Kim's choice
Her father had it. Her brother and sister have it. Her neice will have it one day. When Kim Teske decides to take her own life, it tests a tightly knit family's courage in the face of Huntington's disease
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

ORANGEVILLE, ONT. -- For 10 days, Kim Teske has been refusing to eat or drink. Her speech is garbled; she can still smoke, but her inhalations are shallow; she is struggling to walk and she is withdrawing into herself, as though she is moving ahead to a place where we can't follow, at least not yet.

At one point, she lies down for a nap in the sprawling split-level house on the edge of Orangeville, Ont., where her family has gathered from halfway across the country to say their goodbyes. One of her sisters crawls into bed and snuggles under the duvet with her. A few hours later, when Kim is driven back across town to her own apartment, a brother has to carry her up the stairs.

Kim, one of six siblings and always seeming the most vulnerable, the most childlike, wants to die. She has Huntington's, an incurable genetic disease that combines aspects of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

At 52, she is still living on her own but fears that, if she doesn't act now, she will end her days in an institution with strangers pushing mush into her mouth and hosing her down after she defecates.

"I love life and I love me, but I don't want to live like that," the slight, lean woman with short dark hair and impeccably sculpted fingernails said a few months earlier.

"And I have a plan."

We were sitting at the table in Kim's sunny yellow kitchen on a winter weekday morning. Her sisters Dawn and Marlene nodded in agreement. Her mother, Gwen, watched warily from the couch.

Kim's black camisole peeked out from an unbuttoned pink and black checked shirt tucked into her jeans, but the effect was more boyish than voluptuous. "I wore this to the Huntington's fundraiser two weeks ago and I had two fizzy drinks. They told me not to get drunk," she explained in an unbridled style I came to recognize as Kim-speak.

The four of us could have been sitting down to a game of euchre; instead, we were talking about the right to die. This was new territory for the Teskes and all of them were struggling to keep their equilibrium while navigating its emotional, medical and legal shoals. Kim couldn't afford to fly to Dignitas, an assisted-suicide clinic in Switzerland that accepts foreigners; her doctors wouldn't help her die; she had no legal access to lethal drugs; and she didn't want her family to face criminal charges for assisting a suicide.

Her only option, as she saw it, was to starve to death, even if most experts predicted it would take two full weeks. "I don't want to get anybody into trouble, but it is my right to die."

Under the watchful eyes of her family, I asked if she felt any pressure from others. "No, I am pressuring myself," she said. "It's my life and that is how I am going to die. Sorry to miss Mom's birthday, but that is not going to happen."

Gwen was soon to turn 80 and wished she could somehow take her daughter's place. "But I can't," she admitted, bolstered by a lifetime of stoicism. Kim's sisters had pledged to support her by taking turns being with her during her deadly fast. "She can stop any time she wants," said Marlene, an admissions specialist at a community college. Dawn, a nurse at a nearby hospital, finished the sentence: "But this is her choice."

Nobody really expected Kim to succeed. It would be too hard, too awful a death - especially for somebody like Kim, who loved to eat and never seemed to gain an ounce, no matter how many helpings she consumed. She was the sibling who didn't make it in the academic stream in high school and trained instead to be a barber; she was the family jokester who delighted in sneaking up and snapping the bra straps of her adolescent nieces; she was the single auntie who greeted any man under 50 by asking, "Are you married?" No matter the response, she demanded a hug.

"Give me a squeeze," she would entreat complete strangers.

"I cried when Marlene told me what Kim was planning - I couldn't fathom it," her brother Stuart, 54, told me in a telephone conversation from Saskatchewan, where he works in construction.

"Kim will not do this."

Going without nourishment when you are terminally ill and your body is already shutting down is difficult enough. Donald Low, the Toronto microbiologist with a terminal brain tumour who made a video plea last year for legalizing medically assisted dying, stopped eating and drinking in the last stages of his life, but he was deeply sedated and under the care of a top-notch palliative team. Even so, he lasted nearly a week, six days of which he couldn't communicate with his grieving family.

Kim's task was infinitely harder because she was not dying, at least not imminently. Patients with Huntington's typically live with a disintegrating mind and body up to 25 years from diagnosis. There are early- and lateonset variants of the disease, which affects one in every 7,000 Canadians, but most people are diagnosed between 30 and 50.

Because Kim refused to wait for the inevitable, she was planning her death while still of "sound mind," as the clinical description has it, and had the capacity to live independently. But that didn't mean she would go quietly. She wanted to leave a final message supporting the work of Dying with Dignity, a nonprofit organization lobbying for the right to medically assisted death and an end to the Criminal Code prohibition against assisting a suicide.

That's how I had heard about Kim. But this is more than a right-to-die story. This is a story about family: how it copes with a devastating illness that has targeted some members and spared others, filling some with despair, others with resignation and making someone like Kim suicidal. It could be your family, it could be mine.

A family secret

Even before Kim's death wish, life was hard for the Teskes. Gwen and her husband, Larry, were from hard-working stock - she from Saskatchewan, he from Ontario. Larry was 42 when he died of testicular cancer, leaving a genetic secret that lay buried for 25 years: Huntington's disease. Because Larry's symptoms were masked by cancer, nobody suspected that he may have passed on a neurological time bomb to his children.

Back then, Gwen was more concerned about the present than the future. "I looked into the coffin and said, 'How do I go on from here?' "she remembered thinking. "But the good Lord gives you strength," she said. "I had to be there for my kids." At 39, she had six children to support. The eldest, Brian, was 16. The youngest, Deanna, was 9. Gwen put in long hours running a restaurant at a truck stop to put food on the table. As soon as they were old enough, the kids worked there on weekends and after school.

Adversity was only part of the glue bonding the family, whose warmth and unpretentiousness remain obvious today. Hugging is endemic, humour is rarely barbed, no visit is intrusive and nobody is a stranger for more than a minute. "It's all about my mother," Stuart explained. "She's the one who held us together.

She's a rock."

None of the kids gave Gwen any trouble. "Not real trouble," said Lynn Teske, who married Brian in 1978, when he was 21 and she was 19. They had met a few years earlier at a high-school dance, but he had disappeared with a pal when the music stopped. "A girlfriend and I used to drive around Orangeville looking for him, until I found him," she said, laughing at her sweet-sixteen boldness. Nearly 40 years later, she still won't let him go.

Brian had gone to high school in nearby Mayfield, but he switched to Orangeville District Secondary School for Grade 12, "and then we were in the same school." For nearly 20 years, life was busy but good. They had two children - a son, Jason, and a daughter, Sarah - and eventually Brian ran his own construction company with brother Stuart, digging basements and installing septic systems.

Everything changed as Brian approached 40. The easygoing, laid-back guy who never swore, who never spoke harshly or critically of others, became unpredictably belligerent. "There was no filter," his wife said. "If he was thinking it, it came out." Brian developed strange tics, like repeatedly shrugging his shoulders, and opening and closing his hands. One day, when he was sitting at the kitchen table, he picked up a glass and banged it down. After a few crashes on the tabletop, his wife asked him to stop. Bewildered, he asked, "Stop what?"

He also began making strange decisions, according to Stuart, a taciturn guy who fails to hide his tender heart and strong emotions. After 10 years in business with his brother, Stuart quit and moved to Florida to work with standard-bred horses. That's where he met his wife, Rebecca, and their teenaged daughters, Victoria and Gabriella, were born.

Brian's daughter tells much more graphic tales of the changes in her funny and generous father. As a teenager, Sarah lost count of the number of times he backed his Dodge Ram pickup into her Mazda, a car she was buying with her own money. "He'd put a hole right through the hood and I would be on my knees crying and he had no empathy at all." Eventually, things got so bad that the once-profitable business went broke, the Teskes lost their home and had to move in with relatives. Lynn finally persuaded her husband to go to a doctor, who prescribed antidepressants. "He walked around like he was drunk," she said. "It was awful." After repeated trips to the doctor, Brian was finally referred to a neurologist. Having checked his reflexes and asked him to do simple things like stick out his tongue, the specialist looked at Brian and said, "I think you have Huntington's disease. I want you to consider going for a DNA test."

Of course, Lynn immediately searched the Internet. "The more I read, the more I knew in my heart that that was what he had." But denial came easily because nobody else in the family had Huntington's.

His mother was robust, and all his younger siblings seemed fine. Brian finally agreed to go for DNA testing in 1997, when he was 40. But it was another five years before he was willing to ask for the results of the simple blood test that would explain his increasingly bizarre physical and emotional behaviour. "He didn't want to know," Lynn said.

