually, that started on Gunsmoke in the seventies. I had done five episodes. They wanted me for a different character, so they asked me to grow a mustache and that was it. It just became a part of me. I have never thought of getting rid of it.

In the book, you describe Victor's earliest storyline, where he kidnaps a romantic rival and feeds him dead rats. By the time I started watching in 1988, it seems like the character had become a little less depraved.

Ha! That's right. Victor had a dungeon where he kept his enemies. It depends on the writer, but on the whole, I think he became more civilized and certainly softened by his grandchildren. [When I first took the role on The Y&R], I had spent 20 years playing bad guys. After about a year, I went to them and said, "Listen, I can't do this any more. It's too dehumanizing, too one-dimensional." I was ready to leave and then [creator and head writer] Bill Bell came up with this very complex back story for the character. I remember doing the first scene - it was Christmas Eve and Nikki was married to Victor, but she didn't really know about his background. She kept on probing and probing and then finally he broke down and told her that he was abandoned at an orphanage by his mother, never to see her or his father again. I remember the day I did that scene, I walked to my dressing room and I called my wife and I said, "I want to stay." It just opened a whole wide range of emotions and vulnerabilities.

Victor and Nikki is the love story that keeps on giving. Pop quiz: Do you know how many times you two have married and remarried?

I don't know. Four or five times?

Maybe more. Victor has so much money, he doesn't care.

What is it about that relationship that viewers love so much?

You know, I really don't know and I don't want to know because I don't want to analyze it. Melody Thomas Scott [Nikki] and I obviously have chemistry, but other than that, thinking too much about things is not my approach to acting. I just want to do a scene and see what happens in that scene.

You say you and Peter Bergman - a.k.a. Victor's arch nemesis Jack Abbott - have adapted to each other's very different styles of acting. How so?

Peter is an immaculately prepared actor. I love working with him. I always tell him that I think he sleeps in his suit. He comes to rehearsal fully dressed as Jack. My way is different, but we got to a place where we both respect each other's way of doing things.

I will never forget the famous scene where Victor has the heart attack after exploding on Jack. Is it fun to play those major temper-tantrum scenes?

I like to do them if it's justified in the script and it comes out of something that is real. I want it to feel organic, not just for the sake of it. The moments that I like the most are when he is more vulnerable. I have never been as big on the manipulative cold stuff.

But you're so good at it! I know, I know.

Do you have a least-favourite storyline?

I do, but think I'm made in a way where I try to forget things.

I think I speak for a lot of fans when I say the Victor/Sharon romance felt all kinds of wrong.

Well, that turned into something that it shouldn't have been. I had suggested that wouldn't it be incredible to do a story where a father has something to do with his son's wife. Absolute taboo, but dramatically very interesting.

My suggestion was Sharon seduces Victor and he succumbs to it, but after he is so deeply ashamed and embarrassed that he leaves town. I thought he could go to Greece and join an order of Gregorian monks. Meanwhile, [private investigator] Paul Williams is getting more and more on the track. Victor gets wind of this and he escapes again and then when we see him again he's under a freeway in L.A. He's started drinking and finally his son and his daughter find him and confront him. He has become a bum and he is in so much agony over what he did that he isn't sure if he wants to go back. So that's what I wanted to do and then they turned it into this total nonsense where Victor gets married to Sharon and I hated it. I hated it! It was a waste of a great story.

Wow! Do actors on The Y&R often suggest story lines?

Some do, but I don't very often at all. That's one that I thought could have been great, but they did a stupid job.

In the book you take issue with the stereotype that soaps are the domain of bored housewives and people in nursing homes.

It's just such a cliché and total nonsense. Soaps are watched in all stratas of society, from the ghetto to the highest place. Years ago, Sports Illustrated did a story.

They were fascinated by the fact that all kinds of pro athletes were fans of the show - George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Tommy Hearns, George Chuvalo. It's not that housewives don't watch, it's just that our audience is so diverse. I'm very proud of that.

Six quality stocks to buy and sit on in your RRSP
Look for companies that keep creating shareholder value - that can be held for at least five to 10 years, or longer
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B11

Trading stocks is tempting but not always the best way to build a retirement nest egg. Timing the market is not easy, and you could miss a stock's best gains.

Investors are often better off taking a Rip Van Winkle approach - owning quality stocks and sleeping through their inevitable ups and downs.

We asked three portfolio managers to pick stocks suitable for a registered retirement savings plan, and which investors could hold for at least five to 10 years, or even longer.

Larry Sarbit, chief executive and chief investment officer at Sarbit Advisory Services, Winnipeg 6 The pick: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Recent 52-week range: $18.28 (U.S.) to $29.03 a share Shares of the U.S.-based film studio have become more attractive since it acquired the cable television network Starz, said Mr. Sarbit. Lions Gate has had hit movies, such as La La Land, which has 14 Oscar nominations, as well as successful television shows, but winners are unpredictable, he said.

Starz will provide a more predictable revenue stream, and growth will come from international expansion, he said. Starz, which is headed by Chris Albrecht, who formerly ran rival HBO, is also a plus to Lions Gate management, he added.

Mr. Sarbit bought Lions Gate stock when it got hammered early last year after its final Hunger Games movie fell short of expectations. He was not surprised by the merger because media investor John Malone owned stakes in both companies.

Lions Gate, whose stock trades at about 12 times free cash flow, is a business that is going to be a lot bigger in five to 10 years, he said.

The pick: Sirius XM Holdings Inc.

Recent 52-week range: $3.42 (U.S.) to $4.82 a share The U.S.-based satellite radio company is on a growth trajectory as subscribers continue to climb, said Mr. Sarbit, who has owned Sirius stock since 2013.

U.S. subscribers rose to 31.3-million in 2016 from 25.5-million in 2013.

The number of vehicles with built-in Sirius radio surged to about 88 million at the end of 2016 compared with 60 million three years ago, he added. Within the next decade, Sirius estimates there could be 185 million cars equipped with its product, so there is a huge potential for more subscribers, he said.

Sirius is about 60 per cent owned by Liberty Media Corp., which is controlled by its chairman John Malone. Speculation about Sirius buying Internet radio provider Pandora Media Inc. will happen only if the price is right, Mr. Sarbit said. "John Malone doesn't overpay."

Sirius stock, which trades at about 14 times cash flow, could also be taken private eventually by Liberty, whose stake has been creeping up, Mr. Sarbit added.

Robert Gill, vice-president and portfolio manager with Lincluden Investment Management, Toronto 6 The pick: North West Company Inc.

Recent 52-week range: $24.08 to $33 a share This retailer of food and everyday goods is a compelling investment because North West operates mainly in remote communities where there is little competition, said Mr. Gill, who has held the stock for three years.

In Canada's North, "North West is the only game in town," he said. "The stores feel like a WalMart except it is labelled NorthMart or Northern."

The Winnipeg-based firm, which also operates Giant Tiger discount stores in Western Canada, owns retailers in the Caribbean and South Pacific as well.

Having a virtual monopoly in communities has resulted in a high return on equity of 21 per cent, and without too much debt, he added.

North West's annual dividend of $1.24 a share yields more than 4 per cent, and that payout is expected to increase, he said.

North West stock trades at 17 times forward earnings, which is not expensive compared with about 23 times for the Toronto stock market, he noted. Risk of competition is low due to the difficulty in transporting goods to far-flung regions, he said.

The pick: Toronto-Dominion Bank 6 Recent 52-week range: $50.05 to $68.70 a share Shares of Canada's second-largest bank are appealing because TD operates in an oligopolistic industry which means limited competition, says Mr. Gill. "They don't fight. They pillow fight."

TD has a dominant franchise in personal and commercial banking with the Canadian retail business contributing 64 per cent of total profit, he added. Its U.S. expansion strategy has gained traction over the years, and TD also has a 42-per-cent stake in TD Ameritrade, the largest U.S. discount broker. TD's U.S. arm will benefit from rising interest rates, expected this year, and a stronger U.S. economy, he said. Risks include any sudden downturn in the Canadian housing market, and competition from financial technology companies such as robo-advisers, he said.

TD shares traded at more than 13 times forward earnings recently, but that valuation is still reasonable given TD's strong brand, solid balance sheet and dividend yield of more than 3 per cent, he said. TD shares have been in Lincluden's portfolios for more than 15 years.

Lorne Steinberg, president of Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management, Montreal 6 The pick: Microsoft Corp.

Recent 52-week range: $48.04 to $65.91 a share The U.S. software giant has morphed from a personal computer-centric business to one more focused on providing cloud services, said Mr. Steinberg, who has owned Microsoft stock for about five years.

"They are a huge cloud player ... that is driving their growth."

But Microsoft's software, which includes Office 365, is still "the only game in town for most companies," he added.

The company, which has $60billion in cash, has seen its shares outstanding fall to 7.8-billion from 10.8-billion about a dozen years ago, he said.

"They keep on creating shareholder value. ... We are looking for this company to generate 10per-cent earnings growth for the next several years."

There is always risk in the technology business from competing software products, or simply "missing the next thing," he said.

Microsoft shares, which trade at about 21 times earnings, could reach $95 a share in five years, he suggested.

The pick: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

52-week range: $138.20 (U.S.) to $250 a share The U.S.-based global investment bank has emerged from the financial crisis stronger than some peers and has created shareholder value, said Mr. Steinberg. Some firms diluted their outstanding shares massively to survive, but Goldman's shares have fallen to 421 million from 437 million in 2008, he noted.

Goldman also faces less competition after rivals pulled out of certain businesses such as bond trading, he said.

Goldman shares have rallied since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president last November. He promised less regulation for banks so they will be given more opportunity to make money, Mr. Steinberg said. Goldman shares, which trade at about 13 times forward earnings, could be worth $350 a share in five years, he said.

Associated Graphic

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, a hit for the U.S.-based film studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.


A Sixties Scoop survivor's tale
Marcia Brown Martel was taken away as a child under a policy that separated Indigenous children in Ontario from their families. Now a chief in her community, she's at the centre of a court ruling that calls on the government to right a wrong that has haunted her and others for decades. Tu Thanh Ha tells her story
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

There are no records left to explain why Marcia Brown Martel had to be taken from her family when she was a fouryear-old growing up in an aboriginal community in northeastern Ontario.

When, as an adult, she asked for a copy of her file from childwelfare authorities, all she got was a one-page summary that gave no explanation why she had been placed in foster care.

The sheet said her mother had signed a consent form - which couldn't be true since her mother didn't know then how to sign her name.

Years later, when Ms. Brown Martel found her way home, she discovered another falsehood.

All the time she was away, enduring loneliness, abuse and suicidal urges, her family hadn't tried to reclaim her. They had been told she was better left in foster care because she had a mental disability.

She remembered her father's face turning red with anger when they reunited many years later. "They lied to me. They lied to me," he said.

Ms. Brown Martel and 16,000 other Ontario aboriginal people were caught in what became known as the Sixties Scoop.

Officially, it was an agreement extending Ontario's child-welfare system to aboriginal children. In effect, for two decades, children were forcibly removed and placed with non-Indigenous families.

Though less known than the residential schools, the Sixties Scoop left a similarly painful mark on children who were suddenly cut off from their families, culture and language. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that the "scooped" children of Ontario were entitled to damages that could total up to $1.3-billion.

The judgment could have an impact in other provinces, where thousands of others are also seeking redress before the courts.

The lead plaintiff in the Ontario case was Ms. Brown Martel, who, in a remarkable life twist, reconnected with her family after nearly 14 years and eventually became chief of her community.

It was vindication for a woman who was so scarred that for years she woke up each morning thinking about suicide. "It was like carrying a bag of dead bones," she said in an interview the day after the historic judgment.

She was born in 1963 as Sally Susan Mathias, the second youngest of seven Algonquin siblings. Her parents, Alex and Jemima, lived in the Beaverhouse First Nation, a remote settlement that is mainly reached by boat or snowmobiles.

She says she remembers growing up happy, playing on the shores of the Misema River.

Then her world changed the summer she was 4 and strangers speaking a language she didn't understand took her and a sister, Lynn, into a boat.

Before she was wrenched from her family, her sister Nancy told her to memorize that she was Sally Susan Mathias of the Beaverhouse in Kirkland Lake.

For the next five years, she lived in 10 different foster homes in northern and central Ontario. Sometimes, she could visit Beaverhouse, but would be returned to foster care, so that her brief time home would be filled with dread, expecting the sound of the boat that would fetch her again.

At first, she and Lynn were together, but one day she was told her sister no longer wanted to be in the same house and they were separated.

"You know that scene in the movies when a child is in the back seat of a car, looking back through the window? I did that for real and it broke my heart."

Some of the foster homes were abusive households. "I wondered if a person could hit me to the point I would die," she said.

She learned to gauge adults and spot the ones who would hurt her, the ones who would not be helpful. She learned that no one cared about her feelings and that it was better to keep quiet and observe. "I was this little person, alone in the world ... Nobody wanted me."

When she was 9, she was placed for adoption with a family in Southern Ontario.

"What happens if I say no?" she asked at the court hearing.

The judge didn't pick up on her hint so she went along. She was given a new name, Marcia Brown.

Her adoptive mother wanted a girl who could be put in pretty dresses. Instead, she got a tomboy who had been sexually abused and didn't want to make herself attractive - "because I know what happens to pretty girls."

At bath time, she was washed roughly, to "scrub the brown off" her.

