Modi's challenge
One year after his historic election win, is India's new prime minister delivering on the huge expectations that swept him into office? As Narendra Modi prepares to visit Canada this week, Iain Marlow profiles the controversial leader who is shaking up the world's largest democracy
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

NEW DELHI -- In the fading days of India's last administration, it was easy to locate the country's top bureaucrats: They were usually down at the Delhi Golf Club in the heart of the capital, thwacking balls past the historic course's imposing Mughal-era tombs. Starting early in the morning, senior civil servants could sneak in a round before making the short journey from the course - which was founded during the British Raj - to nearby government offices in time for a mid-morning start.

At the time, the Indian National Congress government was embroiled in several high-profile corruption scandals, and ordinary government business had essentially stopped. Bureaucrats and ministers sat on files, afraid to approve anything that might get them in trouble. India had gone from being the world's most promising emerging market to a dysfunctional mess.

Last May, a frustrated, tired nation voted in droves for a regime change and a tough new prime minister: Narendra Modi.

Nearly a year after he took power, tee time is officially over: Honorary golf-club memberships have been cancelled, government employees sign in on tablets that display their attendance on a public website, and newly enlivened bureaucrats are finally stamping files again. "The Delhi Golf Club is like a ghost town now," says Harjeet Bajaj, a Canadian businessman who manages various projects in India.

Mr. Modi's election was nothing short of historic: The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) he leads won the most decisive electoral majority in 25 years in this country of more than 1.2 billion people. His victory demolished the venerable Congress Party's hold on parliament, ending a long string of fragile coalition governments that had become paralyzed by corruption and constantly shifting political alliances.

After a year in office, Mr. Modi has brought stability to the capital, optimism to the business community and momentum to foreign relations, with frequent trips abroad to foster renewed faith in his country - including a forthcoming one to Canada. Mr. Modi will arrive here for a three-day visit on Tuesday, during which he will meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper, financial leaders and Indo-Canadian groups. Among his specific goals: inking a major deal with Cameco Corp. to secure a steady source of uranium to meet India's growing nuclear-energy needs.

Though he started his term with huge expectations, Mr. Modi has proved more cautious and incremental than many had expected. He's slowly repairing damage wreaked by previous governments' corruption, while avoiding big-ticket reforms and instead tinkering around the margins: lifting foreign-direct-investment restrictions here, slashing education and social spending there, and allotting new funds to select infrastructure projects. He has also launched an ambitious program to encourage global firms to manufacture their products in India - a scheme that may take years, but that his government hopes will bring millions of well-paying jobs to a country where the majority of people struggle as farmers, urban labourers or small-time shopkeepers.

There are signs of progress: The country's GDP is predicted to rise to 7.5 per cent this year, after hovering around five per cent in the previous two years.

But Mr. Modi's promises of sweeping economic development remain largely unrealized: Factories have not begun to spring up, and there are no gleaming new highways. Few expected instantaneous change, but even some who welcomed Mr.

Modi's election see little evidence that he is making a difference. The stock market may be soaring, but India still ranks 142nd out of 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business. And although Mr. Modi has got the government moving again, India is a massive, complicated country. Many of its poorest have seen little improvement since his election.

There are other concerns, as well. Those who feared the ardent Hindu nationalist would be unable to control his party's more radical elements cite a resurgence of religious prejudice, and sometimes religiously motivated violence. Others worry about increased restrictions on civil society, and inaction on social issues such as women's rights.

To create the millions of jobs his nation desperately needs, Mr. Modi will need to implement deeper, structural reforms. He has had a year to settle in. Now, India wants real change.

From chai stand to parliament

Mr. Modi is the most polarizing mainstream politician in modern India. Unlike most of the nation's political class, he grew up poor, in the dusty town of Vadnagar in the rural state of Gujarat, selling tea from his father's chai stand near the local railway station. He eventually drifted into the radical Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), where he began working as one of the giant volunteer organization's propagandists, leaving behind the woman his parents had arranged for him to marry, and living an austere, solitary life, wandering for years as an ascetic in the Himalayas.

The RSS, which feeds the now-ruling BJP with many of its top leaders, has long been associated with the violent, khaki-shorts-wearing foot soldiers of the Hindu nationalist - or Hindutva - movement.

Mr. Modi, too, joined the BJP. He rose through the party's ranks, eventually becoming Gujarat's chief minister; as the state's leader, he served four consecutive terms, winning each election more decisively than the last.

It was in his 12 years as chief minister that Mr. Modi shaped his reputation as a pro-business autocrat who ran a clean government. He simplified the approval process for new businesses and wooed companies to set up factories in Gujarat with cheap land, low-interest loans, and promises of reliable supplies of power and water. Bombardier and McCain have plants there, as does Ford. Famously, Ratan Tata decided to move a planned manufacturing plant for his new Tata Nano car from another state to Gujarat after he received a text message from Mr. Modi.

His record in other areas is more troubling. Like others in the BJP, Mr. Modi was not afraid to use religious tensions to his political advantage: His state government resisted giving compensation and housing to survivors of Gujarat's infamous 2002 riots, in which more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, were killed in vicious religious violence. He once likened resettlement camps for displaced Muslims to baby-making factories.

Mr. Modi was cleared - by a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team - of complicity in the attacks, but some believe he can never be fully exculpated, citing his inaction as the riots unfolded: Police often stood by while people were killed, or helped abet the killing. In the years since, Mr. Modi has never apologized.

An unfinished economic revolution

People talk about India as an economic success story only because of reforms introduced in 1991, when the Congress government brought into being a dramatic liberalization process - one that makes Mr. Modi's efforts so far look timid by comparison.

The government effectively dismantled the socalled Permit Raj of rigid licences, import approvals and other legacies of India's socialist postcolonial period. The reforms unleashed the country's talented business class, and growth soared. Indian universities now churn out a steady stream of brilliant software engineers, scientists and globally competitive business people.

Over the next decade, many new businesses surged: call centres, back-office outsourcing, and eventually more advanced research industries in pharmaceuticals and technology in southern cities such as Bangalore and Hyderabad; as well as some manufacturing around cities such as Chennai - a car-making hub - and Gujarat's Ahmedabad, which both have access to ports. But it was an unfinished, and unequal, revolution. The services sector, which now accounts for half of India's GDP, employs a comparatively small segment of the country's vast population.

India has the second-largest labour force in the world - about 500 million people - but roughly half of them work in the fields, on unproductive small plots of farmland that have been subdivided over generations. While the country has world-class institutes of technology and management, it also has an abysmal record of giving children a basic education, partly because of resistance from rural Indians, who want their children to work rather than go to school. Many businesses also complain that graduates from all but the elite colleges and universities have few usable skills, and can require up to six months of training before being ready for work.

Which is why Mr. Modi is casting a much wider net in his quest for economic development - for example, by pushing for hundreds of millions of Indians to open bank accounts, so that the central government can transfer subsidies to them directly rather than through corrupted middlemen.

Making things, to make jobs

Between 1997 and 2011, India's economy grew on average at around 7 per cent a year. But even while the economy was surging and some sectors were on the upswing, there was no commensurate gain in the industrial-scale, export-oriented manufacturing that propelled China's masses out of poverty.

There are several reasons for this. Outside of India's big cities, the roads are often flooded, potholed and gridlocked with bullock carts. Ports, railways and other infrastructure are in terrible shape, making it costly to move goods around the country: It is often cheaper to ship something from Mumbai to Africa than to ship it within India. Power cuts are a regular occurrence, contracts are essentially unenforceable, legal disputes can take several decades to wind through India's clogged court system, regulation has been unpredictable, corruption has been a problem at all levels of government, and acquiring land for new projects can take years.

In contrast to the services industry, where companies can simply move into pre-existing real estate, industrial firms in particular can't easily purchase plants - and since they often require more land, equipment, power and other supplies than do businesses such as research labs, manufacturing has been particularly stunted. The World Bank ranks India 184th out of 189 nations in "dealing with construction permits" - making it literally one of the worst places in the world to build something.

Changing this state of affairs is one of Mr. Modi's priorities. And it seems to be working. "The biggest change is hope," says Shailesh Pathak, executive director of the Bhartiya Group, an Indian conglomerate that spans fashion and real-estate. "Last year, the feeling was despair. This year, it is hope."

Mr. Modi is making a concerted effort to improve India's manufacturing sector - acknowledging, in the process, that economic progress, without jobs, is not the way forward. "What we need is not just more production," he has said, "but mass production and production by masses."

Inside a complex of cream-coloured government buildings in New Delhi, Amitabh Kant is a man besieged. It is 6:30 p.m. on March 31 - the last day of India's fiscal year - and a half-dozen people are waiting outside his office. He has to catch a flight to China, but the phone keeps ringing, and a staffer has just dumped three overflowing manila envelopes in front of Mr. Kant, who is secretary of India's department of industrial policy and promotion within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. "I'll miss my flight if I don't clear these," he says, removing his glasses and rubbing his nose with his thumb and index finger. "I don't have time for a long Q&A."

Mr. Kant is the man responsible for Mr. Modi's "Make in India" campaign, a high-profile initiative to convince the world's manufacturers to build their products on the subcontinent. It aims to boost manufacturing in 25 key sectors, from transportation, mining, electronics and chemicals to biotechnology, food processing and wellness. The campaign includes practical measures - the government recently revamped import duties on electronics, doubling the fees for finished devices, while cutting the duty on components to zero - but the biggest focus has been on outreach.

In addition to that campaign, Mr. Modi has begun to dismantle the vestiges of more than 60 years of socialist state policies, selling off stakes in public companies, opening some sectors to foreign investment, and abolishing India's Planning Commission, a 500-person group that churned out Soviet-style five-year economic plans under successive Congress governments. He is now also embroiled in a political battle to significantly alter India's arduous landacquisition policy. While Congress and other liberals see this as a corporate land grab, Mr. Modi and the BJP say they want to make it easier for businesses and government to buy land from farmers for factories, roads and other infrastructure projects.

There are some indications that this emphasis on manufacturing is beginning to have an impact. The Canadian electronics company Datawind, for instance, which makes inexpensive smartphones and tablets for the Indian market, announced that it would relocate production from Chinese factories to India now that import duties have been changed.

"This will shift manufacturing to India," says Suneet Singh Tuli, Datawind's chief executive officer, who has pledged to create roughly 1,000 new jobs in the country.

Other global gadget makers are also said to be looking at opening factories. And the foreigners' registration office in New Delhi is full of Japanese nationals representing huge companies such as Sharp and Mitsubishi, seeking new countries in which to invest.

Fomenting dissent

Down a series of back alleyways off the main road - past butchers of beef and lamb, and motorcycles negotiating the narrow laneways with shrieking horn blasts - a school in a Muslim neighbourhood of Muzaffarnagar, in the poor northern state of Uttar Pradesh, sits beside a flowing canal of raw sewage. The city of about a half-million people is just a three-hour drive north of New Delhi. Nearby, children play cricket on a field of garbage. A clean hit sends the ball sailing into an open sewer. A boy runs over, picks it out with his bare hand, and throws it back to his friends.

Shandar Ghufran, headmaster of the 600-student school and a community activist, points to a new elevated entranceway and a small brick wall with three concrete steps at the front door; they were recently built to prevent sewage from flowing into the school when it rains. Others in the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood are not so lucky: Their homes are flooded with filthy, disease-carrying water when the rains are heavy. Mr. Ghufran says that no Hindu student has ever applied to come here, and that Muslim students applying elsewhere in the city are regularly turned away.

Since Mr. Modi's election victory, Mr. Ghufran says, already-simmering tensions in Muzaffarnagar have gotten worse. Urban-development funds, he says, seem to have stopped flowing to Muslim communities. Posters have gone up in alleyways imploring Hindu women to bear more children, playing on the Hindu right's constant refrain that Muslims have larger families. Other posters have gone up, too, reading "Long Live Nathuram Godse" - a reference to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, a one-time member of the RSS, who shot India's pacifist icon for appeasing India's Muslims around the time of Partition. "The pressure is building," Mr. Ghufran says.

Muslims have a long history in India, and the present population is enormous: about 180 million. But more than 80 per cent of Indians are Hindu; and so it doesn't hurt Mr. Modi politically to ignore Muslims or to inflame tensions. Conversely, making concessions to India's Muslim communities could result in a significant backlash from the BJP, the RSS and hardline Hindu volunteers and supporters.

Muzaffarnagar and its surrounding villages exploded with anti-Muslim riots in 2013 - violence that led to more than 60 deaths and caused tens of thousands of Muslims to be displaced from their homes. It was one of the worst incidents of religious violence since the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Amit Shah, president of the BJP and a close confidant of Mr. Modi, visited the city during the 2014 election campaign - and besought the area's Hindus to get revenge on local Muslims by voting for his party. Although Mr. Shah was subsequently censured by India's Election Commission, he remains close to the Prime Minister, even as Mr. Modi himself has toned down his own comments in recent years, after international condemnation of the Gujarat riots.

Amir Khan, a 55-year-old Muslim cloth merchant who operates a roadside shop in Muzaffarnagar, says that since Mr. Modi took office he has seen his business drop by about 85 per cent. "I used to get a lot of [Hindu] Jat customers," he says. "Now, there are not many who come here. It started after the riots. But after the elections it got even worse."

The Muslims who were driven from their homes in Muzaffarnagar have been left with little recourse.

In early April, The Globe and Mail visited Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district, where a ragged, morose group was dismantling two large displacement camps after local officials had arrived that morning with bulldozers to evict them - two years after the riots, they still don't have a home.

Riyahat Meerhasan, a wizened 60-year-old man with nine children, had his house destroyed in the riots and was piling bricks one by one into a horsedrawn cart. He and many others here say they are petrified of returning to their villages, where their homes and possessions were left behind. Says Mr. Meerhasan, "I don't know where I'm going to go now."

None of these displaced villagers has received any compensation from either the state or central government. Human Rights Watch has demanded that authorities stop the forced evictions, properly investigate the violence and provide aid. But the only relief seems to have come from a nearby Muslim farmer, Haji Dilshad, who donated his land to build permanent dwellings with funding from the Al Falah trust in the United Kingdom. But even he faced hurdles: The local government tried to prevent him from building the structures on his land, he says, because a permanent refugee community of concrete homes would be proof of how widespread the displacement actually was.

Out here, Mr. Modi's India is not changing: It remains as polarized, poor and underdeveloped as ever.

The riots were rooted in the movement that fuelled Mr. Modi's rise, but none of the displaced Muslims I spoke with expressed any anger at their new prime minister. They simply wanted to send him a message as he makes another of his frequent trips abroad. "He has all the power. He controls the government. If he wants to, he could help us. He could put a roof over our heads. That's my request," says Saddam, who did odd jobs in local villages before he fled to the camp. "I hope you will communicate our plight to the Modi government as he visits Canada."

Christians in the crosshairs

In addition to Muslim communities, India's Christians - who make up 2.3 per cent of the population - have also felt besieged under Mr. Modi. In New Delhi late last year, there were a number of attacks on churches. In February, several men forced their way into a convent and school in West Bengal and over the course of two hours raped a nun and desecrated the chapel.

Just last week, the discrimination even hit a Supreme Court judge - Kurian Joseph, a Christian - who was reprimanded by the Chief Justice after refusing to attend a judicial conference, that included a meeting with the Prime Minister, because it took place over Easter Weekend. Mr. Joseph, alluding to the fact that such events would never be held on Hindu holidays, penned a letter to Mr.

Modi, asking him, as "the guardian of Indian secularism," to "benevolently show equal importance and respect to the sacred days of all religions."

In December, one Bharatiya Janata Party MP suggested that the nation celebrate "Good Governance Day" on Dec. 25 in honour of former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday - another obvious offence.

John Dayal, the secretary-general of the All India Christian Council, says that while Hindu nationalists tend to view Indian Muslims as potential secret agents for Pakistan, they also worry that Christians are secretly trying to convert the more than 167 million lower-caste Dalits (formerly known as Untouchables), as well as indigenous, or so-called tribal, people in remote areas, to Christianity.

In early February, while protesting the government's silence over the issue, Mr. Dayal and dozens of other Christian activists and nuns were detained by police. "We've always had a base level of violence against Christian and Muslim communities under different governments," Mr. Dayal says. "The RSS, when another party is in power, is more surreptitious. But when their own government is in power, they become fearless."

The end of the honeymoon

In February, Mr. Modi's long victory streak finally ended. After winning elections repeatedly since the early 2000s - in Gujarat as chief minister, in the national elections of 2014, and then with several party triumphs in state-level elections, Mr. Modi's surge came to a spectacular halt in state elections in New Delhi. Despite campaigning personally, Mr. Modi's BJP was defeated by the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, which grew out of India's recent anti-corruption movement and promised cheap or free water and electricity. Of Delhi's 70 seats, AAP won 67 - just nine months after being routed by the BJP in the national elections.

Mr. Modi's critics saw this as a clear sign of dissatisfaction with India's direction under the BJP leader, while supporters downplayed the loss, saying the BJP was punished for refusing to promise economically unsustainable government services. Either way, the loss was a high-profile setback for Mr. Modi and his party.

This has been compounded by other public stumbles. When U.S. President Barack Obama visited India in January, Mr. Modi greeted him in a suit with pinstripes made up of his name - Narendra Damodardas Modi - repeated over and over again. It was widely mocked as politically tone deaf.

More seriously, Mr. Modi has been criticized for being slow to address a mounting agricultural crisis.

Heavy rains have destroyed many winter crops in northern India's fertile plains, and there have been suicides as the government failed to step in and compensate farmers. In rural Uttar Pradesh, standing at the edge of a flooded field, an 80-year-old Muslim labourer named Wazir, who has worked on the farm all his life, offers a grim verdict on Mr. Modi's first year in power: "He looks out for the industrialists only. He has done nothing so far."

On a narrow patio off the laneway office of the Centre for Equity Studies in south Delhi, Harsh Mander is enjoying the mild spring weather as a woman pulls down laundry from an adjacent rooftop. A social activist who resigned from the Indian civil service over the Gujarat riots, he has just eyed proofs for his new book on inequality and indifference in India - a book in which Mr. Modi appears multiple times.

To Mr. Mander and other social activists, Mr. Modi's promises of development ring hollow. "There's nothing in the growth model that actually provides jobs. That is going to be the Achilles heel of this government," Mr. Mander says. "For a big percentage of people, life is as hopeless as it ever was."

He's not the only one who is skeptical. Many of India's liberals and intellectuals, who are living through dark days after Congress's defeat, remain broadly disillusioned with Mr. Modi's plan.

Saumitra Chaudhuri, a former member of India's Planning Commission and an economic adviser to the last prime minister, says Mr. Modi has struggled because of his new government's inexperience. And he agrees with critics such as Mr. Mander that the Prime Minister is promising something that he never delivered in Gujarat: jobs. "There are no labourintensive industries in Gujarat," Mr. Chaudhuri says over a whisky and soda at the India International Centre, a cultural hub in Delhi. "He just wants industry. But not jobs."

Activists also worry that, under Mr. Modi, civil society is getting squeezed. The government is giving extra scrutiny to foreign-funded environmental NGOs, such as Greenpeace, which it blames for stalled development projects. And just a few days ago, the Prime Minister made controversial remarks about "five-star activists" clogging up the judicial system, adding to the ominous sense that Mr. Modi's India may be becoming less tolerant of vibrant democratic debate.

Recently, the government also banned the documentary India's Daughter, by a British director, about a prominent New Delhi rape case, despite Mr. Modi's strident rhetoric about protecting Indian women. Charu, a medical student who only felt comfortable providing her first name to a journalist, says Mr. Modi does not back up his talk with action and has only paid "lip service" to women's safety in India. "I don't feel like Modi has done anything, he is talking only," she says. "It's not safe."

To Sunayana Walia, a women's rights activist from Gujarat, these developments are all too familiar.

When her work brought her into contact with Muslim survivors of the Gujarat riots, her organization - SEWA, the Self-Employed Women's Association - found a project's funding abruptly cut off. And a national program through which NGOs helped run crisis centres for women was recently shut down, she says. "This stuff was already happening in Gujarat, but now one sees glimpses at the national level," she says. "It's making people very nervous."

What next?

Although Mr. Modi has a majority in India's lower house, or Lok Sabha, this does not enable him to implement a truly ambitious agenda. Under India's bicameral system, he also needs to win state-level elections, because it is possession of those state legislatures that gives parties advantage in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP is currently outnumbered in the upper house, which means that Mr. Modi's big-ticket reforms could stall unless he is permitted to call a rare joint session of the two houses - or he wins more state elections.

And that's important, because it is at the state level that businesses run into the most frustrations.

Dinesh Singhal, who runs a big industrial business in the city of Meerut, applied one year ago to the state government of Uttar Pradesh to get permission to expand his plant. "I would have had to give a big bribe, which I am not giving, then I would get approved," says Mr. Singhal, the CEO of Kanohar Electricals, as the power goes out in his office. "The states are not serious. They take money and eat it up. They are not concerned about manufacturing or jobs."

For the Prime Minister, says Ambarish Datta, the CEO of the BSE Institute, a training arm of the Bombay Stock Exchange, the real work of his five-year term begins now. "Sentiment is good. Investor inflows are high. But people now want to see action on the field," he says. "The last year is doling out freebies and basically preparing for another election. And the first year is settling in."

"It's a little like cricket," he adds. "The real action is in the middle."

Shilan Shah, an India economist with the London-based research firm Capital Economics Ltd., says that Mr. Modi has made some progress on easing regulations and opening up some sectors - such as defence, insurance, and railways - to foreign investment, but that he has underwhelmed the market on the "really big-bang reforms."

He has not opened up the much larger financial and retail sectors to foreign competition - with retail, in particular, being politically sensitive in a nation with so many grocers and hawkers.

Another key area in need of reform: labour-market regulation, which is governed by a complicated system of roughly 200 laws at both the national and state levels. These prevent large-scale manufacturing, by making it necessary for firms with more than 100 employees to seek government approval for firing people. As a result, companies resort to hiring off the books. "The upshot to all of this is that the economy should slowly recover over the next few years," Mr. Shah says. "But growth will probably fall short of India's immense potential."

Vinod Sawhny, a prominent business executive in Mumbai, sees many of the current political difficulties as an extension of the sheer magnitude of Mr. Modi's task: trying to wrench India out of an economy - and a political system - that still treats, and seeks to preserve, India as a nation of farmers and villages. Taking full advantage of the country's demographic dividend - every second Indian is below the age of 25 - and turning the country into a manufacturing- and service-based economy is going to require a "a huge mindset change," he says. Not to mention more than just one year.

"We have a golden opportunity," Mr. Sawhny says. "The next 24 months will determine whether a new India takes shape. It will be an absolute lost opportunity if we don't prove it. The time is now."

Iain Marlow is The Globe's Asia-Pacific correspondent

Associated Graphic

India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, delivers a speech to mark the country's 68th Independence Day in New Delhi on August 15, 2014.


A young Muslim boy in the city of Muzaffarnagar, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, stands in front of his school, which sits beside a flowing canal of raw sewage.


'What we need is not just more production,' says Mr. Modi, 'but mass production and production by masses.'


Muslim villagers in rural Uttar Pradesh, who were displaced by riots in 2013, and who have lived in an informal settlement ever since, dismantle their makeshift homes after authorities came to forcibly evict them.


A young Muslim girl displaced from her village by violent riots wanders in a laneway between concrete dwellings built on a Muslim farmer's donated land. Villagers say they have not received any compensation from the government.


A labourer at Kanohar Electricals, in the city of Meerut, whose CEO, Dinesh Singhal, says: 'The states are not serious. They take money and eat it up. They are not concerned about manufacturing or jobs.'


In the search for answers concerning the friendly fire death last month of Canadian Sgt. Andrew Doiron - and Canada's larger mission in Iraq - what Mark MacKinnon found were more questions
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A12

To get to Bashiq Mountain - and the front line between the Kurdish peshmerga army and forces of the so-called Islamic State - you drive a long bumpy highway through just-planted fields of rice and corn, passing a white-tent settlement for refugees from nearby IS-controlled Mosul, and a succession of tinroofed Kurdish checkpoints.

Somewhere nearby lies the spot where Sergeant Andrew Doiron died in a "friendly fire" incident last month.

Barring the way is the ambiguous figure of Farhang Afandi, with two flags on his military uniform, a one-man representative of the Byzantine politics and murky chains of command in this breakaway region of northern Iraq.

"I can't let you go," Mr. Afandi says, overruling both the office of Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, both of which made calls last week to facilitate The Globe and Mail's second effort to reach Bashiq Mountain, after Mr. Afandi denied The Globe permission to travel two days earlier.

He declared that the decisions of the local commander take precedence over those made in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, though the reason Mr. Afandi gives for the refusal shifts over the course of the two conversations. First it's safety, then it's a blanket ban on journalists and civilians travelling to the area. Several times "the media" is asked to stop digging into Sgt. Doiron's death, and to focus on "positive stories" about Canada's military involvement in northern Iraq.

But although the peshmerga ministry says the efforts of Canada's soldiers in northern Iraq (the Canadian government says there are 69 advisers deployed in Iraqi Kurdistan) are concentrated on the Bashiq Mountain front - and the troops are regularly at the front line, unlike other Western military trainers deployed here - we're told we can't see or speak to them.

Mr. Afandi doesn't actually give his name, and raises his voice when asked what his rank is.

"You don't have the right to ask for my position!" he shouts.

But everyone in the area knows who Mr. Afandi is. He's the son of Hamid Afandi, a former minister of peshmerga affairs and the current commander of 10,000 men defending district 7.2 of the Kurdish front line, which includes both the green-covered rise of Bashiq Mountain, and the soldiers of the Halgurd Unit that opened fire on Sgt. Doiron, a 31year-old Moncton native, and three other Canadian soldiers at a checkpoint near here on the night of March 6 in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

The younger Mr. Afandi's loyalties are complicated. He speaks flawless English and is referred to locally as "our Canadian." During an unguarded moment, he reveals that he grew up in Ontario, and that he's actually on contract to the Canadian special forces stationed in northern Iraq, not his father's peshmerga unit.

He wears a pale green army uniform - lighter in colour than the dark green uniforms most peshmerga wear - with a black "Kurdistan Army" patch on his right shoulder, and a khaki maple leaf on the left. Before he denied The Globe permission to travel on our first effort to reach Bashiq Mountain, Mr. Afandi consulted with two Canadian special forces soldiers who walked into the peshmerga base at Dubardan, at the northern foot of Bashiq Mountain. The two Canadians quickly donned sunglasses and retreated to a back room when told there was a reporter present.

Canada's Department of National Defence says Mr. Afandi is a contracted interpreter working for the Canadian military on an "as required basis" in northern Iraq. "He does not hold a military rank or special status but is afforded the professional respect and privileges of a military contractor by Canadian military personnel while he is working for the Canadian Armed Forces in Iraq," Daniel Le Bouthillier, a spokesman for the department, said in response to e-mailed inquiries from The Globe.

Mr. Le Bouthillier said Mr. Afandi was not a Canadian citizen and cited the Privacy Act when asked whether he had permanent resident status. Mr. Le Bouthillier said Mr. Afandi had purchased his own uniform and that it was "common practice for forces working together to show solidarity by displaying their partner's cultural symbols or national flags."

So who is preventing journalists from visiting the front line at Bashiq Mountain, when the rest of the 1,000-kilometre-long peshmerga frontline is very receptive to media visits?

"We recommend that you contact the Ministry of the Peshmerga," was Mr. Le Bouthillier's reply when asked to explain Mr. Afandi's actions.

But Lieutenant-General Jabar Yawar, a member of the Peshmerga General Command who approved The Globe's trip to the front, clearly feels he's reached the extent of his authority when it comes to who can visit Bashiq Mountain. After he gave his permission for a visit to the peshmerga soldiers of the Halgurd Unit who were on duty the night Sgt.

Doiron was shot, Mr. Afandi blocked us for a second time. I called Lt.-Gen. Yawar. He asked to speak directly to Mr. Afandi - who moved out of earshot to have the conversation - and then apologized after Mr. Afandi handed the mobile phone back.

"I'm sorry," the general said, "this is all I can do."

"You can say it's the local command [that made the decision]," Mr. Afandi said afterwards. "We don't need civilians wandering around here. The investigation [into Sgt. Doiron's death] is over."

Mr. Le Bouthillier said he could not say to whom Mr. Afandi reported in either instance, including the first encounter when he was seen consulting with two Canadian special forces officers.

"We are not in a position to confirm the contents of every single discussion between CAF members and its partners," the DND spokesman said, "nor can we confirm if the gentleman was 'on the clock' with the CAF or, as previously stated, if he was working for the peshmerga sector commander at the time of the interaction."

'The investigation, I think, is finished' The assertion that the investigation into Sgt. Doiron's death has been completed is a surprise.

There has been no public announcement about the outcome of either of the two Canadian inquiries into Sgt. Doiron's death. The U.S.-led coalition against IS is also investigating, as did the Kurdish government.

Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Mr. Barzani, also refers to the investigation in the past tense.

"The investigation, I think, is finished. It was an unfortunate incident," Mr. Hussein said in an interview in his Erbil office. "We are shocked always when we lose a peshmerga ... And then, to lose a soldier who came here to help us, to support us, to give training to us, it was deeper. We are very sorry about that. But this happens, unfortunately, sometimes, in a war."

Formally or informally, there appears to be a decision on both the Canadian and Kurdish sides to stop talking about - and blaming each other for - the night Sgt.

Doiron died. "They told us not to say anything to you," said a commander in the Halgurd Unit who spoke briefly by phone with The Globe from his position on Bashiq Mountain.

In Erbil, Kurdish officials are clearly anxious to repair any damage that was done to the relationship with Canada. They no longer suggest that Sgt. Doiron and the other Canadian troops may have been somewhere they shouldn't have been on March 6. "Whatever was said in the past, until now, was personal opinion, not formal," said Lt.-Gen. Yawar of the Peshmerga General Command. "What happened was a great sadness for us."

But the story blaming the Canadians for what happened is still the one that fighters of the Halgurd Unit tell when their commanders aren't listening.

The front line, they say, is a nebulous thing around Bashiq Mountain. Roughly, the Kurds control the jagged, green-covered mountain, 20-some kilometres north of Mosul. Islamic State - which is also known as ISIS, ISIL and Da'esh - controls the town of Bashiq itself, at the southern foot of the mountain. The Halgurd Unit controls the space between the eastern edge of the mountain, up to the bumpy northsouth highway that leads to Commander Afandi (the elder)'s headquarters in a converted hospital a short drive north of Dubardan.

Firefights in the area aren't uncommon - the peshmerga say their positions on the mountain come under small-arms fire about once a week - but nerves tingle the most at night, when any approaching stranger could be an ambush party, or a suicide bomber, sent by IS.

The Halgurd Unit was particularly jumpy the night of March 6 because of a clash the day before that had left an Islamic State fighter dead. The militant's body was still lying where he had been shot - within sight of the Halgurd positions - and the peshmerga were anticipating a move by IS to try to reclaim the corpse.

From there, the stories diverge.

In the Kurdish version, the four Canadians had gone on foot towards the town of Bashiq - Kurdish officials initially said they were helping identify targets for coalition air strikes - without checking in at the Dubardan peshmerga base for that night's password. When they emerged out of the dark at around 11 p.m.

that night, the peshmerga demanded the password. The reply allegedly came in Arabic and one or more Kurds opened fire, shooting that only stopped when the Canadians' driver, who had been left with his vehicle behind the Kurdish position when the four Canadians proceeded on foot, alerted the peshmerga that they were shooting at their allies.

"We were very sad. I wish it was one of us who had been killed instead, because the Canadians have come here to support us," said a 32-year-old member of the Halgurd Unit who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said he was not stationed at the checkpoint the shots had been fired from, but the details of the incident were well known to all in the unit. "If you don't have the password, you can't even go to the toilet. There are no peshmerga who would speak in Arabic, so we thought they were our enemies."

In the Canadian version, Sgt.

Doiron and his comrades had prearranged their movements that night, and had passed two other checkpoints without incident before the third post opened fire on them. Defence Minister Jason Kenney has said the troops weren't at the front, and weren't involved in calling in air strikes, but were fired upon as they approached an "observation post" 200 metres behind the line.

It wasn't the first time Canadian troops have come under fire in northern Iraq. The Department of National Defence has reported three occasions when Canadian troops have exchanged fire with IS fighters since the start of 2015. That's led to heightened political debate about the mission, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially telling the House of Commons last fall that the Canadians were being sent to northern Iraq "to advise and to assist ... not to accompany" the Kurdish forces.

That doesn't match the role the peshmerga describe the Canadians as playing here.

"We've gotten many benefits from the Canadian side, because they are with us on the front line, advising us. They are on the front line, helping us there," Lt.-Gen.

Yawar said. He positively contrasted the role of the Canadian advisers with those of other coalition countries that insist their trainers must be nowhere near the fighting.

Speaking in January, General Michael Rouleau, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, told journalists in Ottawa that "80 per cent" of what Canadian forces did in Iraq happened "kilometres behind the front lines." He said, "The other 20 per cent or so happens in forward positions, mostly close to the front lines but sometimes right at the front lines if that is the only place from where we can accomplish it."

While Lt.-Gen. Yawar said there is a Canadian military adviser seconded to the Peshmerga General Command in Erbil, there is no Canadian military spokesperson in Iraq. The British, German, Dutch and Italian trainers work under a joint Kurdistan Training Co-ordination Center that gives regular briefings. The U.S. has a large diplomatic presence here.

Yet the only Canadian diplomatic representative in Iraq is a charge d'affaires in Baghdad, housed in the British embassy.

Canada is deeply involved in the war for this country - there are also six CF-18 fighter jets based in Kuwait that carry out bombing runs against IS targets in Iraq and Syria - but diplomatic coverage and consular services for Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan are provided out of the Canadian embassy in Amman, Jordan.

That's nearly 900 kilometres from where Canadian troops have been placed, if not on the front line, certainly in the line of fire.

One who confronts death The peshmerga are legendary warriors. The name means "one who confronts death," and they have been doing that for decades, having fought first Saddam Hussein's army during the 1980s, then each other during a threeyear civil war in the 1990s, then Saddam again following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and now IS.

But they are collectively still something closer to a people's militia than a professional army.

While most fighters wear dark green military uniforms donated by the U.S., some still wander around bases and checkpoints in traditional Kurdish attire, their baggy pantaloons held up with cloth belts. Their weapons are primarily Kalashnikov rifles and grenade-launchers - most of them supplied by the U.S. - plus the occasional truck-mounted machine gun. There's no Kurdish air force, and the peshmerga possess little in the way of tanks or artillery.

Asked what Kurdish fighters need most, the fighter from the Halgurd Unit who spoke to The Globe immediately replied "money." Front-line fighters are paid just $400 to $500 a month, he said, forcing many - even in the middle of the war against Islamic State - to request time away from their units to work second jobs to support their families.

Divisions and resentments from the 1990s civil war still linger, adding to the confusion around who gives the orders in a place like Bashiq Mountain. Lt.Gen. Yawar, the man who authorized The Globe's trip to the front, has three portraits of former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani in his office, indicating his loyalty to Mr. Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the belligerents in the 1990s. Commander Afandi was peshmerga minister to Mr. Barzani's rival Kurdistan Democratic Party, and the fighters of the Halgurd Unit are drawn from KDP loyalists.

But, despite all the challenges - and with the aid of coalition trainers and warplanes - the Kurds are slowly advancing along most of their 1,000-kilometre front line, and Islamic State is on the retreat.

The pending battle for Mosul That, perhaps, is why the Canadians and Kurds stationed at Bashiq Mountain have decided to stop bickering about who was at fault the night Sgt. Doiron was killed. There is a war to win.

Looming large for the peshmerga and their allies is the city of Mosul, the heart of Islamic State operations in Iraq, and the city where IS leader Abu Bakr alBaghdadi declared himself last summer to be the "emir" of a new "caliphate" stretching across much of western Iraq and eastern Syria.

Mosul, in Saddam-era guidebooks to Iraq, is described as "a city for walking" that was undergoing "a great burst of modernity." But Mosul has been in a state of near-continuous war since the U.S. invasion of 2003. The city emerged as a centre of Sunni Arab resistance first to the U.S.

occupation, then to the Iranianbacked governments that emerged in Baghdad.

Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay, made their final stand at a safe house in Mosul after the fall of Baghdad. Abu Musab alZarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq - the predecessor organization to Islamic State - frequently used Mosul as a base as he waged his holy war against the U.S. Army.

Although most religious and ethnic minorities immediately fled Mosul when IS entered the city last June, many Sunni Arab residents initially welcomed the jihadis as preferable to the Shiitedominated Iraqi army. After 10 months of harsh Islamic law, power outages and water shortages, it's not clear how much support remains for IS among the million-plus people believed to still be living in Mosul (the prewar population was 1.8 million). But it's also unclear that they would welcome "liberation" by either the Iraqi army or the peshmerga.

That's exactly what's being planned, however. After the Iraqi army, with the backing of Shia militias, drove Islamic State out of the central city of Tikrit last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi flew to Erbil to discuss with Mr. Barzani the terms for Kurdish involvement in an assault on Mosul.

Both sides are wary. The Kurds fear being further drawn into an ethnic or sectarian conflict, while the Iraqi government worries the peshmerga won't later withdraw from areas (such as the neighbourhoods of Mosul that lie east of the Tigris River) it considers part of historic Kurdistan. But while any push towards Mosul is likely months away, if not longer, preparations are already being made.

"The decision is that [the peshmerga] will take part in recapturing Mosul," said Lt.-Gen. Yawar.

"Our concern is what role we will play: Will we enter [the outskirts] of Mosul but not enter the city? Or enter the city and then come out again? We still need to discuss these things."

Such a battle, he said, is where the Canadian advisers will be most helpful. Despite their long experience with war, the peshmerga have mostly fought defensive battles, usually on mountainous terrain. The Canadians, and other coalition advisers, are helping prepare the peshmerga for an offensive along a long front, over flat ground - and eventually for the kind of house-by-house, street-by-street urban warfare that would be required to oust IS from Mosul.

Mr. Hussein, the presidential chief-of-staff, said the training is very welcome, but added that he wishes Canada and the West would supplement it by providing the peshmerga with the modern tanks and heavy weapons he said could bring the war against IS to a quicker and less costly conclusion.

He said the Kurds have paid for every advance so far with "peshmerga lives," with some 1,200 Kurdish fighters killed and more than 5,000 injured since the conflict against Islamic State began last summer. He said the peshmerga often find themselves in battle against the kind of M-1 Abrams tanks and howitzer artillery - supplied by the U.S. to the Iraqi army, then seized by IS last summer during its lightning advance - that the West refuses to provide to its Kurdish allies.

At the Dubardan base, two rusty armoured personnel carriers sit parked beside a small Russianmade tank that looks like it saw battle during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. According to the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, Kurdish forces have just 150 such tanks - all of them supplied by the Soviet Union to Saddam Hussein's army - scattered along its front line with Islamic State.

"If we had heavy weapons, we could reach the same victories that we are now, but with less victims. We are gaining these victories, most of the time, with the blood of our peshmerga," Mr. Hussein said.

He said the Kurdish leadership has requested heavy weaponry many times, at various levels, in its communications with Western governments, but so far has received only a smattering of help: anti-tank missiles from Germany, truck-mounted heavy machine guns from France and half a dozen anti-mine robots from Canada that have yet to be deployed. But no tanks.

The request, and the West's slow response to it, are a reminder of the higher stakes swirling in the background of this war as the investigation into Sgt. Doiron's death is quickly concluded away from prying eyes.

The Kurds are the West's willing foot soldiers against IS, both because they fear the spread of extremism and because they are gathering ground ahead of an eventual, inevitable push for independence from an Iraq they see as broken beyond repair. The West is keen to aid the Kurds in the first effort, but nervous about offering any help that could later be repurposed towards the second ambition. (There's a fear that tanks, for instance, could one day be used in a war of independence.)

Ten months ago - in the wake of Islamic State's shocking capture of Mosul - Mr. Hussein told The Globe that it was time to "prepare the ground" for a referendum on Kurdish independence. Last week, sitting in the same office, he edged away from such talk, saying the more pressing priority is the war against IS, and that the timing of any future referendum will depend on "the political situation" in Iraq.

The way Iraqi Kurdistan sees its deal with the West is clear. The peshmerga are fighting IS on everyone's behalf now, and even willing to help in an assault on Mosul, in hopes that the West will reciprocate eventually with support for the Kurdish goal of independence from Iraq. Dropping the Kurdish claim that it was the Canadian special forces troops who were at fault the night of March 6 aids the longterm Kurdish goal of shoring up the alliance between Ottawa and Erbil.

"We faced many tragedies in our history. Sometimes, we faced our tragedies alone. We were crying alone. People were not ready to listen to how we felt. This is part of this history also," Mr. Hussein explained when asked how important the Canadian presence here is to Iraqi Kurds.

"When Canada came and supported our peshmerga and gave them training and helped us, for us it was very important. ... It gives us more hope, for the future also."

Back at the base at the foot of Bashiq Mountain, the younger Mr. Afandi leaves no doubt what cause he sees himself serving as he keeps journalists away from the place where Sgt. Doiron was killed.

"I hope to see you another time," he says, smiling, friendly only as we depart. "I will welcome you happily on the day Kurdistan becomes independent."

Steven Chase in Ottawa contributed to this story

Associated Graphic

Peshmerga fighters watch from an observation post on Bashiq Mountain near where Sgt. Andrew Doiron was killed March 6 in a 'friendly fire' incident. Formally or informally, there appears to be a decision on both the Canadian and Kurdish sides to stop talking about the night Sgt. Doiron died.



A peshmerga soldier covers his weapon as rain falls on front-line positions on Bashiq Mountain near where Sgt. Andrew Doiron was killed March 6.


Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

The anatomy of a half-hour fictional show The relationships and negotiations that finance the creation of television shows are shifting as new video streaming services come online. That has created new buyers for TV content, but also put pressure on the industry's business model. Here's how a TV show seeks to turn a profit.

Video content viewing in Canada Canadians still consume most content through traditional paid TV, but they're devouring more through streaming and watching online. Traditional TV broadcasters still finance the vast majority of content and production, however.

The new six-part television drama Between chronicles a town besieged by a disease that spares only the young, leaving teenagers in charge. But watch closely when it premieres next month and you might catch a glimpse of a TV world in similar turmoil.

In Canada, where it was conceived, the show will make its debut May 21 on the City network, then later on the streaming service Shomi. But American viewers can watch it the same day on Netflix, thanks to an unusual production deal.

Between straddles two worlds: The traditional TV business and the new frontier of online, on-demand video. Much of the money that made the show possible flowed through TV's Canadian content system. But data and funding from Netflix Inc. helped shape it with tweaks to content and casting. Actor Jennette McCurdy has a huge following from the Nickelodeon shows iCarly and Sam & Cat, and Netflix helped nudge her into Between's starring role.

"They just sort of knew there's this following that's craving new content of her," said David Cormican, executive vice-president of business development and production at Don Carmody Television.

That hunger for content is accelerating a shift in the way TV is made and broadcast, with new streaming services springing up around the world. Some are digital disruptors challenging the television establishment, such as Netflix or's Prime Instant Video. Others are owned by the broadcasters that have dominated the dial, such as CraveTV, Shomi or Hulu.

But this disruption may be happening faster than the industry can pivot, trapping the TV business in a dangerous cycle and threatening to sap profits. Current trends raise doubts about how the existing volume and quality of TV shows - dubbed a "Golden Age" of television by some - can be sustained by a stable of low-cost digital alternatives.

While the viewer is seizing control, dictating how and when they will watch TV, the programming they want is getting carved up between an ever-increasing number of distributors and platforms. That will make accessing new shows more complicated, and test viewers' willingness to pay for multiple services. Meanwhile, the creators of content must hustle to find audiences and finance their projects. And as more TV subscribers shave down their services, cable and satellite revenues have flattened, with higher broadband use offsetting broadcaster losses for now.

Streaming services are investing more in original content, but they still stock their libraries with programs that were made for - and financed by - traditional TV. By conditioning viewers to demand control, choice and lower prices, they are fuelling the decline of a decades-old business model while feeding on its massive output.

"The traditional media have been, in my opinion, slow to react," said Ira Levy, executive producer and partner at Breakthrough Entertainment, an independent Canadian producer and distributor. "But they're trying to catch up real quick."

In Canada, some 69 per cent of video viewing still originated from paid TV packages in 2014, according to Charlton Strategic Research Inc. But total weekly viewing on paid streaming services like Netflix - known in the industry as subscription video on-demand services, or SVODs - spiked 37 per cent to 7.4 hours per person last year. And 18- to 24-year-olds are signing up faster than anyone.

Furthermore, for the first time, there is clear evidence that large numbers of Canadian viewers are cutting the cord on traditional TV. In 2014, there were some 240,000 more households without a paid TV package than a year earlier, a result of a mixture of customers ditching cable or satellite subscriptions and new households deciding not to buy TV packages in the first place - so-called "cord-cutters" and "cord-nevers."

"It's a big, big number and it ain't going away," said Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Consulting Group, which studies TV subscribership trends. "If you take that out a decade, it doesn't look very pretty for the TV business."

Carving up a growing pie

Netflix now operates in more than 50 countries, with plans for global expansion, and its success has spurred a race to own a slice of the online space.

In Canada, the biggest broadcasters have made their move, launching Shomi, which is jointly owned by Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., and BCE Inc.'s CraveTV. The United States has Hulu and Amazon Prime, HBO Now and Sling TV, among others. The U.K. has Sky's NowTV. Australia has Stan and Presto TV. Even YouTube plans to launch an adfree, subscription-based service. (BCE owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail).

Viewers are devouring the new offerings as fast as they come online. The total volume of video being watched, including paid TV and digital, is on the rise - up 4 per cent to 28.6 hours a person, per week in Canada last year, according to Charlton Research. And programmers agree there is more high-quality content available to buy than ever. But a growing share of viewing is shifting away from paid TV.

That has broadcasters on edge and positioning their nascent streaming services as tools to stem the early signs of cord-cutting. "This is the year of the SVOD," said Dana Landry, chief executive officer and executive director of DHX Media, a major Canadian creator and distributor of children's programming.

With Netflix as the established leader, there is a "land claim" under way as new streaming startups crowd into the market.

At launch, a service like Shomi needs a mass catalogue of TV shows and movies to attract paying customers, and that often means stocking the cupboard with large libraries of older titles.

"They want to make sure they have an offering that's going to work for the public, get them excited, build up the subscriber base, and then build up the data on what content is used," said Josh Scherba, senior vice-president of distribution at DHX, which recently licensed more than 2,500 hours of its content to nine streaming services globally, including Shomi. "And then they can make some bigger bets."

An estimated 900,000 households have tried either Shomi or CraveTV since November, according to Solutions Research Group, and two-thirds of those households also subscribe to Netflix. Shaw and Rogers want paying subscribers for their streaming services, to be sure. But for now, the data they collect about what customers watch may be far more valuable.

For decades, "the ratings were sort of the currency that everybody traded on," said David Purdy, senior vice-president of content at Rogers, which owns networks including City, Sportsnet and FX Canada.

But Netflix and other streaming services collect vast troves of information on customers' habits and preferences that is far more detailed: How much they watch, on which devices, what time of day, what day of the week, which genres. That can be sorted by country, city or even postal codes derived from credit card data.

Now, the holy grail for broadcasters of all types, and advertisers too, is to be able to predict what a viewer will like and recommend it to them - to engineer viewership.

"What we gain out of this is the ability to ... really draw a profile of each user, which is certainly useable across all media," said Marni Shulman, senior director of content and programming for Shomi.

That process became even more finegrained when Netflix introduced separate user profiles within one account, allowing it to personalize suggestions for a parent or child within one account. More than half of the site's 62 million global users now actively use a personal profile, which has improved customer retention.

Treating this information as a precious resource, Netflix is loath to share it. But it constantly informs the company's programming and buying decisions. Kevin Spacey's popularity with users helped make the case for creating House of Cards, and demand for Adam Sandler comedies helped land the actor a deal making original films for Netflix, said Todd Yellin, Netflix's vice-president of product innovation.

"No, they have not given us the secret sauce," Don Carmody Television's Mr. Cormican said. "But ... they're not afraid to let you know what works for them, what works for their subscribers."

Many TV creators now wish they knew what Netflix knows, and Mr. Cormican is hoping to get access to "glimpses" of the streaming giant's viewership information written into future contracts so it can be used to craft other shows.

Even so, predicting viewers' likes and dislikes is still "a mix of art and science," Mr. Yellin said. He thinks Netflix is "good to very good" at it, "but no one is great at personalization. It's a long journey."

And as more streaming services come online, viewers and the shows they pay to watch are becoming increasingly scattered across a wider range of providers. Even the broadcasting giants are more comfortable Balkanizing their audiences between TV and online if it helps avoid losing them altogether. "You can see the beginnings of a real fragmentation," said Mr. Eiley of Convergence Consulting.

Economics off kilter

The shift online has left the economics of producing and selling TV shows "all wonky right now," as one industry insider put it.

But to grasp how the business model is changing, it helps to first understand how it has worked. Producers and broadcasters closely guard financial details for competitive reasons. But Aravinda Galappatthige, a media analyst at Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., provided The Globe and Mail with a representative example of how a fictional show - in this case, an animated children's series - could be funded.

A typical show in this genre might cost $300,000 per half-hour episode to make.

About 60 per cent of that, or $180,000, would be covered by government tax credits, grants from the Canada Media Fund, and other benefits. But a producer is only eligible to receive those funds once it has a commissioning broadcaster on board.

Of the remaining $120,000, the commissioning broadcaster could pay $80,000 per half hour, which would give them exclusive TV rights to the show for three to five years, only in Canada. The producer then sells some equity in the show, or perhaps the territorial rights for another country to an American or European broadcaster for two or three years. In the U.S., that might be worth $30,000 per episode; in France, perhaps $10,000. An Asian market could pay just $2,000, or less. The producer might be on the hook for what's left - perhaps $20,000 per half-hour. They produce and air the show, hoping it becomes a hit.

Years later, when those contracts expire, the rights revert back to the producer, which can resell them. But this time, they are worth less - the commissioning broadcaster might only pay $20,000 per episode to renew. Over its life, a show that does well might net a producer a 40- or 50-per-cent margin on the net cost of producing it.

Occasionally, a streaming service might buy the rights to a popular show by itself.

But more often, past seasons are bundled together in packages of anywhere from 50 to 500 half-hours, for which the non-exclusive rights would cost $1,000 to $1,500 per half hour. The price for exclusivity, on TV or online, can be 10 or even 20 times the non-exclusive cost in some cases.

Television providers often pay dearly to be the first to air prime time dramas. And live programs like sports, news and awards shows have helped keep viewers loyal. But even those pillars appear threatened by the digital shift. In February, Dish Network launched Sling TV in the U.S., which lets subscribers stream networks such as CNN, the Disney Channel and sports giant ESPN for $20 (U.S.) a month.

With many more viewing options, having exclusive shows to attract viewers is even more essential. Netflix learned that lesson early and invests heavily in originals, from House of Cards to Bloodline.

But what the cord-cutters and online video evangelists often ignore, or don't realize, is that while online video is driving more and more decisions at the negotiating table, traditional TV still pays the bills for most new shows. To date, TV revenues have held relatively firm, but there are signs an era of growth is ending.

In the U.S., where much of the content on Canadian networks is made, the paid TV industry spent $45.3-billion on content in 2014, compared with $5.6-billion doled out by online providers, according to Convergence Consulting. In Canada, the gulf is just as wide: Traditional TV pumped $3.3billion into programming, compared with $300-million from online players.

"The core of our business model is really still driven by the [traditional TV]," said Mr. Landry of DHX.

As a result, the best shows carried by online providers are often aired after they appear on TV, carved up across multiple services, and available in some countries but not others, depending on who holds the rights. This fragmentation can frustrate viewers, and spur them to look for other options.

The piracy problem

An estimated four million Canadian customers willingly pay for Netflix. But some 22 per cent of them admit to using services that give them a U.S. IP address, allowing them to watch the more content-rich American version of Netflix by circumventing the locks that protect Canadian rights, according to Charlton Research.

This week, Netflix singled out piracy as "a considerable long-term threat." But TV broadcasters and distributors are also taking note, and complaining more loudly that Netflix isn't doing enough to curb the use of technologies such as virtual private networks, or VPNs, which block a user's location so they can circumvent territorial broadcast rights. "What we're able to pay for a show in Canada is going to be dependent on how well protected [rights] are," said Rogers' Mr. Purdy. "Piracy or VPNs obviously hurt our ability to pay more."

Another 18 per cent of Canadians admit to downloading pirated content from BitTorrent sites, some of which are improving in quality. Popcorn Time, run by a loosely affiliated collective of people dispersed around the world, offers streaming of popular shows through a Netflix-like interface. And it is entirely free.

Netflix has called Popcorn Time's rising popularity "sobering." But Robert (Red) English - who is in his early 20s, lives in Barrie, Ont., and has become something of a spokesperson for Popcorn Time - insists the site has no plans to blow up the online streaming industry, only to change it. He describes the project as "a great way to show people what's possible."

When asked whether it's piracy, he paused before replying, "it depends."

Mr. English thinks most people are willing to pay for content, but his group has two complaints about existing streaming services: "the region locks," which determine which content can be playing in which countries, and "the wait" between the date many shows first air and when they appear on streaming sites. he "We're just kind of showing everybody what we can do and what the world can do, and trying to change a couple of things with the streaming services online," he said.

Mr. English isn't sure how sites like his affect TV's bottom line, but "for the most part, it's not like they're going broke over it," he said.

Yet country-by-country rights and exclusivity windows are still key to the ability of producers and broadcasters to make money.

"We've procured loans to the tune of millions of dollars and backed these loans with corporate and personal guarantees in the hopes of recouping our investment, and then some, in order to provide for our families," said Mr. Cormican of Don Carmody Television. "When people steal content, that is revenue out of our pocket."

Who wins, who loses?

With broadcasters, digital giants and Websavvy youth all piling in online, the streaming wars are on. And so far there's no obvious winner.

"Clearly, over the next 20 years, Internet TV is going to replace [traditional] TV. And so I think everyone's scrambling to figure out, how do they do great apps?" Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, said in a conference call on Wednesday. "It's a transition into figuring out the Internet.

And the way people do that is to get involved with us, with our competitors."

Viewers are enjoying this new age of abundance, with ample new options to access sprawling libraries of content for between $5 and $20 a month. But as content is scattered more widely, it may still be expensive to find and access it, and a mass shift away from traditional TV would harm the golden goose that currently bankrolls most of the shows on streaming sites.

The digital upstarts are winning hearts and minds as well as subscribers, and gaining financial clout to invest more in programming. But their profits remain thin, if they make money at all, and they are facing their first stiff test from rival services that have copied the Netflix template and are backed by the full might of still-powerful media giants.

The largest broadcast companies have one major advantage: The have deep-seated relationships with producers and studios, and once they own the traditional TV rights to a program for network television and specialty channels, adding digital rights can be "a logical extension," Mr. Purdy said. "Increasingly you're having one comprehensive discussion."

But so far, CraveTV and Shomi are still money-losers, and the broadcasters may be splitting their own audiences with services that have yet to prove they can be sustainable.

Adding to the uncertainty are major changes stemming from Let's Talk TV, a landmark hearing that recently wrapped up at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The regulator is substantially changing Canadian content rules and the way TV channels are packaged, hoping to ease the digital shift, but many in the industry will still suffer in the transition.

Producers are hopeful, and have more doors to knock on, some of which are online-only. Niche programming has more places to catch on, and the thirst for exclusive content is driving up prices for highquality series.

But as dollars drain out of the traditional TV system, many distributors are wary of taking risks, and producers must work harder to prove their programs will find an audience, while piecing together international deals on different platforms to earn their profits.

"The opportunity is really interesting, as long as you can figure out how to do it [and] not get caught in the squeezer in the transition period," said Mr. Levy of Breakthrough Entertainment. "It's like solving a gigantic puzzle every day."

Associated Graphic


David Cormican, centre left, an executive vice-president at Don Carmody Television, chats with staff involved in the upcoming TV series Between.


Streaming services such as CraveTV may be trapping the TV business in a dangerous cycle and threatening to sap profits.


In the British resort town that became an unofficial Canadian colony during the First World War, Mark MacKinnon finds a historic base facing the wrecker's ball, and explores whether it's worth saving
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND -- Before they reached the Western Front, most of Canada's fighters in the Great War got their first true taste of what was to come at a historic military base here on the windswept southeastern tip of Britain.

But now a sign that reads "Danger - Keep out" hangs from the padlocked iron gates, and trees grow out of derelict buildings that were once barracks housing soldiers anxious to get to the war before it ended.

One hundred years ago today, rail cars carrying members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force's second great wave of recruits arrived at Folkestone, a sleepy seaside town not far from the famed white cliffs of Dover. They were bound for nearby Shorncliffe, a red-brick compound on a rocky redoubt overlooking the English Channel and within earshot of the thunderous conflict they were soon to join.

Although the CEF's first division was already in the trenches - and about to make Canada known as a warrior nation, by facing the horror of poison gas at Ypres - the awful pointlessness of the war of attrition had yet to sink in. Newspapers of the time say the Canadians who arrived here on April 18, 1915, were a cheerful bunch, naively hoping for a taste of battle before the quick victory they still expected.

Many who trained at Shorncliffe came back on stretchers, and not all of them survived. Of the 471 First World War graves in the local military cemetery, more than 300 contain Canadians. Even more, of course, didn't come back at all. The nervous camaraderie they experienced at Shorncliffe was likely the last real happiness they knew.

Now, the scene of those warm memories is under threat. Many of the squat buildings that housed the Canadians en route to Belgium and France are seeing their last days. The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) is poised to hand much of Shorncliffe, which is less than 90 minutes from London, to one of Britain's leading home builders.

Last month, local councillors endorsed a plan that calls for demolishing several barracks as well as the stable that once housed Canada's herd of war horses. Much of the former training area will also be paved over to make way for 1,200 new houses and a sports complex.

"This heritage will be gone. This is what saddens me," says Chris Shaw, who has spent a decade battling to preserve the site. As the 52-year-old amateur historian describes how important he feels Shorncliffe is, or should be, both to Canada and to Britain, tears well up in his eyes.

He is an unlikely defender of Canadian military history - his true passion is the Napoleonic era, and his day job involves installing high-end entertainment systems for England's rich and famous.

Originally from Bromley, near London, he says that his passion for battle re-enactments led him to Shorncliffe. He wondered what had become of the place the Duke of Wellington's revolutionary Light Division had trained in before locking horns with Napoleon - and was shocked by what he saw: a venerable institution overgrown with trees and weeds; with spent bullets, fired in training long ago, and now green with age, scattered among beer bottles and other rubbish. "I had this realization," he recalls, "that it was the birthplace of the modern British Army, and it was in a terrible state - and it was down to me to fight for it."

So the heritage trust he now leads is trying to raise millions of pounds to create a museum and education centre - a campaign given a boost last Christmas when a bevy of British pop stars released a charity recording in aid of the Shorncliffe Trust and the Red Cross.

On guard since 1794

The museum would celebrate a base that is more than two centuries old and now houses one of the British Army's few remaining Nepalese Gurkha units.

The army began to buy up land in the area in 1794, after French revolutionaries executed their monarchs and declared war on Britain. Although the invasion never came, the fear remained, and when Napoleon made the same threat a decade later, smoke from his army's fires could be seen across the channel. Now, says Mr. Shaw, the vast majority of the facility is to be lost forever, a victim of what he calls "the perfect storm of neglect, ignorance, complacency and lack of vision." The principle "Lest we forget" is being subsumed by the public's waning interest in military history and by the modern realities of its financing.

Not that Shorncliffe is alone. The MoD is unloading real estate across Britain as it grapples with a shrinking budget. The tactic is one way to forestall, at least temporarily, even deeper cuts as the army reduces its active troop strength by 20 per cent, from 102,000 to 82,000 (the Gurkhas at Shorncliffe also face the axe).

With British warplanes carrying out air strikes against Islamic State positions in Iraq, the defence brass is trying to find budget-conscious ways to deal, as well, with Moscow's increased presence on its doorstep: Russian warships and aircraft have made ever more frequent appearances in the English Channel lately. There has also been renewed Argentine sabre-rattling over the Falkland Islands.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the fate of Shorncliffe falls well down the MoD's list of priorities - despite its storied past and a deep, abiding connection with Canada.

Locals spoke Canadian

The first Canadian troops sent to Britain late in 1914 camped about 250 kilometres west of Shorncliffe on the Salisbury Plain, not far from Stonehenge. But officers complained of harsh conditions during an especially wet winter when many soldiers fell sick and dozens died, both in training accidents and from an outbreak of spinal meningitis.

In the spring, after the Canadians had crossed the channel, Shorncliffe was made available for the second wave. "And so," reads The Globe's report on the July 1 festivities of 1915, "the fields and plains, the lanes and roads are filled with Canadian soldiers, celebrating their Dominion Day drilling, bayonet fighting, route marching, while overhead soars thrumming the watchful airship, Britain's Eye. For Britain has a business on hand."

In all, more than 600,000 Canadians enlisted during the war, and "a very large proportion of those raw recruits who were coming through to the Western Front would have been trained at Shorncliffe ... in particular, Vimy Ridge," says Kent Fedorowich, a transplanted Manitoban who teaches imperial history at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

"You could argue," adds Dr. Fedorowich (who has a "special fascination" for Britain's relations with its dominions) "that a very well-established Canadian colony developed." Throughout the war, Folkestone was a major debarkation point for troops headed for the fighting. But it's also where many were billetted with local families, and where almost everyone liked to spend their free time.

Shorncliffe and Folkestone became so Canadianized that there are reports of locals picking up Canadian expressions and accents. Historians have noted that local residents started saying "Sure" instead of "Yes." A baseball league was formed, and a Maple Leaf Club was opened.

Shorncliffe was also the hub of efforts by a group of Canadian women, the Canadian Field Comforts Commission, who sought to provide a touch of home - everything from socks and underwear to familiar-brand cigarettes - to the soldiers stationed here. Locals jokingly referred to the Folkestone area as a suburb of Toronto.

There was occasional trouble - petty theft was a problem, bigamy not unknown, and religious leaders criticized soldiers for playing sports on Sundays - but, Dr. Fedorowich says, "the locals really embraced the Canadians."

A century later, the feeling lives on. "When I was a schoolboy - so, 60 years ago - we used to go up to the cemetery and put flowers on the Canadian graves, and they still do it today," says Mark Hatton, warden of nearby St. Martin's Church. "It became a tradition somewhere down the line, and British people like tradition."

In fact, schoolchildren have lain flowers on the military cemetery's 300-plus Canadian graves almost every July 1 since 1917. (More recently, someone placed a Canadian penny on the top of each of those graves.) The tribute began shortly after soldiers helped dig out the town's casualties after a surprise attack by German bombers left 79 dead, many of them women and children. Seventeen Canadian soldiers also died.

The raid brought home reality, and as the conflict dragged on, the mood at Shorncliffe became more grim. Stories emerged about how gruesome the carnage really was, and, because the base also housed a large medical complex, fresh arrivals from home could see the risks even as they prepared for the trenches.

The beat of cannon fire across the channel contributed to the increasingly downbeat mood. "We can distinctly hear the rumble of the big guns," Lt. Stuart Cameron Kirkland wrote in 1916 to family back in Dutton, Ont. "I thought at first the noise I heard was thunder but, as I was hearing it every morning, I made enquiries and was told it was the noise of battle."

The following year, he was wounded at Vimy Ridge.

Housing trumps history

Although a century has passed, the area's connection to Canada remains readily apparent. Even the altar at St. Martin's, more than two centuries old, has a gold Bible stand inscribed "in memory of the Canadian boys who worshipped here and have since."

But Mr. Hatton, the warden, says local people object to the big housing development less because of what it will do to Shorncliffe than because of the traffic problems it's expected to cause around the station where the first Canadians stepped off the train. Chris Shaw of the Shorncliffe Trust is resigned to the fact that the project will go ahead.

His fight now is to preserve more of the barracks and training facilities (such as practice trenches that prepared the Canadians for underground life at the front) and to build a museum and tourist facilities.

But he says that neither the MoD nor the local council seem interested in anything beyond the anticipated budget boost. And Shorncliffe is a major project even for a builder as big as Taylor Wimpey, which put up 12,454 houses in Britain last year alone and had pretax profits of more than $660million. The company did not respond to several requests for comment on its plans, but an MoD spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail that "preserving heritage ... has been taken into consideration."

Canadian military specialist Jack Granatstein, whose many books include Who Killed Canadian History?, says that "it's always sad when historic sites are developed," but acknowledges that it's "largely an unstoppable process in an ahistoric age." He says that selling military land may make sense to a cost-cutting government, "but there are ramifications," such as the loss of jobs, often in areas where work is hard to find, and that the tactic is shortsighted: "If you get rid of bases and training areas, you won't have them the next time you need them - and nations always do."

He argues that the importance of Shorncliffe - to Britain's past, even more than Canada's - justifies "a suitable memorial" to keep its memory alive.

The campaign turns to Canada

Taylor Wimpey's project will leave Shorncliffe a vastly reduced garrison, but will affect neither the cemetery - kept in immaculate condition by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - nor the main gate to the barracks and the base library, both deemed to be historically significant.

Also, the MoD spokeswoman notes, the Shorncliffe Trust has been given the opportunity to purchase the redoubt where the practice trenches were located. As a result, Mr. Shaw and his associates are trying to raise £3-million (about $5.5-million) "to regenerate the old training grounds and set up a dedicated heritage park and education centre." To that end, they have received some high-profile help, with Julian Lennon and Engelbert Humperdinck joining members of the Proclaimers and Massive Attack to record the fundraising single.

But as he walks along the old trench works the Canadians once used, Mr. Shaw battles to keep his composure while describing the sacrifices of those now in the cemetery. He says he has given up hope that his government will act, and is looking across the Atlantic. "We want Canadian businesses, and Canadians, to support us," he says.

Dr. Granatstein, whose most recent book is The Greatest Victory: Canada's One Hundred Days, 1918, warns this may prove difficult with "so much centenary fundraising on here now."

But Mr. Shaw is undaunted, saying he hopes to enlist rocker Bryan Adams, whose father served in Canada's army.

"We'll look after your boys forever," he tells Canadians, "but we need to fight against the ways of the world, the councillors and the property developers. We've got to convince them to do the right thing."

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

Associated Graphic

Beyond these historic gates, which are to be spared, the decline of the Shorncliffe base today is readily apparent.


National identity and the Great War

Then and now: Today named Folkestone, this was Shorncliffe station to thousands of Canadian soldiers.


A century later, the practice trenches used to prepare the Canadians for the front have all but disappeared.


Workers test Shorncliffe's soil for toxins and munitions in advance of construction expected to see much of the base give way to homes and a sports complex.


Attack: By 1917, soldiers were learning to advance through enemy fire even if it meant confronting smoke and gas as well.


One crucial battlefield skill honed at Shorncliffe was how to get through enemy barbed wire - in a hurry.


After the horrific gas attack at Ypres (100 years ago next Wednesday), using life-saving masks was added to the training program.


Defence: Shorncliffe's training also prepared those destined for the front how to repel an enemy attacking behind a cloak of gas.


Every July 1, children still place flowers on more than 300 Canadian graves from the Great War in Shorncliffe's cemetery.


They died as heroes in the battle of Gallipoli, but the stories of the two 'nursing sisters' from Ontario and Nova Scotia were soon forgotten. Eric Reguly explains how a sad footnote in Canadian war history is being brought back to life
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

ROME -- The latest series in The Globe and Mail's coverage of the First World War's legacy at 100 commemorated."

In late September, 1915, as troops from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the British Empire were dying by the thousands in the trenches of Gallipoli - one of the great slaughterhouses of the First World War - Jessie B. Jaggard, a matron nurse from Nova Scotia, fell ill but carried on with her duties. She was working in the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital on the Greek island of Lemnos, the closest Allied staging-ground to the battlefront on the edge of the Ottoman Empire.

Ms. Jaggard went from hut to hut on the cold nights to make sure the sleeping nurses had enough blankets, undermining her strength. She developed dysentery. "Lying with the picture of her seventeen year old son smiling down on her, one night she closed her eyes for the last time and slept," a colleague nurse, Kate Wilson, wrote in her diary.

That was on Sept. 25. Ms. Jaggard was 42 and a cousin of wartime Prime Minister Robert Borden, the fellow Nova Scotian who delivered some 620,000 Canadian soldiers to Western European battlefields in support of the British armies.

Ms. Jaggard was Lemnos's second Canadian nursing casualty. Eighteen days before she died, her colleague Mary Frances Elizabeth Munro, from Wardsville in Southwestern Ontario, had also succumbed to dysentery. They were the only nurses to die on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign and the first women to die in wartime while serving in the Canadian army.

The nursing sisters, as all the Canadian nurses were called, were buried with full military honours in crude wooden coffins near the village of Sarpi on Lemnos. Their lives and graves were soon forgotten.

They may have remained so were it not for the curiosity and diligence of Robert Peck, a veteran Canadian diplomat, now ambassador to Greece, who stumbled upon the nurses' story two years ago and was so moved by the sacrifice they made that he decided to commemorate them at the 100th anniversary of the brutal Gallipoli campaign.

"There was something so inspiring about them," he says. "They were the last faces these young men saw before they died, and their presence must have meant so much to the soldiers on Lemnos. I felt we - Canada - had a duty to recognize the courage and dedication that these nurses had represented."

Gallipoli was not a Canadian battleground even if nearly 1,100 soldiers from the Newfoundland Regiment had fought there (Newfoundland became Canada's 10th province in 1949). When Canadians read about the First World War, it is the Western Front battles of Ypres, Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele that get star billing, not Gallipoli and certainly not the mouldering Canadian hospitals on a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

On April 17 - a week before the centenary of the Allied landings on Gallipoli - this sad footnote in Canadian war history was brought back to life in a special ceremony in Lemnos led by Mr. Peck. From the Portianos Military Cemetery where the two nurses are buried, he told their stories, read a poem that had been written in their memory nearly a century ago and unveiled a simple plaque in English and French that commemorates "the selfless dedication of nursing sisters from the Commonwealth in their care of the sick and wounded on the island of Lemnos."

Mr. Peck, 56, who is from Montreal, is Canada's former ambassador to Algeria and has been ambassador to Greece and Cyprus since 2011. His wife is Greek and he is an enthusiastic supporter of Canadian cultural events in Greece. In the summer of 2013, he lured Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall to Athens, where she gave a rousing concert at Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the ancient outdoor theatre on the slope of the Acropolis.

About the same time, he began to wonder how the Canadian embassy should commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, with the caveat that any event ideally would have both Canadian and Greek elements. "I heard by accident that there were some Canadian graves at Lemnos and on Anzac Day, members of the Greek Red Cross would lay flowers on the graves of two Canadian nursing sisters who were buried there," he says.

Anzac is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps; Anzac Day is the national day of remembrance for their war dead. Celebrated on April 25, it originally commemorated only those soldiers who had fought and died in Gallipoli. It was the baptism of fire for the two young countries, then dominions of the British Empire, and it did not go well. About 11,000 of them died in the campaign and the losses still haunt Australia and New Zealand. Peter Weir's 1981 film, Gallipoli, which centres on the futile Aussie attack on the Ottomans at the Battle of the Nek, known as "Godley's Abattoir," is considered a classic of its genre.

Mr. Peck has a strong interest in the two world wars, for the very good reason that he comes from a line of fighting men. His father, Robert A. Peck, was a lieutenant commander in the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War and was the signals officer on an infantry landing craft on D-Day - the Allied invasion of France - in 1944. His maternal step-grandfather, William Brosseau, was a communications engineer in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in the First World War and endured the gruesome Vimy and Passchendaele campaigns.

"Our family vacations were spent in a VW camper in Europe, and we must have visited every Commonwealth war cemetery on our routes," he says.

Mr. Peck learned that seven Newfoundlanders from the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve and the Newfoundland Regiment were buried on Lemnos, along with two Canadian nurses. Trolling the Internet to find out more about them, he came across an Australian historian named Jim Claven, who had formed the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. Its goal was to highlight the role of Lemnos not just as the staging ground for the Allied attacks on the Ottoman Empire, but also the heroic roles played by the nurses and the social interaction between the Anzac troops and the Greek islanders. "Lemnos was sort of whitewashed out of history," Mr. Claven says. "It needed to be properly Mr. Peck and Mr. Claven formed a productive online relationship (they were together on Lemnos for the nurses' dedication ceremony). With the help of Mr. Claven, Mr. Peck put together an extensive file on the two Canadian nurses, whose story captivated him. "In all the accounts I read, the nurses kept going in spite of dysentery until they dropped," he says. "They were known as the sisters of mercy or the angels of mercy. They were really selfless."

Mr. Peck decided a plaque dedicated to the nurses was in order and approached Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to sponsor the memorial project.

The Canadian government contributed £2,300 ($4,200). The plaque, made from Nabresina stone from northern Italy, was carved by CWGC stonemasons in Gallipoli. It was placed in Lemnos's Portianos Military Cemetery about 20 metres from the nurses' headstones.

All the Canadian nurses who served in the war were volunteers, mostly young and single, well trained and apparently brave enough to take lifethreatening risks. A 2008 UBC Press paper titled Place and Practice in Canadian Nursing History says, "Yearning for adventure and a place in history, fired with patriotism and determined to take care of enlisted boyfriends and brothers, these military nurses coveted the limited number of overseas postings."

By the end of the war, 3,141 nurses had served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, the vast majority of them on the Western Front, of whom 46 died from enemy action or disease. They earned 328 decorations, among them the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty under fire, and the Royal Red Cross. A sculpture in their memory was erected in the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa in 1926.

The "nursing sisters" were neither siblings nor nuns, though their uniforms, with their blue dresses and white veils, made them look like nuns. Nursing sisters Munro and Jaggard must have been shocked when they arrived on Lemnos in the summer of 1915. Based on the notes on their lives in the VAC files, both had had fairly comfortable and prosperous lives before their transatlantic voyages into the unknown.

Ms. Munro had been an excellent student at Toronto's Bishop Strachan School. She won the French prize, tied for the English literature prize, placed second for the German prize and was presented a silver medal by the Governor-General.

After graduation, she spent a few years abroad and trained as nurse in a New York hospital. But she took long breaks from work because she suffered from breast cancer and had a mastectomy at some point before enlisting as a war nurse. As a nurse, she was level-headed and efficient, as demonstrated in a prewar incident near Paris, where she was in a train wreck. The notes say that Ms. Munro, with her fluent French and medical training, "was able to take control of the situation at once" and, with the help of two assistants, "had, in less than three hours, some three score badly injured men, women and children bandaged and ready to be taken ... into Paris hospitals."

Ms. Jaggard was born in Wolfville, N.S., trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and would go on to become superintendent of a hospital in Philadelphia. She resigned after a few years of work and married Herbert Jaggard, described as the "president of a well-known railway."

On Aug. 1, 1915, Ms. Munro and her colleague Ms. Jaggard sailed from Britain to Malta, then to Alexandria, reaching Lemnos on Aug. 16. The island was the Allied gateway to Gallipoli, the long peninsula that forms the northern shore of the Dardanelles Strait, which connects the Mediterranean and Black seas. The strait, controlled by the Ottoman Empire in what is present-day Turkey, meant the Ottomans could cut off access to the warm-water ports of Russia, one of the Allied countries that had declared war on Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Their 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital, with 500 beds, was up and running within a week and the first patient arrived on Aug. 22 (the 1st Canadian Stationary Hospital was even bigger, with 720 beds). The conditions were horrendous. "It needed two nurses to change a patient wound dressing, one to change the dressing and one to fan out the flies off the wound," the notes say. "Excessive heat and poor sanitary conditions were the contributing factors at spreading disease."

A 1925 history of Canadian Forces medical services says the hospital site in the village of Murdos "had no sanitary provision; the water supply was precarious and depended on one borrowed cart; not even latrine pails were at hand. ... Food was scarce and unsuitable for the personnel, impossible for patients; dust and flies completed the distress."

The exhausted and malnourished nurses picked up illnesses from the soldiers - dysentery and acute enteritis were rampant. The Australian service records show that the Canadian nurses treated three Aussie soldiers who died not from wounds but from appendicitis, nephritis and diphtheria. Ms.

Munro was admitted to hospital on Sept. 5 and died two days later at age 49. Jaggard died on Sept. 25.

The Gallipoli campaign was a disaster and the Allied forces were evacuated in January, 1916. In October of that year, a British nurse named Vera Brittain, a pacifist who would later write Testament of Youth, the best-selling memoir of her experience as a nurse in the war, visited Lemnos and found the graves of the Canadian nurses. She was so moved that she wrote a poem that was read by ambassador Peck when he unveiled the plaque on April 17.

The poem, The Sisters Buried at Lemnos, reads in part: "They fought not fire or steel or ruthless foe, But heat and hunger, sickness and privation, And Winter's deathly chill and blinding snow.

"Till mortal frailty could endure no longer Disease's ravages and climate's power, In body weak, but spirit ever stronger, Courageously they stayed to meet their hour."

Associated Graphic

'I felt we - Canada - had a duty to recognize the courage and dedication that these nurses had represented,' says Robert Peck, Canada's ambassador to Greece, who stumbled upon the nurses' story two years ago.


National identity and the Great War

Nursing Sister Mary Frances Elizabeth Munro from Wardsville, Ont., was an excellent student who served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War in Lemnos, Greece, in the summer of 1915, above and right.

Canadian nurses served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign as part of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Canadians Mary Frances Elizabeth Munro and Jessie B. Jaggard were the first women to die in wartime while serving in the Canadian army.

The way to grow
For the 905, a region known for sprawl and environmental apathy, the Places to Grow Act was passed with the hopes of trading up for urban density and Greenbelt protection. Ten years later, Dakshana Bascaramurty assesses the progress of two municipalities facing sky-high expectations
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

It was heralded as one of North America's most progressive growth plans: a piece of legislation that pledged to populate the Greater Golden Horseshoe with live/work neighbourhoods, protect the Greenbelt and bring an end to the 905 region's reputation for sprawl. The Places to Grow Act promised to bring density to all of Southern Ontario - not just more condos in downtown Toronto, but townhouses, low-rise apartments and narrower lots - because sticking with the status quo was simply too costly.

"We know it's too expensive to grow out and we need to start growing up to save our tax dollars, to save our health and to improve our quality of life in urban centres," says Susan Swail, the Greenbelt Project manager at the NGO Environmental Defence.

But a decade since it was passed, has Places to Grow stayed on track to transform Ontario's suburban outposts into models of urban efficiency that both attract new residents and generate employment? In a region where the population is expected to swell to 11.5 million by 2031, the stakes are high.

The planners who have had to translate these guidelines to local contexts have faced challenges from all directions: a lack of market demand for high-density living, resistance from long-term residents and infrastructure gaps.

And even those who have figured out how to draw new residents have struggled with generating jobs for them.

The Globe and Mail stopped into Oshawa and Milton, the municipalities at the eastern and western edges of the GTA, to discuss smart growth - and the obstacles to achieving it - with planners, politicians and residents.


At the time Places to Grow was passed, Milton had a population of 56,000. That figure has since doubled and it's expected to hit 230,000 by 2031.

The Good So Far The desire for a home to raise a family and a better connection with the outdoors was what drove Alex Kjorven and her husband, Austin, from a condominium in downtown Toronto to a much roomier two-storey detached house in north Milton last September.

Even after the move to Milton, the Kjorvens have kept their jobs in Toronto - as well as their progressive ideas about density.

There are signs that some of that is slowly catching on in the town they now call home.

Milton's planning team has tried to encourage more height through zoning and promoting alternative medium-density housing, such as back-to-back townhomes. New construction in this form can reach densities of up to 100 units per hectare, says Gabe Charles, senior manager of planning policy and urban design. They're attractive to builders because they can be cheaper and easier to manage than a four-storey condominium.

One such promising neighbourhood is in southwest Milton, near Dymott Avenue and Tremaine Road. While laid out like a traditional subdivision, it's filled with three-storey townhouses, units, narrow lots and a bike lane.

The Bad In the few months Ms. Kjorven has spent in Milton, she has noticed that many of her neighbours - the so-called "Old Milton" crowd - are resistant to new development in the town.

"I don't know if I can bring my progressive, youthful optimism into the conversation," she says.

"I'm disappointed that so much of the discussion around [new developments] has been really negative messaging."

When Places to Grow targets are mentioned at public consultations, residents often ask, "Why can't you tell the province 'no?' " says Bronwyn Parker, a senior policy planner with the town.

One promising proposal for a 151townhouse complex in the city's core is an "appropriate density" for the area, Ms. Parker says, but a group of about 50 residents has protested it, saying it is too dense and too tall.

Places to Grow requires that by 2015, at least 40 per cent of annual residential development must happen within a municipality's existing boundaries. Most are meeting that target based on provincial data from 2007 to 2010, but Halton Region (where Milton is located) lags the others at only 33 per cent.

Milton's bigger struggle is with meeting the job targets of Places to Grow. More than most other GTA suburbs, it's still a bedroom community; it isn't attracting the same high-tech companies as Markham, and unlike Mississauga and Brampton, isn't conveniently located near the airport. Planners emphasize the importance of building jobs around transit hubs, but little development has happened around the Milton GO station. Ms. Kjorven is at the station each weekday - but it's to take the train to Toronto, where she and her husband still work.

For now, the jobs they want aren't available in their town.

The Canadian National Railway threw a monkey wrench into the town planning process when it made the recent announcement that it will build an intermodal station on land it owns in the town's southwest end (a move that has been protested widely by politicians and residents due to environmental and traffic concerns). Before CN's announcement, the town had planned to turn the area into employment lands to meet Places to Grow targets of 50 jobs per hectare. If the plan for the facility goes through, the pressure to meet those targets will have to be shifted elsewhere in town, Mr. Charles says.

"Where do we replace that?

How do we replace that?" Mr. Charles says. "To say it caught us off guard is an understatement." The Road Ahead The way residential housing is shifting in Milton is a promising sign, but it doesn't seem to be changing as dramatically as it needs to. Milton is still seen as "the last best west" for GTA residents seeking affordable detached homes, and as long as that reputation remains, it will be difficult to get developers on board to build more progressive housing.

When it comes to density in downtown Milton, which is supposed to hit 200 people and jobs per hectare by 2031, the town is still lagging far behind most others in the region. In 2011, the most recent year measured, the density was only at 34.4 people and jobs per hectare, according to the province's survey of progress, released in March. Milton has big plans for a satellite campus of Waterloo's Wilfrid Laurier University, near the newly constructed Milton Velodrome, but the province has not approved those plans yet. If they go through, the area, known as the Milton Education Village, could help the town finally grow beyond its bedroomcommunity status.


In 2005, Oshawa's population sat at 146,795 and at last count was at 156,701. It's expected to swell to 197,000 by 2031.

The Good So Far When Dave McMillan, a tool-anddye maker, first moved to Oshawa two decades ago, he saw it merely as a "dirty town," its dingy core surrounded by characterless sprawl. But in the past five years, he's seen a substantial transformation in the city, prompted in part by its need to rise from the ashes of a partly collapsed automotive sector. Now, Mr. McMillan sees promise in the downtown revitalization and north-end development, so much, in fact, that he finally bought a house in Oshawa last summer, despite working in Brampton.