This is a common reaction. At best, one in five of those at risk for Huntington's are tested, because knowing doesn't help when you have an incurable and largely untreatable disease. Lynn, nevertheless, tried to persuade him. "We can't deal with what we don't know," she told Brian.

The entire family went to hear the results in July, 2002. By then, Brian was 45, Lynn was 43, Jason was 25 and Sarah was 22. Lynn said she remembers the doctor saying: "You know, Brian, when I open this envelope, I could be handing you a death sentence." Even before the doctor read the diagnosis, Lynn knew that it would be positive because Brian had become that much worse.

Still, the confirmation was a shock. It took a year for everyone in the Teske clan to accept the news and to suspect that the disease had probably come from their long-dead father. Five of the six Teskes already had children; if they had Huntington's, there was a 50-50 chance they had unwittingly passed it on - a horrifying thought for any parent.

Brian's daughter spent years obsessing about the disease, but refused to be tested. "I didn't want a death sentence. I didn't want to know at 24, 25 or 26 that I was going to be dying of Huntington's," Sarah said.

But that didn't mean she didn't worry: "If my arm had a twitch, I would think that was it." She reached a point where the tension was so grinding that she realized knowing was better than not knowing. By then, she had decided that, if she were positive, she wouldn't have children, although there is now a complicated and costly in vitro fertilization procedure that tests embryos and implants only those that are free of Huntington's. Finally, in July, 2008, on a day Sarah could only describe in superlatives as "the best of her life," she learned she was negative. Now, she is married and the mother of two small children.

On the same day Sarah found out she had won the genetic lottery, her aunt phoned home from Regina to say she had lost. Deanna, the youngest of the Teske siblings, had tested positive. Her daughters, Chantelle and Shelby, were in Ontario visiting their grandmother and extended family. But before they even had a chance to celebrate with their older cousin, they had to grapple with the horror of their mother's diagnosis, which was potentially their own. That is how Huntington's works: It is capricious, sparing some and skewering others, like a fickle finger of fate.

Deanna will tell you now that she wasn't surprised to learn she had it. The year before, when she had gone back to Ontario to celebrate Brian's 50th birthday, she already had a strange tingling in her fingers and toes, and some jerky movements. Her brother pressed her to find out for certain, so she went for testing after she returned to Saskatchewan. The process was gruelling, partly because her marriage was going through a rough patch. Her husband, Mike Smith, another saltof-the-earth type who's a carpenter and a partner in a small construction firm, was "grumpy," she confided to me on speaker phone from her kitchen in Regina. "I didn't need that when I was going through getting the results." So she kicked him out. They went for counselling and eventually reconciled. "He is very supportive and he loves me a lot," she said. "I am happy."

Deanna can no longer work as a hairdresser, manage simple tasks like holding a telephone receiver or speak without slurring some of her words. Yet she radiates cheerfulness, even as her arms flail about like an aberrant windmill. It's as though she got an overdose of chorea (the involuntary movements that typically accompany Huntington's) and escaped the depression and belligerence that are also characteristics of the disease.

She's "good" with older sister Kim wanting to end her life, but that's not for her. "I want to live till my dying day," she said, even if that means being incapacitated in a nursing home. "I am happy and I am in love with my husband and I could never imagine ending my life, ever."

Most of the Teskes long suspected that Kim also had Huntington's. Deanna said that Brian kept "bugging Kim to get tested" because there were doctors and programs that could monitor the symptoms and ease some of them. But Kim was in denial and, Deanna added, may have gone west a decade ago to escape family pressure. After working almost 20 years as a barber not far from Orangeville in Alton, she settled near an aunt in Invermere, B.C.

A few years later, though, Kim could no longer cut hair and was working behind the counter in a delicatessen - until even that job became too stressful. "There were times when she was overhearing customers say, 'Oh, my gosh, I think she is drunk,' "younger sister Marlene recalled.

"Brian had it and so did Deanna, and I was hoping and praying I didn't have it, too," Kim told me the first time we met. She was finally tested in 2008, the summer of reckoning for the Teske family. She was 47. Sisters Dawn and Marlene flew out to B.C. to bring her back to Ontario. A year later, she could no longer drive or handle simple tasks. Though she technically lived independently, her mother and Ontario sisters hovered lovingly.

Of the six siblings, only Dawn and Marlene haven't been tested. They believe they have been spared because, in their 50s, they are still symptom-free. Stuart was at risk of losing his workplace life insurance until he tested negative. "I knew I didn't have it because I had no symptoms, but I did the test for my kids." Does he feel bad that he and his family are safe, while three of his siblings are doomed? "No," he said.

"It bothers me that they've go it, but I'm glad that I don't." As for Dawn and Marlene, they don't have time to feel guilty. Besides full-time jobs and their own families, they are at ground zero, helping to care for their afflicted siblings, including Brian.

At 57, Brian lives in a longterm-care facility. He can't walk or feed himself, his speech is almost incomprehensible and he frequently chokes on his puréed food. Lynn drives to the nursing home on her way from work, bringing him an Iced Capp from Tim Hortons as a treat before she spoon-feeds him dinner.

Kim, who visits once a week, has watched her brother deteriorate. "I don't want to live like that. It is very important for me not to do that," she said on the second day of her fast. "I've never married, so I am making the decision for myself. It would be harder if I had children."

A cruel inheritance

No matter what Kim does, the disease won't stop with this generation of Teskes. Deanna's daughter Chantelle tested positive last year, at 24. "I think deep down inside herself, she knew," her mother said. "At least that is what she told the counsellor." Deanna felt worse for her daughter than for herself. "I cried and I cried and I cried and I felt guilty," she admitted. "And then I decided that's not fair," she said, her sunny disposition rising to the surface. "I shouldn't feel that way. It is a 50-50 situation. I hope she can be like me, or maybe there will be something to stop the movements or cure the disease when her signs show up."

Chantelle tried for a brave face when I met her and younger sister Shelby at the Smiths' bungalow in Regina. The two nestled like cats on their parents' chesterfield. Outside the picture window, a city crew was cleaning up fallen trees from a brutal winter.

"When you don't know," Chantelle said, "it is always on your mind." At the time of her diagnosis, she was married and debating whether to have children. "He really wanted kids," she recalled, as tears began to flow. While they were trying, she tried to rationalize the decision: "If I do have a kid and he has Huntington's," she told herself, "there will be a cure by then." Ultimately, she realized she could not knowingly pass the disease on to a child; she went for testing. Her husband supported her decision, she said, insisting that Huntington's didn't cause their marriage to end earlier this year. Now, she is between jobs and living at home. "My life is kind of upside down."

Bizarrely, a wood chopper began to devour a downed tree outside the window, and we all started to laugh. The tension broken, Chantelle summoned her bravado. "I just want to be happy more than anything else in the whole entire world," she said, her chin rising. "In my family, it has been around 40 when people start showing signs. I'm 25 now, so I figure I have about 15 years."

That's not to say she was giving up. "I hope and pray every day that they can find something to stop it, so at least I can have a chance to live." Both young women look to their mother for inspiration. "The best person in the world as a role model," Chantelle said. "My mother is dealing with it amazingly," Shelby added. "She is always happy and ready to throw optimism your way."

By contrast, Shelby said, her aunt took the diagnosis "really hard." She understands Kim's choice and said she "would probably do the same thing." That may be why Shelby has refused to be tested. "I would dwell on it a lot more than I do not knowing," she predicted. "I don't want to feel sorry for myself, right?"

Jason, Brian's son in Calgary hasn't been tested, either. He is married but has no children. Some family members - all adept at recognizing telltale signs - fear he has inherited the genetic short straw. His mother is waiting it out. "It preys on my mind a lot," she said. "He is 36 years old and, in four years, I am going to know just by looking at him."

The pain in her voice was almost audible as she described the possibility of her son having the same disease as his father. For anyone whose family is plagued by Huntington's, watching for symptoms is almost as harrowing as the fate they herald.

"Between 10 and 20 years to complete the course," novelist Ian McEwan writes of the disease's inexorable march in Saturday, "from the first small alterations of character, tremors in the hands and face, emotional disturbance, including - most notably - sudden, uncontrollable alterations of mood, the helpless jerky dance-like movements, intellectual dilapidation, memory failure, agnosia, apraxia, dementia, total loss of muscular control rigidity sometimes, nightmarish hallucinations and a meaningless end. This is how the brilliant machinery of being is undone by the tiniest of faulty cogs, the insidious whisper of ruin, a single bad idea lodged in every cell, on every chromosome four."