Again, she was physically abused. She wondered why no one at school raised concerns when she would show up with bruises. "I must be invisible to them," she thought.

By the time she was a teen, her adoptive parents had split.

She lived in Texas with her adoptive mother. She got pregnant and had to put her newborn up for adoption.

Her growing estrangement from her adoptive mother culminated just before Ms. Brown Martel turned 18. She was driven to the airport and handed a plane ticket to Canada.

Because she had memorized her original name and hometown, her adoptive mother had managed to contact one of Ms. Brown Martel's relatives, her sister Nancy.

That May, with no money and wearing her Texan summer dress and sandals, Ms. Brown Martel landed in North Bay.

Nancy was waiting for her and took her back to Beaverhouse.

Conversations were limited at first because she had forgotten much of her Algonquin. She also had no shared childhood memories that could help her bond with her relatives. But she said she felt a sense of belonging. She was among people who thought the way she did. She could recognize their social code, their body language.

She camped in the bush with her family, learned trapping, watched how the elders cleaned a moose with knives.

She finished her last year of high school in North Bay, where she discovered that a fellow student was her younger brother Terry. He was an infant when she was taken away and was eventually "scooped" into foster care too.

She searched for her records and discovered that Sally Susan Mathias had been declared dead.

After a decade reacquainting herself with her community, she spoke up for the first time at a public meeting. She was eventually elected to the band council. She and another Scoop survivor launched their lawsuit in 2009.

In 2011, she became chief of the 285-member Beaverhouse First Nation.

"Here I am now ... I didn't seek retribution. I didn't seek to blame. I wanted to share with people what I had learned."

Her lawsuit only sought $85,000 in damages for each survivor. But she got a judgment stating that the Canadian government had failed in its duty of care.

The day of her court victory, she joined in ceremonial drumming and singing. The song, she said, spoke about the flight of eagles and, like soaring birds, her spirits that day felt lighter.

Associated Graphic

Beaverhouse First Nation Chief Marcia Brown Martel stands for a portrait before attending a news conference, in Toronto on Tuesday, after a judge ruled in her favour in a class-action lawsuit.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


A Saturday story on the Sixties Scoop of Indigenous children included an incorrect name for Marcia Brown Martel's younger brother. It is Teddy, not Terry as published.

Jays focused on keeping veterans healthy this spring
Star third baseman Josh Donaldson is already banged up after suffering an injury during drills, but the Jays aren't planning on curtailing anyone's playing time during the season
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

DUNEDIN, FLA. -- No major-league player has logged more games at third base over the past four years than Josh Donaldson.

The Toronto Blue Jays star plays the game with a reckless abandon, willingly hurtling his body into the grandstands if he has a chance to make a catch on a pop foul, and making daring headlong slides into home plate to try to beat the throw.

His durability is surprising given how hard he plays, having answered the bell in 629 of 648 regular-season games over four years, the first two with the Oakland A's and the past two in Toronto.

But this season hasn't even started and the star third baseman, the American League's most valuable player in 2015, is already on the limp.

He is nursing a strained right calf muscle, which has delayed his participation at the Blue Jays spring training camp. He hurt himself on Friday doing sprinting drills.

It is the same injury, only to a different leg, that gave the 31-year-old some grief at the beginning of last season. It was a year in which he also dealt with a jammed thumb and a hip injury that affected his mobility.

The Blue Jays and Donaldson say this injury is not considered to be serious, although you would be hard pressed to believe otherwise after witnessing the difficulty with which the player was walking Sunday.

Donaldson was using crutches in the clubhouse.

"It's just a little bump in the road right now and whenever the time comes I'll be ready," said Donaldson, who hopes to be good to go in about two weeks.

A healthy Donaldson, playing at his best, will be key to the Blue Jays' hopes of advancing to the playoffs for a third successive year.

Clubs walk a fine line over a gruelling 162-game regular season, wedged into 180 days, trying to ensure a star's health against what's best for the team.

Other than perhaps Russell Martin, the Blue Jays have no plans to curtail anyone's playing time over a long season.

"Going in, that's not necessarily the plan," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You know with Russ, we're going to try and make sure that Russ [will get some added rest], because he's a catcher. Other guys, if they need it [a break] they'll get it."

Gibbons said that, like it or not, players always have played through nagging injuries."It's part of the game," he said. "You look back in the history of the game, your top players they play all the time. They play when they're banged up, they play when they're hung over, they play when they're sick. That's part of it.

"But if it gets to the point where he [Donaldson] needs it, a mental break because he's banged up, I'll give him a day off."

Donaldson would not be a fan of that.

"My goal is to go out there every day and play," he said.

"That's my goal. If my body can let me play I want to play every day.

"Another good part of being in the American League is I can DH a few days here and there to kind of take some stress off my legs. But ... whenever I come back I don't plan on there being any kind of breaks in my schedule or anything like that as far as days off are concerned."

Donaldson's 629 regular-season games over the past four years rank him third among third basemen in the majors behind Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays (642) and Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners (638).

But when you factor in Donaldson's 26 playoff games in that span, he rises to the top of the list among third basemen in games played, with 655. He's in second spot over all among all players over the past four years, behind only Alcides Escobar, the shortstop for the Kansas City Royals, who has played in 661 games.

Toward the end of last season, Donaldson's production slowed down. His batting average dipped from .304 in the first half of the season to .257 over the second half. And over the final month, when his hip was giving him problems, his average sunk to .222 with just three home runs.

His play picked up in the playoffs, however, when he batted .417 (15 for 36) through nine games.

Ball clubs are becoming more attuned to helping players pace themselves over a long season.

Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has endured a number of physical setbacks since he was traded to the Blue Jays in July, 2015.

Last season he landed on the disabled list in late May and missed 20 games with a quad injury. On July 31, playing against Baltimore, he suffered a minor fracture to his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch and had to sit for three more games.

Tulowitzki said he would be amenable to a bit more time off if it meant his on-field production remained high.

"It's something me and Gibby [Gibbons] will sit down and talk about, schedule-wise, what makes me the best player day in and day out," Tulowitzki said.

"And if that's taking days off here and there then that's the smart thing to do.

"I think you look at all professional sports, it's being run a little bit differently, from the NBA to the NFL. People are getting smarter and trying to find ways to make players healthier through the course of a season.

So for me, whatever we put together, I'm going to stick to that schedule."

As a catcher, the most demanding position in baseball, Martin has been a workhorse over his career. His 1,306 game starts at catcher over 11 seasons is the second-highest in the majors, trailing only the 1,370 games logged by Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.

But Martin was beaten down physically by the end of last year, with a sore left knee that eventually required off-season surgery, nagging him constantly.

Martin still managed to play 137 games, hitting .231 with 20 home runs, a testament to his toughness.

The Toronto native said that determining playing time, especially for a catcher, is difficult.

"There's not a magical number," said Martin, adding that the most important factor is to keep the club up to date on how he is feeling.

"I feel like my job is to communicate with the coaches and be honest with them and tell them, 'Okay, I'm starting to get a little tired, I can probably use a day.' It would probably be better for me and for the team."

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki takes batting practice during spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Sunday.


Josh Donaldson celebrates as he scores on a three-run walk-off home run hit by Edwin Encarnacion to defeat the Baltimore Orioles in the American League wild-card game in October, 2016.


David Oyelowo's case of political déjà vu
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R4

As David Oyelowo and I spoke by phone recently, a protest against Donald Trump's immigration ban was raging outside his New York hotel. It seemed fitting, because his new film, A United Kingdom, centres on a family kept apart by governmental prejudice.

It also seemed like déjà vu.

Two years ago, when Oyelowo was in a similar New York hotel promoting Selma, about Martin Luther King Jr.'s battle for civil rights (he played King), a similar civil action was occurring under his window, to support Black Lives Matter.

"It's an extraordinary thing," Oyelowo says, in a Britishaccented voice as rich as butter on lobster. "My films are speaking to the exact situation that's happening on the street, even though Selma took place 50 years ago, and A United Kingdom 70 years ago. There is some evidence that society has moved forward. But when it comes to prejudice, it comes back around in different packaging. I don't know what it's going to take for us to move forward from that."

He does know how he wants to contribute: Born in Oxford, England, raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and then schooled back in England, Oyelowo is determined to make films "that speak to my experience," he says. "There are so many things that I know to be true, and I very rarely get to see in movies." So in 2010, when a producer friend gave him Susan Williams's book Colour Bar, he found himself pulled into producing as well as acting.

The book, and ultimately A United Kingdom, tells the true story of Seretse Khama (Oyelowo), a prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) who fell in love with a white office worker, Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), in 1948, while a student in England.

Despite their families' objections, they married and moved to Africa. The British government, which gave financial aid to Bechuanaland, also opposed the marriage: Britain was in bed with South Africa, South Africa was instituting apartheid and the British didn't want an embarrassment just across the border. The British lured Khama to England to negotiate, then forbade him from returning.

Ruth knew if she left, she also would never return. Director Amma Asante (Belle) focuses on the love story and lets history swirl around it.

Oyelowo - who happens to come from a royal family himself - was "desperate to see it made," he says, "because we almost never get to see a man like Seretse at the centre of his own narrative. A man who's madly in love. A leader who really cares about his people - as opposed to being corrupt - in a story that demonstrates the beauty of an African people, and their complexity."

Africa is rife with incredible stories, incredible people, Oyelowo continues, but too often in film, those stories are told from an outsider perspective, in terms of who directs it and who the protagonist is. "If you're only seeing African or black characters from an outsider perspective, then inevitably it's going to be a less dimensional representation of who we are than it otherwise should be," he says. "Even if it's a positive story, it diminishes the import of people within their own cultures and communities. If we only get one demographic's view on every situation, it's going to be a distorted representation of who we are in terms of humanity."

His becoming a producer was "born out of necessity." Despite his considerable elegance, evident talent and steadily rising star - from Britain's National Youth Theatre to a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company, from a starring role on the British series MI-5 to working with American directors Ava DuVernay and Lee Daniels - it took several years of "pummelling away" before he could get A United Kingdom financed. He vividly recalls meeting with a director who refused to make the film if Oyelowo was in it. "It would not be politic for me to mention who it is," Oyelowo says, smiling, "but it's a prominent person, who will read this article, and I hope be thoroughly ashamed." Eventually, he prevailed and, in a fulfilling moment, found himself standing on a London street wearing 1940s clothes, surrounded by period automobiles. "Having grown up in the U.K., I love a period drama," he says. "Merchant Ivory films, Austen and Dickens movies. But I never got to see someone who looked like me in any of them, even though black people have very much been a part of British history, and not just recent history.

"So to be shooting those scenes in foggy Whitehall, with its beautiful buildings and our huge production values - all those things I'd grown up seeing in films that didn't have any black people in them - and to be the protagonist, there were several moments I felt the need to pinch myself. I was living out a dream I had harboured for a long time."

Oyelowo lives in California's San Fernando Valley with his wife, actress Jessica Oyelowo, their four children and three dogs. "It takes a lot to get me out of the house," he says. "I'm quite happy to stay home, spending time with my family, unplugging drains and picking up dog mess."

That sounds a tad disingenuous, considering his slate of coming projects, which includes Americanah, based on Chimamanda Adichie's novel about Nigerian immigrants in the United States, co-starring Lupita Nyong'o; American Express, an action film opposite Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron; God Particle, the third instalment in the Cloverfield franchise, from producer J.J. Abrams; and several ideas in development with DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey.

Oyelowo calls the latter two "some of the most amazing, informative relationships I've forged as an actor and as a human being."

He'll also be a presenter at Sunday's Academy Awards and has some thoughts about #OscarsSoWhite. "What we celebrate culturally matters - awards signal to the world what we deem to be of import," Oyelowo says. "The actors who get nominated and the nature of the characters they get to play are a demonstration of what we value as a society. So for me, it is important that the Oscars represent the society we actually live in. I remain very disturbed by the lack of women in the Hollywood industry, both in terms of awards, and more importantly, in the director's chair."

Those protests outside? Oyelowo's internalized them. Yet, as an avowed Christian, he believes right will prevail. "While we were making A United Kingdom, there's no way we could have predicted how relevant those scenes and images of a man being banned from returning to his country would be for an audience in 2017," he says. "But it shows us the power of love.

Courageous love, sacrificial love.

Regardless of whether the opposition is governmental, societal, political or familial, love can win."

Associated Graphic

David Oyelowo, who stars in A United Kingdom, says that too often, stories about African and other black characters are told from an outsider's perspective, which leads to a 'less dimensional representation of who we are than it otherwise should be.'


Six dividend-growth stocks for your RRSP
Three fund managers offer their picks for investors seeking a blend of possible capital gains with increasing regular payouts
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B5

When building a retirement nest egg, dividend growth stocks can offer investors the best of both worlds - potential capital gains, and rising regular payouts even when markets turn flat or shaky.

Dividends can play a key role in an investor's total return. Studies show that companies that increase their payouts consistently are generally well-managed and have competitive advantages.

Holders of registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) should consider both U.S. and Canadian dividend growers. That's because dividends paid by companies in the United States are subject to a 15-per-cent withholding tax outside a retirement plan.

We asked three fund managers to offer dividend-growth-stock picks for an RRSP.

Cecilia Mo, portfolio manager, 1832 Asset Management LP, Toronto

The pick: Shaw Communications Inc.