Mayor John Henry says the construction of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in the north end and the residential development it has spurred along Simcoe Street North has been the most progressive growth the city has seen in the past decade.

The street, which was once just a wide expanse of rural land, has now become home to thousands of students who attend the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.

Several rental buildings have cropped up along the corridor and more are under construction.

"[The north end] has developed nicely. It's new, it's fresh, it has brought a lot of people to the city," Mr. McMillan says.

The Bad In Mr. McMillan's view, the only downside to the building boom in Oshawa is that Taunton Road, a major east-west thoroughfare, hasn't been expanded to keep pace with the increased traffic.

The added pressure for infrastructure improvements is top of mind for the city's planning department, too. The team has big plans for creating employment areas around the campus, but ironically cannot move forward to meet the province's job creation targets without increased funding from that same level of government to put in water and sanitary services, says Paul Ralph, the city's planning director.

"You can have the best planning documents in the world ... but we need help on the infrastructure side from the province," he said. For decades, local politicians in Durham Region asked the province for funding to extend Highway 407 further east - expansion was seen as a key factor in attracting businesses.

After a series of delays, construction is now under way. Mr. Henry says many of his calls to the ministries of environment and municipal affairs are often passed down a long chain and ultimately yield no action or funding. But the province is making efforts: In late March, the Premier met with nearly every mayor in the GTHA in what she promises will be twice-yearly summits.

U.S. cities such as San Francisco and Portland, Ore., have had the most success with targeted job growth, says Melanie Hare, a partner at the planning firm Urban Strategies who helped put together parts of Places to Grow. That's because they understand that infrastructure improvements must happen in the same areas a city wants to see increased density, she says.

"It's a huge lever to try to encourage that employment growth in the right place."

The Road Ahead In Oshawa, mid- to high-rise construction has been limited mostly to rental towers geared toward seniors and students; drumming up interest in condominium ownership has been tougher for the blue-collar city. The growth of this form of housing depends largely on an aging population choosing to stay in town and downsize. Right across the region, the mix of housing stock is changing, but not dramatically: While 54 per cent of the new housing units built in 2006 in the GTA (excluding Toronto) were single detached homes, by 2013, it was down to 47 per cent - the share of apartments and row houses grew in that period.

Like Milton, downtown Oshawa was assigned a targeted density of 200 jobs and people per hectare by 2031, and based on provincial indicators, it's halfway to that goal. While many of its neighbours have struggled with creating jobs, Oshawa, while still far from its target, is making great strides thanks to a recent boom of infill construction of new warehouses and plants downtown.

Last year, the city set a development record by issuing more than $500-million worth of building permits and expects construction from all those approvals to hum along for another decade.

With the right investment for infrastructure improvement, the city stands a good shot of not just reinventing its economy, but also attracting new workers and residents. Many who have studied development in the greenbelt, such as Ms. Swail and Ms. Hare, say the single greatest determinant of success for these sprawling communities is better transit infrastructure - finding a way to connect new residents to jobs without the reliance on cars.

Even with a ways to go before meeting their targets, Larry Clay, the province's assistant deputy minister of municipal affairs and housing who has been monitoring the success of Places to Grow, says he's not concerned about the slow start some municipalities have had. He points out that many didn't get their official plans updated until years after the act was passed, which means they're only a few years in to this new era in planning. "We're projecting over the long term," he says. "The economy has ups and downs over [the last decade].

There's a lot of confidence that those forecasts will be accurate and will be met."


One of Places to Grow's requirements is that by 2015 and for each subsequent year, at least 40 per cent of residential development in municipalities must happen within their existing boundaries, rather than sprawling out into new territory, a rule meant to encourage building up instead of out. Based on data from 2007 to 2010, many GTA municipalities were already meeting that annual target; a few are still lagging.

Average annual residential intensification, 2007-2010

Associated Graphic

The Kjorvens moved from Toronto to Milton.



Alex and Austin Kjorven sometimes find Milton is still playing catch-up to their progresssive ideas about density. Both still work in Toronto.


Dan Margettie plays with his three-year-old daughter Ava at a new development in Oshawa last week.


Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

POTSDAM, GERMANY -- On a recent Saturday afternoon, a couple of engineers working the weekend shift were monitoring the regional electricity grid in the heart of Potsdam, a city south of Berlin. The control room was largely quiet as the technicians bent over their workstations, scrutinizing the flow of power through the system.

Ralf Doering, a network manager for E.dis AG, the grid operator, pointed to a screen, where an innocuous-looking red line on a chart had just dropped to zero. The line measured how much electricity the grid drew from conventional sources of energy.

As of a few minutes earlier, a swath of northeastern Germany from the Baltic Sea to the Polish border, an area roughly the size of Switzerland, was being powered entirely by energy from the wind and the sun. A group of visitors looked around the room - at the lights, the computers, the equipment - and mentally multiplied the scene across the entire region. "Solar and wind are now enough," Mr. Doering said matter-of-factly.

If Germany continues on its current course, such moments will become commonplace. The country has embarked on the most ambitious energy revolution anywhere in the industrialized world. Last year, 26 per cent of Germany's power supply came from renewable sources. By 2050, the figure is targeted to rise to 80 per cent. The shift, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said last month, is Germany's "man on the moon" project.

As Germany has discovered, however, a project with sky-high aims can carry a huge price tag. The initiative, which began in 2000 and is a top priority for Chancellor Angela Merkel, has pushed electricity prices for German consumers to the secondhighest level in the European Union, behind Denmark. German businesses also pay some of the highest prices for power in the region, with exceptions for certain energy-intensive industries.

German business groups complain that the country's energy policy hurts their ability to compete and plan long-term investments. They're especially galled by Ms. Merkel's decision, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, to commit to closing of all of Germany's nuclear power plants by 2022.

More recently, the energy policy - which is aimed squarely at reducing Germany's contribution to climate change - witnessed a disturbing paradox. Between 2009 and 2013, carbon dioxide emissions from Germany's power sector actually rose, despite the growing share of electricity produced by wind, solar, hydro and biomass. That's because power companies were increasing their use of cheap but carbon-laden energy sources like lignite and hard coal compared to previous years. Those sources became more attractive for two reasons, experts say: the higher price of natural gas and the low cost of carbon-emissions permits in the European trading system.

Alarmed by that development and by the upward march of electricity prices, Ms. Merkel's government introduced revised energy legislation last year that moved to rein in the surcharges for renewable energy. The government is also looking at placing new restrictions on coal producers to bring down emissions. Experts estimate that emissions in 2014 from Germany's power sector fell to their lowest point since 2009.

Despite the hurdles, Germany is plunging full-speed ahead in what is known here as the "Energiewende," or energy transition. But its leaders acknowledge that unless Germany can prove that the policy works for businesses too, it risks being deemed a failure.

"We need to show that in a country like Germany and a continent like Europe, it is possible to have a high level of industrialization" in combination with policies to mitigate climate change, Sigmar Gabriel, the Economy and Energy Minister, said last month. Only then, he said, "will we find that other countries follow us. Only then will we persuade people."

Unintended consequences

In late March, policy makers from more than 50 countries gathered in Berlin for a conference to discuss the challenges of transforming a country's energy supply. Some were from oil-rich nations such as Kuwait and Algeria; others were from smaller European nations that already generate much of their electricity from renewable sources. In Portugal, for instance, the figure is more than 60 per cent.

What Germany is attempting, however, is far more complicated. It is the world's fourth-biggest economy, with a large industrial sector. Other major economies such as France and the United Kingdom have less lofty targets for renewable energy and aren't phasing out nuclear power.

At the conference, Jan Mladek, the Czech Minister of Trade and Iindustry, told a story that pointed to some of the difficulties Germany faces. On a visit last year to Berlin, Mr. Mladek said, he met with federal officials who urged him to speed up the Czech Republic's adoption of renewable energy. Then, later that same day, he met with the Premier of the state of Saxony, which borders the Czech Republic. The Premier urged Mr. Mladek not to build wind farms near the border, fearing it would destroy Saxony's tourism industry.

The story epitomizes how each step Germany has taken toward greater use of renewables has created new and sometimes unforeseen challenges - in electricity prices, in carbon emissions and in power distribution.

In Germany, consumers paid an average of nearly 30 euro cents (41 cents) per kilowatthour for electricity last year. In Ontario, by contrast, the peak price is currently 14 cents; the average price for consumers in the United States is similar.

Here's what happened to prices. To hasten the adoption of renewable energy, Germany guaranteed long-term price contracts to such producers - a technique also common elsewhere in the world. The difference between those guaranteed prices and the price of power sold on the wholesale market gets passed on to consumers.

In Germany, that difference is known as the renewable energy surcharge. The surcharge has jumped from 1 euro cent per kilowatt-hour in 2009 to more than 6 euro cents currently. The increase is due to a rapid growth in the installation of green power, which has also helped to drive the market price down.

So consumers have paid more, even as the market price for German electricity has fallen considerably, because the surcharge must fill the gap. In its reforms last year, the government moved to curb further increases in the surcharge.

Despite the rising prices, support for the government's energy policy remains strong, said Claudia Kempfert, an energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin.

Electricity accounts for just 3 per cent of the average household's budget, she noted, compared to heating and transportation, which takes up 30 per cent. A poll conducted last year found that 92 per cent of Germans favoured expanding renewable energy.

Businesses are far less sanguine than consumers about shouldering the costs of the transition. Electricity prices for industrial customers have risen more than 40 per cent since 2008 and companies say the policy has begun to affect their investment decisions.

The "huge costs for promoting renewable forms of energy restrict the competitiveness of our companies," a spokesman for the German Association of the Automotive Industry said in a statement. "In the long run, that will damage employment at home."

BASF, a chemicals giant, has said it will focus its new investments outside Germany as a result of energy costs. Last year, SGL Carbon SE and BMW Group said they would invest an additional $200-million (U.S.) in a carbon-fibre manufacturing facility in Washington state. A driving force behind the decision: the availability of cheap power.

BASF and SGL Carbon are among the roughly 2,300 large, energy-intensive German companies that are exempted from paying the renewable energy surcharge through at least 2017.

But even some of these firms assert that the energy policy isn't working.

Heribert Hauck, director of energy affairs at Trimet Aluminium SE, a large consumer of electricity, said the shifting policy terrain is making long-term investments impossible for his firm.

What's more, he added, the volatility of renewable energy - the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow - makes it unsuitable to meet the burden of constant industrial demand.

Germany, like other countries, has not yet solved the dilemma of how to store the electricity produced by solar power and wind energy. And it has only begun to tackle the transportation of such energy, which is primarily produced in the north of the country, to the industrial heartland in the south. One major planned transmission route from north to south - the "Stromautobahn," or electricity highway - has faced intense protest from those living in its path.

"We can implement the Energiewende up to a certain degree," said Mr. Hauck of Trimet. But the government must leave a "supply of conventional, reliable, competitive power plants in the system. That's what industry needs."

Smaller companies have complaints too. Horst Linn runs a maker of industrial furnaces in Bavaria, typical of the thousands of so-called "Mittlestand" firms that form the backbone of the German manufacturing sector.

The government's focus on renewables is wrong-headed, Mr. Linn said. Instead, it should have focused on energy-saving technology, he asserted.

Mr. Linn estimates that his company's electricity costs have jumped 30 per cent in the past five years and fears that more increases lie ahead as the country phases out nuclear power.

Yet he's never seriously considered operating anywhere else because of the skilled labour and quality control required in his business.

"You have no chance with the product we make to go to Bulgaria," he said.

Fingers crossed

In the middle of March, Germany's solar industry faced a critical test. A partial eclipse for several hours on the morning of March 20 threatened to wreak havoc on the system: Grid operators faced an unprecedented fluctuation in electricity supply as sunlight disappeared with unusual speed, only to reappear with the same unusual alacrity. (Prior to the eclipse, representatives of the solar industry had asserted everything would be fine. But "really, we were like this," said a spokesman for the industry, holding up crossed fingers on both hands).

The industry passed the test and hailed it as proof that renewable energies were now a mature and successful part of Germany's electricity system. As the shift to renewable energy deepens, some power producers see the writing on the wall. E.on SE, a major German utility, announced in December that it would split its businesses into two.

The first will be composed of its conventional energy assets and the second will consist of its ventures in alternative energy and distribution. Some commentators likened the move to the manoeuvre deployed by some financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 crisis: dividing healthy and troubled assets into a "good" bank and a "bad" bank.

Germany's Greens, the political party that helped kick off the energy revolution, tend to dismiss business concerns as so much bellyaching. In recent years, Germany has notched the strongest economic performance of any major European country at the same time as it has implemented the energy transition, proponents of the policy say. Norsk Hydro ASA, a Swedish company, is increasing its aluminum production in Germany, Baerbel Hoehn, a Greens member of the Bundestag, said in a recent statement.

For the Greens, the future looks a little like Feldheim, a small village of neat brick-andstucco houses south of Berlin.

On a ridge near the village, 47 wind turbines generate enough electricity to power the community's needs 100 times over; the rest is sold to the regional grid.

The village also generates its own heat from a heavily subsidized biogas plant. Next up: a test project to create a lithiumion battery storage facility for the renewable energy the village produces, the largest such installation in Europe.

Of course, there's no industry whatsoever in Feldheim. Back in the grid control room in Potsdam, the electrical engineers note that the region they oversee has very few industrial concerns, which makes it easier to incorporate alternative energies.

Meanwhile, they're plowing ahead with the many different facets of the Energiewende. "For us as engineers, it's really challenging and exciting," said Bernd Westphal, a regional manager at E.dis. "We're not getting bored here."

Associated Graphic

Turbines of the wind farm BARD Offshore 1 dot the North Sea near the German island of Borkum.


Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's economy and energy minister, and Chancellor Angela Merkel say it is possible to maintain a high level of industrialization with a power grid primarily fed by renewable sources such as winds and solar.


A wind turbine is reflected in the solar panels of a solar field in Biebelried, Germany. Like other countries, Germany has not yet solved the dilemma of how to store electricity produced by the sun and the wind.


I, killer robot
Who do you sue if you get hit by a driverless car? Who's to blame if a mechanical soldier goes haywire and kills noncombatants? Jeff Gray dives into the philosophical and legal minefield we face in the age of the autonomous robot
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F5

If you are looking for signs of the coming robot apocalypse, look no further than the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Here, along the most fortified border in the world, more than just human soldiers are keeping watch.

Meet the SGR-A1, a sentry robot deployed by South Korea and developed by a subsidiary of Samsung. The 1.2-metre-tall machine looks like little more than a swivelling pair of black metal shoeboxes, but its soulless, infrared-equipped eyes can spot an enemy up to four kilometres away. Its machine gun stands at the ready.

For now, the robot alerts its human masters, sitting in a control room nearby, of any suspected intruders. And it needs the okay from a human being to open fire. But this robot also has the capacity to operate in automated mode and shoot first, completely on its own. Resistance, my fellow humans, is futile.

The Pentagon and militaries around the world are developing increasingly autonomous weapons that go far beyond the controversial remote-control drones Washington has used in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Technological advances will allow these new weapons to select and fire on targets all by themselves, without any human approval.

Some predict they could one day fight side by side with human soldiers.

The notion of robots that kill, not surprisingly, makes some humans nervous. This week, an international coalition of roboticists, academics and humanrights activists called the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots addressed diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva. The group wants the development, construction and use of "lethal autonomous weapons" banned, even though it acknowledges that such weapons, while technologically feasible, have never been deployed.

"There is a question to be asked here about whether allowing machines to kill people diminishes the value of human life for everybody, even if you are not being killed by a robot," says

Peter Asaro, an assistant professor in the School of Media Studies at the New School in New York and a spokesman for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

It's just one issue that philosophers, legal scholars and scientists have been wrestling with as the world braces for an onslaught of new robots that, we are told, are destined to mow our lawns, care for the elderly, teach autistic children, and even drive our cars.

These robots may not be designed to kill, but they are going to force governments and courts to deal with a tangle of legal and ethical questions: Whom do I sue when I get hit by a driverless car? What if a medical robot gives a patient the wrong drug? What if my vacuum robot sucks up my hair while I am napping on the floor (as actually happened to a woman in South Korea recently)? And can a robot commit a war crime?

It is this last question that most preoccupies Prof. Asaro. He and other members of the coalition, which includes Human Rights Watch, argue that if an autonomous computer system, programmed to discern enemy soldiers from noncombatants, actually pulls the trigger without "meaningful human control," it becomes very difficult to hold anyone to account should something go wrong.

After a robot goes haywire and slaughters an entire village, you cannot haul it - an inanimate object - before the International Criminal Court, or subject it to a court-martial. And some experts say you may not even be able to legally blame its human masters or designers, provided they never intended for the autonomous robot to go berserk.

In criminal law, courts need to find what is known as mens rea, Latin for a knowingly guilty mind. But they would have trouble finding that any robot - given the current and foreseeable state of artificial intelligence - had any mind at all. Its designers or operators might face civil liability if they were found to be responsible for a software glitch that was to blame, for example. But even they may be too far removed from the actions of a killer robot to be held accountable, some warn.

Those killer robots could look like anything from massive autonomous drones to Mars Rovertype robots mounted with machine guns. In a 2012 directive, the U.S. Department of Defence said that autonomous systems "shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force."

In an e-mail response to a question from The Globe and Mail, the Canadian Department of National Defence said it is "not currently developing any lethal fully autonomous weapons systems" but that its research agency has an "active program of research in unmanned systems."

At least one robotics company, Waterloo, Ont.-based Clearpath Robotics Inc., has come out against killer robots, despite building robots and labs for the Canadian and U.S. militaries.

Ryan Gariepy, a co-founder of Clearpath and its chief technology officer, said mine-clearing or surveillance were good uses for autonomous military robots - but not killing, particularly if such machines are just on one side of the battle: "Is it okay for robots to effectively issue death sentences? ... Is it a human right to have the other side of the conflict put up the lives of their soldiers as well?" Inevitably, the killer-robot discussion gets around to sciencefiction writer Isaac Asimov's "three laws of robotics," featured in his short stories. The first law bans robots from harming humans; the second orders them to obey humans unless that means violating the first law; the third orders robots to protect their own existence, provided doing so doesn't violate the first two laws. But most experts say those laws are of little use in the real world: Their shortcomings, after all, provided Mr. Asimov with the twists in his story plots.

Still, Georgia Institute of Technology professor Ronald Arkin, a prominent U.S. roboticist who works on Pentagon projects, argues that killer robots or other automated weapons systems could be programmed to follow the laws of war - and follow them better than humans. A robot, he says, would never need to fire in defence of its life, or out of fear. It would have access to information and data that no human soldier could process as quickly, making it less likely to make a mistake in the "fog of war." It would never intentionally kill civilians in retaliation for the death of a comrade. And it could actually keep an eye out for human soldiers who commit atrocities.

Prof. Arkin also argues that autonomous technology is, effectively, already on the battlefield.

U.S. Patriot missile batteries, he says, automatically select targets, giving a human supervisor as little as nine seconds to override them and tell them to stop. And the U.S. Navy's Phalanx system protects ships by automatically firing on incoming missiles.

But even he calls for a moratorium on the deployment of more autonomous weapons until it can be shown that they can reduce civilian casualties. "Absolutely nobody wants a Terminator. Who would want a system that you just send out, and it's capable of figuring out who it should kill at random?" Prof. Arkin says.

"These kinds of systems need to be designed carefully and cautiously, and I think there are ways to do that."

In recent months, big names in the technology world have been sounding the alarm about artificial intelligence. Physicist Stephen Hawking warned that AI "could spell the end of the human race." Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk has called AI "an existential threat" as dangerous as nuclear weaponry. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also concerned.

The people who actually work on artificial intelligence say there is little to worry about. Yoshua Bengio, a leading researcher in AI at the University of Montreal, says that Star Wars and Star Trek fantasies prompt many to overestimate the abilities of robots and artificial intelligence. One day, he says, we might build machines that could rival human brains.

But for now, AI is just not that intelligent.

"There's a lot to do before robotics becomes what you see in the movies," Prof. Bengio says.

"To get the level of knowledge of understanding about the world that we expect of, say, a five-yearold, or even an adult - we are very far from [that]. And it might take decades or more. ... Even what a mouse does is not something that we are able to replicate."

There is little question, however, that developments in both robot hardware and software are racing ahead. Robots being developed by Boston Dynamics, which was recently acquired by Google, can scamper over rough terrain the way dogs do, and crawl like rats over rubble in a disaster zone. An elephant-like robot can lift a concrete brick with its trunk and hurl it over its shoulder. An other dog-like metal creature, named Spot, can keep its balance after being kicked in the side, its metal legs scrambling in an eerily lifelike way.

But if you fear that the killer robot revolution is imminent, Atlas, a six-foot-tall, 330-pound humanoid, might put you at ease. Also created by Boston Dynamics, it can do stairs and even walk over uneven piles of rubble, gingerly. It looks like one of the Cybermen from Doctor Who, but designed by Apple. But its battery pack lasts only an hour. We won't be kneeling before our Atlas masters any time soon.

It's more likely, says Ian Kerr, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology at the University of Ottawa, that humans will gradually relinquish more control to artificially intelligent computers - computers that will increasingly do certain things better than we do.

Even though it may be a while before we have fully driverless cars on our roads, high-end vehicles are already parallel parking themselves. International Business Machines Corp.'s Watson computer, which won Jeopardy! in 2011, is now being used to sift through millions of pages of medical studies to recommend treatments for cancer patients.

"There will be a point where the human ... is kind of in what I like to think of as the same position as Abraham on the mountain, where he hears the voice of God but still has to decide for himself what to do," Prof. Kerr says. "So then it is very easy to think, from a liability perspective, that the hospitals will want [doctors] to rely on the machines, because the machines have a better track record. ... And all of a sudden, we find ourselves where we have taken humanity out of certain kinds of decisionmaking, such as driving, or war."

Associated Graphic

During a test in Cheonan, in South Korea, a sentry robot identifies and points its machine gun at a hypothetical intruder.


This dog-like robot, named Spot and developed by Boston Dynamics, is designed to go anywhere a soldier can go.


Atlas, a six-foot-tall, 330-pound humanoid, can climb stairs and walk over uneven piles of rubble. In challenging terrain, Atlas is co-ordinated enough to climb using its hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces. Its battery pack, however, lasts only an hour.


Open road an apt metaphor for Prentice
On the campaign trail, Progressive Conservative Premier is weathering bumps as he plots a map for the future
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A4

Jim Prentice is sitting on a bus rattling along a lonely stretch of road dotted in potholes.

His campaign is travelling along Highway 40 in northwestern Alberta, headed from his hometown of Grande Cache, toward Edmonton. The road serves as an apt metaphor for the challenge the rookie premier faces politically and what he wants to fix in Alberta. Only 24 hours earlier he called a general election.

For nearly a decade, Alberta politics have been adrift. Mr. Prentice says he was disappointed by the premiers in office.

There were scandals, indecision and poor planning. It just wasn't the Alberta way, he told The Globe and Mail in an exclusive sit-down interview.

"Albertans were disappointed and I was disappointed as well, that's why I came back to public life. I was upset," Mr. Prentice said while sitting at the back of the blue campaign bus. "I felt that our province has not lived up to its promise."

That talk wouldn't be uncommon from a frustrated opposition leader, but Mr. Prentice's Progressive Conservatives have held power for 44 of the 110 years Alberta has been a province. In office as Premier for only six months, Mr. Prentice is seeking the party's 13th consecutive majority.

He must now perform a delicate dance and persuade Albertans the Tory party they've elected repeatedly has transformed enough under his watch to represent change, but hasn't changed enough to be a risk once returned to office.

This is how politics are done in Alberta. From the conservative Ralph Klein to the more progressive Alison Redford, the party has shifted over the past half-century.

With each turn toward the left or the right, the Tory brand is tied to the personality of its leader.

The former senior federal MP and finance executive will tell Albertans he's the most experienced and reasonable leader running in years. This comes at a time of deep deficits, tax increases in a province that has resisted hikes for decades and some whispers suggesting the party has lost its iron hold on the political loyalty of Albertans.

Mr. Prentice was a prominent and trusted minister in the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2010, holding portfolios in industry, Indian Affairs and the environment. There continue to be rumours that he may harbour higher ambitions than the Premier's office.

In his first days on the campaign trail, Mr. Prentice betrays no hint he's worrying about being the leader responsible for ending Canada's longest-serving provincial government. "I'd like to think I'm tough," he says. At 58, he's invigorated by the gruelling schedule of the campaign and has been looking forward to it.

After a rocky stint as Premier during a time where oil prices crashed and the opposition was defanged through floor crossings partially orchestrated by Mr. Prentice, he is finally away from the Dome - the sometimes derisive name for the legislature in Edmonton.

The contradictions that co-exist within Mr. Prentice are plainly visible. He's the coal miner's son who worked the pits himself but now wears a tailored shirt. He was a senior executive in Canada's financial industry, but he's comfortable in small towns without a bank branch. On the first night of his campaign, he drinks a pint of honey brown, bucking his reputation as too slick and polished.

If he wins a majority on May 5, as is widely expected, Alberta's future will echo those contradictions. Mr. Prentice's 10-year vision for the province is to spend less, save more and slowly push the provincial economy away from its reliance on raw energy exports.

If he can follow through with his plan, he'll leave a mark on his province that can't be erased. He wants to be a builder. He'll fill potholes - perhaps the ones on Highway 40, as well - and push out new roads, expand schools, refurbish hospitals.

But first there's the far larger problem of tackling an economy flirting with recession and a budget far from balance due to an oil price that dropped from $92.86 (U.S.) a barrel on the day Mr. Prentice was sworn in to around $50 today.

"Did I expect oil prices to collapse? Absolutely not," Mr. Prentice said. "When I was campaigning last summer [for the leadership], the understanding I had was that Alberta would record a multibillion-dollar surplus and the province wouldn't need to borrow for its infrastructure bill. That was going to be the situation going forward."

Alberta will now run $8-billion worth of deficits over the next two years, before the province is projected to return to balance in 2017-18. To get there, government spending will only grow slowly over the next three years as the province's population continues to boom.

"Alberta has been the powerhouse of the national economy and our national prosperity has been driven more by the energy sector than many would appreciate," he said. "We need to focus on the next three years, which will be challenging. But we will be getting back to being number one."

Mr. Prentice has promised not to touch the nearly $18-billion earmarked for new capital projects over the next three years.

He has labelled the opposition Wildrose Party "extremist" for considering delays or cuts to new projects. While investing in the province, he also wants to double the size of the province's savings fund to $30-billion within a decade.

"Our energy revenue should be set aside for our children and put in the heritage fund. That fund should be used to do things that'll accelerate our competitiveness, diversify our economy and make our universities and colleges stronger," he said.

While Mr. Prentice's campaign is asking Albertans to look toward the future, the Premier's playbook comes from the opening chapter of the Tory story.

Peter Lougheed, Alberta's first PC premier, is often referenced by Mr. Prentice as a leader who invested wisely and built widely.

Mr. Lougheed ruled over Alberta as Mr. Prentice came of age in Grande Cache and is an inspiration for the Premier, according to Jean-Sébastien Rioux.

Mr. Rioux was Mr. Prentice's longest-serving chief of staff while he was the federal Industry and Indian Affairs minister. During Mr. Prentice's leadership campaign, Mr. Rioux spent several days as his policy chief hashing out his boss's vision for the province.

"He had a very positive agenda to build, but he's had to switch from offence to defence," said Mr. Rioux. "The next 18 months are going to be hard and it'll be easier after that. He'll be able to switch to being a builder in the second half of his term."

If he wins, Mr. Prentice will shift more of his attention to files that languished as he dealt with budgetary woes. Chief among them will be working with the other provinces to get stalled energy infrastructure going. Pipelines to Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coasts have met political and environmental snags.

Due to the election, Mr. Prentice won't be attending a climatechange conference in Quebec City this spring. The province's policy in this area, expected last December, now looks delayed until the summer.

He'll also spend more time on diversifying the economy. While Mr. Prentice's first budget, unveiled in late March, promised to help unshackle the province's revenues from the energy sector, he's expected to push for more investment in the forestry and food sector to create jobs isolated from the booms-and-busts of oil.

In a picture from 1986, a glum 29-year-old Jim Prentice has his hand pulling his hair as election results poured in. In his first brush with politics, Mr. Prentice lost a provincial race in CalgaryMountain View to NDP challenger Bob Hawkesworth by 257 votes.

"I learned the importance of hard work and getting out. It was a very difficult election because oil prices and the economy really went south quickly," he says now, running in an election with similar circumstances.

Mr. Prentice practised law for the next 18 years, only re-entering the political arena in 2004 when he was elected as MP for Calgary Centre-North. He soon struck a path as a Red Tory, voting in favour of same-sex marriage.

Soon after the Conservative Party won the 2006 election, Mr. Prentice was recognized as an ambitious and hard-working minister. Keeping tabs on caucus colleagues through the Conservative hockey team, he was seen as the deputy prime minister in all but name.

He was also one of the few ministers in Ottawa to delve into the bureaucracy, speaking with midlevel managers about problems facing government. Mr. Rioux takes pride in remembering his time working with Mr. Prentice and their reputation for running a professional ministry.

"You're never going to find anyone who ever worked with him who isn't to this day completely and absolutely loyal and devoted," said Mr. Rioux. "He's smart, but he isn't pretentious, he isn't a snob."

It's a style Mr. Prentice brought with him to Edmonton when he snagged Mike Percy as his interim chief of staff. The former dean of the University of Alberta's School of Business, Mr. Percy was packing for a move to Victoria when the then Premier-elect asked him to serve.

Mr. Percy had never met Mr. Prentice before, but says he was convinced in a 30-minute meeting to stay in Alberta. The Premier asked him to run a professional office that didn't leak to the press and saw a clear line of separation between the civil service and partisan work.

"The credential that he looks for is not that you bleed blue, "Mr. Percy said, referring to the traditional Tory colour, "but that you can run a professional organization and get people pointed in the right direction."

On the way back from a coal mine, Mr. Prentice's campaign bus stopped quickly in Grande Cache to pick up another round of coffee for the PC Leader and his staff before the long drive to Red Deer - Mr. Prentice drinks two cups in the morning.

As the bus began to leave the town of 4,300 there was a tap on the door. Ned and Diane Fournier had found an old photo of Mr. Prentice's late father from the 1940s wearing his Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. Eric Prentice played five games for the Leafs.

The Fourniers were family friends of Mr. Prentice from his time growing up in the town.

"It's my old man," he said as he placed the photo on a table in the bus. "Dad was never high on politicians so I promised him I'd get in-and-out of politics quickly with his name intact. He's on the campaign now."

Associated Graphic

Premier Jim Prentice is on his campaign bus outside of Grande Cache, Alta., a day after calling an election for May 5.


Well, we know Mona Eltahawy does. But her provocative new book falls short in its goal to change the Arab world
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R14

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution By Mona Eltahawy HarperCollins, 240 pages, $26.99

It's right there on the cover, in that flinchy word "hymen" - a word to make every woman who sees it wince a little, because there is no good context in which anyone talks about hymens.

That provocation cues you for what's coming from Mona Eltahawy: There will be provocation, with no apologies. The book is a fusillade, a rant whose logical inconsistencies are initially disguised by the verve and conviction of her writing.

Her subject here is women and sexuality and sexism, and the particular ways these are handled in Arab countries. The book is a mix of intimate memoir - she writes with great emotion about the decision to wear a hijab, and later to leave her head uncovered - and jeremiad against the "tyrants" who oppress Arab women in their governments, and in their homes.

Eltahawy is an Egyptian writer and journalist who now divides her time between Cairo and New York. She grew up in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and London, and carries the mark of all three. You may remember her as the woman who suddenly seemed to be everywhere at the start of the Egyptian revolution, explaining the country to Western media. This book, she says, is born of concern that even as political space opens in the Arab countries experiencing revolutions and upheaval, the freedoms of women are not only not expanding but in fact may shrink.

As I read along into Headscarves and Hymens, I realized I wanted it to be a good book. I have never met Eltahawy, although we overlapped as foreign correspondents in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. We are Twitter friends, that modern phenomenon, a connection spurred by our shared feminism. I like her public voice: it's brassy and unapologetic, and when she wrote a wildly provocative article for Foreign Policy in 2012 called "Why They Hate Us" (us being Arab women, on behalf of whom she presumed to speak, and they being all Arab men), I found it problematic but was glad to have a Muslim Arab woman making the argument that too often comes from racist Western conservatives, or, nearly as painful, earnest Western feminists (or Prime Minister Stephen Harper) who can see only oppression when they look at a woman who is visibly Muslim.

But the book suffers from a sense of haste - in its conception, or its writing, perhaps both - flipping between a somewhat breathless conversational style that is, at least, highly readable, and sudden expanses of arid statistics that read more like a first-year anthropology paper.

Eltahawy's argument is scattered and reductivist, but when you can find it, it is that, in essence, Arab men have a fear that bleeds into loathing of women's sexuality and thus a compulsive need to control it. In one of its more cogent articulations in the book, she writes, "They hate us because they need us, they fear us, they understand how much control it takes to keep us in line, to keep us good girls with our hymens intact until it's time for them to fuck us into mothers who raise future generations of misogynists to forever fuel their patriarchy. They hate us because we are at once their temptation and their salvation from that patriarchy, which they must sooner or later realize hurts them, too. They hate us because they know that once we rid ourselves of the alliance of State and Street that works in tandem to control us, we will demand a reckoning."

To back up the argument, she presents a dizzying array of horror stories - child brides in Yemen who bleed to death when they are raped by their husbands on their wedding nights, Egyptian survivors of genital cutting, Lebanese women beaten to death by their husbands as their children watch and the police refuse to intervene, Saudi women who become prisoners of their adolescent sons.

But as a reader, I stumbled repeatedly over two problems. First, her research is not deep: The majority of cases she cites are from reports in the limited Englishlanguage Arab media, and she draws heavily on interviews she did for a BBC radio documentary. Sometimes there are UN statistics, and sometimes there is something a woman said to her once on the subway. I found myself craving a deeply researched, Andrew Solomonesque book on this topic, one where the author has immersed herself in the subject not just from lived experience but in research, in criticism, in thousands of hours of interviews. I wanted the anger to be irrefutably backed up.

Second, she levels charges against all Arab societies - although culturally and even linguistically Tunisia has a limited amount in common with Lebanon and the two are a world again different from Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless Eltahawy feels that crimes against women in one are from the same root as those in another - but why draw the line there? I found myself thinking repeatedly of my last posting, in India, and the pervasive misogyny that I ran into in story after story I reported there. No different, surely - Eltahawy's response, I think, would be that of course patriarchy is universal but she is entitled as an Arab woman to start her critique in her own community. Well, sure, but at the same time she is invested in arguing that there is a uniquely Arab pathology here - tied up in the twin obsessions with female virginity and veiling - and she does not convince.

Eltahawy says she was "traumatized into feminism" when she moved to Saudi Arabia with her family at the age of 15, "because to be a female in Saudi Arabia is to be the walking embodiment of sin."

She is an old-school feminist, sprinkling the books with quotes from bell hooks and Audre Lorde and others from the generation whose writing she discovered as a teenager. "To this day I have no idea what dissident professor or librarian placed feminist texts on the bookshelves at the university library in Jeddah, but I found them there. They filled me with terror. I understood they were pulling at a thread that would unravel everything."

There is still enormous power in the writing of hooks and others of her era, and it is refreshing to see their words given weight as relevant today, not just as artifacts. It's a reminder that feminism is about revolution, not just Dove ads or whether you should call your daughter bossy.

The book is at its best when Eltahawy describes trying to reconcile the expectations of her family and community with her religion, and with her feminism, on veiling or premarital sex. "My feminism wrestled with my headscarf," she writes, "but not with my hymen. Why? Why did I obey? And why did I wait so long to finally disobey?" It's not access a Western reader often gets - to those most intimate spaces of Middle Eastern women - and it is engrossing. (Similarly, Western readers may appreciate the voices of feminist thinkers and writers from the Arab world, not widely read in translation, that pepper the book.)

The greater clarity and compelling character of those sections left me sensing a missed opportunity: A sexual revolution is not the same thing as a women's rights revolution, although Eltahawy lumps them together willy-nilly.

She might have done better to focus on the less-trod ground of the former, where she has the most compelling things to say.

There are a great many female bloggers and journalists in the Middle East who don't agree with Eltahawy on Islam's treatment of women, or appreciate her self-nominated position as spokesperson - there was a deluge of enraged response to her Foreign Policy piece - but she is good at calling out absurdity in the usual responses. "Why is it acceptable to move beyond sharia when it comes to theft [and amputating hands, a punishment only Saudi Arabia maintains] but impossible to do so when it comes to women's rights in the family? The simple answer: Personal status laws are the area where religious and conservative men shore up their control of women's lives."

Eltahawy writes that Muslims are forever telling her that the problem isn't Islam, it's "some people's" interpretation of the religion. Nonsense, she says: "We are in denial if we do not honestly reckon with the role of religion in maintaining the patriarch's rule at home, including how the men of religion help him to uphold his rule."

But she trips herself up in a denunciation of the niqab, or face veil; she says its sole purpose is to erase women's participation in public life, and supports the controversial French ban on wearing it.

It's hard to make the leap from pages earlier when she talked about her own feminist defence of a head veil, and the fundamental idea of feminism being about women's choices. No woman would choose the niqab, all else being equal, Eltahawy insists - but a great many Muslim women dispute that, and how can she deem their voices invalid?

She sets her book up as a manifesto: "We might have removed Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, but until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes - unless we topple the Mubaraks in our mind, in our bedrooms, and on our street corners - our revolution has not even begun."

Yet the vital next paragraph - the one that suggests a plan, a path, a strategy - never comes. Eltahawy's prescriptions are limited to vague instructions to "confront" misogyny wherever it is found, "for each of us to expose and to fight against local versions of it."

What would that look like? Who is she talking to? What does she suggest Arab women do? And men? It's important to be angry - as Eltahawy makes clear there is ample reason. But as events in her beloved Egypt have made brutally evident since the first brave protesters went to Tahrir Square, it's vital to have a plan for what comes next.

This book has value as the opening salvo in a debate. But you will have to read elsewhere to find the next lines of the manifesto for this revolution.

Stephanie Nolen is The Globe and Mail's South American correspondent, and the author of several books, including 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa.

Associated Graphic


This week will tell just how many customers are willing to shell out up to $10,000 for Apple's new timepieces. As Courtney Shea reports, the tech company with a winning record but a reputation for expendable products is entering uncharted territory by courting the luxury crowd. Five years from now, will consumers be asking: 'Oh my God - why do you still have that?'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L8

Not long after the Apple Watch's big public unveiling last month, the actress Anna Kendrick expressed her feelings about the $13,000, 18-carat-gold Edition version via Twitter, saying we should all be "thanking Apple for launching ... the new gold standard in douchebag detection."

The wisecrack was retweeted and liked by tens of thousands, suggesting that Kendrick isn't the only one questioning Apple's recent image makeover.

With its move into the luxury accessories market, there's no question that the tech company is courting a new customer: the one (or, more accurately, the 0.1) per cent. Yesterday, two weeks ahead of its wide release, pre-sales of the Apple Watch commenced at Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan in Tokyo. All three style emporiums now have dedicated store-in-store boutiques that sell nothing but the Apple Watch (and, notably, none of its gadget-world "i" siblings). The Apple pop-up at Selfridges is, rather symbolically, situated in the Wonder Room, which also houses Chanel, Dior and other haute brands.

Operation Fashion World Takeover, as Apple's effort might be dubbed, began, fittingly, during Paris Fashion Week last fall, when Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld were among those who showed up at a party to toast and test the watch. That same month, Vogue published a 3,500word profile of its creator, the notoriously elusive Apple designer Jonathan Ive. In it, the simplicity-obsessed Brit spoke of his latest creation as a beautiful object rather than a technological marvel. Last month, the first official ad for the Apple Watch, a sexy 14-page pictorial, was unveiled not in Wired or even Esquire, but in Vogue. The spread featured all three models of the watch - the standard, the sport and the gold-plated Edition version. It included no explanation of what the product might actually do.

And in yet another nod to the brand's evolving identity, Apple is now training Genius Bar employees - those mop-topped millennials in the oversized blue T-shirts - to dispense not only tech expertise but styling tips to Watch customers. It's a bold move, but it invites more than a few questions. For one, does anyone want to take fashion advice from someone who looks like they sleep on a futon? More broadly - and for all the shrewd positioning - will Apple's foray into the world of high fashion stick?

Company co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed his doubts during a recent keynote address at the annual Automate/ProMat Show in Chicago, questioning the decision to court the luxury jewellery market when the brand's identity had previously been so intertwined with upstart pluckiness. "It [doesn't] seem like the company we started. That's not the Apple that moved the world forward," he said. And he's half right. The Apple that has slipped into bed with the Annas and the Karls of the world is a far cry from the company that Wozniak and Steve Jobs started in Jobs's parents' garage. For that matter, it's a marked departure from the "I'm a Mac" identity (think Justin Long in a hoodie) that typified Apple's image just five years ago. Still, when it comes to wearable tech that will move the modern world forward, "Woz" (a self-proclaimed "gadget guy" with a fashionable left foot) is ignoring an essential part of the puzzle.

"It is so important for wearable tech to pass the fashion test," says Jodi Goodfellow, founder of Toronto's Startup Fashion Week, an annual event devoted to the convergence of technology and style. Goodfellow says tech companies are seeking benediction from the fashion community, partly to push past what has thus far been a ghettoizing image problem: "There's a stigma still attached - that Star Trek stereotype." For this reason, some of the most successful wearables so far (such as Tory Burch's line of Fitbit jewellery or the Ringly collection, smart gemstone rings that would be covet-worthy even if they didn't light up and vibrate when your iPhone needs you) have steered clear of the alienating, outer-space aesthetic. "The smart brands," Goodfellow says, "are focused on making products that are appealing from a design perspective."

To this end, Apple has always been ahead of the pack. There is the oftrepeated anecdote, for instance, about how Steve Jobs wouldn't stand for even a circuit board that was visually unappealing. Even before the iPod/Phone/Pad revolution, Macs were sleek status symbols - the sort of technology one would leave out on a coffee table. Apple's ability to project youth and stylishness has always been at the core of its success. With the Apple Watch, which is first and foremost an accessory, the aesthetic bar is higher than ever, however. Ensuring its appeal may explain the company's decision to fortify its fashion ranks: Angela Ahrendts, Burberry's former CEO, was brought on as senior vice-president of retail shortly after Paul Deneuve, ex-CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, was hired to oversee "special projects." Most recently, Patrick Pruniaux, previously a VP of sales at luxe Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, was brought on to help make the Apple Watch stand out in what will soon be a crowded category.

In March, the musician announced that he will work with Gucci on a line of smart timepieces; Tag Heuer itself has paired up with Google for their entry into the smartphone Olympics. These alliances reflect the reigning sentiment that technology will enter our everyday lives in increasingly stylish ways. If the pairing of tech and fashion were enough to ensure success, however, the most stylish people you know would be viewing the world through Google-tinted glasses.

The 2013 launch of Google Glass probably loomed large in Apple strategy sessions. Like the watch, Google's cuttingedge computer-in-a-headset was poised to be the wearable-tech item to win over the world. One of the pre-launch public showcases took place at New York Fashion Week, where Diane von Furstenberg models walked the runway in Google Glasses that coordinated with their teal and orange ensembles. DVF herself sported a pair and took a bow alongside Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Soon after, Von Furstenberg designed a collection of super chic frames. Ray-Ban, Oakley and Luxottica Eyewear were set to do the same. And then the project was put on ice indefinitely, a victim of global indifference and even ridicule.

"People needed time to adapt," says Canadian retail analyst Sandy Silva, looking back on what is now colloquially known as the Google Glass fiasco. Silva says the product was too futuristic and unfamiliar to cross over from cool gadget to stylish accessory. She predicts that wrist-worn technology won't be so hard for the public to swallow. "We all know what a watch is, so there isn't that same need for an adoption period."

Most industry analysts agree that, when it comes to the wearable-tech revolution, wristwear will lead the way. According to recent data from Integrated Device Technology, the wearables market will increase by 133 per cent this year alone; 89 per cent of those products will be wristworn - mostly smartwatches, along with bands and bracelets. IDT says the Apple Watch will be a significant market driver, although numbers can't always predict public sentiment and sometimes fail to account for the psychological aspects of why we buy.

"Let's face it - our phones are practically wearable tech already," says Silva. These scaled-down computers have become not just habits but necessities, in many cases eliminating the need for watches.

Nonetheless, people still wear timepieces (smart or otherwise) to reflect a sense of style and a point of view. It's a conundrum that Apple designer Ive admits to struggling with - that is, how to create a massproduced, uniform object that still enables self-expression. Whether a range of strap and face options will be enough to satisfy fashionistas remains to be seen - and it may not even be the most crucial question.

While technology marches ever forward, fashion swings on a pendulum, which means that this spring's fervour for tech-enhanced accessories could fuel next spring's passion for antiquity. Already there are signs of a reactionary return to basics (the copy in a new ad for the highend German watchmaker Tutima reads "For men who don't need GPS to know where they stand").

"I'm just not sure about staying power," says Anita Clark, a Toronto writer whose blog "I Want - I Got" covers tech and fashion. Clark isn't sure that Apple has pushed far enough when it comes to design ("Doesn't it look a bit like they just strapped a band onto a nano?") and also wonders about the appetite for high-end accessories that need to be replaced every year.

While Apple has so far kept quiet on its plans for future watches, the company's reputation for phasing out early generations is well established. It's a frustration that anyone who has tried to charge a 2013 iPhone with a 2014 cord knows all too well, and it also highlights an important distinction: We buy technology for now but expect high-end splurges to last a lifetime.

A luxury watch in particular is a beloved artifact, the sort of accessory that is purchased to mark milestones and is often passed down between generations. When my dad died two years ago, I inherited his Cartier watch, which is a treasure, a gorgeous thing and a timepiece in that order. Truth be told, I'm not even sure that it keeps time (that's what my iPhone is for).

It's hard to imagine a person's Apple Watch - which will remind us of appointments, hail our taxis and pay for our groceries - occupying the same sacred emotional space, assuming it stays around. "You're not even going to be able to power them up in five years. They'll just be sitting in somebody's junk drawer like a first-generation iPod," says Clark. "People will say, 'Oh my God - why do you still have that?'"

Associated Graphic


Clockwise from left: Musician and Gucci timepiece head Stéphane Linder show off a prototype of the Italian brand's forthcoming smartwatch; Google Glass with frames by DVF; an Apple Watch on the November cover of Vogue China; Apple's stainless-steel edition, costing $650; Ringly's $250 Emerald smart-ring; Tory Burch for Fitbit bracelet in Gold.

Seven Up! director had no time for moguls
Montreal-born filmmaker behind seminal documentary that became a series disliked the Hollywood machine
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S12

Atinge of director Paul Almond's contempt for Hollywood pomp would surface when he told stories about his career. One in particular was about the time he got Paramount Pictures to back his 1968 film Isabel.

A Canadian film getting Hollywood funding is rare. Back then, it was practically unheard of, and a major coup for Mr. Almond and his second wife, actress Geneviève Bujold, who made the first of a trilogy of films together, including Act of the Heart in 1970 and Journey in 1972.

Mr. Almond, who died on April 9 at the age of 83 at the CedarsSinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, from complications following a recent heart attack, would tell his stories with a slightly breathless exuberance.

"All the big Hollywood studios were owned by moguls," he once told a small group at a book signing in 2012, captured on video and now on YouTube.

Around the time he was pitching Isabel, Hollywood studios were being bought by larger conglomerates. Gulf & Western, under industrialist-turned-mogul Charles Bluhdorn, had snapped up Paramount Pictures.

It was a tense time in the industry. Getting an appointment with a newly appointed mogul was never a sure-fire bet, even for Mr.

Almond and Ms. Bujold, with long track records.

They made the trip to Hollywood to pitch their idea. He called Mr. Bluhdorn's office.

"And I said: 'Geneviève, Geneviève, listen! We got an appointment with Charlie Bluhdorn.

We're going to his office!' "And she said: 'No, we're not.' "I said: 'What do you mean?' "She said: 'Tell him to come here!' " The punchline got a round of applause at the book signing. The ploy worked. The couple wound up meeting the mogul in the hotel coffee shop, Mr. Almond recounted, and they received his backing, even though Mr. Bluhdorn had little sense about Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula, let alone the community of Shigawake, where the film was to take place.

Yet Isabel, a film with mystical, Ingmar Bergman undertones intended for art-house audiences, was one of many projects that tied Mr. Almond to his family's Gaspé heritage.

Born in Montreal on April 26, 1931, Mr. Almond was the son of Anglican minister Eric Almond, who had served as a gunner in the First World War and who became a central figure in a series of novels his son wrote late in life.

Growing up, Mr. Almond considered himself a writer rather than a filmmaker. After studying at McGill University, he continued on to the University of Oxford, where he studied political science, philosophy and economics, and edited The Isis Magazine, a literary journal.

He even played semi-pro hockey for a spell in the early 1950s in Italy.

"He really considered himself a poet in those days. So, when he went to get a job, I mean, he had to work! He was dating this dancer, Angela Leigh [who became his first wife], and she said: 'You'd better work,' " said Joan Almond, his third wife.

An officer of the Order of Canada, Mr. Almond is credited with directing more than 130 dramas at the CBC after returning to Canada, during the heyday of early Canadian television in the 1950s and 1960s. And back in England in the 1960s, he directed programs for Granada Television and others, followed by his independent Canadian film work.

It was in England where he received his widest international acclaim, directing Seven Up!, the 1964 British television documentary. The conceit was simple: interview 14 children from different classes from around Britain. The conclusions viewers might draw about Britain's class system were left wide open.

One of the most celebrated of documentaries, Seven Up! originally was produced for Granada Television's World in Action. Normally, the current-affairs program at the time ran 25 minutes, but Seven Up! was given a special 45minute slot, helping to ensure its success.

After Mr. Almond presented the idea to Sidney Bernstein, head of Granada, "he named it Seven Up!, which of course we knew as this drink. And we kind of thought: 'This is horrible, but hey, he's the boss.' And he said fine, and it actually turned out [well] because we [now] talk about the Up Series," Mr. Almond told an audience years later, in 2010, at a Montreal screening of the series.

The documentary was developed into a series by director Michael Apted, an assistant on the original film, who subsequently revisited the children every seven years. As with all lives, those of the films' subjects are formed by everyday regrets and rewards, contentment and pain. Some of them are shown on camera semi-jokingly ruing the day they were picked to appear as kids in the first place. Mr.

Almond's intention was to explore Britain's rigid class system, but the subsequent films do reveal a degree of class mobility.

The series, including the most recent instalment, 2012's 56 Up, has been much copied around the world.

"He loved the fact that somebody had actually gone back and done the thing every seven years.

But he didn't like the fact that he [Mr. Apted] didn't mention Paul ever," Joan Almond added with a laugh.

With the original, "I wasn't and I'm still not big on all the social stuff," Mr. Almond said at the Montreal screening. "I picked all these interesting kids. I thought they were all interesting. I loved them. I had a terrible time watching, because I was crying all the way through [the screening], because I felt for the poor little kids."

Filmed in black and white, Seven Up! doesn't pander to sentimentality or moral judgment (at least not too much by mid-1960s British television standards), and it's clear from Mr. Almond's comments about the film that this was his intention. He simply wanted the children to have their own say.

"So it wasn't like, 'Oh wow, I'm telling all of these class things.' No, I was just making a film with these kids. And they were really interesting little kids, I thought," he said. The fact that he was a Canadian helped give him more freedom perhaps to film the British children more objectively, he added.

Tony Walker, a tough, little East End boy who wanted to be a jockey but eventually became a London taxi driver with a minor acting career, kept in touch with Mr. Almond throughout the years. Mr. Almond and Joan had stayed with Mr. Walker's family in England, and the Walkers visited the Almonds in Malibu, Calif.

"We kept in touch with him, always have been. Great pals," Ms. Almond said. "He was really the only one that Paul kept in touch with."

Mr. Almond was also assisted on the original film by Gordon McDougall, who helped find the children with Mr. Apted. Giving credit where credit's due, Mr. Almond criticized Mr. Apted, who went on to direct a slew of major Hollywood films, from Coal Miner's Daughter to the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, for not mentioning Mr. McDougall's original contribution later on in the series. "But that's how it goes with people once you're in Hollywood and you get power," Mr. Almond told the Montreal audience.

Mr. Almond's own career in both television and independent film is often credited for having opened doors for later Canadian filmmakers, such as Atom Egoyan and others doing expressive, challenging work. Yet, after four decades in the business, Mr. Almond felt the need to get out.

Sure, he still had pangs sometimes in Malibu whenever he would pass by a film or television show shooting on location. But his calling was to focus on writing, diving into what became a series of eight novels based on 200 years of his family ties to the Gaspé. "He thought it was going to be just one book," Ms. Almond said. But after The Deserter (2010), he wound up writing seven more volumes.

Still, "it was a shock to his system a bit, getting out of the film business and going into writing. It was. I mean, we drive down by the PCH [the Pacific Coast Highway], and there'd be a whole bunch of [film] trucks out there, and he'd laugh and say: 'Thank God, I'm not doing that!' "But you know, you kind of get this thing in your stomach," she said. "He had to get out of it. He just couldn't stand it. He had been in it for 40 years. He was a writer even before he was at the CBC. He was a poet at Oxford.

Writing was part of his thing. He wrote all of the scripts for his films. So when he turned to writing novels, he gave up the film business."

After his first marriage to ballerina Angela Leigh, a founding member of the National Ballet of Canada, and second marriage to Ms. Bujold, he married Joan, a photographer, who happened to live near where Ms. Bujold and Mr. Almond's son, Matthew, lived in Malibu. In addition to his son, Mr. Almond leaves stepsons Trey, Tim and Chris Elkins, stepdaughter Tracy Stoker and eight grandchildren.

Leaving the film business didn't mean losing contact. He continued to stay in touch with many of the artists he had worked with, including actress Maggie Smith.

"We saw Maggie Smith when we were in London a few years ago.

He always kept in touch with his people, and he has great friends, and he had great stories. They always thought that when Paul called, they had to talk," Ms. Almond said.

Her husband never wanted to make it big in Hollywood, though. He disliked the Hollywood machine and the hype. Or so he said. "He didn't like all the publicity," Ms. Almond said, then paused. "Well, you never know."

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Associated Graphic

Paul Almond, an officer of the Order of Canada, directed more than 130 dramas at the CBC in the 1950s and 1960s.


Left: Paul Almond made a trilogy of movies with his second wife, actress Geneviève Bujold, in the late sixties and early seventies.


Right: Mr. Almond's most enduring work was his interviews with British children for the TV documentary Seven Up! in 1964.

Woman of many roles sees more to come
Lead actress and jet fuel of Orphan Black, returning for its third season on April 18, speaks about the show that shot her to stardom
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R5

TORONTO -- I am large, I contain multitudes.

- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself W ho is Tatiana Maslany wearing today?

"Good question," says the actress, glancing down at the knee-length, black-on-white print dress she has on. She laughs, and angles her face upward, a shining moonbeam. "I don't know. Who am I? Who am I in?" This is usually a banal query, albeit one laced with casual sexism and cant. It is asked of every actress on every red carpet, a way to simultaneously glorify (ah! what a gorgeous Tom Ford!) and limit them (ah! Tom Ford! ... Alright, who's next?).

But with Maslany, the question froths with potential. As the star and jet fuel of Orphan Black, the head-swirling sci-fi series about a group of cloned women searching for the truth about their origin, Maslany regularly dons half a dozen characters; when you sit down with her, you may find yourself looking for flashes of each. Who is she wearing today, you wonder: The Brixton grifter Sarah, suburban soccer mom Alison, corporate ice-queen Rachel, Ukrainian meathead assassin Helena?

It can sometimes be a bit much to keep straight. When I mention to Maslany that we had met briefly a few months earlier, during a location shoot at Toronto's Cameron House, when she was playing the hippie genetics student Cosima, she can recall the day but not much about the scene or what else happens during that episode. "I struggle to retain the plot," Maslany admits, laughing. "Which is fine, because all of the characters are sort of in a state of, like, not knowing - you know, discovering it in the moment. I have to rewatch the episodesslash-read-synopses before I do interviews, or else I have no idea what I'm talking about."

So, there's that. And then there are the other roles Maslany wears, the ones that are thrust upon her and the show by an outside world whose love can sometimes be smothering.

Since premiering in the spring of 2013 on the cable channel Space, where its third season kicks off April 18, Orphan Black has been hailed as a landmark advance for women on TV, an empowering meditation on the many faces of femininity (not to mention a kick-ass hour of pure entertainment).

But it is also Canada's buzziest TV export in years - it likely has the most fervent foreign following for a homegrown show since Degrassi got a passport - and its success comes as the country's television producers are in a state of high anxiety over wrenching upheaval across the viewing landscape. So some are pointing to Orphan Black as proof that Canada can create critically acclaimed and slick, addictively original programs for grown-ups that are devoured by audiences at home and around the world.

Which is a lot for pint-sized Maslany to have to wear.

If you want to be literal, today, in the sterile confines of the Bell Media headquarters in downtown Toronto, she is wearing a Canada Goose parka atop that print dress, and Uggs. For even though it is a temperate morning in late March, Maslany has just flown back from frigid Timmins, where she was shooting Two Lovers and a Bear, the new film from director Kim Nguyen (Rebelle); within 24 hours, she will be leaving again for the movie's next location in Iqaluit.

Maslany doesn't have to wait for work any more; it comes calling. During the show's hiatus last year, she filmed the drama Woman in Gold, playing a young Viennese newlywed who flees the Nazis after the 1938 Anschluss (she speaks mainly in German). The Two Lovers and a Bear shoot began shortly after Orphan Black wrapped its third season in early March.

"The luckiest people in the world are the producers of Orphan Black," Woman in Gold director Simon Curtis says in an interview. "That's not one of those parts which just anyone could have done, you know what I mean?

"She is going all the way," he adds. "I think she's a phenomenon. I think she's staggeringly talented, beautiful - and has the most brilliant attitude as well.

Just the hunger to commit to the part, her instinct for it, her technique."

At 29, Maslany has been acting for two decades already. Gifted with an ear for accents and a facility for languages, she learned French as an immersion student in Regina and picked up German, she says, "by osmosis" from her parents; her grandparents are from Germany and Ukraine. She didn't much care for high school, and spent time with an improv troupe out of Regina. At 20, she moved to Toronto, where she did yeoman's work, frequently playing teenagers in low-budget Canadian features and TV series such as Being Erica.

It is intriguing to watch some of that now - you can see the talent amid the still-chubby cheeks and sullen teen pouting, even if it is sometimes raw and naturalistic, spirit grasping for form. In 2010, Maslany won a special "breakout performance" jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her turn as a sexually precocious Newfoundland teen in Grown-Up Movie Star.

Still, no one could have anticipated the pure fission that would result when her fierce focus met the surreal storytelling and slick craftsmanship of Orphan Black.

Much has been made of the technological trickery that allows Maslany to act opposite herself, which involves an acting double, green screens, suspended tennis balls to indicate her eye-line, and a computerized camera that can repeatedly perform the same manoeuvre. But there are many times when Maslany will play one character playing another - Sarah stepping in for an indisposed Alison, for example, with the addition of a simple hairband and an altered stance - and viewers will suspend their disbelief, as if watching a live stage show.

"It's for sure helped by the fact that I've trained with improv, and I've worked with amazing acting coaches who just kind of go, 'just do it. And don't be too precious about it, and don't analyze it in any way.

Just let your body trust that, as a human being who's lived experiences, you can access something - you can just go,' "she says.

The first 10-hour season is a riveting trip as street urchin Sarah steals the identity of a woman whose suicide she witnesses, then discovers she has a growing number of genetic sisters.

(The word "clone," which is freighted with a clinical, nonhuman affect, seems inappropriate; in Maslany's empathic hands, these are all fully realized women.) They are vastly different, yet united in spirit, a glorious female-oriented spin on the nature-nurture question.

"I don't see them as the same person, but I see them as the potential for any one person to be a multitude of things - depending on our choices or our upbringing, or things that we can't control and things that we can control," Maslany offers.

"Volition, autonomy - all these things that contribute to who we are. And there's something interesting to me about breaking that idea, that we are so different, that things that define us at the same time don't define us."

It's a notion fed by the wellspring of modern feminism, which reverberates deeply with Orphan Black's frenzied fan base.

Who's to say we aren't each a little bit Ukrainian killer, science geek and minivan princess with a tidy, perfect craft room?

You can see the devotion online, in the bottomless tumblrs of fan art and .gifs and videos of young woman playing multiple Maslanys. She herself sees this at events such as Comic-Con in San Diego, where the Orphan Black cast is greeted by overflowing crowds of quavering fans, many of whom turn up dressed as their favourite clone.

At one panel last year, Maslany quietly wiped away tears as a teenaged girl told her during an audience Q&A that Cosima - who, in addition to being a brilliant scientist, is a lesbian - had inspired her to come out to her parents.

"It's incredible to have that feedback, and to see that you are changing people's lives," says Maslany, who hastens to add modestly: "Or so they say."

Maslany frequently speaks about how she didn't see anyone like herself on TV while she was growing up - that she related more to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle known as Raphael (he's the sarcastic one with the hair-trigger temper) than any woman on TV. "Pop culture so strongly dictates and reflects what society is thinking and doing at the time," she says.

"But I think what's great about our show is it's busting that norm. Making a woman a default - it's just a given.

There's no fanfare, there's no statement. It's just a story through that [female] lens. That makes me so proud."

The same imperative holds for Canadian TV, of course: Like Maslany, who hungered to see someone like herself on screen, some fans here are inspired by Orphan Black's example, even if its setting is never specifically identified as Toronto.

But then, while Maslany calls herself a proud Canadian, she says she doesn't think of herself in those terms. "That feels like a limiting thing. I think that's why I love acting, because it allows you to be sort of a blob that transforms into different things, right? And that fits into different spaces."

She can see herself moving to Los Angeles; it all depends on where the work takes her.

More roles to wear, then.

Asked if there is a particular actress whose career she would like to emulate, she practically yelps: "Gena Rowlands!"

"There's a legacy to the work, there's a length of time that she's been still producing incredible work, and still delving and changing herself. But for me, it's the types of roles that she took on, and the creative collaboration that she had with her husband [director John Cassavetes]. The sort of braveness to do things that weren't being done."

Associated Graphic

In Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany portrays several characters, including soccer mom Alison, shown with husband Donnie (played by Kristian Bruun).

Maslany, here playing grifter Sarah, says her background in improv helped prepare her for the demands of slipping into so many different roles.

A bartender's bistro and a chef's bar. Neither gets it right
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

In December of 2008, a bartender named Frankie Solarik opened an innovative cocktail lounge called BarChef, on Queen Street West. These were innocent years on the city's drinks circuit; save a few pioneering exceptions, innovation behind the bar usually involved rivers of Kahlua or apple-flavoured vodka and ended with the suffix "-tini."

At BarChef, Mr. Solarik concocted impossibly complex drinks that borrowed techniques and ideals from the world of molecular gastronomy - drinks that created "a sensory-emotional experience akin to walking through an art museum," Grant Achatz, the modernist chef from Chicago, wrote after visiting.

But there's only so much market for $45, hickory-smoked Manhattans; a second BarChef would probably cannibalize the first.

This past January, Mr. Solarik and his BarChef partner, a sommelier named Brent VanderVeen, branched out into restaurants with the opening of Furlough, a bistro with a special focus on lesshighbrow cocktails. Their goal here seems to be avoiding any innovation at all.

The room, set in the former Ursa space at Queen and Shaw streets, is done with tin ceiling tiles, textured paisley wallpaper, dark wood wainscoting and ye olde timey prints on the walls to evoke the speakeasy era - a design trope that's feeling distinctly shopworn lately. (The faux-speakeasy is the new fauxFirkin.)

The absinthe fountains on the bar top were empty both times I visited; the effect was like seeing a grand old Cadillac Phaeton up on blocks in a suburban front yard. Hang On Sloopy played one night as the first round of drinks arrived.

The menu reads classic bistro for the most part: duck confit, French onion soup, steak frites, lobster on toast, crème brûlée.

Furlough's young kitchen crew, led by chef Harrison Hennick (NAO Steakhouse, Origin North), executes these with limited success. Mr. Hennick is Furlough's second chef; Justin Newrick (La Société, the Windsor Arms) left after five weeks in charge. In fairness, Mr. Hennick is clearly working hard at improving the place. I could hear him patiently trying to mould his cooks into a team as he managed the pass out front of the open kitchen. Still, he shouldn't have been sending many of their dishes out.

One night's frisée salad with a softly poached egg arrived without any discernible vinaigrette on it. There was a puddle of eggy water at the bottom of the bowl.

The squid ink risotto was dramatically underseasoned - it didn't taste enough like anything - and there was almost no acidity to brighten the plate's overcooked scallops.

The beef cheek braise had none of the silky, molten collagen texture that makes wine-braised beef cheek so decadent; it was verging on chewy. And call me pedantic, but when you order "coq au vin" in a bistro, you expect chicken simmered in red wine and aromatics, and not grilled Cornish hen with a dribble of sauce. These are basic failures on basic dishes, as was the fridge-cold crème brûlée with the long-haul berries on it, and the stale, unsticky toffee pudding.

The appetizers were better: delicious lobster on toasted pain au lait with not-bad hollandaise; a good pickled beet and goat cheese salad; a way overdressed and unbeefy but otherwise perfectly pleasant beef tartare.

On a more recent visit, the cooking was improved, including a bythe-book French onion soup and the nicely grilled steak on a steak frites plate. The $25 "Sunday supper" special of roast chicken was superb: half a chicken, roasted and seasoned beautifully, set on carrot and ginger mash and buried in excellent roast vegetables. I hope the improvement continues.

Yet, the most consistent - and puzzling - part of Furlough was the cocktails. I sampled nine of them, and most were way overwrought (the sweet, musky, awkward house creation called "Self-portrait with monkey, inspired by the painting of the same name by Frida Kahlo") and outof-balance (a distressingly sugary Sazerac that drank like a saccharine tongue sock; the Lucien Gaudin, an $18 negroni variation that uses Cointreau and was served cough-syrup viscous and sweet).

Worse, the sole bartender on duty both times I visited moved at what felt like half-speed. So, if you ordered cocktails for a group, a few of them inevitably sat on the bar for several minutes, losing both their chill and their freshness until the last one was poured. The only thing worse than an oversweet, overwrought cocktail is an oversweet overwrought cocktail that went warm before it arrived.

The story behind Bar Fancy, a popular, new spot hidden at the end of a narrow passageway off Queen Street West, is the opposite of Furlough's: It's the first bar from one of the more promising young chefs in the city.

Jonathan Poon is also the chef and co-owner of Chantecler, in Parkdale, where his new-Asian tasting menus - discontinued last month, sadly - were refreshingly original, with nuanced flavours and rock-solid execution. Mr. Poon's best cooking at Chantecler was fancy, for lack of a better word.

At his new spot, where he's partnered with chef Jesse Fader (Chantecler, Fabbrica), the "Fancy" part of the name is an ironic wink; Bar Fancy is anything but.

The chefs send out packaged toasted seaweed snacks, plastic packing tray and all, for wrapping their Korean-spiced beef tartare.

Bar Fancy's artichoke dip is about one-third as good as what you might find in a Best of Bridge cookbook, and comes with Ritz crackers; they side their fried chicken with white Wonder Bread (stale one night), among other things.

Bar Fancy's "dirty nachos" are made with store-bought chips (the kitchen dusts them, for what it's worth, with a bit of vinegar powder) and gloopy cheese sauce that tastes like it might have been brought in from the concession stand at a community skating rink.

The servers are efficient and kind and the vibe both times I visited was of a gentrified, west-side sort of debauchery: an artsmeets-commerce mix of youngish women and men with nice teeth and GoodLife bodies, slumming it over tallboys to a soundtrack of Trans Am rock. The room is lovely, with a wide bar that wraps around the busy open kitchen. The front window is festooned with overgrown plants in pots.

I can appreciate the place's antifancy M.O., especially given how self-parodying some of bar culture has become. (Please see: "Self-portrait with monkey, inspired by the painting of the same name by Frida Kahlo," above.) If you ask for a cocktail list at Bar Fancy, the servers will tell you they don't have one. "We only do ordinary cocktails," one of them said.

But Mr. Poon and Mr. Fader have blurred the lines between unpretentiousness and garden-variety laziness. The difference between the "ordinary" Manhattan I had one night, which was off-balance and served on crummy ice, and a very good one, is about 30 seconds' effort. When the plates seem as though they've emerged from Aisle 4 of a Wal-Mart Supercentre, you begin to wonder what the kitchen has done with its pride.

The fried chicken is the exception, by far Bar Fancy's best dish.

It is excellent fried chicken, as juicy and smartly seasoned as you'd hope, and with the addition of coriander, cinnamon and smoked jalapeno to the batter for interest and kick. The place earns a cheap eats recommendation based on the atmosphere and that chicken alone.

But, wow, the rest of it. The "tiny lamb sausages" taste most like Johnsonville breakfast links slathered in sticky glaze. Mr. Poon's riff on som tam, Thailand's extraordinary green papaya salad, is all lip-stinging chili heat without any of the salty, savoury and fresh lime notes. It's lame. Maybe we're meant to eat that salad with Bar Fancy's mingy $3 olive dish. The olives were so oversalted one night that we left all but two of them untouched.

The thing is, great, from-scratch bar cooking doesn't have to be pretentious or expensive: Consider the case of the excellent 416 Snack Bar, or LoPan, or the former Hoof Café, to cite just a few examples.

Mr. Poon said on the phone this week that he and Mr. Fader plan to build a new, multistorey restaurant in the lot behind Bar Fancy. It will be a different concept from the bar (expect wood-fired cooking, he said), with more ambition. That all sounds great, but it's not a solution to the issues they've got right now, with the place that's up and running.

"Relax, it's only bar food," doesn't cut it, not when two extremely able chefs, one of them a bona fide star, have attached their names to it.

Like the owners of Furlough, Mr. Poon and Mr. Fader need to focus on getting some basics right.



924 Queen St. W. (at Shaw Street), 647-348-2525,

Atmosphere: Neighbourhood bistro meets ye olde speakeasy, with a very serious bar and an open kitchen. Friendly service.

Wine and drinks: A long and meticulously annotated cocktail list; the drinks often don't measure up. Short wine list (the pinot we ordered was served much too warm). Good craft beers.

Best bets: Lobster on toast, foie gras, beet salad, steak frites.

Prices: Appetizers, $12 to $17; mains, $24 to $30.

NB: Brunch on weekends.


1070 Queen St. W. (at Fennings Street), 416-546-1416,

Atmosphere: A fun, friendly bar down one of the coolest passageways in the city (check out that neon sign).

Wine and drinks: A short but uncommonly excellent list of craft beers; cheap but well-chosen wines; "ordinary" cocktails.

Best bets: Fried chicken.

Prices: Snack dishes from $3 (olives) to $18 (fried chicken).

NB: Half-price oysters and $2-a-piece fried chicken from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

A Cheap Eats pick, where you can dine well for under $30, before alcohol, tax and tip.

Associated Graphic

The neon sign lighting the narrow passageway imparts an air of mystery to Bar Fancy, but the atmosphere inside is more down to earth.


The fried chicken at Bar Fancy is excellent. The side of Wonder Bread, however, comes off as lazy (and possibly stale).

Sable Island is one of the most fabled outposts in Canada, writes Catherine Bush: a barren strip of land home to 500 feral horses. Ten thousand shipwrecks attest to its perils. But a new cruise means its secrets are more attainable than ever
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

SABLE ISLAND, N.S. -- Our Zodiac speeds toward the horizon-spanning strip of Sable Island, 160 kilometres off the Nova Scotia coast. We're approaching the fabled island from its protected side, away from the most turbulent wind and waves. Spray dashes our faces yet it's so idyllically sunny and calm that it's hard to believe we're on the ferocious North Atlantic. We peer ahead, eager to catch our first glimpse of one of the island's wild horses, thrilled to be part of the first tour group to come ashore since the island became a national park reserve in 2013.

Someone shouts and points. High on a dune, a lone creature appears in silhouette.

Once our boat, one of a dozen or so, reaches land, we leap onto the beach and strip off our wet gear. Out on the water, Adventure Canada's clipper ship, the Sea Adventurer, our home for this expedition, rides at anchor. On shore, our Parks Canada guides give us our instructions. We are not to eat anything, leave anything behind or remove anything, including any beach debris, which must remain in situ because it's being studied. And we are not to go within 20 metres of the 500 horses who call the island home.

We set off single file into the dunes and, just over a low sandy ridge, spy a family of horses grazing on a small plain of marram grass. Four mares, still shedding shaggy winter coats, munch with their foals, watched by a stallion with sweeping mane and tail like something out of a teenaged girl's horse fantasy. A dead horse lies nearby, testament to the island's harsh conditions. Ingesting tough beach grass and sand wears down the horses' teeth; they have a lifespan of just four to five years.

A second stallion approaches and breaks into a trot, mane rippling across his side. Seconds later, the two stallions rear up in a brief clash before the approaching male backs away.

The horses have never seen a group of 100 humans trekking through the dunes. Last year saw only 13 visitors before our June arrival. When the federal government began the process of making Sable Island a park in 2010, Adventure Canada, known for leading expeditions to the Arctic, approached Parks Canada about starting tours to the island. Our visit is a pilot project that will help determine how to manage visitors and keep our presence low-impact.

We climb the 28-metre rise Bald Dune, the windy, highest point on the island. From the top, we take in both sides of Sable Island's 1.5-kilometre span and much of its ribbon-like 40kilometre length. A single horse follows a man with a camera across an adjacent ridge. I cannot help wondering what these animals think of us.

For years, the horses have lived virtually on their own in family bands, along with the world's largest breeding colony of 50,000 grey seals. A few academic researchers come and go, sometimes staying for a month or so at a time. Environment Canada has a small manned weather station and now four Parks Canada employees live in a cluster of wooden houses in the middle of the island. Supplies arrive by boat and plane. An old Department of Fisheries research station at the east end has already been taken over by shifting sands.

Technically, the horses are not wild, but feral: The original population came from Acadia, brought to the island as a commercial venture in the 18th century. In 1959, after a particularly harsh winter, the Canadian government decided to remove the horses and turn most into pet food. Children from across the country - and around the world - wrote letters to thenprime minister John Diefenbaker, begging him to leave the horses on the island. He did, and wrote their protection into law.

One of those letter writers is on this Adventure Canada expedition, eager to see the animals she helped save, as is a woman who has made it a goal to travel to islands that harbour wild horses. (She's already been to Virginia's Chincoteague, where the famous children's novel Misty of Chincoteague is set.) Others have been tugged by different versions of the Sable Island mystique. A cartographer for the Nova Scotia government hopes to draw on historic lore and create more place names than the seven that exist for a landscape where the sandy topography changes constantly.

Some say that tourists should not be here at all. Anyone who visits must register with Parks Canada, receive approval and go through mandatory on-shore orientation. Camping is not permitted. On this trip, we come ashore for a few hours at a time and spend our nights moored offshore on the 118-passenger Sea Adventurer. The remoteness and difficult weather do their part to keep visits to a minimum.

Our second day dawns fogshrouded and it looks as if we won't leave the ship at all. Late afternoon, the clouds part just enough for our Zodiac drivers to steer us ashore by GPS. Someone remarks how Sable Island is celebrated on placemats and posters across the Maritimes as the "graveyard of the Atlantic."

Ten thousand ships have wrecked on the shoals on the island's ocean side, and as we vanish into fog en route to an invisible island, I understand how easy it is to lose all sense of direction.

Once ashore, we hike through misty hummocks and dips where horses graze. Science writer Jay Ingram, one of the expedition's resource staff, remarks that it feels as if we have been dropped into a geological era before the advent of humans. Tiny wild strawberries grow here, along with blueberries, cranberries and bayberries.

Ipswich sparrows dart among the shrubs. We pass a murky pond, its surface decked with water lilies, the surrounding dirt a sea of hoof prints. The horses dig down through the sand to find fresh water, which floats underground above the deeper saltwater. On the far side of the island sits a great sand plateau - once a freshwater lake that has dried up as sand encroached. Where the sand meets bracing breakers, lolling grey seals raise their heads like periscopes to watch us curiously.

Parks Canada manager Jonathan Sheppard considers the island a testament not to fragility but tenacity. Visitor management takes place against a backdrop of other issues: the loss of fresh water, long-term sea-level rise due to climate change, the carrying capacity of the island for the growing horse population. Oil and gas exploration takes place outside a 1.6kilometre exclusion zone; a platform hovers on the horizon.

Another reminder of human encroachment is the detritus that washes ashore after its own form of global travel: coconuts, dry-cleaning plastic, a crate of Gucci perfume.

On our final shore trip the next day, we meet the remarkable Zoe Lucas, who probably knows more about the island than anyone and is the closest thing to a full-time resident, and wise elder, that Sable Island has. No one can live in a national park reserve but Lucas, who has a researcher's permit, has been grandfathered in and given permission to stay for months at a stretch. She has done so since she first came to Sable Island as a young woman in the early 1970s to cook for a research team.

Lucas, a volunteer research associate with the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, studies the horses and the island's habitat, often for researchers who can't make it to the island, and now for Parks Canada. In the years before digital photography made access to photos easy, she learned to identify individual horses by the underside of their hooves.

Apple-cheeked, a paisley scarf around her neck, she tells us the two stallions that we saw joust were once companions until one bested an older stallion for the mares. She kneels to sketch a horse in the sand.

The next morning, the sun shines again but the wind has risen. It is too dangerous to attempt a landing. With three visits over three days, we have been far luckier than many researchers, who wait days in vain for fog to clear. As the Sea Adventurer pulls away and the island recedes, the fact that we set foot on it at all feels all the more astonishing.

Catherine Bush's most recent novel, Accusation, is now out in paperback. She travelled as a guest of Adventure Canada; it did not review or approve this article.


Adventure Canada's Sable Island expedition departs from St. John's. The nine-day itinerary includes three days in the vicinity of Sable Island, travel through the marineprotected region known as the Gully, which is rich with aquatic and bird life, and various whale species, plus a stopoff on St. Pierre, the tiny French colony off the Newfoundland coast. Fine weather also afforded us a half-day in Francois (pronounced Fransway), a cliffside Newfoundland village only reachable by boat. Hiking on Sable Island isn't rigorous, but you need to be in good shape. Tour prices start at $2,395 (U.S.). The next Sable Island cruise will run June 11 to 19, 2016. Flights to St. John's are not included.

You will likely want to overnight in St. John's before boarding the expedition vessel. Adventure Canada offers a reduced rate for trip members at the Delta, but you might also try the delightful B&B, the Chef's Inn on Gower Street.

Associated Graphic

The Sable Island horses have been protected by the government since 1960, after children around the world wrote letters to then-prime minister John Diefenbaker.


The horses were originally brought to the island from Acadia as a commercial venture in the 18th century.


Visitors to Sable Island must register with Parks Canada, receive approval and go through mandatory on-shore orientation.

Our tour group went ashore for a few hours at a time, and we spent our nights moored offshore on the 118-passenger Sea Adventurer.

Sable Island is home to the world's largest breeding colony of 50,000 grey seals.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 Thursday, April 16, 2015 CorrectionA Saturday Travel story on Sable Island incorrectly said 10,000 ships have wrecked on the shoals on the island's ocean side. In fact, there are more than 350 documented wrecks with an estimate of 10,000 deaths.

Is eating salad really emasculating? Sarah Hampson wonders what our food choices say about our views on gender
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

It was because of spring. The severe winter cold had been great for one thing only. The justification of French fries. Oh, and red wine. Now, the warming temperatures demanded something light and green. Besides, there was our health to think about.

"It'll be good," I told my husband when he asked what we were having for dinner.

He offered me a solemn look from across our kitchen. Sweet, but solemn. The sort of look your child gives you when you tell him that the first day of school will be terrific, really, a chance to meet new kids and a nice teacher. My husband is the one who usually cooks, not because I can't or don't like to, but because he finds it relaxing at the end of a day. It had become our routine.

"My experience with quinoa is not happy," he reminded me gently.

I had made a quinoa salad for him once before. "I am British," he had explained meekly. "My digestive system is fond of potatoes."

"There isn't that much of it. Half a cup," I assured him.

"Mostly green stuff. Kale. Some chickpeas." Chickpeas. Geez. I cringed a bit.

It suggests to your guy that you're going to treat him to the culinary equivalent of a chick flick - The Notebook perhaps. Proteinpea would be a better name - more gender-neutral. I looked at him to gauge his reaction.

The rise of an eyebrow, that's it, as he sipped his beer and communed with his smartphone.

I didn't dare tell him the name of the recipe. The Goddess Bowl.

It was from a bestselling cookbook, Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon, who lives in Oakville, Ont. Needless to say, there's no boy vibe to its content or design.

The recipes are vegan for one thing. And it's filled with girl foods: dishes with nuts, berries and almond milk; salads; "meatloaf" made with lentils, apples, carrots and walnuts. Hey, He Grills could be the name of a male-targeted cookbook if we're going to go down this genderstereotype road. There would be rib-eye steaks, sirloin steaks and thick beef burgers.

Yes, the world was once divided into women in aprons and men in suits (and children who never talked back), but that feels like life on another planet. We're a long way past strict perceptions of gender roles and expectations. What's with the leftovers?

Recently - to much consumer outcry - Stonemill Bakehouse, a Canadian bakery based in Toronto, introduced gender-based "Wellbeing" bread loaves in grocery stores such as Loblaws, Sobeys and No Frills. The "girl" bread was milder, lighter-textured and made with hemp and quinoa and fortified with vitamin D and calcium. The bag was accented with pink. The "boy" bread - in a brown-accented bag - was marketed as heartier with barley and rye, more protein and fibre. The company has since withdrawn the packaging.

In fact, the idea of his and her food products has become a trend in recent years. In 2013, a Greek yogurt called Powerful Yogurt was launched to appeal to men. The packaging is black with a stylized graphic of a bull on the label. The company and manufacturer in Florida, Powerful Men LLC, describe the yogurt (or "brogurt" as some call it) as protein-packed, and in earlier marketing materials - which have since been removed - they claimed that a zinc mineral helped male fertility. A few years ago, Cadbury in Britain introduced a new chocolate bar, Crispello, marketed to women as a dainty treat at a mere 165 calories. Bethenny Frankel, the reality-TV star who first came to fame on The Real Housewives of New York City, launched her Skinnygirl cocktail brand in 2009, which has since been acquired by Beam Inc. and expanded its lineup of alcoholic drinks. She has also created Skinnygirl protein bars, chocolate "nutrition" bars and popcorn.

The reason? Research clearly shows that gendered ideas about foods are deeply ingrained in the way individuals think about what is appropriate for a man or a woman to eat. Some of the food-marketing campaigns set out to counteract gendered ideas. Yogurt, for example, is considered girlie.