Brian's way

There was a time when Brian wanted to end his life. "He always said he was not going to live in a nursing home," Lynn said, "that when it got to the point where he needed someone to wipe his bum, he didn't want to be here." But somehow, he never found the means or the opportunity. He waited too long, some of his siblings will say quietly.

"I'm here to help you through the disease but not to end your life," Lynn remembered the doctor saying in response to Brian's entreaties. Although grateful for the medical care, the treatment programs and the help from family - for years, Gwen spent one day a week with Brian, feeding him lunch, taking him for drives and doing the family laundry - she wishes there was more home care available. "If you have lots of money to pay somebody to come in, you are fine. But if you don't, you are euchred," she said.

There was a crisis in the summer of 2012. They had a hospital bed in the kitchen, but the bathroom was upstairs and Brian was falling a lot. Sometimes, so was Lynn, trying to keep him balanced as she propelled him up and down the stairs. That October, Brian moved to the nursing home, where he is by far the youngest male patient. Eventually, he won't be able to swallow mush and he will either choke to death or he will be put on a feeding tube. Lynn doesn't think he wants that, but she isn't certain.

"He has a son and a daughter and he has grandchildren," she said. "And then there is his mom and his sisters. He has a lot of family around him." What she doesn't say, but is obvious to anybody who sees them together, is that he is still gobsmacked in love with the girl he met at a dance.

Kim's way

Kim picked April 25 to start her fast. She figured that spring would have arrived, not a certainty given the hard Ontario winter, and that she would be done by her birthday, May 9.

"I will take the movement drugs," she told me in February. The medication helps to ease her chorea, allowing her to sleep. "So we will take them and I will sleep and we are going to have fun at 18 Faulkner," she said, referring to her apartment. "Marlene and Dawn are going to be here, and I told God I would jump out of the window and meet him."

Two months later, she sits on the edge of her bed, smoking cigarettes - the Teskes are like chimneys when it comes to nicotine - and looks out the second-floor window at the oak tree in the front yard. It is her talisman. Kim believes she will be resurrected and come back as part of the tree's towering presence. Whether she is saying that to reassure herself or her family is moot. It is the mantra that sustains her day after day of refusing food and sipping only enough water to swallow her medication.

Both Ontario sisters have taken time off work, made sure that Kim's do-not-resuscitate form is prominently displayed on the refrigerator, gone with her to a local general practitioner (who has refused to help Kim die) and applied for palliative and personal care for their sister.

Then Gwen, the matriarch, who has been watching and smoking for months, intervenes. She can't stop Kim from killing herself, but she can gather all her children together one last time. She summons her younger son first. "It was an awful expense, but it was worth it," she tells me later.

Stuart is the catalyst who makes the reunion happen. He comes twice from Saskatchewan, once by himself and again with Deanna. Nobody has told Lynn or Brian what Kim is doing because they fear it may upset him, but Stuart breaks that well-meaning code soon after he and Deanna land in Toronto, on day seven of Kim's fast. Lynn is glad he did, saying her husband knew something was up. "He has Huntington's, but he's not stupid."

For the first time since their mother's 75th birthday five years earlier, the Teske clan, including Brian, congregate at Dawn's house on the outskirts of Orangeville. The place is a multigenerational jumble of kids, friends, food, instant coffee (with an occasional shot of Bailey's) and frequent trips to the garage, where the smokers gather around an old wood stove to trade anecdotes and josh Dawn's partner, Paul Omrode, about the two gleaming Harleys parked in front of the door, patiently anticipating a summer romp.

The fast could stop if Kim changes her mind or the authorities step in. But no one makes a move, waiting like bystanders at a traffic accident. It is horrible to watch, especially seeing the suffering in Gwen's face as she chain smokes in the garage.

Before Stuart and Deanna head back to the airport, knowing they will probably not see their sister again, the siblings gather to plant a burning bush outside Kim's apartment. She is now too weak to walk to the window. A visiting palliative-care nurse thinks it will be several more days, but Kim has other plans. She dies peacefully, with none of the delirium or agitation that some watchers had anticipated, around noon on day 12, with Dawn by her side. When summoned, along with emergency services, the police decline to lay charges. It is three days before Kim's target date.


Half of Orangeville seems to have gathered for Kim's memorial celebration on May 9, her 53rd birthday. There is food, caffeine, flowers and a slide show documenting her life, from baby pictures to horsing around with nieces and nephews. Nothing has been air-brushed, including a picture taken a day before she died, looking gaunt and focused on the camera as a niece gives her a hug.

There are lots of extemporaneous speakers, but Marlene's husband, Marty Olson, a big, tough former cop, is the closest to an official eulogist. He cheers the mourners with the familiar story about Kim demanding a squeeze from anybody in trousers and short back and sides.

Then his voice cracks as he describes her at Easter, the weekend before beginning her fast. Knowing how much Kim loved to eat, he was making her a hearty breakfast while she sat out smoking on the deck. The window was open and he could hear Kim speaking to herself. Instead of calling her a dork - one of her own favourite putdowns - he listened as she said: "God, I am ready to go. Do you have a bed for me?"

That was the moment he knew she was serious, a realization that had come to all of them at different times. "I don't know how she did it," Lynn Teske said after the funeral. "I still can't get over that she followed through and for 12 days didn't touch anything: food, drink, nothing. It was amazing."

Kim, the most childlike Teske, has given them all a lesson in courage. She achieved her goal: to die on her own terms. That is a legacy nobody can deny. Whether it will help change the law, however, is beyond her control.

The only certainty is that family has prevailed. "It hasn't been easy, but you have to stick together and carry on from there," her mother concludes.

When the Teskes gather earlier this month to celebrate Gwen's 80th birthday, Kim is not forgotten. She is mourned again.


Toronto author Sandra Martin is currently working on a book for HarperCollins about the right-to-die movement in Canada and around the world. She was a Globe and Mail staff member for 16 years, known both for her reporting on the publishing industry and as a noted obituary writer. Her most recent book, Great Canadian Lives: A Cultural History of Modern Canada through the Art of the Obit (House of Anansi), has just appeared in paperback.


An acclaimed photographer, Kevin Van Paassen also spent a decade on The Globe and Mail staff, covering everything from Canada's health-care system and the 2012 Summer Games in London to the war in Afghanistan, before launching his freelance career in Toronto.


Watch intimate interviews with Kim Teske and her family, including two young sisters facing the prospect of living with an incurable illness TGAM.CA/KIMSCHOICE

Associated Graphic

Kim snuggles under the duvet with her sister, Deanna Smith, right. Deanna has also tested positive for Huntington's disease but says that she is determined to live her life to its fullest.

Gathering of the clan: As the Teskes say goodbye, Kim gets a hand from sister Marlene, left, and sister-in-law Lynn (who, below, also helps her through a door at the home of third sister Dawn).

Marlene tends to Kim during a visit to her sister's apartment, then watches as their other sister, Dawn, a nurse, wets Kim's lips to help her medicine go down.

Fond farewells: Kim, seated left, enjoys her final full family gathering with, from left, brother Stuart, sisters Marlene and Deann

Marlene embraces brother Brian, the first of the Teske siblings to confront the dreaded disease.

And Kim does the same. As Brian's condition worsened, she felt she couldn't share his fate.

na, mother Gwen, brother Brian and sister Dawn. The gathering was Gwen's idea. 'An awful expense,' she says, 'but worth it.'

The note Kim left behind was read at her funeral service. 'Please have fun for me,' it ends.

Kim's tiny apartment, with a sunny yellow kitchen - and belongings packed up for the movers.

One year after the crash that killed 47 people and devastated its downtown, Lac-Mégantic remains haunted by the tragedy - its residents caught between the impulse to stay and rebuild and the desire to move on
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

LAC-MÉGANTIC, QUE. -- Christian Lafontaine moves through his day like a man in a hurry. He's a survivor and, between expanded responsibilities with his family's construction business and a onemonth-old baby at home, the 46-year-old seems always to be thinking about the next thing to do, the next place to be. It's as if, through constant motion, he can keep the past at bay.