Recent 52-week range: $22.86 to $28.42 a share 6 Annual dividend: 4.23 per cent

Calgary-based Shaw has positioned itself for growth following last year's sale of its media business and purchase of the wireless provider Wind Mobile Corp., says Cecilia Mo, who runs the Dynamic Dividend Advantage Fund.

"I am very bullish on the transformation happening in Shaw [to become a pure-play telecom company]," she said.

Shaw has rebranded Wind to Freedom Mobile, and can now bundle its wireless with its cable offering to compete against Telus Corp. in Western Canada.

Shaw is unlikely to hike its dividend this year because it will invest heavily to upgrade its wireless network, but it should be able to do so in 2018, she noted.

The big risk is whether it can execute on its strategy, but "the last three quarters have given me comfort that everything is on track," she said. "I expect a total return [including dividends] of 10 to 12 per cent for Shaw's shares this year."

The pick: Fortis Inc.

Recent 52-week range: $36.68 to $44.87 a share

Annual dividend: 3.70 per cent

This Canadian utility, which has been on the acquisition trail in the United States, is poised for stronger organic growth, Ms. Mo says. The purchase of ITC Holdings Corp. gives Fortis exposure to the fast-growing southern United States, she said; having revenue coming from utilities in various regions reduces risk because Fortis is dealing with different regulators.

"Close to 62 to 65 per cent" of the company's revenue comes from the United States, she says.

Fortis, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last year, has grown its dividend for 43 consecutive years.

While rising interest rates are a risk - investors may sell utility stocks to invest in higher-yielding bonds - the hikes should be gradual as "global growth is still relatively subdued," she said.

Fortis shares trade reasonably at 16 times 2017 earnings, and Ms.

Mo expects a 10-per-cent to 12per-cent total return for its stock over the next year.

Brian Tidd, portfolio manager, Invesco Canada, Toronto

The pick: Brookfield Property Partners LP

Recent 52-week range: $26.21 to $32.80 a share

Annual dividend: 5.14 per cent Owning Brookfield Property stock is "an inexpensive way for Canadian investors to gain exposure to top-tier real estate," says Brian Tidd, who oversees the Trimark Canadian Plus Dividend fund.

The value-focused global real estate company should be able to increase its funds from operation (or FFO) in the high single or low double digits over the medium term, he added.

The company was spun off in 2013 from Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which still owns a 68-per-cent stake. In addition to office and retail real estate, Brookfield Property is also investing in sectors such as self-storage and student housing.

Rising interest rates are a risk, and a reason for the stock's weakness, he acknowledged. "That is where the opportunity lies." It's trading at around a 20-per-cent discount to net asset value and offers an attractive yield that can grow over time, he said.

The pick: Microsoft Corp.

Recent 52-week range: $48.04 (U.S.) to $65.91 a share

Annual dividend: 2.41 per cent

Shares of the U.S. software giant are compelling because cloud services have become its growth engine, Mr. Tidd says. More companies are moving informationtechnology workloads, such as storage and databases, to public cloud services. "Microsoft's cloud-related revenues could grow to almost a third of overall sales by 2019," he said.

The newly acquired LinkedIn networking site will be integrated with other Microsoft products, including its Office 365 cloudbased subscription software, he said.

While Microsoft is the secondlargest cloud-service provider after Amazon Web Services, competition from rivals such as IBM Cloud is a risk, he said.

Microsoft stock trades at about 17 times next year's free cash flow, and that is reasonable given that it generates high returns on equity and can increase earnings at a double-digit rate over the medium term, he added.

Mohsin Bashir, portfolio manager, Stone Asset Management Ltd., Toronto

The pick: Stryker Corp.

Recent 52-week range: $95.79 (U.S.) to $127.23 a share

Annual dividend: 1.35 per cent

Shares of this U.S.-based medical equipment maker will benefit from demand by an aging population, says Mohsin Bashir, who runs the Stone & Co. Dividend Growth Class Canada fund.

Stryker, which has grown by acquisition, is starting to benefit from buying Mako Surgical Corp., whose robotic technology helps surgeons with hip and knee procedures, he noted.

Stryker, a steady generator of cash flow, has raised its dividend for 23 consecutive years. A risk to the stock would be money managers selling names such as Stryker to redeploy cash into growth-oriented stocks, but "the fundamentals of the business outweigh the risks," he said.

Because Stryker's valuation is "quite rich at about 21 times forward [projected] earnings," investors might wait for a pullback to the $100- to $110-range, he said.

The pick: Manulife Financial Corp.

Recent 52-week range: $16.43 to $25.57 a share

Annual dividend: 3.3 per cent

The Canadian insurer's shares will benefit from rising interest rates, but it is more of a stock to rent than own, Mr. Bashir suggests. "In an RRSP, it makes sense to have that investment for the time being ... but eventually you reach the maturity of the business cycle when it probably makes sense to move on."

Insurers get a tailwind from rate hikes because they receive a big chunk of their investment income from bonds.

Most of Manulife's growth comes from Asia, which represents 30 per cent to 35 per cent of revenue, while stiff competition in the U.S. market has been a drag on margins, he said. Any drop in underwriting activity in the emerging markets is a risk, he noted.

Historically, Manulife has paid out less than one-third of earnings in dividends, so there is room for growth, he said. "We expect a total return between 10 to 15 per cent [for its stock] over a year."

Associated Graphic

Studies show that companies that increase their dividend payouts consistently are generally well-managed and have competitive advantages.


Trudeau, Trump to hold talks at White House on Monday
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA, WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to Washington on Monday to hold talks at the White House with Donald Trump, hoping to develop a personal bond of trust with an unpredictable U.S. President who is pushing an America First trade and global agenda.

This will be the first face-to-face encounter between the two leaders with radically different approaches to trade, immigration and international relations, although they have had two telephone conversations since Mr. Trump became President.

"They look forward to discussing the unique relationship be.

tween Canada and the United States of America and how we can continue to work hard for middle-class Canadians and Americans, together," said Kate Purchase, the Prime Minister's communications director.

The challenge for an avowed social progressive like Mr. Trudeau is to paper over his differences with the new President and find common ground on economic and national-security issues. Top of the agenda will be trade relations, particularly the President's plans to renegotiate the 1994 NAFTA agreement. Another item on Canada's radar is a U.S. proposal to impose a "border-adjustment tax" on foreign imports.

The talks also will likely focus on Russia, the fight against the Islamic State and Canada's contribution to NATO.

The President does not yet have his trade team in place because the U.S. Senate has still not confirmed Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, Robert Lighthizer as trade representative and Treasury Secretarynominee Steven Mnuchin.

"This gives the Prime Minister the opportunity to probe discreetly and try to find out what their intentions are and make the point that our relations are not like others," said former Canadian ambassador to Washington Derek Burney, who has been an informal adviser to Mr. Trudeau along with former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Even more important is for Mr. Trudeau to develop the kind of chemistry that Mr. Mulroney had with Ronald Reagan, once considered a hard-right conservative who was unpopular in Canada.

"We were a bit smug about Ronald Reagan yet there was no president where we achieved as much as that guy in a long, long time," Mr. Burney said.

Mr. Burney expressed confidence that the Prime Minister, known for his charm and charisma, will be able to win over the real estate tycoon and former reality-show star even if they share different ideologies.

"Those guys were both not expected to win and they both won. They are both creatures of social media. So they have a lot in common," Mr. Burney said.

"They don't have an ideology in common but does anybody really know what Donald Trump's ideology is? Even Republicans don't know."

Mr. Trump is known to have been unhappy after the Prime Minister delivered an effusive statement on the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The Washington Post has also described Mr. Trudeau as "a leader of the liberal global resistance to President Trump" and said his message of "inclusivity and multiculturalism stands in contrast" to that of the U.S. leader.

Amnesty International picked up on that theme in an open letter to Mr. Trudeau on Thursday, urging him to confront the President about human rights - from the ban on Syrian refugees and citizens from seven Muslimmajority countries to his support for torture.

"Prime Minister Trudeau cannot equivocate when he sits down for his first face-to-face meet with President Trump. He must make it clear that Canada needs and expects the President to advance human-rights protections at home and abroad; not set it back," said Béatrice Vaugrante, director-general of Amnesty International Canada.

But Conservative trade critic Gerry Ritz said Mr. Trudeau must be vigilant about not coming across as anti-Trump, even if it may be popular in Canada.

"At the end of the day, we've got a President down there who ... you know, he takes this stuff with a very thin skin. He's not a politician; he's a businessman," he said.

Monday's meeting comes as Trudeau cabinet ministers have moved quickly to reach out to Mr. Trump's cabinet secretaries to seek areas of agreement and to demonstrate the Canadian government's desire to develop a positive relationship with the new Republican administration.

Canadian government sources have said Ottawa is trying to pre-emptively reinforce for Americans how beneficial its trading ties with Canada are before Mr. Trump gets down to the NAFTA talks.

"In any trade relationship, there is a possibility of improvement so we are not of the view that we shouldn't relook at NAFTA or any trade relations to see if there are ways we can improve it," Finance Minister Bill Morneau said during a talk at Washington's Georgetown University on Thursday.

Mr. Morneau said it was too early to get into specifics on what might be up for discussion in NAFTA, but he said Ottawa believes there are some areas for improvement, such as on adapting the agreement for the digital age.

In his public comments, Mr. Morneau avoided the tough message of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who warned of Canadian retaliation in the event the Trump administration imposes new protective tariffs.

Ms. Freeland was in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet congressional leaders and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, where she pressed the case against any moves to raise tariff walls against Canadian exports.

"I did make clear that we would be strongly opposed to any imposition of new tariffs between Canada and the United States, that we felt tariffs on exports would be mutually harmful to both Canada and the United States and that, if such an idea were ever to come into being, Canada would respond appropriately," Ms. Freeland told reporters after her sit-down with Mr. Tillerson.

Mr. Morneau offered a different message on Thursday, saying Ottawa is seeking to convince U.S. officials that Mr. Trudeau's government shares Mr. Trump's objective of helping a struggling middle class.

"I'm focused on creating a better outcome for Canadians and Americans," he told reporters.

"What the U.S. administration is trying to achieve - good-paying jobs for Americans - is consistent with what we're trying to achieve. We've got a much more positive starting point that we can work from."

Mr. Morneau said the Trudeau government holds the view that NAFTA has been economically beneficial for the United States and Canada, pointing out that trade between both nations is about $670-billion (U.S.) a year.

Unlike the large trade deficit that the United States has with Mexico, the country has a slight surplus with Canada.

Mr. Trump says he wants to "speed up" renegotiation of NAFTA, an accelerated approach that could increase the bargaining pressure on Canada as the country tries to find a way to emerge unscathed from a rewriting of the rules of commerce with its largest trading partner.

Associated Graphic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Iqaluit on Thursday. Mr. Trudeau is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, where they will likely discuss NAFTA.


Solidarity: How having his father as his co-pilot helped evolve Joel Plaskett's sound
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Loitering in the back room of vintage music-gear purveyor Paul's Boutique, Bill Plaskett gets a compliment from its namesake owner: "You know, you look like Roger Waters."

Bill looks back in silence for just a second. Rock trivia is not his forte. His son, Joel Plaskett, jumps to the rescue. "You know him? Pink Floyd."

"Oh, Pink Floyd, yeah," Bill says, smiling slyly. These days, the British folk-revival maven is learning a lot from his rockaficionado son. Three decades after Bill taught Joel the guitar, helping launch him into the Cancon canon, they're releasing an album together. And as much as it's a chance to repay Bill for a life of lessons learned, Joel's still learning, too.

Out Feb. 17, Solidarity is Joel's ninth proper album since the 1999 breakup of his alt-rock band Thrush Hermit. It's also the most explicit folk foray of the Halifax musician's career - built in his co-headlining father's image, soaked in traditional sounds from both shores of the Atlantic.

Joel's long toyed with singersongwriter styles, but this is different. Fiddles, whistles and banjos pop up as Bill fingerpicks and Joel strums six-string and tenor guitars. The pair stickhandle traditionals: Bill plays Jim Jones bare bones, while they trade verses and harmonies on We Have Fed You All For 1000 Years. Joel, meanwhile, dolls up new songs with trad flourishes.

Blank Cheque rollicks like a kitchen-party jam, and the Yellowknife ballad The New California gets a phalanx of whistles.

And then there are Bill's songs, stretching back decades.

The longer Joel's career stretches on, the more his music returns to his childhood. Sitting on a bench across the street from the Toronto music shop, Bill and Joel discuss recording the album's final song, On Down The River - a song that had been brewing in Bill for decades.

It's a simple, quick, strippeddown take with just one microphone, a would-be demo done in the lobby of Joel's Dartmouth studio.

The approach was deliberate. "I tried to make it sound like the cassette of all his songs that I heard when I was a kid," Joel says.

Joel's journey from nineties alternative impressionist to burgeoning folk scholar begins with his father. Bill, now 72, grew up working-class in east London, and fell quickly into finger-picking as traditional jazz and skiffle took him headfirst into the British folk revival.

He obsessively followed the careers of revival leaders such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Davey Graham as he travelled to northern England, then Canada, settling in the mid-seventies near Lunenburg, N.S., with Sharon MacDonald, Joel's mother.

Sharon, a dancer, flooded the home with experimental, jazz and pop music. But Bill's folk obsession grew after they settled on Nova Scotia's South Shore. Within a decade of Joel's birth in 1975, Bill established a coffee house, started his own trad bands and helped found the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, leading to many late-night after-parties at the Plaskett-MacDonald home.