Interestingly, some of the research findings are reflections of what one academic called "perilous masculinity." Take out your knife and fork, my friends. This is meaty stuff.

In a research project at the University of British Columbia, "Meats, Morals and Masculinity," researchers investigated people's perceptions of omnivores and vegetarians. Participants were asked to rate someone's personality based on a small amount of information, including their activities, gender, weight, height and diet. Controlling for perceived healthiness of diets, the research showed that both vegetarian and omnivorous participants found vegetarians to be more virtuous and moral, but men who are vegetarian were perceived as significantly less masculine than their omnivore counterparts. (The perception of a woman's feminity was not affected by her choice to eat meat or not.)

"The idea is that masculinity is much more vulnerable than femininity," Matthew Ruby, a cultural psychologist and one of the authors of the study, said in a telephone interview. "In North America, manhood is earned through social displays. ... It is much harder to attain and easier to lose. It is socially, rather than biologically, determined."

Studies show that men are far more inclined than women to practise what's known as "gender identity maintenance." Just as the 1982 bestseller said, real men don't eat quiche. Or rather, they don't dare, not in a social situation.

The need to convey a strong gender identity is part of what feeds the "omnivore's dilemma," a term coined by Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. It refers to the moral and emotional pitfalls brought on by the human's ability to eat anything.

We get to choose what we eat, in other words, and therefore, food has the power to telegraph messages about who we are. In a paper, "Is Meat Male?," published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2012, Rozin and three other professors at other American universities examined cultural and gender associations with meat.

They asked people to free-associate about the maleness or femaleness of a range of foods.

Turns out, medium-rare steaks, hamburger and beef chili are found to be most male. Sushi, chocolate, chicken salad and peaches are most female.

Some of their findings were counterintuitive. For example, they hypothesized that foods from female animals - milk and eggs - would be symbolically linked to femaleness. But that was not the case. And they also discovered that the cooking or the processing of foods tended to make something more feminine.

Chicken salad was more female than broiled chicken, for instance.

Other researchers have pointed out the association between eating meat and sex, reflected in the word, carnality, which is derived from the Latin word for meat or flesh. In Food for Thought: Purity and Vegetarianism, Julia Twigg, a sociologist, wrote that "blood in meat is associated with virility, strength, aggression, power." In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous books recommended a vegetarian diet for boys as a way to limit masturbation, she noted. She argued that meat was an expression of the patriarchy as it was the men who hunted wild beasts and tamed or dominated nature, which was seen as more feminine. In evolutionary history, it was the women who gathered leaves and berries.

Meat also signifies prestige and wealth. "In European countries, meat was traditionally for the wealthy, for kings and lords," says Marilyn Morgan, a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who teaches a course called "Gender, Food and Culture in American History" at Harvard Summer School. "When waves of immigrants came to North America from Western Europe in the 1880s through to the 1920s, often to escape famines, they were almost universally struck by the availability of food, especially meat, which held strong cultural significance." Advertising campaigns through the years have underscored these associations or tried to counteract them.

The meat-male-power trifecta is so much a part of the collective consciousness that medical advice to limit red meat often gets ignored. It's why manufacturers of veggie burgers put fake grill marks on their products.

And it's also why business magazines publish counterintuitive stories about the rise of the power vegans. American business magnate, Steve Wynn, investor Mort Zuckerman, Ford executive chairman, Bill Ford, former president Bill Clinton and Twitter cofounder, Biz Stone are all vegans.

So is Mike Tyson, the boxer who once bit Evander Holyfield's ear.

When I read about people eating certain foods to uphold aspects of their identity for others' consumption, I always feel a little disappointed. Women might eat meat on a first date, for example, to show that they're not finicky eaters. Or they might eat light foods to appear dainty.

Really? I think. Do we constantly have to worry how others are defining us? If it's not what you eat then it's what you drive or where you live. It's exhausting to keep up such a carefully managed front. If I want to eat chocolate, I'm going to opt for a honking great bar, not some dainty thing to make me feel better. And I'm certainly not going to rely on a choice of food to explain to someone what I'm like or what I think. I would use my mouth to speak out loud.

Still, awareness of our subconscious associations with food and gender identity can help change habits. Turning back to the gender experiment of my domestic laboratory, I'm happy to report that the Goddess Bowl was well received. I even found the courage to tell him the name.

"Just let me know if I'm starting to glow in a way you fancy," he teased.

The next night, it was his turn to set the menu.

"What are we having?" I asked.

"Meat, of course," he said without raising his head as he concentrated on chopping something. "I'm a man."

Associated Graphic

Researchers found that meat is associated with sex, wealth and prestige.


Lush hiking trails that lead to aquamarine lakes are not what you'd expect to find on far-flung islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Turns out the Azores are full of surprises, Jim Byers writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

AZORES, PORTUGAL -- Iam terribly confused.

When I envisioned landing on some far-flung islands in the Atlantic Ocean - five and half hours east of Toronto; two hours southwest of Lisbon - I had only the fuzziest of notions about what I'd be seeing. I expected sizable mountains and I knew the ocean waters wouldn't need an Instagram filter to look nice and blue.

But while exploring the Azores, I encounter so much more. I gaze upon fields of waving grass a shade of green the Irish haven't invented. I stand on sheer cliffs of 1,000 metres or more, staring down at a black coastline of jumbled volcanic rock; it looks like Hawaii, with cobalt waves splashing white clouds of foam in the air. Nearby are white-washed homes with orangey-red tile roofs that make me think of Sicily or Sorrento. I find myself almost overwhelmed by this place, where folks seem to have borrowed from just about every corner of the world and come up with something else entirely.

Well done, Portugal.

The best way to travel between these nine volcanic islands these days is by plane. But once you're on land, nothing beats exploring them by foot. Hiking is a huge deal here, with mountains that plunge into deep blue water, hilltop lakes, tea plantations and a warm, gentle people to guide you along the way. Each of the islands, even tiny Corvo, boasts breathtaking trails - many the remnants of centuries-old footpaths used by islanders to transport goods on donkeys, or guide cattle out to pasture. Websites detail just about every plant and animal you'll encounter, and large route signs show you the way with detailed maps, descriptions and degrees of difficulty.

My first full day begins on the long, skinny island of Sao Jorge with what looked - on paper - like a modest hike. My guide for the day is Elisabete Alves, a local resident and long-time hiking enthusiast.

After stopping to admire the views from the pretty, low-key coastal town of Velas, we make our way over the top of the island, then drive down a ridiculously steep and winding road to Faja dos Cubres. Sao Jorge is famous for its fajas - small, usually rounded fingers of land created by volcanic flows and landslides.

Our hike is supposed to take us along the coast for a mere four kilometres to the village on Faja de Santo Cristo. Even for a guy of a certain age, it sounds like a nice afternoon stroll. But the minute we leave the parking lot I start to worry. What looked like flat terrain from high above is instead a series of knee-pounding, hip joint-smacking hills. It's not the Rockies, but several times our dirt road rises 100 to 200 metres before plunging back down.

"This hike is rated medium," Alves tells me as I rest my bones about halfway to Faja da Caldeira de Santo Cristo. "But it's really medium-difficult because of the hills."

She asks whether I want to turn back. But I am not that knackered, and I don't want to miss our final destination, where a large pond with just the right mix of fresh and sea water is the perfect breeding ground for cockles, small clam-like creatures that are simmered in local white wine, olive oil and fresh onions, and taste divine slurped straight from the shell.

As we slide past spectacular views of the sea and gaze up at massive walls of rock and deep green forest rising over our heads, Alves points out some of the flora.

"This one's good," she says, pointing to a tiny, pale flower. "When I was a little girl, we'd suck on part of the flower when it's ripe. It's quite sweet." She pauses for effect.

"You just have to watch out for the ants."

We march onward, up and down the hills and past a few bored-looking cows penned in by walls fashioned of the cheapest and most available material they can find in these parts; craggy, grey-black volcanic rocks. (If you stand on any of the Azorean islands' many overlooks, you'll see a patchwork quilt pattern of rocks that zag and zig over the verdant landscape. In other parts, they use thick layers of hydrangeas for hedges, giving parts of the islands a remarkable blue pattern during the blooming season.)

We pause in Santo Cristo to take photos of the wild coastline and the scattered homes, then trudge back to the parking lot at Faja dos Cubres. Over dinner at a place that serves tender Azorean steak with the island's famous, slightly nutty Sao Jorge cheese, Alves tells me a bit about her home. I ask about any rivalries among the nine main Azorean islands and she laughs.

"We like to make fun of Terceira because they have so many festivals and parties. We call the Azores eight islands and one amusement park."

Later in the week, I have only three hours to explore Terceira. I don't see any Tilt-A-Whirls, but I do tour the town of Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO heritage site with boldly colourful buildings and an old fort on a hill protecting the harbour. I spend most of the next two-and-a-half days on Sao Miguel, a stunning island that features volcanic craters filled with fresh water and the only two tea plantations in Europe. The main city of Ponta Delgada has its charms - including some edgy art galleries - but I prefer the rocky, southern shore around Caloura, with its chalky brown cliffs, seaside restaurants and laid-back, Mediterranean feel.

My Sao Miguel guide, Edoardo Elias, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the islands - and a ton of relatives in the Toronto area (quite common in these parts, after a mass emigration from the islands in the 1950s and '60s). He takes me to Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), where we climb 96 stairs of an abandoned hotel with soggy carpets and torn out walls to admire the view of Blue Lake and Green Lake, said to have been created from the tears of a princess and poor shepherd boy who were not allowed to marry.

The Azores are in an active volcano zone where three tectonic plates meet, which produces a lovely benefit for aching hikers: a multitude of bubbling natural springs in which to soak your aching muscles. I take a 20-minute soak in 37-degree waters in the jungle-like forests at Caldeira Velha and later enjoy the mineral bath at the lovely Terra Nostra Garden Hotel in the village of Furnas, built inside an inactive crater. The town is filled with taps that spill out warm-to-scalding water. One is said to be best for sore joints, another for hangovers.

"There's one where folks swear you can pass any police sobriety test if you drink from it first," Elias tells me, an eyebrow fully raised.

On my final full day in the Azores, I make time for one last dip in the rusty-brown, iron-rich waters of Terra Nostra's outdoor mineral pool, then wander through the hotel garden, a thicket of deep, dappled green that feels like a cross between Britain and Southeast Asia. The climate here, surrounded by ocean waters that keep things cool in summer and not too cold in winter, allows residents to grow almost anything. In addition to pineapple and palm trees and those massive hedges of hydrangeas, you'll find towering camellias, riotous rhododendrons and pink azaleas.

As I wander about Furnas, I spot thick waves of steam rising from cracks in the earth - swirling around those deep orange-red rooftops and rising up toward steep, impossibly green cliffs dotted with black and white cows under a pale blue sky.

I find myself wandering about in a half-daze, wondering how I didn't really know what this place has to offer.

The writer travelled as a guest of the Azores Tourism Association. It did not review or approve this article.


SATA flies directly to Ponta Delgada from Toronto; flight time is less than six hours.

You can also fly from Lisbon, which is two hours away.


The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is a lovely, recently renovated property in Furnas. From €135 ($177);

Hotel Colegio is a small hotel fashioned from an old school in the heart of Ponta Delgada.

There is an excellent restaurant on site and a nice pool.From about €80;

On Sao Jorge, Casa da Ermida is a stunning farmhouse with exposed stone walls just 10 minutes from the main village. With a large area for kids to play out back, a huge upstairs living room and a kitchen, it's great for families. From €70 (including breakfast);

Associated Graphic

After a hike through the dense forests of Sao Miguel's Caldeira Velha, enjoy a soak in a natural hot spring.


Top: Several businesses were abandoned in Faja da Caldeira de Santo Cristo after an earthquake a few years ago, but some folks still eke out a living in this isolated community on Sao Jorge's north shore. Bottom: A walk through the gardens at the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel reveals lovely views of the town of Furnas on Sao Miguel.


Top: Small villages such as Faja do Ouvidor dot Sao Jorge's beautiful north shore. The island is famous for a slightly spicy, nutty white cheese that can often be found in Canada.


Left: A walk through the western hills of Sao Miguel to the town of Sete Cidades is one of many breathtaking hikes visitors can take in the Azores.


Canada failing to learn from 'world class' oil-spill cleanups
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

The fog was almost too thick to see the water from his office at Pier 1, but when Richard Berman got to work that morning, he could smell some of the 200,000 litres of bunker fuel that had spilled into the Port of San Francisco.

That was several hours before the U.S. Coast Guard notified the surrounding cities and ports around San Francisco Bay that the cargo ship MV Cosco Busan had hit part of the Bay Bridge and punctured two of its fuel tanks.

"It was one of the foggiest days I've ever seen, but the smell was very powerful," said Mr. Berman, who monitors environmental compliance at the port. "I saw it and smelled it before I heard about it through any notification process."

Within several hours of the incident on Nov. 7, 2007, two response organizations hired by the vessel's owner began cleaning up the spill, but strong currents had already pulled the viscous fuel kilometres down the coast, and the spill soon became the San Francisco Bay's worst in nearly two decades. The bunker fuel contaminated about 42 kilometres of shoreline, killing more than 2,500 birds and temporarily closing a fishery in the bay and delaying the start of the crabbing season.

The lessons learned from that spill hold resonance in British Columbia, where authorities faced similar circumstances following a bunker fuel leak into Vancouver's English Bay last week.

The finger-pointing among government agencies and the unanswered questions surrounding the response to the spill within sight of the city's beaches have raised questions about Premier Christy Clark's demand that cleanup protocols be "world class" before her government will support new pipelines funnelling Alberta petroleum products to B.C.'s coast.

The Canadian Coast Guard says its response last week was exactly that; the province and Mayor Gregor Robertson have disagreed, saying the federal agency was uncommunicative in the crucial early hours. There have also been pointed questions about why it took 11 hours after the first report of a spill to identify the leaking ship, and why it took 12 hours for the City of Vancouver to be notified about the toxic brew in its waters.

Roughly 14,000 marine oil spills are reported around the world every year, most too small to attract any media attention. Canadian waters experience about two bunker fuel spills annually, according to a federal review panel's report into Canada's response released last August.

An independent risk assessment commissioned by Transport Canada two years ago indicated there was a low probability of a large oil spill on B.C.'s coast, but if one were to happen, it would most likely occur around the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Experts agree there's no single "world class" standard for oil spill response, but say leading regimes have some key things in common: clearly identified command structures led by a government representative; good communication between all parties; and enough funding to drill industry and government partners so everyone is properly prepared.

Marlene Calderon, a foremost academic and consultant on spill response, said in an e-mailed statement that the U.S. system is much more effective than its Canadian counterpart because the U.S. system puts "major burden in initiating the response on the potential polluter."

"It is hard to believe that in the case of the Marathassa spill, the slick alert came first from a recreational boater rather than the captain of the MV Marathassa," said Prof. Calderon, of Southampton Solent University.

Today, the U.S. Coast Guard has mandated area planning updates in San Francisco Bay to ensure officials working from all levels of government are familiar with one another, Mr. Berman said.

Half of the port's 240 staff, mostly the tradespeople that keep the facilities running, must undergo an initial 24 hours of spill response training and renew their qualifications annually with an eight-hour course, and they must also get out on the water once a year and exercise their skills, such as deploying oil booms and monitoring tides, so that they can help out immediately in the event of a larger spill.

To maintain its certification, the marine response firm must demonstrate to Transport Canada that it is prepared to respond to a spill under various circumstances, and is required to conduct equipment deployment exercises and oil spill response training courses for its crew.

But a 2013 study commissioned by the B.C. provincial government stated that the West Coast's industry-funded response organization, Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, didn't make its contingency plans open for public review and could benefit from a short series of unannounced drills to test its capabilities. Federal standards for spills such as the one last week require resources to be deployed on the scene within six hours, a mark that appears to have been met in this case.

Port Metro Vancouver led an emergency response and security training exercise with 120 people from more than 30 organizations last April, according to its 2013 sustainability report. It spent an average of $2,055 on training exercises for its 293 employees in 2013, and encourages its employees to "undertake continuous education, training and professional development," according to the same report.

Joe Spears, managing director of the Horseshoe Bay Marine Group consulting firm, said that in Norway, federal and municipal government employees working in coastal communities are trained to respond to an oil spill.

Equipment is cached in various places around a municipality and municipal employees can conduct "pollution countermeasures" such as firefighters putting bales of hay on the beach or scaring birds away from a slick, he said.

Mr. Spears, a former maritime lawyer, said Washington State leads the world in integrating a robust oil-spill response between different agencies. "On a scale of one to 10, the State of Washington, working in co-operation with its partners and the U.S. Coast Guard ... I would say they're probably an eight or nine and we're [the Canadian Coast Guard] at probably a one or two when it comes to reaching out," Mr. Spears said.

Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, preparedness manager at Washington State's Department of Ecology, said the starkest difference between B.C. and her jurisdiction is Washington's stricter regulation of the oil industry and enforcement of regular exercises involving all parties.

"In Washington, the industry conducts drills, but they don't get to just self-certify themselves, there's an evaluation by the state agency, an independent evaluation of the performance of that plan," Ms. Pilkey-Jarvis said. "That is so important because you really work out all the issues ahead of a spill actually occurring and everybody knows what the expectations are."

Darryl Anderson, a marine shipping consultant and past president of the Port Alberni Port Authority, said making Canada's blanket time-response standards even stricter probably wouldn't help because he doesn't have confidence that responders could meet those targets.

Canada falls short of other nations in the unwillingness of the Coast Guard to step in during the crucial initial hours to direct the spill response - that is because the polluter-pays principle means the vessel often takes the lead role, he said.

"There is a tendency in Canada to ask, 'Who is in charge here,' " Mr. Anderson told a Senate committee on shipping oil two years ago. "If you go to the U.S. and you point to a port captain and the U.S. Coast Guard commander, make no mistake, they are in charge."



4:58 p.m. A sailor calls the Canadian Coast Guard over a marine radio suggesting that oil was leaking from the starboard stern of the MV Marathassa.

5:05 p.m. Sailor Rob O'Dea calls 911 from his cellphone to report a slick.

5:08 p.m. The Coast Guard calls Mr. O'Dea to say they were aware of the spill and had dispatched a pollution response team.

5:15 p.m. A Port Metro Vancouver harbour patrol boat investigates the report, but it is not equipped to begin clean-up.

About 6 p.m. Port Metro asks commercial air traffic for photos to assess the scope of the spill.

7:15 p.m. Port Metro's harbour master tells the Coast Guard there is a "minimum sheen" that is unrecoverable.

8 p.m. Mr. O'Dea heads home. He sees no pollution response vessels on the scene.

8:06 p.m. Western Canada Marine Response Corp. (WCMRC) is formally called to respond to the situation.

9:25 p.m. WCMRC finds oil on the water, about the same time the harbour master concludes it's a large spill. Cleanup begins.

10 p.m. Coast Guard informs the Vancouver Police Department of the spill, though the city says that was an inquiry, not an alert.


4 a.m. WCMRC identifies the Marathassa as the source of the spill.

4:30 a.m. WCMRC begins to set out a containment boom around the ship. The task takes an hour.

5:06 a.m. City of Vancouver is told there is an oil spill.

5:50 a.m. The City of Vancouver activates an emergency operations centre.

10:20 a.m. A flyover by Transport Canada concludes that an estimated 2,705 litres of bunker fuel had been spilled and local beaches fouled.

7 p.m. Coast Guard reports that 80 per cent of the oil has been recovered. The clean-up operation, though ongoing, is dubbed a success.

Associated Graphic

Half of the port staff at San Francisco Bay must undergo 24 hours of spill response training and renew their qualifications annually.


5 kids, 2 adults, 1,000 square feet
Adrian Crook, his partner and his five kids all live in a two-bedroom downtown condo - and they wouldn't have it any other way
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S7

Adrian Crook has discovered life is better once you abandon the accepted wisdom that you need a house and backyard to raise happy kids.

A divorced dad, Mr. Crook lives in a 1,023-square-foot high-rise rental condo with his five children and partner Sarah Zaharia.

He has three boys and two girls, ages 8, 7, 6, 5 and 3 - or, as some people call them, "the countdown."

Mr. Crook and his family might be the extreme, but they are the new model of modern Canadian life - urban, minimal and connected to their community. He doesn't see their lifestyle as cramped, or as a temporary phase, or second best to living in a detached house. Although living small is not for everyone, Mr. Crook says he wouldn't have it any other way. He's so pleased with the arrangement that if someone gave him $1-million, he says he still wouldn't buy a house. Instead, he would sock the money away.

"I'm not going to live in a sixor seven-bedroom house in my lifetime. And I don't even want it," he says, seated inside his remarkably clutter-free apartment.

A nanny keeps the two youngest kids somewhat occupied.

"Those articles you read about how much you need to live in Vancouver? They are based on buying a house or a condo, which I'm not interested in doing. If we bought a condo, the burn rate would be almost double what it would be right now, unless you put $500,000 down, or something silly."

Mr. Crook, a video-game designer, pays $2,150 for his rental condo in a Yaletown building built in 1994. He's heard there are about 60 other kids in the building, which makes sense.

Older layouts are generally more spacious than the newer ones.

His is the alternate perspective in a world that obsesses with big. For a good many people, the bigger, the better. Consumers want big houses with double sinks, walk-in closets, massive kitchens and a bedroom with ensuite for every kid. They want SUVs they can drive to Costco or Walmart and load up with stuff.

And they spend endless hours driving their kids around, going from hockey practice to art class to dance class to baseball and back again.

Mr. Crook, 40, has never wanted any of that, and he says his children will never have those things, either.

"It feels like the whole kid thing is flipped around, where the kids used to contribute to the household. Now it's flipped around. We are indentured servants to the kids, giving them these coddled lives. It shouldn't be like that."

Mr. Crook and his ex get their kids on alternating weeks. When they're not at his apartment, they're at their mom's townhouse in North Vancouver.

Because downtown schools are at capacity, he drives his kids to school in North Vancouver.

At his place, his kids will always sleep in bunk beds and share a single bathroom and have chores in order for their household to run efficiently. The trade-off is they get a father who's around a lot, because Mr. Crook has turned down career advancement to work at home, as a consultant.

"It's not a kid's right to have their own bedroom. They'll have a lot of other things that a lot of kids don't have, such as an urban lifestyle. And they have me. I'm around far more than the typical parent who works 9 to 5. Kids don't remember that they had their own bedroom.

They remember that they were loved.

"I think it's far more useful to be cognizant that you are a family and you have to care about each others' needs as opposed to burying someone on another floor and forgetting about them."

Mr. Crook might be onto something. The Center on Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California, Los Angeles released a study that looked at the habits of 32 middle-class, double-income families. Over a four-year period, ethnographers studied how the families related to their living spaces during waking hours. They found that regardless of the size of house, the families spent nearly all their time in a space of around 400 sq. ft., almost exclusively in the kitchen, family room and dining room. The rest of the house was almost never used. The average backyard use by the children was only 40 minutes a week. Parents used the outdoor space 15 minutes a week. They discovered that while we crave abundant space, we rarely use it.

"I like small, confined spaces for how efficient they are, and I also don't like having spaces that don't get used for days or weeks at a time," says Mr. Crook.

"That's insane to me, a total waste."

Still, raising kids in a small space will call your judgment into question.

"When I told my mom that I was going to continue living downtown with kids, you would have thought that I had told her I was actively strangling one of my kids," he says.

"A lot of people think living downtown means you just want to party all the time, that you haven't grown up. And you're forcing your kids to suffer."

In response, he started a blog called 5 Kids 1 Condo, so he can show other families the benefits of raising kids downtown. For example, it's not unusual for the family to walk 10 kilometres in a day, or make use of a pool in a nearby building. His kids once helped give out socks to homeless people.

"I want to expose them to things that are atypical."

In Canadian terms, Mr. Crook's own childhood could be classified as pretty typical. He grew up in a big house in Port Moody, B.C., near a creek and a park, living the suburban dream. Early in his marriage, he and his wife lived in a big house in North Vancouver, and he remembers walking along deserted streets.

He also remembers rooms in the house that never got used.

"I was totally miserable," he says.

Mr. Crook gets his kids one week on, one week off. The kids divide their time between Mr. Crook's Yaletown apartment and their mother's North Vancouver townhouse. They go to school in North Vancouver, which is the only time Mr. Crook uses a car.

"I love the idea of having a smaller space, because then you aren't tempted to buy a bunch of stuff you don't need. We go to Costco, but there's no room for superfluous stuff. To make room, we are often taking stuff out to be donated."

The boys share a custom-built triple bunk bed, with the eldest in the top bunk. The girls share a bunk bed as well, in a small room with a balcony. Safety issues are a concern when you live in a condo tower with small children. There is a sliding patio door that has a lock and key. All windows have safety latches, and the kids' bedroom windows are alarmed.

In terms of efficient living, they are a model family.

The unit is two bedrooms plus a den, with small balcony. The girls' bunk bed is in the small, converted den, and the boys' custom-made triple bunk bed is in the second bedroom. The hallway closet has been turned into a cloakroom. The walk-in storage closet has been converted into an art-making room, with easel and paints. In the living room, all floor space is kept clear to maintain maximum square footage. The TV is wall mounted, and all books are kept on shelves.

Mr. Crook has instituted an awards program to maintain order. He gives out tickets for chores that are completed. By the week's end, the child with the most tickets -- usually around 50 to 70 -- gets three Kinder Surprise eggs. Everybody else gets one candy egg.

"Some jobs are priced higher because they are not as desirable," he explains. "Like taking the garbage and recycling to the ground floor used to be desirable, because it was a job that came with a lot of responsibility.

But now it's not as desirable. It's more like gross," he says, laughing. "So they get 10 tickets for that."

His kids take their chores seriously, too. He's had to check on them if they take too long in the recycling room, because they get so involved in the sorting.

"I remember the six-year-old did it once on his own and forgot the keys and got trapped on the ground floor. Luckily, I was heading out and I came down and I took him back up."

He's confident that his building is safe. He knows his neighbours.

"The most dangerous thing you could do is load your kids into a car. The odds that you have a child abductor in your building, or even in the neighbourhood, are pretty ridiculously low. Not something I'm worried about."

But then there's the challenge of the teen years, when his kids might crave more space.

"I think they are on the right track, but who knows? When they are teenagers I'm sure they'll have a bunch of crazy issues.

"We may have to make some changes," he concedes. "I would love to stay here. But we may need a change."

He would consider a bigger condo.

Associated Graphic

Adrian Crook, Sarah Zaharia and Crook's five children: Oliver, 8; Indiana, 7; Shepherd, 6; Harlow, 5; and Tristan, 3.


Food lovers had visions of a utopia on wheels after Toronto loosened notoriously restrictive food truck laws. One year later, Ann Hui finds the dream still falls short - by exactly 50 metres
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

When you step inside Bryan Siu-Chong and Allen Tan's "Me.n.u" food truck on University Avenue, this is what you'll see: a refrigerator stocked with garnishes for their "Asian fusion" dishes - dishes such as kimchi pulled pork poutine and satay chicken roti; a counter covered with plastic squeeze bottles of Korean barbecue sauce; and a giant speaker from which they blasted loud hip hop one recent afternoon - to attract a growing lineup outside, and to bob their heads to as they prepped.

But tucked beneath the dashboard is something unexpected. That's where they keep a yellow "Meter-Man," a measuring tool normally used by engineers and surveyors on building projects. But Mr. Tan and Mr. Siu-Chong have a different purpose for it: They keep it to stay on the right side of city laws.

According to food-truck owners, the tool - which the pair use to abide by one of the city's long list of rules - represents the worst of what they describe as a rat's nest of bureaucracy. A ban on operating within 50 metres of a restaurant, the owners say, is the millstone keeping them down. It's also key to answering the question asked by Mr. SiuChong that afternoon in his truck: "There's street food everywhere," he said, pointing to the hawker stalls in Asia, and the booming food-truck scenes of Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and even Hamilton. "Why shouldn't Toronto have it?" One year ago, Toronto city council passed a slew of reforms to allow, for the first time, roaming food trucks. After the disastrous "A La Carte" program - which saw vendors mired in excessive and expensive red tape - the decision was seen as a reset for the city's rocky relationship with street food. The decision inspired hopes for a revolution.

It never came. And, depending on an upcoming decision at city council, it may never happen.

"It started off as a revolution. It ended with a whimper," said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker.

After the city passed new rules last year, Mr. Siu-Chong and Mr. Tan lined up to purchase the new $5,000 curbside vending permit.

They soon realized they were one of the few - the majority of truck owners decided the rules were still too restrictive. Only 17 of 195 street-food vendors have since bought a permit.

On a recent sunny Thursday, only two trucks were operating in the entire city. By comparison, there were 36 trucks operating that same day in Vancouver and 22 in Boston. Even sleepy Ottawa had nine.

What's separating Toronto from an exploding street-food scene, truck owners say, is exactly 50 metres. The city's licensing committee is set to review its foodtruck policy next week, and staff are recommending loosening some of last year's restrictions - but leaving in place the 50-metre rule, which restaurant owners say is needed to protect them from loss of business.

"The 50-metre exclusion zone has essentially banned trucks from the downtown area," said restaurant and truck owner Zane Caplansky. "Unless that gets changed, no matter what other rules you relax, you will not see food trucks."

After buying the permit, Mr. SiuChong said, "We were driving downtown, and it was like, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant."

When they found the spot where they park most days now - on University Avenue near College - they took the Meter-Man out to the front door of the Swiss Chalet across the street. From there, they wheeled it in a straight line across University, watching the counter click forward as they walked. When the counter clicked past 169 feet - roughly 51 metres - they were overjoyed.

This, Mr. Siu-Chong said, is one of only a few spots they've found downtown with a decent amount of foot traffic. And if a car or a delivery truck is already parked there, that can ruin their day.

Curbalicious owner Brittney Pawlick - who sells comfort food such as falafel, with a focus on local ingredients - did not purchase a permit because of the 50metre rule, and opts instead to operate at private events. Such events have largely fuelled the city's boom in food-truck culture in recent years.

But organizers often charge vendor fees upward of $1,000 a day, and even scheduled foodtruck events - such as one in the financial district last year - can throw up unexpected hurdles, such as last-minute road construction.

Ms. Pawlick, who spent over $55,000 to purchase and customize a former Snap-on tool truck two years ago, said that after all of her expenses - vendor fees, rent for a kitchen, utility bills and employee wages - "we're still trying to get out of the hole." For her, a $5,000 roaming permit just doesn't make sense.

At least three trucks have shut down between last year's season and this one, owners say. "People think Toronto is a first-class city, but it's so sad that they cannot find the answer to such a simple problem as food trucks," Ms. Pawlick said. "It really makes you question what is going on at city council."

City staff say the 50-metre rule is necessary to balance the interests of restaurants with food trucks, arguing it's already a compromise between truck owners, who wanted zero metres, and restaurant owners, who asked for 250 metres. Most other cities in North America have limits somewhere between 15 metres (Seattle) and an even more restrictive 90 metres (Boston, but there are also designated food-truck sites there).

Tony Elenis, president of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, said it's still too early to see whether trucks have hurt business, but wants the 50-metre rule maintained to ensure "an even playing field," given the rent and property tax costs for restaurants.

"We're not against food trucks, we just want to protect brick-andmortar restaurants," he said.

And while truck owners have argued the two aren't necessarily competing, Mr. Elenis dismissed this.

"A lunch is a lunch, a dinner is a dinner," he said. "If you eat lunch at a food truck, that's a lunch that a brick-and-mortar would not have."

Councillor Gord Perks also argued that restaurants should be protected. "If you're willing to make a permanent investment in the city and pay taxes as a property owner, you have a bigger stake than someone who isn't," he said.

But Mr. Caplansky said neither of these arguments hold up. He'd like the rule changed to 15 metres.

"If food trucks put restaurants out of business, wouldn't we know that from the experiences of food trucks in New York, Portland, Chicago, or Los Angeles, where restaurants are thriving?" he asked.

He said trucks can serve as culinary "incubators," giving enterprising young chefs the opportunity to innovate and add diversity to local food cultures. He pointed to examples in Toronto, such as the owners of Gourmet Gringos and Hogtown Smoke, who have gone on to open restaurants.

In other cities such as Vancouver, what started as a single Tacofino truck has expanded into multiple locations and a restaurant with daily lineups out the door. And the opposite has happened, too, with restaurant owners such as Vikram Vij opening trucks to expand their brands.

Mr. Caplansky, who opened his truck after the success of his namesake deli, also disputed the argument that restaurants have a bigger stake in their communities, pointing to the rental fees truck owners pay for the professional kitchen spaces they use to prep.

After the licensing committee votes on food trucks next week, the issue will go to city council for debate. And, given the election of fresh faces to city hall since the last time the issue was debated, both sides have been busy making their case.

Mr. Caplansky, who started the Toronto Food Truck Alliance and counts among his supporters Mayor John Tory, has been meeting with councillors - including a few who have started tweeting with the hashtag #freethefoodtrucks.

But at least a few more - including Mike Layton and Joe Cressy - have indicated they plan on siding with Mr. Perks.

Meanwhile, Mr. Siu-Chong said he's cautiously optimistic the city will come to a solution that works for everyone. Until then, he and Mr. Tan are supplementing their curbside income by catering and operating at private events. They also talk about wanting a restaurant one day, and setting up franchise locations.

But first, they have to get through the lunch rush.

With the music blaring and the line outside growing that afternoon, the inside of the truck - clad entirely with stainless steel - began to feel like a giant, greasy disco ball.

"Hey, man," was Mr. Siu-Chong's standard greeting with each customer, before shouting back orders to his staff. "Behind! Behind! Behind!" his cooks called out to avoid bumping into one another. "Apparently that's what they say in kitchens," one of the cooks said over his shoulder.

Around the same time, two hotdog stands just down the street were fighting lunch crowds, too. Both of those had lineups of their own.

Associated Graphic

Bryan Siu-Chong knows how to draw crowds to his Me.n.u food truck, but he is one of just 17 vendors to have paid for the city's $5,000 street vending permit.


Bryan Siu-Chong says he's cautiously optimistic the city will come to a solution on food trucks that works for everyone.


The Me.n.u truck's menu includes, from top, Singapore rice balls, the 'Ball So Hard' combo and Thailand rice balls.

Conservation's shifting landscape
Peter Christie explores the deep rift, between 'new' and traditional camps, that is threatening the cause
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F4

A century ago, Jack Miner became known to Canadians as the father of conservation by turning clay pits dug to supply his farmyard brick factory into goose ponds. Then, by banding thousands of geese, he was among the first to show where flocks come from and where they go.

Today his sanctuary in Kingsville, Ont., still attracts migrating waterfowl, as well as visitors, and 150 years after his birth (April 10, 1865), we still celebrate National Wildlife Week in his honour.

Less well known is the fact that his brand of conservation was deeply religious. As well as practising it, he crisscrossed the continent preaching that, according to the Bible, humans have "dominion ... over every living thing." We are its stewards because wildlife was created for our use and enjoyment.

This idea - that nature's value stems from its worth to humanity - typified thinking on the subject for a half-century. But in the 1960s, preservationists began to argue that nature has intrinsic value and should be saved for its own sake. Since then, many conservationists have taken to the ramparts, defending the wild against the perceived siege of human development.

Now, the landscape is changing once again. Many conservationists, including the largest such organization in the world, the Nature Conservancy, are rethinking their priorities in ways that echo some of the colourful sermonizing of Mr. Miner. They argue for valuing nature in ways that emphasize human and even economic needs - and the aboutface has sparked a feud some fear threatens conservation's united front just when the planet needs it most.

'New conservation' Companies with poor environmental practices "need to be challenged," says Mark Tercek, the Nature Conservancy's president and chief executive officer, "but we overdo that. ... I think we have to shift a little bit from fighting over everything."

Mr. Tercek, who spent years as an investment banker at Gold... man Sachs before taking the conservation group's helm in 2008, is a key figure in what some call "new conservation" - the notion that protecting nature requires valuing it in terms that people, and even corporations, care about. Mr. Tercek's organization, with more than a million members worldwide and annual support and revenues of more than $1-billion, is among conservation's most influential. In 2012, its chief scientist, Peter Kareiva, and colleagues published several articles, some in such leading journals as BioScience and Conservation Biology, calling for a change. "Conservation is not going to succeed," Mr. Kareiva has said, "until we make business our friend."

Climate change, pollution and other human impact, explains Mr. Tercek, affect all areas, even protected ones. The accelerating rate of change, meanwhile, means long-term fights for small gains are not enough: "You could say, 'Well, you're winning a lot of battles, but you're losing the war,' " he says. Instead, the Nature Conservancy (while not abandoning traditional efforts) aims to "scale up" to meet these challenges through partnerships with corporations - even if some, such as Rio Tinto Group, Cargill Inc. and Dow Chemical Co., have faced environmental criticism in the past.

"It's wrong for environmentalists to presume that business goals will always be at odds with environmental goals," Mr. Tercek argues. "Often - not always - business goals and environmental goals overlap. And if we can shine a spotlight on that, and prove it ... then we should be able to really grow business as a constituent for conservation."

Take, for instance, the Nature Conservancy's $10-million project with Dow to generate baseline data and a computer model for valuing nature in business decisions. Dow's chemical-manufacturing complex in Freeport, Tex., is one of the project's sites, and scientists with the Nature Conservancy have showed that, dollar for dollar, restoring adjacent woodlands can cost less and suck up more air pollution than adding mechanical emission controls. So Dow, with large land holdings around the world, may be able to use local ecosystems instead of machinery to offset its costs and save money. Woods and wetlands, it turns out, can have a price-tagged place on the corporate balance sheet.

"This is what the collaboration is all about," says Neil Hawkins, Dow's vice-president of sustainability. "It's about taking nature and the services it provides and putting it into a monetary value that business can understand."

Conservation today has two options, he explains. One is urging regulation - "but we'll never come up with enough regulations around the world quick enough." The other, he says, is appealing to big business: "If you bring the economic picture to the equation, then you can ... find options that are good for nature and good for business."

In the Amazon, the Nature Conservancy collaborated with Cargill - a major buyer of Brazilian soybeans previously criticized for encouraging farmers to decimate rainforest - on a moratorium to halt the purchase of soy grown on land cleared illegally. Before the agreement, clearcutting in the three Amazon states where the crop is grown accounted for nearly 30 per cent of soy-farm expansion, but dropped to about 1 per cent in 2014, according to a recent report in the journal Science. Meanwhile, Cargill gets the benefit of an improved corporate image.

"We can't go there and pound the table only for environmental outcomes," Mr. Tercek says. To be viable, "you have to recognize that [a project] has to have several good outcomes."

Putting a value on nature Michael Soulé doesn't see things that way. "Not only is it crass, in a way, to somebody who sees the value of nature more in esthetic or spiritual terms," says the emeritus professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and cofounder of the Society for Conservation Biology, "but it just doesn't seem to work."

Prof. Soulé and other leaders in traditional conservation, including biologist E.O. Wilson, Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm and Don Weeden, head of the environmental-funding Weeden Foundation, have taken a firm stance against new conservation.

Because the Nature Conservancy's board of directors includes former executives from Goldman Sachs, AP Capital Holdings and Google, it has "strong ties to corporations" and "a very different perspective," Prof. Soulé says.

"You can put a value on nature and say this is the worth of this tree, or this fishery is worth so much if we protect it, but one of the problems of that argument is that people these days are not interested in long-term valuation.

They want to know how much money they can make this year."

For example, the business value of protecting a forest - to cut greenhouse gases or other pollutants, say - is measured across decades, while selling the land would better satisfy shareholders focused on the short term.

Prof. Pimm says the Nature Conservancy's desire for corporate engagement too closely resembles an overeagerness to please - and an unwillingness to ask hard questions of big donors, or companies in which the organization has stakes as part of its $2.1-billion in shares, mutual funds and other investments. It is working with Rio Tinto on a landscape-conservation project in Mongolia just as the company faces international criticism over the handling of its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the South Gobi desert. "One needs to be very careful about how you engage with corporations," Prof. Pimm says. "Are they doing good? Are they using you? What's the correct balance?" In her recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs.

The Climate, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein wrote that the Nature Conservancy had earned millons from oil drilled on its own conservation land in Texas. The organization says it is legally bound by a years-old lease to permit the production. But Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, told The New York Times that it "has just lost its moral compass."

With acrimony between the conservation camps deepening, 240 scientists signed a recent opinion piece in the journal Nature, calling for a truce: "Unfortunately, what began as a healthy debate has, in our opinion, descended into vitriolic, personal battles ... We believe that this situation is stifling productive discourse, inhibiting funding and halting progress." At stake, the authors warn, is the "future of conservation science, practice and policy."

'We don't have 10 years' "The stakes are high because time is limited," says Elena Bennett, a McGill University ecologist among the signatories. Important work has been stalled by a philosophical dispute that doesn't need to be settled, she says.

While academics debate whether nature has a dollar value or an intrinsic value, the public and, importantly, donors are simply losing interest. "We don't have 10 years and probably don't even have five years to sit around and have that debate. We really need to move - now."

"I think it's unfortunate that people see this as a polarized issue," says Mary MacDonald, senior vice-president and chief conservation officer at World Wildlife Fund Canada. While the country has more parks than ever, the list of nationally endangered species is 312 and growing, while climate change is testing the mettle of ecosystems everywhere.

The best answer, says Ms. MacDonald, is probably not one approach over another but a combination of many. "If an organization is working where they think they can make a positive difference toward conservation or environmental improvement, I say please carry on. ... We need everybody."

Peter Christie is a Kingston-based science writer.

Associated Graphic

A scarecrow stands guard at the MacKay River Suncor oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alta. A new breed of conservationist argues that making friends with business is necessary to propel the cause forward.


The new stay-at-home parent
More parents than ever are carving out a new path, figuring out how to combine satisfying work with quality time with their kids
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

The Mommy Wars are alive and well, still pitting the June Cleaver stereotype against professional mothers like Mad Men's Joan Holloway. Most recently, Huffington Post blogger Lydia Lovric caused a stir with a post titled "Dear Daughter, Here's Why I Don't Work."

"I stay home because although writing and radio did make me extremely happy ... your happiness was more important to me than my own," wrote Lovric, detailing her sacrifices after saying that earning extra income and making your kids proud of you are selfish reasons for working.

Just in time to quell the angry backlash of working mothers came the April issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. In it, researchers from the University of Toronto and Bowling Green State University presented new research showing that there's no relationship between the amount of time parents spend with children ages 3 to 11 and how they turn out. Quality of time spent together, they said, is more important than quantity.

Can you afford to stay home with your kids? Can you afford not to? No matter what you choose, it seems, somebody will accuse you of doing it wrong.

Except that with today's digital technology, staying at home doesn't have to mean what it used to. It doesn't have to include giving up (or even putting on hold) your other ambitions in favour of circle-time attendance and slow-cooked meals.

More parents than ever are carving out a new path, figuring out how to combine paid, satisfying work with real, quality time with their children.

"There is a generational and cultural trend for families wanting to spend more time at home," says Anil Verma, professor of industrial relations and human resources management at the Rotman School of Management. According to Statistics Canada, the number of workers who consider themselves selfemployed or part-time continues to rise. Even traditional employers are likely to accommodate working from home for the employees who are considered key talent, according to Verma.

So what does a stay-at-home parent look like today? The parents at school pickup often have demanding professional lives - they just don't have to change out of their yoga pants to attend meetings. Today's June Cleaver could very well be that dad with the threadbare cords, bushy beard and his own graphic design business. Of course, he's too busy packing school lunches to worry about the Mommy Wars.


Two children, 9 and 7 Ben and Jitka switched roles last August when she went back to work full-time as a communication consultant after having been at home, working the occasional contract, since having children. As a Web developer, Ben is more readily able to find freelance work, so he left the downtown tech company where he was a partner to stay home with the kids.

For Ben, a typical work day runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then it's time for school pickup, chauffeuring the kids around to activities, cooking dinner and taking care of basic housework.

Ben's still working on expanding his dinner repertoire, mostly through trial and error. After the rest of the family has gone to bed, Ben often stays up (sometimes as late as 2 a.m.) to catch up.

Are you a stay-at-home dad? "If I'm at home when the kids are home, then I'm a stay-at-home parent," Ben says. He's the one hosting play-dates, assisting with the baseball team and serving as class rep for parent council.

Best part: "I really enjoy the walk to and from school when the kids just talk about their days," Ben says.

Hardest part: Leaving his downtown social life behind. Spur-ofthe-moment coffees with old friends and colleagues can now take more than a week of planning. Ben still does make that happen once in a while, bringing his laptop downtown and working from coffee shops. He also belongs to a mountain-biking group that gets together once or twice a month.

Down the road: Ben sees both him and Jitka working full-time jobs outside the house at some point, but he's in no rush.


Two children, 5 and 2 Six years ago, when she was pregnant with her first child and newly unemployed, Laura jumped at the chance to start her own business. "I couldn't picture how I'd be going back to work with a baby," she says. Laura now runs her business, Cubit's Seed Company, from home, growing rare, heirloom, organic seeds for edibles and selling them online. Ryan works as a film and video technician at OCAD University and as a freelance cinematographer.

Laura tries to focus on bigger projects during the three days a week her two-year-old attends nursery school. The rest of the time, she manages customer care inquiries on the fly from her laptop or phone. "If I have a customer who needs attention right now, it only take three minutes to help them online," Laura says. "I can find threeminute increments throughout my day."

The summer is generally a slow time for Ryan's work, so the entire family lives in a trailer on the farm where she grows the food that will produce her seeds.

During production time, it's all hands on deck, with her husband and brothers pitching in.

The kids, on the other hand, are having a blast. "They have no idea that we're even working," Laura says.

Are you a stay-at-home mom?

"I don't identify as either a stayat-home or full-time working mom," Laura says. "I actually felt very isolated by this when my kids were babies because I felt left out of an important conversation." She hasn't ever taken any maternity leave to focus solely on her babies, but she also gets to make her own hours and doesn't have to commute. Still, friends don't always realize what's involved. "People are surprised that I've got things to do," she says. "I have some flexibility but I can't ignore my business because you are going to the zoo."

Best part: "I turned my hobby into my job," she says. And she still gets to bring her kids to the park.

Hardest part: When your job is in your house, it's very hard to turn off. She's also that mom on her phone at the park because her phone allows her to be there in the first place.

Down the road: Laura plans to continue to grow her business gradually, as the kids get older and need less hands-on attention.


Two children, 6 and 2 Ione is an agrologist (an agricultural scientist) who tried to return to her full-time job after her first maternity leave, but long hours plus commuting time meant she barely saw her baby.

Luckily, Peter, who is also an agrologist, had a secure job, so Ione decided to start consulting from home, advising government agencies and individual farmers on everything from climate change to crop planning.

After Ione spent two years of working from home, the family moved to British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, a 40-minute ferry ride from Vancouver. A year after that, business was so good that Peter quit his full-time job to work alongside her. His role involves longer hours and more travel, which frequently leaves Ione on her own with the girls.

Their two-year-old is at daycare three days a week, and Ione has learned not to take on more work than she can handle in that time. "I choose projects that I'm passionate about so I'm excited to sit down at the computer," she says.

Are you a stay-at-home mom?

"I think of a stay-at-home parent as someone who is putting their career on hold," Ione says. "I have not had to do that, but I have changed course and slowed it down a bit." Then again, she is home with her youngest daughter four days out of seven. "We need a new category," she says.

Ione also knows that having the choice to decide whether to work or how much is a luxury.

"For us it's worked out really well to do a bit of everything. I feel mostly satisfied." During the busy spring and fall, she often works past 11 p.m., which is easier now that she no longer has a baby waking nightly at 3 a.m.

Best part: Living in such a beautiful place, doing what she loves and spending time with her children.

Hardest part: Living apart from their families in Ontario and Quebec and having a husband who is often on the road. Parttime daycare and occasional babysitters are essential. "I love my child-care providers. I respect them and there's no way I could do my job without them," Ione says.

Down the road: When both girls are in school full-time, Ione would really like to carve out some time to exercise more, pick up old hobbies and volunteer.

Associated Graphic

Ben Holt and his kids, Tom, 9, and Kate, 7, at their home in North Vancouver. As a Web developer, Ben is able to find freelance work, so he made the choice to stay at home with Tom and Kate.


A fighter for inclusion and diversity
Ratna Omidvar, executive director of Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

TORONTO -- Like many immigrants who ended up in Canada, Ratna Omidvar initially didn't have an overwhelming drive to choose this country. "I had no intention of coming to Canada," she said, noting that as a young girl growing up in India, she was most interested in learning German.

It has been to Canada's great gain, however, that Ms. Omidvar landed here, where she has spent more than three decades fighting to make sure this is a more inclusive country and that Canada is getting the maximum advantage from the skills, drive and entrepreneurship that arrive along with immigrants from around the world.

Ms. Omidvar has established herself as one of the country's foremost experts on immigration and diversity, with a network of colleagues at the highest levels of government, business and the non-profit sector.

After years of running the poverty-fighting Maytree Foundation, last fall she was named head of the new Global Diversity Exchange housed at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto's Ryerson University. The GDX, as she calls it, will do research and exchange information about diversity and the inclusion of immigrants and visible minorities - not just in Canada but all over the world.

It is essentially a "think-and-do tank," Ms. Omidvar, 65, tells me over lunch at one of Toronto's best Chinese restaurants - Lai Wah Heen. As we tuck into the dim sum, she talks about how the GDX will tap into the great minds who have studied immigration and settlement, while sharing concrete strategies and experiences that have worked effectively.

While national governments function as the gatekeepers for immigration - letting people in or keeping them out - it is local efforts, usually at the city level, that make the difference in getting immigrants to prosper, she said.

And when immigrants prosper, she insists, everyone else does as well.

An example of an effective local initiative? "The Red Cross in Copenhagen launched an effort to teach migrants, in particular migrant women who are in long flowing robes, how to ride a bike," she says. "They taught them how to obey the rules of the road and the written and unwritten rules of conduct. They have normalized the immigrant woman who looks different. She is just biking along like everybody else."

Before talking about the crucial factors that help - or prevent - immigrants from contributing to society and the economy, Ms.

Omidvar takes me back to the unlikely story of how she ended up in Canada, after growing up in the Punjab region of India.

Ms. Omidvar had become proficient enough in German to teach it in India, but the German government asked her to go to the next level by studying in Munich. "They thought of me as some sort of cultural ambassador," she said.

While on a hike in the Alps, she met the man who would become her husband - an Iranian who was also studying in Germany.

They went to Iran to live, but got caught up in the revolution and the war between Iran and Iraq. To escape, they crossed into Turkey, making their way back to Germany. But Germany was not welcoming immigrants at that time, and they had to find another place to live.

They had family and friends in Canada, and the internationalist attitude of then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau had an impact.

"Somehow [his] notion of multiculturalism really spoke to us," she said.

But it didn't go smoothly. "We applied to come to Canada and we were rejected the first time," Ms. Omidvar said. "They didn't give us reasons. ... but they don't give you reasons." Persistent efforts by friends in Canada finally got them accepted six months later. The value of that personal network had a profound impact on Ms. Omidvar. It underlined to her that "what you know matters, but who you know matters more."

On June 2, 1981, they stepped off the plane in Canada. "It was a red letter day. We felt free. We were euphoric."

But, like many immigrants, they soon realized how tough the transition would be. Ms. Omidvar couldn't get a job as a teacher ("Who wants to learn German from an Indian who has come here from Iran as a refugee?").

Her husband, an engineer, came up against the problem of meeting Canadian qualifications.

They lost years of their working lives, and for Ms. Omidvar it meant a complete change in direction. "It wasn't easy, but I am a bit of a risk-taker, so almost by accident I started to work at an NGO [non-governmental organization]. I reinvented myself in this field, which is why I am here today."

Now, she is dedicated to helping other immigrants make that transition to the work force. Economic integration is the key to becoming a part of Canadian society, she says, and being economically integrated essentially "means having a job."

Many businesses now realize that employing a diverse work force gives them a leg up in selling products to diverse clients. At the same time, companies are also learning they can take advantage of the global knowledge and language skills of their employees - especially if they are doing business overseas.

This is a subject that clearly needs more study, Ms. Omidvar said, and may be a key topic for GDX. "Research in this area is underdeveloped in Canada - whether and how the links that we have, with diaspora communities, result in trade opportunities in developing markets."

Another crucial field that needs far more analysis, she said, is the immigrant path to entrepreneurship - a route that many take when they find it hard to break into the corporate world.

One diversity initiative that is already well advanced is the effort to get more immigrants and visible minorities on boards of directors. The DiverseCity onBoard program - which Ms. Omidvar helped launch at Maytree and is now housed at GDX - has helped place more than 700 people from underrepresented communities on the boards of public agencies, charities and non-profits in Toronto. It has now expanded to Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Ont., Calgary and Vancouver. In the long run this will produce a "pipeline" of experienced individuals, Ms. Omidvar said, some of whom will end up on corporate boards where minorities are still highly underrepresented.

Ms. Omidvar has managed to recruit many top business leaders to her vision. Dominic D'Alessandro, former chief executive of Manulife Financial Corp., worked with Ms. Omidvar to promote mentoring programs for immigrants at the insurance company and other large corporations.

"She made converts of everybody," Mr. D'Alessandro said.

Still, many barriers to immigrant integration remain, Ms. Omidvar acknowledges, and she is acutely aware of the backlash and bad feeling that sometimes bubble to the surface in Canada.

When she wrote a commentary in The Globe and Mail in 2013, suggesting that the citizenship oath of allegiance to the Queen should be replaced with an oath to "Canada, its laws and its institutions," a slew of ugly online comments appeared. Many of these said essentially: Go home if you don't like it here.

She also finds it unfortunate that the Conservative government is using issues such as the wearing of the niqab in citizenship ceremonies as a means to divide Canadians. "That has been picked on by the Prime Minister as a wedge issue that speaks to their base, and divides other bases," she said.

Still, Ms. Omidvar is confident that, in time, it will be easier for immigrants to become integrated in Canadian society and for established Canadians to accept newcomers with open arms.

And over all, she said, most Canadians see the value in welcoming newcomers. "One of the wonderful things is that most Canadians understand that we need immigration," she said. "We will argue about who the immigrant is, and how they should come ... and whether they cover their hair.

But we don't, as a country, argue about the fact that we need immigration. And we don't have any political party that is explicitly against more immigration. That is very unusual."

Essentially, she said, "we are creating a new world here."


Age: 65 Place of birth: Amritsar, India Family: Married, with two daughters Education: Bachelor of arts, University of New Delhi

On why people want to come to Canada: "There is peace and security, there is law and order, there are public schools and public health."

On the value of officially becoming a citizen: "Citizenship cannot be underestimated, as the final step in attaching yourself completely to this country. Home ownership is the other one. Very high numbers of immigrants will own homes after six or seven years."

On Canadian refugee policy: "I worry about the fact that we have become a little hardheaded. There is this overriding narrative that we are generous, so it is okay for us to cut back, or step back. Refugees, in fact, over time will create wealth in ways that we don't measure and we are not aware of."

On Toronto: "When Rob Ford was mayor, city council made some of the most progressive moves on immigration. I don't know how that happened."

On Vancouver: "Vancouver is doing some really amazing stuff around ... the relationship between the newest residents of this country and the oldest. It has a city-level effort to bring new immigrants and First Nations people together - to put them in a room and have a dialogue."

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Kids make divorce that much more complicated. Erin Silver details how - with the help of a mediator - she let go of the past and built a new relationship with her ex
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Ari's sixth birthday party was perfect. Despite a late winter snowstorm, all his little friends made it to an indoor baseball stadium to play ball. There were baseball plates and balloons and a chocolate cake iced with green grass and miniature baseball characters running the bases. There were even ring pops - World Series rings - that turned all the kids' smiles blue and red, my boys, Ari and his four-year-old brother, Josh, included.

Although it was a great day for my kids, I nearly had a panic attack before the party began. This was the first time since my divorce from their father, Shawn, that we held a party that included not just me and Shawn but also Shawn's girlfriend and my boyfriend and his daughter. We made a strange extended family. It would be awkward, but we were determined to show that we were somehow, in some way, still a family. We wanted our kids to know that divorce didn't have to be a dirty word.

That party couldn't have happened had it not been for one significant process: mediation.

Although our divorce was nearing completion, we realized that if we wanted to parent as a unit over the long haul, we needed help learning to work together.

When we separated nearly three years ago, it felt like an apocalypse. We fought constantly. Days would go by when we didn't speak; it was too painful to hear his voice. During stressful times and legal proceedings, our hatred for each other was palpable. For weeks, we avoided eye contact at pickups and dropoffs - we literally couldn't stand the sight of one another.

Yet, our kids bound us together for life, even if our vows didn't. We had intended to teach our children to ride their bikes in front of our home, but after we split, our goal changed. We had to learn to get along well enough to walk our boys down the aisle at their weddings.

Building a strong co-parenting relationship has taken - and still is taking - an incredible amount of work. It's hard to compromise and listen when I resented watching Netflix alone, night after night, once I'd put the kids to bed. I didn't want to agree to change the kids' play dates at the last minute to accommodate Shawn's work schedule, after I'd taken the boys skiing and struggled to put on their ski boots and skis and hats and gloves all by myself.

Being physically unable to tie their skates tight enough, and crying as I watched their ankles wobble through their lesson, made me subconsciously reluctant to call Shawn when the kids earned a new karate belt.

Raising kids really is a job for two people - at least - and I was resentful that I had to suddenly juggle bills and house repairs and a job and kids and dating all at once. My life had been turned upside down.

But if there was one thing we could agree on when we were too angry to agree on anything, it was that we needed help. Several months ago, we met with Stella Kavoukian, a mediator and therapist who works with children and adults experiencing a variety of issues, including separation and divorce. Our hope was to have her help us resolve disputes and improve our communication.

We had a stack of issues to sort through. There were feelings of aggravation and mistrust after we legally ended our marriage. We had said a rash of unkind things to one another that we couldn't take back. We struggled with the concept of having to raise kids together when it felt like we no longer even knew one another.

Seeing a mediator was an emotional process, but we weren't capable of figuring out how to do this divorce thing right on our own. Before our first joint session, we each met with her separately to explain our concerns. At our first appointment together, Kavoukian laid down the ground rules, giving each of us a chance to speak and explain our perspective before the other could jump in. It was hard, at times, to keep us both in line, but no matter how many tissues we used, we were determined to see each session through to the end.

"Divorce is difficult and painful," Kavoukian said in an interview. "Regardless of who initiated the separation, it's a huge loss for each parent, as well as their children. Similar to when one loses a close friend or family member, there is much grieving involved. There is also usually quite a bit of apprehension, if not fear, regarding the future."

It's hard to cope - and to coparent well - when you're balancing these feelings with meeting your children's needs. I used to sob in the car during the day and in my room until the sun rose. I didn't want my kids to see my face stained with mascara. Yet the ability to parent amid this emotional chaos is, perhaps, when it matters most.

"Kids do as well as their parents do," Kavoukian said. "We are their role models. The better that parents are able to communicate and resolve issues, the better their kids will be able to manage their own relationships throughout life."

I've spent a lot of time since my separation figuring out how to be happy, but therapy, combined with mediation, marked a turning point.

There is one concept in particular that has stuck with me from our sessions with Kavoukian - the need to start from scratch. She suggested that Shawn and I learn to let go of the past and build a new relationship with one another on a whole other level.

Thinking about things in that way - respecting and trusting one another as coparents, rather than distrusting each other as former spouses - is what finally enabled us to move forward.

Today, we function more like business partners than friends, but we have added a few nice touches. We take the kids to buy one another gifts for our birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day. We sort out holidays easily enough so that our kids can spend vacation time with each of us. We trick or treat together every Halloween; neither of us can bear the thought of missing out simply because it's "not our day." We send one another photos of the kids, so that neither of us is excluded even from the parts of their lives that we are technically missing.

And a few times a year, we sit side by side, or with a chair in between us, through their hockey games and school holiday concerts, waving to our boys. All this constant communication and compromise, all this thoughtfulness, makes us more functional in divorce than we were in marriage.

At the birthday party, while all the kids devoured pizza, Shawn stepped toward me. "Did you see Ari's home run today?" he asked.

"Yeah - Ari played so well. And did you see how fast Josh was running?" We beamed at our boys with the kind of overwhelming love that only parents can feel.

At the end of the party, once the loot bags had been handed out and all the other kids had left, my kids clambered into Shawn's car for their weekly Saturday night sleepover. I climbed into mine and went my separate way.


Stella Kavoukian, a mediator and therapist based in Toronto, tells parents that the alternative to compromise is often the legal system. "Going this route, apart from being emotionally and financially draining, forces parents to take opposing positions rather than work collaboratively," she says. "Philosophically, this is a poor place to start when trying to work toward a child's best interests."

She offers this co-parenting advice for divorced parents:

Know that successful co-parenting involves parents working together to create security, stability and consistency between the two homes.

Help your children have meaningful and healthy relationships with each parent by supporting the other parent and their household.

By being positive, you will promote more open communication between you, your child and your co-parent.

Whenever you are unsure what to do, make your children and their needs your guiding light.

Try not to blame the other parent. It is not helpful to anyone. It risks leaving your child feeling like they are caught in the middle and need to take sides.

Don't use your children as messengers by communicating through them; if you cannot communicate directly, use a professional.

Don't "parentify" your child, or make your child feel that he or she has to take care of you.

Save your energy and resources to focus on those areas that are of most importance to you and your child. Avoid conflict over minor concerns.

Remember that you cannot control the other parent, but you can control your own behaviour and your response to provocations.

For help with co-parenting issues, try an agency such as Families in Transition, Jewish Family and Child Service, or Catholic Family Services. Your family doctor or lawyer may also be able to provide you with names. The cost of a mediator may range from $225 to $375 an hour.

Associated Graphic



Sensitive design
There's a surprising benefit, Alex Bozikovic finds, in designing 'sensory-friendly' spaces for people on the autism spectrum - it creates more comfortable environments for all of us
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Fluorescent lights. A wall painted bright yellow. A smoke detector that keeps beeping through a meeting. These are things that you might encounter in an office or a classroom without much notice. But what if you saw those fluorescent lights flickering intensely and heard them emitting a painfully sharp buzz?

Or if that yellow wall seemed to be vibrating, like a broken computer monitor? Or if the bleep of the alarm was the loudest sound you could hear?

Many people with autism have this sort of discomforting experience every day. Their experience of sensory inputs, such as sound, light and textures can be radically different, and apparently innocuous design details can be powerful barriers to their comfort and success, from school to the workplace and beyond. Among designers and researchers, there is growing interest in understanding how to recognize the needs of this group - which is at least 1 per cent of the population. And at the heart of autism-focused design is one central insight that can benefit everyone: that we all experience the world in different ways, and that being able to choose a comfortable environment can be a powerful thing.

"What I have always found is that when you design for autism, the general population benefits," says A.J. Paron-Wildes. A designer at the workplace-furniture company Allsteel, she began exploring the sensory and spatial experiences of autistic people after her son received a diagnosis in the 1990s. "What was fascinating," she recalls, "was that walking through a space for me could be totally different than it is for another person."

There was very little research available on the topic, so ParonWildes conducted her own, developing guidelines for architects and helping design facilities for children with autism. But she also finds "design empathy," as she puts it, valuable in the offices she designs with her day job. "We have a range of human spectrums," she says.

Indeed, autism spectrum disorder - as it is formally known - affects people in different ways and to different degrees. Some advocates use the phrase, "When you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism."

Part of the challenge for designers is that autism is so varied and complex. People on all parts of the autism spectrum tend to share challenges with "sensory processing." This is where interior design and architecture become crucial, as the site of invisible barriers. "It may not be immediately apparent ... but [such] barriers are much more significant for autistic people," says Ari Ne'eman, co-founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network in the United States.

"It's not just a distaste that may exist in the general population."

For example, he says, poor soundproofing in a residence - so that you can hear the neighbours in the next apartment - can be an annoyance for some people; for people with autism, it can make a home "almost unliveable."

Architects and designers have been thinking about issues of this kind for decades. The idea of "universal design" was formalized in the 1960s, with the ambition to make places accessible to people with physical disabilities. That school of thought, today known as inclusive design, has grown to address a wider range of needs and experiences.

And a growing set of laws, including Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, is pushing employers and institutions to ensure their practices and facilities are inclusive.

And yet autism has been largely overlooked.

Magda Mostafa, a Canadian who teaches architecture at the American University in Cairo, began to address that gap a decade ago. Like Paron-Wildes, she found "surprisingly little" theory to work with, and after extensive research she created the ASPECTSS Design Index to gather some of the most widely applicable ideas of what she calls "sensory design."

These include controlling acoustics; using natural light, but carefully modulating it; arranging spaces to facilitate smooth transitions; providing "escape spaces," which provide private places to retreat; and grouping spaces so that quiet activities are separated from louder and more active ones.

Mostafa then compared her results to the work of a few architecture offices, and found many similarities. Among them was Hede Architects of Melbourne, Australia, who had built two schools specifically to serve students with autism.

"On these subjects, there is no easy research," the firm's principal, Paul Hede, says; even in his work, the two schools' different sets of students, educators and professionals emphasized different design strategies, he says. "Often it's about reduction of stimulation," Hede explains, "but not all students are served well by that."

Indeed, some people with autism are hypersensitive to sensory inputs - such as sound and light - while others are hyposensitive, and need plenty of stimulation to be comfortable.

Accordingly, Hede's firm's design for the Northern School for Autism, outside Melbourne, provides choice. "The building is broken down, ultimately, into little spaces that those children feel happy in and can control."

Each classroom setting has four different spaces in which students can move: a main class, which is relatively spare and lit by indirect sunlight; a smaller, semi-enclosed "withdrawal space"; a covered outdoor zone and an outdoor play area in a courtyard, which can both provide a calming effect and provide space for students to move actively. "A student may develop a habit of going out to calm themselves, but still be seen by the class and the teachers," he says.

The school has three separate wings, marked on the exterior with bold colours. Within, the building "is quite subdued in its colour and its language," he says. Corridors are rounded, without blind corners, and unobstructed - which allows students to move freely and to run. "They also have very few windows into the classrooms" to avoid, says Hede. "We're trying to bring up their level of concentration by reducing the level of distraction."

What student would not gain from those ideas? For children with autism, the effects are especially acute, but most of these design moves would benefit a general student body. In one well-designed school in Toronto I wrote about last year, the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, the administration specifically requested a spare, colourless interior to aid with calm and focus.

However, it's important to recognize that such specialized environments do not address the needs of most people with autism. They may or may not need support in their everyday lives - but everyone needs access to public spaces. Ne'eman suggests that a range of sensory options should be available to people in public places and at events. This has already begun; Ne'eman cites the rise of fragrance-free policies at many public institutions, and the presence of "sensory rooms" - essentially, quiet escape spaces - which are increasingly present at conferences and large public events. "There may be a limit to which we can address every need," he says. "but there are many aspects of this diversity that can be addressed, even through programming."

As Ne'eman points out, the range of needs among people with autism "is not substantially different than it is for other disabilities." And while non-autistic people may win through sensory-friendly design, Ne'eman emphasizes that the needs of autistic people are, in fact, needs. "Sensory aggravations" may be insidious, with invisible but real effects on a person's ability to interact with others socially or professionally. Take that theoretical smoke alarm beeping in a meeting; non-autistic people might not even notice, "but for autistic people," Ne'eman says, the sound can be impossible to ignore, "and that can prevent them from participating.

"This needs to be reflected in a policy of customization."

Accessibility for autism is an issue of social justice that also has economic implications.

Employers are realizing that autistic people have specific skills that can be of high economic value; Specialisterne, a Danish-based non-profit with a branch in Canada, has successfully placed thousands of people with autism into specialized jobs.

And people, in general, are diverse. Paron-Wildes argues that employers should allow individuals to choose a setting that suits them. The open-plan office evolved from an ideal of freedom into one of cubicled conformity, "a one-size-fits-all model," she argues. "Now we've come to the realization that maybe that's not the best thing."

And as workers are again being freed from the cube and given options - such as breakout spaces - why not let them choose their own levels of light or privacy?

Ultimately, Magda Mostafa hopes to see parts of sensoryfriendly design adopted into the inclusive-design movement, and recognized by accessibility legislation. "I think it's the responsibility of designers to account for all populations," she says. As Ne'eman suggests, the diversity among the population of people might, and should, generate a deeper and more empathetic way of thinking about how everyone experiences a space - even when their experience differs in quiet but profound ways.

"When we're building," he says, "we should be building for everyone."

Associated Graphic

Australia's Northern School for Autism, outside Melbourne. 'The building is broken down ... into little spaces that those children feel happy in and can control,' says architect Paul Hede.


The Northern School for Autism in Australia gives students greater control over their environment.


Understanding the allure of the punchfest
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

Add up the billions of dollars that have been spent making and marketing action/adventure/ fantasy/hero films and TV shows. Think about all those Super and Bat and Spider and Iron men flying around, those Captains and Hulks and Widows. Ponder the myriad villains, with their evil genius, their high-tech claptrap and diabolical schemes. Imagine nearly a century's worth of comic book writers and illustrators bent over their drawing boards, and nearly as long a history of screenwriters and directors on sound stages and in editing rooms. Then think about this. Every story - Every. Single. One - distills down to the same thing: two people, face to face, punching each other.

Why is the allure of a punchfest so bottomless, and why are they so prevalent these days? I've been mulling this over as I watched the new Netflix series Daredevil, whose 13 one-hour episodes dropped on April 10. It's the story of Matt Murdock, blinded in a childhood accident that also gave him extra-sensory mojo, who's now grown up and played by Charlie Cox (Nucky's IRA-sympathizing enforcer on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire). He rights wrongs in the corrupt streets of midtown Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen (not the current, gentrified one; the seedier one of memory and myth) - by day as a lawyer, by night as a masked vigilante. Because he's an ambivalent yet faithful Catholic, he doesn't kill the bad guys. Because his dad was a boxer, he does beat the living crap out of them. He even claims to enjoy it.

Every episode features not one, but several punch-out scenes. Sometimes there are weapons (knives, pipes, fire extinguishers). Sometimes there are moves lifted from parkour or martial arts.

Sometimes the violence is downright disgusting: Heads are smashed in car doors. Brains plop out. Gaping wounds ooze through hasty, amateur stitches.

The opportunity to go darker with the violence and its attendant moral quandaries is part of the reason Marvel, the entertainment conglomerate behind Daredevil, partnered with Netflix. "Our feature film slate is more PG-13," Joe Quesada, Marvel's chief creative officer, who worked on the Daredevil comics and is a producer on some of his company's TV ventures, said in a phone interview. "We wanted to do justice to the grittier, street-level noir aspects of Daredevil, and that's better suited to specialty television. We like to say that Avengers are saving the universe, but Daredevil is saving the neighbourhood."

It also didn't hurt that Netflix was willing to give Marvel a commitment - without so much as a pilot episode - to make at least 13 hours of Daredevil, followed four more 13-hour series including A.K.A. Jessica Jones, starring tarttongued Krysten Ritter (Aaron Paul's junkie girlfriend on Breaking Bad) as a private eye with uncanny abilities.

As well, there's a series about Luke Cage, a Harlem gang member who changes after a cellregeneration experiment, who'll be played by Mike Colter (The Good Wife's Lemond Bishop); a show about the martial artist Iron Fist (not yet cast); and The Defenders, which will unite all those broody, misfit heroes into a team.

Do we need another hero? Or rather, another four, or 44? Couple Marvel's splash onto Netflix with its film Avengers: Age of Ultron (itself a compendium of sequels), which is lumbering so loudly toward its May 1 release that world domination is inescapable. (Even a Toronto press screening for another film was forced to give way this week, when Ultron claimed its slot.) Factor in that the Marvel films Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hauled in more than $2-billion (U.S.) worldwide at the box office last year. Then throw in the ABC TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter (we're now calling network shows "linear television," FYI), and the Marvel Universe - the term the company likes to use for its offerings - is starting to feel literal.

Quesada claims that Marvel's rule is benign - but then, overlords always do. "If we were just expanding in one direction, I'd say, 'Yeah, that could get boring,' " he says. "But we're giving people so many different flavourings and offerings, you can pick any one and just watch that. The goal for us is to continue to do product that unites into a larger picture. But there's no requirement that you have to watch it all to get the picture. Just buy or watch what you want, that's fine with us. As long as the quality of our output is good - that we're giving a little bit of escapism and fun, some laughs and thrills - then we're doing our jobs."

Quesada's lived in the Universe since the age of 8,when his dad bought him his first comic book, a Spider-Man. "I grew up in Queens, about 10 minutes away from where Peter Parker lived," he says.

"I'd read Spider-Man and think, 'That could be me, I could get bitten by a radioactive spider and swing across Manhattan.' I'd look up at the sky and go, 'Boy, imagine if I could see Thor and Iron Man up there.' It resonated pretty deep."

Daredevil's Deborah Ann Woll - who plays Karen Page, Matt Murdock's trusty assistant, who's harbouring some mysteries of her own - entered the Universe more recently. (She's best known for playing the vampire Jessica on HBO's True Blood.) But she already has a theory about why the mythology remains so potent. "A lot of horrible things happen in the world nowadays," she told me on Tuesday, in a Toronto hotel suite. She was dressed like her character, in a ladylike highnecked cream-coloured blouse and cerise-coloured skirt, with her red hair in a sleek ponytail.

"I often feel very helpless about it, that there's nothing I can do," she went on. "That's scary. So I think that hearing stories about people who not only have the abilities to help the powerless, but are also brave enough to put themselves in harm's way to do it, is comforting. A thing I'm most proud of about Daredevil is that the characters don't stand by and ignore corruption. We often repeat the line, 'How do you stop someone who is that powerful?' Our answer is, 'I don't know, but I'm not going to stop.' I hope that it inspires people to do the same in their lives."

In character, Woll's big blue eyes fill readily with tears, and her voice catches with emotion. In person, she's much the same. "I'm a nervous person by nature," she says. "I'm a worrier." Among her concerns, she wants to make sure that Daredevil "represents people who have visual impairments well and respectfully," she says.

Her boyfriend of seven years, E.J. Scott, suffers from a degenerative eye disease that causes blindness, so Woll feels "an incredible responsibility for the series to get it right for him." Still, there is a lot of punching in her show. I mean, a tremendous amount. Quesada makes a case for it: "Our fistfights are street level, and in a painful and bloody fashion," he says. "There's no punch that isn't felt or heard. And there's little CGI; it's mainly done by our stunt team. So it has a real and raw feel to it."

He also points out that from Beowulf to Die Hard, humans have always sought out heroes. "From the days we sat around a campfire hearing stories of the great hunters, to the Roman and Greek pantheons, to great fiction, to comic books, the stories are no different," Quesada says. "They're morality plays. Our heroes are particularly appealing because they aren't black or white; they walk in worlds of grey. You can see our villains' points of view. You can watch our heroes step over the line sometimes, but still root for them."

Woll adds that a fist fight is usually a fair fight, which increases its appeal. "Obviously in this day and age there are a lot of unfair fights," she says. "To see a hero, with all his powers, who doesn't take advantage of his opponent - the fairness is heartening."

All that said, it's still punching. Are we in Western culture so deskbound, so pampered, so chained to pushing buttons rather than roving nature hunting game that we hunger for the visceral thrill of bone on flesh, no matter how reductive or repetitive? Are that many denizens of Marvel Universe huddling in their parents' basements, smarting from wrongs and the general unfairness of life, fantasizing about socking their tormentors in the kisser?

"We need stories in our lives about people who get knocked down, but who get themselves off the canvas, dust themselves off, and fight again," Queseda sums up. "We want to feel we're the heroes in our own stories, who get ourselves up day in and day out." Especially if all we punch is a clock.

Carried away
Bidding wars push some homes past what the bank says they're worth
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G1

A Toronto photographer recently decided to sell his Victorian-era rowhouse in the vibrant Queen Street West neighbourhood. His real estate agents, Ingrid Furtado and Christian Torok of Real Estate Homeward Brokerage, figured a house in that location would appeal to artists and hipsters.

Two jazz musicians beat out seven other parties with an offer of $901,000, or $152,000 above the asking price of $749,000, for the house at 57 Robinson St.

The agents were amazed: They had estimated they might pull $825,000 after about 150 people swarmed through an open house and other agents booked 70 showings during the week it was on the market.

Mr. Torok says one offer came in close to the asking price while six more were clustered between $860,000 and $870,000. "The 901 just blew everyone away," he says.

Fortunately, the musicians were downsizing from a house in Toronto's richly-valued Beaches neighbourhood and they earn money from other sources than their music.

So the agents were never worried that they would have trouble holding up their side of the deal.

But in Toronto's sizzling spring market, it's becoming more common that properties are appraised at a value less than the selling price, the agents say.

They point to the eye-popping premiums that buyers are willing to add to the asking price when they get into competition.

"It's a very interesting question these days: What is market value?" Mr. Torok observes.

Sometimes, appraisers are giving a value tens of thousands below the selling price of the house, he adds.

Ms. Furtado says sellers also need to be cautious because a bidder may become obsessed with winning. Anybody can put a number on a piece of paper, she says, but if a deal falls apart, that causes a headache for the seller, who will have to go back to the market.

She advises sellers to make sure the buyer has solid financial backing, even if that means taking the second-highest bid.

"You can't always take the highest number - it doesn't work any more."

Banks and other lenders typically do not allow a home buyer to borrow an amount larger than the appraised value.

It's a particular worry for people who need a high-ratio mortgage. Such buyers require mortgage insurance. If they make a deal at $750,000, for example, and the appraised value is $700,000, the buyers have to make up the difference in order to get their financing approved.

Joe Sammut, a broker with Mortgage Architects, saw gaps in two deals in one day earlier this week and he was waiting to hear about a third.

In both cases his clients have the financial means to close the distance between the appraised value and the price they paid, he says.

In one case, the buyer was knowingly paying a premium for the property because he really wanted it, Mr. Sammut says, so he wasn't surprised when the appraised value fell a little short.

He simply made up the difference. "The client is unscathed."

In the other, the buyers were surprised at the appraisal - they didn't know they were going above market value - but they weren't disappointed. They also have the means to make up the shortfall, Mr. Sammut says.

He isn't sure if the banks were asking their appraisers to be especially conservative but he expects the deals were an anomaly. "I don't think it's an epidemic. I don't think it's cause for concern."

Mr. Sammut says he often runs through a "mock offer" to see how the numbers work out. He also makes sure that clients are not stretching their finances too far. "We do the best stress testing we can."

He advises house and condo buyers to work with an experienced real estate agent who won't let them be carried away by emotion in a bidding contest.

Keith Lancastle, chief executive officer of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, says that buyers do face the risk of seeing the selling price escalate beyond the market value of a property when they get into multiple offers. "You're creating an environment where emotions come into play," he says.

He says the spring market has been so heated in some cities, he has no doubt that some buyers are pushing past market values.

He explains that appraisers use a variety of data to come up with a value. They look at comparable sales, for example, and the cost of construction if the dwelling had to be rebuilt.

"It's very rigorous and very statistically valid," he says.

There's little room for subjectivity. Appraisers apply some of their own judgment but that shouldn't dramatically change the value. "It should be in a fairly tight range."

He adds that values can change within a fairly short time if market conditions shift.

Appraisers are watching carefully to see the effect of volatile energy prices in Alberta, for example.

He believes financial institutions are keeping a close eye on their portfolios. "I think Canadian lenders are being cautiously prudent."

David Fleming, an agent with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., hasn't had any of his buyers or sellers affected by a lagging appraised value this spring. But he says buyers who get caught in a squeeze can ask a mortgage broker to try another lender and they may find a different result.

"Someone wants that business - someone is going to lend on it."

Meanwhile, he is astonished at the bidding wars happening across the breadth of the market - including the condo segment.

He was recently working with a buyer who wanted to make an offer for a simple condo unit in downtown Toronto.

The asking price at 21 Nelson St. was $399,000 for a unit that was sparkling clean and nicely presented, Mr. Fleming says, but not too different in layout from thousands of others in the downtown core. It's also not a highly desirable location, in his opinion. "It used to be parking lots for nightclubs when I was younger," he says.

But when he submitted an offer for $395,000 with a quick closing, the listing agent told him he was third in line. Another bid landed after that. "There were four offers within 12 hours."

Mr. Fleming's client raised his bid to $400,000, then bowed out.

He points out that the last comparable unit to change hands in the building sold for $378,000 just a couple of months ago.

He thinks much of the enthusiasm for this unit was stirred by the glamorous decor, which included new light fixtures and beautiful paint colours.

He hasn't learned the final price for the unit his client gave up on, but he figures it was in the range of $410,000 to $415,000. A similar unit that was looking more bedraggled would likely sell for $30,000 or $40,000 less, he figures.

Ms. Furtado certainly thinks that staging, painting and a few small renovations pushed up the selling price on Robinson Street.

The house was quite rundown, she says, and the owner had painted the rooms in intense shades of green, yellow and blue.

"It was quite a challenge for us to transfer it into something that would appeal to the audience," Mr. Torok says.

They worked with designer and stylist Danielle Nicholas Bryk, who had most of the walls painted in gallery white. Then, they displayed the owner's large photographic prints. "We were lucky we had really great art to work with."

Mr. Torok says the pair also aims to appeal to the emotions of a future buyer. He pulls out a feature sheet for a house in the Beaches that lists "25 things you will love," from the laundry room to the hawk that lives in the oak tree a few doors down.

"The deciding factor is always emotional," he says. "If you really want it you're willing to go to a place that makes no rational sense."

Sometimes, homeowners push back against the changes, he says, but he advises them to look two steps ahead and think about the future.

"We're going to take this and turn it into something else that makes the most amount of money for you," Mr. Torok tells homeowners. "It's not your home any more, so check out," he says with a laugh.

That's what happened with the photographer, says Ms. Furtado, who was adamantly opposed to their design choices in the beginning.

"The first thing he said to us was that he did not want white walls," she recalls. "At the end, he sent a note to the designer saying, "I'm a white wall convert.' "

Associated Graphic

Agents are finding that banks are often appraising houses at a value less than the selling price.


AGO appoints 'interim governing council'
Group of six will oversee Toronto institution as it gears up to find permanent replacement for the departing Matthew Teitelbaum
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R6

In the wake of last week's announcement that Matthew Teitelbaum would be ending a 17year stint as its director/CEO, the Art Gallery of Ontario on Friday morning took the unusual and unprecedented step of creating a six-member council to run the gallery while it looks for Teitelbaum's successor.

The so-called "interim governing council" will be an amalgam of AGO trustees and staff, with Alicia Vandermeer, the gallery's chief organization officer/corporate secretary, and Robert Harding, vice-president of the AGO board of trustees, serving as cochairs. The council is to begin its duties in late June, immediately following Teitelbaum's departure from the AGO and, after a onemonth break, his assumption Aug. 3 of the directorship of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Also named to the IGC by AGO president Maxine Granovsky Gluskin following a hastily called meeting of the board were: AGO chief curator Stephanie Smith; AGO chief financial officer/director, information technology Rocco Saverino; AGO trustees Beth Horowitz and Michael Hasley.

Said Granovsky Gluskin in a statement: "I believe the IGC will provide essential guidance and support to the AGO's strong dedicated team during this interim period. With this structure in place, the gallery's forward momentum will continue, with all of us working collaboratively to ensure the AGO continues to be positioned for continued success."