Mr. Lafontaine and his wife, Melanie Gérard, were the last patrons to find their way out of the packed Musi-Café in LacMégantic after a hurtling train crashed into the small Quebec town last year, killing 47 people and laying waste to several downtown blocks. Afterward, Mr. Lafontaine memorialized the escape on his right bicep: The shoulderto-elbow tattoo shows the couple running away as flames engulf the café behind them; in the background lies the iconic Ste-Agnès church, surrounded by black tank cars thrown from the train.

He lost his brother, Gaétan Lafontaine, and Gaétan's wife, Joanie Turmel, along with several close friends. It was a dreadful intrusion on the life his family had built just outside Lac-Mégantic, so entrenched that several residential streets bear his brothers' and father's first names.

Mr. Lafontaine says he has no plans to leave this picturesque region in Eastern Quebec, but he knows of others who have chosen to move, either out of frustration with the pace of reconstruction or because the memories of the accident are still too harrowing.

"Everyone has their reasons," he says. "Everyone has their ghosts."

One year after the horrific crash, Lac-Mégantic remains haunted by a tragedy that has touched nearly everyone in town. There is no escaping the ghosts of the dead in a now deeply scarred place working to put itself back together, one halting project at a time. Some, like Mr. Lafontaine, appear to have reached a sense of peace with what happened, even as they mourn those they've lost. Others are fighting a barely concealed battle against flashbacks, nightmares and relentless grief.

Thus the strange psyche of this traumatized town of 6,000: caught between the impulse to stay and rebuild and the desire to move on - between fight and flight. Looming, too, are questions about the thing Lac-Mégantic lost that seems most likely to return: the snaking trains laden with volatile crude oil that once rolled through the lakeside town.

Yannick Gagné stands by a steel skeleton on the edge of the new commercial district built adjacent to the shattered downtown. The owner of the Musi-Café, where more than half of the victims died on July 6, had planned to reopen the bar on a new site by the one-year anniversary. That reopening has now been delayed by months as he waits for financial aid long promised by governments in Ottawa and Quebec City.

When it eventually opens in September, the new Musi-Café will reflect the region that surrounds it, with furnishings rich in local wood and granite dug from the hills surrounding Lac-Mégantic. Mr. Gagné worries that, without aid, he may have about $600,000 in debts before he can open the bar.

"That's a heavy burden," he says.

"We've had to fight to build this project and we aren't done yet. This isn't the same city any more - a lot is left to save, we've changed."

His staff has scattered across Quebec.

Karine Blanchette, an actress and waitress, now lives in Saint-Hyacinthe, near Montreal. She prefers not to talk about what happened last year.

The bar's former manager, Sophie L'Heureux, has also left the region in search of work. With a smile, Mr. Gagné says he'll convince her to come back once the bar has been rebuilt.

The railroad tracks run about a dozen metres west of the new Musi-Café construction site, the same distance as from the old bar.

When driving downhill toward the community's core, you now encounter a virtual trompe-l'oeil as the buildings on quaint Frontenac Street are still standing in the distance and appear unmolested, almost deceiving you into thinking the rebuilding is over. Cresting a hill, you see the storm fencing, and mountains of dirt rush into sight. The downtown is still walled off.

While some of the tall storm fencing brought in by Quebec provincial police last summer is gone, most has been moved back nearer to the Red Zone, as it's called, and the blackened rump of downtown. The black shroud that once hid the devastation from public view has been removed. The scar is now fully visible.

For many, the gash in the centre of town is a constant reminder of the tragedy and makes it more difficult to move on.

"We are grieving events that still aren't in the past, they are all around. In the normal process of grieving we regain the rhythm of life, however that rhythm is upended here. You see outside my window," says Father Steve Lemay, gesturing at the scene of devastation outside his Ste-Agnès Church office. "You see, it's the same for everyone, even the most banal of outings confronts us with grief."

'Inside, everything is moving'

A year ago, René Simard was smoking a cigarette on the terrace of the Musi-Café when the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic oil train careened into town. Many of the people closest to him were inside the bar, celebrating his friend Stéphane Bolduc's birthday. Simard was an art teacher at the local high school for two decades, and most of the patrons were his students at some point.

Within moments he was running as the train derailed. He spotted his car parked nearby and ran toward it. The car exploded. He survived; his friends did not.

Now, most nights Mr. Simard sleeps on his couch, fully clothed, ready to run out of his house at any moment. He knows it sounds outrageous, but it helps him sleep.

Once clean-cut and conservatively dressed, he now wears a loose T-shirt and has grown a beard. He lives a Zen life, he explains inside his warmly decorated home.

Mr. Simard hasn't returned to work since the accident and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. His friends now come to see him at his home in Nantes, on the outskirts of Lac-Mégantic. He lists his triggers: The orange lights on winter plows make his chest feel like it is being crushed; sirens are intolerable; sitting in the middle of restaurants causes panic attacks; he avoids being in crowds and tunes out the sound of yelling children.

Then there are the demons of night.

"I'm always having nightmares, terrible nightmares. I'm like a child when I wake up. I'm killing my mother, doing terrible things," he says. "This is crazy. I told my psychologist to lock me up in an iron jacket, but he told me that this is normal. A little girl was playing on her deck this morning and her screams made me go back to that evening, just talking about it makes my chest tighten.Her screams brought me back to the people I heard burn to death behind me."

In fact, hundreds of locals are experiencing cases of serious trauma. In trailers behind the city's hospital, 30 social workers are dealing with a deluge of new files. The number of locals seeking help increases weekly, along with the severity of the reported problems, according to town councillor André Desjardins.

On Oct. 31, a volunteer firefighter who worked at the town's largest employer, Tafisa, died by suicide. The young man killed himself after losing his girlfriend in the disaster and spending the first hectic days in the fiery downtown, helping unearth the bodies of some of his closest friends.

"A volcano is still burning in the population," says Tafisa CEO Louis Brassard, describing the man's struggle and the impact it has had on the factory floor.

When Mr. Simard first met with The Globe and Mail in October, the skin on his hands was red, deeply cracked and swollen. He now has deep red streaks on his face. "Stress," he says. "I look relaxed, but inside, everything is moving."

What worries the artist most is his loss of creativity. He's hung his art on his walls, but his past collages and paintings only seem to taunt him. The spark is gone. His impeccable French has also suffered and he now keeps a dictionary on his kitchen table.

To cope, he's resurrected the dreams of his childhood. "My parents didn't want me to have birds," he says, "so I bought birds." He now has five, most of them chatty parakeets.

He compares his grief to a set of Russian nesting dolls. Ten of his close friends were lost - too many to cope with collectively. Each death must be dealt with separately, each resolution leading to the next period of mourning.

In his closet, Mr. Simard keeps a mesh baseball cap that Mr. Bolduc used to wear when the two sailed on Mégantic Lake.

"I won't wear the hat, I haven't even adjusted it in the back," he says. "It's an object that I treasure."

An exodus, real or imagined

Despite the trauma of the accident and the challenge of living in a town under constant reconstruction, many residents say their decision to stay was an easy one. Some cite their own families' roots here, others point to the tightly knit nature of the community or the stunning scenery of Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Sylvain Brier, the associate vice-principal at Lac-Mégantic's high school, says that, because he only moved to LacMégantic in late 2012, he doesn't share the same history as some families in town. But, he adds, "It's a small place so when somebody leaves it makes a big mark, you know, leaves a big trail behind. And they have lived here all their lives."

Both the regional school board and the Lac-Mégantic high school say there has been no notable decrease in the student body and, while the municipality confirms a population decline, it has refused to provide any numbers.

Even lacking proof, many in LacMégantic seem to feel that an exodus has started. Whether or not it is true - and many argue it isn't - the departure of a few has left others wondering whether they should follow and escape what could be a decade of painful reconstruction.

A review of real-estate listings shows a large number of houses on the market.

"There are a lot of homes that are for sale, an enormous number, maybe even more than last year," says local realestate agent Gina Dubé.

Ms. Dubé's face is plastered on signs around Lac-Mégantic. She had a record year in 2013 as sales increased by 50 per cent following the disaster. "We were in a state of shock," she remembers.

Nearly 100 businesses and residents suddenly found themselves homeless.

While some would soon be allowed to return to their homes, much of the town's centre is still off-limits and slated for demolition.


Along with the evacuees, Ms. Dubé says many of her listings are from local couples who split up after the tragedy. "It forced many people to re-examine their lives and put things in perspective; it's sad, but many broke up," she says.

Ms. Dubé says others have simply left Lac-Mégantic, although she hasn't collected a number. She also says very few new residents have arrived.