The young Joel, though - his path meandered. Obsessions with Chuck Berry and Billy Joel turned to eighties skate music and, eventually, Led Zeppelin. Bill tried in vain to teach Joel guitar; he tried drums and saxophone instead. It was only when the family moved to Halifax in 1987, and Joel met the friends that would form Thrush Hermit, that he accepted guitar lessons.

As much as Joel's early jokefuelled jams with friends spurred his career ambitions, Bill had a hand in his development - one of Joel's first public performances was a duet of Jansch's Angie with his dad at a Folk Harbour Society showcase in Halifax. But as a teenager, Joel was more likely to hide under headphones listening to classic rock than to join his father studying folk-leaning songwriters.

Their careers diverged - Joel as a musician, Bill as a municipal planner - but here they are today, a pair of grown men sipping tea and coffee in Toronto and talking about what they've learned from each other.

A stranger wouldn't guess they're related. Joel's all arms and legs, with a long mop of brown hair and a trace of East Coast in his voice, while his more moderately sized dad's short-cropped grey shag and London accent might get him mistaken for a tourist.

Since Joel built his first studio nine years ago, his music has increasingly seized the sounds and talents of his home turf. This includes his father, who had played banjo on Joel's recordings as early as 2001's Down at the Khyber, but became a full-fledged supporting player on 2009's Three.

That was an album that simultaneously saw Joel, the erstwhile rockist, slip fiddles and other traditional British and Celtic references into his work. It left him thinking about doing a full-length album with his father, though other projects and family matters - he adopted a son, Xianing - delayed him. Last year, armed with new acoustic songs, he decided it was time.

"I don't mean this in a weird way, but Dad's still -" "I'm not getting any younger," Bill interjects with a chuckle.

"And if I go into another album cycle -" "You never know what's going to happen," the septuagenarian says.

From this sprung Solidarity, produced by Joel and recorded last October. It's the sound of Joel and Bill leaning on each other, their experiences converging.

Thanks to his son, Bill's original songs will be properly produced and widely distributed. And with the help of his dad, Joel's songwriting is evolving: It's becoming more overtly political, mixing his own progressive pieces - notably Blank Cheque - among protest traditionals.

Progressive politics have seeped into Joel's work recently, particularly on the 2015 song Captains of Industry, inspired in part by author and activist Naomi Klein. But recording an album on the eve of the U.S. election has drawn an urge out of him to want to bring people together. In, it could be said, solidarity.

It helps that the co-pilot of his forward-focused folk album was Bill, who as a heritage planner has made a career out of preserving the past for a better future. For all Bill learns from Joel these days, Joel's still learning, too.

"We're seeing this divisiveness crop up," Joel says. "We don't know what the future holds; it's really weird. But the idea of trying to learn from the past ... It's helpful when things are happening around you that you think are destructive or bad, to go, 'Maybe somebody's been through this before.' "

Josh O'Kane is a Globe and Mail reporter and author of Nowhere With You, a 2016 book about Joel Plaskett.

Associated Graphic

Musicians Joel Plaskett, right, and his father, Bill, who has played a supporting role in many of his son's recordings, play music in Joel's studio, The New Scotland Yard, in Halifax on Jan. 17.


Blue Jays pitcher Stroman cuts a buoyant figure around spring training, so long as baseball remains the focus of his attention
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

DUNEDIN, FLA. -- Marcus Stroman is normally an ebullient type, bounding around the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse here during spring training like he doesn't have a care in the world.

His flashy new hair style is usually covered up in a blue dorag and he seems constantly in a hurry to get to somewhere important, be it the weight room, the dining hall or the baseball field.

A large, presumably gold, chain is often dangling around his neck with his HDMH (Height Doesn't Measure Heart) pendant attached. Stroman, who is listed in the media guide as being 5-foot-8, had his catchphrase officially trademarked in 2015.

But Stroman's sunny demeanour seems to dim when members of the media darken his doorway, and he has done his best to ignore repeated requests for interviews since the start of camp on Wednesday.

Up until Monday, that is, when Stroman was finally swayed into providing six or so minutes of his time outside the Blue Jays clubhouse at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium to take a few questions.

Even then the ground rules were clearly laid out beforehand by Blue Jays personnel. Questions to Stroman had to be baseball-related only. In other words, there was to be no mention of Stroman's famous Twitter breakup over the off-season with teammate Aaron Sanchez as the two "unfriended" each other on the social-media platform.

Both pitchers have in the past shrugged the matter off, insisting they remain good friends, although they seem to be keeping their distance in Florida. For what it's worth, a picture of both players laughing it up remains on Stroman's official web page.

Clearly Stroman, with more than 300,000 Twitter followers, would prefer to deliver his message - whatever that is - in bursts of 140 characters, or on Instagram, rather than through traditional media.

Stroman was asked on Monday about any desire he might have to take his message directly to the fans. "I have a pretty good connection with my fans," he said evenly. "I felt like I've built that over the years. I'm extremely authentic in everything I do so it's kind of how I go about my business."

On the mound pitching in Major League Baseball games is where Stroman obviously feels most comfortable, and he has utilized a steely-eyed determination to fend off criticisms that he is too short to be effective.

Last season with the Blue Jays, his first full year after knee surgery all but wiped out his 2015 campaign, was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the 25-year-old.

Posting an overall record of 9-10, Stroman was the only Blue Jays starter to log more than 200 innings (204).

But he went through a month-long stretch, beginning around mid-May, when nothing went right, posting a gaudy 6.99 earned-run average over an eight-game stretch, and there were rumours circulating that a demotion to the minors might have been in the offing.

But he never lost the confidence of John Gibbons, the Toronto manager.

"The reality of the game at this level is you're not going to be good every time," Gibbons said.

"You're going to get knocked down, especially the young guys.

He [Stroman] was in that stretch and there were people calling for him to be sent down. We thought he was going to work it out and he ended up hanging in there and turned the season around at the end there.

"But that's all part of it, especially [for] the young guys. Most of them, when they get to the big leagues fast, they don't fail in the minor leagues so they're not used to it. And really, your top draft picks, they don't struggle much as amateurs either so that's part of the learning process. Some deal with it and some don't and they disappear. The good ones like him, they overcome that and they hang in there."

Stroman's second half in 2016 picked up, although it really didn't reflect in his record. He lost five of his last six starts when the Toronto offence wasn't exactly covering itself in glory, scoring just eight runs in those outings.

Gibbons called Stroman's number for the one-game American League wild-card playoff against the Baltimore Orioles at a time when many were guessing he would go instead with veteran Francisco Liriano.

And Stroman did not disappoint, turning in a gutsy sixinning outing, holding the Orioles to just two runs off of four hits and departing with the game tied at 2-2.

The game was ultimately decided in the bottom of the 11th when the dearly departed Edwin Encarnacion swatted a three-run home run that would end the game and send the Blue Jays on to play the Texas Rangers.

Stroman said his surgically repaired knee feels great, but hinted that there were times last season when it would still bother him.

"Everyone forgets I came back in five months from a full ACL surgery [in 2015]," he said. "I had to stop my rehab to come back and pitch for September and the playoffs. I had to re-amp my rehab and start it back up and start it in the off-season, so it's not the ideal process that you want to go through [for an] ACL rehab.

"This year, I feel 100 per cent."

The off-season was also kind to Stroman, who just last week won his salary arbitration against the Blue Jays, his pay jumping to $3.4million (U.S.) from the $515,000 he had been earning. The Blue Jays had countered with an offer of $3.1-million.

And the matter certainly didn't create the rancour that erupted over the weekend at New York Yankees camp, where setup reliever Dellin Betances lost his salary arbitration, having to settle for $3-million instead of the $5-million he was seeking.

Even in victory, New York Yankees president Randy Levine ripped into Betances for his demand, describing it as "over the top."

"It's just part of the process," Stroman said of salary arbitration. "It's just unfortunate how it's being handled over there. I'm pretty good friends with Dellin Betances and you never want to see anyone go through that.

"But it's baseball. Arbitration is something you have to go through if there's no agreement and it's something you have to deal with."

Associated Graphic

Pitcher Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays winds up to throw during spring training workouts at the Bobby Mattix Training Center in Dunedin, Fla., on Monday. Recently vindicated in salary arbitration, Stroman hopes a healthy start to the season will translate into a more consistent performance throughout the 2017 campaign.


Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman warms up in Dunedin, Fla., on Monday. A new contract and healed knee will allow Stroman to completely fix his steely eyed focus on baseball this season.


Car-free and care-free
Sharing services are a viable alternative to vehicle ownership for urbanites
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D4

VANCOUVER -- It's never been easier for city dwellers to live car-free. Transit routes are easy to plot via smartphone. Cycling is encouraged by many municipalities. Ride-hailing apps are forcing taxi companies to adapt and compete. Are car-sharing programs the final nail in the coffin for urban car ownership?

It's often pointed out that cars are the most expensive consumer item most people will purchase. A house can retain its value or appreciate; a run-of-themill sedan or crossover will burn cash via depreciation, maintenance, insurance, fuel and parking. The only worse thing you can do with your money is buy a boat.

But even for urbanites who have access to good transit and alternative transport solutions, sometimes you just need a set of wheels. Both transit and cycling can be suboptimal, the latter depending on the weather, the former depending on the route or what you're transporting. Getting a week's worth of family groceries home via person-power?


So, here come car-sharing networks to fill the gap. Offering freedom from ownership, they wrap all the costs of motoring into a charge per mile and/or per hour. There are approximately 20 such enterprises across Canada, with the largest being Car2Go, a seven-year-old company built around Mercedes-Benz products - principally the Smart fortwo.

The Smart fortwo makes plenty of sense in parking-space-starved Europe, but never translated well to Canadian roads. The all-new version is actually fun to drive, but is still a slow seller. It's being outsold by everything from the Volkswagen Beetle to the Cadillac Escalade.

However, turning the fortwo into a mobility provider suddenly makes it a practical choice.

Car2go is a one-way service, meaning you can jump in a car, drive it to your destination, and then abandon ship. There are some requirements about where to park, but the company has lots set up at common final destinations, such as the airport.

Setting up the service is simple.

For a one-time fee of $35, I set up my account and had my driving record sent over. Once approved, I downloaded the Car2Go app and logged in.

Vancouver's dense Lower Mainland lends itself well to car-sharing programs. While most areas are well-served by SkyTrain, there are gaps that a one-way car-sharing service can cover easily. As an example, when I needed to visit the MercedesBenz truck outlet to pick up a Metris, taking a Car2Go and street-parking it out front took 15 minutes and cost around $7. Taking transit would have added an extra hour to the trip, and would have only been $3 cheaper.

Loading up an app pulls up a radar with each car listed in your area. You can scroll through to see each car's details - in this case, I wanted a newer-generation car - and click on it to make a reservation. I live just outside the home area that Car2Go has established in North Vancouver, so getting to the car required a short walk.

You unlock the car via the app to begin the rental, and after scanning to look for any new damage. Keys are in the vehicles, and there's no need to worry about fuelling them, as they're filled by the team that manages the fleet. The particular fortwo I picked up was a little low on gas, but there was enough for a quick trip.

Your driving experience will vary depending on which kind of fortwo you have. Older cars are zippy enough, but are hampered by possibly the worst transmission ever fitted to a modern car.

Infrequent drivers won't love piloting the short wheelbase on the highway.

Newer fortwos are great: quick, nimble and fun. The turbocharged three-cylinder motor is relatively peppy, and the car feels built for the cross-town dash. I zipped down the hill to load the tiny trunk up with groceries.

Car2Go occasionally puts promotional rates in place, but the standard rates are 41 cents a minute, $14.99 an hour and a maximum of $84.99 a day. I paid 35 cents a kilometre, $10 an hour and $50 a day, with a $1 fee per trip.

When the car is in your possession, you can treat it as you would a normal car. I locked the little fortwo in the grocery store parking lot, did the weekly shop, then loaded it up and headed home. Once unloaded, there was again the inconvenience of having to return it to an approved drop area, but it sure beat slogging uphill in the rain with full bags.

Car2Go's real advantage is the ubiquity of its cars, which ensures that there's almost always one close by. Apart from walking to the car and ensuring you've parked in at least a twohour parking spot, it's an effortless experience.

The principal drawback is the fortwo, which functions well as a mobility device, but wouldn't be useful if you were dropping off relatives at the airport, or bringing a bookcase home from Ikea.

However, Car2Go does offer a few B-class hatchbacks, and there are plans both to offer the Metris van in limited quantities (perfect for small businesses and moving furniture), and the recent announcement that four-doored GLA and CLA models will be joining the fleet.

It's worthwhile to temper this expansion with a clear-eyed look at what kicked off Car2Go in the first place. Like BMW, MercedesBenz has a lot of inventory to place, and the market has been a little soft. Moving product into the car-sharing cycle looks good on the sales side, but if car-sharing is meant as a way to eliminate or reduce car-ownership, it might only be a temporary solution for manufacturers.

On the consumer side, there are a couple of problems. For families, using a car-sharing service is great way to supplement ownership of a mainline family vehicle, but it doesn't eliminate the need for a kid-hauler with bulky car seats fixed in place and a glove-box with an emergency Ziploc of Cheerios.

Further, the time-saving convenience of car-sharing tempts many away from public transit or cycling, arguably more environmentally responsible options. It might be easier than owning a car, but it's not necessarily cleaner. It also only makes sense when the cars are used enough, with Car2Go recently removing operations from the Richmond, B.C., area because their fortwos were sitting around.