Times always have been tumultuous at the AGO and Teitelbaum's almost 17-year stint as helmsman has been no exception, not least because much of that tenure was spent preparing for, overseeing and dealing with the consequences of Transformation AGO, at almost $305-million the most expensive and radical renovation/expansion in the gallery's 115-year history.

Yet what Teitelbaum, 59, conveyed through all the upheaval was a sense of stability, purpose and commitment - the kind perhaps only a native Torontonian who joined the AGO first as its chief curator in 1993 could have provided. Indeed, only another Torontonian has had a longer run in the gallery's upper echelons, namely William Withrow who ended an almost 30-year stay, 29 as director, in 1990.

It's unlikely the AGO's board of directors, which recently approved a strategic plan intended to shape the gallery's direction through 2018, hopes for or even expects that degree of investment from Teitelbaum's successor. At the same time, there's no doubt it's looking to avoid what could be called "the interregnum" between the Withrow and Teitelbaum epochs.

Those roughly eight years were split between two directors, Glenn Lowry and Maxwell Anderson. Both were New York natives, each with a PhD from Harvard.

Each came to the AGO from either a mid-sized U.S. institution or a mid-level American curatorial posting: Lowry's arrival, in 1990 at age 36, was from the Sackler and Freer Galleries at Washington's Smithsonian Institution where he'd been a curator, Anderson's in 1995 at 39 from Atlanta's Michael C. Carlos Museum where he'd been director.

Both Lowry and Anderson were picked by the AGO after lengthy, wide-ranging and expensive searches. In Lowry's case the hunt went on for nine months and involved 37 candidates (25 Canadians, 12 non-Canadians), from which a short list of two Canadians and one non-Canadian (Lowry) was drawn. To secure Anderson, who succeeded Lowry, the search lasted six months, drawing 120 candidates. From these, a long list of 10, three of whom were Canadian, was assembled, then a short list of two nonCanadians and one Canadian.

When each was named as director by the AGO, there were yelps of protest. In Canada, that is. Were there no qualified Canadians, some asked. What's with the Ivy League white guy, said others.

Howls were heard again when each decamped for plum jobs in the U.S. before each completed his contracted term: Lowry joined the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1995, where he's been director ever since; Anderson also took to Manhattan, becoming, in 1998, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, a post he held until 2003. See, said the naysayers, this is what happens when you hire "Yankee carpetbaggers" with no nationalist sentiments to realize some vague longing for international standing! Long-time AGO trustee, benefactor and, from 1997 to 2002, president James Fleck didn't share the outrage. Still doesn't. "The Whitney and MoMA jobs - they don't come around all that often," he said recently. "Both institutions were more prestigious than the AGO" and had their respective directorships not opened up, Lowry and Anderson each might likely have stayed 10 years or so in Toronto.

And instead of feeling used, Fleck said many AGO directors felt "we were being seen as pretty attractive place to be able to staff two major U.S. art institutions." It "burnished" the AGO's reputation, he said. "And we're an even more burnished gem today."

In the case of Anderson's departure, the AGO, fortunately, had been told by Anderson early in 1998 that the Whitney was scouting his services. By that time, it was felt the 42-year-old Teitelbaum was sufficiently seasoned to be considered for the top job, having spent five years as chief curator. The AGO therefore was able to quietly create what Fleck called "a search mechanism" to "update the extensive search that had taken place when Max was hired ..., including external interviews and extensive interviews and discussion with Matthew."

The result? The gallery announced Teitelbaum's ascension as director the same day Anderson officially resigned.

Notes Toronto artist and exAGO board member Joanne Tod: "I remember there was a feeling of rightness, that Matthew was the right person, the right choice.

And why go though a long, expensive head-hunting?... My perception at the time was that the board was maybe tired of results that didn't pan out very well, that they'd gone for the stellar, the glamorous personality, and it was time to go more local."

Fleck thinks the hunt to replace Teitelbaum "will be an international search going after the best person." Previously, search committees were inclined to look for directors among the ranks of senior curators. But the AGOs of the world are now "big artistic businesses," he said, and curatorial strength is "no longer the only thing that's important."

Teitelbaum enjoyed and worked hard to gain the support of the AGO board, earning a $664,500 bonus in 2009 for his efforts on behalf of Transformation AGO.

He also could be a superior schmoozer and fundraiser, a skill perhaps best demonstrated by his courtship of the Kenneth Thomson family to secure both art and money for the expanded gallery.

In addition, he helped make the AGO friendlier, more convivial and popular in terms of exhibitions and its role as a social hub.

Canadian Art editor Richard Rhodes lauds Teitelbaum for the way "his curatorial experiences always fed into his directorial role." However, for Rhodes, the "one soft spot" of the Teitelbaum AGO was the relative lack of attention paid to local artists. "Most places in the world, you can walk into the local art gallery and after an hour you can come away with a pretty firm picture of the current generation of local artists.

I'm not sure you can do that at the AGO."

Another soft spot, according to some, has been in the realm of employee relations. Post-Transformation, the gallery has experienced a tremendous turnover in staff - a result not just of personal career shifts or the effects of the 2008-09 recession or the downs and ups in visitor attendance, but of Teitelbaum's management style, which some former employees characterized as mercurial, controlling, anxious.

A consequence of this churn, some say, is that at present there's no immediately obvious in-house staffer who can be considered a prime candidate to do the job full-time. While there is consensus that Teitelbaum is surrounded by a strong team - it includes Canadian art curator Andrew Hunter, 51, Smith, 44, U.S.-born chief business officer Kate Subak, 53, and modern and contemporary-art curator Kitty Scott, 51, also Canadian-born - none of these individuals has been at the gallery for more than three years.

Meanwhile, the AGO's search committee and whatever headhunting firm it hires are facing a market in which there are "slightly more [openings] than usual" for director jobs, particularly in the U.S., "but nothing outside the norm." So says Christine Anagnos, executive director of the Association of Art Museum Directors. Institutions other than the AGO looking for new heads include the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

"Museums, like other sectors," notes Anagnos, "are going through a generational shift in leadership."

Associated Graphic

Teitelbaum is leaving on June 26.


Monday, April 20, 2015 Monday, April 20, 2015 ClarificationIn Saturday's Arts section, an article on the AGO described the new six-person interim governing council as being put in place to run the museum after its director/CEO departs in June. The council is made up of three board members and three senior staff members, and will advise the organization's executive Leadership Team. But each of the staffers on the council is also a part of that Leadership Team, meaning that a third of the Leadership Team will make up half of the governing council put in place to advise the Leadership Team.

Investment properties fetching big bucks
Rob Atkins's retirement-plan eight-plex sells for $1-million over asking
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S5

Vancouver photographer Rob Atkins thought he'd get above asking for his little eightunit South Granville apartment block.

He didn't expect he'd get more than $1-million above asking, however. And neither did the scores of real estate agents who told him he'd get anywhere from $2.8-million to $3.1-million.

Mr. Atkins and his friends, who are minority co-owners, listed the Fernhurst apartment block for $3.199-million.

It sold in eight days for $4.28million, to an investor who plans to fix it up and sit on it as a long-term investment. It was a surprising sale, for both the owners and all real estate agents involved.

"I still don't believe it," says Mr. Atkins. "The amount of money that was paid. ... I was truly shocked.

"We saw that story about the house that sold for $567,000 above asking on TV, the night after the offers were presented.

And my wife and I just laughed and said, 'That is chump change.' "The small three-storey walk-up at 1626 West 10th Ave. was built in 1926 and sits on a 50-foot lot, which is about the same size as the average west side residential lot. Mr. Atkins, who lives in the Commercial Drive area, had purchased the building in 2006 for $1.5-million, using money from an inheritance. He owned 75 per cent of the building and a friend owned the remainder. Later, he sold another 10 per cent to another friend.

"We are self-employed, and we wanted something for our retirement," says Mr. Atkins. "It felt like a sound investment at the time. We were very new to the idea of real estate, and it seemed like a lot. But it also seemed to us that we have this heritage place, it's the west side, you're near Granville, Burrard and Broadway. It seemed that this had to be a worthy investment. We never looked back."

They had 14 offers in total, and several of those offers came from people who planned on living in the building, says listing agent Dwayne Launt. One offer came from a couple who had plans to sell their west-side house and turn the two top floor suites into a single suite, and give the second floor to their kids. The bottom floor would be maintained as rental suites. Those buyers couldn't compete with the investor's offer, but their attempt illustrates that people are getting more resourceful in trying to figure out ways to buy a home in Vancouver. A small apartment block can provide housing as well as revenue, on a greater scale than the usual detached house with a basement suite or laneway house.

The buyer is an investor who owns several properties, but has no plans to live there.

All of the tenants are fans of the heritage architecture, with suites that are spacious and bright. The rooms have so many details that it feels as if you're standing inside a house, not an apartment. In the stairwell, there is a large leaded-glass window, and each of the eight suites has a fireplace, French doors, coved ceilings and inlaid oak floors. In the 1920s, apartments were built for families and long-term residents. The milkman would deliver milk bottles to a little cupboard door that opened to each suite. Those little doors are still there, but they are sealed shut. A couple of the tenants have moved away and returned a few years later, says Mr. Atkins, who knows each of them.

He wasn't a typical owner of commercial property, he says.

"Our first mistake was we fell in love with the building, and our second mistake was we befriended all the tenants," he says, laughing. "I've talked to other building owners, and it's the bottom line for them. Everybody wants more. They want a bigger slice. But our philosophy has been to keep good [tenants], and that's what we've done. I think the tenants here are worried about change, but the building has always had a positive cash flow, so I don't see things doubling suddenly. The new owners sound like they want something sturdy, solid, and just keep things running the way they are."

Rents are lower than market rate, he says. They range from $1,160 for a 680-sq.-ft. one bedroom and den to $1,482 for an 806-sq.-ft. two bedroom.

After expenses of $48,777, the owners earn $87,000 net income from annual rents.

Mr. Atkins says he and his wife also thought of living in the building.

"We thought about taking over the two front suites and joining them, and living here and having the rental income come in.

But the numbers didn't quite work for us, so we sold."

He's "extremely relieved" the new owner has no plans to tear the building down. However, none of the offers came from buyers who wanted to demolish, says real estate agent Mr. Launt.

That's because it's only a 50-foot lot, and without assembling other lots into a bigger parcel, there's little room for more density, and profit. As well, there are strict city restrictions that protect rental properties.

"You're not doubling or tripling anything," says Mr. Launt.

The fact that a small apartment block is not only easy to manage but can also become the owner's primary residence makes it an appealing product, says commercial real estate agent Mark Goodman, who specializes in apartment building sales. He did not view the property, but he agrees the sellers got a great deal.

"It's an insane price, but typically, with small buildings - especially under 10 units - the price per unit is higher than a standard rental building. This is because there is a deeper market - smaller buildings are more affordable - and if the owner or family member decides to live in the property, it's more of an emotional buy, rather than strictly dollars and cents.

"People attempt to do this because they compare it with buying a single-family home in the same area, and say it's $4or $5-million, they could buy an apartment building for the same amount, put family members in there, and have revenue helpers."

After considering advice from commercial agents, Mr. Atkins took the unusual step of hiring a residential agent to sell the Fernhurst. Mr. Launt says residential agents have an advantage when it comes to small apartment blocks, which sell better when they're treated as homes, not dollars-per-unit bulk properties.

"You look at the numbers, yes, but you also consider the location, the street. ... Does it fit your lifestyle? If the roof has a leak, it can be fixed. That's how you have to look at it."

Vancouver needs rental stock.

Roughly half of Vancouver residents are renters and, according to a city report, those renters have about half the income of homeowners. Over the years, the city has made it difficult to demolish rental buildings, and it has offered incentives for developers to build more rental.

But that doesn't mean rental stock isn't diminishing.

Detached houses are being demolished to the tune of three per day on average, and many of them contain invisible rental suites that are being lost to the development of multifamily units sold at market rate. Even if those units later enter the rental pool, the rents will be considerably higher.

Generally, condo units as rental units are not considered an affordable, long-term option for renters.

And outside of Vancouver proper, rental stock is under threat from development. In Greater Vancouver, 123 rental buildings were sold last year, which is a 31-per-cent increase over 2013, according to the Goodman Report. Of the 123 buildings, 31 of them were slated for demolition, representing the loss of 700 rental suites. Most of those buildings were older twoor three-storey wood-frame buildings in Burnaby's Metrotown area.

For now, though, the Fernhurst will remain a South Granville mainstay, with its eight rental units intact. The new owner will be doing repairs, so the rents are bound to increase. But they've asked Mr. Atkins to stay on as the property maintenance guy, and after some thought he's decided to do it. After all, he says, the renters are like old friends.

"The [new owners] paid a high price, but they are looking longterm. And I think they will do pretty well."

Associated Graphic

Tenants of this charming eight-plex at 1646 West 10th Ave. in Vancouver are fans of the heritage architecture, which is reflective of a time when apartments were designed for families and long-term residents.


Newspaper editor Harold Evans has been one of Britain's staunchest moral crusaders. A new documentary recounts his decade-long struggle to help Thalidomide victims. Marsha Lederman reports
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

The importance of excellent, rigorous journalism became clear to Harold Evans during a family vacation when he was 12.

Walking on a beach in Britain, he and his father encountered a group of soldiers, evacuees from Dunkirk. They shared desperate stories of the battle and evacuation; Dunkirk was disastrous, they said. But when the family returned that day to the boarding house where they were staying, a Daily Mirror headline told a different story of the evacuation: "Bloody Marvellous!" it screamed.

That event became a guiding force for Evans, who became a journalist, choosing to expose difficult truths - and effect change - rather than serve up morale-boosting pap. And the results have been, yes, bloody marvellous.

Evans's remarkable career, in particular his work in Britain editing The Northern Echo and The Sunday Times, is the basis for a new documentary by the brother-and-sister team Jacqui and David Morris, having its international premiere at Hot Docs this month after an earlier version premiered at Sheffield Doc/ Fest. Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime won the special jury prize at Sheffield, has been picked up by the Weinstein Company for theatrical release scheduled for this fall and the Weinsteins are also planning a feature film based on the documentary. It plays like an edge-of-your-seat thriller, emotionally powerful but never sentimental, while heralding the power of journalism.

"A newspaper office is full of inquiring minds looking around for trouble," Evans said to me at one point during a lengthy interview from New York, where he now lives (with his fellow journalist wife, Tina Brown). At least it should be, we agreed, commiserating about the current challenges facing the industry.

(Evans is currently editor-atlarge for Thomson Reuters.

The Thomson family's holding company, Woodbridge Co. Ltd., is the majority owner of The Globe and Mail. David Thomson, who is chair of Thomson Reuters, is executive producer of the film, and The Globe and Mail's board chair.)

"The press have had a real knocking over the last few years and I think this is so important a film to open people's eyes to how important the press is," says Jacqui Morris, who co-directed the documentary with her brother.

While the project began as a look at Evans's career, as events took shape, it became focused on the fight of his life: his years-long campaign to secure adequate compensation for victims of thalidomide and expose the injustices that had allowed the catastrophe to occur.

"We didn't realize how extraordinary the whole saga was and how important Harold Evans was until we sort of got going," says Jacqui Morris, during an interview from London. "So that sort of dominated the film, which wasn't planned from the beginning but ... it was such an extraordinary tale that we felt we had to do it justice, really."

Extraordinary almost seems like not a strong enough word for this tale, which has its roots in the Second World War - much like Evans's journalism career itself. But as it turns out, these roots go far deeper into the war than initially understood.

The film connects the dots between Hitler and thalidomide.

One of the inventors of sarin gas was ordered by Hitler to develop an antidote to the nerve gas. Otto Ambros (the "A" in sarin), a Nazi official involved in Auschwitz, convicted at Nuremberg but later freed, went on to work at Chemie Gruenenthal - the German company that developed thalidomide.

In the film, the Thalidomide Trust presents convincing (although still circumstantial) evidence that the drug may have been tested on concentration camp inmates. "My God, I never thought I'd see the likes of that again," said the uncle of a thalidomide baby when he first met him.

He was one of the soldiers who liberated Bergen-Belsen, where he saw small children who looked a lot like his new nephew.

Sir Harold Evans (Harry to his friends; knighted in 2004) was born in Manchester and began his career as a reporter at 16. In 1961, he was offered the editorship of the regional daily The Northern Echo, in England's northeast.

It was there that Evans first made a mark with his crusading style of advocacy journalism, upon which he has built his career.

"Any good newspaper has a duty to uncover the facts which are easily ignored," Evans, now 86, told The Globe. "And then when there's a convincing case, to act - not to sit back and say, 'That's not our job.' Whose bloody job is it?" Evans's past media crusades contributed to changes in both Britain's medical and legal practices, including the elimination of that country's death penalty. But it was the thalidomide scandal that came to dominate his career.

Thalidomide, as the film documents, was developed by Chemie Gruenenthal, and marketed as a miracle drug for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, beginning in 1957. The results were devastating: Thousands of babies were born with severe birth defects (one father recounts seeing his newborn daughter who could "only be described as a torso with sort of little flowers where the arms and legs should be," he says in the film). Many babies were stillborn - or left to die, the film explains in one of its many heartbreaking details. One of the thalidomiders (as they are sometimes called) recounts how he had been put into a container, thought to be stillborn, until movement in the box alerted someone to the fact he was alive.

The children who did survive were often shunned by society (and sometimes by their abandoning fathers) and they presented terrific challenges for loving but desperate parents, including mothers who were also dealing with a tremendous (if completely unfounded) guilt. By 1962, widespread bans were implemented.

In Britain, to Evans's astonishment, no inquiry was called, no compensation offered. The families, frantic for help, were left to sue. But once the case was before the courts, newspapers were prevented from reporting on the issue until every case was settled.

At the Sunday Times, Evans sicced the paper's investigative Insight team on the injustice.

Risking jail time, Evans launched what he called a moral campaign in his paper, which eventually produced significant results: a debate over compensation in the House of Commons, which opened the door for other media to report on the story. The company manufacturing the drug in Britain, Distillers (which no longer exists), reeled - consumers boycotted its alcohol products; share prices plummeted. Distillers finally agreed to pay the £20million in compensation Evans had been calling for.

Still, the newspaper could not report everything it knew: It was legal for it to conduct its moral campaign, but illegal to publish the facts upon which the campaign was based.

"That was the situation," Evans says in the film. "How could anybody stand for that?" He couldn't. He led a court battle - which led ultimately to a change in the laws inhibiting such reporting.

This was a prolonged campaign, more than 10 years, dizzying with twists and turns, told so compellingly in this film that I emitted involuntary gasps of disbelief and fury (and some tears) as I watched. I wasn't surprised when Jacqui Morris told me the experience was life-changing for those involved.

"I think for me it's the most difficult thing we'll ever do in our lives because it's such an incredibly complicated story and it's a story that we've had to distill and simplify, but still keep the essence of it and still keep the truth of it," says David Morris.

"Essentially, everything's going to be relatively easy from now on.

We'll never get anything like this again."

The thalidomide story is still evolving. Following The Globe and Mail's own series of stories published last year, the Canadian government finally announced increased compensation for victims in this country (where thalidomide continued to be sold for several months after it was withdrawn elsewhere). There have been revelations about the Nazi involvement in the drug's creation, and scandalous cover-ups.

There are more developments to come. Evans, passionate as ever, is still at the story like an inquisitive dog with a rotten bone, investigating, writing, exposing - thrilled as ever with the possibilities of his calling.

"I have two loves in life," he says before taking off for another meeting. "One is Tina Brown and the other is journalism."

Hot Docs runs April 23-May 3.

Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime screens April 25, April 26 and May 3.

Associated Graphic

Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime will have its international premiere at Toronto's Hot Docs festival.


Canada's biggest city, a city of losers that has been badly burned by its sports teams, doesn't just need the Raptors to win a few games in the NBA playoffs. It needs the winning team, and its totally cool players, to save it from a descent into paranoia, Cathal Kelly writes
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Looking back from the distance of a few years, we'll be able to pick out the date Toronto tipped forward and became a basketball-first city.

It's today. The day we started giving up on losing.

The nexus of that change will be Maple Leaf Square, rebranded for the NBA playoffs as Jurassic Park. They'll start admitting people at 9:30 in the morning. No city in the league is able to distill its pandemonium so well. Those images are a viral call to arms.

About 12 hours later, a different mood will envelop the city. More of a smell, really. That's when the Maple Leafs will in all likelihood lose their 10-to-1 shot at landing Connor McDavid. Then the club hits rock bottom. For the next few years, the Leafs will be tunnelling.

And that's it. It's over for the foreseeable future. Hockey's out; basketball takes its place.

Toronto needs something. It's more than a confidence boost. It's an ego-reclamation project. The Raptors are finally about to give it to us.

None of the important local clubs - Blue Jays, Leafs and Raptors - has won a playoff round in the past 11 years. Cumulatively, they've only played in two.

During that same period, Boston's baseball, hockey and basketball teams have played in 45 postseason series.

We're, like, one-20th of a Boston. How bad does that make you feel? If you've spent any time in the company of Bostonians, you'll know it can't possibly be bad enough.

Eleven years is an entire sporting generation, during which we've all become inured to defeat. You think it's your fault you're always misplacing your keys? No, it's not. It's Toronto's fault. The city you live in made you a loser.

If aliens decide to make Toronto the spot for their big Earth reveal, this local curse will cause them to crash the ship into the CN Tower and come staggering out like a bunch of green hobos.

We don't just need the Raptors to win. We need them to save us from our descent into (quite reasonable) paranoia. Everything is starting to seem like a conspiracy.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, against the Washington Wizards, tips off at 12:30 p.m. - which is the NBA sticking its thumb in Toronto's eye. The teams that don't matter go first.

Since the civic zeitgeist is built around the idea of thwartedness, we ought to get together and send a bouquet to NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Or maybe it's cheaper to boo him at the game.

He'll be in attendance.

Silver's too new and too good to have reached the Public Enemy stage of his executive career.

Everyone gets there eventually.

Kicking it off here would be something special we could share together - our thing.

We hate everyone, including ourselves, so we might as well hate Adam Silver, too.

In advance of The Anger Games, they trotted the Raptors out on Friday to say all the right things. Sadly, they refused to disappoint.

Before they came out, general manager Masai Ujiri was doing something he never does. He was standing outside the practice court at Air Canada Centre, waiting for his team's workout to end.

He didn't want to go inside and watch, and he was too scared to leave, just in case something terrible happened. On this basis alone, Ujiri has become a true Torontonian.

The team doesn't seem bothered. Last year, it was all a bit atremble before things started.

There was an electric, nervous energy about the Raptors. This time, it's total cool. They seemed as though they'd prefer to do their interviews lying down.

There were no last-minute provocations following Paul Pierce's "It" manifesto. To hear them tell it, everyone on the Raptors feels a tremendous amount of "respect" for the Wizards forward. When you put the word "respect" through the sports-toaverage-citizenese translator, it comes out the other end as "hate you so much that if I saw you walking down the street, I'd hit you with my car."

But nobody could muster any public animus. Pierce is a fading old goat and you get the strong feeling these next two weeks are the Golgotha of his career. The team's in-house firestarter, Ujiri, tried to get a rise out of him on Thursday, saying he doesn't "have enough money to respond" to Pierce's comments - a reference to the fine that will follow.

There was an obvious riposte for Pierce - offer to peel a few off the billfold and get this thing properly started.

Instead, in a statement so furiously backpedalling he may have thrown a hip, Pierce called the Raptors "a great team."

He knew what was waiting for him at the ACC and he flinched.

Still, living long enough to see Pierce become reasonable and fair-minded is a tragedy. It's like watching a shark eat a salad.

Pierce knows the Wizards are in real trouble. Their immobile, pack-the-paint defensive style is spectacularly ill-suited to take on Toronto. The Raptors can stand back and barrage them from long distance.

Also, the Wizards can afford to lose. They're probably a year away from landing free agent Kevin Durant. That's their final destination.

Toronto has to win now. It doesn't have any other choice.

You always like that sort of team's chances.

DeMar DeRozan provided the one-word pullquote. Asked if there was any way this season could be considered a success if the Raptors fail to advance out of the first round, DeRozan said, "No." Then he said it again.

That's the first time anyone's been that specific and it gives you hope.

Lou Williams, who only got here a few months ago and can't be expected to understand our grand tradition of despair, thought last year's Game 7 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets had left the team "scarred."

This city doesn't have any room left for scars. It's just one enormous scab. Toronto's been so badly burned by its teams, we should all sleep in a hyperbaric chamber.

Someone asked coach Dwane Casey if he "fears" the Wizards.

"Fear?" Casey said, like he was hearing the word for the first time. "I've been in this too long to have fears. What I have are concerns."

We have a few concerns, too.

For instance, how do we begin to emotionally adjust if someone in Toronto is good at something?

Can winning be physically uncomfortable, like growing pains?

If we can't spend all our free time poor-mouthing local athletes, will we have to start saying nice things about people and actually building those damn subways?

Because that's going to take some getting used to.

We've been down so long, it looks like up. We don't know any other way. It can be a sweet ache - that feeling that you're incapable of being disappointed any more.

That's what makes these next couple of weeks so risky. People are starting to believe. Even Pierce knows the tide's going out.

So, this isn't just a playoff series. It's flirting with a new way of looking at things.

This city has built a way of life around Loserdom. It makes us hard, and also hard to shake.

That's the good part.

What's no fun is that there is so rarely a chance to get together and celebrate ourselves. We do it vicariously - through other teams in other places. That's why the recent world junior hockey championships were a much a greater success in Toronto than in the other host city, Montreal.

Montreal's used to winning.

Toronto treats winning the way ex-cons treat sunlight - a rediscovered pleasure. We'll do anything to bask in it again.

It's still a ways off, but for the first time in forever, it's in sight again.

Basketball comes to the fore this afternoon. Hockey begins fading into nothingness by evening. And shortly thereafter, the country's biggest city begins contemplating another radical remake of the way it looks at itself.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is keeping his cool ahead of Toronto's opening playoff game against the Washington Wizards.


Fans cheer during the 2014 Raptors-Nets playoff series at Maple Leaf Square, the nexus of change where Torontonians start giving up on losing, Cathal Kelly writes.


Although it's been two years since Washington State legalized marijuana, the process involved in creating a retail industry for it has not been without its growing pains. Gary Mason weeds through the problems facing strain-potency testing
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

In a fresh white lab coat, his name embroidered atop a chest pocket, Cameron Miller looks and sounds every bit the chemist that he is. When he begins talking about the wonders of terpenes - the organic compounds that give plants their distinct odour - he could be a sommelier discussing the power and influence that tannins have on wine.

"Rosemary and oregano, for example, have some very unique terpene profiles," says Mr. Miller, lab manager at the Werc Shop.

"Very, very pungent. You identify instantly with the scent. Terpenes can be very rich and powerful in their presentation. Intricate, complex and beautiful too."

Among Mr. Miller's favourite terpene-producing plants is one he happens to handle every day: cannabis. It has an amazing variety of aromas, he insists, ones he's not particularly adept at describing but which nonetheless interest him far more than the element of pot that seizes the imagination of most users: potency.

While it has been two years since Washington State voters approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana, it has only been nine months since the first retail outlets opened. There have been some early growing pains.

And one of the areas that has come under intense scrutiny is the system being used to measure the strength of the pot hitting the market.

There are state officials, lab technicians and state-approved sellers who suspect samples are being tampered with either before or during the sampling process. There's been the suggestion some growers are "spiking" their samples to give them higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol - or THC - the chemical responsible for most of cannabis's psychological effects.

The higher the level of THC, the more the grower is able to charge for his crop, and the more retailers can charge at the counter.

Some labs have reported THC levels in the 30- to 40-per-cent range - a number that defies possibility in many people's minds. Most marijuana contains THC levels ranging in the mid-teens to the mid-to-high 20s.

Randy Simmons, marijuana project director for the state, believes some cannabis producers are manipulating their samples before handing them over to a lab for inspection. There is a broad suspicion this is being done by spraying the test product with hash oil or dipping it in "kief" - a powder derived from the buds of the marijuana plant.

Both actions will boost the traceable amounts of THC. There is also thinking that growers are cherry-picking the very best buds to send off for inspection, again helping to produce a THC number that doesn't reflect that of the overall crop.

"Part of the issue is right now we leave it up to the growers to produce the sample to the lab and I'm not sure that is what we want to do," Mr. Simmons said.

The state-approved marijuana testing labs depend on the growers for their business. If the producers don't like the results they're getting at Lab A, they can take their business to Lab B - creating an essential struggle at the centre of the testing system.

Brad Douglass, the scientific director at the Werc Shop, agrees there is a financial incentive for labs to game the system on behalf of their customers.

"We think it's just the way the market is currently set up where the product is currently being valued by percentage of THC," he said in an interview. "Any time you have an incentive like that, there's a good chance some people will act on the incentive."

The building that houses the Werc Shop was formerly a cancer research laboratory that went out of business. But Werc was able to use much of the high-end equipment that came with the premises, including liquid and gas chromatographs. The shelves are lined with beakers and crucibles, droppers and graduated cylinders. A nearby white board contains words that are foreign to most of us: Spilanthol, Acitral, quassin. There are diagrams of chemical compounds. A sample of marijuana brownies sits in a sterile plastic bag waiting for testing.

When a cannabis sample arrives at the lab, it is first weighed and inspected for yeast, mould or other harmful substances. To test for potency, the cannabis is placed in a tube with a solvent that allows the chemical elements to detach as the tube spins in a centrifuge. After that, one part of the sample goes in the liquid chromatograph, another in its gas counterpart. UV lamps are later used to distinguish what chemicals are present, including the marijuana's terpene and cannabinoid profile.

There are believed to be nearly 500 natural components contained in a cannabis plant, of which nearly 70 are unique to marijuana. These are known as cannabinoids, the most famous being THC, which is primarily responsible for the plant's psychoactive effects on people. Even though a chemical found in marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to contain many of the plant's medicinal powers, it's still THC that the common user - and grower - is after.

The Washington State Liquor Board, which oversees the legalized marijuana market, is now exploring different means of eliminating the possibility of lab samples being "juiced" by growers prior to testing and ensuring the accuracy of the tests themselves.

"We have started a secret shopper program," marijuana project director Mr. Simmons said in an interview. "This is where we go out and buy something off the retail shelf and get it tested by an independent lab. If there is a discrepancy between that result and the information [THC levels] on the package that was sold to our secret shopper, then we go back to the lab that did the testing for it and we go to the grower involved to see what's up."

Mr. Simmons says his department now has staff that is doing nothing but monitoring the content of the pot being sold.

"We're seeing strengths here that you don't see anywhere else in the world, which is impossible," he said. "It's a plant. It's going to do what a plant does.

We need to get control over what's happening that should not be happening."

The state is also considering new ways of obtaining the marijuana samples at the front end of the testing system, taking that part of the procedure out of the hands of growers and putting it into ones owned by an independent arbiter. The liquor board is also cognizant that some of the discrepancies in testing results could be caused by faulty equipment or sloppy procedures at the lab.

Some lab leaders would like to see far more oversight of the lab work and have even suggested imposing a validated methodology on the companies. That would mean the labs would all have to abide by the same testing protocol, using the same equipment.

Back at the lab, Mr. Miller talks about where he hopes the marijuana industry heads. One day, he imagines people walking into cannabis outlets far more interested in strains that smell and taste good than stuff that renders you near paralyzed by high THC content.

"I'd like to see the market geared towards more of a wine crowd," he said. "One that has a more sophisticated palate for marijuana and is not just focused on potency. That's my eventual hope anyway."


What's in a strain?

Marijuana is a complex plant, with dozens of components contributing to the smell, taste and potency of the drug, though most users are concerned with two in particular: .


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is thought to be the source of some of marijuana's medicinal powers. It also tempers the psychoactive effects of THC. Early research has suggested CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, can ease nausea and even help with epilepsy, though Health Canada cautions those effects have not yet been demonstrated in clinical trials. Producers licensed under Canada's medical marijuana system typically grow strains that have only trace amounts of CBD, but strains as high as 9 per cent and even the mid-teens are becoming increasingly popular.


Commonly known as THC, tetrahydrocannabinol produces the typical "high" associated with consuming marijuana. For many recreational users - and, consequently, growers - the higher the THC content the better. The percentage of THC in marijuana typically ranges from the mid-teens to about 20 per cent, though the proportion of THC in some strains targeted at medical users is lower.

Sources: The Werc Shop laboratory; Health Canada; The Globe and Mail

Associated Graphic

Kevin Ergler, a lab technician at the Werc Shop in Bellevue, Wash., conducts a potency test on a strain of cannabis in January.


Vancouver's Skwachays Lodge is a hotel, a gallery - and a transitional home for aboriginal artists. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind stay, Marsha Lederman writes, this is it
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

VANCOUVER -- You can go to Vancouver and stay in a sparkling glass-tower hotel and enjoy the spa treatments, the first-class dining and the spectacular ocean vistas. But for a hotel experience that offers a very different view of the city - perhaps more authentic and eye-opening - consider Skwachays Lodge, a remarkable new project in one of the city's most vibrant, interesting neighbourhoods. Just don't expect eggwhite omelettes at your door or a Chanel boutique around the corner.

Skwachays, owned and operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, is a boutique hotel with themed rooms created by aboriginal artists. It's also part of a social enterprise in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, existing side by side (or, more to the point, top to bottom) with social housing. The building encompasses three operations: The hotel and Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery are meant to subsidize long-term transitional housing for aboriginal artists-inresidence, who can stay up to three years.

From the exterior, Skwachays (pronounced squa-CHIZE), just steps from the historic Chinatown and Gastown districts, is an intriguing architectural mash-up: Its Victorian façade is topped with a majestic longhouse-inspired structure and totem pole.

The building has separate entrances for hotel guests and residents, although chance encounters occur in the elevator and meetings can be arranged.

So hotel guests can rub shoulders with artists who live in the building - and buy their work.

These ties with First Nations artists offer visitors a connection to the region's aboriginal heritage and life. And because it's also a social enterprise, travellers can feel good about staying here: They are subsidizing supportive housing.

"We are a Vancouver hotel that's making a difference - that's how we see ourselves in this community," Skwachays general manager, Maggie Edwards, said.

"I think the exposure of aboriginal art can be very transformative to the community. We not only showcase the culture, we create a platform where [artists] can showcase their product, sell their product. It's a path toward financial independence."

The boutique hotel, which opened last fall, is part of a growing trend in tourism: authentic Canadian aboriginal cultural experiences. A report commissioned by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, to be released soon, shows substantial growth in the industry since 2002: It now provides more than 30,000 jobs in Canada, according to ATAC chair Keith Henry.

"We're seeing an increasing demand by the travel trade ... and consumers both in Canada and throughout the world," said Henry, who is also chief executive offer of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia. "The world is interested in the history and culture of Canada in its historical sense with the aboriginal people."

The building that houses Skwachays used to be the old Pender residential hotel; it was abandoned and derelict when it was leased to the Vancouver Native Housing Society in 2008. The group kept the façade but gutted the place, creating 24 self-contained units meant for transitional social housing, along with 18 basic hotel rooms meant for aboriginal patients travelling from remote areas to receive medical treatment. Those hotel rooms were intended to support the transitional housing, but the hotel was not busy or successful.

Then came a serendipitous 2012 visit by Vancouver resident Jon Zwickel, whose company InnVentures advises the hospitality industry. Friends of his interested in aboriginal art were visiting from New York, so they all stopped by the hotel's art gallery.

They noticed a man in the corner with a mop and bucket, dealing with a major leak. It wasn't a caretaker, but VNHS chief executive officer Dave Eddy. Zwickel came back later, struck up a conversation with Eddy and wound up volunteering to help upgrade the hotel.

"It struck me that there was the gallery, and the live-work studios, but there was no connective tissue between that and the hotel rooms," Zwickel recalled. "There was nothing unique or special or sense of place within those rooms. And it struck me that maybe there was an opportunity to integrate aboriginal art into the suites."

He came up with the idea to turn that part of the enterprise into an aboriginal art hotel. They found First Nations artists (and one non-native artist who works with aboriginal artists and motifs) to create themed rooms, and paired them with interior design firms. Artists and designers donated their time.

"[I] laid out some parameters which fundamentally came down to: Each room will be a blank canvas, an empty box - it's up to the artist to create a vision for that room, and then the interior designer is charged with collaborating with the artist and converting that vision into a functioning hotel suite," Zwickel said. "Just those parameters - go for it."

Two and a half years later, each hotel room is a work of art, with custom-built furniture and original artwork.

Clifton Fred's Poem Suite is a wall-to-wall experience, with his pencil drawings and poetry papering the walls and immersing the hotel guest in art inspired by Tlingit mythology. Cursive words above the headboard include "whispered," "guidance," "elders" and "peace." How's that to help lull you to sleep?

In the striking Moon Suite, the work of artists Sabina Hill and Mark Preston, a queen bed sits on a circular pedestal beneath a painted golden moon that watches over sleeping guests.

As you enter Cree artist Jerry Whitehead's Forest Spirits Suite, it is as if you are walking into the woods, with strips of white birch on the walls resembling trees, and framing a large painting of a family. The bedroom area is dominated by woodland wallpaper, and even the desk chair features a carved tree branch motif.

Whitehead, who designed three rooms, enjoyed the experience and believes the social enterprise is doing good work. "A lot of artists down here are barely making it, and then for this to come along, it really helped them out," Whitehead said.

The neighbourhood has its challenges, to be sure. Homelessness, mental illness and drug use are visible issues. The first time I visited Skwachays, I witnessed a distraught woman standing at the entrance of a nearby public health centre, yelling. That said, I have never felt unsafe in the neighbourhood.

You won't find a gym or hot tub at Skwachays, but it does have a First Nations sweat lodge on the spectacular longhouse patio, and a dramatic smudge room designed to evoke the outdoors. Guests can book an authentic ceremony with an elder - I would trade a run-of-the-mill, hot-stone massage for this kind of experience any day. The hotel also offers meet-and-greet events with the resident artists.

Zwickel said Skwachays is on track for its best year ever, with revenues up at both the gallery and the hotel. But there's more to this venture's success than its bottom line.

"I feel with the introduction of these hotel suites, we've completed the circle within the building. Now a guest can check in, explore the art [in the gallery], spend time in the room ... then go down to the gallery again and possibly purchase or commission work by the artist who created the room that they stayed in," Zwickel said.

"Now that it's done and I can sit in the gallery and talk to the artists whose lives it's changing, I get choked up, every time. When I sit in the Welcome Room and speak to guests and ask them about the experience, I get choked up. It's making a difference in the lives of guests, the artists, of society - and me," Zwickel continued. "It's incredibly gratifying. It changed my life."


Along with the aboriginal art, all Skwachays Lodge rooms are stocked with organic, fairtrade Spirit Bear Coffee; toiletries by aboriginal-owned Mother Earth Essentials; fluffy bathrobes; a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker; and large plasma HDTVs with cable and Netflix. There's also Internet radio, free WiFi and free long-distance calling anywhere in North America. Rates start at $179 for two double beds; $189 for a queen. (29/31 West Pender St.;

Associated Graphic

Profits from the hotel rooms and aboriginal art gallery at Skwachays go to the Vancouver Native Housing Society.


Profits from the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade gallery are intended to subsidize long-term transitional housing for aboriginal artists-in-residence.


Artists present their work for sale in the lodge's dining room, left. The building's Victorian façade, right, is topped with a traditional longhouse structure.

No matter the ailment, issue, insecurity or imperfection, there is almost certainly a self-help book telling you how to fix it. Gretchen Rubin and Margaret Trudeau offer their own advice in two new titles
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R16

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives By Gretchen Rubin Doubleday Canada, 298 pages, $29.95

The Time of Your Life: Choosing a Vibrant, Joyful Future By Margaret Trudeau Harper Avenue, 260 pages, $32.99

Like many a sporadically driven, bandwagon-mounting, frequently frazzled individual, I was really obsessed with The Happiness Project, the 2009 self-help bible that sold 1.5 million copies, spent 107 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and turned its author Gretchen Rubin into a celebrated happiness evangelist.

For that book, Rubin - a former lawyer and political scribe - spent a year making herself a happier, more deeply satisfied person, devoting each month to a different area of focus including personal relationships, new hobbies, contemplating the heavens and boosting energy.

Reading the chapter on household decluttering was a borderline-pornographic experience. I raced through, reread, underlined. Afterwards, I lent my copy to my sisters and my mom. Soon, we were discussing our own personal "Happiness Projects" over e-mail. We would master new skills, pay bills, read widely, do more yoga, eat less junk and so on. For Christmas, my sister even bought us each our very own Happiness Project-branded "gratitude journal" - a Rubin-endorsed ritual where you take just a minute at the end of each day to record something that made you happy.

The teenage-diary-sized logs are sky-blue and sun-yellow, which is how being a soldier in Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Army made me feel - full of light, optimistic, high on possibility.

And then those rah-rah feelings passed. I returned to my previous existence as a lower-case-happy person (one who eats too many chips and still hasn't mastered the art of timely thank-you notes). To this day I get a twinge of guilt when I see the gratitude journal idling on my bookshelf. It has room for five years worth of entries. I don't think I made it past five days.

The problem is that I failed to turn my happiness-enabling behaviours into happiness-enabling habits, which are our regular and often automatic actions - the (good and bad) things we do with little or no consideration. They are also the subjects of Rubin's latest self-help text, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Twice-daily tooth brushing is a habit. So is time-sucking Internet surfing and using (or never using) the snooze button on your alarm. Habits, Rubin says, are the tent poles of our existence - since 40 per cent of our behaviours are repeated daily, she reasons that by changing our habits, we can change our lives.

Of course, if habit formation were that simple, my gratitude journal would contain almost five years worth of daily jubilation. So what determines our habitual behaviour (and why are some people so much better at maintaining good habits than others)?

Early on, Rubin zeroes in on her key revelation, which is that different personality types are inspired to adopt and keep habits for different reasons. She is an "Upholder," meaning she responds to both internal and external expectations.

"Questioners" will only meet expectations (i.e., keep habits) if they believe them to be justified, "Obligers" do things because other people expect them to and "Rebels" resist expectations of any kind. These are the "Four Tendencies," Rubin says, presenting her theory as a giant "aha!" (when, in fact, it feels like a giant - well, duh).

She isn't wrong, per se. It's just that few of us need to read 250-plus pages to figure out whether we are motivated by external judgment, whether we are larks versus night owls, whether we can eat tempting foods on special occasions or never. If The Happiness Project was a journey of self-discovery, Better Than Before feels more like being in the constant company of the friend who asks - are you really going to eat that?

Rubin explains how writing itself has become a strictly enforced habit - every day she walks to the public library to escape the Internet and put words on the page. This mechanical technique explains her prolific output over the past few years - she updates her happiness blog six times a week and released a second self-help title (Happier at Home) in 2012. It might also explain why what once felt fresh now feels rote and maybe even recycled - all habit, no heart.

It's a criticism that could be lobbied more broadly at the entire self-help genre, a giant juggernaut of an industry that has become as parody-worthy as it is profitable. To wit: Last month the comedian and performance artist Jeff Wysaski planted a series of satirical selfhelp dust jackets on the shelves at an L.A. bookstore. The faux titles - So Your Son Is a Centaur, How to Dress ... Yourself and The Beginner's Guide to Human Sacrifice - were deliberately absurd, and yet not so different from the sort of thing you might find in the bloated "personal improvement" section at your local bookstore. Hot new self-help offerings from just the last month include Reform Your Inner Mean Girl: 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself and Start Loving Yourself; The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over; and Take Off Your Pants! (a guide to good writing, which sounds a lot more exciting than it is).

No matter the ailment, issue, insecurity or imperfection, there is almost certainly a self-help book telling you how to fix it.

(And another one telling you to do the exact opposite.) With little focus on credentials and such a low bar to entry, anyone can position themselves as a selfstyled self-help expert, and lately it feels like anyone is.

Just this week, in fact, rock musician Alanis Morissette announced plans to release a self-help book-slash-memoir later in the year. It's part of a growing book trend wherein celebs dole out life wisdom along with personal anecdotes. Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" is an example of how this can go (mostly) right. Last month's The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating and Making It Work! (an utterly useless offering from Project Runway's Tim Gunn), is the exact opposite.

Margaret Trudeau's new book Time of Your Life: Choosing a Vibrant, Joyful Future falls somewhere in between. After spending more than two decades "living in the now," Trudeau says she woke one day to find she was not a carefree flower child any more, but in fact a 65-year-old woman. A bad ski accident, the loss of her mother and a close friend's Alzheimer's diagnosis caused her to take stock of her life, both where she was at and where she is going. Her conclusion, that if she wanted to enjoy the so-called "third chapter" - a term coined by the age- and gravity-defying Jane Fonda - she was going to have to get real about getting old.

"Our youth-oriented society does not have a clearly defined place for the older woman," Trudeau writes, noting that by 2036, one in four Canadians will be over 65. She shares personal reflections on successful aging, along with stories from friends and notable females (ex-Home Depot Canada CEO Annette Verschuren, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi). There is plenty of straightforward advice (on banking, on grandparenting, on sex over 60), and just enough Trudeau-type gossip (the time that Gloria Steinem sent a copy of Ms. Magazine to 24 Sussex, upsetting Pierre).

The book raises important issues around feminism, ageism and the direction our society must take to address the coming grey revolution. And to be fair, Trudeau is a well-known public figure, a competent storyteller and a passionate social advocate. If lending her voice to this important cause prompts discourse, then that is undoubtedly a good thing. It's just not clear what qualifies her to lead the discussion.

You could argue the same thing about Gretchen Rubin. Before she published The Happiness Project, Rubin clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. A while back, when Rubin asked her former boss about her own happiness philosophy, O'Connor said that the key is three simple words: "work worth doing." It's a mantra the self-help industry could probably stand to revisit.

Courtney Shea is a Toronto journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @CocoShea.

Hopes and fears: How the diaspora is viewing Modi's visit
The Indian Prime Minister will be the first to come to Canada in more than four decades, stirring emotions within the Indo-Canadian community
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

VANCOUVER -- Rattan Mall was a young student at Delhi University in 1973, when Indira Gandhi, the last Indian prime minister to visit Canada, conducted a dazzling tour that seemed to signal a new era of co-operation between the two countries.

Instead of a breakthrough, however, the bilateral relationship cooled dramatically in 1974, when India violated an accord by testing a nuclear bomb using plutonium produced by a CANDU reactor, and the connection was further strained in 1985, when Canadian-based extremists bombed Air India Flight 182.

Forty-two years after Ms. Gandhi's tour, Mr. Mall and many other Indo-Canadians are wondering if the promise offered then will be realized now by the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a controversial Hindu nationalist whose right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in India last year.

His visit is stirring emotions within the Indian diaspora in Canada, raising hopes of increased trade and a blossoming strategic partnership, but also aggravating old political tensions within the Indo-Canadian population, which numbers more than one million.

Indian immigration to Canada began early in the 20th century, and expanded starting in the 1980s, with settlement mostly in Toronto and Metro Vancouver, although several other cities also attracted large South Asian communities.

Mr. Mall, a veteran journalist and editor of the Indo-Canadian Voice in Vancouver, said he was shocked when he first heard Mr. Modi was coming to Canada and would stop not just in Ontario but also in British Columbia, where there is a history of Sikh extremism.

"I couldn't believe it. This is such a hotbed of Khalistan stuff, although that has kind of died out now," he said, referring to the movement to create an independent Sikh state in Punjab.

Mr. Mall said there is a great deal of excitement, but also deep concerns surrounding the visit of Mr. Modi, who was the chief minister in the state of Gujarat when riots erupted in 2002, leaving some 2,000 Muslims dead. Since the election, his probusiness policies have won praise, but his failure to speak out against the persecution of minorities in India has brought criticism.

So what do Indo-Canadians think of him?

"The mistake mainstream media guys make is that they think the South Asian community is one whole. But it's badly splintered, every which way," Mr. Mall said of the feelings about Mr. Modi. "He received like a hero's welcome in the U.S., in New York and in Australia, and he'll be getting the same reception in Toronto [where there is a large Hindu population] ... but in Vancouver it's more tightly scripted, for obvious reasons. They are not sure what the situation is here."

Kasi Rao, a member of the National Alliance of Indo-Canadians committee organizing Mr. Modi's appearance at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, where attendance has been limited to 8,000, said there is tremendous excitement about what many see as an historic event.

"The significance of this visit is this is truly a transformative visit in the Canada-India relationship," he said, predicting it will lead to increased economic and cultural linkages.

Mr. Rao said Mr. Modi has met in India with Canadian federal, provincial and municipal politicians in recent years and has a familiarity with this country that no Indian prime minister has ever had before.

He is also leading the first majority government in decades and has a reputation for getting things done.

"And therefore the optimism the international business community feels for the prospect for reform is grounded in political reality," Mr. Rao said. He said optimism "resonates at an emotional level with the diaspora as well," and that explains why Mr. Modi's visit is generating such a buzz.

Vinay Sharma, vice-president of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society, which is hosting a speech by Mr. Modi at the Laxmi Narayan mandir, a Hindu temple in Surrey, B.C., said they were overwhelmed with the response when people were asked to preregister for the event. The 5,000 tickets were taken in three days.

"Especially for the people of Indian origin, this is very important," he said of Mr. Modi's visit. "It will better the relationship between Canada and India, for sure. I can see that this is going to be a huge, huge transformation whatever is being done between Canada and India."

Gurpreet Singh, a popular broadcaster on Spice Radio, agrees Mr. Modi will draw big crowds - but says not everyone will be a fan.

"He comes with that political baggage and there's a lot of anxiety in our community, especially among minorities in India," he said. "Ever since his government has come to power, minorities feel intimidated, especially the Muslims and Christians.

So he's coming here and obviously there will be some protests. ... There are a lot of people coming together to show their anger and their dissent ... we'll be seeing a lot of fireworks."

Mr. Singh said Mr. Modi will be able to win over some critics if he reduces a so-called blacklist that restricts travel to India by anyone suspected of links to extremism, if he takes steps to protect the rights of minorities in India, and if he acknowledges past atrocities against Sikhs.

Palbinder Kaur Shergill, a B.C. lawyer and legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization, said she hopes the visit will open a dialogue about more than trade.

"There was a recent spate of attacks against churches in the New Delhi area, and one of the church priests said there was not even an acknowledgement by the government that the attacks had occurred. So there is certainly a belief amongst many people that [Mr. Modi's] silence can be interpreted as acquiescence," she said. "What I'd like to see and what many others would like to see is for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to actually raise these concerns."

Aditya Tawatia, B.C. president of the Overseas Friends of BJP, said he hopes Mr. Modi's critics will set aside their differences and celebrate the visit for the economic opportunities it presents. "This is a very important moment for both countries," he said. "This is a big milestone, a turning point, a titanic shift in the relationship of both countries."

Mr. Tawatia, whose organization supported the BJP election campaign in India and worked for years promoting a visit, was asked if it marks a breakthrough in the often wary relationship between the two countries. "Definitely it is," he said.

"This is the time we've been waiting for."

Dave Hayer, a former Liberal MLA, said it is "very significant" that an Indian prime minister is visiting after a 42-year absence. "It's been too long," he said.

"I think with that long gap both countries are equally at fault. We should have done a better job of keeping our relationship close."

B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong, who has made nine trips to India, sees Mr. Modi's visit as a sign that the importance Canada attaches to the bilateral relationship "is now being reciprocated."

He said the trade opportunities for Canada in the huge India market are obvious, but if a new, more open and prosperous partnership is to develop, leaders in both countries will have to continue working long after the speeches and state dinner are over.

"There undoubtedly is excitement," Mr. de Jong said of the visit, "but here's the challenge we have to overcome, and I'll speak rather bluntly. The cultural ties between the countries are very, very strong, have been, continue to be. The challenge we both face is to convert that incredibly strong cultural link into a more powerful economic link."

The Indian diaspora in Canada, with the numbers of those who identify as Hindu and Sikh. The third bar is Canadians who identify India as their place of birth.

HINDU ONTARIO: 366,700 B.C.: 45,790 ELSEWHERE: 85,470 497,960

SIKH ONTARIO: 179,711 B.C.: 201,095 E LSEWHERE: 74,159 454,965

INDIAN TORONTO: 279,425 VANCOUVER: 114,075 ELSEWHERE: 178,935 572,435

Associated Graphic

Rattan Mall, editor of the Indo-Canadian Voice, says the visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is generating both great excitement and concern among Indo-Canadians.




EU pressed to deal with human trafficking after hundreds of migrants believed drowned
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

ROME -- The drowning of as many as 700 migrants in the Mediterranean has put the European Union under enormous pressure to confront the human-trafficking crisis only months after a sweeping seaborne rescue campaign was scaled back because of lack of EU financial and moral support.

The woefully overloaded vessel, a fishing boat only 20 metres in length, capsized in the darkness early Sunday, when the migrants reportedly shifted en masse to one side to get the attention of a Portuguese merchant ship that approached to give assistance.

As the Italian and Maltese coast guards and navies searched for survivors and bodies - only about 30 survivors had been rescued by Sunday evening - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for an emergency EU meeting to discuss the crisis of refugees trying to get to Europe by sea. He described the human trafficking as "the new slave trade" of the 21st century but ruled out a naval blockade of Libya, the source of most of the migrants desperate to reach Italy and other parts of southern Europe.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, called for "bold" and "immediate" actions to stem the crisis. But with Libya mired in chaos and violence after the killing of Libyan strongman and Italian ally Moammar Gadhafi in late 2011, cracking down on the human traffickers who load rickety boats with vulnerable migrants will not be easy.

"If you don't have enough [naval] assets, you can't keep up with the traffickers," Maltese EU parliamentarian Roberta Metsola said in an interview.

Late last year, the Italian government, with the encouragement of some EU member states, wound down its extensive Mare Nostrum migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean, which were carried out by the Italian navy and rescued about 100,000 people in 2014.

Those countries critical of Mare Nostrum said its presence merely encouraged migrant crossings - the "pull factor" - endangering more lives. Several anti-immigrant parties in Europe also condemned Mare Nostrum. Italy's resurgent Northern League Party said Mare Nostrum was a godsend to human traffickers at Italian taxpayers' expense, while a member of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia Party called it a "taxi service" for migrants.

The Italians also complained that the operation was excessively costly, at the equivalent of about $12-million a month, and that they had sought unsuccessfully to share the financial burden. Mare Nostrum's replacement program, run by the EU's border agency Frontex, is called Triton and operates with a mere third of Mare Nostrum's budget.

Sunday's disaster happened about 100 kilometres off the Libyan coast and about 200 kilometres south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, which lies roughly half way between Sicily and northwest Libya.

The emergency was declared at about midnight, local time, after which 20 Italian and Maltese ships took part in the rescue, along with three helicopters.

Italian prosecutors said a Bangladeshi survivor flown to Sicily for treatment told them about 300 people had been locked in the hold by smugglers when the fishing boat overturned. He also told investigators that 200 women and dozens of children were on board.

Prosecutor Giovanni Salvi stressed that there was no confirmation yet of the survivor's account and that the investigation was ongoing.

The Italian coast guard on Sunday said that only 24 bodies had been recovered. These small numbers are explainable if hundreds of people were locked in the hold, because with so much weight down below, "surely the boat would have sunk," said General Antonino Iraso, of the Italian Border Police, which has deployed boats in the operation.

Gen. Iraso said the sea in the area is too deep for divers, suggesting that the final toll may never be known.

Sunday's tragedy appears to be similar to one last week, when about 400 migrants were believed to have drowned when a sudden rush to one side of the boat caused it tip over.

"A tragedy is unfolding in the Mediterranean and if the EU and the world continue to close their eyes, it will be judged in the harshest terms," Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Sunday.

Speaking at a political event in northern Italy, Prime Minister Renzi said Europe was witnessing "systematic slaughter in the Mediterranean."

If confirmed, the 700 deaths would bring the number of dead in the Mediterranean to 1,500 so far this year. That's a nine-fold increase over the first four months of last year.

The civil wars and humanitarian crises in Syria, Libya and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, notably Somalia, are producing a steady stream of migrants. Tens of thousands of them end up as clients as of traffickers in Libya, who appear to operate freely in a country whose security and civil structures have broken down since the Colonel Gadhafi's death.

Ms. Metsola, who has been campaigning for a broad response to the Mediterranean refugee crisis, said the traffickers are ruthless and have no regard for human life. "The number of migrants is not actually increasing," she said. "It's the number of deaths that have increased."

She said the traffickers sometimes lure migrants by showing them relatively large and safe boats in Libyan ports. But once they are aboard, they are taken offshore and, at gunpoint, forced onto small, dilapidated boats with no safety equipment and no crew with seagoing experience. The traffickers then return to shore on the safe boats and repeat the bait-and-switch game, Ms. Metsola said.

On April 13, traffickers fired shots in the air as an Italian tugboat and an Icelandic coast guard vessel that were taking aboard migrants from an unseaworthy wooden boat off the Libyan coast. The traffickers were on a speedboat and fired their guns in an attempt to recover the wooden boat, so it could be used again.

"This is a sign that smugglers in Libya are running short of boats and are more willing to use weapons to recover those used to transport the migrants," said Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri.

Ms. Metsola has called the scaled-back Triton program wholly inadequate and wants more ships devoted to the operation, as do the Italians. She is the lead author of an EU report that will say that the root causes of the migration crisis, such as the proliferation of human traffickers in Libya, have to be tackled.

In his regular papal address on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow for the victims of the mass drowning. "These are men and women like us who seek a better life," he said. "Hungry, persecuted, injured, exploited, victims of wars. They were looking for happiness."


Sunday's tragedy in the Mediterranean, authorities from European capitals called for a unified response to confront the crisis of human trafficking. EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the migrant crisis at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

"Europe can do more and Europe must do more. It is a shame and a confession of failure how many countries run away from responsibility and how little money we provide for rescue missions." Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

"We Europeans risk damaging our credibility if we are not able to prevent these tragic situations which are happening every day." Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Prime Minister

"More boats, more aerial surveillance and a much tougher fight against traffickers [are needed.]" François Hollande, French President

"It was an illusion to think that cutting off Mare Nostrum would prevent people from attempting this dangerous voyage." Aydan Ozoguz, German government's representative for migration, refugees and integration

"We have said too many times 'never again.' Now is time for the European Union as such to tackle these tragedies without delay." Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief and former Italian foreign minister

"More EU countries must take responsibility for the refugee situation." Morgan Johansson, Sweden's Minister for Justice and Migration

"This disaster confirms how urgent it is to restore a robust rescue-at-sea operation and establish credible legal avenues to reach Europe. Otherwise people seeking safety will continue to perish at sea."

Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Associated Graphic

Rescue vessels search for survivors in the Mediterranean after a boat carrying more than 700 people capsized Sunday.


A child is carried by a rescue worker as migrants arrive on a boat at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo on Sunday.



A second wind of fascination
Playwright Michel Marc Bouchard had his first big hit in 1996 - but now, his career has risen to a deserved new peak
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R4

Michel Marc Bouchard, of all playwrights, is sitting and wondering what the point is. "I know it's a really candid and naive question," he says, swaying from left to right, as he shifts from English to French. "Le théâtre - estce qu'on sert à quelque chose?" That is: Does theatre - and those who make it - serve a purpose?

Dressed dapperly as always, Bouchard is leaning over a cabaret table at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times, where his play Tom at the Farm is finally having its English-language premiere this week, 21/2 years after he pulled it from the season at Factory Theatre.

That was "one of the most painful decisions in my career," Bouchard says - and so a certain amount of soul searching is in keeping with the resurrection of that production. And yet, it's a strangely solemn question to hear from him at this moment in time.

The dramatist from SaintCoeur-de-Marie, Que. - a small village also home to another famous Bouchard, Lucien - had his first big hit with the dizzyingly passionate romance Les Feluettes in 1987 - known as Lilies in English, and turned into a Genie-winning film of that same name by John Greyson in 1996.

It was hard to top, but now, at 57, Bouchard's career has risen to a new peak - with plays having English premieres at the Stratford Festival, Buddies and the Shaw Festival all within the span of 12 months.

At the same time, hot on the heels of the release of cinematic wunderkind Xavier Dolan's film version of Tom at the Farm, an adaptation of Bouchard's Swedishhistory play Christina, the Girl King, directed by Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki, is in postproduction.

And that's before we even broach the subject of Bouchard's burgeoning career as opera librettist. Two of his plays are headed for main-stage productions at the country's biggest opera houses - Lilies, with a score by Australian composer Kevin March, will premiere at the Opéra de Montréal in 2016, while the Canadian Opera Company just commissioned Montreal composer Ana Sokolovic to tackle Christina, the Girl King for a tentative premiere in 2019.

What accounts for this second wind of fascination with Bouchard's plays? "Maybe, for a decade, my work was a bit imprecise, because I was in search of form," he says. "But this culmination is a question of circumstance: All these projects were started a while ago."

Tom at the Farm, for instance, was meant to be on stage in 2012 - and what happened at Factory Theatre back then still bothers Bouchard. Unlike other playwrights who withdrew their work from Factory, he wasn't acting out of solidarity with fired artistic director Ken Gass. He pulled his play because a prominent group of Toronto artists were boycotting the theatre - and he didn't want to premiere a work in that hostile atmosphere. "I stopped the jobs of maybe 10 people with this decision," he says. "I tried to understand why artists would boycott other artists. ... I was, I must say, furious."

Bouchard's work has frequently dealt with artists fighting to put on their work - but it is usually the clergy, in Quebec's rural past, that are standing in their way.

Lilies, set in 1912 and 1952, begins with a boy's school production of The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian being cancelled (and ends with perhaps the country's first fictional gay wedding).

Meanwhile, The Divine, Bouchard's next play, set to premiere at the Shaw Festival this summer and Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in the fall, is a fantasia based on the true story of French actress Sarah Bernhardt's visit to Quebec City in 1905. It follows two seminarians who are charged with delivering a letter to the "Divine Sarah" from the Archbishop forbidding her from performing in the provincial capital.

Quebec City was the only place in Canada at the time where a clergy boycott could work, Bouchard says - and in the play, he ponders whether, like the characters in the play, we are headed toward a Grande Noirceur of our own. "Why do we hate, or are afraid, of the intellectual, the scientific, the artistic?" he asks. "We experience that now, on both sides of this country, especially with this government we have at Ottawa right now."

And yet, The Divine is an exciting event in Canadian theatre - it's not every day a play by one of Quebec's top playwrights premieres in English before French.

But Bouchard brought the idea to the Shaw Festival and penned the script specifically for its company of actors - and his translator, Linda Gaboriau, worked with him on each draft through the workshop process. (In Fiona Reid, the great comedienne who will be playing Bernhardt, Bouchard says he has found a muse.)

It's all due to the playwright's long-standing relationship with Shaw's outgoing artistic director, Jackie Maxwell - who, when she was running Factory Theatre in the late 1980s, commissioned the first translation of Lilies, a move that arguably paved the way for its astonishing continued life as play, movie, musical (in Belgium, in Flemish!) and now opera.

"More than any writer I know, Michel Marc can mix the political and the poetical together," says Maxwell, who also staged Bouchard's The Coronation Voyage on the main stage in her first season as Shaw artistic director, making him the first living playwright to sit and watch his work staged at the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., festival. "It's tricky to do - and, as a director, it really puts you through your paces."

Tom at the Farm certainly marries the poetic and the political: It has the heightened language and Gothic sexuality that are Bouchard's signatures, while it wades deep into sexual politics by arguing that just because homophobia is no longer a problem in cities among the affluent does not mean that it is not still a problem.

But the 2011 play is also a lean and mean psychological thriller, with plenty of twists and tension.

After Tom, an advertising man in his mid-20s, loses his lover in a car accident, he heads out to his rural hometown to pay his respects to the family. There, he meets Agatha, his lover's mother, who does not know her son was gay, never mind that Tom exists - and Francis, his lover's brother, who does know all this but insists he keep the relationship a secret.

Under threat of violence, Tom goes along with his deceased lover's story about a girlfriend named Nathalie, channelling messages from her - until the invented woman herself actually shows up at the farm.

Tom at the Farm is atypical in the Bouchard canon for being set in the present, but as with so many of his plays, it features characters who are forced to become actors by circumstance - usually to hide secrets, sexuality being the most common. "Homosexuals learn to lie before they learn to love," he writes in his preface to the play.

"We are courageous mythomaniacs."

Eda Holmes, who is directing Tom at the Farm at Buddies and previously directed Bouchard's The Madonna Painter for Factory, finds that his writing reminds her of Tennessee Williams. "I say that in the sense that he brings poetry to the harsh realities of his characters," she says. "Even though so many of his plays have been transformed into movies, I feel like the plays themselves are plays - they're necessarily theatre." (Indeed, even if you've seen Dolan's adaptation of Tom at the Farm, it's still worth catching the play - the ending is entirely different.)

As for Bouchard, he's grateful to see Tom at the Farm make it to the stage in English with Holmes still at the helm, alongside the cast she originally assembled for Factory. He stuck by this group of artists, which includes Soulpepper star Jeff Lillico in the title role. "I refused other productions for this one," Bouchard says. "For me, it was a kind of devoir." That is, it was his duty.

Tom at the Farm runs April 11 to May 10 at Buddies in Bad Times (

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Michel Marc Bouchard's play Tom at the Farm is having its English premiere at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times this week.


Modi in Canada
With this visit, an informal alliance sparked decades ago may again find its way, writes John Stackhouse
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F6

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes Narendra Modi to Canada next week, it will be more than a diplomatic leap forward. It will be the convergence of two political strategies that would have been unimaginable 42 years ago, the last time an Indian prime minister visited.

Mr. Modi, due to arrive in Ottawa on Tuesday, will be the first Indian leader to pay an official visit to Canada since Indira Gandhi, the socialist demagogue, was welcomed by Pierre Trudeau in 1973.

The change in both countries' politics is as evident as it is in their economies. Since winning a majority last May, Mr. Modi has set out to remake the political foundations of his country and its place in the world. Canadians might recognize the strategy.

Mr. Modi's public pitch in Canada will be for investment, largely in infrastructure. But he's also here as part of a greater game, to make his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the natural governing choice of India, with a secure and stable majority, just as Mr. Harper sought to do with the Conservative Party in Canada.

One of Mr. Modi's goals - and he likes metrics - is to make his BJP the largest political organization in the world, with 100 million members, ahead of the Communist Party of China. Just 35 years old, the party claims it has doubled its membership in five months, to around 90 million, surpassing the Chinese Communists.

He knows the diaspora - 1.2 million in Canada - is critical to adding to those numbers, and to the party's fundraising. During a visit to New York last September, Mr. Modi filled Madison Square Garden. In Australia, he spoke to 20,000 followers who packed an arena at Sydney's Olympic Park.

In Toronto on Wednesday, he and Mr. Harper are expected to appear together at the city's Ricoh Coliseum, which seats 8,000. Organizers were aiming for the Air Canada Centre, with double the capacity, but it was booked for a Raptors basketball game.

After meeting business leaders in Toronto, the two prime ministers will travel to Vancouver, where Mr. Modi is aiming to build bridges with a non-Hindu diaspora (largely Sikhs) and Mr. Harper is preparing for a fall election in which the Lower Mainland may be the place where his majority is ultimately tested.

The two leaders have more in common than politically strategic minds; they have each blended a populist appeal with a technocratic bent to reach beyond their parties' traditional lines.

Like Mr. Harper, Mr. Modi is a grassroots conservative who believes in free markets but also values the guiding hand of government in strategic economic decisions, including foreign investment.

Like Mr. Harper, Mr. Modi dislikes quotas and other socialengineering schemes, and takes a skeptical view of bureaucracy.

Both have built up their political branches and engaged them in government operations.

Like Mr. Harper, Mr. Modi must work to contain the social conservative wing of his party as he tries to make the BJP the first choice among the rising middle class. Of course, that is a more extreme challenge in India, where the BJP has a history of marginalizing, vilifying and even attacking religious minorities and, at times, lower castes.

During his stop in Vancouver, Mr. Modi is scheduled to visit a Sikh temple, a signal to both the diaspora and the audience back home that he wants to expand his party's appeal.

Even though he was previously a state leader with little international experience, Mr. Modi has become the most outward-looking prime minister since Rajiv Gandhi and the most politically skilful since Mr. Gandhi's mother, Indira, ran the country in the 1970s.

In global affairs, both leaders see a more idiosyncratic role for their respective countries - Mr. Harper pursuing a "principlebased" foreign policy, while Mr. Modi has been more pragmatic, seeking alliances with almost any country that can help build India's economy, military and infrastructure - nuclear power included. After he visits France and Germany this weekend, Canada will be his 15th country in 11 months.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Harper may be the most closely aligned leaders of their two countries since the elder Gandhi and Trudeau.

The bilateral relationship fell apart the year after Ms. Gandhi's visit to Canada, when India first tested a nuclear device. Canada imposed sanctions, and the two countries kept a polite but cool diplomatic relationship until 1996.

That year, prime minister Jean Chrétien visited India for five days, leading a large Team Canada trade mission that included seven premiers and 300 executives. While Mr. Chrétien tried to make the relationship more commercially focused, his criticisms of India's nuclear program as well as social issues such as child labour limited Canada's impact.

Two years later, when India conducted more nuclear tests, a diplomatic chill returned.

The two countries have since struggled to increase economic ties, with Canadian exports to India growing from a scant $555million in 2000, to $3.1-billion in 2014, primarily soybeans, fertilizer, ore and wood. Two-way trade is barely 10 per cent of what it is for Canada with China, and still behind Canada's trade with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Mr. Harper and Mr. Modi can repair that to some extent with a comprehensive trade agreement, which some expect to be announced during the visit. India is also working on an agreement to secure uranium supplies on the heels of the 2013 agreement to end the embargo on nuclear materials. In his ambitious pursuit of infrastructure projects and financing, Mr. Modi has focused particularly on nuclear power, and is expected to pursue a new uranium supply when he is in Canada.

He reached an agreement with Barack Obama in January, when the U.S. President was in India, to allow for the freer trade of nuclear materials and services with India. And his visit to France, which started Thursday, was partly designed to advance negotiations with the French company Areva to develop the world's largest nuclear-power plant in central India.

Canada's largest pension funds have already increased their exposure to India, with an eye on infrastructure, and may collectively represent the largest Canadian presence in the subcontinent.

But if Canadian trade is to grow significantly, it must also be through services and the knowledge economy.

One of Mr. Modi's policies calls for 100 "smart cities" - new, digitally driven communities built next to the crowded and chaotic urban centres that have become a cliché of modern India.

That would be on top of five new Indian Institutes of Technology (the celebrated postsecondary universities that graduate many of India's best and brightest), five new business schools and four national-level teaching hospitals. Canada could play a leading role in helping to build those institutions, and connecting them, digitally, with Canadian universities and hospitals.

Toronto's Ryerson University has indicated what can be done, with a digital start-up zone it created in Mumbai in partnership with the Bombay Stock Exchange. The facility is meant to create a flow of ideas, capital and entrepreneurs between the countries.

Mr. Modi is also keen to secure more long-term oil and gas supplies. A pledge by Mr. Harper and key premiers to ensure that Canada's own infrastructure - pipelines and ports, mainly - be built in a timely manner would give the Indians more confidence in Canada's ability to deliver.

The two countries have other shared interests in areas such as cyber-security, counterterrorism, international labour flows and environmental management.

Mr. Harper and Mr. Modi may find a desire to reach beyond those issues to see how their democracies and pluralistic societies can return to an earlier ambition, crafted for a different time.

When Ms. Gandhi was in Canada, she and Mr. Trudeau were among a group of leaders pushing for a so-called middle way, to navigate the world beyond the two superpowers of the day.

In an increasingly non-polar world, in which institutions from NATO to the G20 to the World Bank struggle for relevance, an informal Indo-Canadian alliance may yet again find its place, this time led by a diaspora that is the two countries' most important bridge.

John Stackhouse, a former India correspondent and editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, is a senior fellow at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and the C.D. Howe Institute.

Businessman revolutionized fuel delivery
Recognizing key opportunities others overlooked led former Labrador Affairs minister to varied success
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S12

Melvin Woodward was one of the most successful businessmen of his generation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Starting with a single fuel-delivery truck that he drove himself in predawn winter mornings, he built companies that became major players in the oil and gas, aircraft refuelling, automotive and marine-transport industries, and restored the province's role in Arctic shipping. He developed tank farms and supplied them with his own ships, a fleet that now includes the tankers Alsterstern, Havelstern, Travestern, Nanny and Dorsch. His MS Apollo also provides ferry services on the Strait of Belle Isle.

Starting in 1976, Mr. Woodward opened GM dealerships in St. Anthony, Labrador City, Hawke's Bay, Bay Roberts and L'Anse-au-Clair, and quickly expanded into rentals. In 1996, he received the first petroleum products supply-and-delivery contract with Voisey's Bay Nickel Co. He won contracts to distribute fuel through Nunavut, and with the power commission (now Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro). In 2014, his Woodward Group of Companies - including Woodward's Oil Ltd., Woodward's Ltd., Coastal Shipping Ltd., Woodward Motors Ltd., Labrador Motors Ltd. and Labrador Marine Inc. - employed more than 800 people and made $750-million in sales, according to a statement from the family.

"Mel could see an opportunity where others would not," said Edward Roberts, former lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and a long-time friend and colleague. "He demonstrated this time and time again.

"I don't know another story like it. He didn't inherit money and there were no great breaks.

I don't know anyone else who did as well as Mel did."

A St. John's-based Sunday Independent article on the province's wealthiest people (Dec. 14, 2003) called him "Labrador Magus." He was ranked No. 6 of 10, just after former premier Danny Williams.

Mr. Woodward was twice elected member of the provincial House of Assembly, in 1971 and 1972, and served as minister of Labrador Affairs under Joseph Smallwood. He ran again in 1976, but lost by about 20 votes.

"He loved politics. Dad was all about doing something," his son Peter said.

Melvin Woodward died March 16 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The cause of death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to his family.

"He was steadfast about never living anywhere but Goose Bay," Peter said. "And he was very successful from day one."

Mr. Woodward was born Aug. 23, 1933, in North Boat Harbour (population then 40), on the western tip of Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, the youngest of nine boys and two girls of Joseph, a fisherman, and Jennie (née Scanlon), the postmistress.

Both his sisters died very young.

The spring he was 16, he was walking along the shore and saw a pan of ice dotted with black specks. He quickly realized these were seal pelts left behind by a sealing vessel. He clambered aboard the ice and dragged 90 pelts to shore, which he sold for $1.25 each. "That was the first money he ever earned," Peter said.

He went to school in Cook's Harbour, on the other side of the peninsula, boarding with a family. At the end of Grade 11, he wrote the public exams - in those days they were graded in England and it would be autumn before he knew if he'd passed. He went to work for the local merchant family, the Elliotts. At the end of the summer, when he expected to collect his pay, he was told it had been applied to his family's accounts.

That upset him, but he was rarely so financially vulnerable again.

He did pass his exams and a nearby Anglican minister telegraphed him about a solecharge school in Savage Cove, down the coast. He accepted the position, for $65 a month, and when it was time for him to start and the weather was too rough to travel by boat, he walked with his suitcase strapped to his back - a journey that today would take almost two hours by car. Once there, he decided to upgrade his mode of transportation to a bicycle, so he went to George Coles's store and asked the young saleswoman for a Raleigh. Thus he met Sibyl Coles.

The sweethearts moved down the coast, where he read meters for the power company in Corner Brook and she worked at the Esso station in Deer Lake, and then to St. John's, he as a clerk at the London, New York and Paris department store, she as a grocery store cashier. They were living in different boarding houses and wanted to marry and make their own home. Mr.

Woodward thought $600 would be enough to buy wedding rings and pay for the ceremony. Word was there was good work at the U.S. Air Force base in Goose Bay, so he boarded a DC3 and flew up to Labrador.

He was soon employed as a cashier at the Base Exchange.

He sent word to Sibyl to join him, so she went down to Pier 17 and boarded the SS Kyle.

They married on Remembrance Day in 1957.

In 1960, Mr. Woodward began working for himself. For security reasons, no one could live within three miles of the base, so they lived in Happy Valley (so called as everyone was happy to have a regular job, Peter explained).

At that time, when someone wanted to buy furnace oil, they drove to the base with a jerry can. Mr. Woodward learned there was a fuel truck for sale for $300, and Sybil announced she had $300 saved from the grocery money that she had secretly collected in her winter coat pocket. So he bought the truck and began his winter mornings delivering fuel, and for summer work he started a stevedore company, servicing the coastal boats.

"One thing he saw early on was an opportunity to do something about the way fuel oil was being delivered," Mr. Roberts said. "Everybody needed gasoline. All over the isolated Newfoundland and Labrador coasts, fuel was delivered in 40-gallon [American] drums. These became a curse. Oil drums are heavy even when they're empty, they are hard to move, they rust, they are an environmental nightmare.

"Mel went to England to buy a ship, a Shell Oil surplus coastal tanker; he built tanks; he pumped the fuel ashore. It revolutionized life in coastal Labrador."

Mr. Woodward opened the Canadian Arctic using the same approach. "In the Arctic, it is all fuel - all their heat, all their light, all their transportation, other than dogs. Mel recalled that Newfoundlanders had run the ships for the Hudson's Bay Co. Romantic or not, Mel decided to see if he could get back some of that shipping business.

The Nunavut government contracted him to carry all the POL [petroleum, oil and lubricants], which was quite an accomplishment.

"He would buy double-hulled ships that could carry big volumes of fuel. People sell ships like they sell cars. In 2004, he bought the Astron ... for freight service, and she could put her rear end into the dock and lower the ramp. Up until then everything was derricked out of the hold. It looks so simple," Mr. Roberts said. "And it was."

Mr. Woodward saw big opportunities - to him the North was an opportunity - but he did not take big chances.

"The business was conservatively run," Peter said. "He lived a conservative life. They stayed in the same home they'd purchased in 1967."

Mr. Woodward liked salmon fishing and had purchased a lodge on Eagle River. He also loved airplanes, though he never flew himself. He was dynamic, self-directed and had strong opinions: He held court. Mr. Woodward served as a member of Memorial University's Board of Regents, chairman of the St.

John's Port Authority and a director of the Bank of Canada.

His many honours included induction in the Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame in 2001.

Mr. Woodward leaves his wife, Sibyl; daughter, Tana; sons, Peter and Melvin Jr.; and five grandchildren.

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Associated Graphic

Melvin Woodward relaxing at his salmon lodge on Labrador's Eagle River. Mr. Woodward lived a simple life in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.


Melvin Woodward

A banker's acceptance: Believe in yourself
Colleen Johnston, chief financial officer and group head of Toronto-Dominion Bank
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

TORONTO -- Even after 33 years, Colleen Johnston, one of Bay Street's most senior ranking women, still cherishes the first time she made a serious impression on a male chief executive officer.

In the early nineties, while working for Bank of Nova Scotia's finance department, she was invited to speak at a board meeting for one of the lender's subsidiary companies. Despite being the only woman in the massive boardroom that she likened, lightheartedly, to the United Nations general assembly, Ms. Johnston spoke with authority.

Her poise offered a snapshot of her potential, and she was later told that Cedric Ritchie, then Scotiabank's chairman and CEO, leaned toward his neighbour when she finished and said: "Hey, what's her name?" It would become a recurring theme throughout Ms. Johnston's career. An analytical accountant by training, she has a knack for attracting the attention of Canada's most powerful business leaders. Her skill set is rare: She is compassionate, but also capable of tussling with the Bay Street boys. One banker likened her manner to wielding a steel knife in a velvet glove.

In 1998, Ed Clark took notice. By then Ms. Johnston was the chief financial officer of Scotiabank's capital markets arm, and Mr.

Clark, the CEO of Canada Trust, tried to recruit her. She politely rebuffed him, but he wouldn't give up. Mr. Clark called again a few years later, and this time it was in his capacity as CEO of Toronto-Dominion Bank, which had merged with his former lender.

Mr. Clark gave Ms. Johnston a hard sell, offering her the chance to rise quickly to the role of CFO.

It was a gut-wrenching decision - for bank executives, switching companies is like crossing the political aisle. But in retrospect, it was a smart move.

Since joining in 2004, Ms. Johnston has been part of the executive team that helped solidify the position of TD, which emphasizes customer service, as Canada's second-largest lender. She also helped the bank expand its territory into the U.S. Northeast, striking $18-billion worth of acquisitions in four years. When she started, TD made $2-billion a year; today it makes that much each quarter.

That Ms. Johnston, the eldest of six siblings, has accomplished so much still shocks her. But over a plate of cod and some greens mixed with oil and vinegar at Ki, one of her go-to restaurants in Toronto, she admits she long dreamed of being in business.

Her first job out of university was at Price Waterhouse, where she earned her chartered accountant designation, just like her dad. One of her first audits was for a Canadian lender, and she hated it.

"I thought it was a dreadful experience; I really did," she says, chuckling. "I went to my manager at PW and I said: 'I'd really appreciate if you wouldn't put me on any more bank audits.' " That request fell on deaf ears - and that was a good thing. The next year she was assigned to Scotiabank, and this time she didn't find it so bad. A few years later, she even applied for a job there.

After 15 years with Scotiabank, the prospect of switching allegiances to TD was incredibly stressful. "It was a very, very tough decision," she says. Not only did she feel tremendous loyalty to the institution, switching banks would mean cutting ties with all the people who had sponsored her internally.

They don't begrudge her, though. "Colleen was a top-notch financial professional and a wonderful person as well - and we were sorry to see her leave the bank," says Sabi Marwah, who served as Scotiabank's CFO during her time there, and who is one of the most respected names in Canadian banking. "It has been great to watch as she continued to grow."

Because she appears so confident in her role, it's easy to believe Ms. Johnston was born to do it. But the seasoned CFO says she is a far cry from her younger self.

Growing up, Ms. Johnston detested public speaking. One memory sticks out: She had to make a presentation on mining industry accounting standards during her fourth year of university, and it was a nerve-racking experience.

"I can still literally feel that moment," she recalls. It wasn't until she took a presentation course early in her career that she started to feel more assured.

Forced to watch herself on tape, she realized she wasn't so bad.

Today, her mission is to make sure women within TD see their own potential. Ms. Johnston, who rides the subway to work, has run the bank's Women in Leadership initiative for nearly a decade. Early on, the group focused on removing internal obstacles, such as boys' club politics, that prevented women from landing senior roles inside the bank. With much of that heavy lifting behind them, they're now focused on what she calls the missing ingredient: "Women believing in themselves."

What they've done so far is impressive. A decade ago, women comprised 22 per cent of all TD executives, meaning employees who are vice-presidents or higher. The equivalent figure today is 36 per cent.

Through the years Ms. Johnston has worked tirelessly, even settling on a haircut that she says she can blow-dry in one minute while watching Bloomberg TV in the morning. Two summers ago, she broke her wrist bike riding near her family's second home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and when she was told that surgery would be needed to repair it, she endured weeks of pain so that she could schedule the operation right after TD reported its quarterly earnings.