"New people will come. We're going to be a new city soon, that will entice people," she says. "What has happened is that Lac-Mégantic has been discovered.

The city had always been considered the rough diamond of the Estrie [the French name for the Eastern Townships], now people have learned of it."

In the months following the tragedy, thousands of Quebeckers swarmed to the town to see the devastation. While derided by locals as "loiterers" and "lookie-loos," many have come back several times to enjoy the beauty of the area.

While the disaster has encouraged some residents to leave, the migration has been reversed for others. Frédérike Simard, 22, is moving back to LacMégantic to be closer to her father and her fiancé's family.

"I almost lost my dad. That was a wake-up call, so I decided to move back and be near him," she says.

A hairdresser in Quebec City, she's emotional when describing the realization that her father escaped being a victim in Canada's deadliest modern rail disaster by only moments - and because he borrowed a cigarette.

Her fiancé, Sébastien Bolduc, is happy to join her in the move. A soldier in the Royal 22nd Regiment in Quebec City, the Van Doos, Mr. Bolduc was injured in Afghanistan and is ending his time in the military.

"My family is important, I just wanted to be closer," he says. He was the one with the dangerous job; he never expected his brother Stéphane would die in the cozy Musi-Café, surrounded by friends.

The smell of oil

The disaster was disorienting for everyone. "The problem here is that people lost their points of reference and now their daily routines are gone," says Mr.

Desjardins, the town councillor. "They used to go for walks in the evening and have their coffees in the morning; that's all been disrupted."

On Kelly Street, the paint is fresh on Robert Dallaire's house. Only a few metres and a badly burned maple separate him from Veterans Park, where hundreds of thousands of litres of flaming oil flowed into Mégantic Lake.

The retiree moved back into the house as soon as permitted and went to work repairing the damage. He and his family made it clear they had no plans to go anywhere.

"There was no question that we were staying," he says. He was away at the time of the disaster; many of his neighbours died while they slept.

When Mr. Dallaire's wife finally saw what was left of the street where they lived for 25 years, he says, she had a "crisis." She's been mute ever since, diagnosed with post-traumatic shock and slowly relearning to speak.

The smell of oil can be almost intolerable in their home. Angry at a lack of information from the town and the slow pace of redevelopment, the couple will be travelling Quebec in an RV this summer.

'A bitter taste'

Like many towns in rural Canada, LacMégantic is entwined with the railway that runs through it. Founded as Mégantic in 1884, the town came into being just as the final stretch of the cross-Canada railway was constructed between Montreal and Atlantic Canada. It was renamed Lac-Mégantic in 1958 for the lake it sits beside.

Without the railway, residents are certain that the town's biggest industrial employers would leave. But if the train comes back through town carrying oil - a real possibility after January, 2016 - others have declared they would choose to leave rather than live in fear of another tragedy.

"It's paradoxical," says Richard Michaud, a town councillor and longtime Lac-Mégantic resident. "The town was built with the railway, and then the town had its biggest disaster with the railway. So it leaves a bitter taste."

The town's struggling economy has not made things any easier. One councillor estimates that roughly 300 people are collecting employment insurance benefits and a total of 800 jobs were lost.

For one group of local business owners, the tragedy represents an important opportunity for renewal. The group, called Groupe Action Mégantic, is pressing for a new tourism plan aimed at capitalizing on the attention LacMégantic has received since last year.

The group has proposed building an Imax theatre and a 300-bed hotel, along with an interpretation centre that would describe Lac-Mégantic's history, including the devastating rail accident.

Mr. Michaud, who is in charge of culture at the town council, says the region can continue to draw people with its stargazing and heritage. But when it comes to the old motto "From the railway to the Milky Way," he's certain that will change. "We'll do away with the railway, but we're sticking with our stars," he said. "No one's going to take those away."

'I cry every day'

Luc Dion and Julie Heon have been inseparable for the past year. Casual flirting on the terrace of the Musi-Café on July 6 turned into their first date. Then at 1:14 a.m. they were rocked as the oil train flew past.

As survivors, the couple say they have found strength in each other. Mr. Dion moved into Ms. Heon's house on July 1.

"I feel bad for the people who try to imagine how it was there, it seems like they are being hard on themselves when trying to understand," Ms. Heon says. "We were there, it was a stunning event that still wakes me up at night, but we're moving past it, we're dealing with it."

The couple say they have little interest in joining any official anniversary ceremonies. But when the Musi-Café reopens, they would like to return with the other survivors and raise a pint to the victims.

"We're constantly reliving that day," says Ms. Heon, whose best friend died inside the bar after leaving the couple alone on the terrace. "I'm sad, I cry every day and I don't need a ceremony to cry about it for three hours. I'm tired of crying."

Mr. Dion expresses anger at the "politicking" he blames for much of the delays and frustrations in town.

"This used to be a small village, now it's a very small village. It's all politicking, nothing has opened yet and promises were betrayed. The hands aren't following the words," Mr. Dion says.

He worries when he hears the warning bells of level crossings, reminding him of the last sounds he heard before the MM&A oil train crashed. Ms. Heon has had similar trouble.

"I don't hyperventilate or have a big panic," she says, "but it really stirs the emotions."

In the words of a four-year-old In early August, four-year-old Édouard Pelletier will strap on his skates and head out on the ice. He'll probably be the youngest person at Lac-Mégantic's arena as he starts his first session at the hockey school named after his father, Mathieu Pelletier.

A math teacher at the local high school, Mr. Pelletier was a hockey prospect who bowed out of a full scholarship at an American university to stay with Alexia Dumas-Chaput. On the night of July 5, he headed out to the Musi-Café with two friends. One was visiting from Quebec City, the other from Switzerland.

Ms. Dumas-Chaput woke up early July 6 to frantic texts looking for her husband. His body was found at the MusiCafé. Following the disaster, Lac-Mégantic's hockey school was renamed after its founder.

This winter Ms. Dumas-Chaput skated with her son and gave him hockey lessons for the first time. With Mr. Pelletier's hockey sticks still in the garage, Édouard is continuing a passion shared with his father.

"Édouard doesn't really understand that the school is named after his father, but it makes me really emotional," Ms. Dumas-Chaput says. "I'm hesitating between being a typical mother in the stands or going down into the locker room and helping him dress up, which is what Mat would have done."

As she and her son adjust to a new routine, she says life has never returned to normal. "Even in my nicest days, when I can appreciate my time with Édouard, there isn't a day that I forget what happened. I get up alone, I go to bed alone, I remember what happened," she says.

Mr. Pelletier's son has lasting questions about what happened to his father, and about whether anyone will be punished as a result. MM&A and three of its employees, including the engineer that night, are now facing 47 charges each of criminal negligence causing death.

Édouard, Ms. Dumas-Chaput says, "has a four-year-old's sense of justice and he thinks bad behaviour requires a consequence. Like everyone else, he needs to feel that someone assumes responsibility for their errors. He might not have the right sense of proportionality, he figures that they will get a time-out or be forced to draw something - he doesn't understand prison time - but they need to take responsibility."

Running a new railway

Before the accident, regulators in Canada treated oil as relatively low-risk and enforced few rules for classifying crude.

Lac-Mégantic prompted municipalities across North America to demand better information about what moves through their communities by rail, and Ottawa now requires shippers or importers to have detailed emergency-response plans in place before they can send crude oil, ethanol and several other highly flammable liquids. The changes are among a raft of new rules introduced in Canada and the United States after the accident exposed glaring gaps in the regulation of the rail industry.

Still, Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche says she will continue to press for a rail bypass around Lac-Mégantic to ensure that hazardous goods are no longer ferried down a steep slope into town. So far, she's received no assurances from either level of government and doesn't expect to until they know how much it will cost.

The new rail company that has taken over the MM&A's network has been under intense scrutiny at town meetings and in the local press.

At a public meeting with the Central Maine and Quebec Railway in late May, the CEO of the largest employer in town was the last at the microphone.

"I told them that they will need to run a safe operation, the population will be watching," Mr. Brassard says. "In French I told him: Il faut que les bottines suivent les babines. You need to walk the talk.

The room laughed, but it's our responsibility as a customer to deal with a business partner that shares our values."

He says he was satisfied with the veteran operators that look poised to run the new railroad.

However, the distinction between MM&A and CM&Q is belied by the fact that the new company, which just received permission to operate in Canada, is employing many managers who have come directly from the previous railroad. Four senior managers from MM&A are with the CM&Q on contract, while others have been hired into permanent management positions. The trustee for MM&A, Bob Keach, would not say which four were on contract.