As a way for city dwellers to delay purchasing a new car, or hold off on buying a second vehicle, car-sharing is simple and easy; if you commute fewer than 10,000 kilometres a year, it may even be cheaper than owning a car. However, it's not yet time to declare car ownership dead.

Associated Graphic

Car2Go, the largest car-sharing enterprise in Canada, is a seven-year-old company built around Mercedes-Benz products - chiefly the Smart fortwo, a car that has never sold well in Canada.


Chinese group with murky ownership cleared for B.C. health deal
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- The Trudeau government has green-lighted the sale of one of British Columbia's biggest retirement home chains to a Beijingbased insurance titan with a murky ownership structure in a deal that gives China a foothold in Canada's health-care sector.

On paper, a majority stake in Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts - believed to exceed $1-billion in value - is being sold to a Chinese-owned company called Cedar Tree Investment Canada. That is the deal that federal officials in Ottawa announced they had approved this week. However, Cedar Tree is the company that China's Anbang Insurance is using to make the acquisition.

Anbang emerged from relative obscurity in recent years to snap up acquisitions around the globe - a string of deals that in 2016 helped push Chinese purchases of overseas real estate to new heights.

The company has faced repeated questions in the United States over who actually owns the giant firm and what ties it has to the Chinese state. The New York Times last year reported that a majority of Anbang was held by firms fully or partly owned by relatives of Anbang's chairman.

It found that 92 per cent of Anbang was held by firms fully or partly owned by relatives of Anbang's chairman, Wu Xiaohui; or his wife, Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping; or Chen Xiaolu, son of a famous People's Liberation Army general.

Canadian officials said on Tuesday their review of the takeover included a screening for any potential impact on national security. "No issues were raised," a spokeswoman for Innovation, Science and Economic Minister Navdeep Bains said.

Federal officials did not explain how they have been able to get a clear picture of Anbang's ownership and corporate structure.

Lack of transparency has emerged as a problem for the company. Last year, Anbang withdrew an application for regulatory approval of a purchase of Iowa-based Fidelity & Guaranty Life, according to Reuters, after the New York Department of Financial Services sought more details about the Beijing firm's funding and shareholder structure - information Anbang was not immediately able to provide.

The acquisition of Retirement Concepts, a family-owned business since 1988, gives Anbang an important role in the delivery of health care in British Columbia.

Concerns have been raised about what will happen when that slice of B.C.'s health-care system passes into foreign control.

Retirement Concepts is the province's highest-billing provider of assisted living and residential care services. The B.C. government paid Retirement Concepts $86.5-million in the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than any other of the 130 similar providers.

Retirement Concepts owns and operates about 24 retirement communities, mostly in B.C., except for several properties in Calgary and Montreal. It also owns unused or partly developed land that would allow a major expansion of facilities.

The Vancouver firm last fall defended the sale by saying the company's executive team will operate the retirement-nursing homes on behalf of Anbang.

An e-mailed statement from Mr. Bains said the deal gives Retirement Concepts "a strong financial partner" that will support the expansion of the business and provide high-quality services to more seniors.

He said B.C. regulators will ensure elder care remains up to code, saying the province "imposes rigorous standards of care on all operators of residential care and assisted living facilities."

B.C. New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen said Canada's approval of the Anbang acquisition helps legitimize what he called an "unaccountable company."

Mr. Cullen said Anbang is the "new face" of foreign-owned health care delivery for the elderly in B.C., and Canadians are entitled to know the full details behind the Beijing insurer.

The statement from Mr. Bain said Cedar Tree has agreed not to scale back the business.

"[It] has agreed to maintain at least the current levels of fulltime and part-time employees at facilities operated by Retirement Concepts; ensure a significant ongoing role for Canadians in the business; have the current Canadian operator ... continue to manage the business; not close or re-purpose any of the existing residences; [and] financially support the expansion of the business."

In Anbang's case, it is hard to get to the bottom of the company's ownership and backing.

The New York Times reported last September that Anbang's structure has stoked such suspicion about its true ownership that some Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley, have opted not to advise the company on United States mergers and acquisitions because they cannot get the information needed to satisfy their "know your client" guidelines.

Over the months since The Globe and Mail revealed the takeover bid for Retirement Concepts, this newspaper has made repeated efforts to contact Anbang.

Cedar Tree gives a Vancouver law firm as the address for its two directors. However, a woman working at the law firm told The Globe earlier this month she was unable to reach Cedar Tree to pass on a request for information.

A man working at the Anbang Insurance office in Vancouver told a Globe reporter "everyone was busy" and could not talk to her; he took took contact information but no one ever called back.

Anbang Asset Management is a B.C. company set up shortly before Anbang's bid for Retirement Concepts. It bears the same name as Anbang Insurance's overseas investment arm; and the B.C. company's sole listed director is a homemaker in Vancouver's Kerrisdale neighbourhood.

When The Globe attempted to contact Anbang through this Kerrisdale home, a man who answered the door said the company had no relation to the Beijing insurer and the name was a coincidence.

On Tuesday, after the deal's approval emerged, a Canadian public relations practitioner hired by Anbang came forward to say he would accept questions on behalf of the Beijing company and Cedar Tree. He cautioned that responses might be delayed because one company spokesperson is based in Hong Kong.

Anbang provided no immediate response.

The Canadian government is eager to attract foreign money to make up for insufficient investment capital within Canada; acquisitions by foreigners are rarely rejected. Mr. Trudeau particularly wants more investment from China, and has begun exploratory free-trade talks with Beijing. The Liberals have signaled they are open to rolling back a ban on state-owned Chinese investment in the oil sands that former prime minister Stephen Harper imposed.

British Columbia's Liberal government says it is not concerned about the Retirement Concepts deal because regional health authorities will ensure standards are met. "That is true whether or not a facility or home is being operated by the province, or by a foreign-owned business," B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said on Tuesday during a budget briefing in Victoria. "That vigilance will continue to be applied."

Associated Graphic

A woman walks past the Anbang Insurance Group's building in Beijing in 2016. Anbang emerged from relative obscurity in recent years to snap up acquisitions around the globe.


Macon Blair has arrived, again
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

The American independent film landscape is littered with failure. Today's Sundance star can, in an instant, become tomorrow's question mark, forever waiting for the funding or second wave of buzz to get their next project off the ground. Some filmmakers get overwhelmed by the pressures of a business engineered to be as difficult to succeed in as possible, and retreat into the void, never to be seen again. And some thrive on it, using the time away from the industry to dream and scheme.

Macon Blair is a proud member of the latter camp.

A decade ago, it seemed he and his creative collaborator, Jeremy Saulnier, hit the indie-film jackpot, scoring rave reviews and instant credibility with their feature debut, Murder Party, a bloody satire of disaffected Brooklynites.

A future as the Duplass brothers of the horror world (Saulnier writes and directs, Blair performs and produces) seemed a fait accompli. And then it happened - "it" being nothing. At all. For six years.

But then Saulnier, who balanced making corporate films while working as a cinematographer, emptied his bank account and turned to Kickstarter to make Blue Ruin, a vicious revenge tale that held onto Murder Party's ultradark comedic edge, with Blair in the lead role. Blue Ruin hit Cannes in 2013 and won the illustrious International Federation of Film Critics prize. It was picked up for distribution by Radius-TWC. And then the real surprise: There would be no more waiting for the next lucky break.

Shortly after Blue Ruin, the pair made Green Room, a nasty little piece of work about punk rockers trapped in a neo-Nazi lair, which earned raves when it opened last year. Beginning in April, Saulnier will shoot Blair's script for Hold the Dark, an Alaska-set thriller.

And now there is I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, Blair's directorial debut that premieres on Netflix this weekend.

To the casual observer, it can all seem like a grand case of good fortune. To the hardened cynic, it might be illustrative of just how frustrating and cruel the business can be. But to Blair, it's the only reality he knows and he's grateful for it.

"Ten years ago, when we were totally broke and trying to get our scripts read and couldn't get movies off the ground, at that time, it was frustrating. But it always felt like we were working toward something," he says over the phone from the Sundance Film Festival last month, where his film won the Grand Jury Prize.

"In retrospect, I'm grateful. All our 20s and the first half of our 30s was just having to struggle.

That long period of being hungry was good for us." And good for audiences, or at least those who've glommed onto Blair and Saulnier's particular brand of scuzzy Southern-fried crime films. But while I Don't ... has echoes of Blair's previous work - namely, shocking flashes of brilliantly choreographed violence - it is a much more subtle and gentle project.

Part character study, part romance and part whacked-out caper, the film stars Melanie Lynskey (a favourite of the Duplass brothers) as Ruth, a single nurse who questions her life after her home is broken into by a band of drug addicts. After enlisting the help of her neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood), a religious martialarts enthusiast, Ruth embarks on a quest to reclaim what's rightfully hers. As the narrative twists into unexpected corners, Blair, who also wrote the screenplay, toys with genre expectations, swerving from dark comedy to gory horror show.

"That was always the idea, of wanting to have my cake and eat it, too," Blair says. "I'm a fan of crime fiction and crime movies, but I also wanted to say something comedic here, and to also use the romance as a means of exploring the existential crisis this woman is going through. I wanted it to be funny and thrilling, but also ease people into those elements so they wouldn't feel too jarring when they came up against them."

Blair also thought it was critical to go it alone this time, with Saulnier mostly giving advice on production and logistics, rather than weighing in on the script itself.

"The story sprang up more or less on my own. But he and I, we've grown up together and our sensibilities are so closely aligned," Blair says. "Inevitably, there will be some overlaps. But that's because we're joined at the brain."

It's a partnership that dates back to the pair's childhood, when they were both running around the suburbs of Alexandria, Va., making gory Super 8 films with titles such as Megacop.

But that was a long time ago - and today almost seems as distant and foreign an era as the one they encountered in 2007, when they brought Murder Party to Slamdance. Back then, indie filmmakers lived or died according to the whims of a few brash studios and exposure was limited to a few select screens in New York and L.A., and whatever presence the video store afforded.

Now, it's an entirely new game thanks to a rash of streaming services with millions to spend and reputations to prove, a reality Blair encountered first-hand when he partnered with Netflix to make I Don't ... .

"I did not hesitate for a second [to sign] with them," Blair says.

"We had one meeting a year ago where they laid out their whole philosophy, which just entailed putting a great deal of trust in the filmmaker. I articulated what kind of movie I wanted to make, the actors I wanted to be in it, and they were super supportive from the get-go."

No matter how well the film does on the streaming service - and it is impossible to tell, given Netflix's cagey reputation for releasing data - Blair is mindful he could end up back on the outside looking in. In addition to prepping what he calls the "berserk" Hold the Dark, he's filmed a role in Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, as well as a handful of indies.

"I'm realistic enough to know that to get another movie off the ground will take some time, so I don't like to be sitting on my hands," he says. "But I'm also realistic enough to know that I'm never going to get enough acting work to support my family. I've had a really fortunate year, but I'm trying to keep everything in the air simultaneously. And whatever solidifies and gets real, well, I'll go with that."

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore starts streaming Feb. 24 on Netflix

Associated Graphic

Macon Blair is known for shocking flashes of brilliantly choreographed violence in his previous films, but I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a much more subtle and gentle project.


France finds a champion of the centre in Macron
Once considered an underdog, former banker and strong proponent of the EU is now favoured in polls to win presidential election
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

Emmanuel Macron is something of an anomaly in an era of Donald Trump and Brexit.

The former investment banker has taken the French presidential election by storm with a campaign that is decidedly nonpopulist. Mr. Macron strongly supports the European Union, open borders and the euro. He wants French Muslims to feel more at home and has called French colonialism a "crime against humanity." And while he has never belonged to a political party or been elected, polls give Mr. Macron the best chance of becoming the next president in May.

In fact, polls show him slightly behind Marine Le Pen of the National Front in the first round of voting, on April 23, with Republicans nominee François Fillon in third. But in a showdown between Mr. Macron and Ms. Le Pen in the second round, on May 7, he would win easily.

"I have a very, I would say, classical or orthodox view regarding what the EU should be," Mr. Macron said during a meeting this week in London with a small group of journalists. "I'm a strong supporter of the EU and the euro zone."

Mr. Macron, 39, doesn't shy away from being labelled proglobalization, saying France cannot go it alone in the world. It needs the strength of the EU, especially when it comes to issues such as security, immigration and counterbalancing superpowers such as the United States and China. "In this current environment, France is not the right scale to defend your actual sovereignty," he said.

And he has little time for people such as former British prime minister David Cameron, who led the losing Remain side in Britain's EU referendum campaign, and Hillary Clinton, who famously lost to Mr. Trump in last year's U.S. election. They weren't genuine, he said, pointing out that Mr. Cameron failed to make the Remain argument properly and Ms. Clinton's message was unclear.

"In all the recent elections you had a lot of classical politicians, or classical positions, pushed and promoted by people who refused to endorse them very aggressively," he said. "If you are shy, you are dead in this current environment."

Mr. Macron is far from reserved. He grew up the eldest of three children in the northern city of Amiens, where his father was a neurologist and his mother a pediatrician. At 16, he began a relationship with his high school drama teacher, Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years older and the mother of three children. Worried about the optics, his parents sent him away to Paris to finish his education, but Mr. Macron and Ms. Trogneux stayed in touch and eventually married in 2007.

Once in Paris, Mr. Macron excelled in school and business.