Despite the personal sacrifices, Ms. Johnston prefers to talk about her team and the people who have supported her. It's why that meeting in the Scotiabank boardroom still stands out. She wasn't anyone special at the time; however, her boss insisted that Ms. Johnston not only attend the gathering, but also speak.

"I always think back to that moment," she says, sipping some decaf coffee for dessert. It taught her that managers should always showcase their people and stand up for them.

Once I settle the bill, Ms. Johnston asks if it's okay if she says a few words about one more supporter of hers - someone I haven't thought to ask about.

Her husband, Brian, she says, has been her rock. They met at Price Waterhouse when she was a summer student, and they have been married 30 years. "It's that kind of partnership that's been my backbone," she explains.

When she was debating whether to jump to TD, for instance, "it was Brian who said: 'Go for the brass ring.' " The relationship is mutually beneficial, too - so goes a running joke in their family. Years ago, when they were working as junior accountants together, Mr. Johnston explained what he was looking for in a partner. "I'll tell you something: I don't want a woman who can cook," he told his future wife. "I want a woman who can make money."

He no doubt meant he would support his spouse's ambitions.

However, Mr. Johnston ultimately got exactly what he wished for. In February, TD reported that its CFO earned nearly $10-million over the past three years. Call it close to a perfect marriage.


Age: 56

Born: Vancouver; moved to Toronto at 18 months.

Education: Bachelor of business administration, York University, 1982; chartered accountant designation.

Family: Husband - Brian Johnston, COO at Mattamy Homes; 2015 marks their 30th anniversary. Two daughters - Emily, 25, and Katherine, 22.

On breaking into Bay Street as a woman in the eighties "I thought the world was my oyster coming out of university; I didn't think: 'Oh gosh, I'm a woman, this is going to be tough.' I thought: 'I'm going to get noticed more.' " .

Near and dear to her heart: Her eldest brother, Kevin, had a stroke in 2004 that paralyzed his right arm and partly immobilized his left leg. She joined the advisory board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and now organizes a team of TD women to participate in Toronto's annual Ride for Heart event.

Associated Graphic


Oil-spill answers raise questions
Sailors who reported slick and officials in B.C. give accounts that differ from Ottawa, Coast Guard versions
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

VICTORIA -- The sloop Odin set out from False Creek late on the sunny afternoon of April 8 for a pleasure sail, with the two-man crew, Rob O'Dea and Arnt Arntzen, using a steady northwest wind to tack their way around the transport freighters that use English Bay as a parking lot.

Around 4:45 p.m., the pair aboard Mr. Arntzen's 21-foot sailboat spotted a large slick on the water, accompanied by the smell of fresh asphalt. It took them just 15 minutes of sailing to track the source to the bulk grain carrier MV Marathassa, which was at anchor in the bay after putting in to the Port of Vancouver to begin loading its cargo.

By then, the slick was half a kilometre long and 250 metres wide, by Mr. O'Dea's estimation.

Beneath the blue sheen, he could see the water was thick with globules of oil. Mr. O'Dea called 911 at 5:05 p.m. from his cellphone, and a Canadian Coast Guard official called him back three minutes later to assure him the agency was already aware of the spill and had dispatched a pollution response team.

That would have been reassuring, except there was no Coast Guard or any other emergency response vessel in sight. In fact, the cleanup crew would not be authorized to respond until three hours later.

His was not the first call: The initial report came in from another sailor at 4:58 p.m., over a marine radio, saying the oil was leaking from the starboard stern of the Marathassa.

The two sailors aboard Odin spent the next three hours tacking back and forth near the Marathassa, waiting for the pollution control crews to arrive. They watched as a Port Metro Vancouver harbour patrol boat, which set out at 5:15 to investigate multiple reports, arrived at the ship 15 to 20 minutes later, looking for the source of the thick, sticky globs of highly toxic Bunker C oil. But the two-man vessel was designed for surveillance and was not equipped to tackle any cleanup.

Around 6 p.m., Port Metro asked commercial air traffic to supply photographs to help assess the scope of the spill, and told the Canadian Coast Guard that the harbour authority needed help to determine the size and nature of the spill. According to the Coast Guard, the harbour master from Port Metro reported "a minimum sheen which was unrecoverable" at 7:15 p.m.

With the light fading, Mr. Arntzen and Mr. O'Dea sailed for home just before 8 p.m. without a Coast Guard or pollution response vessel on the scene.

"All we did, we stumbled on a problem and we called the authorities and naively expected that when we were told they were on their way with an oil spill response, that we could rely on that," Mr. O'Dea later said in an interview. "I thought we should stay out of the way. ... What I've learned from this is, we should have screamed like hell."

In the wake of the Marathassa spill, the federal government described a "world class" response in the placid and accessible waters of English Bay. The Coast Guard brass called it "an amazing success in oil pollution cleanup." But others - notably the province and the City of Vancouver - have decried the response as slow, confused and poorly managed by the lead agency, the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is now working on a report on its response and declined to answer many questions about just who did what, and when. The details that have emerged so far show valuable time - particularly in daylight - was lost in the early stages of the spill.

Western Canada Marine Response Corp., the official cleanup crew, was formally called to respond to "a spill of unknown origin" in English Bay at 8:06 p.m. The agency said it took just 40 minutes from that time to muster its crews and launch at least two of its ships. They found oil on the water at 9:25 on Wednesday night - around the same time Port Metro's harbour master concluded it was in fact a large spill - and began cleanup operations.

Ten minutes after calling in the response corporation, the Coast Guard "decided to investigate the spill directly" according to details later posted on the agency's Twitter account. (That social media communications channel didn't fire up about the spill until 1 p.m. on Thursday, and the agency's posts regarding the Marathassa spill were quickly branded with the slogan "We're on it.") The Coast Guard has not said when its crews arrived on the scene. Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said it informed the Vancouver Police Department of the spill. Officials from City of Vancouver say that call was simply an inquiry, and no major alarm was raised. The report of an oil spill to the city was not made until 5:06 a.m. It activated an emergency operations centre in less than an hour: At 5:50 a.m.

Western Canada Marine Response crews began to set out booms to skim the oil on the water soon after their arrival at 9:25 p.m. Although they have infrared cameras designed to detect oil in the dark, they did not identify the Marathassa as the source until 4 a.m. and began to set out a containment boom around the ship at 4:30 a.m. It took an hour to complete the task.

A flyover by a Transport Canada aircraft - a Twin Otter equipped for measuring oil spills - reported at 10:20 a.m. that an estimated 2,705 litres of bunker fuel had been spilled. Beaches around English Bay, the North Shore, Stanley Park and up into Burrard Inlet as far as New Brighton Park had been fouled.

The unified emergency operations centre was set up at Port Metro's office at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. The agencies in attendance included Western Canada Marine Response Corp., Polaris Applied Sciences, Port Metro Vancouver, B.C. Ministry of Environment, City of Vancouver, North Shore Emergency Management and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

However, the lead agency, the Coast Guard, sent only junior officials who were present intermittently, according to B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak.

Coast Guard officials maintain they were in charge throughout, but there were signs of frustration with them.

Two B.C. deputy ministers in Victoria, briefed by their staff in the operations centre, decided around 10 p.m. on Thursday that they were prepared to circumvent the Coast Guard's chain of command and direct their cleanup crews. Although that threat was not followed through on, it did appear to prompt a shift.

The Coast Guard Pacific Twitter account indicates their team did show up early on Friday. "#CCG Incident Command Post opened at 6am. We're on it #Marathassaspill."


What is Bunker C?

Also known as fuel oil No. 6, Bunker C is the standard fuel used on marine cargo ships around the world. It is a heavy, viscous petroleumbased fuel that is considered highly toxic and potentially harmful to humans and aquatic life.

What happens when it spills?

In addition to leaving a slick on the water, Bunker C forms into tar balls that can be carried in the water for hundreds of kilometres. In the case of the English Bay spill, Bunker C oil was detected at least 12 kilometres away. It can also sink several metres below the surface. Unlike gasoline or diesel, for the most part Bunker C does not evaporate; only 5 to 10 per cent is expected to evaporate in the first several hours following a spill. In previous spills, Bunker C has been detected decades later.

Sources: Transport Canada, The Globe and Mail

MV Marathassa Type: Panamax-sized bulk grain carrier Run by: Alassia NewShips Management Inc., based in Greece Built: 2015 Builder: Japan Marine United Corp. Flag: Cyprus Deadweight tonnage: 81,000

Source: Alassia NewShips Management Inc.

Associated Graphic

Rob O'Dea, left, and Arnt Arntzen, aboard the Odin on Wednesday, discovered and reported the Marathassa spill last week.



Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A10

As major powers led by the United States negotiate a nuclear agreement with Tehran, Iran is driving toward regional supremacy throughout the Middle East, directly challenging Saudi Arabia's strategic interests. Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have been at odds for decades, view themselves as defenders of Shia and Sunni Islam, respectively. Today, flashpoints in their regional power struggle stretch from Yemen to Syria, as Iran supports Shia minorities and Saudi Arabia mobilizes to check Iran's growing influence. The rift threatens to tear the region apart.


IRAN A long-time supporter of Syria's Assad regime, Iran has directed its Lebanese protégé, the powerful Hezbollah militia, to join the fight against Syrian rebels and dispatched Iranian Revolutionary Guard units in aid of Assad forces.

THE GOAL: To safeguard a pro-Iranian regime.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh has supported jihadi rebels in Syria since the start of the civil war, seeing an opportunity to oust Iranian-backed dictator Bashar al-Assad. The rebels have captured large parts of north, east and south Syria, and are nearing the capital.

THE GOAL: To replace the Assad regime with a Sunni government.

ISLAMIC STATE IS fighters hold large parts of eastern and northern Syria, though they lost the battle for the Kurdish city of Kobani. Most recently IS forces crept closer to Damascus, occupying the Palestinian refugee area of Yarmouk on the outskirts of the capital.

THE GOAL: To establish a Sunni caliphate in as much of Syria as possible.

COALITION The U.S.-led coalition, including half a dozen Arab state members, is conducting aerial assaults against IS positions in Syria, the effect of which benefits the Iranian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad. Canada recently joined in these attacks.

THE GOAL: To degrade and destroy Islamic State forces.

RUSSIA Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 13 ended a self-imposed ban on delivering an anti-missile rocket system to Iran. Despite widespread international sanctions against the Tehran regime, Moscow will deliver the sophisticated defence system in exchange for up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day from the cash-strapped Shia republic.

ISLAMIC STATE Islamic State views Iran as its immediate principal adversary - both militarily, in the countries where Iran has extended its power, and in religious terms, as a leading source of Islamic heresy.


The Palestinian enclave of Gaza has long received Iranian support, originally through the militant Islamic Jihad group. More recently, backing has come through Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

THE GOAL: To promote armed resistance against Israel.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh backs President Abbas, who controls the West Bank and is attempting to reassert authority in Gaza. Saudi policies here and in the region, tend to align Riyadh with Tel Aviv - both oppose Iranian power.

THE GOAL: To counter the spread of Iranian power.

LEBANON IRAN Lebanon's Shiites have long had connections to Iran and its religious institutions. Hezbollah, the powerful Shia fighting force, was trained by Iran in the 1980s. Through it, Iran enjoys considerable political influence.

THE GOAL: To maintain Iranian sway right to the Mediterranean.

SAUDI ARABIA To offset the Iranian-backed Hezbollah's might, Saudi Arabia supports the political movement of Saad Hariri, a moderate Sunni with whom many Lebanese Christians are comfortable.

THE GOAL: To reduce the Shia power.

EGYPT Cairo supports the Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni rebels. Washington has rewarded Egypt by expediting the release of all armaments destined for Cairo that had been withheld pending Washington's acceptance of the new Egyptian administration.


IRAN Iraqi Shia militias are supplied, trained and sometimes led by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. They've driven Islamic State forces from central parts of Iraq including the strategic city of Tikrit. The Shia militias' ruthless campaign has scared many Sunnis into leaving the country.

THE GOAL: To safeguard a strongly Shia government in Iraq.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh has long supported Sunni religious movements in Iraq and Saudi-based Wahhabi extremists have raised money VANCOUVER and volunteers for jihadi groups, including Islamic State, that waged sectarian battles with Iraqi Shiites.

THE GOAL: To safeguard Sunni Iraqis and prevent Shia domination.

ISLAMIC STATE IS forces swept across Iraq in 2014, coming close to the Iranian border, drawing Iran into battle inside Iraq. Recently IS fighters were forced to retreat from Tikrit and some central Iraqi districts, but have launched a new assault in Anbar province.

THE GOAL: To establish a Sunni caliphate in as much of Iraq as possible.

CONTROL OF THE STRAITS Egypt moved quickly to secure the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, gateway to the Red Sea and Egypt's vitally important Suez Canal. Its naval vessels reportedly shelled Houthi positions in Yemen.

Iran has deployed a destroyer and another naval vessel to the area where Saudi vessels normally patrol.

The United States has condemned Iran's support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and is providing the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence and logistical support as well as expediting weapons' delivery to coalition countries.

COALITION Members of the U.S.-led coalition, including Canada, have carried out aerial attacks on IS strongholds and convoys, most recently in aid of the ground attack on Tikrit. Canada and other coalition partners also have sent personnel to train Iraqi troops, particularly in the Kurdish region.

THE GOAL: To degrade and destroy Islamic State.


IRAN A fifth of Afghans are Shiites, strongly influenced by Iran, giving Tehran some clout in the country. Seeking "stability," Iran has sometimes supported the radical Taliban; at other times worked against it. Recently, Iran hired Afghan Shiites to fight in Syria and Iraq against IS fighters.

THE GOAL: To maintain regional influence.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh has long had good relations with Sunni Afghan groups including the Taliban. They helped them expel the Russians who occupied the country in 1979, and expect them to resist any spread of Iranian power.

THE GOAL: To avert Iranian power.

IRAN Even as international sanctions squeeze Iran to abandon plans for a nuclear weapons system, the Shia republic has embarked on a region-wide campaign to increase its power and influence.

BAHRAIN IRAN Popular uprisings against the Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy in Bahrain in 2011 sought greater rights for the majority Shia population. Tehran likely supported the uprising but not overtly. Many Bahraini Shiites look to Iran for guidance, and 15 per cent even speak Farsi at home.

HE GOAL: To broaden Iranian influence n the Gulf.

SAUDI ARABIA Faced with the Shia challenge to the Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy, Saudi Arabia led an assault by forces of the Gulf Co-operation Council to restore order and safeguard the Bahraini royals.

THE GOAL: To keep the Shiites at bay.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh Saudi Arabia fears the spread of Iran's Shiism, a doctrine Saudis view as heretical and not deserving even to be referred to as a branch of Islam.

PAKISTAN Pakistan's parliament voted unanimously April 10 to say "no" to a Saudi request for troops to join the coalition against the Houthis in Yemen. Islamabad is mindful of tensions between Pakistan's majority Sunni and minority Shia populations, as well as its rocky relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia, however, will continue to push Pakistan to join.

YEMEN IRAN Houthi rebels, members of the Zaidi Shia sect, have wrested control of Yemen from Sunni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who sought refuge in Saudi Arabia. Iranian naval vessels have sailed to the area, where Egyptian and Saudi ships already are deployed.

THE GOAL: To restore former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Zaidi.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh assembled a coalition of Gulf States, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan to repel the rebels, said to be backed by Iran. Scores of fighter jets have bombed Houthi positions and thousands of troops are preparing to invade. Washington is providing logistical support and expediting weapons' delivery.

THE GOAL: To restore Sunni President Hadi.

IRAQ Iraq's Shia Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told U.S. President Barack Obama April 15 that the battle unfolding in Yemen will engulf the entire region unless Saudi Arabia is stopped.

Associated Graphic

Map by Tonia Cowan and Trish McAlaster

The Masters gives birth to another star Jordan Spieth notches a win for the ages Mickelson, Rose, McIlroy, Woods ("finally) left in the dust A wire-to-wire, record-tying, 18-under 270 'Arguably the greatest day of my life.' Arguably?
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


In 2002, the Augusta National added yardage to its course, a process people came to know as "Tiger proofing."

Tiger Woods won anyway.

They planted more trees, narrowed the fairways, grew up the rough and moved back the tees.

The rising tide of golf talent receded briefly.

Then 21-year-old Jordan Spieth arrived.

In winning his first Masters on Sunday, Spieth shredded eight decades of scoring austerity. He finished tied for a course-record 18-under.

Spieth has now played a total of eight rounds at Augusta. He's hasn't finished a single one of them ranked lower than fifth.

Short of mining the course over the winter, it's hard to see how he can be stopped.

This wasn't just a grand coming out. It was ascending a peak.

As bright as his future looks, Spieth may never be better than he is right now.

"This was arguably the greatest day of my life," he said afterward. Arguably?

It's a terrible quote, but it's the most effusive one he gave.

Spieth would shrug through the Rapture.

A pack of major winners ran at him all day - Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy. Rose got to within three on the front nine. Spieth held him off. It looked as if there was a sliver of opportunity on 16, to bring it within two.

"He put [his putt] right in the middle," Rose sighed.

"And I slid mine by."

Spieth called it "the biggest putt I ever hit in my life."

It was over then.

He took one really bad shot here - the second-to-last one.

As he walked up the final fairway, you finally got to see Spieth wobble. Remember it. He might never do it again. Spieth took a lumberjack's swing at his first six-footer. Then he gathered himself and tapped in.

The emotional collapse on the 18th green is its own sports-photography genre. Spieth provided what may be the most collected reaction ever. He dipped his head and smiled ruefully, as if to say, "Hey, that could've been too close."

"I thought you were going to cry," his father, Shawn, said as he hugged him.

Nope. As he had all week long, Spieth was not going to let the moment overtake him.

This was more than a kid emerging. This was golf finally filling the hole left when Woods hit the fire hydrant six years ago.

To really work, golf needs heroes. It has very few.

But there is something about Spieth that transcends his ability. He just comes across as ... good.

After yet another second-place finish in a major, Phil Mickelson got to the core of it: "It's hard not to pull for the guy."

Spieth does most of his talking out on the course, urging his ball on: "Go hard. Go!" "Get down" "Soft" "Sit. SIT." He's part golfer, part air-traffic controller.

Since it's the only thing that's anywhere close to eccentric about him, it's being megaphoned about as though he golfed in a bikini. Everybody wants to find a hook, to dig up the secret.

Instead, all there seems to be is an average person with a precocious ability. He's 21 and losing his hair in a hurry. Every time he takes off his cap, he immediately begins awkwardly grooming what little there is left up front. It has the effect of humanizing him.

He's not particularly big or strong. There is nothing imposing about him. Players such as Woods or McIlroy would catch your eye on the street, whether you recognized them or not.

Not Spieth. You'd probably have to be convinced he's a professional athlete.

"Competitive golf is played mainly on a 51/2-inch course - the space between your ears."

That was Bobby Jones, the man who built the Augusta legend. From the distance of nearly a century, it sounds as though he was talking about the new Masters champion.

When Spieth was little, the kids in his Dallas suburb would hit wedges on a neighbour's lawn. Only Spieth was allowed to use real balls. He was already averse to missing.

That was the key to what he managed here. He left the circus saves to his opponents. Spieth's skill is in not missing the shots he shouldn't miss.

Using it, he is about to take golf into its next iteration.

Three men shared the stage with him on Sunday, and will continue to do so for the near future. They are all the yins to Spieth's yang.

First, Woods - the only other man to win this tournament at 21, and the guy who shares the 18-under record.

Woods's short game is back, but, at this point, he couldn't drive a golf cart, never mind a golf ball. He didn't hit a fairway from the tee until the 13th.

On the ninth hole, he was once again standing in the woods, trying to pick a ball out of the pine straw. As he hammered it, he hit a hidden tree root. Hard.

Woods grimaced and dropped his club. He looked hobbled, but he played on. He finished the day at minus-one.

What happened out there?

"A bone kind of popped out. A joint kinda went out of place.

But I just put it back in."

Well, that's ... insane. He was one-over on the day.

Apparently, Woods is still capable of adding to his legend.

Perhaps watching his doppelganger take over the game is the spur Woods needs to climb back to his best.

Then there was McIlroy. He and Spieth are now ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world. This could be the defining rivalry Woods could never find.

McIlroy knows all about the pressure Spieth experienced on Sunday. In 2011, when McIlroy was 21 as well, it crushed him.

Asked to explain the difficulty of Spieth's feat, McIlroy pursed his lips and said, "It's impressive."

And that's it.

You can tell it hurts him a little bit to see someone do what he couldn't manage. It's an incredibly hopeful omen. There should be a little edge to this rivalry.

When offered the chance, Spieth could not be egged into saying anything like it. About anyone.

"It's not like I'm out there with [24-year-old American pro] Patrick Reed saying, 'I hope he misses this putt.' I hope he makes it, and I make two more."

In other words: You don't get to beat you. I get to beat you.

There was a little bit of Woods in the comment, though Spieth said it without the sneer.

Lastly, there's the in-between man, Mickelson. Mickelson is probably the most beloved current competitor at Augusta. He will be until he retires.

At 44, he still has plenty of game.

On Sunday, you felt he was the only one who had the tackle to unsettle the kid.

But he finished second again.

That's 10 runner-ups in majors.

Mickelson is simultaneously an example and an anti-example.

These three pros will combine to define how we see Spieth - a predecessor, a paragon and a rival.

But Spieth will define himself.

Out on the golf course is not the only place he can do it.

His younger sister, Ellie, has developmental delays. Spieth told a story about his first Masters last year. He briefly led that tournament on Sunday, and then lost to Bubba Watson.

Each day, Ellie would call him and ask, "Did you win yet?" "And I said, 'Not yet. Not yet.

Not yet. And no.' "Spieth allowed himself the freedom of a laugh.

"I can tell her I won now."

That was the first time all day he looked really pleased with himself.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Jordan Spieth celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th green to win the Masters in Augusta, Ga., on Sunday. There is something about Spieth that transcends ability - he just comes across as good.


A very dangerous woman
Journalist Mona Eltahawy calls herself a radical Muslim feminist, but she's just one of many Arab women who have been agitating for years. She talks to Denise Balkissoon about giving voice to the silenced, and being at the forefront of a sexual revolution
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

Women in the Arab world face unspeakable sexism, from the limitations on their movements to child marriage and genital mutilation. They're also used as political pawns: there to be saved by Western white-knight warriors, then willfully ignored when petro-dollars are changing hands. What rarely happens is an airing of their opinions, especially on any mainstream, widespread scale.

Letting Muslim women speak for themselves is the mandate of journalist Mona Eltahawy, who was born in Egypt, spent her childhood in London and moved to Saudi Arabia with her family as a teenager. It was there, in the birthplace of Islam and one of the world's harshest environments for women, that Ms. Eltahawy became a feminist, one who struggled against the restrictions put on her sex in the name of her faith.

For decades, her work for outlets including Reuters, the Washington Post and the BBC has spotlighted the violence and cruelty often faced by women and girls in North Africa and the Middle East. It has brought her infamy - and danger: In 2011, she was arrested and sexually assaulted by Egyptian police when reporting in Tahrir Square. Despite being jailed and having her left hand and right arm broken, she refused to abandon the region. For the past two years, she has been living in Cairo, working on her first book, to be released next week.

In Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, she dismantles what she calls the "trifecta of oppression" working against Arab women: the state, the street and the home, which "work together for their own benefit by keeping girls and women down."

She takes the reader to Jordan, where a man can escape a rape charge by marrying his victim; to Egypt, where unending street harassment leads families to impose curfews on their daughters; and to Lebanon, which recently decriminalized marital rape.

Ms. Eltahawy, who calls herself a radical Muslim feminist, also reveals how women are resisting, and often succeeding. She interviews women throughout the region who have long histories of activism - women who don't want outside recognition or Western help to reclaim their countries, but deserve it just the same.

On the phone from Cairo, she discusses the book's imminent release, and the burgeoning power of Arab women.

Are you expecting a lot of pushback from the book?

Oh yeah, I'm preparing myself. I know that I have touched on very difficult subjects. Generally speaking, women of colour - for lack of a better term - all over the world are not encouraged to talk about sexism and misogyny.

For the longest time we've been silenced by this [notion of ] "You make us look bad in front of outsiders."

In the book, you quote a woman from Tunisia who says, "Where women fight, only men benefit."

This is when you're discussing what you call "the double battle" - that women were essential to the Arab Spring but afterward the misogyny and the violence were just as bad, maybe worse.

We began these difficult revolutions and then we focused on men and the struggles among men to basically divvy up the spoils. We're just doing musical chairs to replace one man with another.

We need to start talking about violence against women as a form of terrorism and recognize that until we solve that terrorism - instead of the kind we're often told we must focus on: the explosions; the fight between military rule and the Islamists - the political revolution will fail. That's why I keep talking about the double revolution. Nothing will succeed and we will never be free unless we have a concurrent social and sexual revolution that focuses on all of us.

I appreciated learning about women in the Middle East who have been agitating for years.

Could you talk a bit about Wajeha Al-Huwaider from Saudi Arabia?

Wajeha is one of the first Saudi feminists that I began to follow closely. Years ago she would drive her car across the border between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, knowing she'd get arrested. She was banned from travelling, had her passport confiscated. The column that she wrote for a Saudi newspaper was banned. Yet she persisted.

In 2008, she recorded a fantastic video chiding the Saudi royal family for not sending any women to the Beijing Olympics, reminding them that, according to the teachings of the prophet, families are supposed to teach their sons and their daughters sports. She also recorded a video of herself driving a car, clearly violating the ban on women driving as she narrated an open letter to the Saudi interior minister.

She's constantly put herself on the front line of the feminist revolution that I'm sure will happen in Saudi Arabia.

You say many people are "all too happy to hear how badly Muslim men treat their women," even when their own behaviour is sexist.

It troubles me deeply that the group that speaks the loudest about the niqab and how the niqab is misogynist is the right wing, Islamophobic, xenophobic racists. My point all along has been that it is possible to talk about misogyny within my own community and also call it out in the right-wing racist community that tries to use my words against Muslim men.

Almost an entire chapter is about your opposition to the niqab. Are you worried that in coming out so strongly, you might alienate women who consider themselves feminists and believe that wearing it is their choice?

This idea of the niqab being feminist is an idea I totally reject. I think it directly contributes to erasing women and it directly contributes to a very dangerous idea of piety, equating it to the disappearance of women. I know there are some who oppose my position on this vehemently, and that is their right. And it's my right to say: Just because a woman does something doesn't mean that I have to support her.

Do you think Saudi Arabia is the most important country in the Arab world, to have women's rights be advanced?

I think when the revolution begins in Saudi Arabia - and it will, of this I'm sure - it will solve so many of our problems. Saudi Arabia gets away with what it gets away with because it has oil and it has billions of dollars to spend on weapons deals from Canada, from Europe, from the U.S. Just as insidiously, it is home to the two holiest sites for Muslims.

Once the revolution begins in Saudi Arabia, I think people will start to recognize that Saudi Arabia doesn't own the copyright to Islam. Saudi Arabia has set back centuries of women's rights and human rights by wrapping itself up in the flag of Islam. The Saudi royal family have ruined a lot of what Islam meant, not just for their own people but for Muslims around the world.

You've been criticized for writing in English. Who is the book for?

My book is in English for a very personal reason: When I was 7, my family left Egypt, and English has been my main language, through no choosing of my own.

This is going to sound very dramatic and egotistical, but the book is for the global feminist struggle. I think this is a real moment in which women of various ethnic backgrounds can see each other standing up. You can't take down something like patriarchy and misogyny without naming it, and I wanted to put together all of these examples and name them. I wanted to name the women who are standing up in this part of the world.

Denise Balkissoon is a Toronto journalist and a regular contributor to Globe Debate.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

Journalist and author Mona Eltahawy outside her home in Cairo: 'Nothing will succeed and we will never be free unless we have a concurrent social and sexual revolution that focuses on all of us.'


Mandatory gun sentences struck down
Top court rules weapons-possession law unconstitutional, hurting Tories' crime agenda and making other minimum terms vulnerable
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

The Supreme Court has delivered a major blow to the Conservative government's crime agenda, striking down a mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun possession in a way that suggests other laws could also fall.

The court ruled 6-3 on Tuesday that mandatory minimum jail sentences of three years for illegal gun possession, and five years for possession by people with repeat weapons offences, amount to cruel and unusual punishment, and are unconstitutional.

The majority ruling highlights how deeply at odds the government is with the country's highest court. Adding salt to Ottawa's wounds, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote the majority ruling. Prime Minister Stephen Harper clashed publicly with Chief Justice McLachlin last year after a series of major decisions went against his government.

In an election campaign this fall, the government is expected to highlight what it is doing to protect public safety, and the ruling could weaken that argument.

Since 2006, the Conservatives have created 60 mandatory minimum jail terms for guns, drugs, sex offences and other crimes, according to the justice department, helping to boost the number of federal prisoners to record heights even as crime rates dropped to 50-year lows. Some of those minimum terms could now be challenged and struck down.

The federal Attorney-General argued that mandatory sentences deter crime, and that in less serious gun-possession cases, prosecutors may opt for a proceeding that carries a maximum penalty of only one year in jail. But the majority was vociferous in rejecting that argument, saying that so much discretion in the hands of prosecutors could lead to wrongful convictions as innocent people plead guilty rather than face more serious proceedings, and usurps the role of judges.

"Sentencing is inherently a judicial function," Chief Justice McLachlin wrote.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the government is reviewing the ruling, and will continue to be tough on those who commit serious crimes. But the logic the majority used to reach its decision makes other government laws especially vulnerable.

The court used a controversial principle from the early years of the 1982 Charter: the "reasonable hypothetical" case. In the appeals on which the court was ruling, lawyers for two men convicted by lower courts, including a 19-year-old with a clean record, did not argue that the minimum sentences were unfair to their clients. They argued they could be unfair to others.

The principle stems from a 1985 case, R v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., in which a company was charged for opening on a Sunday. The court accepted the company's argument that the law discriminated against Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists. Thenchief justice Brian Dickson, an appointee of Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau, wrote that the nature of the law matters more than the individual case.

Two years later, in R v. Smith, the court struck down a mandatory minimum jail term of seven years for importing illegal drugs, arguing that it could also apply to a hypothetical student driving home from the United States with a single joint.

Several provinces intervened in the gun-possession cases to argue for a restricted use of the reasonable-hypothetical case, and British Columbia wanted it scrapped. But the court said it was foreseeable that an otherwise law-abiding gun owner who stored a firearm in a dwelling contrary to the terms of his licence could go to prison for three years. The minority said striking down the 2008 law based on such a hypothetical case lacked common sense; it accepted prosecutorial discretion as a safeguard.

The ruling revealed that judicial activism remains controversial within the court. The minority wrote, under the heading "Respecting Parliament," that gun crime is a grave concern, and "it is not for this Court to frustrate the policy goals of our elected representatives, based on questionable assumptions or loose conjecture." Justice Michael Moldaver, a former Toronto defence lawyer considered the court's leading conservative on crime, wrote for the minority, joined by Justice Marshall Rothstein and Justice Richard Wagner.

Françoise Boivin, the New Democratic Party's justice critic, said the party supports serious sentences for serious gun crimes, but added that Mr. MacKay "needs to explain why there's a clear pattern of this government ramming through obviously flawed bills that just don't stand up."

The ruling sent a message to the government that a U.S.-style approach to criminal justice may not fit with Canadian legal traditions - even when the mandatory jail term is just three years.

"The majority decision is a rejection of American-style access to criminal justice where there's a huge amount of discretion in the hands of the prosecutor," Vancouver lawyer Eric Gottardi, chair of the criminaljustice section of the Canadian Bar Association, which represents 38,000 lawyers, said in an interview.

It is also yet another demonstration of the gulf between the government and the court.

"There's a mismatch in the works between some of the government's operating assumptions about how punishment should be delivered in legislation, and some of the core principles of sentencing and punishment that have developed over the years," Osgoode Hall law professor Jamie Cameron said in an interview.


Is there a "mismatch" between the Conservative government's view of criminal justice and the Supreme Court's? Here are some examples of where the court has struck down crime laws.

R v. Nur, April 14, 2015: A mandatory minimum jail term of three years applies to illegal possession of gun that is loaded or has readily available ammunition.

Ruling: 6-3 that it is cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional, because it would be unfair in hypothetical cases involving licensing infractions.

Canada v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, Feb. 13, 2015: A federal law passed by a Liberal government and expanded by Conservatives in 2006 required lawyers to report certain financial transactions involving their clients.

Ruling: 9-0 that the law was unconstitutional because it treated lawyers as unwitting agents of the state.

R v. Carter, Feb. 6, 2015: A federal law predating the Conservatives made it a crime to help another person die by suicide. The federal government defended the law in court.

Ruling: 9-0 that the law violated the rights of chronically ill, suffering people to have a say over their "passage into death."

R v. Summers, April 11, 2014: Under the Truth in Sentencing Act, the government tried to stop judges from routinely giving extra credit to offenders for the time they serve in custody before sentencing.

Ruling: 7-0 that judges have discretion under the act to routinely give 1.5 days credit for every day served.

R v. Khela, March 27, 2014: A prisoner wanted to challenge his transfer to a maximumsecurity jail from a mediumsecurity one. The federal government said he had to go through a slow process that involved the Federal Court.

Ruling: 8-0 that prisoners' ancient right to habeas corpus gives them prompt access to superior courts in whatever province they are in.

R v. Whaling, March 20, 2014: The government took away access to early parole from non-violent, first-time federal offenders, including those already sentenced.

Ruling: 8-0 that the law must not be applied retroactively.

Canada v. Bedford, Dec. 20, 2013: Three separate laws banned living off the avails of prostitution, keeping a bawdy house and street soliciting.

The laws predated the current government but it defended them in court.

Ruling: 9-0 that the laws violated sex-workers' rights by endangering their lives.

Canada v. PHS Community Services Society, Sept. 30, 2011: The government tried to close a supervised-injection clinic for drug addicts.

Ruling: 9-0 that the government's stated war on drugs does not justify policy decisions that could contribute to the deaths of addicts.

Associated Graphic

In the majority ruling overturning the mandatory minimum sentencing for illegal gun possession, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, seen in 2013, wrote 'Sentencing is inherently a judicial function.'


The barriers to gender transition - and the consequences
Across Canada, people who want to switch gender face long waits for approval, few options for procedures and difficulty obtaining hormone treatments: 'We're not quite hitting the mark as a country'
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

It took years of suffering and soul searching, but when Chrystofer Maillet decided to make the transition out of the female body in which he had never felt comfortable, he knew he was ready for the change.

One thing stood in his way. Mr. Maillet, now 35, was told he would have to wait one to two years for an initial assessment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH) Adult Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, the lone site for sexreassignment approvals not just for Ontario, but for Newfoundland and Labrador and, until last year, Saskatchewan, too. Unable to endure the wait, Mr. Maillet put nearly $7,500 on a line of credit and paid for a double mastectomy, a procedure the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) would have covered if he had managed to secure CAMH's blessing first.

Mr. Maillet is not alone. As the demand for sex-change operations has grown, so too has the line at CAMH. The psychiatrist who leads the small Adult Gender Identity Clinic says the Ontario government's decision to make one facility the sole gatekeeper for these procedures "really isn't working," especially considering that trans people who want to switch genders but have yet to begin the process are at an elevated risk for suicide.

The bottleneck at CAMH is just one example of the barriers to medical care that Canadian trans people still face, despite the fact that every jurisdiction except New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories now publicly funds at least some gender reassignment surgeries.

Coverage varies from place to place, and it remains difficult to obtain surgeries and the hormone treatments that should precede them. A private Montreal clinic is the only place in Canada that offers "bottom" surgery - genital reconstruction - while trans people who need estrogen or testosterone to begin their transitions often struggle to find co-operative doctors.

"We're not quite hitting the mark as a country," said Adrian Edgar, a New Brunswick doctor who opened that province's first trans-friendly health clinic earlier this year inside Fredericton's former Morgentaler clinic. "I don't think there's a province that is providing the full gamut of surgeries that would truly decrease the discrimination that people feel on a daily basis."

Waiting for gender reassignment surgery can have serious consequences, said Greta Bauer, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario in London.

"People's lives are actually at risk," she said.

Dr. Bauer is one of the lead researchers on the Trans PULSE project, which studied 433 Ontario trans people who responded to an 87-page questionnaire in 2009-2010. It found that people who had decided to transition but had not begun to do so were often suicidal - 55 per cent had considered suicide in the past year and 27 per cent had tried to take their own lives. Those figures plunged after people transitioned to their desired gender.

Mr. Maillet found himself in that high-risk category when he decided to pay out of pocket for his double mastectomy on March 3, 2013.

In a Jan. 28 decision dismissing his $7,401.50 OHIP claim, the quasi-judicial board that hears appeals of OHIP rejections acknowledged that Mr. Maillet was suffering as he awaited surgery.

"He explained the difficulties he experienced and the delays in obtaining an appointment at CAMH," the decision reads. "He explained that he made the decision to undergo surgery to 'save his own life.' " Despite the fact that Mr. Maillet received CAMH's retroactive blessing when he finally secured an appointment - on Dec. 3, 2013, nine months after his surgery - the Health Services Appeal and Review Board ruled against him, writing that although his case was "very compelling," the rules are clear. No CAMH pre-approval, no public funding.

By the time he made his plea to the board, Mr. Maillet had spent nearly a lifetime wrestling with gender dysphoria. He grew up in Riverview, N.B., where, as he put it in an interview, "there weren't even gay people there."

His parents still love him, he said, but they are baffled by his decision to become a man. His father insists on calling him Christine.

"Really, what was I going to do? I always wanted to be a boy. You can see pictures that my family took of me from the age of three until forever. They're all, like, building forts in the backyard or playing Dukes of Hazzard or playing with Transformers. Not typical feminine or female things. I never went for that. I never was interested - at all."

About a decade ago, Mr. Maillet moved to Ottawa to make a fresh start. Identifying as a lesbian, he fell into an abusive relationship from which he eventually escaped. Then he landed a federal government job, made a small circle of friends and gained confidence as a singer performing now and then at pubs in the capital. Meanwhile, he dressed as a man and introduced himself simply as "Chrys."

It was during a month-long solo hike on Spain's Camino de Santiago trail in 2010 that Mr. Maillet finally decided to make the medical transition to become a man. When he returned to Ottawa, he started testosterone treatments, which prompted his voice to drop, his leg hair to thicken and his muscles to bulge. He was sad to lose his female singing voice, but otherwise he "felt amazing."

"It was like, this is exactly how I want to feel," he said.

Unfortunately, his bulked-up chest muscles made his breasts larger; before long he was hunching his shoulders and suffocating under chest binders designed to camouflage his breasts. When he learned about the waiting times at CAMH, Mr. Maillet found an Ottawa plastic surgeon who agreed to perform the mastectomy after spending more than three hours assessing him to ensure he met the criteria for approval set by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) - the same standard of care used by CAMH.

The surgery was a success, but losing his OHIP appeal made him feel hopeless. "I want to get married. I want to have kids. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to move into a house with the debt that I'm sitting on," he said.

Dr. McIntosh of CAMH said the Ontario government needs to rethink the approval process as demand continues to surge. The clinic approved 177 surgeries last year, he said, up from 59 in 2010, but staff can't keep pace with the need. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, meanwhile, said it doled out nearly $2.2-million on gender reassignment surgeries in 2014-15, up from just more than $22,000 in 2008-09, the year the procedures were relisted under OHIP after a 10-year hiatus.

"We certainly support people being able to access these services closer to their own communities," Dr. McIntosh said.

"We're not tied to this model of us being the only game in town."

For its part, Saskatchewan added a second site - out of province in Edmonton - for surgery approvals last year to increase access. Newfoundland still lists CAMH as its lone approval site. Some other provinces, including Nova Scotia, which only began covering gender reassignment surgeries last year, allow family doctors to grant approvals using the WPATH standards.

David Jensen, a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, said by e-mail that "the ministry is aware of concerns related to wait times at CAMH and is exploring options to improve wait times."

Associated Graphic

Unwilling to wait one to two years for an initial gender-reassignment assessment, Chrystofer Maillet paid for a double mastectomy out of pocket.


Chrystofer Maillet plays guitar at home in Ottawa on Tuesday. He took on $7,401.50 in debt for a double mastectomy in 2013.


Emily Carr's subjects - dark, fecund forests, totem poles - must have seemed exotic abroad. Now, James Adams writes, her natural wonders are coming home for a warm new show at the AGO
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

Emily Carr was, is, a great artist but even her most ardent admirers would admit her prolific production was woefully uneven. Therefore, it's a pleasure to report that the contents of From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia, up Saturday at the Art Gallery of Ontario through early August, are mostly prime Carr.

As you might already know, the exhibition was conceived about three years ago as an installation for the venerable Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London.

Under the direction of Ian Dejardin, Dulwich has taken a keen interest in Canadian historical art of late, famously mounting a well-received show of works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven in 2011-2012.

The Carr follow-up, curated by Dejardin in conjunction with B.C.-born, Toronto-based art writer/former Globe and Mail art critic Sarah Milroy, had its Dulwich debut last November, completing a successful run there March 15 before being crated and carried across the Atlantic to Toronto.

Speaking earlier in the week at the AGO, Dejardin and Milroy acknowledged that shaping and mounting more or less the same show for London and Toronto was a challenge. After all, Canadians know or at least are familiar with Carr, who died at 73 in Victoria in the spring of 1945. For Britons, though, the irascible, pet-loving painter and writer with a fondness for hairnets and smocks was very much "an unknown quantity" - "the best artist nobody knows," was how one headline writer put it - so "we had to introduce her," and introduce her in such a way as to be "a revelation" in a city (London) already drowning in art, noted Dejardin. By contrast, in Toronto, the brief was to make the exhibition "a surprise."

Wandering among the 100 or so oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and preparatory sketches at the AGO the other day, it was easy to see why From the Forest to the Sea did, indeed, prove a revelation at Dulwich. Carr was presented not as some talented hick from the sticks, but as a well-travelled artist, trained in San Francisco, London and Paris, whose best work at once incarnated and transcended the techniques of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, art nouveau and sundry other "isms" of modernity. At the same time, her content - dense, dark, fecund rain forests, totem poles and war canoes, aboriginal villages, tremulous skies, driftwoodscattered beaches, gyrating branches and thrusting trunks - had to have seemed as exotic to the Brits as Gauguin's depictions of Tahiti or the jungle fever dreams of Henri Rousseau.

By the same token, it's doubtful the show will be "a surprise" to Canadians, or at least Canadians of a certain vintage. There's no radical axe being ground here, no grand thesis. What we have rather is a nuanced, smartly conceived, beautifully presented, thoroughly contemporary confirmation of Carr's complex but single-minded genius. The Carr here is a sort of Miss In-Between - a single, fiercely independent woman in a patriarchal, chivalric society, an artist at once alienated from that society's anglophilic ethos, irresistibly attracted to the aboriginal cultures right in her own backyard, yet, for all that sympathy and understanding, never able to bridge the gap. An environmentalist in a clear-cut economy, an imagination rooted in the singular landscape and skyspace of B.C., yet forever wondering how to belong in that milieu.

From the Forest to the Sea abounds with moments of intelligence, small and big. I like the way the colour of the picture walls changes from one, progressively lighter, shade of green to the next, culminating in the pale blue at show's end. Like how the eight vitrines containing 40 or so indigenous West Coast artifacts have been judiciously positioned throughout the floor space so as to function simultaneously as superb art works in their own right and three-dimensional "reminders" of the wellsprings of Carr's two-dimensional oeuvre. Like, too, the many salient pairings - of Haida chief James Hart's carving, in alder, of a raven-shaped bowl alongside a 1931 O'Keeffelike canvas of a tree trunk; of the iconic Indian Church (1929) with the equally iconic Totem and Forest (1931); of a dainty 1909 watercolour of Victoria's Beacon Hill Park next to an intense, vibrating oil rendering of the same subject 28 years on.

Positioned at pretty much the exhibition's midway point, aptly enough, is a selection of seven or eight works from 1927 to 1931. I say aptly because 1927 was the year Carr got her mojo back as an artist after largely forsaking her public ambitions for almost 14 years to build and run a boarding house. That year, close to 30 of her paintings were shown as part of the epochal Exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art: Native and Modern at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Travelling to Ontario, she met the burgeoning Group of Seven, most notably its leader, Lawren Harris, who told her, "You're one of us," and whose "compositional grandeur" and love of colour "hit her like a thunderbolt." Back on the West Coast, Carr proceeded to work up a style that combined her love of indigenous culture with the bold, simplified forms favoured by Harris.

Today, paintings of this period - they include Blunden Harbour, Grizzly Bear Totem and Totem Mother, Kitwancool - are beloved by many and avidly sought by collectors: a 1930 canvas, The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase), for instance, sold at auction in November, 2013, for $3.4-million, still the record for the most ever paid in the resale market for a painting by a Canadian female artist.

To Milroy and Dejardin, however, such works are histrionic, too much of a muchness; it's Carr pandering "to the exhibition in her head." And for First Nations' critics, they're the quintessence of cultural appropriation. Yet for all the validity of these critiques, this remains the stuff most of the public thinks of when it thinks of Carr and here's where I'm betting crowds will bunch up the most during the exhibition's run.

Carr abandoned this focus on aboriginal content in 1931 to turn to capturing what Charles Hill, the NGC's former curator of Canadian art, has called "the rhythms and pulsating divine presence in nature." It's these works (they number more than 25) that make up the last half of From the Forest to the Sea - the best half, "the peak," in the view of the British art critic Laura Cumming. Writing last November in The Observer, Cumming said: "It feels as if the great firs, oaks and spruces, the birches and maples ... are Carr's own private totem poles. They have a force of personality for her. ... [And] you don't just see [them], you hear them, too."

One-hundred and forty-four years after Carr's birth, and 70 years after her death from a heart attack, Canadians' response might not be quite that rapturous. But whatever From the Forest to the Sea may lack in epiphanies for domestic viewers it makes up for in its intelligence, its sensitivity and the poetry of its presentation. Some Carr shows I've seen over the years have been slogs. Not this one.

Here your appreciation of our Miss Emily will be refreshed and deepened.

From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia is at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto from April 11 through Aug. 9 (

Associated Graphic

Emily Carr's Happiness (1939).


Indian War Canoes (Alert Bay), 1912, oil on cardboard. Emily Carr was irresistibly attracted to the aboriginal cultures that surrounded her in British Columbia.


Left: Yan, Q.C.I, 1912, oil on canvas. Above: Weather Dance Mask KwakwakaÕwaka, early 20th century. Indigenous West Coast artifacts have been judiciously positioned throughout the exhibition.

Where charm can't overcome the pricey, humdrum food
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

The click click click of expensive heels echoed through the candlelit hush of Flor de Sal's sprawling second storey. There was just one other occupied table in the wing where we were seated, a glass-enclosed new addition to the Davenport Road restaurant that until last year was known as The Corner House.

We heard the heels pause, the sound of women laughing loudly in another of the dining rooms.

The footsteps continued toward us and then the restaurant's beaming owner made her entrance.

"I'm just going to say a quick hello to these young gentlemen," she announced into the silence.

"I'm Cristina!"

Click, click, click.

She extended her hand.

"Pleasure to meet you and welcome to Flor de Sal!"

The little dining room was suddenly a lot less hushed, a welcome development.

"How do you like that? Nice table? Sorry it's raining today, I couldn't really switch the weather!"

She moved on to the older couple sitting across the room - Flor de Sal is a magnet for older diners.

"And how are you doing sir?" we heard her asking loudly. "Are you feeling healthy?" I couldn't help being at least a little charmed. Nobody works a fine-dining floor with this much personality in 2015. And nobody builds a restaurant quite like Flor de Sal.

Cristina da Costa is an ebullient former morning host from CHIN Radio's Portuguese-language service. Last year, she indulged her dream of owning a fine-dining restaurant - one that serves "that heartwarming dish your grandmother used to make back in the old country," as she puts it on Flor de Sal's website, "albeit, a decidedly more chic version that delivers the wholesome flavours you crave."

She gut-renovated the old building. She put heavy white linens and sprays of orchids on the tables, as well as custom cork salt cellars from Portugal. The restaurant's annual candle bill likely reaches well into four-figures.

Some of the candles are tropicalscented. You will find this either pleasant or distracting. "It smells like suntan lotion," my dinner mate said.

Ms. da Costa brought on the chef Roberto Fracchioni, who cooked most recently at Monk Kitchen, the restaurant at the entertainment district's boutique Templar Hotel. Mr. Fracchioni's cooking here, from a mix of southern European influences, is conservative but pretty. He aims to make his dishes visually impressive (the chef likes to use flower petals and brightly coloured purees as garnishes), without any whiff of modernism.

("You will not find the tricks of molecular gastronomy here," the restaurant's website assures.) He seasons lightly rather than inyour-face, as has become standard. Sourcing, especially of meats, does not seem particularly important here, as it does at many modern high-end restaurants. Mr. Fracchioni cooks like it's still 2005.

Which you will either be grateful for, or find hopelessly backward, especially given how much dinner at Flor de Sal can cost. All those renos and that finery - not to mention the high-end address and the staff to service the restaurant's six dining rooms - cost real money that needs to be earned back.

A not bad, not great commodity strip loin steak sells for $49 here.

A pair of grilled sardines costs $18.

Mr. Fracchioni's rabbit pappardelle offers decent value, the house-made pasta coloured deep green with pureed spinach. The pappardelle comes in a wide, shallow bowl with seared mushrooms scented heavily with oregano and thyme, in a decent jus.

Rabbit is prone to dryness even at the best of times. The evening I tried that rabbit pasta was not the best of times.

The lobster gnocchi were fine: wide bowl, a passel of green peas, a pool of sweet lobster-butter flavoured with Cognac, a respectable hunk of tender-ish lobster.

The dumplings were dense and tasteless, contractually bound to make an appearance, but damned if they were going to put on a show.

The rapini, a side dish, was softened from long cooking, its flavours nicely sweetened and concentrated. This was excellent.

The vegetable caponata, a Sicilian cousin to ratatouille, was also very good.

The grilled Cornish hen was nicely done and properly seasoned, served over white asparagus. But as I ate the $49 lamb dish one night, I briefly considered walking my plate down to the kitchen and having a heart-toheart with the grill cook. The dish was composed of three slightly spongey-textured chops on good lentil rice, lukewarm fried artichoke pieces and humdrum sautéed kale.

It was all so institutional: highend, vaguely southern European generica, rendered with no fixed address or personality. When you're charging $49, "just like grandma's" doesn't apply any longer. At $49, a plate of lamb has no excuse for not blowing minds.

It tasted instead like missed opportunities. At the Michelin-starred Aldea, in Manhattan, the chef George Mendes has also built a fine-dining restaurant that's rooted in Portuguese cuisine, but his cooking happens to be thoughtful, original and delicious. He doesn't use "tradition" as an excuse for stasis. And neither, by the way, do the best restaurants in Lisbon these days. Mr. Mendes's Aldea also serves a lamb entrée - it costs $34.

Mr. Fracchioni's kitchen is somewhat more able with fish.

The appetizer sardines were faultlessly fresh and plump, with the requisite fringe of char. The sardines' sweet fat perfumed the crusty slice of Portuguese cornbread underneath them. This was a very good dish, as was the whole branzino, grilled to southern European doneness. Still, grilled branzino has become a commodity dish in the city: It's the baby boomers' answer to Gen Y's fried chicken. Little about Flor de Sal's version sets it apart.

Flor de Sal's pasteis de nata - Portuguese egg custard tarts - are brought in from Brazil Bakery.

They are the best of the desserts.

The port-poached pear was too firm and nearly flavourless, entombed in cold, waxy chocolate.

In spite of all this, I enjoyed my first visit there, in part because of that room and the (very good) service; in part because of Ms. da Costa's charm.

On another night, Ms. da Costa wasn't there. We were seated in a small, plain annex upstairs - one that didn't seem to have benefited from the restaurant's renovation budget. A shade was drawn over the window. The room was lit with brass wall sconces that came too far out so that you were liable to bang your head while reaching for the wine.

The service was clumsy, hardworking but absent the prescience and polish you should expect at these prices. The hush in this room wasn't a romantic hush. It all put me in mind of prim black suit jackets and formaldehyde.

Flor de Sal is fine if money's no object, and Scaramouche is booked out and you need a place to take the grandparents - and if you can get a table in one of the good rooms. It's good in a pinch.

But charm and style can only take a place so far.


501 Davenport Rd. (at Madison Avenue), 416-923-2604,

Atmosphere: A stylish and charming contemporary fine-dining restaurant, set in a newly renovated cottage near Casa Loma. But that depends where you're seated.

Can also feel like a funeral home.

Wine and drinks: The wine list is long and well-stocked with Old World bottles; it starts to get interesting above $60. Good, expensive cocktails.

Best bets: Grilled fish, caponata, rapini, rabbit pappardelle, Cornish hen, egg tarts for dessert.

Prices: Appetizers, $12 to $25; mains, $39 to $49. (Lunch prices are cheaper.)

NB: Open for lunch Wednesday through Friday.

Associated Graphic

Tasteful decor doesn't extend to the food.


Radio host was the Voice of the North
A noted fisherman, 'fearless and prickly' journalist treated political interview subjects much as he might a feisty catch
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

Ben Meisner, a gruff radio talkshow host based in Prince George, B.C., was known as the Voice of the North.

Vancouver broadcaster Jack Webster once declared he knew of only three things in Prince George - grizzly bears, blackflies and Ben Meisner, each one of which could eat you alive.

Politicians of all stripes acknowledged his popularity by dutifully appearing on his eponymous show, even as they grumbled afterward about his aggressive questioning. Shirley Bond, an MLA from the city, compared a booking on Mr. Meisner's show to a trip to the dentist.

Mr. Meisner, who died of cancer at 76, was among the last of British Columbia's acerbic, politically astute, love-'em-or-hate-'em radio hosts. In some provinces, politics is a sport; in B.C., it is a blood sport, thanks in part to voices such as Mr. Meisner's. Late in his career, the talk jock concluded his over-the-airwaves editorials by declaring, "I'm Meisner, and that's one man's opinion," which became his catchphrase.

Lauded for his preinterview preparation, Mr. Meisner, a noted recreational fisherman, treated his interview subjects much as he might a feisty catch. Once on the hook, a politician was not allowed to squirm free, no matter how long the struggle.

In 1995, former NDP premier Dave Barrett was touring the province to promote his recently published memoir. Unfortunately for him, the book's release coincided with a forensic audit and news reports about a mysterious party figure known only as "D.B."

who had made a bank deposit of $12,500 in $50 bills. When the former premier appeared on Mr. Meisner's show on CKPG, the radio host asked about the scandal. "Accusations have been made, no charges have been laid," the former premier jokingly replied. The host persisted and the politician refused to answer, whereupon Mr. Meisner terminated the interview, causing Mr. Barrett to storm from the studio, expletives flying in his wake.

Mr. Meisner claimed to have interviewed every prime minister from Louis St. Laurent to Stephen Harper, and once went pheasant hunting on the Prairies with Roland Michener, the Governor-General.

Never one to shy from controversy, he insisted his prickly onair approach did not endear him to many. "Doing this job," he once told the Prince George Free Press, "I have a very lonely life."

It turns out the outspoken broadcaster also carried a secret for much of his public life: He had been convicted and imprisoned for fraud as a young man.

Benjamin (later spelled Benjimen) Barry Meisner was born on June 3, 1938, on a grain farm near Walpole, a hamlet in southeastern Saskatchewan. He was the youngest of four children born to Anna (née Walowski) and William Meisner. His mother immigrated to Canada from Warsaw, Poland, in 1926, while his father had been born in Lunenburg, N.S.

The boy had a hardscrabble upbringing in which his father was absent. When he was an infant, the family moved to Maryfield, a village on the railway line just west of the Manitoba border. In about 1945, his mother began a common-law relationship with Reg Morris, a dairy farmer in Treherne, Man.

Young Ben maintained a trapline from which he sold squirrel and mink pelts. At the age of 14, he moved to Winnipeg, where he found work as an office boy by lying about his age.

Mr. Meisner was still in his teens when he moved north to Dauphin, becoming a newsreader for radio station CKDM. He appeared in the local newspaper for his charity work, for earning master angler awards for the walleye he caught and as a member of the station's curling team, known as the "730 Diallers." He married and started a family.

In 1963, he and two other men, both from Fargo, N.D., were arrested and charged with fraud in a stock-option swindle involving bogus certificates. The other men, both formerly legitimate bonded salesmen, pleaded guilty.

Mr. Meisner was convicted by jury the following year on three charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and sentenced to 18 months in the provincial jail at Headingley, Man.

By 1965, Mr. Meisner was again on air, working for radio station CJGX in Yorkton, Sask., resuming a career that would also take him to Winnipeg and Toronto.

He managed radio and television stations in Red Deer, Alta., and Kamloops, B.C., before joining CKPG in Prince George in 1973 where he handled a show called Talkback.

The hour-long radio program, airing at 9 a.m. every workday, became a regular stop for campaigning politicians. At one point, Mr. Meisner's understudy was an ambitious young man named James Moore, the current federal industry minister, who was elected to Parliament at the age of 24 in 2000.

In December, 2000, Mr. Meisner lost a $30,000 libel suit to NDP Finance Minister Paul Ramsey, who was a local MLA, after repeating and offering commentary on an out-of-context quotation originally published by The Province newspaper of Vancouver. In its defence, the station's lawyer told court a correction was issued within 17 minutes of Mr. Meisner's editorial, making the statement "the shortest libel in history."

Mr. Meisner abruptly quit his own program in 2004. He said he was chastised by station management for criticizing premier Gordon Campbell for "taking the easy way out" by granting an interview to a younger, less experienced news reporter for the station instead of appearing on his talk show. Management said it was unacceptable for the host to criticize another station employee.

At the same time, he quit writing a weekly opinion column for the Prince George Citizen newspaper to concentrate on an independent online venture he founded, now known as, which takes its name from the area code that covers most of the province.

He was active away from the microphone, as well, successfully campaigning for better health services in his region of British Columbia. He criticized the sale of BC Rail by the B.C. Liberal government. He also opposed an expansion of Alcan's Kemano hydroelectric project in the 1990s, as he sought to preserve his beloved Nechako River, a main tributary of the Fraser River and an important spawning route for sockeye salmon.

In 2010, Mr. Meisner was appointed a bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia, serving as one of six non-lawyers on the society's 31-person board of governors.

Mr. Meisner fell ill while on an ice-fishing holiday in Manitoba.

He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and, six days later, on April 2, died in a Winnipeg hospital. The sudden death shocked the city of Prince George, where he had been a fixture for more than 40 years. Several politicians issued statements of tribute, including B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who said the province had lost "a wise and passionate voice."

He leaves his wife of 20 years, Elaine Macdonald-Meisner, a son and two daughters from his first marriage, as well as two grandsons, a sister and two brothers.

In 2007, he received a lifetime achievement award from the organization now known as RTDNA Canada, an association of radio, television and online news directors, producers, executives and educators. He was hailed for being "fearless and prickly."

"I'm humbled because I'm not the kind of guy who travels in the right circles to get those kinds of awards," he said at the time. "I'm a bread-and-butter guy."

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

Associated Graphic

Broadcaster Ben Meisner was politically active off the air, campaigning for better health services and criticizing the sale of BC Rail.


More people are wearing glasses than ever before - and it's not just because we're an aging population, addicted to our screens. The solution, Wency Leung finds, may be as close as the front door
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

The world is looking a whole lot blurrier. Rates of myopia, or the inability to see objects at a distance, are rising at a staggering pace, provoking widespread discussion about what's causing this deterioration. The fact that places with high incomes and high levels of academic achievement show the most marked prevalence and most rapid increase has experts believing there's more than genetics to blame.

The focus is now shifting to environmental factors. Children today are glued to electronic devices, unwilling to pry their eyes away from the latest game of Fruit Ninja. Meanwhile in East Asia, many kids are stuck indoors with their noses buried in textbooks.

As researchers investigate what's behind our failing vision, some people are turning to scientifically untested vision-training techniques. Others are examining the potential of neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to rewire itself, to improve visual processing. But when it comes to myopia, more evidence is pointing to the power of the sun. Could the solution to better vision be as simple as taking ourselves outside? Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive error that occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back, causing the image to land on the retina past the focal point, appearing blurry. Many researchers agree there may be a cheap and easy way to curb the trend: Encourage children to spend more time outdoors while their eyes are still developing.

As many as 80 to 90 per cent of people in parts of East Asia are now believed to have myopia. In the United States, data collected between 1999 and 2004 showed nearly 42 per cent of individuals from the ages of 12 to 54 were nearsighted, up from 25 per cent in 1971 to 1972. In Canada, the prevalence of myopia is lower - here, it affects about 30 per cent of the population, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists and provincial optometry associations.

"We've always known that myopia has a genetic and environmental component," says Dr.

Setareh Ziai, an ophthalmologist in Ottawa. "But ... the speed at which it has increased is much more rapid than any genetic changes can occur."

The consequences of this condition go beyond a bespectacled norm. Along with its general rise, the rates of severe cases, also known as high myopia, are increasing too, carrying with them an increased risk of retinal complications that can lead to irreversible vision loss, says Dr. Maria Liu, head of the Myopia Control Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley.

As well, people are now beginning to experience blurred vision at a much earlier age, she adds, noting that while glasses, contact lenses and laser surgery can correct nearsightedness, there is no cure. A decade or two ago, it was common for people to become nearsighted around the age of 14 to 16.

Today, Liu is seeing it in children as young as 4.

"That really concerns me because kids, once they become nearsighted, unless they start wearing contact lenses or something, it really changes their lifestyle," she says. She worries they may participate in fewer sports and activities outdoors in favour of indoor pursuits that require a more limited depth of vision. "This is a really bad cycle."

Liu suggests the introduction of electronic devices at earlier ages may play a role. One prevailing hypothesis is that children's growing eyeballs may develop in a way that adapts to close-up activities, such as reading and using tablets, smartphones and computers. Liu believes electronic devices can be particularly harmful to eye development, since people tend to hold them up close to their eyes and digital activities, such as games, can keep them engaged for long periods.

However, a growing body of research suggests that too little exposure to daylight may be the real culprit. A 2008 study of Australian school children found high levels of outdoor activity were associated with lower prevalence of myopia among 12year-old students. Furthermore, the researchers noted that the amount of time students spent on "near work" or close-up activities such as reading, appeared to have little, if any, impact. A follow-up study published in 2013 provided further evidence to support the initial findings.

Sunlight boosts the level of dopamine, a growth inhibitor, in the retina, which restricts eye growth and prevents it from becoming too long, explains Prof. Kathryn Rose, head of orthoptics at the University of Technology, Sydney. She was involved in both studies. "It's acting like a brake or regulator on growth," she said in an e-mail.

Adding to this idea, Ziai notes some research suggests that in winter months in parts of the world where daylight hours are shorter, developing eyes have higher rates of growth than in summer months.

It's still unknown whether myopia is preventable, or whether outdoor activity merely limits its severity or stalls its development. But it appears that the more time children spend outdoors, the greater the protective effect may be. Researchers of the 2013 Australian study said their findings indicated children under 6 should spend at least 10 hours a week outdoors.

Sunglasses, which block UV radiation, do not appear to negate the benefits of being out in the sunshine.

"The intensity of light outdoors is generally so high that the tint in sunglasses is insufficient to block light levels to a point where being outside would not still afford protection from myopia," Rose says.

(If you're hoping to stave off age-related vision loss, sunning yourself isn't going to help. Sunlight has no effect on presbyopia, the common inability to focus on objects up-close that begins in middle age.)

Because myopia stems from the physical structure of the eye, it can't be reversed. Nevertheless, eye exercises and visiontraining techniques are having a resurgence in popularity lately, promoted by controversial television personality Dr. Oz, and explored in best-selling author Dr. Norman Doidge's latest book, The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity.

Doidge, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst on the faculty of the University of Toronto's department of psychiatry, re-examines the disputed theories of New York doctor William Bates, who lived from 1860 to 1931. Doidge's book documents the story of Canadian-born David Webber, a computer-networks expert whose vision was damaged by an autoimmune disease called uveitis. Webber regained his sight using alternative techniques akin to the Bates Method, such as palming, or covering the eyes with one's palms, to block light and allow the optic nerve and visual circuits of the brain to relax.

As Doidge writes, Bates believed myopia is the result of tense muscles around the eye, which elongate the shape of the eyeball. Doidge attributes this to "neuroplastic changes to the brain, based on the new ways people are using their eyes." He suggests Bates's ideas were prematurely debunked by his peers, noting that his techniques were in fact early exercises in neuroplasticity.

But eye doctors and vision researchers note the Bates Method, and its many variations, are not scientifically proven. And while there's some evidence to suggest our brains may be able to adapt to better interpret blurry images, the effects of neuroplastic adaptation are limited as they can only compensate so much for mechanical and physical issues of the eye itself - which is the case with myopia.

"It is possible for our brain to sort of reinterpret a blurry image, and thus we 'see better,' " says Dr. Elizabeth Irving, a professor of optometry at the University of Waterloo. "But it doesn't actually make the refractive error change or the myopia go away."

Associated Graphic


Some experts believe that the rise in myopia may be linked to an increased use of electronic devices by children.


Eye on the sky
Ivan Semeniuk explains why Canada is betting $243.5-million on a telescope that can see long ago as well as far away
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has all the makings of a giant discovery machine.

Its primary mirror, composed of 492 hexagonal segments, will be wider than a National Hockey League rink. When pointed skyward, it will collect about 18 million times as much light from the distant stars as the human eye, giving astronomers the most penetrating and precise look at the universe they have ever known.

Perched on the top of Mauna Kea, a dormant Hawaiian volcano and one of the world's best astronomical sites, the TMT will peer right to the edge of the visible universe. Since the light it receives will have been travelling for billions of years, it will effectively become a time machine. It may witness the birth of the first stars. It will see galaxies spinning and giant black holes devouring the matter that surrounds them.

Closer to home, it is expected to see planets similar to our own, and potentially distinguish those amenable to life. In our solar system, it will reveal some of the smallest and faintest objects in a way only a space probe can now.

Even the prolific Hubble Space Telescope, launched 25 years ago this month, will be left eating interstellar dust once the TMT opens around 2023.

No surprise, then, that Canadian astronomers were in seventh heaven this week after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the federal government will support the TMT to the tune of $243.5-million. The investment is enough to secure 15 to 20 per cent of the telescope's time for Canada. Other partners include the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, which together have a 25-per-cent stake, Japan with 20 per cent, and India and China with 10 per cent each. Exactly who will cover the remaining 15 to 20 per cent is one of many important details yet to be worked out.

The breadth of the partnership speaks to the realities of big science in the 21st century. The TMT is simply not the kind of leap forward that a country would likely undertake on its own - both because of the $1.5-billion price tag and the global expertise needed to pull it off.

But while it took years of effort by Canadian astronomers and their industrial partners to win over the Harper government, the real challenge has just begun.

Canada's astronomers have now effectively shouldered part of the burden of making sure the observatory lives up to its impressive billing. Decisions made during the next phase of the project could determine whether, years from now, Canadian taxpayers feel they backed a winner - the astronomical equivalent of the Canadarm, let's say - or are left wondering what they paid for.

Here are a few of the key hurdles the TMT faces on the road to celestial glory, along with the crucial roles Canadian team members need to play.

The enclosure

While the point of a dome is to protect the telescope from the elements, this must be done without impeding its performance. A dome should minimize air turbulence around the telescope, which distorts images, and allow the temperature inside to equalize with that outside quickly as day turns into night. It sounds simple, but the bigger the telescope the hard this gets.

Building the TMT's dome, at a cost of $150-million, is now Canada's job. The enclosure must be up before construction of the telescope can begin, so it's key to keeping the project on track.

But the dome's sheer size prevents a simple scaling up of conventional design. Instead, a revolutionary "calotte," or skull cap, styled enclosure has been devised specifically for the TMT by Dynamic Structure Ltd. of Port Coquitlam, B.C. Unlike a traditional observatory dome with a vertical slit, the TMT enclosure features a swivelling top section with a hole that opens to let the telescope see the sky, while keeping turbulence to a minimum.

The novel design reduces the weight of the dome from 1,200 to around 750 tonnes, and presents less of a barrier to the wind, which on Mauna Kea can reach 200 kilometres an hour. And air is supposed to flow more smoothly across the dome opening, which should help to optimize the telescope's seeing power.

The catch is that no one has constructed anything quite like this before, let alone transported it to a mountain peak thousands of kilometres away.

"You really have to worry about how you can build this structure, test it, dismantle it and then rebuild it on site," says David Halliday, the engineer who led the enclosure's design and development. As a result, he says, the hardest part of the entire process may be recruiting a construction crew that is up to the task.

Adaptive optics

The ability to see more light and therefore look more deeply into the cosmos is what will enable the TMT to make discoveries. But this will happen only if a sophisticated Canadian-built system on the back end of the telescope can compensate for the distortion caused by Earth's ever-changing atmosphere.

Such systems, known as adaptive optics, are used by other large observatories, but the one being developed for the TMT is significantly more complicated. It includes two flexible mirrors that can subtly change shape 800 times a second. One is to correct for distortions that occur due to air movements near the Earth's surface; the other, for movements about 11 kilometres up, where the jet stream is located.

The mirrors will be guided by five laser beams that will shoot dramatically into the sky, creating an artificial constellation. The TMT will use this to read the chaotic movement of air that constantly interferes with starlight on its way to the telescope. The rapid-fire number crunching required to make all of this possible will be the task of a specially designed computer system, also part of Canada's contribution.

Together, the adaptive optics system will push the boundaries of what technology has been able to do to eliminate atmospheric effects. "It's definitely the heart of the TMT," says Luc Simard, a National Research Council astronomer who leads the telescope's instruments group.

The ultimate goal, he says, is a telescope with vision so sharp, it could be in Victoria and spot a coin in Calgary.


Major international science projects can evolve into highly creative and interactive centres of innovation, or they can become insular worlds in which each partner nation perpetuates its own imported bureaucracy.

While Canada officially joined the project only this week, Canadian astronomers and engineers have been playing a big role in TMT's design for years, and have helped to set the tone for the scientific community emerging from the project.

Dr. Simard says the TMT community is already more collaborative than many expected. But as the project progresses, a telling sign will be how well its leadership balances the prerogatives of individual partners, while still pushing for science that has the highest level of impact for all.

Meanwhile, the project faces a more immediate human-relations challenge, as Hawaiian native activists try to halt construction on what they regard as sacred ground. Although Mauna Kea bristles with observatories, including the Canada-FranceHawaii Telescope, opposition has grown since the last major construction more than 15 years ago.

The project has been through a lengthy review, and construction was approved last month, but protests at the site last week led to 31 arrests and led Governor David Ige to call for a pause in construction to allow further discussions.

Ivan Semeniuk reports on science for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

What the finished telescope will look like.

Where guns are articles of faith
Kennesaw, Ga., residents are technically required to be armed, highlighting the divisiveness of U.S. laws
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A17

KENNESAW, GA. -- Of the following, Robert Jones is sure: President Barack Obama is attempting to flood the United States with immigrants from south of the border who will vote Democrat - and in the process, a veritable smorgasbord of terror groups will also slip through the loosely guarded border, unleashing chaos.

This is why Mr. Jones needs his guns.

"That's a reason to have these, right there," the grandfather, historian and ordained Presbyterian elder says, pointing to a handgun and a rifle on his kitchen table.

"Because of ISIS, al-Shabab, Boko Haram - you pick."

Mr. Jones is a resident of one of the most gun-friendly cities in the United States - Kennesaw, Ga.

Not only is gun ownership encouraged in this quiet Atlanta suburb of 32,000, it's technically mandatory. For more than three decades, Kennesaw has had on the books a law requiring every household to have a weapon.

In truth, it's unenforceable. But the very fact that the law exists - and still enjoys widespread support here - illustrates the immense divide over guns and gun control that still dominates politics at the state and national level. Kennesaw's mandatory gun-ownership bill was conceived as a direct response to another town's gun prohibition law.

That makes it one of the clearest examples of the theme that runs through the bitter U.S. gun debate: that the Second Amendment of the U.S. constitution, which enshrines the right to bear arms, is an all or nothing proposition.

Kennesaw adopted its law in response to a 1981 decision by the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove to make gun possession illegal within village limits. (The ban was challenged in court, unsuccessfully, although the village dropped the law in 2008.)

Kennesaw, according to people here, saw red. To hear the town's residents tell it, the news of Morton Grove's law was doubly annoying. Not only did many here believe the village had trampled all over the Second Amendment, but the press all over the country jumped on the story.

"If the mainstream media hadn't given that so much positive play, Kennesaw never would have passed the law," says Mr. Jones. "I mean literally in Kennesaw they wanted to get it off the front page of the newspaper."

And so Kennesaw passed its own law requiring every household to have a gun. As anything other than a rhetorical symbol, the law was toothless - it contained exemptions for anyone who couldn't afford a gun, had a mental or physical health issue, or simply didn't want to own a weapon. Nobody here has ever been arrested for not owning a firearm.

And yet it achieved its central purpose: It made a statement on behalf of all those who believed that the laws in places like Morton Grove were initial steps in a nationwide effort by liberals to take away gun-ownership rights entirely. It fit perfectly the narrative in which gun owners are cast as endlessly persecuted at the hands of an overreaching government.

"I rejoiced" when the Kennesaw law was passed, says Dent Myers, the 84-year-old owner of Wildman's Civil War Surplus and Herb Shop in the heart of the city, a store specializing in rare (and often plainly racist) Southern collectibles."It shows that we're exercising our Second Amendment rights, and most of our rights have been taken away.

"It was a rebuttal to Moron Grove - I call it Moron Grove."

With the exception of characters such as Mr. Myers, who constantly carries holstered handguns on both hips, there are few signs that Kennesaw might be the most pro-gun city in America. There are billboards on the outskirts of town advertising myriad gun stores, as well as Airsoft replica gun store advertising Special Forces-style simulations to children under the tag line: "Fake Guns. Real Fun."

"The majority of adults in the area are probably gun owners because there are so may sportsmen and people who hunt," says Lieutenant Craig Graydon of the Kennesaw police department.

"But it's not something that's a topic of conversation every day.

You usually don't see people walking down the street talking to each other about their guns."

Lt. Graydon does say, though, that in the year after the law went into effect, serious crimes in Kennesaw dropped significantly, and have remained low over the following decades, even as the city grew from a small rural community to a sizable Atlanta suburb. He attributes that largely to good policing and local government efforts, not just the law.

A flood of lawsuits from progun and anti-gun groups in recent years have made laws such as those of Kennesaw and Morton Grove much more difficult to pass. In 2013, the tiny town of Nelson, Ga., tried to pass a motion similar to the one in Kennesaw. However the Brady Center, a gun-control advocacy group, sued the town. As a result, Nelson amended the law to explicitly say that residents also have the right not to bear arms.

On the other end of the spectrum, the National Rifle Association fought (and won) a bitter legal battle to kill Chicago's attempt to ban gun stores in the city, after the Supreme Court struck down a city-wide gun ban.

"It's one of those things that, if you tried to pass it today, I think it would be challenged," says Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews.

"Because we've created an environment where ... government is not there to push a position one way or another, and any time they try to do that I think it gets challenged - and rightfully so, to a certain degree."

Indeed, at the federal level the all-or-nothing political battle is at a draw. President Obama has been unable to get gun-control measures through Congress. A recent attempt by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ban a certain class of bullets was withdrawn after countless outraged letters from pro-gun advocates. But bills have been introduced in the Republican-controlled Congress to scale back gun-control laws in the District of Columbia and to allow anyone with a concealed-carry permit in one state to have a concealed weapon in any other state that issues such licences.

At the state and local level, gun advocates have made inroads using the same arguments that were made in Kennesaw - that it's necessary to normalize and expand gun use in the face of perceived encroachment on the Second Amendment. Kansas legislators passed a law this month allowing residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit or having to undergo a previously mandated training session.

Ohio is considering a similar measure.

In his suburban family home, Mr. Jones says that when people ask him why he needs his three guns (on this day, his wife has taken the third weapon; she's out with the grandchildren), he says self defence.

"They say, well, who do you need protection from? And my response ... is to protect myself from liberals like you who want to abrogate my constitutional rights.

"They're always shocked when I say that, but I think if liberals had their way, if we didn't have Congress, they would take every private gun away."

Associated Graphic

Jim, who would not provide a last name, shows off some of the guns for sale last week at Harold's Pawn Shop in Kennesaw, Ga., an Atlanta suburb where the law technically requires every household to be armed.


The kitchen table of Kennesaw, Ga., resident Robert Jones. He says he owns guns 'because of ISIS, al-Shabab, Boko Haram - you pick.'

Delivered late, but sexy play is worth the wait
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R2

Tom at the Farm Written by Michel Marc Bouchard Directed by Eda Holmes Starring Jeff Lillico At Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto 3½

Brantwood: 1920 - 2020 Written and directed by Mitchell Cushman and Julie Tepperman Music and lyrics by Bram Gielen, Anika Johnson and Britta Johnson At Theatre Sheridan in Oakville, Ont.

Finally, Tom at the Farm.

Linda Gaboriau's English translation of Michel Marc Bouchard's 2011 play has at last made its way to the stage, 2 1/2 years after its intended premiere was the most confounding casualty of the Factory Theatre's acrimonious divorce from former artistic director Ken Gass.

But director Eda Holmes's sexy production turns out to have been well worth the wait - and now that the horse is out of the barn, I suspect Bouchard's sharp, sadomasochistic script will be performed across the country.

After his lover dies in a car accident, Tom (Jeff Lillico) heads to the farm where his lover grew up -only to find that his lover lied to everyone in his life.

Agatha (Rosemary Dunsmore), his lover's mother, knows nothing of Tom - and believes her son has a French girlfriend named Nathalie. And Francis (Jeff Irving), his lover's brother, wants to keep his mother and his community in the dark about the truth - and threatens Tom to make sure they do.

I have to keep writing "lover" because the deceased character in the play has no name. He exists only as the memory of relationships - and, in his absence, those relationships are projected onto other characters.

In his preface to the published play, Bouchard talks about how, in the throes of grief, "other people - a brother, a son, a lover - become synonymous with the one who is no longer there." Here, in a way, Tom becomes Francis's brother and Agatha's son - and a one-night visit turns into a longterm stay on the farm, half-willing, half-imprisoned.

Bouchard's writing is a little larger than life - particularly in the case of Tom. His dialogue is more of a running monologue delivered to his late lover, interrupted by dialogue with the other characters. While this is stylized, it's also quite true to how many people react to any unexpected loss when there is still so much to say.

Francis, who says less, is the more intriguing character, however - the one who keeps you guessing. Does he want to keep his brother's sexuality a secret in this small town in order to protect him? Or is it because of his own homophobia? Or is it that he has his own secrets he wants to keep buried? Irving's performance allows for a multitude of interpretations - and he makes both Francis's unhinged love and unhinged violence believable.

Having read the play in advance, I watched Tom at the Farm less for its twists and turns (which are delicious) than for how the actors would sell them.

Why doesn't Tom just leave when Francis greets him with violence?

There's an element of horror to Bouchard's play and, at times, you want to shout: Don't go into the barn, Tom! But there's also a fatalistic energy to the action, too, reminiscent of Greek tragedy - or perhaps I'm thinking of other plays set on farms and inspired by Greek tragedy like Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms.

Bouchard's script definitely needs to find the right tone in performance - and Camellia Koo's design gets the expressionism of the piece right. Two wooden walls stripped to the studs, with a large mound of dirt and grass in the centre, behind which lies a pit filled with cow carcasses feasted upon by coyotes (or so Francis says).

But there is sometimes a naturalism to the acting in Holmes's production that doesn't quite fit.

As Tom, Lillico gives a rendering of grief that is hyper-real, with quivering voice and plenty of waterworks. While it's impressive, on a technical level, it seems at odds with the character's eulogy to his lover - "Part of me is dying and I can't cry" - and makes the fever dream atmosphere of the show hard to settle into.

Tom at the Farm remains fascinating, however- and darkly funny, too, especially when the imaginary Nathalie shows up, played by Christine Horne speaking a hilarious broken French.

Also now on stage Normally, I don't review student shows, but Brantwood: 1920-2020 is really something else. It's immersive theatre on a scale you're not likely to see professionally in Canada.

Brantwood is a site-specific collection of mini-musicals written for Sheridan College's musical theatre performance graduating class; the action sprawls over three floors of a closed school in Oakville, Ont. There are no guides - you choose your own adventure, following any one of the 44 actors in the show, or just exploring Jon Grosz and Kenneth MacKenzie's incredible set on your own.

Audiences meet on Sheridan's campus at the main entrance, where graduation gowns are distributed and you are shipped out by school bus to the actual location of the play for three hours.

The conceit is this: We, the audience, are alumni of Brantwood, returning for one last reunion before our alma mater is transformed into condos. After a time capsule is unearthed five years ahead of schedule on the front lawn, however, the ghosts of teachers and students and 95 years of principals named Headley (all played by Ralph Small) are summoned back to school. Their stories are what you stumble upon in the hallways, in the classrooms and in secret rooms behind the stairwells. (Fifteen hours worth of stories if you were to watch all the scenes sequentially.)

Writer/directors Mitchell Cushman and Julie Tepperman are clear about their inspiration: Punchdrunk, the British company behind the long-running New York hit Sleep No More. If you look closely, you'll even find a couple of the signature white masks work by Punchdrunk's audience members hidden in the set.

But Brantwood is more than Punchdrunk with gowns instead of masks. It's an ambitious attempt to marry musical theatre with immersive theatre.

The two art forms aren't a natural fit - and there's a reason Punchdrunk tells its stories through dance, not dialogue. But at its best moments, Brantwood is like wandering into a series of flash mobs - and the timing of Christopher Thornborrow's intricate sound design of this $350,000 production is simply a marvel. (I stepped into a stagemanagement room by accident and it looked like NASA.)

The dialogue I heard, penned by Mitchell and Tepperman, is very is on-the-nose, very Degrassi, with many of the plot lines based around the homophobia, sexism and racism of the past (that also haunt our present). But I'm not sure subtlety would work in this format - better that you walk into a room and fairly instantly know the relationships and what's at stake.

No star rating because they're students and I saw the first preview. But I would go back to Brantwood at least one more time if I weren't about to leave on holiday.

Three tips: Don't eat the pickles in the fridge (I was chastised for this); do eat the hot dogs in the cafeteria; and pull back banks of lockers until you find the future.

Tom at the Farm continues to May 10. Visit

Brantwood continues to May 3. Visit

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Rosemary Dunsmore plays Agatha, the mother of Tom's lover in Tom at the Farm.


Family members of one of the accused describe the morning of the attack: The commotion, the clothes, the threat - and the 911 call
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

WINNIPEG -- The first attack took place on a footpath under a bridge early Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Police say the girl, 16-year-old Rinelle Harper, was beaten by two men and ended up in the frigid waters of a Winnipeg river. She crawled out, only to be assaulted again by the same men who, police say, left the scene and allegedly attacked a second woman near a city pool.

Ms. Harper does not remember the crime that nearly made her one of Canada's murdered or missing indigenous women. But five months later, a fuller picture is emerging of what allegedly occurred in the hours after an attack that stoked fear in the community and fuelled a national debate on how to address the crisis of violence against aboriginal women.