A review of the new company's phone directory lists MM&A's former CEO, Bob Grindrod, as employed by CM&Q.

MM&A's former heads of human resources, marketing, transportation practices, budgeting, engineering, real estate and environmental affairs are all listed on the CM&Q directory.

'Live life at its fullest'

Mr. Brier, at the high school, says he senses some concern among students about their future in the town. "We can feel that they are worried and asking themselves a lot of questions: Should I stay or should I go?" he says. Many have consulted the school's guidance councillor.

Enrolment in extracurricular sports programs increased by at least 30 per cent last year, filling the gym from the end of the school day until 10 p.m. every weeknight. The accident left LacMégantic's children with few places to hang out.

The adults have their own questions - and some residents strike a mystical note. Whether for a laugh or for advice, Mr. Simard speaks daily with his friends who died. While the memorial candles crowd his credenza, he says the ghosts of his friends are there for assistance. "I never believed this before, but they are still here looking over us," he says.

Mr. Lafontaine's wife, Melanie, gave birth in the spring to a little girl named Élodie. Mr. Lafontaine muses that the child could be a way for those who died in the accident to return, and then quickly dismisses the notion. But, he adds, "You know, my brother Gaétan knew we wanted to have another child, so maybe he's the one who sent her to us."

Lac-Mégantic's dead are still remembered, even before their names are inscribed on a planned memorial. Their presence is still felt around town, coddling friends on disquieting nights and providing a new appreciation for what hasn't been lost.

"This isn't just dark and drab," Mr. Lafontaine says. "I've been given a chance, why would I waste it? I'm going to live life at its fullest. We're all going to die, we all know that, so why not enjoy life while we can?" .

Justin Giovannetti and Kim Mackrael are Globe reporters.

Associated Graphic

A fenced alley now lets locals cross the Chaudière River, impossible for most of last year. But much rebuilding has yet to be done. 'Even the most banal of outings confronts us with grief,' says one resident.


Yannick Gagné is rebuilding the Musi-Café, where more than half the victims died on July 6. But his reopening has been delayed as he waits for financial aid promised by governments in Ottawa and Quebec City.


René Simard was celebrating a friend's birthday when the train hit. He survived; his friends did not. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Luc Dion and Julie Heon had their first date on July 6, and have since moved in together. 'We're dealing with it,' says Ms. Heon.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014


An article in Saturday's Focus section on Lac-Mègantic incorrectly spelled the name of one of the last patrons to find their way out of Musi-Cafè. She is Melanie Guèrard, not Gèrard as published.

How one Canadian company is turning to the U.S. in a quest to rebuild itself and join a manufacturing comeback
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

North Carolina -- Michael Penner, chief executive of Montreal-based Richelieu Group, is sitting at a table in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

He's a political junkie, so it's an awesome experience. He can't help but look around. But this isn't a stop on a White House tour. This is serious. Mr. Penner is one of about a dozen executives summoned to meet with President Barack Obama, who wants to talk about what it would take to encourage more investment in the United States.

Someone from Ford Motor Co. is present. There are representatives from Sweden's Ericsson AB and Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Germany. Sitting next to Mr. Penner is Sanjay Jha, chief executive of Globalfoundries Inc., a chip maker based in Silicon Valley that employs 13,000 people on three continents. These are big dogs. Mr. Penner sells socks and employs about 100 people.

He doesn't normally shrink from the spotlight, but on this day, he's reciting a quiet prayer that the President of the United States will leave the talking to others.

Please don't ask me. Please don't ask me. Please don't ask me.

"We only have one person left to speak," Mr. Obama says. "I'd like Michael Penner to talk to you about his story."

OMG! "Thank you Mr. President."

What follows is a retelling of Michael Penner's story, based on several interviews over the weeks that followed Mr. Penner's audience with the most powerful person in the world.

Mr. Obama's Commerce Department had its eye on Mr.Penner. His story is one of industrial death and rebirth. Factories that were abandoned when North American production fled to Asia at the start of the millennium now are being refurbished and put back to work. Many said the most manual forms of assembly would never return to rich countries. Richelieu plans to invest $16-million (U.S.) in western North Carolina to begin production of 100-per-cent-Made-inAmerica socks for Wal-Mart shoppers. "All my future is riding on this," Mr. Penner says.

Globalization is a funny thing. It's forever shifting. The cost of labour in China is rising, while salaries in the U.S. have been depressed by the recession. The shale energy boom has significantly lowered the price of powering factories in North America.

Business strategy also has changed over the past decade.

Managers now want to cut delivery times by locating factories closer to their consumers.

After years of steady decline, the U.S. has added factory jobs every year since 2010. The Labour Department on Thursday estimated that there were 12.1 million Americans employed in manufacturing in June, a 5.6-per-cent increase from the end of 2009. That falls short of a glorious rebirth, but it is growth all the same. Boston Consulting Group in April released a study of the world's 25 biggest exporters that determined the U.S. and Mexico had closed the gap with China as the most competitive place to make things.

One of the first things Mr. Penner did after securing his beachhead in Burke County, N.C., a few years ago was to erect a Canadian flag. His office is adorned with Canadiana, including a poster depicting all the planes Air Canada has flown over its 78-year history.

But patriotism is no match for economic reality. The manufacturing renaissance that has gripped the imagination of Mr. Obama and other U.S. leaders is barely discussed in Canada. The country's economy has turned sluggish, in part because relatively high-paying factory work is stagnant. According to Statistics Canada, there were 1,485,976 manufacturing jobs in Canada in 2013, compared with 1,497,657 in 2012 and 1,487,265 in 2009. Boston Consulting's analysis showed Canada was "losing ground" in global competitiveness because of slightly higher labour costs and, more importantly, weak productivity.

Tough times in textiles

They don't teach you how to do mass layoffs at law school.

Michael Penner, 45, grew up around the textile business. His father, Harvey, worked for the Simard family of Montreal, which created Richelieu in the 1930s.

Harvey Penner purchased the textile business in the 1990s, but Michael didn't immediately aspire to join the family business.

He attended McGill University for his undergrad - playing some football for the Redmen along the way - and then went to Hofstra University in New York to get a law degree. He worked on Wall Street for a while, but realized he'd prefer to be the guy hiring lawyers rather than the guy getting hired. Mr. Penner returned to Canada to join the family business in 2000. He took control of Richelieu in 2006.

Mr. Penner picked a bad time to join the textile business. China's entry into the World Trade Organization at the end of 2001, the Canadian government's decision at about the same time to grant preferential access to imports from extremely poor countries such as Bangladesh, and the Canadian dollar's steady rise from its trough of about 63 cents (U.S.) erased any advantage Canada had over low-cost producers. Richelieu moved all of its production overseas in 2003, shuttering factories in Quebec (Plessisville and Pintendre) and one in eastern Ontario (Cornwall). Other Canadian textile companies, including Montreal-based Gildan Activewear Inc., the T-shirt maker, were either doing the same or going bankrupt. Mr. Penner hates the memory of those days.

"I would rather kill myself than have to do that again," Mr. Penner says of the experience of closing Richelieu's factories. "We had no choice but extinction or change the business model. We at least wanted to keep the lights on."

Mr. Penner sacrificed 117 production jobs to save 29 at head office. He vowed to those who remained that he would rebuild the company. Just give him time.

The Great Recession nearly destroyed that promise.

Richelieu had acquired the Canadian distribution rights for the popular Peds brand of women's socks owned by a North Carolina company called International Legwear Group (ILG). The licence was an important source of income for Richelieu; without it, the company would be in trouble.

In 2011, Mr. Penner took his pregnant wife and four children on a trip to Greece. Before he left, he wanted to secure the renewal of his Peds agreement with ILG.

No one in North Carolina was answering the phone. He boarded the plane without an answer. He abandoned proper channels and started calling ILG's chief executive directly. Mr. Penner was at the top of the Acropolis with his children when he finally got through. ILG executives had been avoiding him because their company had been taken over by the bank and they were barred from making any future commitments.

"I finally said, ''m coming over I there,' "Mr. Penner says. "I just left my holiday. I flew from Greece to North Carolina."

ILG was owned by a private equity firm that issued debt to buy a family-owned sock maker called Neuville Industries. The private equity guys never managed to generate enough cash to keep up with their debt payments. By the time Mr. Penner was looking to renew his agreement with ILG, the owners had effectively cut and run.