He graduated among the top of his class at the prestigious École nationale d'administration, considered the preparatory school for the country's elite.

After a stint in the Ministry of the Economy, he joined Rothschild & Cie Banque as an investment banker and made a fortune.

In 2012, President François Hollande recruited Mr. Macron to be his deputy chief of staff - to help put a more pro-business face on the fledgling Socialist administration. Mr. Macron became economy minister in 2014 but quit last year after a series of disputes with cabinet colleagues. He had mocked Mr. Hollande's punitive tax on the super-rich, saying it would turn France into "Cuba without the sun." He had also introduced a controversial set of labour reforms called the Macron Law, which also permitted some Sunday shopping.

Within months of leaving government, Mr. Macron started his own movement called En Marche!, or "On the Move!" He calls the organization neither right-wing nor left-wing and chastises all politicians for being consumed with self-interest. En Marche! has become a beacon for young professionals and those leery of the hard-right policies of Ms. Le Pen, the radical economic proposals of Mr. Fillon and the far-left platform of Socialist Party candidate Benoît Hamon.

"I was looking for a candidate like him," said Bertrand Boucheny, who runs a small auto parts company in Paris. "I supported the right, but Fillon is too conservative for me."

Mr. Boucheny joined about 30 En Marche! supporters one Saturday last month at a café in an upscale part of Paris to hit the nearby streets to hand out pamphlets for Mr. Macron. "We come every weekend, and when we started there were only a few of us," said Laurent Saint Martin, 31, who is the local organizer for the Macron campaign.

"Now look." Mr. Saint Martin said he used to vote Socialist or Green but joined En Marche! last fall. "We need something fresh. We need something new."

For now, Mr. Macron is benefiting from being an outsider and a fresh face. He's also been boosted by the troubles plaguing Mr. Fillon, a former prime minister who was once well ahead of Mr. Macron in opinion polls but has been beset by allegations he put his wife on the public payroll even though she did no work. Mr. Macron also got a lift on Wednesday when François Bayrou, who leads a centre-right group called MoDem, announced he wouldn't run and offered to back Mr. Macron.

"He has a good chance, but it's early," said Bruno Cavalier, the chief economist at Oddo Securities in Paris who follows the election closely. Mr. Cavalier said polls show Mr. Macron's support is soft, with about 40 per cent of his backers saying they will definitely vote for him.

That compares to 80 per cent for Ms. Le Pen and 70 per cent for Mr. Fillon. He added that Mr. Macron has yet to spell out many clear policies and his recent remarks about French colonialism drew widespread criticism. "The support for Macron today could evolve significantly - for the better or the worse," he said.

Mr. Macron insisted that he welcomes the naysayers. During the meeting in London, he talked at length about reforming France's economy, enhancing protections for the poor and keeping the borders open. He said his comment about colonialism was misconstrued but insisted that France must come to terms with its past in order to deal with today's issues. As colonialists, "we promoted, all of us, some legislation which didn't respect human [dignity] and equality of rights, so we have to deal with that, it's part of our history," he said.

And when it comes to Brexit and Mr. Trump, Mr. Macron said he is hopeful France will buck the populist trend. Then he added with a smile: "In the current environment, where extremes - anti-European antiglobalization - win elections, I think that's probably the best moment for France to decide to do the opposite."

Associated Graphic

Favoured French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, centre, takes selfie photos with guests at a dinner while campaigning in Paris on Wednesday.


B.C. budget: Five things to watch
From education to child protection, here are key items to look for in de Jong's presentation
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VICTORIA -- B.C.'s Finance Minister is expected to turn on the taps with Tuesday's budget, promising both substantial tax cuts and significant spending increases.

Here are five things to watch for when Mike de Jong stands up in the legislature on Tuesday afternoon to present his fifth budget.

Economic outlook British Columbia enjoyed the fastest-growing economy in the country with 3.3-per-cent growth in 2016, driven in large part by a superheated real estate market.

Economists predict the economy will expand at a more modest pace in the coming year: Welcome to the posthousing boom.

The province's private forecast council last November predicted 2.2-per-cent economic growth for 2017. Mr. de Jong routinely builds his budget around a more cautious forecast, which means his budget will peg growth at something closer to 2 per cent. There are strengths - the growing hightech sector is one - but also risks to the outlook. Domestically, the cooling housing market will reduce what has been a driving force in the provincial economy.

And uncertainty around global economic activity is a challenge for much of the province's resource sector, and none more so than the producers of softwood lumber.

The budget will likely seek to counter those forces with jobcreation measures that could include targeted tax relief for business. At the very least, the government has promised a rural infrastructure investment plan for those communities that have not enjoyed economic growth.

Education The government defended its education cuts all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada - and last November, it lost. The province has already offered $50-million to hire the equivalent of 1,100 new teachers in the current year, and Education Minister Mike Bernier has promised an annual funding lift of $100-million to ensure those salaries are covered in the coming school year. However, the B.C. Teachers' Federation maintains that nothing less than a $300-million boost will provide enough teachers to meet the court order. In addition, there is rising enrolment to contend with.

Talks continue between the government and the BCTF to determine how to restore class size and composition to the levels that existed in 2002.

There will be more money for education in the budget, but the province may have to dig into its contingency funds to pay for the cost of the final settlement with the BCTF. "You will see flexibility built into the upcoming budget to work with teachers to invest in student outcomes," Mr. Bernier said in a recent statement.

School boards set their budgets in April and will need to see just how much flexibility the budget holds for them by then, to plan for the school year that begins next September.

Child protection Almost three months ago, the B.C. government was handed a prescription for reducing the number of Indigenous children and youth in care. The report from Grand Chief Ed John called for a sweeping overhaul of the province's child-protection system and millions of dollars in additional spending.

His report adds to a tower of damning reviews chronicling the province's services for vulnerable children. Retired bureaucrat Bob Plecas described two decades of chaos that has failed children in government care.

The office of the independent watchdog for children and youth has reported on dozens of specific examples in which children died or were critically injured because the support they needed wasn't there.

And the union representing social workers has detailed how there are not enough front-line services to meet child protection needs. The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), in a budget submission, acknowledged that last year's budget promise to hire additional social workers was a good start to turning matters around. But because of attrition, the union says there are fewer workers today than there were a year ago.

Mr. de Jong says his government is anxious to address the funding gap with Tuesday's budget. The spotlight will be on how deep that commitment is in a budget that is set up to meet so many other expectations as well.

Taxes "There are a lot of taxes I want to get rid of because I think we should be figuring out how to get more money back into people's pockets," Premier Christy Clark told CBC News last December.

In the Speech from the Throne last week, the B.C. Liberal government made it clear that tax relief is on the way.

"Our government is now in a position to pay you back, to relieve some financial burdens, and to invest in your household and in your families," the speech said.

Which taxes would the BC Liberals get rid of? The government can tinker with fees, income taxes, sales taxes. The one levy that the Premier has singled out is Medical Service Plan premiums, which will bring in $2.5billion this year. But it is unlikely she will eliminate it, as proposed by the opposition New Democratic Party. Although she says the current system is unfair and antiquated, she has said that would simply move the burden somewhere else. The government might seek to modernize the premium by linking rates to income.

Affordability On Monday, the Finance Minister made this prediction about reaction to his budget: "There will be no shortage of commentary and criticism about 'Why didn't you do more here?' " That will be especially acute if welfare rates remain the same on Tuesday.

Mr. de Jong's comment was prompted by questions about the $50-a-month rate hike announced on Friday for those who receive income assistance because of a disability. He conceded that an additional $600 a year won't make life markedly easier, but he said choices are limited to "what we can afford."

While the province racked up consecutive surplus budgets over the past four years, the 70,000 people surviving on basic rates for welfare did not receive a penny more.

The BCGEU, which has lobbied for a provincial policy to tackle poverty, noted: "In spite of our vast social and economic resources, an unacceptable proportion of B.C.'s population continues to live in conditions far below what is befitting of a province that is 'the envy of the nation.' Currently, 10.4 per cent of our population, or 469,000 British Columbians, live in poverty based on Statistics Canada's low income cut-off."

The one overriding principle of this budget is that it is designed with the May 9 election in mind. Mr. de Jong explained: "We are trying to ensure that the benefits of our strong economy are shared by the widest possible group."

Associated Graphic

Ahead of presenting the provincial budget on Tuesday, B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong tries on his newly soled shoes on Monday at Olde Towne Shoe Repair in Victoria as shop owner Mike Waterman looks on.


Kappo restaurant's menu is a real trial by fire
This Gastown Japanese experience has highs and lows, but ultimately leaves one feeling burnt out
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

Kozakura 280 Carrall St., Vancouver; 604720-3145; Kappo-style Japanese, casual dining À la carte, $6 to $12; sushi, $15 and $25; omakase, $45, $60, $75 and $90 (one-day notice required for the latter).

Open for lunch Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner, Monday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations available for bar seating


It was an eerily quiet snowy night in Gastown. The crowds stayed home as the city was slowly buried under white slush. Yet the stillness in the streets provided a fittingly dramatic backdrop to this dimly lit kappo restaurant, where we had the cozy bar all to ourselves. Sipping thimbles of sake, we stared agape as the chef seared a blackened crust onto a ruby-red slab of lean horse tenderloin with a handheld propane torch that blazed like a wire-caged floodlight - or a burning rendition of Lucille from The Walking Dead.

Whoa, that Searzall is one cool contraption. Developed by Dave Arnold, a culinary scientist from New York, it is a bulbous metal attachment that converts a blowtorch into a cordless broiler by diffusing the flame through a wide-mouthed, mesh-covered nozzle.

Fire and ice. Sizzle against silence. A centuries-old Japanese dining tradition meets a modernist kitchen tool. The effect was mesmerizing, but the results were more often than not, tragically blasted with subtle torch taste - off-putting whispers of acrid fuel that licked almost every morsel of octopus, duck breast and shishito pepper the Searzall scorched.

Fortunately, for us, there were many more raw, pickled and steamed dishes - all pristinely prepared and cleanly flavoured - to lap up over the long, leisurely rollout of a 12-course omakase (eight courses on a second visit).

Kozakura is Vancouver's first kappo bar, an interactive dining experience in which the chefs cook in front of the customers, usually at a sit-down counter.

And, like most Japanese restaurants in this city, it is a bit of a hybrid, landing somewhere between a casual izakaya (offering small plates, sushi platters and bento boxes for lunch) alongside the more ritualized progression of a seasonally attuned, multicourse kaiseki meal (in the form of $45, $60, $75 and $90 omakase, or chef's choice menus).

You might recall this narrow sliver of a speakeasy-style lounge from its days as the Italianthemed Notturno, when the charcuterie and pasta plates were all similarly prepared behind the bar and the cocktails were mixed by a charismatically curmudgeonly bartender named H. Kozakura was an unexpected, yet smooth pivot for owner Bill Robitaille when H. moved to Toronto. In terms of set changes, all he really had to do was hang a traditional noren curtain on the front door, replace the blackboard wall menus with inkblot art, fill the back bar's vermouth-aging barrels with ponzu and swap out the meat slicer for the Searzall. Well, there was obviously much more thought behind the transition, but the room doesn't look or feel all that different.

Mr. Robitaille, who was always the quiet workhorse behind the sous-vide machines and H.'s oversized personality, now plays backup to Keith Allison, the Japaneseborn, Vancouver-raised chef de cuisine who previously cooked at Sea Monstr Sushi and Dan Japanese. Although far less prickly than H., Mr. Allison can be just as animated when wielding his flaming torch, puppeteering a thawing blackhead sea bream and singing along to the disco soundtrack of a David Mancuso playlist.

If you go for the full-blown, 12course, $90 omakase menu, be sure to make a reservation at least one day in advance. It might include, as ours did, a frothy white-miso soup fattened up with emulsified foie gras that coats the mouth with a silken sheen. Or a few shaves of Burgundy truffle to gild an already lovely, loosely quivering chawanmushi egg custard that is amply studded with tender chicken thigh and plump sidestripe shrimp. And maybe even a thick lobe of foie gras, unfortunately seared with a lingering whiff of propane that obliterated a pimply tongue of sea urchin laid over top.

But to be quite honest, the eight-course, $60 menu will do just fine. Relax into your cushioned stool and warm up with an aperitif (the lightly acidic, apricot-tinged Senkin Muku sake makes a nice opener) because you'll likely still be there for a couple of hours.

Though the lineup changes frequently, most menus open with a seasonal salad, beautifully composed with pickled radishes, raw baby carrots, blistered peppers and more than a dozen variety of micro greens lightly swaddled in a puréed-ginger dressing. (Interestingly, the vegetables don't pick up nearly as much gas from the Searzall torching, which makes me think that the burnt flavour in the meat and fish might have something to do with their fat component.)

The meal will also include a sashimi course, which Mr. Allison slices with razor-sharp edges into meaty bites. If you're lucky, he will have Hokkaido scallops on hand, which he has very slowly defrosted to maintain a satiny smooth texture.

There will also be one of several mushi custards steamed in clay pots. Or perhaps you'll get the kani pon, a generous clump of Dungeness crab strewn over a bed of seaweed and terrific pickled cucumbers that are so salty they seem to pry open every single taste receptor in the mouth, all the better to amplify a finishing drizzle of house-aged ponzu that smacks you like a crashing wave of sour citrus, sweet mirin, murky soy and sea-dredged bonito. It's a shockingly good combination.