Justin Hudson, a 20-year-old native man, and a 17-year-old male who cannot be named because he is a minor, face charges of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon in relation to the two attacks. Court documents cite a baseball bat as the weapon. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The Globe and Mail has interviewed several people who interacted with the co-accused at the Hudson family home on Nov. 8, including Mr. Hudson's mother, April Hudson, and his older sister, who asked not to be named for safety reasons as the family has been threatened. The Globe also spoke with David Moodie, a 41-year-old man who had been living at the home and was charged last summer, along with Mr. Hudson, with possession of stolen property.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, according to the witnesses, the co-accused returned to the Hudson home in a state that raised concerns among those staying there about what the pair had done that night.

The co-accused apparently said they had been in a fight. The witnesses say Mr. Hudson at one point changed his clothing; one witness said the 17-year-old cleaned his shoes. They say there was a commotion that culminated in a verbal threat and a call to police. Officers allegedly came to the home looking for Mr. Hudson and ended up collecting clothing that Mr. Hudson's younger brother had found in the basement.

Ms. Harper's case caught the nation's attention in part for its similarities to the circumstances around the high-profile August killing of Winnipeg's 15-year-old Tina Fontaine. It also provoked a conversation about identifying victims of sexual assault, since police took the rare, controversial step of releasing Ms. Harper's name in the hope it would spur investigative leads (authorities say it did). Her public fight for her life also galvanized the movement calling for a federal inquiry into Canada's murdered and missing indigenous women. The Conservative government has dismissed such a probe as unnecessary, saying the tragedies often occur at the hands of native men and are crimes best handled by police.

The interviews also provide insight into the life of one of the co-accused. Mr. Hudson is the fourth of eight children, was raised for a time by his aunt and was in and out of foster care. He reconnected with his mother in his adult years and had been living at her home. Despite a Facebook posting that suggests he is part of a gang, his mother and Mr. Moodie said he was not, in fact, a member of the Manitoba Warriors.

The Hudson women said they, as well as Mr. Hudson's younger brother, have given statements to police. The Winnipeg Police Service declined to provide comment for this story because the matter is before the courts.

Ms. Hudson said she and her daughter were getting ready to leave her home for a nearby convenience store shortly before 3 a.m. on Nov. 8. As they were heading out, she said, the 17year-old came in and said her son would be home soon. Ms. Hudson, who had questions about the teen's appearance, said she and her daughter then left for the store. There, the women said, they encountered a young woman, dishevelled and crying, who told them two men had assaulted her behind the Sherbrook Pool.

As Ms. Hudson and her daughter walked back to the house, the women said a family friend who had been hanging out that night yelled, "What the hell is going on here?" The women said the friend was alarmed at how Mr. Hudson, who had come home while they were at the store, looked when he arrived. Ms. Hudson said she went running inside to try to understand what was happening.

Mr. Hudson's sister said Mr. Hudson told them they had gotten into a fight. The commotion awoke Mr. Moodie, who said he came out and saw Mr. Hudson.

The women said April Hudson was threatened and that Mr. Hudson's sister called 911. Neither Mr. Hudson nor the 17-year-old were present when police arrived, they said.

Mr. Moodie, who had gone back to sleep after the argument broke out in the middle of the night, said he was awakened again, this time to police officers in the home. "I just remember getting woken up to a cop saying, 'We're looking for Justin,' " he said in an interview in downtown Winnipeg. "[The police] were in and out and in and out." Mr. Moodie, who said he is a recovering drug user, said he served his sentence last fall for the possession of stolen property charge.

Mr. Hudson, who remains in custody, applied for legal aid after charges were laid in mid-November. He is under court order not to contact Ms. Harper or the other victim, whom The Globe is not naming. The 17-year-old's mother recently said her son is at a youth correctional centre.

Mr. Hudson's lawyer, Amanda Sansregret, told the court last month she had "started discussions" with Crown attorney Debbie Buors and that "we were already talking a resolution on this matter." She said the evidence in the case "fills a couple boxes" and includes DNA and multiple statements. The next court date is set for April 20 to discuss the sharing of the prosecution's evidence with the defence.

Ms. Sansregret would not comment beyond confirming she represents Mr. Hudson. Ms. Buors said in an e-mail she could not comment on "resolution talks with defence counsel."

Ms. Hudson and her daughter said they have not spoken with Mr. Hudson since Nov. 8. "It's frustrating and I'm kind of scared for him - he's had a lot of death threats," Ms. Hudson said. "But I also have three boys to raise. ... I think I'll just stay away from that and be here for them."

Asked if she has any words for Ms. Harper, she was at a loss. "I don't wish this upon anyone," she said. "I just don't know what to say to somebody that's been victimized like that."

Associated Graphic

Rinelle Harper at her family's home in Winnipeg on March 30. Ms. Harper's fight for her life after being attacked on Nov. 8 caught the nation's attention and galvanized the movement calling for an inquiry into Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women.



Rinelle Harper was attacked on a footpath under a bridge on the banks of the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg, above, on Nov. 8, 2014. Justin Hudson, left, seen in a Facebook image, claimed his appearance that morning was due to having been in a fight.

A cruel and unusual twist
Usually seen as more stable than common shares, many preferreds have been hammered this year. What can investors do about it?
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

The recent plunge in preferred shares is an early candidate for nastiest investing surprise of the year.

People commonly see preferred shares as being a safer, more stable choice than common shares, said John Nagel, vice-president and director of preferred shares at Desjardins Securities Inc. "But what's happened over the past year? Common shares have soared, and preferreds have tanked."

The S&P/TSX preferred share index was down 9.3 per cent for the year through midweek, while the S&P/TSX composite index was up 5.6 per cent. With the help of Mr. Nagel, let's try to make some sense of what's going on and come up with some suggestions for investors.

Mr. Nagel's an ideal person for this job because he had a hand in the creation of a particular type of preferred share that is primarily responsible for the recent pullback. That would be the rate reset preferred, which now accounts for roughly 60 per cent of the almost $67-billion pref share market. As rate resets go, so goes the preferred share index, many preferred share funds and, in turn, investor perception of preferred shares.

Rate reset preferreds began appearing in 2008, when interest rates were falling and everyone thought they'd rebound sooner rather than later. The concept was this: The shares would offer a yield markup over the rate on the five-year Government of Canada bond that would be reset every five years. In a rising rate world, that's an attractive feature.

The problem is, rates edged up and down in the ensuing years and then declined sharply in early 2015. There is a type of preferred share that benefits from lower rates - straight preferreds, also called "perpetuals." But rate resets have been trouble.

Investors clearly bought them with the expectation that the reset would help them tap into a higher yield down the line. Today, however, some of these shares are headed to a reset at a time when rates are at unexpectedly low levels. It all comes down to this: Five-year Canada bonds had a yield around 0.75 per cent at midweek, compared with about 3 per cent five years ago.

You can see the result of this rate decline in Fortis Inc.'s Series H five-year fixed rate reset shares (FTS.PR.H). They currently pay a dividend that yielded 4.25 per cent when issued at a value of $25 per share. The dividend on these shares will be reset on June 1 to produce a dividend yield of 1.45 percentage points above the fiveyear Canada bond yield. Based on recent bond yields, these shares would, after reset, have a yield of about 2.2 per cent based on the $25 issue price. In dollar terms, the dividend would fall to 55 cents from the current $1.06.

The shares traded this week in the $15.25 range, which meant their yield based on the current $1.06 dividend was 6.9 per cent.

Mr. Nagel calculates their yield after the reset at about 3.6 per cent based on this week's share price and a dividend of 55 cents.

No matter how you look at it, investors are going to get less in dividends after the reset. Now, what should they do about it?

A useful first step is to understand the trends driving these shares lower. In Mr. Nagel's view, it's entirely the Bank of Canada's surprise move to cut its benchmark lending rate in January. "As soon as the Bank of Canada boosts its rate by 25 basis points [that's 0.25 of a percentage point], these things are going to go back up."

It's conceivable that the Bank of Canada could cut rates before increasing them at some future date, so a price rebound could take a while. The more immediate issue is the dividend. Mr. Nagel stressed the decline in the preferred market lately is in no way a signal of concern about the ability of preferred share issuers to pay their dividends. But there's still the problem of dividends being reset lower.

This may seem a cruel and surprising twist for rate reset preferred shareholders, but it's really just a reflection of the low rate world in which we live. Yields are down on everything tied to interest rates, and rate reset preferreds aren't immune.

Arguably, yields on these shares will still be attractive on a comparative basis after the reset.

Those Fortis Series H shares at 3.6 per cent (based on the reset dividend and the current share price) beat anything you'll get in a government or investment-grade corporate bond maturing in 10 years or less. Factor in the dividend tax credit in non-registered accounts and the advantage of rate reset preferreds over bonds becomes even more pronounced.

Some rate reset preferred shares offer investors the choice of having their dividends reset, or converting their holdings to a floating rate preferred share issue.

On those Fortis Series H shares, you can move into Series I floating rate preferreds with a dividend yield set at 1.45 percentage points over the three-month Government of Canada Treasury bill rate, which at midweek was about 0.6 per cent. That projects out to 2.05 per cent based on the $25 issue price and a dividend of 51.25 cents, and 3.4 per cent at the midweek share price of $15.25 for the Series H shares.

Mr. Nagel lays out the decision on whether to choose the floating rate option like this: Do you want a lower yield now in exchange for the opportunity for increases if interest rates rise over the next five years, or would you prefer to lock in 3.6 per cent? The floating rate option could end up being the most rewarding, he argues. If rates do go up in the five years to come, you'll benefit in the near term rather than having to wait until the next reset date. With floating rate shares, adjustments are made every three months.

Another thought from Mr. Nagel is to sell all or part of your rate reset preferred shares and put the money into straight preferreds, which pay a fixed dividend. Straight preferreds have benefited a little bit from lower rates - Desjardins data show they were up 2.5 per cent as a group for the year to April 10, while the preferred share universe was down 8 per cent.

Still another possibility would be to switch from preferred shares to dividend-paying common shares. They've had a rough go lately as well, but that's a matter for a future column.

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick


Preferred shares take the low road

Preferred shares are supposed to be a quiet, stable investment suitable for widows and orphans.

But in 2015, the preferred share market has dropped sharply while the broader stock market has done well. Here's a comparison of the S&P/TSX preferred share index and the S&P/TSX composite on a year-to-date basis.

Anatomy of a rate reset preferred share

Fortis Inc.'s cumulative redeemable five-year fixed rate reset first preference shares, Series H, come up for reset on June 1. At that time, shareholders will have the option of coverting their holdings into Fortis Series I floating rate preferred shares. Here's how things could play out based on current market conditions.

Associated Graphic



History in the making, or a historic mistake?
Fresh Off the Boat, ABC's sitcom featuring an Asian-American family, faces backlash from the man on whom the story is based
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

One of the best new sitcoms of 2015 - and a historic one, too - might actually be one of its worst, and a cultural atrocity of historic proportions, according to Eddie Huang, the chef/author/TV host/social-media loudmouth whose memoir serves as the series' inspiration.

Fresh Off the Boat, a midseason replacement that premiered on ABC in February, is the story of a young Huang circa the mid-1990s.

After moving with his family from Washington to Orlando, Eddie, his parents, grandmother and two brothers tackle the daily challenges of being outsiders in a town that's, bluntly, full of clueless Caucasians.

It's a remarkable show because it's the first U.S. network program in decades in which Asian-Americans are the main protagonists.

The last attempt was an infamous flame-out: Margaret Cho's AllAmerican Girl, which lasted all of 19 episodes in 1994 and was embraced by no one, least of all the Korean-American community it meant to portray.

Where FOB has succeeded so far, 11 episodes in, is in being hilarious. It is a wonderful pastiche of 1990s nostalgia ("and the accompanying hip hop that flavours Eddie's POV), smartly scripted culture clashes and never-before-seen Chinese family values. Killer casting, including a star turn from The Interview's Randall Park as the dad, makes the TV Huangs relatable, lovable and - most important - watchable. Fingers are crossed that it is on track for renewal: FOB performs well in the coveted 18-49 demographic and outdraws more critically acclaimed network comedies such as The New Girl and The Mindy Project.

But because this is 2015, no TV show can be consumed without a heaping of social-media commentary. Enter IRL Eddie Huang.

He is the outspoken chef behind Baohaus in New York, the host of the online food show Huang's World on and the author of the memoir Fresh Off the Boat.

Would you believe he's also on Twitter?

Huang's conflicted relationship with the show that is loosely based on his life is well documented. Before it even premiered, he wrote a personal essay for New York magazine that spent 3,000 words trashing the network-television process that he feels infantilized his story. The kicker: He backtracks in the final paragraphs to say he was proud of the pilot episode. Truthfully, Huang most loved that the producers were willing to invoke the word "chink" in the climactic scene. His assessment was right.

Seeing young Eddie being called that slur, in prime time, to an audience of millions - it was a monumental cultural milestone for a community that's been hungry for real representation since Long Duk Dong swung on the bunk bed in Sixteen Candles.

Huang has been mostly congenial since the premiere, choosing to revel in congratulatory retweets and his other cultural coup: using FOB's theme song to introduce Middle America to Detroit rapper Danny Brown. But last week, he couldn't keep it in any longer. He tweeted to his more than 60,800 followers: "For the record I don't watch #FreshOffTheBoat on @ABCNetwork," he begins. "I had to say something because I stood by the pilot. After that it got so far from the truth that I don't recognize my own life.

"I understand this is a comedy but the great comics speak from pain: Pryor, Rock, Louis ... This show had that opportunity but it fails."

There is more, but this limited space isn't Twitter, and his thoughts on the lack of authenticity in network television are nothing industry folk haven't heard before ("see, again: Margaret Cho).

The difficult part in critiquing an unfiltered figure like Huang is that he's not all bluster. His online rants are like a bull in a cheap china shop, but parse his rage and you'll find he raises legitimate questions in need of serious answers.

Huang mentions his grandmother's bound feet, his grandfather's suicide and the domestic abuse he and his brothers suffered from their father. These stories are an integral part of his memoir's serious narrative; where are they on TV? It seems obvious now what set him off: Last week's episode featured a running joke where bad luck causes Eddie to break his arm, and a comical misunderstanding causes a teacher to call child services to the family's home. The real-life Huang's experiences with child services were not so funny.

"Why do sitcoms have to avoid real issues and instead appropriate the symptoms of our problems for entertainment?" Huang tweeted after this episode aired.

"I don't accept this."

FOB is by no means the definitive portrayal of an immigrant Chinese family in the United States. It's what Huang set out, and failed, to achieve, in the broadest of mediums. He was emboldened by his disruptive successes in restaurants, online media and publishing, three spheres that were ready for a rapobsessed, pot-addled, attentionloving Asian who calls himself a "chinkstronaut." Huang probably should have googled ABC first before signing over the rights to his book ("or went with Netflix instead).

FOB, through any other lens, is a huge step forward for Asian representation. A quieter voice, and perhaps a more well-versed one, is Jeff Yang, a columnist with The Wall Street Journal and a former TV critic for the Village Voice.

He's also the father of Hudson Yang, the young actor who plays Eddie. In the Los Angeles Times, he recounts the short, sad history of on-screen Asian-American culture and has a clear-eyed view of what FOB means in 2015: "Putting a set of characters on-screen that a generation of young Asian Americans will laugh with, live with and recognize as reflections of themselves." The show as it's been realized fails only one person, if at all: Eddie Huang. If the goal was to faithfully translate a deeply personal, bestselling memoir into a hit mainstream TV show, it was a goner before the ink on the contract was dry. While the book is a must-read, I would boldly argue that Huang's life experience is unique only to himself. I admire his extroversion and his success, even more so knowing how difficult his childhood was. But I unfortunately can't identify much with real-life Eddie; I see much more of myself in TV Eddie, an awkward kid who just wants to fit in and sometimes brings stinky tofu to school for lunch. I think many of the millions of viewers relate just the same. Some of them, as The New York Times reports, even attend weekly viewing parties, because being able to relate is still so new and thrilling.

Huang, I'm sure, was well compensated for the right to be inspired by his life. He's also been introduced to his largest audience yet, far bigger than his fan base of foodies and Internet hipsters.

FOB, the TV show, may not be hard enough for his edgy brand, but Huang could spare a tweet to recognize that, like it or not, he's earned a place in history and he'll be looked back on as a trailblazer.

Follow me on Twitter: @clifforddlee

Associated Graphic

Eddie Huang, left, and producer Melvin Mar speak at the Winter Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., in January. Huang's memoir serves as inspiration for the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat.


Fresh Off the Boat is the story of a young Huang circa the mid-1990s, and how his family copes with the challenges of being outsiders.

How the original Jets changed hockey
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A16

'Are you kidding me?" Pat McDonald has just been asked if she remembers the first-ever goal scored by the Winnipeg Jets.

It was the fall of 1972 and the launch of the upstart World Hockey Association. The new league - with its blue pucks and that million-dollar signing bonus they gave Bobby (The Golden Jet) Hull to go play for Winnipeg - had the Jets in New York to play the Raiders on Oct. 12.

It seemed only right that the Winnipeg Jets' first captain, fourtime Stanley Cup winner Ab McDonald, would score the team's very first goal. "Nothing fancy about it," the 79-year-old says, sitting in the same unpretentious bungalow the McDonalds have lived in for 48 years. "I just banged it in."

"I was busy," says his wife. She was indeed. Pat McDonald was in the St. Boniface hospital, having been driven there by a neighbour.

In the same evening her husband was making hockey history, she was giving birth to Kristina, the last of their five children. "They used to say every time he won a Stanley Cup I shot out a baby," Pat says with a laugh about the previous four McDonald children.

The WHA Jets would soon win the Avco Cup, led by Mr. Hull and his Swedish linemates, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg, but there would be no Stanley Cup chance until 1979, when the NHL absorbed the WHA, by which time Ab McDonald was long retired from professional hockey.

The Jets' first captain had a remarkable career, beginning right here on the outdoor rinks of a now-rough neighbourhood in Winnipeg. He left to play junior in St. Catharines, Ont., then spent years trying to crack the lineup of the mighty Montreal Canadiens.

He finally did in 1958, winning three straight Cups with the Habs, and then was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks where the 6-foot-3 forward won his fourth straight Cup playing with a young Mr. Hull and Mr. McDonald's best friend for life, Stan Mikita, centre for the famous "Scooter Line" that included Mr. McDonald and Kenny Wharram.

When the NHL expanded in 1967, Mr. McDonald became the first pick and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, later playing for the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings before being lured home to Winnipeg to captain the Jets.

"They told me they were pretty sure they had Bobby [Hull] coming," Mr. McDonald recalls. "So I figured this thing is going to go."

He remembers Jets founder Benny Hatskin presenting Mr. Hull with that million-dollar cheque at the corner of Portage and Main, the Hull children - including future Hall-of-Famer Brett, then eight - in attendance.

It was a pivotal moment in professional hockey, virtually doubling salaries and giving players more control over their lives. Mr. Mikita used to joke he got down on his knees every morning to give thanks to Mr. Hull. Mr. McDonald and Mr. Hull also remain close friends: "Two weeks ago in Chicago, we closed down Kitty O'Sheas [pub]."

The arrival of the Jets also dramatically changed Winnipeg. Mr. McDonald believes it put the notion into Winnipeggers' heads that they could be big-time, could support pro sports.

Mr. Nilsson and Mr. Hedberg arrived in 1974. The Jets were already known for embracing European players, but it was "The Hot Line" of Messrs. Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson - a line deserving of Hall-of-Fame honours - that brought massive attention to the Jets.

"Hockey is more than a sport in places like Winnipeg," Mr. Nilsson says from Stockholm, where he now lives. "I loved my four years in the city - and to be able to play with Robert Marvin Hull was better than a dream. It was amazing!"

Brett Hull says the greatest memory he has of those WHA years was the evening his father and Mr. Nilsson loaded up the Hull car with Brett and a couple of Brett's buddies and took them to an outdoor rink near Mr. Nilsson's home in the suburb of Tuxedo. It grew dark and Mr. Hull and Mr. Nilsson were able to pry boards off the rink and drive the car right up to the ice surface, high beams on, so the shinny game could continue.

"I remember it well," Mr. Nilsson says.

In 1978, Mr. Nilsson and Mr. Hedberg left the WHA for the New York Rangers and spent several more years starring in the NHL. But there was never another time like that in Winnipeg, when with Mr. Hull they formed the fastest and most dangerous line in all of hockey.

Joe Daley was a goaltender on those early Jets teams. Today he runs Joe Daley's Sports Card and Framing Shop with his son Travis.

He once played for the Johnstown Jets - the model for the minorleague team featured in Slap Shot - and was the first draft pick of both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres in two separate NHL expansion drafts.

"My dad, the ultimate trivia question," says Travis Daley.

Joe Daley says he was struggling in the Detroit organization in 1972 when he got a call asking, "Would you like to come home to play?" He would love to - and when he heard Mr. Hull was coming he began to believe it just might work.

"If somebody had told me as a first-year pro, 'You'll end up playing professional hockey in Winnipeg,' " Mr. Daley says, "I'd have said you were nuts."

It worked right up until 1996 and then, with the city in need of a new arena, the Canadian dollar low and the team owner unpopular, the Jets were suddenly gone - off to Phoenix to become the Coyotes.

It took 15 years to get a team back, and that only happened with True North Sports and Entertainment quietly able to convince the NHL that Winnipeg, with a new rink downtown, might be a soft landing for the falling Atlanta Thrashers franchise. Season tickets were grabbed so fast the organization's computers crashed. And three years later, the team is in the playoffs.

"It was so sad when they left," says Mr. McDonald. "That last game at the old Winnipeg Arena was so very emotional. People said, 'They're never going to come back.' I said, 'Oh, they will, they will. This is too good a hockey town.' When they came back, people went absolutely crazy.

And it's been great ever since.

Since the Jets came back, it's changed everything about this city."

"We get knocked for our weather," Mr. Daley says. "We get knocked for our mosquitoes. We got knocked for a lot of things, but we're loved for our hockey team. It's sort of like we've been adopted by the rest of the country."

"I'm not surprised to see the Jets in the playoffs," says Mr. Hedberg from his home in Sweden. "Patience among the fans allowed this team to grow and mature from the inside. They're knowledgeable fans. And this is only the beginning of the rewards. My dream scenario would be a final between the Rangers and the Jets. I'm coming across the Atlantic, if needed by boat, if I can get hold of a game ticket.

"A parade down Broadway in New York might be with more people, but a Stanley Cup trip along Portage would be [with] almost as many - and crazier."

Associated Graphic

Ab McDonald, the Jets' first captain, says having the team back in his hometown has 'changed everything about this city.'


The plan: train and hire our neediest for six-figure jobs. The catch: how to find them
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

Earlier this spring, Ahmed Abbi, a 27-year-old Weston resident, was at a North York golf club, building lockers.

On its face, that modest job may not seem noteworthy. But for Mr. Abbi - who was born in Somalia, grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp and came here 14 years ago - the five-day gig marked two firsts: As a novice carpenter's apprentice, he was earning $18.50 an hour - "the most I ever got in Toronto," he says. Mr. Abbi was also the first Somali-Canadian to work in the Carpenters' Union Local 27.

His position, however, was also early evidence of a much more ambitious plan by Metrolinx and a network of labour and community groups to train people from high-needs neighbourhoods to work in construction, and then compel the contractors building mega-projects such as the Eglinton Crosstown to hire them.

That strategy, known as a community benefits agreement (CBA), is also generating interest at city call. On Monday, the executive committee will consider a motion by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam to have city officials look at using CBAs on all large infrastructure and development projects as a means of creating better economic opportunities for low-income residents, and especially young people, like Mr. Abbi. Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly endorsed CBAs last year.

In theory, the idea of leveraging huge works contracts to produce social benefits seems appealing.

But in practice, it's hardly a straightforward proposition.

The story of how Mr. Abbi connected with that carpentry training program traces to the aftermath of the gang-related Danzig Street shootings in 2012.

At that time, a network of tradeunion officials and community workers began to talk about getting unemployed youth into construction jobs on the city's transit projects. Such opportunities, they reckoned, could counter the lure of crime in priority neighbourhoods, such as Kingston Galloway.

"The objective is to make sure that the construction work force better reflects the diversity of the city of Toronto," says organizer Steve Shallhorn, who is also executive director of the Labour Education Centre.

After two years of negotiations, the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) persuaded Metrolinx to formally require firms bidding for the $4-billion Eglinton Crosstown project, as well as the Sheppard and Finch LRTs, to hire in the city's neediest areas. With a decade of work ahead, these transit mega-projects will yield hundreds of jobs.

The winning consortia will have to develop an "apprenticeship plan," including "a focused program for youth-atrisk, historically disadvantaged groups in local communities including low-income, racialized and immigrant populations, and military veterans," request-forproposal documents obtained by The Globe and Mail say. The builders must target their recruitment efforts in communities affected by the transit construction and provide annual updates.

The tricky part, as Mr. Shallhorn acknowledges, is identifying the young people who'd benefit, training them and then persuading construction unions to take on minorities, women and newcomers - in short, individuals such as Mr. Abbi, who traditionally have had little presence on work sites.

The social stakes are high: While CBAs have delivered thousands of stable construction jobs to minorities in U.S. cities, it remains to be seen whether the TCBN's efforts will yield similar results here.

Like thousands of Somali-Canadians, Mr. Abbi has struggled to gain a foothold in Toronto's labour force. Some turned to drug dealing and gangs, while most subsist on a diet of low-wage jobs.

Though Mr. Abbi got into an international-relations program at the University of Toronto, he couldn't stay in school because he had to support his family, both here and in Somalia. He cycled through menial jobs, then went to Fort McMurray, Alta. The money was good, but the work didn't last. He came back last year.

"You've got to make ends meet," muses Mr. Abbi, whose best job before the golf-club contract was a two-month, $14-anhour stint as a telemarketer.

At the same time, TCBN members were searching for community organizers in four priority neighbourhoods, including Weston-Mount Dennis. The search took them to Women for Change, a shoestring parenting organization on Jane Street.

TCBN hired Nasteeha Dirie, a volunteer for the group, and asked her to drum up prospective candidates. Ms. Dirie came from Somalia 23 years ago and studied accounting, but has spent her career in community work.

After asking women who drop by her agency if their husbands or sons needed work, she collected lots of names, among them Mr. Abbi's.

Last fall, TCBN invited them to information sessions. Ms. Dirie's candidates were screened for education and credentials. They met with trade union reps, who explained how journeymen could earn $80,000 to $100,000 a year - many times more than someone working for $18.50 an hour. Drawing on provincial funding, TCBN arranged upgrading courses, training programs and apprenticeships.

Of the hundred who turned up to one session, almost none had registered with provincial agencies, meaning they didn't even appear in local unemployment stats. They were, says Mr. Shallhorn, exactly the population TCBN wanted to reach: ablebodied individuals trapped in a cycle of marginal, temporary jobs.

Mr. Abbi attended another such session at a restaurant on Dixon Road. There, he met Chris Campbell, a business agent for Carpenters' who was helping TCBN.

Impressed with Mr. Abbi, Mr. Campbell urged him to enroll in courses offered through the union's Vaughan training centre and forge connections with other carpenters and contractors who can provide leads.

Mr. Campbell also gave Mr. Abbi advice. He'd been the only BlackCanadian in his training class and faced racist taunting. (Mr. Abbi has faced harsh remarks about Somali pirates or Islamic extremism.) But, as he told Mr. Abbi, he also had mentors. Mr. Campbell is paying it forward. "Guys opened doors for me."

Mr. Abbi has followed Mr. Campbell's counsel: "You've got to network, and smile for everybody. You've got to push it better than anyone else because you already stand out."

But TCBN organizers know that Mr. Abbi and others like him, have to make ends meet while completing their training so they can have a shot at those Crosstown jobs. Since the golf club gig ended, Mr. Abbi has taken on two other short-term carpentry/construction gigs, including one he got through connections he'd made while on the job.

Ms. Dirie says the city and the province should provide support by offering recruits from low-income areas Metropasses or shortterm assistance during their training. "The one thing we learned is that these people are hungry for work."

In Toronto, the only major project to date that involved a CBA was the Regent Park redevelopment. Toronto Community Housing Corp. made local hiring a requirement, resulting in 600 jobs for area residents. Ms. WongTam says the tactic has huge potential and cites multibilliondollar projects in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco that involved CBAs and generated thousands of jobs for residents of economically deprived communities.

Mr. Abbi, who stays in touch with Mr. Campbell, is "really appreciative" as he continues his apprenticeships and waits for the real Metrolinx construction jobs to start rolling out. "I'm lucky because I found this guy," he says of Mr. Campbell. "Basically, I'm just hoping for the best. I have my fingers crossed that it works out."

Associated Graphic

Ahmed Abbi, the first Somali-Canadian to work in the Carpenters' Union Local 27, is seen here at its training centre in Vaughan.


Toronto's new favourite underdog
Drafted in the 32nd round and never considered a top prospect, Kevin Pillar's defensive gems have made him the talk of baseball
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- On the day that Kevin Pillar expected to be drafted into major-league baseball, he gathered with a couple of friends in Los Angeles and headed off to a restaurant to wait for his name to be called.

They ordered some food and a couple of drinks and focused on the live draft coverage on television. The hours passed and Pillar's name never came up. He went home disappointed.

"I thought my college career was worthy of being selected," Pillar said. "And then it just got to a point where I said I didn't care what round, I just want to get picked, I just wanted an opportunity to play."

Pillar said he had almost given up hope that any team would show an interest.

The 2011 draft was now in its third and final day and Pillar was back at home, cooking breakfast.

He was only half-heartedly monitoring the event on his computer when he learned the Toronto Blue Jays had selected him - in the 32nd round.

Elation soon gave way to a feeling of unease as he filtered this development.

"In the back of my mind I was like - Toronto? Really?" Pillar said. "It can't be any further away from home. I mean, I just wanted to play.

"But when I thought about it, I was like, Toronto, of all teams, the only team in Canada, the team that is geographically the furthest away from my house."

For Kevin Pillar, nothing has come easy. He was always perceived as the long shot, the low draft pick that nobody ever expected to be able to materialize into much.

Now that an injury has afforded him the opportunity to establish himself as an everyday big-league player, the 26-year-old has seized the moment and is literally running - not to mention jumping - with it.

Installed as Toronto's everyday left fielder after Michael Saunders suffered a knee injury in spring training, Pillar has emerged as the Blue Jays' most impressive performer as the 2015 season courses through its second week.

Pillar is hitting a solid .282 with one home run through Toronto's first 10 games.

Combine that with several extraordinary defensive plays that remain on heavy replay on TV throughout Canada and the United States and Pillar is suddenly becoming a recognized name throughout baseball.

Number one in the highlight reel is an incredible, wall-climbing catch at Rogers Centre on Wednesday to snatch back a potential home run by Tim Beckham of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sunday in Baltimore, Pillar came up with a dazzling, diving catch in foul territory for an out, just barely managing to keep his glove on in the process as he slid uncomfortably along the ground, to help preserve a 10-7 win.

Pillar's sparkling play, along with that of rookie second baseman Devon Travis, has been the surprise of the early season for the Blue Jays.

"They've both been tremendous," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Of the 1,530 players who were selected in the 50 rounds of the draft in 2011, Pillar got picked at No. 979. He made his majorleague debut in 2013 and is the lowest selection of his draft class to get that far.

Pillar was 22 at the time of his draft, considered a bit old to be a bona-fide major-league prospect and a long shot at best to make the bigs. He said he used that as motivation to rise fast through the minors.

"It is a crap shoot when you're starting out, a lot of things have to go your way," Pillar said. "Not only do you have to perform, you have to have opportunity."

Growing up in the residential L.A. neighbourhood of West Hills in the western San Fernando Valley region, Pillar tried his hand at everything he could, from riding dirt bikes to golf, tennis and beach volleyball.

In high school he played baseball along with soccer and football, where he played several positions, including slotback and outside linebacker, even though at 6-foot and not yet 200 pounds he was not physically imposing.

"I was undersized for my position but I knew how to hit," Pillar said. "It was either get hit or go hit someone, and that was the mentality I took when I played football. It's still kind of the way I play the game of baseball now."

Pillar attended California State University, Dominguez Hills, and in 2010 first put himself on the baseball map when he set an NCAA Division II record when he engineered a 54-game hitting streak, which still stands.

After he was drafted the Jays assigned Pillar to play in Bluefield, W.Va., in the rookie-class Appalachian League. Toronto provided its young outfielder with a $1,000 (U.S.) signing bonus.

After taxes, Pillar said he was left with roughly $500, which was not enough to purchase the new iPhone he had his eye on. "My mom gave me a little extra money to be able to buy it," he said.

Pillar did not help his cause last year after getting called up to Toronto from the team's Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo when he threw a tantrum during a game on June 24 at Rogers Centre against the New York Yankees.

Pillar was in the starting lineup and was 0-3 in a 6-6 game and slated to bat in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out.

He was already in the on-deck circle when Gibbons decided to send in Anthony Gose to pinch hit.

Pillar did not handle the moment well, tossing his bat in anger as he stalked back to the dugout. After the game, Pillar was optioned back to Triple A, a demotion from which he thought he might never recover.

"I thought I'd burned a serious bridge here with Toronto," Pillar said, admitting he was wrong to react as he did.

More than anything he was scared that his major-league career had suddenly dried up, just two years in.

"It was terrifying," he said. "But as a man you've got to look at yourself, understand that you made a mistake and you've got to make changes. And I just went about my work. I wasn't concerned about if or when I was going to get called back up. I just wanted to put myself in the best situation if, for some reason, they came calling, that I would be ready this time."

Pillar was back up two months later, ready to show the Blue Jays he was a changed, more wellrounded individual.

A new batting approach, which included a bit of a front left-leg kick that teammate Jose Bautista has popularized, helped Pillar hit a solid .289 over the final month of the season, setting the stage for his breakthrough in 2015.

But he is insistent he is not going to let a couple of crazy catches go to his head.

"It's been fun, to say the least," he said. "It's been crazy, it's been hectic. I'm just trying not to get caught up in one play or one week.

"There's been some pretty awesome plays, memorable stuff that I won't forget. But I've got to keep reminding myself that it's still early."

Associated Graphic

Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar got the opportunity to start the season in left field because of an injury to Michael Saunders.


And the 2015 Stanley Cup winner will be ... almost anyone
Never in the NHL's era of 16-team playoff tournaments has there been anything close to this season's parity
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S4


Best of luck to the odds-makers tasked with making sense of the NHL playoffs this year.

There truly is no favourite for the Stanley Cup in 2015, no matter how you look at it.

In what became the year of the tank at the bottom end of the standings, at the top, an incredible 12 teams put up 100 points or more - an NHL record. The separation between the top team going into the postseason - the New York Rangers ("113 points) - and the bottom - the Calgary Flames ("97) - is also the smallest it has been since the NHL first put 16 teams into the playoffs 35 years ago.

If you subtract the extra point for winning in a shootout, the parity level is even greater: the bottom 13 playoff teams are separated by only nine points.

Over an 82-game season, in a league filled with one-goal games, that's almost nothing.

You can easily make the case this year that 11 or 12 teams are contenders for the Cup, which means an unexpected run from an unheralded team such as Minnesota - one of the NHL's hottest teams in the second half - Winnipeg or Tampa Bay could put it in the final.

Beyond the parity, what makes this season so challenging to forecast is the divisional structure of the playoffs. The Central Division is by far the NHL's toughest, with five of the NHL's top 10 teams by my calculations, but two are guaranteed to be eliminated in Round 1.

A team such as Anaheim or Vancouver, meanwhile, is not as formidable as Chicago or St.

Louis, for example, but their road to the third round is dramatically easier in the West and that greatly increases the probability they can go the distance.

This is Gary Bettman's grand crap shoot - and it should make for terrific hockey given how thin the margins truly are.


Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators

Likely the most fascinating series in the first round solely because of the goaltending matchup. The Habs have the likely Hart Trophy winner in Carey Price up against Ottawa's Andrew Hammond, an undrafted 27-year-old minorleague veteran who has basically been unbeatable during the Sens' ridiculous late-season run.

How Hammond holds up is likely the key to this series, although Ottawa does have a decent fallback option in Craig Anderson.

But the Senators have been nearly unbeatable now for two months, are well-coached and definitely have the edge in terms of controlling play.

Price will have to be good - but that hasn't been an issue all year.

Prediction: Canadiens in seven.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is in a tough spot in this series, up against the franchise he captained for so many years.

Little separates the Lightning and Wings. Both are well-coached teams. Both have questions in goal. Both have superstar players capable of making a difference in a series like this.

Tampa's biggest edge is the depth of its offence, but it's one built on a lot of young players and this is a group that faltered in the playoffs a year ago. Whether Tampa is ready to take the next step could well be the difference.

Prediction: Lightning in six.

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Few will take the Penguins in this series and that's with good reason. They are an abysmal 4-9-2 in their past 15 games coming into the postseason and there is again a lot of talk about internal strife in the dressing room.

They also don't have Kris Letang, who is out with a concussion after an outstanding season on the blueline. That hurts, and it may well prevent Pittsburgh from putting up much of a fight, especially if Christian Ehrhoff remains out.

But the Rangers aren't quite the juggernaut their 113 points would lead you to believe, and these teams played essentially to a draw last season in the second round.

This one will be closer than many think.

Prediction: Penguins in seven.

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders

After a terrific, breakthrough season, the Islanders are another team that is reeling. They closed the year winning only six of their final 19 games - one of the biggest slumps for any playoff-bound team - and their depth beyond John Tavares has been tested.

Alex Ovechkin, meanwhile, has been terrific for Washington and could really take advantage of the mismatch in goal.

Prediction: Capitals in six.


St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild

One of the two Central Division grudge matches that will make for compelling viewing.

The Blues enter this series as probably the closest thing there is to a Cup favourite this year, but they have a big-time question mark in goal between Brian Elliott and youngster Jake Allen, given their recent play.

And the Wild have been riding the hot hand of Devan Dubnyk, who is likely to get a Vézina Tro.phy nomination for his remarkable second half.

Both of these teams are deep up front and can beat you several ways. That goaltending matchup could well end up being the final story.

Prediction: Blues in seven.

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

The Predators spent a good portion of the season in the hunt for the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top regular-season team, but they plummeted over the final six weeks by posting a 6-12-3 record.

The Preds' biggest issue is they don't have a top-line centre and that makes Chicago a bad matchup, given that Jonathan Toews is known for rising to the occasion in the postseason. ("Even if Patrick Kane's health status is up in the air to start the series.)

The fact Roman Josi has been Nashville's leading scorer since the all-star break speaks to its lack of offence of late, too.

Prediction: Blackhawks in six.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Winnipeg Jets

This is another series where there's no real underdog, despite what the standings appear to be telling us, especially if you consider how up and down Anaheim's season was.

Winnipeg has emerged as a very difficult team to handle in the season's second half, especially with netminder Ondrej Pavelec playing well. If that continues, the Jets will be one of the tougher outs in the postseason given their considerable strengths.

And it's not as if the Ducks don't have questions of their own in goal.

Prediction: Jets in seven.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames

Two old rivals, together again.

And not a whole lot separating them this time, either.

Inconsistent through much of the year, the Canucks have played some of their best hockey down the stretch, getting great goaltending from Eddie Lack and superlative performances from the Sedin twins up front. Both teams rely heavily on their top lines to drive the bus, and that makes for a compelling showdown between the aging twins and Calgary's flashy young guns - Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

If Calgary had captain Mark Giordano, this would be a much tougher call. As it is, Vancouver enters as the favourites.

Prediction: Canucks in six.

Follow me on Twitter: @mirtle

Associated Graphic

The Islanders' John Tavares takes the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 7. The Islanders have had a terrific season, but they're now reeling, and their depth beyond Tavares has been tested.


On sober second thought, I will not take candy from a baby
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

One would have to have a heart of stone not to feel some sympathy for Mike Duffy, whose personal diaries have been entered into evidence at his trial. Mr. Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 counts of fraud, bribery and breach of trust related to expenses he claimed, contracts he signed, and money he received from the Prime Minister's former chief of staff while a senator.

All of this has cast a bright light on the onetime media star, who refers to himself in the third person as "MD" in his diaries - a journaling effort he seems to have undertaken with a devotion that would have made Anaïs Nin blush.

Yet there they are, for all to see.

And so, in solidarity with the discomfiture this may be causing Mr Duffy - who we've leaned begins his days with some version of a chipper "6 a.m. to 6:05 a.m., MD up & at 'em" - I've decided to publish my own diaries from the date of the onset of the trial.

Duffy Trial Day 1

8 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.TS up & at 'em.

9 a.m. to 9:25 a.m.TS reads the paper, learns a few things about the Duffy trial. Of course Ezra Levant was getting money from Mike Duffy - she feels certain this has something to do with the fact that it's National Poetry Month.

9:25 a.m.TS begins work - as TS has begun work at every job TS has ever had - that is, with one clear objective: Whatever else TS may actually accomplish today, TS will try not to do anything that might cause a massive public outcry leading to demands that the institution for which she has been labouring be dismantled.

9:05 a.m. to 7:08 p.m.Succeeds at that. Was not that hard, really.

Duffy Trial Day 2

9 a.m. to 9:25 a.m. TS up & at 'em.

1 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.Walked to neighbourhood deli to purchase loaf of bread.

1:25 p.m. to 1:25:12 p.m.Ate piece of cheese from cheese-sample tray at deli. Just one piece of cheese. Did not eat entire plate of cheese because, while doing so would technically not be a crime, TS is aware that if even a few people took to consuming all the cheese on a cheese-sample tray, the worthy institution of the cheese-sample tray would not be long for this world.

Duffy Trial Day 3

9 a.m. to 10 a.m.TS up & at 'em! 10:25 a.m.TS to Tim Hortons for apple fritter. (Used cash.)

10:35 a.m.TS leaves Timmy's confident that her engagement with that establishment has not left thousands of people cynical about a Canadian institution that, while not beyond reproach, has traditionally had its uses.

10:50 a.m.TS walks dog in park.

Manages to get dog home - using carefully honed skill of knowing where she lives.

11:30 a.m. to 11:55 p.m.TS despondently wonders if this honed skill disqualifies TS from sitting in the Senate. Also, TS does her own makeup. Damn.

11:55 p.m.TS goes to bed, in TS's house - the building in which she primarily resides and has for many years. Nestling into her pillow, TS reflects that she would not feel comfortable suddenly claiming a per diem for every diem she reposed on that pillow.

Duffy Trial Day 4

9:45 a.m.TS up & at 'em! 9:45 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.TS wonders whether her rumination from last night was uncharitable. After all, Mr. Duffy, as his lawyer would have us believe, was only "a rookie senator with no parliamentary background."

Old Duff, senatorial ingenue, was but a humble journalist, fresh off the turnip truck, who'd only been covering Parliament in Ottawa, from his home in Ottawa, for a scant few decades - a fact that may have escaped the Prime Minister who appointed Mr. Duffy as Senator from PEI.

10:05 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.TS attempts to believe that Mr Duffy is a ninja and the PM never saw him around Ottawa.

10:25 a.m. to eternityTS believes PM thinks PEI stands for Person Ethically Indifferent, and thus found him ideally suited for a place in the Senate. "Oh, yes, we need a PEI senator," Mr Harper said. "By the way, what does Saskatchewan stand for?"

Duffy Trial Day 5

9:55 a.m.TS up & at 'em! 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.TS listens to CBC Radio.

10:30 a.m.TS turns off CBC Radio, confident that her contact with that Canadian institution has left its reputation untarnished.

4:07 p.m.TS hires window washer - to wash windows. Keeping it simple. No picture framers will be subcontracted.

9:07 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.TS indulges in less-than-sober first thoughts about how her country ended up with what appears to be appointed royalty - a fairly miscellaneous collection of ribbon cutters and speech givers whose eccentricities, fascinations and foibles we're somehow obliged to indulge.

11:35 p.m. to hangover breakfastTS has increasingly sober second thought: Congratulations, senators, you've managed to make yourself appear less useful and more anachronistic than a monarchy in the 21st century.

Duffy Trial Day 6

11 a.m.TS up & at 'em! 1:20 p.m.TS considers going through 12-items-or-less checkout line at grocery store with 14 items because everyone does it and the rules are vague.

1:20:03 p.m. TS engages in moment of sober second thought, and does not proceed with her disreputable plan because, in doing so, she would would risk undermining the integrity of the 12-items-or-less line to the detriment of all.

3:30 p.m.TS watches friend's 22month-old twins for her.

4:37 p.m. to 4:47 p.m.TS seriously considers taking candy from a baby because, again, the rules are ill-defined. (Baby never told me not to.)

4:47 p.m.TS engages in moment of sober second thought and decides against it because she wants to be able to sleep at night.

(Notes Mr. Duffy's diaries report difficulty in the sleeping-at-night area.)

Duffy Trial Day 7

9:30 a.m. to 11:47 a.m.TS up and at 'em! 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.Haircut.

(It's okay, taxpayers of Canada, I got this one.)

Duffy Trial Day 8

10:33 a.m. to 11:47 a.m.TS up & at 'em! 12:30 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.TS leafs through years of diary entries feeling a certain kinship with Conservative Party show pony cum cash cow, Mike Duffy. After all, both of them appear to have spent about the same amount of time at committee hearings, studying complex legislation, or otherwise engaged in Senate business. High-five, Mr. Duffy, the man Stephen Harper called "Duff" and "a great journalist and a great senator" in a personal note, adding, "Thanks for being one of my best, hardestworking appointments ever!"

So I end this as I began it - on the subject of embarrassing things now entered into evidence.

Hillary Clinton finally makes it official This time around, a strategy that avoids a sense of entitlement
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Hillary Clinton starts her second run for the presidency of the United States with the kind of profile any candidate would kill for.

She has been a well-known if often polarizing figure since her husband Bill Clinton first ran for president in 1992. She was an active first lady for eight years, a heavyweight New York senator for another eight and a globetrotting secretary of state for four.

After a quarter century on the national stage, she has a familiar face and a famous name. That is a huge advantage.

It is also a big problem. How do you make a shopworn commodity like Ms. Clinton shine in the bright plate-glass window of a second presidential campaign?

How do you give her bid a sense of inevitability without conveying a sense of entitlement?

These are the challenges her campaign faced as it formally launched her long-expected run to become 45th president and the first woman to sit in the Oval Office.

In her kick-off video released on Sunday, she said she was "hitting the road to earn your vote." In a country where "the deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top," she went on, "everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion."

The calculated message was that, despite her overwhelming advantage in her party's race, she was not taking voters for granted; that, despite her wealth and fame, she cares about the struggles of ordinary people; that this campaign is about voters, not the celebrity candidate.

Among those featured in the video were two gay couples and an interracial couple, a middle-aged woman bracing for retirement, a mother moving house to get her kindergartenaged daughter into a better school and a pair of Hispanic brothers starting their own business. Ms. Clinton herself appears only toward the end of the twominute production, telling viewers that "it's your time."

She begins her run for the White House in what would appear to be a dominant position. She has the Democratic Party establishment in her corner. She has no serious rival for the party's presidential nomination. The Los Angeles Times calls her "the most commanding front-runner in generations."

And yet her backers can't forget that she was an overwhelming favourite when she began running for the nomination last time. It all started falling apart here in Iowa, where the key early party votes can make or break a candidate. In January, 2008, she came in a surprising third behind Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

To prevent a similar crumble this time, she is trying hard to escape what The New Yorker magazine called "the inevitability trap" - the impression that she intends to swan into the White House as of right.

Democrats says her tactics will be different this time around.

Her big-spending, heavily staffed 2008 primary campaign featured an aircraft nicknamed the Hill-aCopter that whisked her around to rallies. When she comes to Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday for her first foray as official candidate, she is to focus on the smaller gatherings that are feature of state politics.

"It will be a more intimate campaign. More dialogue, more grassroots," says State Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines.

Those who have watched her career say that, while Ms. Clinton can be a stilted speaker in front of large gatherings, she is warm and funny in person - qualities her handlers hope to showcase.

"She needs to eliminate the large organizational trappings and really play the Iowa game, and that's retail politics and getting out to meet people one on one - and she does a good job with that," says Dianne Bystrom, who teaches on women and politics at Iowa State University.

With her stints as senator and chief diplomat under her belt, Ms. Clinton no longer has to prove she is more than just the unusually accomplished wife of a former president, Prof. Bystrom says. That leaves her free to stress a more personal side.

Expect her to talk about her new role as a grandmother to Charlotte, born to her daughter Chelsea last September.

Ms. Clinton enthuses about that experience in a new epilogue to Hard Choices, her most recent book, and draws a lesson about inequality. "You shouldn't have to be the granddaughter of a president or a secretary of state to receive excellent health care, education, enrichment," she writes.

Expect her to talk about her less-than-exalted origins, too. On her campaign website, she stresses that she is the daughter of a father who ran a small drapery business and a mother who was abandoned by her parents as a young child. She grew up in a middle-class household in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge before going to Yale Law School, marrying Bill Clinton and moving into the Arkansas governor's mansion.

It is all part of a deliberate attempt to learn from the disappointment of 2008 and reintroduce Ms. Clinton to the public - the Hillary that Americans don't know.

Will it work?

Though she has a huge early lead and plans for a campaign war chest that reports say could reach more than $2-billion ("U.S.), Ms. Clinton is hardly a shoo-in. Only once since the Second World War has a party occupied the White House for three straight terms, as the Democrats would if Ms. Clinton followed Mr. Obama.

The crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls is already casting her as a smug Washington insider who would only continue Mr. Obama's "failed" policies on health care and foreign affairs.

Even the Democratic nomination is not a sure thing. Her potential competition is underwhelming. So far it consists of lesser figures such as former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, former senator Jim Webb of Virginia and independent Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who might compete as a Democrat.

But voters in primaries tend to like a race and be on the lookout for fresh faces. Ms. Clinton is 67 and would be 69 when she took office, the second-oldest president to move into the White House ("Ronald Reagan was older, but only by eight months).

Critics complain that in spite of all her years in Washington, Ms. Clinton is hard to know.

"What does Hillary stand for?" demands The Economist magazine on the cover of its latest issue, calling her beliefs "strangely hard to pin down."

Even Democrats wonder what she is really about. "It's not enough to be a well-known candidate. We have to know what she is going to fight for," says Joe Henry, 58, a left-leaning party activist who heads a local Latino organization.

Another Democratic stalwart, government worker Rose Mary Pratt, 67, says that, despite all Ms. Clinton's accomplishments, she has yet to find a way to connect with voters.

Over coffee at a brunch spot in the Des Moines neighbourhood of Beaverdale, Ms. Pratt remembers a moonlit night when an outside-chance candidate called Barack Obama spoke at an Iowa rally about his hopes for the country. "I cried that night," she says.

As for Ms. Clinton, Ms. Pratt says: "Yes, I've applauded Hillary. But I don't know if she's ever moved me to tears."

Associated Graphic

Hillary Clinton announces she will run for the U.S. presidency in a video released on Sunday.

Wiggins ready for the next level
In his rookie year the Canadian guard showed that he could play with the best in the league
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S2

VANCOUVER -- Last September, readying for his NBA rookie season, Andrew Wiggins worked 21/2 weeks with Justin Zormelo, a player-development guru who helped elevate Kevin Durant to the league's MVP trophy.

This was training camp before training camp, the celebrated No. 1 draft pick with boundless athletic ability in daily basketball seminars at the Minnesota Timberwolves' practice gym.

Numbers underpinned a bulk of the instruction, Zormelo's analysis. The smartest thing to do, at various spots on the court, considering an array of factors. Wiggins soaked it in. But like coaches before Zormelo, there was one thing the teacher wanted most out of his star pupil.

"Honestly, I wanted him to be a guy that attacked," Zormelo said.

Wiggins has delivered. As his debut professional season concluded Wednesday night, he is the favourite for NBA rookie of the year, which would be a first for a Canadian. He played on the worst team in the league, one decimated by injuries that lost its last 12 in a row. He started every game and was on the floor for the second-most minutes of any player in the league. His scoring ranks among the most prolific teenage players ever, ahead of Kobe Bryant and behind Kevin Durant.

And he attacked. The fire inside Wiggins had long been questioned. A widely heralded demarcation point came in late March, when the Timberwolves played host to the Utah Jazz.

A couple minutes into the game, Wiggins blew by his man and darted to the hoop. Rudy Gobert, a 7-foot-1 Frenchman who is the best defender of the rim in the league, stepped over to intervene but it was too late, Wiggins easily dunked. In the second quarter, Wiggins again attacked, a direct confrontation, and this time it was a rattling body-to-body collision.

Wiggins finished and posterized Gobert. The dunked basketball bounced off Gobert's head and Wiggins unleashed an uncharacteristic celebration, a bellow and a flex of the arms. The basketball Internet ignited, Vines proliferated.

The most revealing attack was the third foray. Wiggins drove in for yet another dunk - but this time Gobert prevailed, stuffing Wiggins and sending him tumbling to the floor. Gobert, on the way back up the court, paused briefly to bellow and flex for Wiggins.

"I love that he tried it a third time," said David Thorpe, who runs the Pro Training Center, popular with NBA players, at the IMG Academy in Florida.

The rise of Wiggins's game, Thorpe said, "begins and ends with assertiveness. This is the first year where being a prospect is no longer relevant."

Thorpe invoked the movie The Matrix. Knowing the path and walking the path. "There were doubts - and he's answered." The night Wiggins was drafted No. 1 last June by the Cleveland Cavaliers, before he was jettisoned to Minnesota in the deal for Kevin Love, Wiggins declared three goals: rookie of the year and, thereafter, NBA all-star and all-defensive team. "It's a big goal of mine," said Wiggins of the rookie prize on Wednesday night. "Hopefully, it comes true.

It'll be great for me, the Timberwolves and for Canada."

Competition for the rookie-ofthe-year prize emerged in recent months - Nikola Mirotic in Chicago and Nerlens Noel in Philadelphia - but Wiggins has long been the favourite and is the likely winner. Still, like Hollywood producers ahead of the Oscars, there is lobbying. Timberwolves staff recently sent voters, 125 of so journalists, a reminder: socks emblazoned with the image of Wiggins dunking - knock your socks off.

"I don't know who else, the way he's played," Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey said at the start of April. "His talent, his potential, is unbelievable."

Zormelo has watched the rapid evolution of a young man who turned 20 in February. In the season's first month, when Wiggins wasn't a prime part of Minnesota's offence, some of his flashes came on defence. Against Houston in November, Wiggins guarded James Harden. He was often matched against an opponent's best. Harden, early on, drove by Wiggins but Wiggins turned, stepped and leapt, blocking Harden's layup from behind off the backboard glass.

A third meeting with Harden - on Wiggins's 20th birthday in February - was a showcase. Wiggins scored 30 to Harden's 31 and one memorable sequence came in the fourth quarter, Harden attempting several feints to drive past Wiggins but, unable to, instead hoisted a long jumper, which Wiggins was able to get his fingers on and stymie. Back down the court, Wiggins slipped behind Harden, received a pass and put home a dunk.

Wiggins continually played his best against the best. His two games against Cleveland were among his top outings, scoring 27 and 33 points, head-to-head with LeBron James. Minnesota lost both and Wiggins was, no doubt, the rookie, but held his own. "He's a great talent, a great talent," James said in January.

The evolution of Wiggins, the emergence of his confidence to attack, is clear in the numbers.

In the season's first two months, Wiggins floated far from the hoop. Two out of five shots were taken 15 feet or farther from the basket. He attacked only onethird of the time. Since New Year's Day, the situation is the exact reverse. Wiggins's instinct is to go for the rim.

On the court in September in Minneapolis, before training camp, Zormelo would say: "You've got to know how good you are. You can do this and this and this."

"He is," said Zormelo from his base in Miami in an interview this month, "starting to realize it. He is born NBA ready. He's built for this. And he's started to learn he's built for this."

From the view of Mitchell Wiggins, Andrew's father, who played in the NBA and was a fiery defender, it is the rookie's two-way game that separates him from his young peers.

"Andrew's a different cat," said Mitchell by phone from Minneapolis.

"He can be as good as anybody who's played the game. He's proved he can be one of those guys people talk about a lot of years from now."

George Raveling, Nike's director of international basketball, has an intriguing, and revealing, viewpoint. Raveling first saw Wiggins play when he was in Grade 10 and led the senior team at Vaughan Secondary to an Ontario high school title. A year ago, critics of Wiggins would often invoke his passport. Wiggins, now, transcends nationality.

"Most Americans don't really see him as a Canadian," Raveling said. "They just see him as a great basketball player. That's a huge hurdle to overcome."

The next hurdle, equally huge, will be turning around the woeful Timberwolves. The goal next year is the playoffs, Wiggins has said. "We're going to be much, much better," Wiggins said on Wednesday night.

Earlier this month, during the long string of losing to finish the season, he said: "We'll never forget this year. It'll be motivation for us. Revenge: try and kill the teams that beat us this year."

Associated Graphic

The play of Andrew Wiggins against the best in the league, including James Harden of the Houston Rockets, has earned him praise from around the league.


Spill response answers raise questions
Sailors who reported slick and officials in B.C. and Vancouver give accounts that differ in big ways from Ottawa, Coast Guard versions
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A4

VICTORIA -- The sloop Odin set out from False Creek late on the sunny afternoon of April 8 for a pleasure sail, with the two-man crew, Rob O'Dea and Arnt Arntzen, using a steady northwest wind to tack their way around the transport freighters that use English Bay as a parking lot.

Around 4:45 p.m., the pair aboard Mr. Arntzen's 21-foot sailboat spotted a large slick on the water, accompanied by the smell of fresh asphalt. It took them just 15 minutes of sailing to track the source to the bulk grain carrier MV Marathassa, which was at anchor in the bay after putting in to the Port of Vancouver to begin loading its cargo.

By then, the slick was half a kilometre long and 250 metres wide, by Mr. O'Dea's estimation.

Beneath the blue sheen, he could see the water was thick with globules of oil. Mr. O'Dea called 911 at 5:05 p.m. from his cellphone, and a Canadian Coast Guard official called him back three minutes later to assure him the agency was already aware of the spill and had dispatched a pollution response team.

That would have been reassuring, except there was no Coast Guard or any other emergency response vessel in sight. In fact, the clean-up crew would not be authorized to respond until three hours later.

His was not the first call: The initial report came in from another sailor at 4:58 p.m., over a marine radio, saying the oil was leaking from the starboard stern of the Marathassa.

The two sailors aboard Odin spent the next three hours tacking back and forth near the Marathassa, waiting for the pollution control crews to arrive. They watched as a Port Metro Vancouver harbour patrol boat, which set out at 5:15 to investigate multiple reports, arrived at the ship 15 to 20 minutes later, looking for the source of the thick, sticky globs of highly toxic Bunker C oil. But the two-man vessel was designed for surveillance and was not equipped to tackle any clean-up.

Around 6 p.m., Port Metro asked commercial air traffic to supply photographs to help assess the scope of the spill, and told the Canadian Coast Guard that the harbour authority needed help to determine the size and nature of the spill. According to the Coast Guard, the harbour master from Port Metro reported "a minimum sheen which was unrecoverable" at 7:15 p.m.

With the light fading, Mr. Arntzen and Mr. O'Dea sailed for home just before 8 p.m. without a Coast Guard or pollution response vessel on the scene.

"All we did, we stumbled on a problem and we called the authorities and naively expected that when we were told they were on their way with an oil spill response, that we could rely on that," Mr. O'Dea later said in an interview. "I thought we should stay out of the way. ... What I've learned from this is, we should have screamed like hell."

In the wake of the Marathassa spill, the federal government described a "world class" response in the placid and accessible waters of English Bay. The Coast Guard brass called it "an amazing success in oil pollution clean-up." But others - notably the province and the City of Vancouver - have decried the response as slow, confused and poorly managed by the lead agency, the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is now working on a report on its response and declined to answer many questions about just who did what, and when. The details that have emerged so far show valuable time - particularly in daylight - was lost in the early stages of the spill.

Western Canada Marine Response Corp., the official clean-up crew, was formally called to respond to "a spill of unknown origin" in English Bay at 8:06 p.m.

The agency said it took just 40 minutes from that time to muster its crews and launch at least two of its ships. They found oil on the water at 9:25 on Wednesday night - around the same time Port Metro's harbour master concluded it was in fact a large spill - and began cleanup operations.

Ten minutes after calling in the response corporation, the Coast Guard "decided to investigate the spill directly" according to details later posted on the agency's Twitter account. (That social media communications channel didn't fire up about the spill until 1 p.m. on Thursday, and the agency's posts regarding the Marathassa spill were quickly branded with the slogan "We're on it.") The Coast Guard has not said when its crews arrived on the scene. Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said it informed the Vancouver Police Department of the spill. Officials from City of Vancouver say that call was simply an inquiry, and no major alarm was raised. The report of an oil spill to the city was not made until 5:06 a.m. It activated an emergency operations centre in less than an hour: At 5:50 a.m.

Western Canada Marine Response crews began to set out booms to skim the oil on the water soon after their arrival at 9:25 p.m. Although they have infrared cameras designed to detect oil in the dark, they did not identify the Marathassa as the source until 4 a.m. and began to set out a containment boom around the ship at 4:30 a.m. It took an hour to complete the task.

A flyover by a Transport Canada aircraft - a Twin Otter equipped for measuring oil spills - reported at 10:20 a.m. that an estimated 2,705 litres of bunker fuel had been spilled. Beaches around English Bay, the North Shore, Stanley Park and up into Burrard Inlet as far as New Brighton Park had been fouled.

The unified emergency operations centre was set up at Port Metro's office at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. The agencies in attendance included Western Canada Marine Response Corp., Polaris Applied Sciences, Port Metro Vancouver, B.C. Ministry of Environment, City of Vancouver, North Shore Emergency Management and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

However, the lead agency, the Coast Guard, sent only junior officials who were present intermittently, according to B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak.

Coast Guard officials maintain they were in charge throughout, but there were signs of frustration with them.

Two B.C. deputy ministers in Victoria, briefed by their staff in the operations centre, decided around 10 p.m. on Thursday that they were prepared to circumvent the Coast Guard's chain of command and direct their clean-up crews. Although that threat was not followed through on, it did appear to prompt a shift.

The Coast Guard Pacific Twitter account indicates their team did show up early on Friday. "#CCG Incident Command Post opened at 6am. We're on it #Marathassaspill."

Associated Graphic

Rob O'Dea, left, and Arnt Arntzen, aboard Arntzen's 21-foot sloop Odin on Wednesday, were among those to discover the heavy bunker oil leaking from the Marathassa last week.



Clinton aims to show Iowa the 'real Hillary'
The state often makes or breaks presidential candidates in party nomination season, and hopefuls are expected to meet with voters
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A3

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Hillary Clinton spent much of her first week on the campaign trail trying to prove that, despite all her years as a Washington insider, she is still just folks.

Instead of kicking off her second run for the presidency with a splashy campaign rally or an airport-hopping dash around the country, she climbed into a big, black GMC van and, tweeting "Road trip!," headed out from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., to the heartland state of Iowa. Along the way she stopped to have her picture taken with an everyday family at a gas station and grab a chicken burrito bowl at a fast-food restaurant.

As she travelled, allies lined up to inform Americans what a lovely person she is. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told CNN that his friend is simply "a load of fun to be with." If the two are on vacation, talking policy, she might even have a cocktail or two. "She's got a great belly laugh."

Why it should matter that Ms. Clinton is a load of fun is a bit of a mystery. She is an accomplished politician who has served her country as a powerful U.S. senator and represented it abroad as secretary of state.

Shouldn't it be her character and her ideas, not whether she is likable or not, that matter?

History is full of successful leaders who were never just folks. Try to imagine Pierre Trudeau travelling in a van called Scooby or getting chummy with voters in a gas station parking lot. But modern U.S. politics put a premium on demonstrating qualities such as openness, authenticity and genuineness, a phenomenon that would have bewildered past presidents such as that sphinx Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who kept himself to himself.

In the United States more than in most countries, the public expects politicians to reveal themselves as people. That is especially true in Iowa, the state that often makes or breaks presidential candidates in the party nomination season and that prizes direct contact with voters.

Here, candidates for the highest office in the land are expected to be not just presidential but personable. The more recent buzzword is relatable: someone voters can relate to.

"We like to see the candidates up front so we can take the measure of them person to person," said Des Moines pollster Ann Selzer. "If you aren't genuine, that's not going to work here."

That helps explain why Clinton backers have been trying so hard to introduce voters to what they say is the "real Hillary" - not the celebrity political star who hobnobs with the rich and famous, but the delighted new grandmother with the great belly laugh. Her first couple of days in the state featured small, lowkey, get-to-know-you meetings with voters.

As the overwhelming favourite to win the Democratic Party nomination, she is being extra careful not to appear too sure of herself. Democrats might start looking around for alternatives if she acted as if she had the nomination in the bag. "It doesn't look like a coronation if you don't act like a queen," Ms. Selzer said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of several Republican hopefuls who have been crisscrossing Iowa to test the presidential waters, told NBC that Ms. Clinton can't assume winning is a foregone conclusion. "You have got to earn it."

David Axelrod, a former campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, told The Des Moines Register that Ms. Clinton's greatest challenge is to prove that she is genuine and understands the concerns of the average American. "Humility is the order of the day," he said.

Ms. Clinton is hardly the first presidential hopeful to try to present a more human face to the public. John Kerry and Michael Dukakis for the Democrats, Bob Dole and Mitt Romney for the Republicans - all these candidates struggled to show they were not as wooden or remote or simply dull as they sometimes seemed.

But for Ms. Clinton, it is especially important to prove she can connect. Throughout her quarter-century in the public eye, she has had to battle the perception that she is stiff or conniving or aloof. In her failed 2008 bid for the nomination, critics said that she simply failed to click with voters, who didn't understand who she was or why she wanted the job.

The risk in introducing the new, relatable Ms. Clinton is that voters may see it as nothing more than a ploy - a calculated attempt to appear spontaneous, a phony attempt to be authentic. Republicans are already calling it precisely that.

"She says she is just like everyone else, but then she is off on her jets and that is not how most of us in Iowa live," said Jennifer Smith, chairwoman of Iowa's Dubuque County Republicans. She was waiting outside Ms. Clinton's first campaign stop to have her say.

Right-wing radio and TV commentators were quick to skewer Ms. Clinton over the road trip.

This was the same Ms. Clinton, they noted, who admitted last year that the last time she drove a car herself was in 1996.

They even gave her grief about the burrito stop, saying she went into the restaurant in dark glasses and didn't talk to anyone - hardly an example of the common touch. On the Fox News First website, Chris Stirewalt called Ms. Clinton's motorized caravan the "sisterhood of the travelling pantsuit."

Naturally, her supporters see her in a different light. Waiting in a lawn chair to wave at Ms. Clinton as she arrived for an event in the Des Moines suburb of Norwalk on Wednesday, retired union official Jamie Lekers, 57, said: "I've never found her cold and calculating. I found her warm and charming and I appreciated every Hillary hug she gave me."

Ms. Clinton has a fine line to walk. She has to show empathy for voters without appearing to pander. She has to show she understands ordinary people without pretending that she is one.

In Iowa, "we don't expect a former secretary of state, senator and first lady to be necessarily as down to earth as we are," Jennifer Glover Konfrst, an assistant professor of public relations at Drake University in Des Moines, says. Instead, if Ms. Clinton came to this farm state dressed in overalls, she adds, "we might be like, 'Yeah, you don't get it.' We want to see her being who she really is - not putting on airs, not thinking she's too fancy but not pretending to be less than she is either."

This, Prof. Konfrst concedes, "is a hard thing."

However Ms. Clinton plays it, she is bound to be mocked. The wealthy Mr. Romney got constant ribbing for his awkward attempts to prove he was a regular guy. He may never live down telling the story about tying his dog to the car roof in a pet carrier when the family went on vacation.

Associated Graphic

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, centre, has coffee with members of the community at the Tremont Grille in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Wednesday. In the United States, more than most countries, the public expects politicians to reveal themselves as people.


Dancing into Anna Karenina's mind
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R7

When it comes to the Western canon's weightiest books - and I mean weighty in quite a literal sense - we often develop serious relationships with our own reading. Think of Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarch and Phyllis Rose's The Year of Reading Proust: The subject of reading, of absorbing and interpreting, of assimilating the book's narrative into the narrative of our lives, becomes inextricable from the text. There are schools of literary theory that focus, with varying degrees of complexity, on reader response and the "event" of reading. But the underlying concept is simple.

Reading isn't passive absorption; it's an active rewriting based on who you are, where you are, how old you are and, possibly, whether or not it rained that morning.

In the Tolstoy world, the reader-response trend has turned up some rich, intimate material.

When Joe Wright's film adaptation of Anna Karenina came out in 2012, Joshua Rothman wrote a great online New Yorker piece on his decades-long obsession with the novel. He marvelled at the way the novel changed with his own maturity and experience, how what had seemed like a love story in his 20s became a much darker exploration of fate, chaos and happiness - and the unruliness of that happiness's distribution - as he got older.

Rereading Anna Karenina before the St. Petersburg-based Eifman Ballet's North American tour of the production (they are in Montreal through April 18 and in Toronto from April 23 to 25), I feel as though I'm having a protracted argument with my 16year-old self. She plowed through the novel as though it contained moral, romantic and intellectual blueprints for the rooms she was building in her head. But then I wonder why she wasn't more annoyed that lust and happiness only mix well for Tolstoy's male characters (Kitty learns to tame her lust; Anna is punished for her own). And then I'm jealous of my teen-self's stubborn pursuit of readerly pleasure, the way her heart swells so easily for everyone, empathizing with the lascivious suitor and preyedupon ingenue in the same charged moment - with no concern for paradigms of power or gender.

There's a term for all this talking to myself while reading; in literary theory it's called interpolation. It means exactly what it sounds like, a kind of interruption of the text. Of course, on a basic, cognitive level, it's how we read everything - we need to put ideas into our own terms in order to absorb and understand.

It's the ever-expanding scale of interpolation that makes adaptation seem almost counterintuitive. That hasn't deterred the movie industry; there have been numerous film (as well as TV and theatre) adaptations of Anna Karenina. The question remains: Why reduce these novels that grow so much bigger than their 1,000-odd pages into 21/2-hour movies, plays and ballets? In her 1926 essay The Cinema, Virginia Woolf is obsessed with this problem. In reference to some of the earliest film adaptations of Anna Karenina, Woolf considers how strange it is to see someone else's face imposed on a character that "the brain knows almost entirely by the inside of her mind."

Woolf's issue is how much film relies on visual distillation - "A kiss is love. ... Death is a hearse" - when our experience of reading is just the opposite. Literary love is so much more than visual; the depicted relationship must travel along a twisting autobiographical pathway of ex-lovers and daydreams to make any sense to us at all. So why subject these great works of literature to such diminishing distortions?

Boris Eifman, founder and artistic director of the Eifman Ballet, tells me his production aims to explore the "unknown" in a novel we're already so familiar with.

"I consider my ballet more of an interpretation, than an adaptation," he says via phone from St.

Petersburg. Eifman explains that he wanted to delve into Anna's psychology and find a choreographic depiction of both her passion and her struggle between romantic and maternal love. His approach has been to cut out the large secondary plot between Kitty and Levin and turn the story into a love triangle between Anna, her lover, Vronsky, and her husband, Karenin.

Dr. Anna Berman, a Tolstoy specialist at McGill University, was blown away when she saw Eifman's production in St. Petersburg in 2006. "What Eifman does very well is get into the psychological dynamics of those relationships. I think he gets into Anna's mind in a very real way."

Berman is pro-adaptation; she thinks they can help us see things in the original that we might have missed. She points out that Eifman's version includes Anna's morphine addiction - through the use of a drug-induced dream sequence - a part of the novel that most adaptations omit. "It's not a very pretty aspect of Anna's life, but Tolstoy doesn't shy away from it.

Eifman was bold to go there."

Moreover, she thinks Eifman does something unique in the dream sequence: He pairs a jarring soundscape with Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture.

"You get this incredible juxtaposition between Anna's disintegration and this very romantic music. The clash, the irony, of having those two effects together is something that ballet can do very well."

Prof. Donna Orwin, chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Toronto, is a bit more skeptical about whether Tolstoy's novels can truly be adapted effectively.

"The greater the work of art, the more difficult it is to translate into a different medium," she muses.

For Orwin, Anna Karenina is a vastly complex novel about the relationship between duty and love, and between what's good for society and what's good for the individual. "Tolstoy is not a dogmatist about these things.

Tolstoy gives you everything."

Though she hasn't seen Eifman's production, she imagines that ballet might make a rich medium for Tolstoy adaptation because of the author's fixation on physicality. But she stresses it's never just about the body in Anna Karenina; Tolstoy is interested in the dialectic between the body, the voice and all kinds of other internal and external factors that influence every character. "The novel is like a piece of baroque music. A theme of the human personality is introduced and then the great variations begin."

How do you do this in an adaptation? "I think it's impossible," she says. "Great works of art completely exploit the modes in which they are written."

But Boris Eifman holds that there's an inherent connection between the psyche and the body that ballet is poised to take advantage of. "I'm not trying to illustrate the plot of the novel.

My ballet is something very different - a kind of choreographed psychoanalysis of Anna's mind."

Anna Karenina plays until April 18 at Place des Arts in Montreal and April 23-25 at the Sony Centre in Toronto.

Associated Graphic

The Eifman Ballet production of Anna Karenina, showing in Montreal and Toronto, goes beyond a basic retelling of the plot.


Premier seeks steady course in cautious election bid
'This is about the future of our province - we're in uncharted territory,' Jim Prentice said as he began campaigning. 'Tough choices need to be made.' One choice will be whether battered Albertans give the PCs a 13th straight majority in tumultuous times
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

GRANDE CACHE, ALTA. -- Jim Prentice has been Alberta's Premier for only seven months, a tumultuous time of plunging oil prices that saw the province end its run as Canada's economic engine.

Stubbornly low oil prices have left finances in a mess, and the economy is expected to sputter through the rest of the year. Only two weeks ago, Mr. Prentice introduced the first budget in decades to raise provincial income taxes, and will run a record $5-billion deficit.

On Tuesday, the Progressive Conservative Leader plunged the province into a 28-day election campaign, calling for Albertans to give him a mandate on May 5 to wean the government's finances off oil.

"Albertans deserve a government that tells its citizens the straight facts, even if the news is bad," he said, kicking off his campaign in Edmonton. "I am asking Albertans for a mandate to implement the changes this province needs so badly."

Mr. Prentice is unlikely to make bold promises over the next four weeks. He has ruled out large spending cuts or further tax increases, including the introduction of a provincial sales tax.

Instead, he is warning against the "extreme ideas and ideology" of the Wildrose Party and the New Democrats. The Tory Leader will focus on defending his March 26 budget and an accompanying 10year plan. After balancing the budget within three years, Mr. Prentice wants to start depositing half of the province's energy royalties into a savings account by the end of the decade.

Travelling to his boyhood home of Grande Cache on Tuesday, Mr. Prentice said the town's struggle with boom-and-bust cycles was an inspiration for his plan.

Built around a coal mine, Grande Cache has flirted with extinction at several points in its nearly five-decade history when global coal prices plunged and the town's few thousand residents faced a mine closing.

While Grande Cache's fortunes have improved through tourism and the construction of a prison, the crises marked Mr. Prentice in his youth. He is promising a middle-road strategy for the entire province, based on small tax increases and limited cuts to government services.

"This is about the future of our province - we're in uncharted territory," he said. "Tough choices need to be made."

Alberta has a fixed-election law that stipulates a vote must be held in the three months before June 1, 2016. However, the law allows the province's lieutenantgovernor to dissolve the legislature when asked.

After a short meeting with his cabinet early Tuesday morning, Mr. Prentice asked LieutenantGovernor Donald Ethell to call the election. Mr. Prentice then travelled in his new blue campaign bus to Edmonton's west end, his first stop. The Tory leader was accompanied by a small entourage: his wife, an aide and two communications staffers.

At dissolution, the PCs had 70 seats, the Wildrose and Liberals five each, the NDP had four, two seats were vacant and there was one independent.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said she is running to end the government's nearly 44 years in power.

While few expect Mr. Prentice will not lead the Tories to their 13th consecutive majority, polls indicate Ms. Notley could vault her party to Official Opposition status for the first time in two decades.

"It's clear that Albertans feel let down by their government," she said. "We can choose to say that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday."

Brian Jean, the newly elected Leader of the Wildrose, currently the Opposition, promised no new floor-crossings from his party.

The 17-member caucus was reduced last December, when leader Danielle Smith crossed the floor with eight other MLAs.

Mr. Jean said new Wildrose MLAs will have to sign a contract that includes a $100,000 penalty for defecting.

This campaign comes after a wild period for Alberta politics since the 2012 election, in which Alison Redford held on as PC premier.

Ms. Redford was forced to step down in early 2014 amid outrage over some of her expense claims, which included using government planes for personal matters.

Stepping up as the new Progressive Conservative Leader, Mr. Prentice went about distancing himself from the previous premier. The mass floor-crossings to the government that followed and plunge in oil prices shook up the dynamic in the legislature.

While his popularity has slumped since the budget, Mr. Prentice faces no provincewide challenger.


Jim Prentice has not had a smooth half-year in the premier's office - struggling with the crash in oil prices, foisting new taxes upon Albertans and then launching a campaign a year ahead of a fixed election date. But the former federal minister, who left Bay Street to take over the Alberta Progressive Conservatives' leadership after scandal forced out Alison Redford, still seems to be leading a charmed political life. Despite a couple of recent polls showing the Tories' lead eroding, Mr. Prentice's successful luring of former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and more than half her caucus, combined with a massive money and organizational advantage, leaves little apparent threat to yet another PC majority.


After Wildrose's meltdown in late 2014, the NDP suddenly found itself with a real shot to become the Tories' main opposition. That status is partly by default but also because Rachel Notley, who has been an MLA since 2008 but assumed the New Democrats' leadership only in October, has brought some new energy to her party. A lawyer and former union activist, Ms. Notley seems to have particular traction in her hometown of Edmonton, where the NDP has most of its potential for gains.


Coming from outside its caucus, Brian Jean is the closest Wildrose could get to a fresh face and a bit of polish after the bizarre and disastrous end of the Danielle Smith era.

Mr. Jean, who served as Conservative MP for the federal riding of Fort McMurray-Athabasca until early last year, has had little time to pick up his party's pieces since winning its leadership on March 28. He is also dealing with personal tragedy, having lost his 24-year-old son to lymphoma last month. He has set modest expectations for the campaign, conceding Wildrose probably isn't competing for government and would likely be satisfied with keeping Official Opposition status.


After taking over from Raj Sherman this year, Liberal Leader David Swann seems to have one main job: keeping alive a party that has only two incumbent MLAs running for re-election. The other job is openly calling for mergers with other centre-left parties. Of those potential merger partners, Greg Clark's Alberta Party is the only one that seems to have much chance of capitalizing on the recent flux in Alberta politics, but it would likely be satisfied with claiming a single seat in Calgary.

Associated Graphic

NDP Leader Rachel Notley

Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean

Liberal Party Leader David Swann

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark

After announcing the provincial election on Tuesday, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice chats with owner Mandy Kenworthy during a campaign stop at Jack's Drive in Spruce Grove, Alta.


Monday, April 13, 2015 Monday, April 13, 2015 CorrectionA Wednesday feature story on the Alberta election included an incorrect reference to Liberal Leader David Swann. A sidebar story incorrectly suggested he is openly calling for mergers with other centre-left partners. In fact, Mr. Swann has said there is no interest in that and while he is open to talks after an election, it's too late to discuss now.

Cameco back on investors' radar
Several new drivers are fuelling uranium demand, but short-term headwinds linger for Canadian mining giant
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B10

The outlook for uranium, moribund for some time, is looking up.

And that means shares of Cameco Corp., the Saskatoonbased miner one analyst calls "the only real blue-chip stock in the sector," are up, too - about 20 per cent from their 52-week lows. The stock has received a host of upgrades, with analysts at CIBC World Markets, Canaccord Genuity Corp., and Merrill Lynch all moving to "buy" ratings so far this month - even before Wednesday's blockbuster announcement of a deal for Cameco to supply India's nuclear sector.

Cameco itself, however, has been keeping short-term expectations modest, setting sales guidance for 2015 that's lower than last year. While president and CEO Tim Gitzel says the company sees "exceptional growth on the horizon," he also acknowledges "the uncertainty in the uranium market has persisted for longer than expected."

Add to that another uncertainty: Cameco's burgeoning battle with tax authorities, both at home in Canada and on a new front in the United States, where the Internal Revenue Service is laying claims on Cameco similar to the Canada Revenue Agency's.

Neither the near-term outlook nor Cameco's tax woes have held back the bulls, as 14 of the 21 analysts covering the company now have "buy" ratings on the stock, expecting uranium prices to exit their trough and return to higher levels. Taken together, however, the caution lights of the spotty uranium market and the company's tax troubles suggest Cameco shares may hit a few bumps in the next year or two during its ascent.

Certainly, the news of Cameco's India deal is good: The company has signed a deal to supply the country's department of atomic energy with 7.1 million pounds (3.2 million kilograms) of uranium concentrate through 2020. This, notes Cantor Fitzgerald Canada analyst Rob Chang, is a "landmark deal" that gives Cameco access to the world's second-fastest-growing uranium market after China.

The deal overshadowed news from Tuesday, however, that speaks more to the company's near-term concerns: A Japanese court blocked the restart of two nuclear reactors in the city of Takahama, tied to a dispute over the results of an assessment of earthquake activity in the region. The Japanese nuclear industry has been in rebuilding mode - literally and figuratively - since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Bringing the country's reactors back online, with their needs for fuel, has been a key part of the thesis for a rebound among uranium miners.

"Japan is just one of several drivers - but it is likely the largest psychological issue," says David Talbot of Dundee Capital Markets. "Industry stakeholders for the most part are tired of waiting for the Japanese restart catalyst, us included."

Mr. Talbot - the analyst who made the "only real blue-chip stock" comment about Cameco - argues investors should put more focus on other possible positives, either supply disruptions such as the breakdown of BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam in Australia, or potential sanctions against major uranium player Russia for its role in Ukraine, or demand growth from a potential Chinese resurgence.

The China theory is part of the Merrill Lynch upgrade from "neutral" to "buy" Monday, with the firm's analysts citing 29 reactors under construction and a potential 30 more by 2023. While Cameco waits for the long-term demand, it has "a strong portfolio" of long-term contracts through 2018 with prices 15 per cent to 30 per cent above "depressed" spot prices of $39 (U.S.) per pound. These longterm deals "will allow it to be patient when negotiating new contracts." (The analysts' new price target is $23 Canadian.)

Canaccord's Gary Lampard, who also raised Cameco to "buy" and a $23 target price, says he expects the global uranium market to be in surplus until 2022 - but the shortages he sees beyond that point will cause utilities to be "more aggressive" in securing uranium by 2018 or 2019, when the price will be $70 per pound. (Cantor Fitzgerald's Mr. Chang, who has a $26.15 target price, says "a violent upward move in the price of uranium is inevitable based on an unavoidable supply deficit occurring in 2020.") What will likely happen before then, however, is a resolution of Cameco's tax battle with the CRA. I first reported the dispute in May, 2013, based on a report by the analysts at Veritas Investment Research. Since then, Cameco's disclosures have increased as the potential tax bill has grown, and analysts have become more concerned, with the CRA dispute the top topic at the company's November investor day.