Mr. Penner acted quickly. He convinced the liquidator to sell him the entire company rather than sell it off piecemeal. He rushed overseas to reassure suppliers. He rehired many of the employees who had been handed pink slips by ILG. It was an entrepreneur's version of triage. "We had to stop the bleeding and stabilize the patient."

Rather than a mere license holder of the Peds brand, Richelieu now was in a position to become its owner. That left one more thing to do: Secure a sale. Mr. Penner called Wal-Mart. He was so nervous he was shaking. He needed a big order to keep his newly acquired business from sliding back toward the abyss.

"They had nothing left," Mr. Penner says of ILG's order book.

"They had one little program at Wal-Mart and if we lost that, we wouldn't have been able to keep the business going.

In 2007, Mr. Penner had paid a visit to Wal-Mart's Canadian headquarters in Mississauga. The place is so big Tim Hortons Inc. runs the coffee concession. While standing in line, Mr. Penner struck up a conversation with a man who turned out to be Duncan MacNaughton, one of the highest-ranking executives at Wal-Mart's Canadian unit.

They had a pleasant chat. Mr.Penner saw Mr. MacNaughton again the next year when WalMart Canada named Richelieu it's Vendor of the Year.

They wouldn't talk again until the day Mr. Penner needed a big assist from the world's largest retailer. To Mr. Penner's surprise, Mr. MacNaughton had received a promotion - he now was in charge of stocking the shelves of Wal-Mart's U.S. stores. "I called him and I said, 'Please, just tell me what I have to do,' "Mr. Penner recalls.

A strategy for revival

Hickory, N.C., is where you stay when you visit Richelieu's U.S. location, about 20 minutes west in Hildebran, a community so small that it's marked on only the most detailed state maps. There's a Porsche dealership in Hickory, suggesting there is some wealth in the area. (Charlotte, home of Bank of America Corp., is about an hour away; Corning Optical Communications LLC has a factory in Hickory; and Apple Inc. has a data centre in nearby Maiden.) But there also are vacated minimalls and shuttered restaurants.

The Neuville family built a factory and started making socks in Hildebran in the 1970s. At its peak, the company employed 1,700 people and had sales of $180-million. There was an onsite daycare for employees that at one point minded 99 children. On bad days, Mary Lowman, who now is 65 and still employed in the office at Richelieu, would relax by calling on the children. "They would come to you like puppies," Ms. Lowman remembers.

The daycare closed in 2006. Like Richelieu and most of the rest of the North American textile industry, the owners of ILG moved production overseas. But the move failed to make the company profitable. At the end, annual sales were $25-million, a sliver of what the owners had inherited when they bought Neuville.

North Carolina was at the heart of the U.S. textile industry. As late as 2000, the unemployment rate in Burke County, which includes Hildebran and parts of Hickory, was 3.8 per cent. The jobless rate now is around 7 per cent. Employment in the textile industry plunged 43.1 per cent to 1,263 between 2000 and 2013.

One day, a worker in Hildebran approached Mr. Penner. "Michael, you got iTunes up there in Canada?" Mr. Penner assured him that Canada had iTunes. The worker asked Mr. Penner to download a song: Death to My Hometown, by Bruce Springsteen. Mr. Penner did so.

I awoke on a quiet night, I never heard a sound/The marauders raided in the dark/And brought death to my hometown/They brought death to my hometown "I'm listening to this song," Mr. Penner recalls. "I'm like, Wow, this is what has hap' pened here.' I started fantasizing about ways to bring manufacturing back. It's still in our DNA. The pride of being a manufacturer is very hard to be separated from."

Sewing machines have changed since Richelieu and other North American sock makers gave up trying to produce at home. Older ones could knit the tube, but the toe had to be stitched separately.

That meant more fingers and larger payrolls. Mr. Penner found an Italian machine that does both. It was expensive, $35,000, but it could do the work of about six people. With enough of them running around-the-clock, Mr. Penner reckoned he might be able to compete.

But to get the financing to buy enough machines, he would need a buyer.

Re-enter Wal-Mart. In January 2013, the company pledged to buy $250-billion of domestically produced goods over the next decade. Mr. Penner jumped at the opportunity. Still, it took Mr. Penner about a year of "unadulterated persistence, almost stalking" to convince the world's largest retailer that Richelieu could make socks in the U.S. that Wal-Mart shoppers could afford. Wal-Mart has been accused of crushing smaller businesses. In the case of Richelieu, it turned a little Montreal enterprise into a multinational company.

The persuasive Mr. Penner got his contract.

"That's the piece of paper we are using to build this factory."

Southern financial incentives

North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory takes a break from his pancakes and eggs and leans over the table toward the man across from him.

"My corporate tax rate is lower than Nikki's now."

Nikki is Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina. The other man at the table is Mr. Penner, who is enjoying some southern hospitality as Mr. McCrory's guest for Sunday brunch at the exclusive Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, the city Mr. McCrory led for 14 years as mayor.

Mr. Penner is a day away from receiving a substantial promise from Mr. McCrory's government.

If Mr. Penner comes through on his promise to create 200 jobs in struggling Burke County by 2018, Richelieu will receive annual grants worth as much as $2.9-million over 12 years.

The competition among states - especially the southern states - is legendary. Ms. Haley's name has come up at the brunch table because Mr. Penner had mentioned her prowess as a saleswoman. She had pitched Mr. Penner on the merits of South Carolina during a trade mission to Montreal. It's clear he gave the idea of making socks in the Palmetto State some serious thought.

Canada's provinces don't exhibit the same level of hustle. "It could be happening and I don't know about it, but I don't see it," says Mr. Penner, who called the competitive courting of state governments "mind-boggling." Southern governors are famous for their hospitality. Mr. Penner already has committed to North Carolina, but the Governor wanted to flatter his latest catch by inviting him to a personal meeting anyway. (Mr. McCrory had intended for the meeting to take place at the even swankier Pinehurst Resort on the final day of the U.S. Open golf championship, but he decided to return to Charlotte so he could get a bum knee looked at Monday morning.)

Governors are also famous for their use of grants and tax breaks to secure business. Mr. McCrory this year has committed to pay grants worth $23.1-million. The return on that investment: pledges to create 2,544 jobs, or about $9,000 a job. Canadian provinces play that game too, of course, but the payoff isn't always clear. Ontario this year has pledged more than $151-million (Canadian) to generate promises of 2,724 new positions, or $55,594.94 per job.

Still it's unclear how crucial incentives are in attracting business.

Steve Mai, the chief executive of Cambridge, Ont.-based Eclipse Automation Inc., a custom maker of factory equipment, announced this spring that he plans to open a facility in Charlotte. The choice of location disqualified Eclipse from consideration for a grant because North Carolina only subsidizes companies that invest in poorer regions. Mr. Mai didn't care. He said it was more important to him to be close to a skilled work force and a good airport.

Making specialized manufacturing equipment is a different business than stitching mass-market hosiery. Mr. Penner says grants and other subsidies only are sweeteners. The reason he's building a plant in North Carolina is that he ran the numbers and was confident he could make a profit with or without help from state and local governments.

Still, the promise of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government makes the bankers happy, a point Mr. Penner makes to Mr. McCrory, who argues that North Carolina's strongest selling points are its low tax rates, a skilled work force, thriving cities and the only airport in the southeast other than Atlanta that offers direct flights overseas.

"I knew I had to get as much cushion as possible with the subsidies, that would help us, but it does not move the needle," Mr. Penner tells the Governor.

"I would be wary of a company that was solely making a decision on that," Mr. McCrory says. "The company must be insecure in its economics."

"Subsidies should be second or third," Mr. Penner says.

"It's usually the fourth or fifth option," Mr. McCrory says.

A Made-in-the-USA attitude

Mr. Penner insists Canada is as good a place to do business as the United States. So does Eclipse Automation's Mr. Mai, who also is adding workers in Cambridge, as well as in North Carolina and at a new sales office in Silicon Valley.

If there's really very little difference between making something in Canada and making it in the U.S., then why is the North American manufacturing rebound largely skipping Ontario, Quebec and other provinces? One reason is that the U.S. is at the heart of the action. Mr. Mai said 70 per cent of his customers are in the U.S. and he wanted to get closer to them.

Another reason could be that Americans just want these jobs more.

"We're learning in the United States and in North Carolina that you can't leave it to services alone," Mr. McCrory said. "Not everyone can work for the county government, or for the hospital, or for a large box chain. We have to continue to build things, make things, innovate things, produce things and grow things. If we stop doing that, the economic model will not be sustainable."