There will then be several more courses of fish and meat. The sanshou steak - rare slices of ribeye dribbled with a mentholated pepper sauce - could be great if the edges weren't crusted with the Searzall. That noxious taste of gas will, sadly, keep creeping up all over the menu. For some reason, it doesn't penetrate the sablefish, which is marinated for three days in Saikyo miso and sake lees. Perhaps the slick coating offers a protective barrier.

I hate to dwell on that damn burnt taste, which the chefs swear they don't detect. But for me, it kept marring dish after dish.

The ume chazuke will be served just in time, a soothingly sour balm of sticky rice soaked in dashi broth flecked with pickled plums, roasted rice pearls, seaweed and refreshing shiso leaves.

And finally, to finish, a perfectly creamy cup of green sencha pudding topped with a sticky layer of caramel. The chef could easily crackle the gloss into a crusty crème brûlée. Be thankful that he doesn't.

Associated Graphic

Chef Keith Allison sears a piece of sablefish with the Searzall, a torch developed by a culinary scientist, at Kozakura in Vancouver on Thursday.


Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R19



1 1 6 The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

2 - 1 My (Not So) Perfect Life, by Sophie Kinsella (Dial, $35).

3 - 1 Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (W.W. Norton & Co., $34.95).

4 - 1 Echoes In Death, by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's, $38.99).

5 2 16 The German Girl, by Armando Lucas Correa (Atria, $22).

6 3 19 Milk And Honey, by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel, $19.99).

7 4 3 The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

8 5 24 The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapeña (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

9 6 10 I See You, by Clare Mackintosh (Berkley, $24).

10 8 2 The Break, by Katherena Vermette (House Of Anansi, $22.95).



1 1 14 Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah (Doubleday Canada, $35).

2 2 6 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

3 - 1 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

4 6 20 The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben, foreword by Tim Flannery (Greystone, $29.95).

5 - 1 I'll Be Damned: How My Young And Restless Life Led Me To America's #1 Daytime Drama, by Eric Braeden (Dey Street, $33.50).

6 3 8 The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton & Co., $38.95).

7 5 7 The Lost Child: A Mother And The Son She Had To Give Away, by Martin Sixsmith (PAN, $18.99).

8 7 8 Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis, by J.D. Vance (HarperCollins, $34.99).

9 8 56 When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, foreword by Abraham Verghese (Random House, $33).

10 4 21 My Secret Sister, by Jenny Lee Smith and Helen Edwards (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

The bestseller list is compiled by The Globe and Mail using sales figures provided by BookNet Canada's national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData.




1 Milk And Honey, by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel, $19.99).

2 The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

3 The Break, by Katherena Vermette (House Of Anansi, $22.95).

4 Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien (Knopf Canada, $35).

5 Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis (Coach House, $19.95).

6 The Golden Son, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (HarperPerennial, $19.99).

7 The Best Kind Of People, by Zoe Whitthall (House Of Anansi, $22.95).

8 The Lonely Hearts Hotel, by Heather O'Neill (HarperCollins, $32.99).

9 A Darkness Absolute, by Kelley Armstrong (Random House Canada, $29.95).

10 The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Emblem, $16.95).


1 The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, by Neil Pasricha (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $22).

2 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

3 The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story Of Protecting Her Culture, The Arctic And The Whole Planet, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Penguin Canada, $22).

4 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

5 99: Stories Of The Game, by Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day (Viking, $35).

6 Open Heart, Open Mind, by Clara Hughes (Touchstone, $22).

7 Canada, by Mike Myers (Doubleday Canada, $39.95).

8 The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account Of Native People In North America, by Thomas King (Anchor Canada, $22).

9 A House In The Sky: A Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Scribner, $22).

10 In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, by Gabor Maté (Vintage Canada, $22.95).



1 The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well, by Meik Wiking (Penguin UK, $21.99).

2 Tools Of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, And Habits Of Billionaires, Icons, And World-Class Performers, by Timothy Ferriss, foreword by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40).

3 The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life, by Mark Manson (HarperOne, $21.99).

4 You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero (Running, $18.50).

5 Hot Detox: A 21-Day Anti-Inflammatory Program To Heal Your Gut And Cleanse Your Body, by Julie Daniluk and Shannon Ross (HarperCollins, $29.99).

6 The Lose Your Belly Diet: Change Your Gut, Change Your Life, by Travis Stork (Bird Street, $29.95).

7 The Miracle Ball Method: Relieve Your Pain, Reshape Your Body, Reduce Your Stress, by Elaine Petrone (Workman, $32.95).

8 Get Your Sh*t Together: How To Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need To Do And Start Doing What You Want to Do, by Sarah Knight (Little, Brown & Co., $24.99).

9 How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (Pocket, $21).

10 The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey, foreword by Jim Collins (Free Press, $22).



1 Lion (Movie Tie-In Edition), by Saroo Brierley (Penguin Canada, $21).

2 Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah (Doubleday Canada, $35).

3 Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For A Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance (Ecco, $22).

4 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

5 The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story Of Protecting Her Culture, The Arctic And The Whole Planet, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Penguin Canada, $22).

6 The Rainbow Comes And Goes: A Mother And Son On Life, Love, And Loss, by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt (HarperCollins, $19.99).

7 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

8 I'll Be Damned: How My Young And Restless Life Led Me To America's #1 Daytime Drama, by Eric Braeden (Dey Street, $33.50).

9 The Lost Child: A Mother And The Son She Had To Give Away, by Martin Sixsmith (PAN, $18.99).

10 Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan (Simon & Schuster, $21).

The Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction bestseller lists, and the Canadian Specialty Books list, are compiled for The Globe and Mail by BookNet Canada.

'Most parents don't realize how powerful music is'
Listen up: More and more research shows music has cognitive and social benefits for developing brains. A new program by the Royal Conservatory of Music aims to harness that power so that more kids can bounce - and thrive - to the beat. Erin Anderssen reports
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

If you want your toddler to listen, Dr. Laurel Trainor's research suggests trying this useful, no-cost tip: Put on some music and bounce them to the beat. In Trainor's experiment at her McMaster University lab in Hamilton, she had parents bounce their kids while music played, and while someone also bounced in front of them, either with the music or out of sync with the rhythm. The young subjects were then put in a position where the stranger dropped a pencil, and waited to see if they would help.

The kids who had been bounced in time were significantly more likely to retrieve the pencil.

Trainor, a psychology professor, consults with the Toronto-based Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), which is using findings like this to develop a new digital app designed to help parents get more cognitive benefits out of the songs they sing with their babies.

The app, called Smart Start, and due out in August, is part of the RCM's digital strategy, designed to expand access to music to lower-income and remote areas, at a time when school-based music programs are threatened by budget cuts.

But unlike the days of baby Mozart - a now debunked trend in which new parents were encouraged to plunk their infants within earshot of classical music to boost their IQ - the RCM is relying on the findings of researchers such as Trainor, and the work being done in the conservatory's unique on-site neuroscience lab.

The problem with baby Mozart was that it was passive. The cognitive and social benefits of music, explains Dr. Sean Hutchins, director of research at the RCM, come from actually interacting and creating music. That's where digital tools are a game-changer, especially for schools - and kids - without access to well-supplied band rooms and expert music teachers.

The Smart Start app is based on interactive music classes that the Royal Conservatory began offering in 2015, with curriculum developed by its Marilyn Thomson Early Childhood Education Centre. When researchers tracked about 100 participants over the first year of the program, they found improvements in areas such as vocabulary and prereading skills beyond what would be expected from standardized tests.

"Music is a complicated type of system, with all kinds of cognitive skills, linguistic skills and social cues going into it," Hutchins says. "It brings together all of that complexity and the mind tries to make sense of it, like a puzzle."

The hope, says Meghan Moore, vice-president of business development at the Royal Conservatory, is that digital apps can close the "experience gap" faced by kids from lower-income families with less access to early music lessons. The app will have 12 songs, with simple directions for the parents to sing and teach their children - often proposing, Moore says, "small tweaks" to what many parents may already be doing. Even young babies, Moore says, will "light up when we sing their favourite song."

Since music has been found to promote skills such as memory and perception, "the earlier you get kids in," Moore says, "the better."

Another way that music promotes development is by creating "surprises" that spark brain activity. For instance, one song in the RCM program ends with the parent lifting their child into the air; once their baby knows the song, parents are advised to wait several beats before doing the lift to create a sense of delayed gratification. "When you listen to music, it sets up an expectation for what is going to come next," Trainor says. "Your brain, whatever age you are, is constantly trying to predict the future."

Adjusting to something unexpected - a change in rhythm, a new sound or a finale lift that comes a few beats late - is a learning opportunity for the brain.

Previous experiments have found that when adults march or dance in sync, they are also more likely to co-operate in games or act altruistically toward one another - a finding Trainor wanted to test on toddlers. It's a small-scale study, but the science makes the case for whistling while you work. "Most parents don't realize how powerful music is," Trainor says. Reducing tantrums at cleanup time is one perk. "It also has really long-term benefits. If you have a child who is more socially engaged and co-operative, they are going to learn more."

The Royal Conservatory is also developing - and testing - programs for schools that integrate the arts into subjects such as social studies and science, even math. A trial of one program in which artists taught lessons to indigenous students in Fort McMurray, Alta., produced a spike in math and language scores. Teachers in places such as Calgary and Toronto have also received training to incorporate creative work such as video or drama into classrooms, using an approach that the technology industry calls design thinking.

Rather than being told the answer, students are encouraged to pose questions to problems and produce their own solutions. For instance, in St. Catharines, Ont., Grade 9 students were asked to identify a social problem they cared about, study it, and come up with a way to solve it - in one example, a group of students, exploring the causes of anxiety in their peers, designed a calendar app that helped teachers space out major assignments.

The idea, says Shaun Elder, the executive director of the RCM's Learning Through the Arts initiative, is to "make students aware of what they already know and what they think the problem is about." The creative process, he says, naturally fosters teamwork and encourages risk-taking. After all, he points out, artists are always testing new ideas, inventing work from scratch and trying to understand their environment, or their audience.

Students, says Peter Simon, the Royal Conservatory's president, "need to be given a chance to consider things that don't exist," rather than only memorizing facts. When it comes to the benefits of engaging in music and the arts, "there is no questioning the science," he says. "And yet, ironically, this comes at a time when fewer students have the benefit of access to music studies." And when, he adds, the economy most needs graduates whose brains have been primed to innovate and are ready to collaborate.

It may start as early, research would suggest, as bouncing with your baby to the same beat.

Associated Graphic

Aniese Cole, centre, holds hands with her mom, right, and another classmate's parent while taking part in the Royal Conservatory's Smart Start program on Feb. 8.


Instructor Ewa Krzatala, left, engages with three-year-old Katerina Majer during the Royal Conservatory's Smart Start program on Feb. 8. The program combines music with traditional early childhood learning techniques to help promote cognitive development.


Arthur and Elenita, three years on
Couple on track financially for a phased retirement after selling Toronto house and moving to Victoria
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B13

In their first Financial Facelift three years ago, Arthur and Elenita were looking forward to selling their Toronto house and moving back to Vancouver after Arthur retired. He was 51, she was 38. Together they were bringing in about $170,000 a year but neither had a company pension.

At the time, Vancouver house prices were soaring and Arthur wasn't sure they'd be able to find a suitable place. The planner, Norm Collins of Collins Financial in Halifax, was doubtful as well.

Last fall, Financial Facelift contacted Arthur and Elenita to see how their plans were progressing.

"Our plan was for me to retire early, sell our Toronto house, move to Vancouver and downsize to a co-op apartment," Arthur writes in an e-mail. "Elenita would continue to work to age 60," he adds. Turns out, they couldn't wait to make the move.

"In the spring of 2015, for lifestyle reasons, we decided it was time to return to B.C.," Arthur writes. They sold their Toronto house for $801,000 and moved to Victoria, where prices are lower than in Vancouver, buying a condo in a two-unit building for $575,000.

Today, Elenita works from home - "she was able to take her job with her" - and Arthur quickly found work, albeit at a lower salary. Now, he is 54 and she is 41.

Their previous Financial Facelift "was a great help in getting in touch with our finances and testing our expectations for the future," Arthur writes. Today, they figure they're on track to retire without having to sacrifice their current lifestyle. They welcomed the opportunity to bounce that off a financial planner.

We asked Marc Henein, an investment adviser and financial planner at Scotia Wealth Management, to look at Arthur and Elenita's situation. Mr. Henein holds the Certified Financial Planner designation.

What the expert says Arthur hopes to retire in 2025, when he is 63, and Elenita 10 years later in 2035, when she will be 60, Mr. Henein says. "Their goal is to maintain their current lifestyle."

Their monthly outlays are about $8,100, which includes $1,900 to their mortgage principal and $1,600 of RRSP contributions. They earn $8,450 a month after tax, so they are living within their means.

Because of their age difference, Arthur and Elenita will have a phased retirement. The first stage will be 2025 to 2027, when Arthur will have quit working but will not yet be collecting Old Age Security.

Based on their payment schedule and a 2.2-per-cent mortgage rate, they will have their $284,000 mortgage loan paid off in about 14 years, or 2031. So mortgage payments will continue after Arthur has retired.

They have about $375,000 in RRSP savings and $45,000 in TFSAs. With RRSP contributions of $1,600 a month and an assumed annual rate of growth of 5 per cent, their RRSPs will be worth about $725,000 by the time Arthur retires in 2025. With no additional savings and the same 5-per-cent rate of growth applied to the TFSAs, they will be worth about $66,000.