A quick recap of the tax issue: Starting in 1999, Cameco minimized its tax bill by running sales through a subsidiary in Zug, Switzerland, where the tax rate is lower than in Canada. The core issue in the dispute is "transfer pricing," when a company does deals with related parties. The CRA began contesting the structure of Cameco's deals and its transfer pricing methodology in 2008, but Cameco had enough accumulated losses to cover the taxes CRA said it owed.

Over the past few years, however, Cameco saw the bill grow because it no longer had the losses to offset the alleged extra tax bill. Cameco now estimates CRA will claim it has $6.6-billion more in taxable income than Cameco reported from 2003 to 2014, resulting in a tax expense of $1.9-billion. Transfer-pricing penalties, interest and other penalties could add more.

Cameco revealed in its February earnings release the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is now pursuing similar arguments, claiming Cameco owes $32-million (U.S.) for 2009 alone. The IRS is auditing 2010 through 2012, Cameco says.

The Canadian case is scheduled to be heard in the Tax Court of Canada in 2016; Cameco says it is "confident that we will be successful in our case."

Analyst David Sadowski of Raymond James Ltd., who has a "market perform" rating (equivalent to "hold") on Cameco says, however, "We believe entry of the IRS further shifts the balance of probabilities toward a negative tax outcome for Cameco."

He "urge[s] investors to look to other vehicles for exposure to a [possible] 2015 rebound in uranium prices and sentiment"; specifically, he recommends Denison Mines Corp. (DML), Fission Uranium Corp. (FCU) and Ur-Energy (URE), a trio of TSXlisted companies each well below $1-billion in market capitalization.

In short, he says he's "bullish on [the] 2015-16 uranium price outlook, but not on Cameco."

Investors with a long-term focus on uranium trends may benefit from buying Cameco now; those expecting a smooth path for the shares, however, should probably heed the warnings.

Cameco (CCO) Close: $19.70, down 5¢


Uranium prices have been in the dumps, but investors have been betting on a rebound by picking up shares of Cameco, which one analyst refers to as "the only real blue chip stock in the sector."

Associated Graphic

China's construction of 29 nuclear reactors, with a potential 30 more by 2023, indicates a potential growth in uranium demand.



On the outside looking in
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S11


I'm standing in the parking lot of a Hooters trying to catch John Daly's attention.

The former court jester of golf is wearing a University of Arkansas T-shirt and matching gym shorts. A loose-fitting gold Rolex is banging around on his wrist.

He's hacking a butt, and eyeing me suspiciously.

His wife, Anna, moves to intercept.

"John did interviews on Monday and Tuesday. Did you make an appointment?" Uh, no.

Daly drifts over to listen, but isn't looking in our direction.

We're talking across a couple of folding tables covered in Dalybranded tchotchkes. Behind them is the double-wide RV they sleep in.

"What if I bought something?" "Well then, maybe. But that's up to John," says Anna, and looks over. Daly flashes some sort of secret sign. Anna turns back to me.

"Everything's $20."

I grab the first thing I see - an autographed Masters pin flag.

"That's $50."

This'll work out to about 10 bucks a minute. If my brother is reading this, he already knows what he's getting for Christmas.

Daly's been doing this for 15 years - rolling up to major tournaments in an RV, parking beside a Hooters and hawking his goods. Back when he was still a viable golfer and a major champion, it was a bit of fun. It may still be, but it also needs to be a viable business.

Daly's won about $10-million (U.S.) in prize money. He claims to have lost more than five times that gambling. He's 48 years old, hobbled by injuries and the results of a heroically louche lifestyle. He can't golf the senior tour until he's 50. So here he is.

People are rolling by in small groups - three or four at a time.

Buying a shirt. Briefly touching what may once have been greatness.

The merchandise tables are arranged like a moat around the RV, so that no one is encouraged to invade Daly's space. When he takes a photo with his fans, Daly leans across awkwardly.

"My mom's always taught me that everyone's the same," Daly says. "I'm an everyday, average person. I think a lot of athletes might get indulged and think they're better than the average person."

Every few minutes, a pickup truck will roll by on Washington Boulevard - the tatty thoroughfare that leads to Augusta National - and someone will lean out the window and yell, "JD!" Daly doesn't bother turning around, but he does raise his hand reflexively.

"Doing this stuff makes you realize ... we're on our feet 12, 13 hours a day out here. Not too many athletes could do that. Not too many athletes have the patience. Ninety-five per cent of the time I got patience with people. Then there's that 5 per cent where people get out of line, and you gotta stand up for yourself."

Daly has a weary drawl. It's late morning and he seems tired.

We're about a kilometre from the main gates.

"It's right over there," Daly says, and points past a crumbling Dollar Tree. He turns wistful for a moment: "I'd love to be back in there." He knows he won't.

One of the dualities of Augusta National is the world around it.

This section of town looks like so many second- and third-rate cities in America - an endless procession of grubby restaurants and oil-change joints. There's no sidewalk. Getting over to meet Daly is a form of urban orienteering.

Augusta National has taken steps to create a protective bubble between itself and the John Dalys of the world, steadily buying up adjacent land that remains largely undeveloped. The people who run this place are modern Robber Barons. They are practising a micro-form of Manifest Destiny.

Next year, they will simply pick up and move a road that runs the length of the complex. This will effectively extend the Augusta boundary outward by several hundred meters. It's only a matter of time before they begin absorbing the strip malls of Washington Boulevard. All they need is money and local political co-operation, and both appear to be inexhaustible resources.

As it stands, tens of thousands of ticket holders park free on rolling grass fields that straddle the west side of the club. This land is pretty in its way, but not Augusta pretty.

Without giving any specifics, club chairman Billy Payne said this week that the lots will be "beautified" this fall.

"It will look appropriately as though it belongs inside the fences of Augusta National."

One presumes that means marble paving stones or some such.

No one knows how much money Augusta National has or how exactly it collects and distributes it, but it's thought to be many tens of millions. If it needs to top up the fund, it can just pass the hat around to members such as Bill Gates (est. net worth: $79billion), Warren Buffett (est. net worth: $70-billion) or hedgefund manager Dirk Ziff (est. net worth: $4.9-billion).

The members are few, but in their green jackets, impossible to miss. All are expected to 'work' during the Masters - everything from leading tour groups to running news conferences.

They share the same look - robust, impeccable white men of a certain age, elegantly coiffured.

They resemble clones of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

He's also one of them.

The other day, I watched a member dip into a bowl of jellybeans standing on the entrance desk to the media centre. He scooped the candies out with a plastic spoon, dumped them in his hand, picked out three or four he liked, and then dropped the rest back in the bowl.

These folks are used to helping themselves.

Even the crowds share that look, or try to. They have their own uniform - polos, fashion shorts, ball caps. Everyone here is homogenized, which is how they seem to like it.

It's a golf tournament. It's also a 1-per-center convention.

Out there, it's the real world. It isn't encroaching. It's receding.

Back in the parking lot, Daly is worried about foot traffic.

"It usually picks up around 4," he says. At 3 p.m., he's "competing" in a putting contest. A couple of Hooters girls are cleaning trash off an adjacent Astroturf green in preparation.

Daly's ruminating about his career.

"I wish I would've played better in that '96-to-2001 window. I wish I would've practised on my game the way I do now," Daly says. "My problem is I didn't say no. Went everywhere. Took the money. Wasn't able to sit back and take the time to practise for a whole week. I kind of let my game falter."

For a few years, John Daly was probably the most typical American allowed through the Augusta gates. But that's done now. Like most of the rest of them, he's back on the other side of the fence.

Follow me on Twitter: @CathalKelly

Canadian investors take Manhattan
Who overwhelmingly leads foreign investment in Manhattan residential buildings? Savvy Canadians
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B9

The change is subtle. Stroll across Manhattan's 14th Street into Chelsea or 4th Avenue into the East Village, and you're transported into entirely different neighbourhoods. It can be just a feeling or nuance. But it's unmistakable.

That won't be the case crossing 10th Avenue and West 30th into Hudson Yards, the massively ambitious development, roughly estimated at $20-billion (U.S.), on midtown's westside.

By next year, the gleam of towering glass and the district's sheer newness may have the subtlety of Emerald City.

And yet hidden behind the surface is Canada's involvement and, in fact, continued love of Manhattan real estate. Torontobased Oxford Properties Group Inc., the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension fund, is partnered with the major U.S. real-estate company Related Companies as co-developers.

Oxford jumped at the chance in 2010. Others such as prominent Canadian developer Brookfield Properties Corp. (which already has a strong New York presence) and Tishman Speyers (which owns Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building) were interested, but had pulled out.

Remember, 2010 was back in the throes of the globe's economic meltdown.

The outlook seemed iffy for a project so massive, an engineering feat so large, along with other neighbouring developments, such as Brookfield's Manhattan West towers being built a short walk away. The entirely new district of office buildings, high-rise apartments and major stores, all being constructed on platforms above the active Hudson Yards rail tracks, is the size of downtown Minneapolis.

"So you have a major American city that's literally fitting into that Hudson Yards area," said Margaret Newman, executive director of the Municipal Arts Society, which addresses issues of New York's livability.

Some of the public upsides of the mixed-use neighbourhood to rest at the top of the elevated, natural-loving High Line walkway are additional park spaces within Hudson Yards and the extension of the No. 7 subway line into the district.

The development is just another sign of the resiliency of the New York market - particularly its residential sector, in which Canada is the leading foreign investor. Canadian money overwhelming led foreign investment in Manhattan residential buildings in 2014 at $987-million, said the research firm Real Capital Analytics, which tracks foreign capital realestate flow.

For property of all kinds in Manhattan, not just apartment buildings, Canada led with $1.993-billion overall last year, compared with China in second at $1.796-billion. (Singapore was third overall at $1.577-billion.

Norway was fourth at $1.114-billion.)

Oxford and Related want the towers they're building to become coveted addresses, but Dean Shapiro, Oxford's senior vice-president of U.S. investments, subtly bristled when asked how Hudson Yards' apartment buildings might compete with the new high-luxury residential towers rising along the south end of Central Park.

"Is it competing? It'll be a lower price point to the buildings going up along Central Park South," he said, adding that "Hudson Yards is distinctly different to Central Park South, and it will be distinctly different than everything. ... Geographically it's adjacent to three other neighbourhoods, but I don't think they're the same at all. I think Hudson Yards will be its own neighbourhood, and that's the opportunity."

The Manhattan luxury market has been such a driver for the whole residential market and is so strong that realtors Corcoran Group has three categories of luxury: luxury at $2,300 to $3,300 per square foot; super luxury at $3,300 to $5,000 and ultra luxury at $5,000 and more.

The luxury market "has far exceeded the peak of 2007 and the beginning of 2008," said Pamela Liebman, Corcoran's chief executive officer. "I would say that on the whole, New York is seeing the highest dollar per foot in [its] history. The winner in the dollar-per-foot category is anything that offers outstanding views of Central Park."

Over the past five years, new condos appreciated 57 per cent in value and those on the resale market have appreciated 32 per cent. "People look at New York City real estate, both from a user and investment point of view, as a very safe place to put your money, with great historical appreciation," she said.

And driving this is scarcity.

Throughout every range of luxury, middle-income and lower-income housing, there isn't enough housing.

"The apartment vacancy rate on multifamily apartments citywide, not just in Manhattan, is generally about 2 per cent, at most 2 1/2 per cent at any given time. The standard around the country is considered 5 per cent for almost full capacity," said economist Rosemary Scanlon, divisional dean of New York University's Schack Institute of Real Estate.

So with high demand, the New York residential market consistently does well, even in the worst down cycles. And this is led by luxury housing, thereby enticing foreign money which treats New York as a safe investment - and on and on the momentum builds.

"We'll find out when the fifth or sixth, or the eighth tower goes up, if they've run out of the pool of billionaires. New York is doing extremely well in attracting people. Nobody's crying about the difficulties in selling yet," Ms. Scanlon said.

Meanwhile, Canadians have been especially strong in residential investment and development given their knowledge of the sector.

Other global investors tend to be disinterested in apartment buildings (we're talking entire buildings and developments, not individual apartment purchases), because residential properties in other countries are often highly regulated and subject to rent controls or other investor deterrents, argued Real Capital senior vice-president Jim Costello.

"Canadian investors understand how our apartment market works here," he said.


Foreign investment

Canada has a fondness for the Manhattan residential market, ranking well above other foreign capital inflows in 2014. (All figures U.S.)

1. Canada:$987-million 2. Japan:$107-million 3. China:$99-million 4. Israel:$23-million 5. Hong Kong:$13-million

Canada also tops the list overall in all Manhattan real-estate investment.

1. Canada:$1.993-billion 2. China:$1.796-billion 3. Singapore:$1.577-billion 4. Norway:$1.114-billion 5. Australia:$805-million

Source: Real Capital Analytics

Hudson Yard facts

By numbers, the Hudson Yards is a little stupefying.

24 million people expected to visit Hudson Yards a year.

17 million square feet of commercial and residential space.

5,000 residential units.

300 caissons will be drilled into bedrock to support the Eastern Yard platform.

25,000 tons of steel to build the Eastern Yard platform.

Source: Oxford Properties and Related Companies


Where do opportunities exist outside our borders?

This is the first story in a series that will examine the shifts and trends in the housing market on the international stage. Read more at

Associated Graphic

The Hudson Yard district - a massive development of office buildings, high-rise apartments and major stores - is being constructed in Manhattan on platforms above active rail tracks.


In Myanmar, symbols of good fortune are also tools of propaganda
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

NAYPYIDAW, MYANMAR -- The elephants are fresh from their morning ritual, which includes a walk, a hand-scrub and a belly-filling feed of grasses and sugar cane, much of it grown at a 19-acre farm devoted to their appetites. Come evening, they will repeat the ritual, complete with a second wash-down, before U Kyaw Kyaw, the 56-year-old chief elephant master charged with their care, beds down with them, choosing the pachyderms over his wife as he always does.

The pampering may all seem a bit much for beasts typically pressed into heavy labour. These elephants, however, have their own load to bear on platinumhaired shoulders: the ambitions of Myanmar's ruling elites, who see in them nature's confirmation of their own greatness.

The difference is in their flesh, which to the untrained eye may look a striking shade of dusty pink. But to the current and former generals who run the country they are rare white elephants, prized as symbols of good fortune at a time when the military continues to cling to power despite nominally moving toward democracy. And in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, there's a bumper crop of such symbols.

After the newest arrival was introduced in Naypyidaw, the capital, on Monday, six now luxuriate in a giant shaded enclosure, its roof fringed in gold and its floors kept immaculately clean. They look out on the gleaming Uppatasanti pagoda, its name meaning "protection against calamity." Three others are housed in Rangoon, bringing the total to nine white elephants - one born in captivity - amassed since 2010 by a military regime that has now switched from uniforms to suits in a parliament still dominated by active and former officers.

They have not been shy about trumpeting how well the white elephants reflect on their leadership. At the Royal White Elephant Garden, as the Naypyidaw enclosure is called (Myanmar has not had a monarchy for more than a century), tourists are handed brochures citing "learned persons of the past successive eras" to boast that white elephants appear to kings and governments who have ruled well. The "emergence of the white elephants is a good omen for the nation at a time when the state is endeavouring to build a peaceful, modern and developed nation," the brochure says.

White elephants hold power by virtue of a history possibly rooted in Vedic Hinduism, dating back more than two millenniums, "where Indra, the king of the gods, is always depicted as seated upon exactly such a beast," says Rupert Arrowsmith, a cultural historian at the University College London who has lived in Myanmar, where he has twice been ordained a monk.

Later, the mother of Gautama Siddhartha - Buddha - dreamed that a white elephant had entered her womb before giving birth, extending the animal's influence to Buddhism. Burmese kings took "master of the white elephant" as one of their titles and the animals were afforded every luxury. They suckled human breasts as babies and as adults were ornamented with diamonds, kept in gold houses and fed from golden troughs.

Having them in place was among the most important events in the inauguration of a new capital. Their death, too, had great portent. Colonialists rooted out white elephants along with monarchies, since the animals were potent royal symbols.

In Myanmar, royal rule ended in 1885, and the tradition was only recently revived. Author Rena Pederson writes that military strongman Than Shwe, in power from 1992 to 2011, "desperately wanted one of the power symbols to signify his own kingly rule." Mr. Arrowsmith speculates it might have to do with Than Shwe seeking legitimacy for his new capital, Naypyidaw, built at the cost of billions of dollars on an empty plain.

What seems clear is the collection of white elephants was a deliberate act. In 2008, Myanmar's government created a White Elephant Capture and Training Group charged with the nationwide collection effort.

When a new white elephant is spotted, the group dispatches a crew of 50 to prepare it for regal life. They track it, tranquilize it and take it to the nearest elephant training camp, where it spends weeks being pried out of its wild state. Part of the breaking includes being lashed to another elephant to walk, support it needs in part because "it is kept awake for a whole week, to make it weaker and prevent it from running away," U Kyaw Kyaw says. "But we don't hurt them. There's no beating them."

U Kyaw Kyaw comes from a family of elephant masters. His parents worked for Myanmar Timber Enterprise, a state-run company that owns nearly half of the 6,000 domesticated elephants in Myanmar, home to the biggest working herd on Earth. In a poor country where diesel machinery remains foreign to many, elephants still pull logs and harvest tea. But white ones are uncommon.

"Whenever I hear about a new white elephant, I'm happy for the government and for the country as well," U Kyaw Kyaw says. He had never seen one before being brought to train the capital's herd in 2011. The discovery of so many is, he says at first, "magic." Then he admits to a darker truth: "These days people keep cutting trees and colonizing the forests, so the elephants are coming out for food. That's why people have discovered them."

Be it occult or tragedy, there is nonetheless a problem. The elephants treasured by Myanmar's current rulers appear to have little in common with the silkdraped greats of ancient royal courts.

In Thailand, where traditions live on in a monarchy never deposed by colonialists, royal white elephants are still certified by a single, secretive family that classifies an animal according to its rank in four individual lineages tied to mythical Himalayan forests. "It is a very arcane business," says Richard Lair, a Thailand-based conservationist and expert on domesticated elephants.

Among the most important traits are the shape of the tail hair, the mottling on the inside of the mouth, the blotches on the head of the penis and even the sound of snoring.

The one trait that seems not to matter is colour. Mr. Lair has seen all 11 of the Thai royal elephants - all officially still alive, although the top-ranked one died years ago. "They don't look white. They look just like ordinary elephants," he says. The Thai word for "white elephant" translates more accurately to "auspicious elephant."

That makes Mr. Lair suspicious about Myanmar's white elephants, which to his eyes look like mere albinos - curiosities, not talismans.

"My own feeling is the generals discovered these albino elephants and conflated them with what a white elephant was," he says. "In the old days they would not have been white elephants. They would have just been oddball elephants."

Associated Graphic

Chief elephant master U Kyaw Kyaw feeds, bathes and sleeps with his charges at Naypyidaw's Royal White Elephant Garden.


Upon capture, the white elephants are pampered and displayed as a sign of good fortune for the current regime.


'Royal and real - I like to mix both sides'
For Fausto Puglisi, the magic is in the mash-up. The Italian-born upstart designs, he says, with everyone from suburban girls to Queen Elizabeth in mind
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4 @Jeanne_Beker

I was standing on Bloor Street West recently when Toronto philanthropist and fashionista Sylvia Mantella emerged from a limousine in an arresting outfit. I was stunned to see her dressed so opulently in the early afternoon, until I realized she was headed into Holt Renfrew to fete the creator of her ensemble, Italian designer Fausto Puglisi.

Frequently compared to the late Gianni Versace, Puglisi has been turning heads in international fashion circles since launching his own label in 2010. A red carpet favourite, the 39-year-old Sicilian-born designer is especially proficient at costume design, collaborating closely with pop icons such as Madonna (he designed pieces for her Super Bowl halftime show in 2012) and Katy Perry. And just a couple of years ago, he also took the creative reigns at the house of Emanuel Ungaro. I caught up with Puglisi before he presented his trunk show at Holt Renfrew to talk about his obsession with fashion, his authenticity and his very big ego.

Technology has changed the way we communicate and the pace of our lives. Has it changed how we think about what we wear?

I think so. I think we should just stop for a second and think more about beauty. Because everything is so fast, there's that risk to become all mass market and I don't like mass markets, you know what I mean?

But unfortunately the fashion business is becoming so much about mass market.

When I say mass market, of course I'm all about the democracy of everything, so I'm not talking about the chance for the people to have something.

You're not a snob.

No, not at all. But what's important is that we should start thinking that fashion is a celebration of beauty. It's not just about 'make clothes, make clothes, make clothes,' you know? Because for that, there is a mass market. There are amazing companies that make fantastic pieces. But for a designer, it is extremely important to concentrate on beauty.

Yes, but you have to create clothes that are also accessible.

What I do is to start from the streets and go to the royalty. Royal and real - I like to mix both sides. I like to think about a girl in suburbia and I like to think about Queen Elizabeth.

We were at a boring moment in fashion and then suddenly, there were all these rumblings about you. But you're not an overnight success. You've been working hard at this for quite a long time.

Yes. I decided to be a designer when I was a kid. So I was five years old and I used to sketch. I had this incredible grandfather who brought me to his tailor in Sicily. It was very classic, and we chose the fabrics together. Then I went back home, finished my studies and started sketching, sketching, sketching and designing and working with fabric. In Sicily, we are all obsessed with fashion. I mean, that was the big moment of Gianni Versace or the first Dolce & Gabbana collection - it wasn't about conceptualism. It was about showing off. 'I'm rich. I'm a bitch. I'm sexy.

I'm glamorous. I can afford whatever I want!'

Very in-your-face.

In-your-face, yes. So then I moved to America after my studies. I mean, it's part of being Italian. Italians want to go out and then to come back. I'm proud of my roots but I felt that need to go to America, so I moved to New York. I had no money. I was a waiter at the Tribeca Grill. And I did a collection of 10 or 15 pieces because I wanted to sell in America. I remember the first time I came to sell my clothes at Saks.

I arrived on the fragrance floor and said, "I want to sell my clothes here. Who s do I have to talk to?" I didn't know dn't about the structure, about the ut buyers, about all this stuff. And the ff.

guys there said, "Baby, this is not his the place to sell this stuff! It's a f! department store, okay?" My" big break came when I met Madonna's stylist, Arianne Phillips, and another great celebrity stylist, Patti Wilson, who was styling Britney Spears. They gave me a great chance. And then I moved back to Italy to try and make it in Milan. But it was very, very hard. And it wasn't until Dolce & Gabbana offered to buy a small collection from me and present it in their store that hat things really changed.

Celebrities love what you do because there's such a level of theatricality to the clothes. How has it been for you working with some of these big egos?

It's normal for me. I did the Super Bowl with Madonna, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. And it was all about Bulgari, Givenchy and me. So think about two big monsters and me - just an upcoming designer. That was a fantastic chance. I love Katy Perry and have done two costumes for her. And now I have a big new project with Rita Ora. But it's normal for me. And by that I mean that I'm very authentic with them. I like fashion so much, so celebrities are fantastic because they want to look the most stunning, and I want to make things for them to look stunning in. And I want to kill all the other competitors!

You want to be the only one.

I want to be the only one! But I respect them all. And I want to learn from other designers. But at the end of the day I have a big ego, and it excites me to work with these amazing artists who have something incredible to say. It's an honour to be with them. They are incredible artists. They perfectly represent the pop culture, and I'm obsessed with pop culture.

Well, you seem to be very confi dent about your vision. Do you ever worry about the business swallowing you up?

Listen, I believe that we already have everything in fashion. If you are new, you have to propose something that you trust deeply in. You can't compromise. Why do we need new designers? Only if they communicate something strong. And a black dress can be strong, too. But it has to be something you trust in.

Do you ever doubt yourself?

A lot. But at the end of the day, you have to be strong. You have to want to please yourself. Never think about pleasing someone else. And then if you please yourself, you please everybody.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

THE ITALIAN JOB Fausto Puglisi has found much success in the fashion world after only a few years. 'The only way to survive in this business is to fight the boundaries, to be yourself.'


Hurt by oil's latest retreat, Alberta ponders rainy-day fund
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

CALGARY -- Jim Prentice's election push in energy-rich Alberta hinges on an idea that's as old as the 44-year political dynasty he's working to rejuvenate: weaning the province off oil.

In his bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party to re-election, Mr. Prentice is harkening back to 1975, when then-premier Peter Lougheed won re-election with a pledge to stash a growing share of the province's oil wealth in a rainy-day account for future use. The so-called Heritage Savings Trust Fund has made regular cameos in Alberta election campaigns ever since.

Mr. Prentice, a former banker and federal cabinet minister, is wooing voters ahead of the May 5 election with a vow to shrink the province's total dependence on energy revenues by 50 per cent and double the size of the emergency kitty to more than $30-billion within a decade. His rivals in the Wildrose Party want to expand the fund by billions more, while the NDP is pledging to review energy sector royalty rates.

The talk has rekindled interest in the obscure savings account, which has more or less been frozen in time since contributions ceased during the 1980s oil crash.

The recent plunge in oil prices has exposed a deep anxiety in Alberta, fuelling debate over whether royalty windfalls should help finance diversification efforts in a province that has long struggled to move beyond oil.

"It's a lot easier to lose money than to make money on government-led diversification projects," said Ted Morton, a former Tory finance minister in the province.

"There are the odd examples of success, but the failures outnumber the successes by a large ratio."

The Heritage Fund had mixed objectives from the start. It was created in 1976 as a hybrid account, a mechanism for saving oil revenue at a time when provincial reserves were thought to be on the cusp of running dry.

For that reason, the fund also served as an investment vehicle in hopes of converting a fleeting boom into a lasting legacy. Over time, Mr. Lougheed and his successor, Don Getty, racked up dubious investments in sectors ranging from aviation to forestry.

Investments that did pay off failed to shift the province away from energy.

The government injected capital into the Syncrude Canada Ltd. consortium and provided seed money for early tests of the steam-driven oil sands-extraction method that today accounts for more than half of the industry's growth.

Today, the Heritage Fund is worth about $15.1-billion and is managed by the Alberta Investment Management Corp., or AIMCo. As of the third quarter last year, the fund had generated roughly $1.4-billion in investment income. Of that, about $1.1-billion was siphoned into general revenue, with $214-million saved.

At campaign stops, Mr. Prentice talks about returning the Heritage account to its "original purpose" of saving for the future, while using interest generated from investments to support health care, education and other public services. But he is reluctant to discuss whether he would direct AIMCo to invest in nonenergy businesses.

"I think the role of the government is to provide the direction to an institution like AIMCo as to a portfolio mix, if you will, and then it's up to the professionals to administer the fund," he said in an interview.

A resurgent Wildrose under leader Brian Jean, by contrast, has pledged to stash 50 per cent of future surpluses in an effort to boost the Heritage Fund sharply.

The NDP is alone in committing to a review of energy royalty rates to generate revenue, a move that has provoked industry backlash in the past. A spokesperson said the party would detail its plan for the Heritage Fund in coming days.

Efforts to beef up the account face severe economic headwinds.

Before the election call, the government forecast anemic real GDP growth this year of 0.4 per cent, as spending in the oil patch plummets.

Energy revenue has been pummelled by the sharp plunge in U.S. and world oil prices since last summer.

This year's haul is expected to be just $2.9-billion, down 67 per cent from $8.8-billion last year, even as crude prices show signs of firming up. Alberta is projecting a $5-billion deficit this year, despite increasing taxes and user fees on a range of services.

The government expects revenue will climb steadily as investment levels recover, but some energy sector analysts have predicted the price rebound will be anything but smooth.

Indeed, the International Energy Agency this week said the market rebalancing that the province is counting on to boost its economic fortunes "may still be in its early stage." There are also questions about future demand as the possible return of Iranian oil to global markets could weaken prices further, it said.

In Alberta, oil sands companies have scrapped billions of dollars' worth of future growth projects, reducing prospects for a royalty bonanza down the road. Expanding the savings fund may depend, in part, on the industry's ability to claw back costs in one of world's most expensive places to pump crude - something the sector has struggled with for years.

"Can we, in the long term, restructure spending? Absolutely.

But in the short run, there's very little that you can do," said Leo de Bever, who advocated investing a fraction of the Heritage account in promising energy technologies as former chief executive of AIMCo.

"That debate is linked to efficiency: To the extent that the margins for oil and gas are higher, more money flows into the kitty, so there's more money available directly and indirectly to fund government spending."

For now, the savings fund is stuck in limbo - a populist tool that lacks clear purpose beyond the current campaign.

High-level discussions about setting aside $500-million for energy investments fizzled as the PC party grappled with a leadership crisis last year, people familiar with the plan say. Meanwhile, the steep plunge in oil prices has sidelined corporate spending on research and development.

The energy rout stands to complicate any overhaul of the province's finances, should the Tories overcome recent polls showing a slide in popularity.

"There's never any money when the market's like it is today," said Ken James, president and chief executive of Oak Point Energy, a privately held oil sands company that has benefited from AIMCo investments in the past.

"That's the struggle with doing it now. It's not an excuse not to do it. It just means we should have done it 10 years ago when we had $100 oil."


FISCAL HIGHLIGHTS Year to date 6% Rate of returns net of fees

$15.1-BILLION Assets as of March 31, 2015

$1.46-BILLION Gross income


Payable to the general revenue fund


Investment income to be retained for inflation-proofing


Investment expenses

Associated Graphic


Landlords get charged up for electric cars
Tenant demand for green infrastructure is pushing commercial real estate owners to invest in charging stalls
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B10

TORONTO -- They're mostly unmarked, for now, on the eighth level of Manulife Financial's Bloor Street campus parkade: two electric-vehicle charging stalls, ready to fuel up a growing number of green vehicles.

In a few weeks, they'll be surrounded by green vinyl signage, highlighting the two-plug ChargePoint charging unit hidden on the backside of a support beam.

At the global real estate arm of Manulife, the proliferation of charging stalls indicates more than green perks for office tenants - it's a statement of corporate sustainability.

In the past three years, on the strength of cars like the Toyota Prius and the lingering promise of affordable Teslas - the financial services company has gone from just a handful of such stalls to 145 across the 26,000 parking spots in their 40-million-squarefoot North American real estate portfolio.

"We started to see more Priuses in our parking lots, and demand coming from the tenants," says Ted Willcocks, Manulife's global head of real estate asset management. "We complied with that, and started seeing it as a package for tenants... We see charging stations as a strong amenity for tenants and a path to our goals for corporate sustainability."

There are more than 11,500 pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Canadian roads right now, according to Plug'n Drive Canada, which encourages their adoption.

That number is only going to grow as the barriers to owning the vehicles dissolve.

Landlords are eyeing this figure, and adding charging stations to their properties to keep up with tenant demand and to lower their own carbon footprints.

Some organizations are moving their fleets, partially or completely, to electric or gas-electric hybrid vehicles. In building up this charging infrastructure, expanding the still-meagre network of private and commercial charging opportunities, landlords may actually help to accelerate the rate of adoption of greener cars.

There are three common classes of charging stations. Level One stations are standard 110- or 120-volt wall-socket plug-ins, capable of charging cars overnight; Level Three are "fast chargers," usually 480 volts, able to charge a vehicle in as little as half an hour.

For businesses, Level Two charging stations are the sweet spot: 220 or 240-volt machines that charge cars over a few hours.

In the past few years, provinces such as Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have rolled out different incentive plans for landlords and businesses to install industry-standard charging stations. Coupled with tenant demand, commercial real estate owners and managers have plenty of reasons to invest in these chargers - which, in turn, should increase demand for vehicles themselves.

"There's no secret formula, but we know there are major ingredients to accelerate deployment," says Chantal Guimond, chief executive of Electric Mobility Canada, a national not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of electric transportation. On top of government incentives, she says, public and private charging assistance is crucial: "You have to have infrastructure outside of your home, to be able to recharge your car at work, and in the public arena."

Oxford Properties Group Inc., a major landlord across the country, has about 40 stations among its Canadian properties. At the TD Canada Trust Tower in Toronto, its parkade, shared with neighbouring landlord Brookfield Properties, has seven Level Two chargers and 14 stalls. On average, says building general manager Christopher Lieb, the parking spots are about 70 per cent occupied. Valet staff monitor the charging stations and alternate vehicles getting charged, making sure each gets a top-up during the day. They also have infrastructure for numerous Level One chargers.

Mr. Lieb says demands for such services are rising. "We're seeing a trend with some of our tenants, where it's written into the lease - they want a Level Two charger in the parking lot dedicated just for them," he says.

Seeing the prevalence of charging stations in tech hubs like California and Boston, Manulife began adding its own chargers, mostly Level Two, as a way to entice tenants who hire the brightest young employees. "Tenants are looking for amenity spaces in all the buildings. WiFi lounges, open networks, bike rooms, places where people socialize and congregate," Mr. Willcocks says. "It's providing services within the building to keep them within that building."

Most people charge their vehicles at home, giving them a full charge overnight, but increasing the number of charging stations available at workplace parking lots will give electric car owners - and, importantly, potential buyers - the reassurance that they don't need to worry about running out of fuel, says Ron Groves, head of education and outreach for Plug'n Drive Canada.

"What if, after driving 30 or 40 kilometres to work I get called on a mission - a business meeting, or dealing with a sick child?" he asks. "If I have a full battery because I plugged in at work, I have much more security knowing I can do that."

Over the past four years of its existence, Plug'n Drive has worked with property managers to install charging infrastructure, helping them with supply sourcing and guiding them through the process. "We cut their learning curve really short," Mr. Groves says.

While some commercial building lots are private, mucking up the numbers, Plug'n Drive keeps track of the number of publicly available charging stations in Canada. At the time of publication, there are more than 2,100, most of which are mapped on the company's website. Many, but not all, are free, or cost as little as a few dollars a charge.

And it's not just within cities: some major corridors, like Highway 40 between Quebec City and Montreal, are loaded with LevelThree "quick chargers" as part of the province's Electric Circuit network, which aims to ease the minds of heavy-commuting companies looking to electrify their employees or fleet.

One Quebec company is hoping to ease property managers' minds on another rising issue: the rising power bills that can come with more chargers. AddÉnergie, Canada's largest domestic charging station maker, not only runs a series of interconnected networks to make finding stations easier for drivers, but also designs software to make stations easier for owners to manage.

In jurisdictions with peak load pricing, AddÉnergie's software helps to lower the amount of charging during peak hours, instead spreading the charge over the eight-hour workday. It also helps with power sharing, daisychaining the charging stations to reduce loads on electrical panels.

The company has installed 1,100 stations so far in both the public and private sphere. "It scales up really fast," says Louis Tremblay, the company's chief executive. As a result, he says, property managers want a turnkey solution. "Big building managers... want to make sure, when they select a solution, there won't be surprises after surprises."

Associated Graphic

Manulife has gone from a handful of electric vehicle charging stations, like this one, to 145 across 26,000 parking spots in its real estate portfolio.


Lightness weighs heavily on designers
There are many considerations when it comes to shedding kilos from a vehicle
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page E2

Weighing only two pounds, Apple's latest laptop is insanely light. It's less than half the weight of this obsolete juggernaut on which I'm typing now.

Never mind that Apple's new gadget is obscenely, satirically expensive - also underpowered and lacking in basic features - it's light! And being light is - for better, or far more often for worse - deeply important in our efficiency-obsessed era.

Vehicles are among the last consumer products to develop a weight complex. Although, for cars at least, lightness is a virtue.

The benefits of making cars lighter are potentially enormous.

It could be a rare win-win for both speed freaks and ecowarriors. On one hand, basic physics dictate a lighter car will accelerate with more ferocity and handle with greater finesse. It will be more fun to drive. On the other hand, a lighter car takes less energy to move, allowing engineers to spec smaller, more fuel-efficient engines.

Why, then, aren't our cars getting insanely light like our laptops? The answer's not as obvious as you might think.


Auto makers must make cars that can survive a crash and protect occupants.

"Why doesn't everybody make very light cars? Because I think everybody is in the same developmental boat, having to fulfill crash and safety regulations - they add a lot of weight," says Grant Larson, Porsche's design manager for special projects.

"Lighter is tricky because the new laws just keep rolling in.

"When you make a heavier car, it's a heavier car also when it turns over, so you have to keep adding weight and strength to the [window] pillars. We have the responsibility of safety for passengers, especially in a performance car."

If you look at a modern convertible, such as Porsche's new Boxster Spyder or 911 Targa, it's incredible to imagine those little pillars that frame the window can hold up the entire front end of the car if it rolls over. But they can. They may look spindly, but you can bet they're not light.


Some auto makers do like Apple's done with its new laptop and simply cut out features to make a lighter machine.

Look at niche sports cars such as the skeletal KTM X-Bow or the Caterham Superlight series. Both weigh less than 800 kilograms each. But they make do without windshields, doors or roofs, let alone massaging seats and automatic dual-zone climate control.

The result is probably the purest driver's car on the planet - but how many people are willing to strap on a helmet every time they have to go get groceries?

"If you have more extras in the car, you have more weight," says Steffen Koenig, product manager for body-in-white at Porsche. Navigation, touch screen, backup cameras, radar sensors for adaptive cruise control, glass roof, 17speaker sound system, heated and cooled seats: All these things add up.

Once you add weight in the form of features, it's hard to offset, Koenig says. You can try to cut weight from the structure of the car, but then you run into safety concerns. You can use exotic materials, but that adds cost.


There's another obvious way to make cars lighter. It doesn't involve extra cost or cutting features. But, most customers would never put up with it.

"Every little millimetre you increase a car's size, you're adding weight," says Derek Jenkins, director of design for Mazda North America. "Especially in North America, there's a limit to how small you can make things before people just get turned off.

People are used to a certain size vehicle."

In the case of the new-generation MX-5, however, Mazda was able to make it smaller than the one it replaces.

"That's a big win," Jenkins says.

"It let us go down in wheel size and reduce weight throughout the entire vehicle - it's like a philosophical shift. It's not filled with high-tech materials. The technology is more in how Mazda scrutinized every component of the car to see where we can carve away that weight."

Making it smaller works for a two-seat sports car, but for a seven-seat SUV it's not an option.

"It's really hard to make something light without using a ton of exotic materials," Jenkins says.


Even at McLaren, where the cheapest car, the new 570S, will run you about $200,000, the cost of materials is still a big concern.

Andy Palmer, the man in charge of the 570S project at McLaren, explains: "I need to balance getting the car to its weight target, making sure we meet the performance target and also ensuring we meet the cost target.

Balancing all those three requirements using a mix of aluminum, carbon fibre and more conventional materials is always a big challenge."

The carbon fibre tub that forms the base of the passenger compartment on the 570S weighs just 80 kilograms. Palmer estimates it's 130 kilograms lighter than an equivalent part in steel.

A report from Bloomberg in 2013 quoted the cost for carbon fibre at $20/kilogram compared with about $1 for steel. It makes sense for McLaren on the low-volume $200,000 570S, but not for Mazda on the high-volume $30,000 MX-5.

Other lightweight materials are similarly expensive. Porsche uses a magnesium roof only on its hard-core $200,000 GT3 RS to lower its centre of gravity. Compared with an equivalent steel roof, Koenig at Porsche estimated the cost is roughly double for magnesium.


Crash regulations are getting more ambitious, consumers are demanding more features in their cars and there's little tolerance for downsizing. At the same time, hybrid drivetrains and large battery packs are adding weight, too.

To meet mandatory emissions targets, auto makers have two choices: develop alternative powertrains or drastically reduce vehicle weight. In typical auto-industry bet-hedging fashion, we'll likely see a combination of both approaches. The evidence is already out there.

"As everybody progresses with their motor efficiency to reduce fuel consumption, you have to counterbalance that with the weight discussion," Jenkins says.

"They're part of the same discussion. I think everybody is focused on that."

BMW has made progress in mass-producing and lowering the cost of carbon fibre. The entire passenger cell of the $45,000 i3 is made from the stuff.

Jaguar has invested heavily in aluminum manufacturing. The result is a new mid-size XF sedan that gains features while it shedding 120 kilograms from its steel predecessor.

"Will we see cars getting really lighter? Sub-1,000 kilos? I don't know," Palmer says. "Let's see where technology moves us."

Associated Graphic

Balancing cost and weight is a priority for McLaren's 570s. The carbon fibre tub that forms the base of the passenger compartment weighs just 80 kilograms.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R21



1 1 13 The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

2 2 3 The Little Old Lady Strikes Again, by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg (HarperCollins, $19.99).

3 - 1 The Patriot Threat, by Steve Berry (Minotaur, $32.50).

4 - 1 At The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen (Bond Street, $32).

5 5 22 The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules, by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg (HarperCollins, $19.99).

6 7 6 Prodigal Son, by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $34).

7 8 14 Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (Avon, $17.99).

8 - 1 The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford (William Morrow & Company, $21.99).

9 9 6 Mightier Than The Sword, by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's, $32.50).

10 3 2 Someone Is Watching, by Joy Fielding (Doubleday Canada, $22.95).



1 1 5 My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas And Helen Edwards' Family Story, by Jenny Lee Smith (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

2 2 4 Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania, by Erik Larson (Crown, $32.50).

3 3 10 The Brain's Way Of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity, by Norman Doidge (Viking , $34.95).

4 6 9 Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape Of A Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body, by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson, $20.99).

5 5 2 Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Knopf Canada, $32).

6 4 2 Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution Of A Reckless Upstart Into A Visionary Leader, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Signal, $32.95).

7 7 6 Measure Twice: Tips And Tricks From The Pros To Help You Avoid The Most Common DIY Disasters, by Bryan Baeumler (HarperCollins, $29.99).

8 9 5 H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (Hamish Hamilton, $32).

9 10 7 Nice Is Just A Place In France: How To Win At Basically Everything , by The Betches (Gallery, $18.99).

10 - 1 Middle Power, Middle Kingdom: What Canadians Need To Know About China In The 21st Century, by David Mulroney (Allen Lane, $32).

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 All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews (Vintage Canada, $22).

2 At The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen (Bond Street, $32).

3 Someone Is Watching, by Joy Fielding (Doubleday Canada, $22.95).

4 The Night Stages, by Jane Urquhart (McClelland & Stewart, $32.95).

5 Ru, by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman (Vintage Canada , $18.95).

6 The Book Of Negroes (TV Series Tie-In), by Lawrence Hill 6 (HarperPerennial, $17.99).

7 After The War Is Over, by Jennifer Robson (Avon, $18.50).

8 Medicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese (McClelland & Stewart, $17.95).

9 Ru, by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman (Vintage Canada, $17.95).

10 And The Birds Rained Down, by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda 10 Mullins (Coach House, $18.95).

NON-FICTION 1 The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account Of Native People In North America, by Thomas King (Anchor Canada, $19.95).

2 The Brain's Way Of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity, by Norman Doidge (Viking , $34.95).

3 Measure Twice: Tips And Tricks From The Pros To Help You Avoid The Most Common DIY Disasters, by Bryan Baeumler (HarperCollins, $29.99).

4 The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories Of Personal Triumph From The Frontiers Of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge (Penguin, $20).

5 Middle Power, Middle Kingdom: What Canadians Need To Know About China In The 21st Century, by David Mulroney (Allen Lane, $32).

6 AsapSCIENCE: Answers To The World's Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, And Unexplained Phenomena, by Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown (Scribner, $28.99).

7 Sarah Style: An Inspiring Room-By-Room Guide To Designing Your Perfect Home, by Sarah Richardson (Simon & Schuster, $32).

8 A House In The Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Scribner, $22).

9 Let The Elephants Run: Unlock Your Creativity And Change Everything, by David Usher (House Of Anansi, $29.95).

10 David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $20).



1 The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality, by Phil McGraw (Bird Street, $28).

2 Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin (Doubleday Canada, $29.95).

3 The Beauty Detox Power: Nourish Your Mind And Body For Weight Loss And Discover True Joy, by Kimberly Snyder (Harlequin, $21.95).

4 Footprints: 50th Anniversary Treasury, by Margaret Fishback Powers (HarperCollins, $19.99).

5 Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription For Radiance, Vitality, And Well-Being, by Christiane Northrup (Hay House, $25.99).

6 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Thanks To My Mom, by Amy Newmark and 6 Jo Dee Messina (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

7 The 13th Disciple: A Spiritual Adventure, by Deepak Chopra (HarperOne, $31.99).

8 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Hope & Miracles, by Amy Newmark and Natasha Stoynoff (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

9 Yoga Girl, by Rachel Brathen (Touchstone, $23.99).

10 How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (Pocket, $18.99).



1 My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas And Helen Edwards' Family Story, by Jenny Lee Smith (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

2 American Sniper (Paperback Movie Tie-In): The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History, by Chris Kyle, Jim DeFelice and Scott McEwen (Avon, $19.99).

3 Finding Me: A Decade Of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed, by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford (HarperCollins, $10.99).

4 Unbroken: A World War ll Story Of Survival, Resilience, And Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, $19).

5 Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, $18.95).

6 Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution Of A Reckless Upstart Into A Visionary Leader, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Signal, $32.95).

7 Wild (Movie Tie-In): From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, $18.95).

8 H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (Hamish Hamilton, $32).

9 Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan (Simon & Schuster, $18.99).

10 Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired The Film The Imitation Game, by Andrew Hodges (Vintage Canada, $18.99).

The Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction bestseller lists, and the Canadian Specialty Books list, are compiled for The Globe and Mail by BookNet Canada.

Searching for mobile gaming's magic formula
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

The startup story of Jeremy Zuckerman sounds like it came out of a central casting description. The McGill University graduate was a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group last year when a eureka moment led him to quit his job, raise money from family and friends and become his own boss at 26.

Mr. Zuckerman thinks his mobile-gaming startup WINR Games has a disruptive idea: Reward players with cash.

The company's free game, Big Time, is built on a revenue model that is essentially a raffle: Players can try several mini-games - navigating space-based obstacle courses or puzzles - in which collecting raffle tickets is the goal.

Every week, a randomized draw rewards one player with about $1,000 (the pot varies). "Big Time Cares" allows players to pick a charity to receive a share of the game's revenue.

"I see no reason anyone wouldn't play this game if they knew about it," says Mr. Zuckerman. And therein lies his challenge: Helping people discover a game they don't already know about can be the most bedevilling element of any game developer's path to success.

Research from games analysts at Newzoo pegged 2014's mobile revenues at more than $21-billion (U.S.) globally, and some of the top games in the category pull in a million dollars a day. But those success stories are rare in the increasingly crowded industry where a handful of popular names dominate and experts say formulas that have driven profits in the past likely won't work for companies trying to break in.

There is no shortage of games nor entrepreneurs like Mr. Zuckerman fighting for survival in the mobile world. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, there are 329 video game companies operating in the country, employing more than 16,500 people. Canadian firms finished 910 games in 2012 (ESAC's most recent data available), which is a tiny drop added to the more than 340,000 games available just in Apple Inc.'s App Store.

The rewards of making a winning game can be immense. Last year's most lucrative mobile game, Clash of Clans, has 5,645,615 daily active users, and is generating about $1,757,714 a day in revenue, according to analysis by Think Gaming, a game-ranking service. Supercell, the Finnish company that makes the game, saw its profits double in 2014 (to $565-million U.S.) and revenue triple to $1.7-billion.

They pull in that kind of money because the game offers a huge variety of so-called in-app purchases (virtual goods that can alter gameplay and are available for a one-off fee), typically for a buck or two. But there's a limit - 60 per cent of players say they will never purchase those in-app goods, according to research from NPD Group Inc.

Toronto-based WINR's game is free and there are no in-app purchases - there really can't be if they don't want to run afoul of contest laws in North America.

In contrast, Mr. Zuckerman's revenue comes from advertising.

He believes the game will be sustainable when it hits 50,000 or more daily active users. Launched in November, the game is available on iOS and Google Play and has fewer than 10,000 users so far.

Albert Lai, CEO of Big Viking games, a serial entrepreneur and one of Canada's more successful indie games developers, calls WINR's model "very idealistic," particularly because it relies on advertising revenue.

"It may make sense from the outside, if they haven't seen all the carcasses of ad-support [games]. If it was 1999, it would work; the advertisers were much more naive about how they spent their money. These days they have gotten a little more sophisticated.

"I want to play games because I enjoy them," says Mr. Lai, who thinks that ultimately no charitable or cash-prize gimmick can make a game succeed.

"I'm not going to say if it is a bad idea or a good idea," Liam Callahan, games analyst with NPD, said of WINR Games. "The problem has nothing to do with the business model, it has to do with awareness."

Mr. Callahan believes there's no magic formula that game makers can follow to make their product stand out and attract players.

"Clearly, there are success stories that are sustainable." The King.coms or Rovio Entertainments of the world grew to scale and use a variety of tactics to stay there, from licensed characters to robust online and conventional marketing plans. But getting there from zero can require a good deal of luck in such a crowded market, Mr. Callahan suggests.

"One of the older ways of getting consumers is to be featured in the app store, or be a Top 10 game," but even getting there could be a combination of unique game play or that word of mouth lightning in a bottle.

And winning new users is getting more expensive.

The basic math of acquiring users for your game is called Cost Per Install. According to mobile marketing analysts such as Fiksu Inc. the price per user has hovered above $1 for most of 2014.

However, a more difficult metric, Cost Per Loyal User, has risen steadily in recent years and now sits at almost $3 a head.

WINR has been trying to gin up buzz by paying YouTube personalities to do native advertising videos that focus on the game, which Mr. Zuckerman found to be a much cheaper and more effective method than traditional online display advertising.

But even with some luck, WINR could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing trying to generate user growth. Until that point, it is paying the weekly cash prize and charitable donations out of its own startup capital.

Mr. Zuckerman says the charitable association helps lend his cash prizes legitimacy among players. "People would think this is a scam. They would say 'this can't be real,' " he said.

So far, Right to Play and Plan Canada are among the potential recipients, and on Sunday, WINR gave $500 to the Hospital for Sick Children.

Mr. Zuckerman notes the highest-earning mobile games can have 60 or 80 per cent margins, but if his game hits a "tipping point," he says he's fine with taking a lower share of the profits, so long as the proceeds are going to a good cause.

Associated Graphic

Jeremy Zuckerman, founder of WINR Games, believes he has a winning revenue model in offering cash prizes for players of his free mobile game, Big Time.


Jeremy Zuckerman, founder of WINR Games, gives some of the company's earnings to charity.


Welcome to the big-boy game
Subban's slash on Stone was a dumb thing to do, but Montreal knows how to earn the advantage - by any means necessary
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S3

BROSSARD, QUE. -- Most pro sports view acts of wanton violence as a failure, to be lamented and erased from memory as quickly as possible; in hockey, they can become cultural touchstones.

Call it a manifestation of the game's lizard brain: Talent can be countered by brutishness, and the beauty is it works almost every time.

In a wider sense, to be a key offensive performer in the NHL is to suffer the democratizing effects of ill treatment. Skill players tend to be phlegmatic about it.

"It's part of the expectation of playoff hockey, right? Guys on the other team trying to make it extremely difficult in a physical way on the other team's skill forwards - and we're trying to do the same for them," said Ottawa Senators centre Kyle Turris, a dynamic player who is often singled out for rough handling.

The dominant narrative from Ottawa's series opener with the Montreal Canadiens focused on Sens sniper Mark Stone's health following a slash from the Habs' P.K. Subban. He wasn't the only player targeted in the game.

Montreal's Brendan Gallagher plays a style that draws close opposition interest - buzz the net, jostle the goalie, rinse, repeat - it's also a function of his skill as a goal scorer (he potted 24 goals this year, one fewer than Stone).

"I went into the game understanding that I was going to have to take some punches, take some shots," he said after a team workout. "I really felt it [Wednesday] night ... it's not something I haven't dealt with before. For me, I understand what they're trying to do. As long as I don't get frustrated and let it affect my game then hopefully what they do won't work."

He doesn't mind being roughed up, and there are plenty of people willing to oblige.

This is how you get to Subban's peak-Bobby Clarke moment.

The two-handed whack on Stone wasn't as egregious as Clarke's infamous assault on Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov's ankle in the 1972 Summit Series, but the motivation surely originates from a similar place.

The game not only encourages such behaviour, in some ways it demands it. Those twigs aren't just for shooting pucks.

The stick-swinging annals are full of pivotal moments and the post-slash situation is this: the Habs are up 1-0 in the series, their best defenceman has escaped further punishment, the Sens' inspirational goal scorer is diminished by an injury just as Montreal's is set to return from one (Max Pacioretty could figure Friday in Game 2 and if not, in Sunday's Game 3).

It's advantage Montreal, earned the old-fashioned way: by any means necessary.

The shorthand is to "play a guy hard," and if someone gets injured in the process, well, it's a big-boy sport.

The Habs know this better than most.

Chris Kreider's inopportune slide into goalie Carey Price in the Eastern Conference final between Montreal and the New York Rangers last year derailed the former's hopes.

A year earlier, Sens defenceman Eric Gryba's suspension-worthy hit in Game 1 subtracted influential Montreal centre Lars Eller from the equation; the series soon descended into chaos, and the Canadiens limped away in defeat.

Now the Habs have donned the black hats, thanks to Subban.

Teams engage in a high level of off-ice politicking in any playoff series, and the Sens' lobbying offensive was impressive.

Revealing the exact nature of Stone's injury - a microfracture to his right wrist and unspecified ligament damage - was a tidy bit of gamesmanship in an era of "upper-body injuries."

And if coach Dave Cameron's postgame remarks hinted at retribution - "You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and just give us five" - Ottawa walked it back after news Subban wouldn't, in fact, be suspended.

"We're not threatening anybody here, we're just asking for justice," Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said.

He added a flourish to his remarks with an accusation of premeditation: "The disturbing part from my point of view is that there was a threat made before by Subban to Stone; there were two attempts on faceoffs to slash him.

One connected."

Expressing disappointment that the league didn't mete out supplementary discipline may sharpen the officials' focus on the series. The Sens will happily live with the added scrutiny.

Subban accepted responsibility for the incident ("It's on me") denied making any threats and insisted he had no intention to injure Stone, whose status for the series is doubtful.

"I've never done that in my career. It's something that my family doesn't condone, this organization doesn't condone. I'm not out there to do that," he said.

The act was a remarkably dumb decision, and Subban acknowledged as much.

"I don't want take a penalty there, we're already down a man, I just tried to let him know. I didn't even look to see where I was going to slash him ... I try to play hard in front of the net; obviously, it's something that I can't do," he said. "As far as targeting anybody ... if anything, I feel like a lot of times I'm the target."

Subban chalked his exaggerated reaction at being tossed from the game up to a surfeit of emotion and allowed that in hindsight the penalty was "the right call."

His tone wasn't exactly repentant.

"I've been slashed a lot harder than that," he said.

When asked if planned on reaching out to Stone, he said, "Nope."

There's still a whiff of Old Testament about the NHL, and the sight of Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil lining up on the fourth line at practice on Thursday carried its own message.

Turris said, "You're here to play the game. You're obviously going to stick up for your teammates, though. We'll discuss things in our own locker room as to how we handle that."

Cameron, by contrast, said discipline will be the order of the day.

"I'd be really disappointed if my team starts chasing any one player around and we lose the series because we couldn't deal with an incident," he said.

Grudge matches seldom live up to the hype; it will be interesting to see if Game 2 plays to type.

Associated Graphic

Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone, left, grimaces after being slashed by Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban during Game 1 of their first-round series on Wednesday in Montreal.


Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA. -- Bill Armstrong, his eyes shadowed by the brim of his white camo-print Ford F-150 baseball cap, peers out the window of the Tim Hortons in downtown Fort McMurray. Just a few dozen metres away is a line of cars on Highway 63, the bright evening sun glaring down on them.

"This is the nightmare of my life," says Mr. Armstrong, a 50year-old truck driver, gesturing at the road that connects the city to communities in southern Alberta.

A long expanse of the highway is a single lane in each direction, and people in the region - including some local politicians - have said many, if not all, of the fatal head-on collisions on it could have been avoided if the road was twinned. Mr. Armstrong knew several people, including close friends, who died while driving it.

From 2003 to 2012, the more-than-400-kilometre span of highway had 92 fatal collisions, according to Alberta Transportation.

One, in 2012, claimed seven lives.

The federal and provincial governments have pledged a total of $1.2-billion to twin 240 kilometres of the highway, which the province says should be completed by next fall. But Mr. Armstrong cannot understand why the project was not finished years ago.

"We had millions and millions and millions of dollars worth of equipment sitting on that highway for what was like two years, not moving, but we were still paying for it," he says.

The situation with Highway 63 is one of the many reasons Mr. Armstrong's long-term support of the Progressive Conservatives is unravelling. In the past few months, the curtain has been lifted on what he sees as a history of mismanagement by the party that has been in power for 44 years.

Fort McMurray has been ground zero for the sharp drop in oil prices, and the impact can be seen in cutbacks and layoffs not just in oil sands projects but across the region. Locals are wondering why the government, which easily filled its coffers for decades with the oil royalties generated in their boomtown, cannot seem to weather this downturn.

Shawna Anderson, who has lived in Fort McMurray since she was a teenager, has been confused over the deficit the province is running and the unpopular budget it tabled this spring - especially the cuts to health care and the reintroduction of the health-care premium.

She does not accept the government's contention that this is the result of the drop in the price of oil.

"A few months of low oil prices shouldn't really be making that much of an impact," says Ms. Anderson, 29, a stay-at-home mom.

Both Ms. Anderson, who is in the Fort McMurray-Conklin riding, and Mr. Armstrong, who is in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, have always voted PC. For the first time, they are unsure of whom to support on May 5.

Mr. Armstrong believes newly named Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, who is running in Fort McMurray-Conklin, would be a good agent of change not just for the region, but the province as a whole.

Mr. Jean has been a harsh critic of how the PCs have managed the biggest economic driver in the region. He argues that a more hands-on approach to managing the oil patch could protect the province from the boom-andbust cycle.

"I think he'd be good for the province, especially this end of it," Mr. Armstrong says.

Mr. Jean is well known in the community, having served as an MP, but he faces a tough race against PC incumbent Don Scott, minister of innovation and advanced education, who collected half the votes in 2012.

Fort McMurray-Conklin was created in 2010 when Fort McMurrayWood Buffalo was split in two.

Candidates have campaigned as though the ridings are two parts of a whole. Mr. Jean and fellow Wildrose candidate Tany Yao have appeared together at campaign announcements, as have Mr. Scott and his counterpart, incumbent Mike Allen. NDP candidates Ariana Mancini and Stephen Drover's lawn signs are staked side-by-side in both ridings.

Robert Cossette has little faith that a change in government would pull Fort McMurray out of its slump; only a steady lift in the price of oil will do that, he says.

He was laid off as a truck driver on oil sands construction projects in October, and finding a good job since then has been an ongoing struggle for Mr. Cossette, 33, who lives in the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo riding. He has had a few short contracts, one of which took him to Grande Prairie, but nothing long-term. He estimates he has applied for 75 to 100 jobs in the past few months.

It was easier to get through rough times when he was in Montreal five years ago, because living in the city was so cheap. Here, his income has dropped significantly, but the cost of living is still high.

In Wood Buffalo, housing and groceries cost about 50-per-cent more than the provincial average.

Many of the people he worked with in the oil patch - in on-site work camps and in town - have left Fort McMurray.

Workloads for members of the Fort McMurray Construction Association have dropped in the past six months, too, says association president Charles Iggulden.

Instead of $100-million contracts, they have been getting $5-million or $10-million ones. But as he sees it, this should be a busy time for construction crews.

His hope is that after election day, the party that comes to power will find a way to make lemonade of this economic slump.

"[The Progressive Conservatives] always said they'd wait to do infrastructure projects during the downturn. They can buy better during the downturn," he said.


REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF WOOD BUFFALO Population: 104,338 Ridings: Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray-Conklin Election History: The riding of Fort McMurray- Wood Buffalo was split into two in 2010 In 2012, Don Scott, PC, won with 49% of the vote in Fort McMurray- Conklin. Mike Allen, also PC, won with 49% of the vote in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Big issues: Cutbacks and layoffs at oil sands projects, highway expansion Main industry: Oil production

Associated Graphic


Many have died in car crashes along Highway 63, a perilous stretch of road on the way to Fort McMurray.


Bill Armstrong is a 50-year-old trucker who hopes Brian Jean, the Wildrose leader and a candidate in Fort McMurray-Conklin, becomes Alberta's next premier.


The fine design line between good and great
UTM's Innovation Centre reflects a wave of renewed ambition to create high-quality campus buildings
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R3

Big dreams, and then smaller ones. This has been the rhythm by which Canadian universities have been built over the past four decades, and you can read this history clearly on the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus. It was first conceived in the sixties as a concrete megastructure, but it emerged as a collage of architectural visions, Brutalist concrete colliding with sleek stainless steel and townhouses that look trucked in from a nearby subdivision.

The latest addition, the Innovation Centre, announces itself with a flash: Its façade is wrapped in a screen of vertical aluminum fins painted a brilliant white. Move to one side, and the surface of the building begins to dissolve before your eyes. The smooth, powdercoated surfaces of the fins blend together into a rippling, shimmering cloud.

The designers, Moriyama & Teshima Architects, aimed for a balance between assertiveness and politesse, says Carol Phillips, an architect who led the design for MTA along with Daniel Teramura. "The campus has some really remarkable buildings with distinct claddings, and we really wanted to bring something that was neutral," she explains. "We're at a point where the campus needs some stitching together.

It's distinct, but it is also neutral."

The building reflects a decadelong wave of renewed ambition to create high-quality campus architecture, here and elsewhere in Canada. But what is a true sign of the times is the legal and financial framework that produced it, known as integrated design-build.

This is a cousin to the public-private partnership model now fashionable in Canada's public sector, in which a consortium of private companies guarantees a price and a date and assumes the risks of construction, and the government pays up when it's done. In this case, the university was involved all the way along, but Moriyama & Teshima worked as a team with builders PCL Constructors - and the architects answered to them, not to the ultimate users of the building.

This matters more than you might think.

Under its remarkable surface, the 65,300-square-foot structure - a renovation and addition of a 1992 academic building - is fairly modest in its aspirations. It houses offices for the faculties of economics and management, the campus's registrar, classrooms and a new student commons. The latter is the heart of the program.

The grand circular room sits at the middle of this centre, defining a new and badly needed student gathering place. The walls here are dressed in Italian travertine marble and studded with another set of tall vertical members - these ones wrapped in white oak, rather than painted white.

The two sets of fins, inside and outside, have precisely the same dimensions; their aluminum backbones were fabricated at the same time, and then wrapped in different materials. As Phillips told me, that decision came as part of one of many conversations between the design-build team and the university's representatives. Originally, the architects had imagined the wood fins on the great hall with slightly different proportions; making them echo the façade saved money and construction time, with a negligible impact on the design. "We wouldn't have arrived at that ourselves," says Phillips, who describes the collaboration with PCL as smooth and productive.

"The process can make architects smarter." This sort of efficiency is the promise of design-build.

In some senses, the building is a victory. It was delivered with a high level of workmanship in just 21 months from conception to opening - a remarkably short timeline, and one the university was required by the province to hit in order to cope with a student population that has almost tripled in just a decade.

Still, it is no bargain. The Innovation Centre's $30-million budget makes it competitive, accounting for size and inflation, with more ambitious buildings on the same campus, such as the Governor-General's Award-winning Donnelly Health Sciences Complex by Kongats Architects.

And as you move away from the Innovation Centre's showpiece elements, the building descends from the sublime into the just adequate. A substantial number of classrooms are underground, lacking any natural light; once you step away from the most important passageways, the floors change from ceramic to linoleum. Outside, the architects went beyond their brief to rethink the landscape around the building; and yet a new path they added along one side is bare concrete, unlandscaped and unadorned. A $30-million building, and no money for some shrubs?

No single person bears responsibility for those decisions. The architects and PCL competed for the job as a team; when they won it, the university presented them with a lengthy "manual" that specified the academic needs and on which floor each element should be placed. University staff, under chief administrative officer Paul Donoghue, wrote this manual and managed the process actively. "We are at the table," Donoghue says. "We are there to ask, how do I bring it to reality in a cost-effective way? Those discussions go back and forth between the architect, the contractor and us."

However, the architects couldn't play their profession's traditional role of consulting with their clients to see what they need - and questioning whether they really need it, or how that result might be delivered in unorthodox ways. Sometimes it takes a skilled outsider to question an organization's internal culture and assumptions.

In this case, for instance, Donoghue explains that both classroom and office space were urgently needed when the building was conceived in 2012. Yet most of the faculty offices I visited - which are well-lit and attractively designed - showed few signs of occupancy. Many professors on the campus hold other appointments. Did each of the faculty in this facility really need a private office? I don't know, but it would have been worth asking.

Architecture is not just about organizing form and space; it's also about listening and about asking tough questions.

And there is a bigger question to ask. There was a time, in the 1960s, when Canada treated universities and college campuses as nation-building projects: Simon Fraser, the University of Lethbridge, Scarborough College. To do that again will require vision, money and the political will to pay for innovation. Donoghue argues that his university is "building for the long term," and he is no doubt sincere. But in this case he got a good building: I wonder whether the builders and architects could have produced a great one.

Associated Graphic

University of Toronto Mississauga's new Innovation Centre cost $30-million to construct, and took only 21 months to go from conception to completion.

The new campus building was designed by Toronto-based Moriyama & Teshima Architects.

Feeding off the haters, Wizards' Pierce has the magic touch as a master of bile
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


Fifteen years ago, Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times in a Boston nightclub.

The attack happened less than a week before the start of training camp. Pierce asked friends to drive him to the hospital. He walked out three days later under his own power.

He was the only Celtics player to start all 82 games that season.

You could hit Paul Pierce with a sledgehammer, and he'd lie down on the ground in an orderly fashion and pass out with dignity. He has that certain je ne what the hell are you looking at?

This is not a man who rattles. And yet, Toronto has given him an almighty great shake. It has only woken him up.

Ahead of Saturday's Game 1 embarrassment, the Raptors tried to avoid wrangling with Pierce. The Wizards forward built his public persona around begging people to take a run at him.

Then, using personality judo, he leaves you sprawled on the floor. Everyone in the NBA knows that. This city's just figuring it out.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri couldn't resist a mildly profane taunt in the pregame.

"People want me to say something about Paul Pierce, but we don't give [an expletive] about 'it,' " Ujiri said, referencing Pierce's famous jibe.

A day later, the NBA fined Ujiri and the Raptors a total of $60,000 (U.S.) for "using obscene language in a public setting." It'd be money well spent if it had worked. It did not.

Later, far more woundingly, Pierce would refer to Ujiri as "Yuri." Last year, he confused him with former GM Bryan Colangelo - who's a tall white guy from Arizona, while Ujiri is a tall black guy from Nigeria. No one's that stupid. Least of all Pierce.

After he'd won the first encounter for the Wizards, Pierce was told about Ujiri's comments. He smiled.

"I think I can play the psychological war a little better than him."

He's right. Few have ever played it better. Pierce is a great player, and a much greater provocateur.

As 37 years old, the latter is compensating for any slips in the former.

By Sunday, the Raptors were furiously trying to defuse the figurative bomb in their midst.

As he tends to do, Toronto guard Greivis Vasquez appointed himself ad-hoc Emotional Spokesperson.

"This is the last day I'm going to answer anything about Paul Pierce," Vasquez said, as though the two men were running against each other for president.

"He got you guys' attention [i.e., the media]. He got everybody's attention. If we keep talking about Paul Pierce, this is going to be a Paul Pierce series."

Vasquez later prompted this shining moment in journalism.

Washington reporter: "Greivis Vasquez was just asked about you and he said, and I quote, 'Paul Pierce has big balls.' Do you have a response for that?" Pierce: "No comment."

Vasquez made one pivotal observation: "I don't know if you're from Toronto, but, like, we don't have any trash-talkers in our locker room."

Trash-talking is a grand, fading tradition. There's an art to it - perfected by Muhammad Ali and passed down like stone masonry to subsequent generations. That is, it sounds like a useful skill, but no one's willing to devote themselves to the craft.

The Raptors have one guy who does it well - assistant coach Jamaal Magloire. It's hard to do your fighting from the bench.

Pierce is one of the last masters of bile. He has that potent mix of skill, age, success and poise that allows him to absorb the resultant public-relations pressure.

You can't rip people unless you enjoy being despised. You certainly can't do it unless you can back it up.

Throughout his career, Pierce has done both repeatedly. During Saturday's unwatchable 93-86 overtime win against the Raptors, he was the only decent player on court for either team. He's spent the season hobbling. Right now, it looks like he was waiting.

Before it started, they were chanting Pierce's name outside the ACC.

"[Blank] Paul Pierce. [Blank] Paul Pierce. [Blank] Paul Pierce."

He received an elemental jeering during introductions. This was the sort of anger that hasn't been heard at the ACC since Vince Carter's traitorous-heart heyday.

When Pierce first took the ball, they kicked off with "Paul Pierce sucks. Paul Pierce sucks."

Pierce brushed it aside, and took over.

Do you think it's foolish for fans to taunt this man?

"Nah," DeMar DeRozan said.

"They got on him last year, and he won Game 1 for them. It happens."

DeRozan only seemed to realize halfway through his answer that he was undermining his own point.

Whether he'll admit it or not, we all knew this was a terrible idea. It's one thing to poke the bear. It's another to stick your hand in his cage and dare him to bite it off.

Paul Pierce feeds on hate. He consumes your fear and loathing like Cheerios. It sustains him.

"I get more enjoyment out of going on the road and getting a win than I do at home," Pierce said.

This cockiness is contagious. It makes boys feel like men.

The most concerning thing for the Raptors in the first game was the play of Kyle Lowry. The team's best player was terrible. Not "one off night" terrible, but "running on empty" bad.

He fouled out midway through the fourth after throwing a pointless chop block on Washington's Bradley Beal.

As Lowry went to the bench, Beal gave him a cheeky little wave. Beal is one of the class valedictorians of this generation of young NBA stars, a bit of a keener.

But Pierce's presence has that emboldening effect on teammates. He brings out the incipient biker in everyone.

The Raptors still have plenty of hope. They played as poorly as they could and still managed to stretch things to an extra period.

At this point, Washington has only one advantage - Pierce.

Throughout his career, he's been more of a talisman than a player.

"I don't mind playing the role of the underdog, villain. Whatever you want to call it," Pierce said.

"You just gotta embrace it. It's not like I'm a bad guy. Everybody knows I'm a good guy."

Maybe that's true. Either way, Toronto should pretend they agree. The only way to fight Paul Pierce is disarming him with a kindness and apathy.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Playing in paradise
A mere hurricane couldn't delay the opening of two new world-class courses in Cabo San Lucas, designed by Woods and Nicklaus
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

After an eight-minute drive in the cart between the fourth green and the fifth tee at Jack Nicklaus's newest golf course design, Quivira in Cabo San Lucas, it's worth pausing to look across the expanse of this Mexican paradise and try to imagine what things looked like last September.

That's when the Baja Peninsula was struck by its worst hurricane on record. Winds peaked at 200 kilometres an hour, tearing roofs off buildings, and causing damages estimated at more than $1-billion (U.S.). But in less than three weeks, recovery efforts were well under way in the bustling tourist hub of Cabo San Lucas and neighbouring San Jose del Cabo.

And two of golf's best-known figures - Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus - weren't about to let Mother Nature interfere with the launch of their Mexican masterpieces, which opened in December. The high praise given to Nicklaus's Quivira and Woods's El Cardonal have helped lead Cabo's post-storm comeback.

Nicklaus's Quivira, set at the tip of the peninsula on granite cliffs, is a feast for the eyes and the senses. The course itself is both a beauty and a beast. The fairways are wide, and there is no rough, making it fairly playable for all levels of golfers. But, measuring more than 7,100 yards from the back tees, even the most-experienced player will want to bring extra golf balls. Yes, it can be played as short as 4,300 yards, but Quivira's water hazards - including the crystal-blue Pacific - are eager to gobble up any errant shot.

Just as the acclaimed Cabot Links course in Nova Scotia features views of the Atlantic from every hole, so does Quivira with the Pacific. A number of stunning holes are set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the dips and rises of the natural, rugged terrain can make you feel as if you're the only player there.

And, unlike at most places that are strict on pace-of-play, the staff at Quivira encourage guests to slow down. After the eighth hole, a 12-minute break is scheduled for duffers to indulge in complimentary tacos filled with chorizo, baby shrimp or pulled chicken, a light sprinkle of cheese, and a variety of fresh salsas with just enough zing to warrant a cold cerveza before continuing with the round.

Woods's course, El Cardonal at the Diamante Club, is the first in the world finished by his design team, and comes after a few false starts (in Dubai, North Carolina and in a different layout on Mexico's Baja Coast).

The course is very playerfriendly, perhaps surprising given his own well-known competitive approach to the game. As Woods told Golf Magazine before the course opened, he "didn't want people to lose a dozen balls" on the course.

El Cardonal gives golfers of all levels a number of options around the greens, wide landing areas for tee shots, and topography that climbs and climbs until it reaches the final stretch of holes that overlook the rest of the Diamante property and the ocean.

Diamante is also home to the Dunes Course, ranked 52nd in the world by Golf Magazine, giving golfers a strong double option at this club. For Quivara, guests at any of the four Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resort & Spas in Los Cabos can reserve tee times, for a fee. And Nexus Tours, a worldwide tour and excursion agency, can assist in arranging tee times at both Quivira and El Cardonal.

Cabo has been a growing golf destination over the past decade, and these two new courses reaffirm it as world-class. Other outstanding courses, which are open to the public, include Cabo San Lucas Country Club, and the dramatic Ocean Course at Cabo Del Sol, another Nicklaus design, where seven holes hug the Pacific.

One hole at Cabo Del Sol has an "infinity" green - like a swimming pool, it appears as though the back of the green drops into the ocean. The final three holes on the course, Nicklaus has boasted, are "the three finest finishing holes in golf."

If you're looking for a magical golf experience - beyond the standard golfing locales such as Florida or Myrtle Beach, S.C. - then Cabo offers it. And it doesn't matter if you're new to the game or an experienced player: Cabo has something for every skill level.

Greg Tallman, general manager at Cabo Del Sol, summed up the area's golf scene this way: The "worst golf" in Cabo will still be some of the best golf you'll ever play.

The writer travelled courtesy of Signature Vacations, which neither reviewed nor approved this article.


Los Cabos is made up of two towns, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, linked by a 30kilometre corridor of hotels, luxury resorts and championship golf courses. Los Cabos International Airport is served by most carriers, including Air Canada, Westjet and Sunwing.


Golf: Cabo Del Sol Golf Club and Cabo San Lucas Country Club are open to the public, but call ahead for reservations.

If travelling with Signature Vacations, you'll get discounts at Questro courses such as Cabo Real, Puerto Los Cabos and Club Campestre San Jose.

(To access the Quivira and El Cardonal courses, you must be a guest at a specific property, although Nexus Tours can arrange access for others.)

Beyond golf: Nexus offers excursions for whale watching, swimming with dolphins, camel safaris, sailing and more. Or try the party tour to a number of night clubs such as Cabo Wabo, owned by former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar. los-cabos/


Downtown Cabo San Lucas boasts a number of fine-dining restaurants, including Salvatore's (bring your appetite for an Italian feast) and Sunset Mona Lisa (make sure to arrive before sunset to get the full experience of this spot, ranked by The New York Times as one of its top-five "coolest restaurants in the world").


The Cabo coast boasts a wide array of hotels and resorts, many of them all-inclusive properties offering week-long stays. Signature Vacation packages at the beachfront Riu Palace and Riu Sante Fe resorts, both a short distance from downtown Cabo, include accommodation, all meals, drinks, snacks, nightly entertainment and activities, and round-trip flight (about $1,300 a person from Toronto).

Associated Graphic

The rugged Pacific coastline of Mexico's Baja Peninsula makes a dramatic setting for the new Quivira golf course in Cabo San Lucas.

An emerging market starts over
Narendra Modi campaigned to bring India's business and economy back to life. A year into his mandate, the country is seeing the glimmer of a turnaround
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

Ever since oil prices collapsed, Ramkali has saved roughly 300 rupees ("about six dollars) each time she makes the trip to bring pottery from her small village to sell at her roadside stall in South Delhi.

The savings are a welcome relief for Ramkali. She figures cheaper fuel prices must be the work of India's new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who swept to power last May by promising development, jobs and an improved economy.

"Modi's doing a good job. I'm feeling good because the prices of essential things have been reduced," says Ramkali, who lives in a one-room apartment with a dirt floor cluttered with cooking supplies and a single bed that she shares with her husband and four children.

Mr. Modi can't take credit for the plunge in global oil prices, but cheaper fuel and a subdued inflation rate have nonetheless given India's leader support as he seeks to revitalize the country's economy.

He is to arrive in Canada this week for a state visit, and is expected to appeal for Canadian investment in India.

Mr. Modi's job was never going to be easy. He inherited a government apparatus paralyzed by the previous administration's numerous corruption scandals and an economy that went from red-hot 11-per-cent GDP growth to years mired at about 5 per cent as foreign investors lost confidence and Indian businesses invested abroad for safer returns.

But because India is a net importer of energy, the country has benefited hugely from the ongoing oil slump.

Inflation is now down to about 5 per cent, after soaring about 8 and 9 per cent in previous years, and Mr. Modi's government has begun to cut diesel subsidies - with lower market prices softening the hit to farmers and others who rely on the fuel.

"Oil prices have been a great boon, a bonanza," says Saumitra Chaudhuri, an economic adviser to India's last prime minister who sat on a high-level government committee in 2008 that examined the implications of the rise in crude oil prices for India.

And even though Mr. Modi's reforms have not been as bold as many businesses hoped, the improving investment climate and a steady, pro-business policy environment is beginning to reignite faith in India's potential as a vast emerging market.

Optimism is rising about India finally being able to meet its potential, after years of being an elusive success story - where companies chased India's huge domestic market of nearly 1.3 billion people but often got buried under red tape.

Now, many business people say, that is changing. After corruption scandals in India's telecom and coal sectors, which cost the exchequer tens of billions of dollars, Mr. Modi has cleanly and transparently auctioned these licences off - giving industry confidence even as he reaps a windfall from those who want to partake in India's booming wireless market and vast coal reserves.

Anand Prasad, a partner at prominent Delhi law firm Trilegal who deals with international M&A, says he was originally skeptical about whether there had been much change under Mr. Modi. But client after client in India extolled the new Prime Minister's virtues, and told him how different things were - that bureaucrats were open to meetings, and were quick to move files forward. And now, in meetings overseas, he says the India narrative has regained its previous momentum.

"As a law firm, we're beginning to see more inquiries for investments and acquisitions and deals," Mr. Prasad says. "When we travel overseas, the difference that you see is that, two years back, no one wanted to discuss India. India had fallen off the radar. Now it's back on the radar.

People are looking at India as an investment destination once again."

But Mr. Prasad warned that Mr. Modi's central government has only so much power to improve the ease of doing business in a political system in which statelevel governments vary widely in terms of levels of corruption. Mr. Modi, who is sending more tax revenues to the states, lured investment to his own state of Gujarat by offering cheap land and reliable power. But other governments are not so business friendly, and enforcing contracts - in India's clogged legal system - is next to impossible, Mr. Prasad says.

He gives one example of a client who failed to get back a security deposit of $100,000 ("U.S.) from a corporate landlord; since the case could haven taken years and there are no punitive damages in India to make a lawsuit worth it - or to discourage breaking contracts in the first place - there was little point in pursuing the case.

And the landlord might never have paid anyway, he adds.

But elsewhere in the Indian economy, there is more optimism - particularly among the younger, more technology-oriented industries that are just beginning to surge in India's vibrant online and e-commerce industries.

On a muggy Monday morning in Mumbai, Satyen Kothari has just got off a conference call in his pared-down office. Mr. Kothari founded Citrus Pay, an online payments company, in 2011 and has grown the company as India's still-nascent e-commerce industry begins to soar.

He has seen the debilitating effects of India's corruption scandals. Now that Mr. Modi is in power, Mr. Kothari is more hopeful as he builds the business. His firm now provides the back-end, online payment systems for some of India's best-known companies: Indigo, a large domestic airline; Bharti Airtel, the largest cellphone provider; Meru, the biggest taxi company; and so on. Its investors include Sequoia Capital, the famous Silicon Valley venture fund. Kothari's company now has 12 million users and employs about 140 people.

He says Mr. Modi is making all the right noises. He feels the time finally looks right for the awaited Indian economic moment: a convergence of India's demographics ("the largest youth population in the world, with more than 356 million people aged 10 to 24), technology ("900 million cellphone connections) and global structural shifts.

"It's going to be a tidal wave.

This wave will be unstoppable," Mr. Kothari says. "The Chinese market is a bit tapped out, so people are looking at what's next."

Associated Graphic

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a trade fair in Hannover, Germany on Sunday. Mr. Modi travels to Canada this week.


Satyen Kothari works in his office in Mumbai. Mr. Kothari founded Citrus Pay, an online payments company, in 2011.


A 21st-century manifesto
Electronic label Monstercat has accepted today's shrewd music streaming-and-sharing paradigm as an ordinary phenomenon
Monday, April 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

VANCOUVER -- The founders of Monstercat take pride in their label's numbers: 689 million streams and 1.3 million singles sold last year; 3 million YouTube subscribers; 15,000 members on its official subreddit; and at least half a dozen fans with the company logo permanently tattooed on their bodies.

To call the electronic Vancouver label's fanbase loyal is an understatement. Community, for Monstercat, is everything. Even if - especially if - that community is pirating or reusing their music.

The rules around sharing intellectual property, the company believes, should be fluid. "There are grey areas to it," says chief executive officer Mike Darlington, who co-founded the company with university friend Ari Paunonen four years ago. Last fall, the company issued the "Monstercat Manifesto" to its fans, proclaiming adapted work as "innovation" and social music sharing as "celebration." It's as much a set of values as it is the start of a discussion.

"You have to remember that the community of dance music is made up of DJ mixes and remixes and sampling," Darlington says. "It's been a part of our culture from the beginning of time that people manipulate other peoples' works to create something new. ... We're trying to prove what we believe in - creating an open economy, and an open way for people to work with other peoples' content."

For most people in the recording industry, those are bold words. For Darlington, Paunonen, and the dozens of artists they work with, it's a wholly normal proposition. Their approach to business is profoundly progressive for one simple reason: They didn't know any better when they got into the game. By accepting today's shrewd music streaming-and-sharing paradigm as an ordinary phenomenon, Monstercat has quietly become a shining example of How To Make It In The Music Business In The 21st Century.

The Downtown Eastside company, with a staff of 26, has released 11 No. 1 charting iTunes dance compilations and bills itself as Canada's largest independent label focused on electronic dance music, or EDM. Its 40 active artists revel in the genre's many nuances, from trap to jazzinfluenced glitch hop.

In their conference room - actually an old loading bay, refurbished courtesy of previous tenant Hootsuite - the 25-year-old co-founders unfold their backstory. Both big electronic music fans and club-goers, the pair met at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, where Darlington was establishing a reputation for throwing parties. The parties gave him face time with artists, and he fell into managing a few.

Paunonen soon joined along.

An early advertising deal with YouTube netted them $26,000, or about 10 times what they were making in sales. "We saw that was going to be the future of everything," says Paunonen, the chief operating officer. "That YouTube piece allowed us to scale."

The nascent Monstercat team began uploading whole tracks to YouTube when most labels were only allowing teaser previews because of the service's thenlacklustre licensing agreements.

The co-founders were far too young to be nostalgic for the high-volume, high-margin CD sales era.

"Because we weren't selling music anyway, all of our music was coming from streaming," Darlington says. They developed an attitude that would lay the foundation for their copyright manifesto: "We're plenty happy for you to keep listening to it on YouTube, because we're still making some money. ... We came into this with zero knowledge of how the music industry actually operated, we carved our own path and way of doing things."

Their growing roster of artists was suddenly getting regular cheques from YouTube and other services such as Bandcamp. The artists began to rally together on behalf of the label, collectively buoying one another's projects and regularly collaborating. The Monstercat community was born.

The label mostly focuses on singles, and since July, 2011, has dropped three new tracks every week. They declined to sign any of the artists to lengthy contracts, giving them full freedom over their work - an intellectual property policy they still hold today.

After finishing school in 2012, the founders decided to move the company to the west coast, settling on Vancouver. There, they began to build an empire, one stream at a time.

Their early streaming work inspired them to develop a digital royalty "funnel" platform that shows a breakdown of exactly how much an artist makes from each track they've created. The system pays royalties to more than 200 artists monthly from a growing number of digital streaming and sales sources. It's a totally transparent platform that, Darlington and Paunonen say, is getting serious attention from the majors.

For their artists, that approach is a career-defining one.

Martin Vogt, a 22-year-old who records as Haywyre, dropped out of college in Minneapolis last year to make music for the label full-time. The trained jazz pianist was studying the business side of music, producing electronic music on the side, when after a summer internship at Monstercat, the label's staff encouraged him to drop out and go pro.

"I wasn't really sure in what capacity I wanted to be involved in the music industry," he says. But Paunonen, Darlington and their team saw his potential as an artist. They convinced Vogt - and his slightly reluctant parents - that he should give it a shot.

After a few weeks of thought, he moved to Vancouver last fall and dove in. Today, he produces glitch-hop songs rooted in the jazz he grew up playing. Monstercat's lax artist contracts, clear income system and monthly payments have made him confident he can do it for a living.

"What they do for artists is pretty unique," Vogt says.

So, too, is the community that's built up around the label. "It's a community of creative people who do what they want for a living," he says. "They're the kind of people you want to work and play with."

Monstercat's attitude toward copyright has only improved the collective's morale. By encouraging sharing and collaboration, the label has fashioned itself as a place artists want to flock to.

"If you just introduced a track to 100,000 new ears," Darlington says, "you just did that label a solid. ... We need to revamp the way things are done, and make it so that people are more open to sharing content, working together on content and creating new content that comes from deviations of past content."

Associated Graphic

Monstercat founders Mike Darlington, left, and Ari Paunonen moved the company to Vancouver in 2012.


Annoying, irritating and oddly poetic - the language of the Internet tribe
Thursday, April 9, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Da most biewteous thang in da whole wide world iz friendship. yiew choose dem outta all da billion trillion and beyond dey are da onez dat days seem toooo short with ... Yiew wish dey could just go on foreva ("that's why sometimes yiew skip da sleepin part) i am layin in da gra$$ lookin up at all da clouds and tryin to even get a lil solaaaa gaze action jusss bein still ... & bein thankful. Biewty is all around us and we izzzz so lucky to be on dis planet. ("I mean seriously wtf are the chances we all meet da onez we love) Feeling supaaaa blisssssed.

Youth. We expect it of them, right? To make up words, to find their voice in a new lexicon, to befuddle the older generation.

That's Miley Cyrus speaking on Instagram last month after her boyfriend, Patrick Schwarzenegger, was photographed hugging another woman in Cabo San Lucas, where he was spending spring break. It was the caption under a photo. Annoying, yes.

Irritating. But fascinating, too.

Cyrus ended the caption above with the words, "or maybe I'm juzzzz stoned." And maybe she was. But she is also shrewd. Not only does she look like a digital creation, with the signature tongue-wagging and the big anime eyes, posting weird photographs of herself to her followers - she writes in the language of her tribe, one that is evolving in the deep ocean of the Internet.

But before you dismiss her and others as members of just another youth subculture, consider how the digital slangster is different from the hepcats of the 1940s or the hippies of the 1960s. "The phenomenon we're watching is at the next level," says Rhonda McEwen, assistant professor in new media at the University of Toronto's Institute of Communication and Culture. "This is the maximum impact you could get."

With the Internet and social media as the vehicle, the new language "has limitless storage [as written words], can cross over geographies as well as demographics." The words are new, but so is how their meanings evolve and solidify, the manner in which they are born, live and sometimes die. It's a whole new linguistic puzzle.

You might say the whole phenomenon is bae.

That's a slang word so popular, it has its own song, Come Get It Bae, by Pharrell Williams, which the rapper released last year.

Cyrus appears in the music video.

And what does it mean, exactly? Well, that takes a bit of detective work. No one is quite sure of its origin. ("And no, it doesn't have anything to do with Beyonce, nor is it derived from the well-known b-word.) It's a Danish word for feces. But that has nothing to do with how it's used.

The Urban Dictionary suggests it started as an acronym for "before anyone else."

That could be a lazy analysis, though, given that much Internet-ese is based on abbreviations that require decoding - LOL, ROFL, OMG, GTG and BRB.

Bae may have started as a word to signify your girlfriend or boyfriend. Some think it's the word "babe" with a dropped consonant. But then it morphed into meaning your followers or your people, as in "I love my bae."

And then it started to mean that something was really cool.

You might write that "my ride is bae."

It evolved based on how people experimented with its meaning.

Last year, advertisers started using it as a marketing tactic - one way to know a word's meaning has solidified. In April, 2014, Taco Bell sent out a tweet saying "Taco Bae," which got more than 48,000 retweets and 36,000 favourites. Their burritos were "baerritos."

But now, it's really not "on fleek," another popular digiphrase that means nice, perfect or on point. Bae is not. Its apex, according to Google Trends, was last year. Bae is past its peak. If you used it, you'd be mercilessly mocked for being outdated.

Which President Barack Obama risked when he used the acronym YOLO ("you only live once) in a Buzzfeed video launched in February to remind young people to sign up for health care.

YOLO is very yesterday, apparently.

The etymology of "on fleek" is more precise than that of "bae."

It had its origin with a creative 16-year-old in Chicago named Kayla Newman, a.k.a. Peaches Monroee, who posted a car-selfie Vine last summer after having her eyebrows groomed.

Since then, her Vine ("a short looping video) has had more than 29 million loops. Others posted Vines about her Vine.

And in November last year, Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram of herself with bleached eyebrows, standing beside model Cara Delevingne, she of the trendy thick eyebrows. #eyebrowsonfleek read her caption.

And the phrase swept through the Internet Sea. It was everywhere, overnight seemingly, especially in the fashion industry. In January, CoverGirl called its beauty products "on fleek." It hasn't peaked yet.

Historically, oral traditions gained social value as soon as they were etched into stone or inscribed on papyrus. McEwen calls that moment in cultural history the "rareification of text." Something increased in social value once it was written down, gaining a life beyond that of the person who first uttered the words or story.

But digital slang, although set down in text, doesn't display the same sense of permanence or reverence for the written word.

"My sense from working with youth is that it's okay for words to die," McEwen explains.

And so is digital language a biewteous thang or a threat to literacy? When I get past my irritation with it, I find it oddly poetic.

It is demographic, emanating from odd corners of the culture - a car in Chicago! - and moving into the mainstream. And it's open to interpretation. No one meaning is right.

Another word, "fanute," created accidentally by singer-songwriter French Montana when he rapped a phrase "from the hoopty coupe" that others heard as "fanute the coupe" is now in the ascendant.

"It means to convert, to flip, to make it better," Montana has explained. "But it could mean what you want it to mean."

And therein, perhaps, lies the ultimate joke on the older generation. We might worry that digital slang represents a cultural deterioration.

But, hey, the words are like feelings. They come. They go.

They are of a moment: authentic, expressive and ephemeral.

Associated Graphic

Singer Miley Cyrus, seen performing in 2014, speaks the constantly evolving language of her Internet tribe.


Till death do us part
An unhappy husband schemes to leave his wife in Leah McLaren's unexpectedly beautiful second novel
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R17

A Better Man By Leah McLaren Harper Avenue, 303 pages, $19.99

'Men marry women with the hope they will never change," Albert Einstein once said. "Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably, they are both disappointed." This paradox is central to the dilemma the characters face in Leah McLaren's second novel, A Better Man. Maya and Nick Wakefield are a familiar sort: the couple who have everything, but suffer from grating ennui. The pair who seem perfect on the outside, but, internally, suffer the same anxieties as everyone else, and are helpless to do anything about it but self-medicate with wine and exercise (her) and work and women (him).

It's never clear precisely what drew Maya and Nick together in the first place, beyond the superficial - her lovely white-blond hair? The tiny galaxy of freckles on her face? How self-assured he was? His raspberry pocket square? (Please, no.) But perhaps that's the point. They met when they were too young to have a clear picture of who they were going to become - and certainly didn't imagine they would become who they did. Now they're so disillusioned with each other that whatever small things pulled them together have been forgotten, or have disappeared or were never going to be enough to sustain a lifetime together anyway.

McLaren does a fine job of showing who her characters are by unfurling a montage of telling scenes. Nick drearily observes, as he hears Maya wake one morning and pad across the bedroom floor, that she is about to "dress in something stretchy and bodycontoured - selected from her vast collection of expensive, sweat-wicking exercise togs - before giving the twins their breakfast and supplemental breastfeed [for the natural antibodies] and hitting the gym." Later, he makes a failed attempt to blow his daughter's nose. "He can hear the wet congestion in her head as she gulps for breath, and finally - in abject defeat - he allows himself to look at his wife. ... She crouches down, takes her daughter's face in her hands, places her mouth over Isla's tiny nose and proceeds to suck out the contents of her daughter's sinuses before spitting it out into the sink." This is a woman, to Nick, who has become a mother above all else, killing any desire he once felt for her.

Nick stays at the office because he can't stand coming home to his wife; he loves his children, but in a removed way. The idea of them is appealing - just like the idea of his life appeals to him. There is no authentic joy in any of it. So Nick meets with Gray, a shark of a divorce lawyer and a close friend of the couple, and tells him he wants out. But it's not so simple: Gray explains that because of all his assets, and because Maya is no longer working and is therefore a dependent, divorce will spell financial ruin for Nick.

He can stay with Maya and try to make it work, suggests Gray - "Try counselling, take a holiday. ... Just stay married and save yourself the cash and your kids the therapy" - or he can try out a strategic option Gray only offers to clients off the record, in extreme cases: If he wants a better divorce settlement, Nick is going to have to become a better husband. Nick must also encourage Maya to go back to work and support her selflessly as she does so. If he can truly become the husband Maya needs him to be, when he finally does drop the divorce bomb - claiming a need for self-actualization - her reserves of anger and resentment will be so depleted she won't have the heart to take him to the cleaners.

Or so the thinking goes. But won't Maya, a smart woman and former family lawyer herself, figure it out? Gray insists the plan is foolproof. And possibly, it is - except that secrets like this don't tend to stay buried. Especially in fiction.

A Better Man asks a compelling question: Can a broken marriage be fixed - as in really fixed, not just patched and mended so it can hobble along, with the couple concealing their hatred in front of the children and co-existing until such time as they are too old to be attractive to the opposite sex any more and too sick and tired to hate each other? However, what holds the book back initially is that the lack of interest Maya and Nick feel in their own lives makes the first third of the book rather a chore to read. Although McLaren portrays them expertly, there's a certain flatness to the writing, as if the author is as detached from this couple as they are from each other. Yes, their situation is recognizable, but this doesn't serve the purpose of making them feel real soon enough. They come off as dim caricatures with First World problems. They're people you're acquainted with, but definitely don't want to know very well.

Thankfully, as the book progresses and the superficially perfect lives of the Wakefields unravel in spectacular fashion, there finally come moments when McLaren's deft prose crackles with the pain of what it would truly feel like to be these people.

It's desolate, this landscape of a marriage gone off. And it's familiar, because lots of people have either experienced it, or held the hand of a friend who is experiencing it or lived in fear of experiencing it themselves. Marriage is supposed to be a safe harbour.

When it goes wrong - when the war is happening in our very own living room - life becomes excruciating.

In the end, A Better Man is unexpectedly beautiful, a tale of what happens when lovers lose sight of one another during life's journey, only to turn a sudden corner and find their partner there, in sharper focus than ever before, unrecognizable and yet, somehow, the same as always - and happily so. Marriage is supposed to bring out the best in people, but so often it brings out the worst. With A Better Man, McLaren shows that divorce can sometimes be the only solution - but not for the reasons you might think.

Marissa Stapley is the author of Mating for Life.

Associated Graphic

Leah McLaren's A Better Man looks at a couple who met when they were too young to know who they were and what they wanted in a partner.

He of the blessed feet
The beloved Cape Breton dancer, who strove to keep traditions alive, said he learned to dance in a dream
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S8

A respected step dancer and Gaelic singer on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, Willie Fraser is credited for helping to keep traditional Scottish culture alive there.

Mr. Fraser, who died in Inverness, N.S., on March 22, just 17 days after his 100th birthday, liked to tell the story of how he learned to dance in a dream. At the age of 5, he was visited in his sleep by a stranger who taught him a few steps. In the morning, he went straight to his father to tell him what had happened. His father picked up his fiddle and played a tune while young Willie danced. Over the next five years, the stranger returned several more times in his dreams. While the boy never learned the identity of his dream teacher, the lessons left him with a style of dancing, described as "close to the floor," that garnered him attention not only in Cape Breton, but in the Scottish highlands, where his dance steps originated.

"They say you can hear Gaelic [language] in the fiddle," said Rodney MacDonald, chief executive officer of Cape Breton's Gaelic College and former Nova Scotia premier. "I can see Gaelic in his dancing."

Dressed in either a tartan suit or vest and with his shoes shined to perfection, Mr. Fraser would take to the stage to dance. He stood straight and tall, his arms relaxed by his side.

The emphasis was on the movement of his feet and legs from the knees down. "Lift your feet high and you can miss a lot of notes," he once told a local reporter.

"His steps very naturally fit with the music," Mr. MacDonald said. "He made it look simple."

He was known for his ability to interpret music. Mary Janet MacDonald, a Cape Breton step dancer, remembers listening to an old acoustic audio recording of Mr. Fraser dancing. With no music to accompany him, Ms. MacDonald could still make out the song he was dancing to. "It was phenomenal and I could absolutely hear the strathspey tune King George the Fourth in the steps," she said. "He had such amazing footwork."

In his heyday, Winston (Scotty) Fitzgerald, a renowned Cape Breton fiddler, was known to stop playing if Mr. Fraser entered the hall, letting the other dancers know, "Willie's in the hall. Willie's going to dance."

Mr. Fraser garnered such admiration, he even had a song named after him. His friend, Cape Breton fiddler Donald Angus Beaton, composed a tune, known as a great one for step dancing, called Willie Fraser's Strathspey. It has been recorded several times by various fiddlers.

Born March 5, 1915, in the small community of St. Rose, the heart of Cape Breton's traditional Scottish culture, Mr. Fraser was the youngest of 10 children raised in a Gaelicspeaking home. His father, Simon, was a fisherman, a miner and a fiddler who taught his son a few dance steps. Mr. Fraser also learned from watching the older dancers at square dances and parties around Cape Breton.

In 1947, he met a young woman named Kathleen MacNeil after buying a house not far from Broad Cove, where she grew up. The couple married that year and raised 12 children on a small farm. Together 63 years, until her death in 2010, they shared a love of Gaelic music and hockey. Every Saturday night they'd watch Hockey Night in Canada. He was a Montreal Canadiens fan, while she rooted for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In demand throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Mr. Fraser often returned home from a shift in the coal mine to find a priest waiting to ask if he could dance at a picnic. After one event, Father John Angus Rankin, a revered local priest, blessed his feet and told him: "You'll never have sore feet. I mean it." Mr. Fraser believed the blessing worked.

A devout man, he wasn't without a sense of humour. He told the Inverness Oran newspaper that the numerous blessings his feet received from parish priests "... were hard cheques to cash."

Dancing throughout Cape Breton, while supporting a family of 12 children - first as a coal miner, then as a fisherman and later at Stora Enso pulp mill - was challenging, but he still found time to mentor young dancers. He taught well into his 80s.

More than 20 years ago, Mr. MacDonald, himself a respected fiddler and step dancer, arrived at Mr. Fraser's home ready to learn the Scotch Four traditional dance. Mr. Fraser immediately took the shoes Mr. MacDonald was carrying and flipped them over. Mr. Fraser was pleased to see they didn't have clickers attached to the toe and heel. As a traditional dancer, he didn't wear clickers on his shoes.

"He was very passionate about Gaelic language and culture," Mr. MacDonald said.

In 1991, Mr. Fraser made his first trip to Scotland, with renowned Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, to teach. He returned twice more to teach workshops at a Gaelic music summer school.

A spry man, Mr. Fraser danced as long as he could. At the age of 85, he took to the stage at his favourite event, the Broad Cove Scottish Concert, the largest outdoor Scottish show in Cape Breton.

At his 100th birthday celebration on March 7 at the Inverary Manor in Inverness, about 200 family members and friends gathered to honour a milestone he always said he would reach.

From his wheelchair, Mr. Fraser tapped his toes to the Gaelic music and dance being performed and teased about how nice it was that all his girlfriends had come to visit.

Mr. Fraser was recognized for his contributions to Scottish culture, including in 2005 by the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia and the Celtic Colours International Festival in 2007. He was also featured in several videos and documentaries, most recently by the BBC.

"He was full of faith and full of family and full of fun," his daughter Clare MacQuarrie said.

Mr. Fraser leaves his 12 children, Roddie, Maureen, Billy, Clare, A.R., Wayne, Gary, Eugene, Doug, Eric, Kathleen and Gerald; 25 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Kathleen, and siblings.

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Associated Graphic

Willie Fraser, seen at the age of 85, dances at the Broad Cove Scottish Concert, the largest outdoor Scottish show in Cape Breton. DAVID GILLIS

Willie Fraser

'Winnipeg whiteout': Fans abuzz over first playoff spot in 19 years
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

WINNIPEG -- "A Storm is Coming." So say the white T-shirts and the tweets and the newspaper headlines. But Wednesday afternoon at Portage and Main it seemed already here: the air a temporary dust bowl and the gusting winds hipchecking shoppers hard enough to stagger them.

At the MTS Centre a few blocks down Portage, the determined shoppers joined a line that also staggered: 30 minutes or more from last place around the block to the security guard manning the door to the Jets Gear shop and letting one shopper in only when one shopper left, parcels in hand.

Two young paramedics - Andrew Risk, 24, and Kevin Stambrook, 23, from the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority north of the city - come out fist-pumping, clutching their treasured 'Winnipeg Whiteout' T-shirts fans of the original Jets used to sport during the playoffs.

"Anybody in this city who doesn't have one of these on Thursday night is going to be shunned," shouts Mr. Risk, holding his shirt up. "Shunned!"

There is madness in Manitoba these days and the reason is simple: the Winnipeg Jets, the team that was brought from Atlanta and reborn as the Jets little more than three years ago, are in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It has been 19 years since Winnipeg hockey fans cheered for a postseason team and that, sadly, was a year of enormous disappointment - the original Jets losing four games to two in the opening round to the Detroit Red Wings and then, adding hideous insult to grievous injury, the team moving off to Phoenix because it found a better deal.

It hasn't worked out very well in Arizona but it has worked out magnificently back in Winnipeg, where the former Thrashers became the Jets in 2011 and where they moved into the most-inyour-face rink in the country, the MTS Centre that stands on the grounds of the old Eaton's store.

The statue to Timothy Eaton still sits in the corridors of the newish rink, its brass toes rubbed to a bright sheen by those who believe this simple act will bring them, or their team, good luck.

The Jets will need all they can get. By squeaking into the eighth and final playoff spot in the National Hockey League's western conference, they must play the team that came first, the Anaheim Ducks. In three meetings with the Ducks this season, the Jets did not win a game. The Ducks feature such star scoring power as Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry.

The Jets, however, are not without their own bragging rights.

They had 11 players score more than 10 goals, led by Blake Wheeler's 26. Captain Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little had 24 each. They have a goaltender, Ondrej Pavelec, whose career was once threatened when he suffered what doctors called a neurocardiogenic syncope at the start of a game while still with the Thrashers and fell backward unconscious. Fully recovered, it was Mr. Pavelec's play that made eighth place possible.

And they have a new coach, Paul Maurice, who wasn't good enough for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but who is credited with the Jets turnaround since he came aboard just over a year ago in replacement of Claude Noël.

Another critical change was forced when general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who had a reputation for standing pat, realized he had to move troubled forward Evander Kane, once considered the team's future. In a deal struck with the Buffalo Sabres, Mr. Cheveldayoff gave up Mr. Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian but landed Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, both of whom have starred. He added veterans such as Lee Stempniak and patiently waited for youngsters such as Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba to mature. With three players who already have Cup rings from other teams - Mr. Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Michael Frolik - the Jets were a feel-good story this year as they used speed and size to reach the playoffs.

The Jets are likely as close as it comes, at the moment, to a "Canada's Team." They are the only Canadian team that doesn't appear to offend anyone. In a country of real and perceived slights, Ottawa hates Toronto, Toronto hates Montreal, Montreal and Toronto hate Ottawa, Edmonton hates Calgary, Calgary hates Edmonton, both hate Vancouver and Vancouver fans hate everyone they think hates them - but no one could possibly hate the Jets. Could they?

"It's good for the city," says Mr. Risk, the paramedic. "It's for the people after - what has it been? - eight months of winter. It's mayhem downtown because of the Jets."

Downtown offices have changed dress codes so that workers are free to wear their Jets gear during the playoffs. The old Park Theatre is opening up to show Game 1 from Anaheim on its 10metre HD screen. Even fire engines answer downtown emergency calls with large Jets flags tied to their back ladders.

Mr. Stambrook's family has four season tickets and he expects to go. His sister, Megan, who lives in Toronto, has already booked her flight home next week when the Jets will play Games 3 and 4 at the MTS Centre.

Back in 1996, you could pick up a ticket for the Winnipeg-Detroit series for $25. Tickets today range from $107 to $340 a game if they are available. The tickets that went on sale this week were completely sold out in five minutes.

"People are telling me it's like 2011 opening night all over again - only ramped up," says Andrew Shefchyk, Boston Pizza's director of marketing. The restaurant by the MTS Centre plays host to game-day broadcasts of TSN radio and will, of course, be packed.

"Pretend you're seven years old again and tomorrow's your birthday," says Mr. Shefchyk. "That's how excited people are around here."

"Hockey's been gone far too long," says Mr. Risk. "I was only 5 or 6 when they left, but I still remember that team.

"Quite honestly, hockey means so much to me that I was going to seek employment in another city, probably farther West. I wanted to live in a place that had NHL hockey. But then the Jets came back and I don't have to move."

Associated Graphic

Bobby Launderville (left) and Travis Paskaruk joined thousands of fans who lined up to get their hands on white merchandise after a 'whiteout' was announced for the Jets home playoff games.


Beatings and forced marriages: A Boko Haram abduction victim on the lives of the Chibok girls
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

ABUJA -- In the brief moments when their Boko Haram guards were gone, the kidnapped schoolgirls committed a small and hurried act of defiance: They recited Christian prayers.

The girls from Chibok were thin and haggard and clothed in the Islamic attire that their captors forced them to wear, according to a woman who was held captive with them. When their overseers were gone, the schoolgirls hugged, cried and prayed. They talked mostly about one subject: how to escape.

This is the harrowing account of a former Boko Haram captive who says she spent several weeks with the Chibok girls late last year in Gwoza, a Boko Haram stronghold in northeastern Nigeria. Her account is difficult to verify, but was detailed, credible and partially corroborated by reports from other former captives.

The kidnapping of more than 200 teenage schoolgirls from Chibok provoked a global wave of shock and outrage, sparking an international "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign and pledges of help from Western governments, including Canada.

But with the first anniversary of the kidnapping due to be marked on Tuesday by rallies and marches around the world, their fate is still unknown. Even after Nigeria announced the recapture of Gwoza on March 27, there was no sign of the abducted girls. People who have fled the region are convinced that Boko Haram took the girls into remote hideouts in the Mandara mountains, above Gwoza, near the border of Cameroon, after the military pushed the extremists out of the town.

The detailed account of the Chibok girls was given by Liatu Andrawus, a 23-year-old mother of two children, who spent six months in Boko Haram captivity before escaping in December.

She told The Globe and Mail that nearly all of the Chibok girls had been forcibly "married" - as Boko Haram called it - to members of the radical Islamist militia.

She said the girls told her that 236 students from the Chibok school were in captivity, and only 13 had not been "married."

Ms. Andrawus, who now lives in an informal camp for displaced people on Abuja's outskirts, was herself forced into a "marriage" with a Boko Haram fighter last October, despite her protests. She repeatedly refused their demands to convert to Islam, even when threatened with death, but the militants still deemed her a Muslim and ordered her to attend Islamic studies and prayers at a school building in Gwoza, six times a week. That's where she says she met the kidnapped girls.

"They told me they were the Chibok girls," she said, recalling snatched conversations with the students when the male guards had sent them away to do their ablutions and Islamic prayers.

"We always talked about how we could escape. Sometimes we sat down and prayed together and hugged and cried. They were remembering their good moments with their parents and loved ones."

Ms. Andrawus said she only saw the "married" schoolgirls.

She never saw the 13 others, but was told that Boko Haram kept them locked in a large compound belonging to a Nigerian politician, who had abandoned it when the extremists captured the town.

Another former captive, 56year-old Mbutu Papka, told Nigerian media last month that the Chibok girls were in Gwoza.

She said she did not talk to the girls herself, but was told by people in Gwoza that some of the kidnapped girls were being held in a locked building adjacent to hers.

The story of Ms. Andrawus and her six-month captivity by Boko Haram could be similar to the ordeal of the Chibok girls after their abduction. Ms. Andrawus, from the village of Ngoshe in eastern Gwoza district, was travelling with her children and six men, including her brother, in a vehicle headed to Abuja last June when the car was ambushed by nine Boko Haram gunmen who shot at it until it stopped. The passengers tried to run up a hill, but were caught by the motorcycle-riding militants.

They were taken deep into the Sambisa forest, a notorious Boko Haram hideout, where the men were tied up and ordered to convert to Islam. When they refused, they were shot dead with machine guns.

Then the extremists told Ms. Andrawus to convert. They forced her to the ground and threatened her with a knife, but she refused. "I would not abandon my faith," she said.

At one point the men asked her whether she preferred to be killed with a gun or with a knife.

She asked to be shot.

Boko Haram gave her an Islamic name, Aisha, and held her captive in the Sambisa forest with five other Christian women who had also refused to convert. The others were beaten with a rubber belt, but she was spared because of her children.

After Boko Haram captured Gwoza last August, she was taken there and forced to study the Koran with hundreds of other captives. In October, she was "married" to a Boko Haram fighter and forced to cook and clean for him. When she wasn't in Islamic classes, she was locked in his house.

At the Islamic classes, the captives were forced to watch videos of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. They were whipped with a rubber belt if they made errors in their Koranic studies, leaving Ms. Andrawus with bruises, bleeding and swelling.

She watched the Boko Haram fighters leave Gwoza almost daily to raid other villages, returning with stolen money and looted goods. When they stole jewellery, they gave it to a man who sent it to the northern city of Kano for sale. "We saw him weighing the jewellery," she said.

Among others there, she met a former Nigerian army officer who boasted that he had joined Boko Haram because it paid better than the army. She saw four Arabic-speaking foreigners who issued commands and seemed to hold senior positions in Boko Haram.

And she talked to a female member of Boko Haram who planned to become a suicide bomber.

"She was very proud of it," Ms. Andrawus said. "She said it was the work of God."

In early December, she was allowed to visit her mother in a nearby town. One night she crept out of the house, with her mother and children, and walked 20 kilometres to Cameroon. After a week there, they made their way by foot and car to safety in Abuja.

Associated Graphic

Liatu Andrawus, right with child, a former captive of Boko Haram, is seen with Maryamu Yakubu, another escaped captive.


Smooth blueliner won five Stanley Cups
Though overshadowed by other Canadiens stars of his era, No. 19 shone off the ice with his work helping to establish players' union
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, April 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

Dollard St. Laurent had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup five times, an achievement for a rugged player often overshadowed by his teammates.

A reliable, stay-at-home defenceman, Mr. St. Laurent won four NHL championships with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s before adding another with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1961.

The five titles in 11 full campaigns should have earned greater acclaim for Mr. St. Laurent, who has died in his native Quebec at 85. Instead, the rear-guard's star was eclipsed by playing alongside the likes of Émile ("Butch) Bouchard, Tom Johnson and Doug Harvey in Montreal, and Pierre Pilote in Chicago. All four of those defenceman have been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Mr. St. Laurent was a smooth skater more concerned with defence than offence. Though his 5-foot-11, 175-pound physique was not intimidating, he could muscle opponents away from the front of his goal, a skill that made easier the jobs of goaltenders Jacques Plante in Montreal and Glenn Hall in Chicago.

Dolly, as he was known, was a brittle player, suffering numerous broken bones. With eyes as black as hockey pucks, thick eyebrows resembling horizontal parentheses and a brush cut that seemed to leave him with a puzzled expression, Mr. St. Laurent relied more on guile than intimidation in protecting his net.

The Canadiens had won three consecutive Stanley Cups when the stalwart defenceman was inexplicably traded in the summer of 1958 to the sad-sack Black Hawks, who had missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. The defenceman felt he was being punished for having dared help to organize a players' union.

Dollard Hervé Joseph St. Laurent was born on May 12, 1929, in Verdun, Que., a city since amalgamated with Montreal. He grew up on a street that ran from an aqueduct canal to the St. Lawrence River, on whose frozen surface he skated.

A scout for the Canadiens signed him for $100 while he was still a teenager. The defenceman spent two seasons with the Montreal Junior Canadiens before joining the Montreal Royals, a senior team whose players were often called up to the NHL club.

He was a rare player of his era to be pursuing higher education.

Skating for the Royals at night, he was a dentistry student at McGill University by day, learning to repair the damage he inflicted - and might possibly suffer - on the ice.

"We played almost every second night in Ottawa or Chicoutimi or Quebec City and I couldn't keep up with the studies," he told Ian MacDonald of the Montreal Gazette in 2003. "I had to make a big decision: Do I want to go out every night and risk getting my teeth broken, or do I want to learn how to fix broken teeth?" After an uneventful three-game tryout with the parent Canadiens in 1950-51, Mr. St. Laurent and his No. 19 sweater became a fixture on the Canadiens' blueline for the following seven seasons, though he was often out of the lineup with nagging injuries.

He won his first Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1953. In the middle of the 1955 finals, the defenceman spent two days in hospital with severely chafed legs ("some accounts describe boils on this thighs). Despite the pain, he returned to play in the series, which Detroit would win in seven games, showing dedication that impressed his coach, Dick Irvin Sr. "Look at him, he's dying on his feet," the coach told a reporter at the time. "He's skin and bone but he played a great game."

He suffered a broken right cheekbone in a regular-season game on March 15, 1958, and was wearing what the newspapers described as "strange headgear" to protect his face during the playoffs. He was ineffectual on defence and was briefly replaced by rookie Albert "Junior" Langlois. Mr. St. Laurent returned to action only to suffer a concussion and a broken left cheekbone when checked by Leo Labine of the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Canadiens went on to win what would be their third of five consecutive Stanley Cups.

Meanwhile, Mr. St. Laurent and his teammate Mr. Harvey had become activists in the fledgling NHL Players' Association, which sought a pension and free agency for veteran players. The owners of the six NHL teams refused to recognize the union. Mr. St. Laurent was representing the players at a meeting with owners in Montreal when general manager Frank Selke Sr. announced his sale to the lowly Black Hawks. The deal "was something of a shock to Montreal fans," according to a report by The Canadian Press.

Mr. St. Laurent got his revenge in the 1961 playoffs, as Chicago upset the favoured Canadiens in the semi-finals before defeating the Detroit Red Wings in six games. ("Chicago had last won the Stanley Cup in 1938, and the team would not win it again until 2010.)

Chicago sold Mr. St. Laurent to the minor professional Quebec Aces before the 1962-63 season.

He ended his playing career near the end of the season after suffering a broken leg.

In 652 NHL games, he scored just 29 goals with 133 assists. He had two more goals and 22 assists in 92 playoff games. Mr. St. Laurent also skated in five NHL allstar games.

Away from the rink, he owned his own insurance company and worked as an insurance broker.

He collected a modest hockey pension, for which he had fought so hard.

Mr. St. Laurent died on April 6 at Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que. He leaves three daughters, four sons, 12 grandchildren and two greatgrandsons. He also leaves his companion, Gloria Loiselle. He was predeceased by his wife, the former Jessie Fitzpatrick, who died at 64 in 1993.

The Canadiens held a moment of silence before Thursday's game at the Bell Centre to honour the memory of Mr. St. Laurent and Elmer Lach, one of the Canadiens' all-time greats and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, who died on April 4. Even in death, the defenceman shared the spotlight.

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Associated Graphic

After winning four Stanley Cups with Montreal, Dollard St. Laurent was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks in 1958, with whom he won another Cup.

Tradition and good manners trump all at Augusta
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1


Hard on your left as you enter Augusta National Golf Club is a bank of two dozen phones.

Famously, cellphones are not allowed on the premises. Cellphones aren't allowed at a lot of places and yet there they are. Not here. Between the pat-downs and metal detectors, you'd have an easier time sneaking a phone into Attica than Augusta.

During Masters week, this preposterously manicured stretch of lawn is probably the least digitally integrated spot on the planet north of Antarctica.

The quid pro quo is the payphones, which are free to all attendees for unlimited North American calling. At the end of every Masters, the club receives a bill for roughly $50,000 (U.S.). A sponsor picks it up.

Augusta National was the creation of golf's - and maybe all of North American sport's - most mythic figure, Bobby Jones. Mr. Jones was the great who never turned pro. He created the linkage between the amateurism obsession of the early 20th century and the business sports has become.

Like Mr. Jones, Augusta floats above the world of commerce, because it doesn't need to care.

How many members do they have? About 300. Nobody's sure of the exact number. How much do they pay to join? Something like $30,000, but no one knows. The annual dues fluctuate depending on the club's finances.

Even their sponsorship and television deals are mysterious, apparently done on a handshake basis. If it were fully monetized, there's no telling what the Masters might be worth.

But it hasn't been, and won't be. Augusta isn't interested in selling a brand. What it wants is just enough to maintain control and buttress its figurative walls.

It works the same way for the Madison Avenue guys as it does for the members - you can't ask to join. They ask you.

Once you're in, as an amateur, golf is sort of beside the point.

Every year, the course is subtly or unsubtly altered. It's purposedesigned to humiliate you.

Your job is admiring that such a thing can still be built. This place is more an art installation than a field of play. Augusta is to lawn-mowing what Giza, Egypt, is to pyramid-building. It's gardening's fountainhead.

That Versailles-ian aesthetic is so prized, the course is closed the entire summer - June-October - for repair.

It's grass. Its sole purpose is to grow. So I'm not clear exactly on how it's "repaired." But it feels good. Underfoot, it feels like money and human desire. You'd lie down on it, but you'd be trampled.

This disdain for Mammon extends charitably to the general public. A four-day pass costs $325 (U.S.). But don't worry - you can't get one. They are handed down through generations like gold doubloons. A sandwich is $1.50. Coffee is a buck. A beer costs $4. The parking is free. It's right around the corner from the Range Rover/Jaguar pop-up shop - a reminder that most of these people don't need the help.

Members - and everyone else who visits - are instructed never to tip. Trying to tip at Augusta marks you out as a shabby rube, and it will be refused with gentle hauteur.

As you arrive, someone opens the door for you and announces with gravity, "Welcome to the Masters." Over and over again.

Every time you go through that door. Eventually, you feel bad about leaving.

Everywhere here, there is a vaguely sinister antebellum sense of servitude. Or maybe it's just exceedingly good manners. I don't feel qualified to judge.

At its best - and the point is to always be at its best - Augusta National is the sporting world's last grand library. There are lots of rules, very few of which anyone will bother to explain to you.

First off, the people who pay to come here are not fans. They are "patrons." Patrons do not hoot.

Patrons do not run. Patrons don't seat-grub. Patrons do not wear their caps backward.

Patrons are always being watched.

Patrons may drink beer. And on a moist Tuesday morning, some of them are two-fisting it at 8:30. Everyone here is practising. Practising for what is the question.

This should not be confused with fun. You may enjoy going, but you're not supposed to have a visible blast in church.

On Tuesday, defending champion Bubba Watson was asked if he'd like to share any anecdotes about wearing the green jacket.

"I have no funny stories because of respect for the jacket, respect for the tournament, respect for the members."

Yipee-kay-yaaaaaa ... oh, forget it.

Augusta is the sort of place where the caretaker of a local sports complex feels empowered - no, compelled! - to publicly weigh in on the private life of a guy who visits town once a year.

"It is not simply the degree of [Tiger Woods's] conduct that is so egregious," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said of Mr.

Woods's sex scandals back in 2010. "It is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and grandkids."

Yes. I'm sure the Payne grandchildren refused to open any gifts on Christmas morning, such was their outrage at where grampy's soiled money comes from.

Mr. Payne's prissy chastisement was in keeping with the character of the place. The United States never really lived its sitcom ideal of 1950s morality, but they did and do here.

They bend, but they do not bend far, nor on demand. Augusta National lives in a socio-economic wormhole, defying everything outside its ornate 345 acres.

After missing a year, Mr. Woods was back on Tuesday, the renewed focus of attention. He has absorbed their insults, and chosen to ignore them. Since his emergence in the late 1990s, no one has ever come closer to extending the cultural perimeter of this place. And it wasn't very close.

"What I find fascinating is that they keep changing this place, and it always looks the same," Mr. Woods said.

He may not have meant it this way, but he was talking about more than just the shape of the greens.

Associated Graphic

The Augusta National Golf Course is the rare place that lives up to the United States' sitcom ideal of 1950s morality, Cathal Kelly writes.


Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R17



1 1 14 The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

2 - 1 Inside The O'Briens, by Lisa Genova (Gallery, $29.99).

3 - 1 The Night Stages, by Jane Urquhart (McClelland & Stewart, $32.95).

4 2 4 The Little Old Lady Strikes Again, by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg 4 (HarperCollins, $19.99).

5 5 23 The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules, by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg (HarperCollins, $19.99).

6 8 2 The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford (William Morrow & Company, $21.99).

7 7 15 Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (Avon, $17.99).

8 - 1 Miracle At Augusta, by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge (Little, Brown & Co., $29).

9 10 3 Someone Is Watching, by Joy Fielding (Doubleday Canada, $22.95).

10 - 1 Blood On Snow, by Jo Nesbø (Random House Canada, $27.95).



1 1 6 My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas And Helen Edwards' Family Story, by Jenny Lee Smith (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

2 3 11 The Brain's Way Of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity, by Norman Doidge (Viking, $34.95).

3 2 5 Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania, by Erik Larson (Crown, $32.50).

4 7 7 Measure Twice: Tips And Tricks From The Pros To Help You Avoid The Most Common DIY Disasters, by Bryan Baeumler (HarperCollins, $29.99).

5 6 3 Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution Of A Reckless Upstart Into A Visionary Leader, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Signal, $32.95).

6 - 1 The Time Of Your Life: Choosing A Vibrant, Joyful Future, by Margaret Trudeau (Harper Avenue, $32.99).

7 - 1 The Urban Cycling Survival Guide: Need-To-Know Skills And Strategies For Biking In The City, by Yvonne Bambrick (ECW, $16.95).

8 - 1 Crime Seen: From Patrol Cop To Profiler, My Stories From Behind The Yellow Tape, by Kate Lines (Random House Canada, $29.95).

9 4 10 Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape Of A Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body, by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson, $20.99).

10 5 3 Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Knopf Canada, $32).

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 All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews (Vintage Canada, $22).

2 Ru, by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman (Vintage Canada, $17.95).

3 The Night Stages, by Jane Urquhart (McClelland & Stewart, $32.95).

4 Someone Is Watching, by Joy Fielding (Doubleday Canada, $22.95).

5 At The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen (Bond Street, $32).

6 The Book Of Negroes (TV Series Tie-In), by Lawrence Hill 6 (HarperPerennial, $17.99).

7 After The War Is Over, by Jennifer Robson (Avon, $18.50).

8 Medicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese (McClelland & Stewart, $17.95).

9 The Mountain Story, by Lori Lansens (Knopf Canada, $32).

10 And The Birds Rained Down, by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House, $18.95).


1 David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $20).

2 The Brain's Way Of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity , by Norman Doidge (Viking , $34.95).

3 The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account Of Native People In North America, by Thomas King (Anchor Canada, $19.95).

4 Measure Twice: Tips And Tricks From The Pros To Help You Avoid The Most Common DIY Disasters, by Bryan Baeumler (HarperCollins, $29.99).

5 The Time Of Your Life: Choosing A Vibrant, Joyful Future, by Margaret Trudeau (Harper Avenue, $32.99).

6 The Urban Cycling Survival Guide: Need-To-Know Skills And Strategies For Biking In The City, by Yvonne Bambrick (ECW, $16.95).

7 Crime Seen: From Patrol Cop To Profiler, My Stories From Behind The Yellow Tape, by Kate Lines (Random House Canada, $29.95).

8 Sarah Style: An Inspiring Room-By-Room Guide To Designing Your Perfect Home, by Sarah Richardson (Simon & Schuster, $32).

9 The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories Of Personal Triumph From The Frontiers Of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge (Penguin, $20).

10 A House In The Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Scribner, $22).



1 The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality, by Phil 1 McGraw (Bird Street, $28).

2 Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin (Doubleday Canada, $29.95).

3 Yoga Girl, by Rachel Brathen (Touchstone, $23.99).

4 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Thanks To My Mom, by Amy Newmark and Jo Dee Messina (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

5 Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, And Lead, by Brené Brown (Avery, $19).

6 Footprints: 50th Anniversary Treasury, by Margaret Fishback Powers (HarperCollins, $19.99).

7 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Hope & Miracles, by Amy Newmark and Natasha Stoynoff (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

8 Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription For Radiance, Vitality, And Well-Being, by Dr. Northrup (Hay House, $25.99).

9 How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (Pocket, $18.99).

10 Wreck This Journal (Black) Expanded Edition, by Keri Smith (Perigee, $16).



1 The Longest Ride (Paperback Movie Tie-In), by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $18).

2 Blossom Street Brides, by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine, $9.99).

3 The Collector, by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $19).

4 The Longest Ride (Mass Market Movie Tie-In), by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $9).

5 Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Berkley, $9.99).

6 The Liar, by Nora Roberts (Putnam, $32.95).

7 Never Too Late, by Robyn Carr (MIRA, $17.95).

8 Otherwise Engaged, by Amanda Quick (Jove, $9.99).

9 Fifty Shades Of Grey (Movie Tie-In Edition): Book One Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy, by E.L. James (Vintage, $17.95).

10 McKettricks Of Texas: Austin, by Linda Lael Miller (HQN, $8.99).

The Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction bestseller lists, and the Canadian Specialty Books list, are compiled for The Globe and Mail by BookNet Canada.

A treasured family heirloom
The house Don Emery built in Barrie has stood the test of time, both in taste and workmanship - but now, alas, it is for sale
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G4

Don't call it laziness: If anything, it's confidence that kept this sprawling modernist home on the outskirts of Barrie virtually unchanged for more than half a century.

And in an age of big box renovating and flipping, of television before-and-after "reveals," and of granite and stainless madness, a home that has stayed true to itself is, well, truly special. From heated terrazzo foyer floors that kiss knotty pine walls reaching up to an expansive Douglas fir-beamed ceiling, and to a semi-circular staircase leading to fieldstone pony walls that provide the perfect backdrop for Swedish fixtures and swoopy Danish furniture, this 5,200-square-foot home is still, today, a work of art.

"Wild Oaks" was the brainchild of Donald Richard Emery (19121982, and "Don" to his friends), a carpenter-turned-engineer and self-made man who grew up in Hamilton but chose Barrie to set up Emery Engineering in the 1950s after a stint building highways to Northern Ontario - often by blasting through solid Canadian Shield - in the 1940s.

"He thought that Barrie was a huge opportunity at that time," explains his grandson, Stephen Butson. "It was the gateway to the north, but it was close to Toronto."

By the mid-fifties, the company he'd co-founded with brother-inlaw Doug Tate had moved from building single-family houses to commercial and institutional buildings in downtown Barrie and beyond. This success enabled him to buy a large piece of property overlooking Kempenfelt Bay on Shanty Bay Road, where Mr.

Emery would build a dream house for himself, his children, and his second wife Irene.

You might say words that are the opposite of lazy - active, attentive, careful - best describe the construction process. In order to manage every detail of the home's creation and "do a lot of the finishing himself," Mr. Butson explains, his grandfather first built "a miniature version of the big house" at the bottom of the driveway, complete with a Douglas fir post-and-beam ceiling and knotty pine walls. Then, over the next three years, the home that Mr. Emery and Irene would live in for the rest of their lives was meticulously put together up the hill among the oaks.

Mr. Emery used only the best material and manpower. For instance, local fieldstone for the pony walls and indoor/outdoor supporting columns was chosen, split and stacked by his father, William Emery, a builder and stonemason who had also relocated to Barrie. When there were overages of concrete at an Emery Engineering job site, trucks would be directed up the Shanty Bay Road driveway to pour Mr. Emery's foundation or pool; similarly, pine rejected as too knotty at another site was trucked home and transformed into tongueand-groove boards so the walls of Wild Oaks weren't sullied by nails.

Legend has it the projecting piece of granite over the living room fireplace was transported via canoe from Georgian Bay by Mr. Emery and his friends: "I don't know if that's true," Mr. Butson says.

What is true is that the L-shaped home's interior design, with its clever use of the circle as a motif - there's a wooden circular planter in the foyer, a custombuilt light fixture that looks like a Star Trek transporter pad over a hallway leading to the dining room, curved walls in the master bath, and circular pavers by the round pool - was penned by Mr. Emery.

His love of wood and its many imperfections led to it being celebrated everywhere, and his love of entertaining and mixology saw the creation of a glassy great room that had both a custombuilt wet bar and a Hammond organ.

"Clients would be entertained there," Mr. Butson says. "They had big New Year's parties there with a live jazz band." In fact, it's more than likely Mr. Emery joined in, as he played both saxophone and organ; he also had a "huge" jazz record collection, and would take Irene to see the greats when they played Toronto's Colonial or Town taverns, or the Royal York.

Furniture, most of it swoopy Danish teak, clusters of colourful, hanging Swedish light fixtures, artwork, and shaggy area rugs were all selected by Mr. Emery.

Custom-built teak furniture, such as the curved, grasscloth-clad wet bar and whimsical boomerangshaped vanity in the powder room beside it, were drawn by Mr. Emery and brought to life by an English carpenter who worked for Emery Engineering.

Relief from the woodsy riot came in the form of robin's egg blue kitchen cabinets and a (then) state-of-the-art Frigidaire "Flair" wall oven with pullout electric burners. Because almost every room enjoyed floor-to-ceiling windows (often "pierced'"by the roof beams) diners could watch squirrels frolic as they ate.

Because of this purity of vision, Mrs. Emery (1922 - 2014) never thought to change a thing (family accounts vary, but the Emerys moved in and decorated either in 1960 or 1962); when original hanging lights in the kitchen failed, Mr. Butson recalls his grandmother going through quite the ordeal before finally settling on Ikea.

Mr. Butson regrets that he never asked his grandfather, who would go on to build Barrie's Formosa Springs Brewery (later Molson) in the late-1960s, where he found inspiration for the home. The couple travelled to Vancouver and Arizona a fair bit, so it's possible influences were drawn from those places. Or Toronto, of course, which was a pretty modern place by the late-fifties.

So, on the listing brochure - yes, the home is for sale and Mr. Butson and other family members are "pretty upset about it" - there is the predictable comparison to Frank Lloyd Wright. Certainly, Mr.

Wright was the poster boy of "unlazy," but those in the know will see more of Cliff May, the "grandfather" of the ranch style, with, perhaps, a soupçon of flashy Miami Beach hotel designer Morris Lapidus.

And speaking of those in the know: Time for an energetic someone to step forward, chequebook in hand.

For more information, contact Jenn Chalmers,, or Matthew Klonowski,

Associated Graphic

Fieldstone was used for columns. Knotty pine rejected at another building site enriches the walls.


Wild Oaks was a labour of love for Don Emery when he built it around 1960. Not much has changed in it through the years.


Subscription streaming a growing source of revenue
Services led industry to flat growth in 2014, but sustainability hinges on getting more people who pirate media to pay
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B7

Consumers are downloading less music and streaming more, but all-you-can-listen-to subscription streaming services aren't yet the clear saviour of the music industry.

Services such as Spotify, Deezer and Rdio helped buoy the otherwise flailing global music industry to flat revenue growth in 2014.

Subscription streaming is becoming a "key driver" of the $15-billion (U.S.) industry, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a chief global music lobby group, which released its annual Digital Music Report Tuesday.

This past year has been one of huge growth for streaming, as YouTube entered the subscription game, the high-fidelity Tidal service launched and was quickly purchased by rap mogul Jay Z, and global streaming leader Spotify gobbled up funding, most recently reaching an $8.4-billion valuation, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Now comes the hard part: getting enough people to pay for these services to make them sustainable platforms and profitable businesses.

It's unclear exactly how or when the adoption of paid streaming services will scale up enough to set the struggling music industry back on a growth trajectory. Most popular services, charging subscribers about $10 a month for access to millions of songs, still struggle to turn profits for themselves after paying out high-cost royalties to rights-holders such as labels and publishers.

And the recording industry is still concerned about free services - in particular, the nebulous licensing world of websites like YouTube - where they're still struggling to wring out what they consider a fair amount of cash for their songs.

"Consumers in the digital age are starting to understand that the Internet is free, but not all great services have to be free," said Edgar Berger, international chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Inc., on a Tuesday conference call with reporters.

"But streaming is still in its infancy. We believe there's considerable growth potential."

Total global revenues fell a fraction of a per cent to $14.97-billion last year. That's less than half of the $37-billion industry high in 2000. While downloads helped cut the industry's losses for much of the 21st century, and represent half of the world's digital music revenues, sales fell 8 per cent in 2014.

Digital music analyst Mark Mulligan says that streaming services' price points and enormous song libraries are partly responsible for cannibalizing download revenue.

"If next year was all about streaming services, new customers and making them spend money they didn't spend before, then yes, you can say, streaming should bring growth back to the market," Mr. Mulligan said.

But at about $10 a month, he's not sure that will happen. Making paying customers out of the roughly 20 per cent of Internet users who still pirate media is like pulling teeth. "We need to have sub-$5 products in the market if we're going to have a large number of users," Mr. Mulligan said.

While cheaper, more limited streaming packages are becoming available, they're not yet widespread.

Tyler Goldman, Deezer's North American chief executive, said in an interview that he doesn't believe the larger barrier to streaming services is price - it's convincing potential customers of their value. He points to Uber and Netflix as examples: "They grew [their respective markets] by creating a better value proposition," he said.

Representatives from other services including Spotify, Rdio and Google Play did not respond to requests for comment.

Anchored by streaming, digital revenues matched physical sales revenues for the first time last year, each accounting for $6.9billion, or 46 per cent of global income.

Revenues from subscription streaming services rose 39 per cent worldwide to $1.6-billion in 2014, after a 51-per-cent jump the year before. Combining both paid and ad-supported free tiers of services like Spotify, streaming now represents 32 per cent of all digital music revenues worldwide.

An estimated 41 million people paid for streaming services in 2014, versus 28 million the previous year. But streaming is a long way from stable.

Mr. Berger told reporters that he has "no doubt" streaming services will be the "predominant" method to listen to music in the future and will lead the way back to growth for the industry. The artists behind that music, however, have long complained that the services don't pay them enough.


Canada lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to jumping into the stream: 83 per cent of digital music revenue in the country came from downloads last year, while just 8 per cent came from streaming. The sluggish transition to streaming pushed overall Canadian music revenue down 11.3 per cent last year.

Much of the country's slow adoption can be traced to its limited access to popular services. While mid-size players like Rdio and Deezer have been available in Canada for several years, Spotify, which has over 60 million global users - including 15 million who pay - only launched in the country in September.

Canada's size has long given it a bad hand when it comes to new technology, especially when the tangled, costly web of copyright law comes into play. With only 35 million people, the country can easily be brushed aside as too small a marketplace to justify the cost of entry.

Now that Spotify is here, more money might flow into streaming services. Access to Spotify tends to correlate with adoption of streaming in general. In Sweden, where the service first launched in 2007, streaming music services make up 92 per cent of the country's digital music revenues. Streaming has now overtaken download revenue in 37 countries.

When streaming is more widely adopted, Sony Music Entertainment's Edgar Berger told reporters Tuesday, record companies are more likely to invest in artist development, in turn putting more money in music creators' hands.


Digital music revenue matched physical sales for the first time in 2014. Consumers are flocking to streaming music services but not quickly enough to balance out floundering downloads


1 Taylor Swift 2 One Direction 3 Ed Sheeran 4 Cold Play 5 AC/DC 6 Michael Jackson 7 Pink Floyd 8 Sam Smith 9 Katy Perry 10 Beyonce

Associated Graphic


The XO secret
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

It wasn't until I finally made my own XO sauce that I realized my life had been missing something very, very good.

The benefits started with street cred. As I wandered into a shop in Toronto's downtown Chinatown to buy some dried scallops and shrimp, the vendor immediately knew what I was cooking.

"You're making XO sauce," she said, with a glint indicating that I was surely a gentleman of taste.

I had seen XO sauce - a weirdly delicious seafood-based Asian condiment - popping up in restaurants, and I liked it. But my appreciation didn't peak until I bought the ingredients, chopped them up and slowly simmered them in oil. Now I have a jar of it sitting in my fridge and I'm putting it on everything: steak, rice, eggs, pasta. I'll even get up in the middle of the night to eat the chewy funky stuff by the spoonful.

These days, everyone's talking about umami - otherwise known as savouriness, the fifth basic taste. XO sauce is like a thunderclap of it.

"It's a sauce that's entirely made of umami," says Jonathan Poon, chef at Chantecler and Bar Fancy in Toronto. "Everything you can find with the highest concentration of umami is all mixed into one."

The history of XO sauce is hazy, though it's generally agreed that it was invented in the eighties in Hong Kong. Recipes vary from chef to chef, but the building blocks are almost always dried shrimp, dried scallop, Jinhua ham (a salty, dry-cured ham from China) and chili peppers. The texture varies, too. Sometimes it's dry and flaky, other times it's oily.

Poon was born in Hong Kong, where XO sauce is considered a luxury (over there, the term "XO" is synonymous with "fancy"). He recalls eating it maybe once a year for special occasions.

His parents would mix it with plain noodles and nothing else.

He loves it, but as the owner and chef of two restaurants he's too busy to make it to his standards (XO can be made in a few hours, but Poon prefers to cook it twice, letting the flavours deepen for a few days in between). When he did make it at Chantecler, he used it in a dish of pork jowl and oysters, and to top his famous turnip cakes. His recipe uses dried scallop, dried shrimp, dried shrimp roe, prosciutto shanks and house-made chili oil.

Curtis Luk, chef at Bambudda, a modern Asian restaurant in Vancouver, serves the sauce on seared albacore tuna as an appetizer. "I think it's a wonderful ingredient. It has such a depth of flavour," he says. "There's a bit of spice and there's lots of aromatics with the garlic and shallots. It goes with practically anything."

He uses the typical dried ingredients to make his XO, but he rehydrates them in shaoxing, a traditional Chinese rice wine, for extra flavour.

Any time you have a food ingredient that's so audacious, you're bound to have people who just don't like it. Jason Sussman, executive chef and co-owner of Vancouver's Tacofino, says it doesn't always resonate with his customers.

"The dishes we used it in weren't super popular. I like it, but for a lot of Westerners it's harder to eat. It's a confusing flavour." (Or, maybe, people just don't expect to find it in Mexican food.)

At the Black Hoof in Toronto, chef Jesse Grasso counts it as one of his favourite ingredients.

"The first time I ever had XO sauce I was blown away by it," he says. "You get an umami punch, the same as you'd get from fish sauce, but there's so much more depth. It's just levels on levels on levels of flavour."

For his sauce, Grasso substitutes soppressata for the traditional Chinese ham. He serves it on rare beef heart with Brussels sprouts, black trumpet mushrooms and carrot purée. He's also used it with shallots and chilies in a cold tripe slaw, which he set atop nachos and cheddar cheese.

"It was probably the bestselling tripe dish I've ever done," he says.

Yes, XO is labour intensive to make (it took me around two hours) and it's expensive (the dried scallops I bought were $70 a pound). But it lasts forever in the fridge and it's so bold you only need a few teaspoons of it to make its presence felt.

But the supermarket version just doesn't cut it. "I haven't found any store-bought stuff that tastes nearly as good," Poon says.

"It's not nearly the same."


Chef Curtis Luk soaks the dried seafood in shaoxing wine to make his XO sauce, giving it a delicious depth of flavour.

Makes: 1 litre

1 bottle shaoxing wine (available at Asian supermarkets) 1 cup dried scallops 1/2 cup dried shrimp 1 1/2 cups neutral oil (grapeseed or peanut) 3/4 cup minced shallots 1/2 cup minced garlic 1/2 cup Chinese ham, chopped 1 (if necessary, substitute double-smoked bacon) 3 tbsp crushed chili flakes 1 tbsp dried shrimp roe .

Place the dried scallops and shrimp into separate bowls.

Bring about half of the shaoxing wine and an equal amount of water to a boil (there should be enough liquid to completely cover the seafood). Once the liquid has reached a boil, pour it over the scallops and the shrimp.

Allow to steep for about half an hour. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Pour about a third of the oil into a pot and cook the scallops at a moderate heat while breaking them up into smaller pieces. When they start browning slightly, set aside.

Do the same with the shrimp, and then with the shallots, garlic and ham.

In a pot, combine the cooked ingredients. Add the chili flakes, shrimp roe and liquid used to steep the seafood.

Simmer on medium heat until the liquid has almost completely dried up and the mixture has browned a bit more. The texture should be oily, similar to pesto but more chunky and dry.

Allow the sauce to cool and store in the refrigerator.

Associated Graphic

Chef Curtis Luk soaks the dried seafood in shaoxing wine when making his XO sauce.


A concept? An insult? An intangible? Whatever it is, the Raptors don't have 'It'
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


During the 2014 playoffs, Toronto took a few gentle pokes at Paul Pierce and the aging Brooklyn Nets.

The best of them was the local Sun's front-page headline: "Raptors vs. Dinosaurs."

Pierce saw it, and was plainly stung. Midway through the series, he was asked if he'd ever played without a shot clock.

"I don't know," he said.

"Because I'm a dinosaur."

He took his revenge then. He's still doing it. He could be the guy who broke up the Raptors, and he doesn't have to play them.

Pierce was the human obelisk that stood between Kyle Lowry and a Game 7 victory. Now he's the guy who managed to beat flat two years of good vibes with the cunning use of a pronoun.

"We haven't done particularly well against Toronto, but I don't feel they have the 'It' that makes you worried," Pierce sniffed to ESPN.

Pierce is an epic braggart, and a guy who has an assembly set up for throwing guys under buses. Pierce says a lot of things, about half of which he means.

But in this instance, and just as the country's getting ready to open the free bar, let's admit it to ourselves - he's right. He's never been so right.

The Raptors know he's right.

They know because instead of answering Pierce, they launched into a tortured Abbot-and-Costello routine on the subject.

"You'd have to ask Paul what 'It' is," coach Dwane Casey said.

"You have to go out and prove to people we have 'It.' We have to find out what 'It' is."

Okay then, what is 'It?' "I don't know," Jonas Valanciunas said.

Do you have 'It?' "I never talk before a fact. I never talk before a fact."

(Blank look. Walking over to native English speaker. 'It' gets weirder.)

"I don't know what 'It' is," Chuck Hayes said. "'It' could be anything. 'It' could be a box of Skittles. 'It' could be a painting on a wall." Skittles. Interesting.

Hayes, warming to the semantic puzzle: "I wonder what he considers 'It?' And I wonder if he thinks [the Washington Wizards] have 'It.' Whatever 'It' is."

Pierce probably thinks he has 'It.' "He thinks he has 'It.' But do his teammates have 'It?' " Hayes said, darkening. "We don't know what 'It' is."

It's really not that complicated.

Winning is "It."

We know that. And we know something else.

The Raptors are a fun team.

They are intermittently a good team. And very, very occasionally, a great team.

But they don't have "It."

They're on one side of the Grand Canyon, and 'It' is over on the other.

That's what the playoffs are about - the Raptors figuring out a way to climb to form a human ladder and climb over to "It."

They'll begin finding out at home on Saturday. After posting a franchise record 49th win on Wednesday, Toronto will take on Pierce's Wizards in the first round.

The Raptors don't just lack one pronoun. They're saddled with a bunch of others, and a few adverbs, you definitely don't want.

Who are this team's stars, based on the second half of the season?

No one.

What have they done, really?


When have they proved they can put their foot on someone's neck? They haven't.

They keep telling us they're as good as anyone in the Eastern Conference. Why would we believe that? No clue.

How does this end? One of two very divergent ways.

In the sunny version, they take a first-round series. Bravo. That makes it simple. That solves everything. It doesn't matter what happens after that.

You might tinker with the mix in the off-season, but everyone will expect you to stick with that core. They've just taken the "It" off Pierce, and released the pressure.

But if they lose ... If they lose, this team must be radically made over.

In the relatively meaningless environs of the regular season, they've given up all their momentum from the beginning of the year. It started out so well.

Then Lowry made the all-star team. Everyone else looked up and realized even the Washington Generals couldn't lose the Atlantic Division with the lead the Raptors had.

And the Raptors stopped. They stopped moving. They stopped caring. They took half a year off.

That failure to launch is a performance nullity right now. It only starts to matter if, beginning from a dead stop, they can't pick it up again.

If they can't win now against inferior opposition, why would anyone believe they ever could?

At a guess, four Raptors are safe if Toronto loses in the first round - Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Bruno Caboclo and Lucas (Bebe) Nogueira. The first two have promise and are cheap. The second two are more and less - cheap and promising. None of them will be tainted by this failure.

That leaves the veteran core swinging in the wind, waiting to be dismantled.

That's not to say everyone should be traded. But after the way they've drifted through the year, someone needs to be.

If that seems nuts to you, why? Believing the Raptors should stick with this forever just ... because ... is allowing yourself to fall into Maple Leafian magical thinking.

They keep talking about how young this team is. It's not that young.

They keep going on about the rise. It's not rising if it falls twice in a row.

They keep pushing off the now.

And it's finally here.

The first round of the playoffs shouldn't be a hopeful sort of thing. It should be a flat necessity. That desperation - which hasn't surfaced once this entire campaign - should be evident.

Over in another corner, Pierce likes to talk about "It" all the time. 'It' is the source of all his powers.

"Everybody don't have 'It,' " Pierce said last year as he was shanking the Raptors with shots.

"Everybody isn't born with 'It.' You can't buy 'It' at Costco or Walgreens. 'It' is in the DNA."

The Raptors have two weeks to figure out what Pierce is talking about.

If they can't, they don't deserve to know.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Let the wooing of Iowa begin
Clinton, determined to avoid a repeat of her disappointing 2008 finish, expected to make the biggest push
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A11

MONTICELLO, IOWA -- Hillary Clinton rolled into this little agricultural town on Tuesday for the first campaign stop of her run for the presidency: a roundtable talk with students and educators.

According to participants, she talked about why she wants to help American families and why everyone in the United States, rich and poor, should get a good education.

But, except for those who were there, what she said didn't matter. What mattered was that she said it in Iowa.

Every four years, this friendly Midwestern state becomes the object of a feverish courtship. No other jurisdiction on the planet is so desperately sought after by politicians on the make.

Leaving behind the mahoganypanelled offices of Washington and the marble halls of state capitols, presidential hopefuls from both major parties line up at Iowa's door like nervous suitors with posies of wildflowers clutched behind their backs.

The state holds the first voting contests of the presidential-election season: the famed Iowa caucuses. Winning can put an outsider in contention, as it did Barack Obama in 2008. Losing can trip up a leading candidate, as it did Ms. Clinton in the same year, when she came a disappointing third.

The Clinton campaign is determined not to let that happen again. Almost as soon as she announced in a video on Sunday that "I'm running for president," her campaign said she would be heading out to Iowa, making the Hawkeye State a focus of her second effort to win the Democratic Party nomination. As if to prove she is Iowa folksy, she left behind the usual jet plane and made the 1,600-kilometre journey from New York by road in a van nicknamed Scooby.

The need to woo and win Iowa brought the former first lady, senator and secretary of state all the way to Monticello, a town of 3,796 souls surrounded by rolling hills, stubbly corn fields and grain silos. It sits about 40 minutes from Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa.

After her roundtable talk at a community-college campus besieged by throngs of media, she was to hold meetings with Democratic activists from the area. Those meetings are just the beginning of an eight-month campaign to reverse the disappointment of 2008 and sew up enough Iowa Democrats to give her a clear victory in the caucuses this winter.

Local party notables get the full come-on. Linda Langston, 61, a party veteran who is the supervisor of Iowa's Linn County, says Ms. Clinton's people asked her to sit down for a meal with the candidate - "just a couple of us joining her to have a bite to eat," as she casually put it. Bret Nilles, party chair for Linn County, said he, too, has been asked to a meeting with the candidate.

In any other state, it would be unusual for such small fries to get face-to-face contact with one of the most famous women in the world in the hectic early days of a presidential election campaign. In Iowa, it is perfectly normal.

Ms. Langston has met Ms. Clinton four times before. In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama asked her to join him in his van as he drove to the airport one day. They talked baseball and admired the roadside vista of waving corn and black-eyed Susans. He got her vote in the caucuses.

Another local Democrat, Todd Taylor, 48, who represents Cedar Rapids in the state legislature, struggles to remember all the presidential campaigners he has met since he went to his first caucus at the age of 18. John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Richardson, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Bill Clinton - he gives up listing them.

He is leaning to Ms. Clinton this time, but said, "I don't want to commit too early because I want the others to court me."

The pursuit of politically active Iowans like Mr. Taylor promises to be especially ardent this election cycle. The field of Republican candidates is growing - Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was the latest to join, on Monday - and those who want to make an early splash are bound to head here in the coming months.

On the Democratic side, prospective candidates James Webb, a former Virginia senator, and Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland, were both in Des Moines on Friday to address a party gathering.

But it is Ms. Clinton who is expected to make the biggest push in Iowa. Along with being a key to the party nomination, Iowa is a swing state in presidential elections. As the probable Democratic nominee, she is already thinking about how Iowa could help her when Americans vote in November, 2016.

After the stinging experience of the 2008 caucuses, when she focused on reaching people through rallies and other big events, she intends to spend more time in this campaign meeting people in the smallgroup settings that are the meat and potatoes of Iowa politics, local Democrats say. That means going to parades, fairs, union halls and living-room pot lucks from Dubuque to Sioux City.

Critics say that it's wrong to give a whiter-than-average farm state of only 3.1 million people such an outsized role in selecting a president for a nation of 324 million. Iowans retort that coming to the state forces candidates to get out of the bubble of political life and defend their ideas to ordinary people. That makes them sharper candidates. It also helps offset the influence of party elites.

"It's really a great feature of the system that it's not just powerful rich people in a room that get to talk about their issues," said Rachel Paine Caufield, who teaches politics at Drake University in Des Moines. "It's anyone who shows up to a meeting and wants to ask a question."

In the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses, anyone active in party politics in Iowa can expect a lot of phone calls, invitations to coffee and even summons to meetings with leading candidates for president of the United States.

An old joke has one Iowan asking another: "Have you decided whether to back Candidate Smith yet?" "I don't know. I've only met him four or five times."

Associated Graphic

Hillary Clinton, on the campaign trail in LeClaire, Iowa, will likely spend time meeting people in small-group settings.


We are being watched
Do Not Track, a new 'personalized' Internet series, makes it crystal-clear just how thoroughly our actions are being monitored every time we visit the Web
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R11

Last week, I added a program to my Web browser that does nothing but eat cookies - the little tracking files placed on my computer as I surf the Web. The program tells me whose cookies it's wiping out as I go from one site to another, and most of them are from websites I've never visited. That's because they're placed by third parties who have contracted with the websites I do visit to monitor my activity and Web habits. Those data are being added to any number of personal profiles of me, which I may neither see nor delete.

Self-Destructing Cookies, the extension I added to my Firefox browser, turned out to be a good introduction to Do Not Track, a new seven-part Web documentary series produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the Paris-based company Upian and two European broadcasters.

Do Not Track is all about the data that we're exposing or giving away when we go online, and about what those who gather it can do with it.

The NFB calls it a personalized documentary, because it's attentive to the viewer. In the first minutes of episode one, the show tells you where in the world you are, what the weather's like outside and what kind of computer you're using, because you communicate all that just by going to the website and pressing "play." It's a great opening move, because it shows you right away how you leak data online without knowing it.

Later, you're prompted to enter information - your favourite news site, or your Facebook login - which then triggers a personalized response that's bound to be alarming if you think your browsing is private in any way.

Further episodes look at the implications of what we divulge willingly on social networks; the "filter bubble" that can tilt our news toward subjects and views to which we're already attuned; and the extremely leaky appliances we're all carrying around with us: our mobile phones. Each of us, the series says, is under a form of automated scrutiny that is mostly being used to sell ads, but that can just as easily be exploited to identify people with opinions unpalatable to the state.

If you're already a little paranoid about who's watching you on the Web, this visually lively series, of which I've seen the first two short episodes, may send you under the bed in a big way.

But Victoria-based filmmaker Brett Gaylor, who conceived and directed the series, says he's not out to scare, but to spark a debate.

"I'm hoping Do Not Track will be a catalyst for a conversation about the Web we've created, and whether we like it," he says.

"I want you to do something. I want you to realize that you are implicated in this."

We all got implicated in creating the current Web, Gaylor says, by deciding that we didn't want to pay for anything. Episode two outlines how our refusal drove Web companies toward involuntary modes of payment in the form of personal data they could buy and sell. That commodity, in turn, spawned "behavioural advertising" based on our preferences, postal codes and much else. Our stinginess, to paraphrase our Prime Minister, forced the Internet to commit sociology on all of us.

One problem with this model, aside from its routine invasion of privacy, is that it works best on a large scale, Gaylor says, with ad networks that can gather and compare data from lots of websites. "It really favours those who can collect large audiences," he says.

After a U.S. judge ruled in 2007 that Web-tracking devices were not equivalent to illegal wiretaps, a wave of consolidation put the industry under the control of a few large players. Google, which uses search results to target ads, also owns DoubleClick and AdWords Express, which place ads based on broader personal profiles. We may think that using Google is free, but Do Not Track reckons that Google makes $45 per year from each one of us.

The consolidation of everything on the Internet is a cause of grief to people who, like Gaylor, share a dream of the Internet as an open democracy, made by and for the people. He sounds wistful about his time working at the Firefox Foundation, where he worked with other true believers "who think of the Web as a citizens' medium that should be shaped by citizens," he says.

What can we do? I've gotten rid of Google's Chrome browser, which was getting way too cozy with AdWords Express, and I search with DuckDuckGo, which doesn't track my results. I also run a program on my mobile phone called Orbot, which encrypts what I send over the Web and "bounces it through a series of computers around the world," according to the Guardian Project, which tries to make mobile devices more secure and less trackable.

But there's a problem with pulling up one's own drawbridge, says Gaylor. Refusing to be part of the Web advertising economy is another way of telling the Internet that I want everything for free. If we really want a less invasive and predatory Web, he says, we'll have to come up with more positive ideas.

Ironically, Do Not Track also places cookies on its users' computers, collects e-mail addresses and analyzes its Web traffic. Gaylor says that's only to allow the series to personalize itself for its users, and to send them information on resources they can use to become better Web citizens.

"We've made a commitment that we're going to delete that database" when the series is over, he says. In this context, his vow almost sounds like a radical statement. For once, no money will be made on our innocent curiosity.

Do Not Track is online at, with a new episode added every two weeks. The series is also being presented this week at the Tribeca Film Festival's Storyscapes transmedia showcase in New York (April 16-19).

Associated Graphic

If you're already a little paranoid about who is watching you on the Web, this visually lively Internet video series may make you seriously consider the notion of unplugging altogether.


How to keep the vitamins in your veggies
Assessing the balance of benefits between raw versus cooked, steamed versus microwaved
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L7


It's almost salad season, and this year I have vowed to improve my diet by eating far more vegetables in a variety of salads. But I'd like a variety of raw and roasted or otherwise cooked vegetables for a mix of textures and flavours. Are raw vegetables always healthier? Do all cooking methods destroy vitamins? What is the best way to cook vegetables to maximize their nutritional value?


"Eat more vegetables" is longstanding advice for a healthy diet - and for good reason. A diet high in vegetables has been tied to a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, cataracts, macular degeneration, cognitive decline and digestivetract cancers. Thanks to their protective mix of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals, vegetables are thought to help dampen inflammation, fend off harmful free radicals and boost immunity.

To reap their maximum nutritional benefits, though, you need to cook them right.

While all cooking methods alter the nutrient composition of vegetables (and fruits), some destroy particular nutrients while others actually enhance nutrient content.

Vulnerable vitamins Vitamin C and many of the B vitamins are the most unstable nutrients when it comes to cooking. Because they're water-soluble, they leach out of vegetables into the cooking water. If you boil your vegetables or microwave using too much water, you'll end up with less thiamine, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and a lot less vitamin C.

According to a review by researchers at the University of California, Davis, as much as 55 per cent of the vitamin C in vegetables is lost during home cooking (compared with raw).

Vitamin C is also easily degraded by heat.

Polyphenols - phytochemicals plentiful in kale, spinach and broccoli - are also susceptible to degradation during cooking.

Fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, E and K are more stable and fare better during cooking. So do carotenoids (e.g., beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein), antioxidants found in leafy greens, carrots, winter squash, sweet potato and, in the case of lycopene, tomatoes.

The microwave myth Water is the enemy when it comes to nutrient losses during cooking. That's why steaming is one of the best methods to preserve easily damaged nutrients, such as vitamin C and many B vitamins. Since vegetables don't come in contact with cooking water during steaming, more vitamins are retained.

Dry cooking methods such as grilling, roasting and stir-frying also retain a greater amount of nutrients than boiling. If you prefer to boil your vegetables, save the nutrient-rich cooking water to add to soups and sauces.

Contrary to popular belief, microwaving doesn't kill nutrients in vegetables. In fact, it may outrank steaming when it comes to retaining antioxidants.

A 2009 report in the Journal of Food Science found that compared with boiling, pressure cooking and baking, microwave cooking helped maintain the highest levels of antioxidants in beans, beets, artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onion and spinach.

Microwave cooking increased antioxidant activity in eggplant, corn, peppers and Swiss chard.

On the other hand, boiling and pressure cooking led to the greatest antioxidant losses.

Cornell researchers found that spinach retained nearly all of its folate when microwaved but lost most of the B vitamin when boiled on the stove.

Microwave ovens use less heat than many other cooking methods and involve shorter cooking times. If you use a minimal amount of water and don't overcook your vegetables, microwave cooking is a nutritional win. (A 2003 study concluded that microwaving destroyed most of the antioxidants in broccoli - but the researchers had added far too much water.)

Raw versus cooked Many people think raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked, but that's not the case.

Cooking vegetables breaks down the plants' cell walls, releasing more of the nutrients bound to those cell walls. Cooked vegetables supply more antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, than they do when raw.

Cooked vegetables also deliver more minerals. Spinach, beet greens and Swiss chard are high in calcium, but a compound called oxalic acid binds with calcium. Heating releases bound calcium, making more of the mineral available for the body to absorb. Cooking vegetables also increases the amount of magnesium and iron that are available to the body.

Even so, in some cases vegetables may be better for you raw than cooked. Cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts - contain an enzyme called myrosinase, which, when you chop or chew these vegetables, converts glucosinolates (phytochemicals) to anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates.

The problem: Myrosinase is easily destroyed by heat. Cooking cruciferous vegetables reduces the conversion of glucosinolates to their active isothiocyanates, which may reduce their cancerfighting potential.

According to research published in 2009, steaming led to the lowest loss of glucosinolates in broccoli while stir-frying and boiling (both higher-heat cooking methods) caused the greatest loss.

Fresh versus frozen Cooking isn't the only way vegetables can lose nutrients. Before fresh vegetables reach your steamer basket or microwave, some of their nutritional value can be degraded during the time they're transported to a distribution centre, displayed in the grocery store and stored in your crisper. When possible, buy produce from farmers' markets to reduce the time from harvest to table.

When vegetables are out of season, consider frozen.

Frozen vegetables closely match the nutrient content of their freshly picked counterparts because they're flash-frozen at peak ripeness, a time when they're most nutrient-packed.

(Vegetables that are shipped to the produce section of grocery stores are usually picked before they are ripe, giving them less time to develop their full nutritional potential.)

The bottom line: No one cooking method will preserve 100 per cent of the nutrients and protective phytochemicals in vegetables. So don't limit yourself to one cooking method or eating only salad.

Eat your vegetables roasted, grilled, steamed, boiled in a soup, microwaved and raw. Enjoy them fresh (locally grown when possible) and frozen. The more variety you have, the more likely you are to eat them. And that's the whole point.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto. She is a regular contributor to CTV News Channel;

Associated Graphic

Vegetables lose some nutritional value in transportation, so when possible, buy produce from farmers' markets.


Will problem loans blindside the banks?
Loss provisions are declining, reflecting recent healthy lending, but if the economy falters, that could be bad for profit - and investors
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B11

You could say Canada's banks may be healthier than ever, with the small amount of problem loans just a speck on their balance sheets.

You could also say that, as a result, Canada's banks are less prepared for a downturn than ever, as the money they're setting aside for problem loans is a fraction of the long-term average.

And, you could say this is exactly how it's supposed to be: Banks set aside money for impaired loans, as they're called, only after customers have stopped making payments for set periods of time. For the most part, banks don't bulk up their loan-loss reserves prospectively in case the economy turns bad.

But just because that's business as usual in the industry doesn't mean that it isn't any business of the banks' investors. Low levels of problem loans have meant that the banks have been able to make relatively small provisions.

In the first quarter, the banks' provisions, in the aggregate, fell from the fourth quarter and were flat from the year before. And that has a direct benefit to net income, as bad-loan provisions reduce profits.

What comes around, goes around, however, even for a group as fortunate as the Canadian banks. You may be concerned that a number of factors - sky-high housing prices, large levels of consumer debt, a weakening jobs picture, the collapse of oil - suggest banks' loan portfolios may be at risk. And that would mean provision expense, which has worked in the banks' favour so many times since the end of the financial crisis, may now be poised to cut directly into their profits in the coming years.

"The problem with provisions is they're backward-looking," says Anthony Scilipoti, president of Veritas Investment Research.

"Provisions are set based on what happened yesterday, and we've been through what has been a tremendous period of economic growth, and loan impairments have been minuscule. Provisioning follows that."

A brief primer: Banks maintain "loan-loss reserves," a set amount on their books, to cover loans gone bad. When banks put money into reserves, they make a "provision" that's charged against profits. When it's time to write off a bad loan, the amount gets taken out of the reserve.

Here's some data that show how the banks have benefited: The Big Six banks made just under $1.5-billion in provisions in the fiscal first quarter of 2015 that ended Jan. 31, down from $1.7-billion in the fourth. Provisions were essentially the same in the first quarters of both 2014 and 2013, as well.

Veritas calculates that provisions, as a percentage of loans, are now at a post-financial-crisis low point, and at a level about half their historical norms.

"Earnings have benefited thus far because of the reduced provision, because you take less charges to income, and it makes income higher," Mr. Scilipoti says. "As things turn, and some loans may become impaired, provisions go up, and income goes down."

It's not that banks are unaware of this; they're telling shareholders they believe they can deal with a downturn in the Canadian economy, in large part because of the results of "stress tests" they're doing on their balance sheets, particularly related to oil prices.

At Toronto-Dominion Bank, chief risk officer Mark Chauvin said provisions are at "cyclically low levels," as the bank's provision rate - provisions as a percentage of loans - dropped to 0.29 per cent, down 0.04 percentage points from the fourth quarter and 0.11 percentage points from 2014's first quarter. (Total provisions were $362-million.)

"I don't believe the sustained low oil prices represent a material risk to the bank," Mr. Chauvin said, citing disciplined underwriting standards in lending to the energy sector and a small amount of unsecured lending to consumers in areas most affected by oil's downturn.

At National Bank, executive vice-president of risk management Bill Bonnell said that "low interest rates, low fuel prices and the weaker Canadian dollar remain supportive of a stable credit environment," and his bank is maintaining its forecast of provisions staying steadily low for the next two quarters.

Stephen Hart, Bank of Nova Scotia's chief risk officer, says his bank's oil and gas exposure is "manageable. And just to be clear, by manageable, I mean that any stress losses would leave the bank within our risk tolerances for both capital and loan loss provisions and would not affect our ongoing strategies."

But "manageable" issues in the portfolio, whether from oil or housing, isn't the same thing as the banks' continuing to benefit from low provisioning as 2015 turns to 2016.

For specifics, look to analyst Brian Klock of Keefe Bruyette & Woods, a U.S.-based research firm that specializes in financial stocks.

Mr. Klock sees provisions at Bank of Montreal rising from $561-million in 2014 to $775-million this year and $915-million in 2016. At Royal Bank of Canada, he sees provisions rising from $1.16-billion in 2014 to $1.39-billion in 2015 and $1.65-billion in 2016. He sees provisions rising at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Scotia and TD as well, just not as sharply. (Earlier this year, he recommended underweighting the entire Canadian banking sector and specifically cut RBC and CIBC to "underperform," citing their high exposure to the Canadian domestic economy.)

Veritas, as well, suggests investors scale back on bank exposure now that they make up more than one-third of the S&P/TSX composite index. If one simply must own banks, Veritas says, its picks are RBC, TD and Scotia.

"The accounting for loan provisions is backward-looking, and investing in banks today has to be forward-looking," Scilipoti says.


The amount of money a bank "provisions" for bad loans is an expense that cuts into profits. So it's been a boon to bank earnings that Canada's big financial institutions have been able to keep provisions low into 2015's first quarter.

Associated Graphic

Banks' loan-loss provisions are 'backward-looking,' an industry observer says, but investors need to be forward-looking.



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