Assuming Elenita's income is constant after Arthur retires in 2025, she will bring in about $4,100 a month after tax. Without the RRSP contribution, their monthly household expenses would be about $6,500. Arthur's Canada Pension Plan benefits will likely be close to the maximum of $1,000 a month, pretax.

Therefore, their portfolio will need to produce $1,400 a month, or $16,800 a year, which is about 2.3 per cent of the projected value of their RRSPs by the time Arthur retires. His total income will be $28,800 and his tax rate about 15 per cent. He will need to pull out another $5,700 a year to pay his taxes. "This phase of retirement is very realistic," Mr. Henein says.

The second phase is from 2027 to when Elenita retires in 2035.

"This time period is even better for Arthur and Elenita as Arthur will be receiving Old Age Security," the planner says. Arthur's

OAS benefits will be nearly $600 a month, further reducing the draw on their RRSPs to 1.3 per cent.

If they have paid off the mortgage by then, they will not need to draw on their RRSPs (or registered retirement income funds) to cover their expenses.

"Where the numbers are a bit more challenging is when Elenita retires in 2035," Mr. Henein says.

"The good news is the mortgage will be paid off."

Their monthly cash flow requirement will be $4,650. Their government benefits will be $1,600 a month for Arthur (CPP and OAS) and about $400 of CPP benefits for Elenita. Withdrawing the $2,650 a month shortfall from their investment portfolio is a realistic goal, equating to a drawdown rate of about 4.5 per cent, Mr. Henein says. The drawdown may accelerate as income taxes owing will increase, he adds. The couple's total income of $55,800 can be split so their income tax bracket will be in the same 20-per-cent range, requiring about $11,000 a year to pay their tax bills.

Once Elenita turns 65, she will get a bit more than 75 per cent of the full OAS benefit. She will have been in Canada for 32 years by then. "This brings the drawdown rate from the investment portfolio to 4 per cent," Mr. Henein says. Their savings are forecast to last to Elenita's age 90, at which point there will still be the residence to fall back on.

"Their ability to earn income until their proposed retirement ages is crucial for this plan to work," Mr. Henein says. Elenita must be comfortable with working another decade after Arthur retires.

Want a free financial facelift?

E-mail Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.


The people: Arthur, 54, and Elenita, 41

The problem: Can Arthur retire at 63 without endangering their standard of living when they retire?

The plan: Arthur retires as planned but Elenita works for another decade after that.

The payoff: A clear idea of how to plan for the future.

Monthly net income: $8,450

Assets: His TFSA $40,000; her TFSA $5,000; his RRSP $335,000; her spousal RRSP $40,000; estimated residence value $730,000. Total: $1.15million

Disbursements: Mortgage $1,900; property tax $250; utilities, insurance $320; maintenance, garden $250; transportation $315; groceries $800; clothing $100; gifts, charity $200; vacation, travel $1,000; dining, drinks, entertainment $1,000; grooming $100; club $75; pets $50; subscriptions $20; cellphone, TV $160; RRSP $1,600. Total: $8,140

Liabilities: Mortgage $284,000 at 2.2 per cent

Associated Graphic


Heading toward paralysis
Runaway prices, commissions, fees and taxes intimidate move-up buyers, choking off housing supply, one observer says
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

Toronto's real estate market is heading toward a state of paralysis, says Chris Kapches, president and chief executive officer of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

Mr. Kapches says the shortage of listings prompted house hunters to head out in force in January. They were also making quick decisions. Properties for sale sold in 19 days, on average, Mr. Kapches says. In the same month last year, the average was 29 days. Mr. Kapches reminds clients that 2016 was already a record-breaking year - including in the "days on market" category.

One reason existing homeowners aren't listing their houses for sale is that the cost of moving is so high. It takes a huge investment to make the jump to a larger property or a more coveted location. There are commissions and legal fees to pay. Land-transfer taxes are levied by the province and the City of Toronto.

Bank of Montreal is not backing down from a call that residential real estate prices in the Toronto area are moving too fast: economists at the bank are comparing prices to a runaway train.

BMO recently urged market watchers to drop the pretense and acknowledge that Toronto's housing market is in a bubble.

Chief economist Douglas Porter explains he made the bold call to reinforce the message that the market has lost contact with economic fundamentals and has the potential to become dangerously overheated.

"This is not a near-term call on the market," he stresses - "in fact, given the outlook for interest rates and an improving underlying economy, there's nothing obvious to meaningfully slow the market at this point," Mr. Porter says in a note to clients.

It's in that context that Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO, probes the calls by some industry players to remove part of the Ontario Greenbelt, "as if that would be a magic bullet to slow the recent pace of home-price growth." Mr. Kavcic says it's unlikely that would be the case.

He points to speculation as a more likely cause of the spike in prices.

Many real estate industry players are pointing to a lack of supply in the market as the reason prices are skyrocketing. As buyers compete for the rare listings available, they bid prices into the stratosphere.

Mr. Kavcic says the lack of supply is partly down to a provincial government plan that has been shaping the expansion of Toronto and the surrounding areas since 2006.

At that time, the Ontario Places to Grow Act set targets aimed at containing sprawl. The plan stresses "intensification," which means new and built-up areas are more likely these days to include townhouses, condos and infill houses. The traditional 50foot-wide lot with a detached house that many buyers coveted in the 1970s and 80s is a relic of the past, Mr. Kavcic notes.

At the same time, the province designated a greenbelt that protects ecologically sensitive land around the region.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the area is not out of land, Mr. Kavcic says. There is still enough land to support 15 years or more of outward growth, according to some Neptis Foundation estimates, with only 20 per cent of that designated for development used up since 2006.

"Simply removing the Greenbelt, therefore, won't bring any more supply to the market."

Mr. Kavcic says intensification is a bigger issue because municipalities are approving more condos, semis and townhouses.

Older detached homes are being torn down and the lots divided up.

Without question, this focus on density has pushed prices up for detached houses on sizable lots.

Meanwhile, opening up greenbelt land wouldn't help much because there's no transit system through those farms and forests.

Mr. Kavcic looks at the charts and numbers and points out that the rate of price appreciation in the past several years - which was clocked at an annualized rate of about 8 per cent for singlefamily dwellings and 4 per cent for condos - was moving more or less in tandem with population growth and economic trends.

But over the past year, those growth rates have suddenly ballooned to 24 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.

"Clearly, something else like foreign investment and/or increased speculation is at work, and simply removing part of the Greenbelt is not a policy move that in any way is gong to stop what is now a runaway price train."

David Madani, economist at Capital Economics, has long warned Toronto's housing market is frothy. He believes the bubble is about to swell to an even greater size.

The rate of house-price inflation could reach almost 25 per cent this year, Mr. Madani warns, as he points to the sales-to-newlistings ratio. That would be a rise from the 21-per-cent jump recorded recently.

Mr. Madani says many market watchers are pointing to the desperation of first-time buyers as the reason prices are rocketing ahead so quickly. But he believes investment mania is partly responsible. Move-up buyers are another factor, he adds.

In Toronto, Mr. Madani's seasonally adjusted calculations show sales dipped to their lowest level in six months in January, but listings dropped more steeply. He's waiting to see if listings will recover as the market moves toward its traditional peak in May.

Some mortgage lenders have found innovative ways to circumvent the tougher mortgage-insurance down-payment rules introduced by the government last year. In any case, the rules aren't much of a barrier to the move-up buyers who have considerable equity in their existing homes, he says.

Those move-up buyers can afford relatively large down payments.

The implication, Mr. Madani says, is there is not the shortage of homes to live in that some industry players claim. Investors likely feel there is a shortage because they want to purchase multiple properties, he says. Mr. Madani says the condo market is overbuilt and that buyers are purchasing units despite very low or even negative net-rental yields.

Buying based on the expectation prices will rise further is the quintessential feature of a housing bubble, he says.

"Investment mania is the root cause of the escalation in houseprice gains, and this appears to be the case among homeowners and investors in Toronto. This activity often creates the illusion of shortages when bubbles are inflating, even when there is evidence to the contrary of a booming housing construction industry. Once these types of housing bubbles burst and prices slump in the years that follow, complaints of shortages are rarely heard again until the next bubble begins to emerge."

Associated Graphic

While desperation by first-time home buyers is cited as a reason Toronto housing prices are increasing rapidly, David Madani of Capital Economics points to 'investment mania' as the root cause.


Rooming house to roomy house
A full-scale reno brings a Victorian structure back to its roots
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G5


LISTING PRICE $1,698,000

TAXES 4,266.00 (2016)

LOT SIZE 16.17 by 131 feet


Lori Bennett, Broker, and Ali Jalili, Salesperson, Royal LePage Signature Realty, Brokerage

T he moment Marlin Rose walked into 222 Markham St. in 2016, she knew she had a big challenge on her hands.

The old Victorian semi was being used as a rooming house and had its share of problems, some which Ms. Rose could see as she walked through it: kitchens on almost every floor, decaying carpet and a painted brick exterior.

But the ceiling on the main floor caught her eye. She realized it was dropped and its true height was higher than eight feet.

"I started walking through the house and I could see myself removing the ceiling and putting back the mouldings," Ms. Rose said. "I wanted to bring this house back to its Victorian tradition."

The back story Despite the problems she could see - and knowing there would be some she couldn't yet see - Ms. Rose bought the house for $1,015,000; a full $16,000 over asking. There was no bidding war.

Right away, she realized the house had undergone so many alterations over the years that there was very little of the original interior left.

"This house was lived in by too many people over time," Ms. Rose said. "I had to go back to basically the bricks because we had to do the structure properly."

And when she did peel away the layers, she found trouble: water-damaged ceilings, unsupported joists and no fireproofing with the other side of the semi, just for starters.

"Nobody sees the stuff behind the walls, but that's really where the issues are," she said. "So behind the wall took a bit more money than planned - but that's okay."

Ms. Rose knew repairing the structure of the house was critical to executing her plan.

"The house was originally built in 1890," broker Lori Bennett said.

"What she wanted to do is keep the integrity of the house but make it look modern." "But preserve the Victorian style," added Ali Jalili, Ms. Bennett's business partner.

The key to this plan was restoring the original façade.

When bought, the house was beigey-white paint.

"That was another debacle," Ms. Rose said.

"There were so many layers of paint. It used to be white, but underneath the white it was blue and then it was green."

In total, brick-restoration crews removed eight layers of paint, then repaired many damaged areas.

Once the outside was restored, Ms. Rose brought back the Victorian feeling inside, first by restoring the singlefamily-home layout, then by removing the dropped ceilings and restoring the original 10-foot height on the main floor. She also added some modern perks, such as heated floors in the kitchen.

The main floor now features a living room and a dining room that has been slightly shrunken to make space for a powder room and coat closet. Behind that is the kitchen, with white wooden detailing, a copper sink and a granite kitchen island.

"The kitchen is not quite 100per-cent Victorian, but it's close to it," Ms. Rose said.

Behind that is a laundry room with an exit to the backyard and garage.

The second floor has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The master suite is off the front of the home. In order to add the master bathroom, Ms. Rose had to sacrifice some space in one of the smaller bedrooms; however, it's still large enough to be a nursery and has a full double closet.

The top floor is what Ms. Bennett and Mr. Jalili call the "loft" space. At the top of the stairs is a five-by-eight-foot walkout deck overlooking the western side of the city. At the other end is another bedroom complete with an ensuite bath and a reading nook under a dormer window.

Ms. Rose also renovated the basement to work as a guest suite. While it doesn't have a kitchen, the roughed-in plumbing is there should a future owner decide to use the space as a separate suite.

The basement also contains the only thing Ms. Rose could salvage from the house she purchased: a three-piece bathroom.

"The best part of the house was the bathroom in the basement - it was in really good condition," Ms. Rose said.

"I was impressed."

Over all, Ms. Rose describes the new 222 Markham as an updated Victorian.

"As agents, we see a lot of renovations where they have mixed up the style a lot and they don't match," Ms. Bennett. "We didn't have to tell Marlin that.

She knew." Favourite features For Mr. Jalili, one of the selling points of the house is how flexible it is. For example, the third bedroom on the second floor could be a TV room. Or the nursery could be an office. Or the loft space could be a master bedroom.

"Personally, I'd use that space as a master," he said, adding: "I like the design of the room, with its angles and the beautiful washroom."

And the clawfoot tub in the loft bathroom is a symbol to Ms. Bennett about how much Ms. Rose considered every detail of her design.

"She faced [that tub] in a particular way on purpose. She figured that when you're in a bathtub you don't want to deal with people," Ms. Bennett said.

"And if you walk in on someone, you see their back first."

But Ms. Bennett's favourite room is the kitchen. "I like the kitchen the best, I think it'd be a great space for entertaining," she said. "It's cozy and it has an elegance to it with the decor." For Ms. Rose, the kitchen is the heart of the home - not just because it's where families often spend most of their time but because it's the stylistic pulse of her design.

"It's just the right feel to the house and just flows with the house," she said. "I hope nobody changes it because I think this kitchen belongs to this house."

Associated Graphic

The main floor features a living room and a dining room that has been slightly shrunken to make space for a powder room and coat closet. As part of the house's renovation work, workers restored the exterior to its original façade by removing eight layers of paint.


With its design style, the kitchen acts as the heart of the home. The second floor has three bedrooms, including the master, and two full bathrooms, while the top floor has a loft-like space, including a washroom with a clawfoot tub.