It's not just the politicians. Mr. Penner was able to convince lenders and the state of North Carolina to back his bid to make socks in Burke County because WalMart decided to set a pile of money aside to buy American-made goods. There's a public relations element to what Wal-Mart is doing, to be sure, but the megaretailer doesn't intend to lose money on the project. It knows American consumers want to buy stuff that's Made in the USA.

There is no similar source of demand for domestically sourced goods in Canada.

"My dream is to have a factory back here again one day," Mr. Penner says on the phone from Montreal. "I think it's realistic. One of the things that would be helpful is if there was a little bit more support for Made-in-Canada initiatives."

A factory reopens

At about 10:30 a.m. on June 16, Mr. Penner strode onto the empty factory floor of his facility in Hildebran, where a few dozen employees had assembled. A few minutes earlier, Mr. Penner had received a call from the state capital Raleigh: His grant application had been officially approved. He breathed a sigh of relief, removed moose-head cufflinks from his yellow dress shirt, rolled up the sleeves, and got up to make the announcement to his workers.

"We're bringing manufacturing back to the United States!"

There is applause and maybe even some tears. He explained his plan: At first, 90 of the best knitting machines money can buy, and eventually 400, filling the space where they all are standing now. Some textile companies sell "Made-in-the-USA" socks that are knitted in the U.S. and then sent to Mexico or Central America, where cheaper labour sews the toe, applies the dye, presses them and packages them. Richelieu intends to do everything involved in making its higher-end Peds and Medipeds brands in North Carolina. The socks are made from high-quality yarn and have a higher needle count than other brands on the market.

"We're going to be one of the best sock companies in the world!"

If Mr. Penner's gambit works, some of his profits will flow back to Richelieu's headquarters in Montreal. But for now, Burke County will get the benefits of his ambition. Richelieu plans to hire 200 people over the next few years. Mr. Penner's office manager, Elena Azzarita, already had received dozens of applications before the announcement. Word got out that the new owner of Neuville Industries was planning something big.

"People had lost a lot of morale," Rita Pope, 54, an employee in the distribution warehouse who has worked for Neuville, ILG and now Richelieu, said after the assembly. Most of her family and friends worked in textiles, but she is one of the few who still has a job in the industry. "What Richelieu is doing will bring the community back together again."

Associated Graphic

Photo: Michael Penner, CEO of Richelieu Group, in the company's Montreal offices.


Richelieu CEO Michael Penner, a sewing machine and employees at the North Carolina factory.



'We're bringing manufacturing back to the United States!' Richelieu CEO Michael Penner tells North Carolina staff of plans for the Hildebran factory to reopen.


With more than 80,000 buildings in disrepair, the Motor City's $2-billion problem is easy to see - but tough to solve
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

DETROIT -- Albert Green has spent two years trying to get the city of Detroit to tear down the house that sits next to his.

It's easy to see why. There's not much left of the ravaged structure, except for its blackened frame, and Mr. Green's biggest concern is that the house may catch on fire, again.

"It's frustrating," he said standing on the sidewalk in front of his house. "I have paid taxes since 1946 and this is what I get."

Mr. Green, 86, has been living here for decades, running his convenience store, Green's Variety, and slowly watching the street fade from a vibrant community filled with families to one where his house is just about the only one left standing. His neat, white-sided home with potted marigolds out front is in sharp contrast to the half a dozen properties nearby, all left vacant and close to collapse.

This neighbourhood, not far from the bridge to Canada, is emblematic of large swaths of Detroit - a city where more than one million residents have fled since the auto industry started closing down plants in the 1950s, leaving empty buildings to fester in its wake. The financial crisis helped propel the city into bankruptcy and pushed the blight further across town. More than 80,000 buildings and vacant lots are in a state of disrepair. In Delray, where Mr. Green lives, nearly 70 per cent of his neighbourhood is empty.

Now the city is trying to figure out what to do with the blownout structures. Getting rid of all the blight is critical to the city's economic recovery. It's a key step toward attracting new investment, new residents and new confidence. But it won't be easy.

A task force convened by the Obama administration has estimated that it will cost $2-billion (U.S.) to remove the blight. So far the city has received just $52.3million from Washington, about enough to tear down 3,800 homes. There is some hope more funding will come as part of a massive restructuring plan that's being developed during the bankruptcy process. But there are many competing interests and creditors all vying for a piece of the action. A bankruptcy court judge will start deciding in midAugust which creditor will get paid and whether Detroit will have enough to start tearing down and rebuilding.

In the meantime, residents can only hope and wonder when the decrepit buildings in their neighbourhoods will finally be removed.

The scourge of blight

Detroit is surprisingly large, at least in terms of land mass. The city spans 370 square kilometres and has a unique mix of leafy estates, working-class neighbourhoods and some of the worst ghettos in America. Today, 38 per cent of residents live below the poverty level and the city's unemployment rate is more than double the national level of 6.1 per cent.

There are some signs of change. The gleaming General Motors headquarters, appropriately called the Renaissance Center, sits by the river that borders Canada and is surrounded by a small but growing pocket of rejuvenated streets. Rents here are climbing, affluent out-of-towners are moving in and there's even a dog park, a sure sign of gentrification.

But that is the exception. Much of the city remains a place where street lights don't work and police officers routinely tell residents that they don't have the resources to respond to calls. In short, most Detroiters have learned to fend for themselves.

"I can't wait 10 years to get the house next door knocked down," said John George, who grew up in the northwest part of the city where he still lives.

Mr. George, 56, spent years in the insurance business but quit in 1988 to fight the blight that was creeping across his neighbourhood and countless others. He made the change after an abandoned home on his block turned into a crack house. Mr. George, who had a young family at the time, could see it from his back window and was enraged.

"People would come in every night, piss in the bushes and party," he said.

He didn't want to move, so he took matters into his own hands and boarded up the house. It worked. The night travellers took one look at the shuttered house and drove away.

Today, Mr. George's "Motor City Blight Busters" business has worked on 1,500 ruined properties in northwestern Detroit, the bulk of which are in one of the hardest hit areas in the city called Brightmoor.

It appears to be an endless task.

For every house that Mr. George and his team board up, refurbish or tear down, another unsightly property pops up.

"It took a long time to get in this mess and will take a while to get out of it," he said.

For now, Mr. George's Brightmoor neighbourhood has been excluded from receiving federal funds. That's because the city appears to be targeting areas that it can quickly stabilize. One is called Grandmont Rosedale, a wealthier part of northwest Detroit that is touched less dramatically by foreclosures.

With its winding roads, brick houses and decent schools, Grandmont Rosedale had always been a stable neighbourhood. But when the housing market imploded and sent millions of homes across the United States into foreclosure, a small strip within the community spiralled out of control. One row of houses leading to an elementary school was abandoned, something unheard of in this part of town. About 20 blighted properties have now been torn down, a move that is helping restore the neighbourhood back to its precrisis state.

Detroit's mayor, Mike Duggan, contends that every neighbourhood can have a similar future. But just how that can happen with scant resources and more than 80,000 properties in disrepair, isn't clear. And the real cost of blight is much bigger than the $2-billion price tag. Blight doesn't just hurt property values. It becomes a breeding ground for crime and a health hazard, all of which leads residents to flee.

'The houses went to hell'

Decades of neglect, bad management and an eroding economic base have driven people out of Detroit and into the surrounding suburbs in droves. The city's population has plummeted from 1.85 million in 1950 to less than 700,000, with more leaving almost daily.

The falling population and weak economy have contributed to the city's financial ruin. Unemployed residents can't pay property taxes or rent and abandon their homes. Soon scavengers rip the building apart and steal the hot water tank, fixtures, copper pipes, electrical wiring and just about anything else of value.

The houses become unsalable and no one has the money or interest in fixing them up. Rebuilding would cost up to $150,000 per property and even then the house would barely fetch $80,000 on the market. It's easier just to let them sit there. Fire damage is prevalent as it allows owners to recoup some of their losses through fire insurance.

"As quick as you clean it up, it's back," said Michael Christopher, 57, who has spent his entire life in Detroit and mows other people's lawns to try to keep his neighbourhood neat. He works two part-time jobs and witnessed his father lose his businesses in Delray.

The plight puts him and other residents in a tough spot.

Eighty-five-year old Mary Fraser lives close to Palmer Woods, a wealthy area near the upper limits of the city that sits next to a golf course and is lined with mansions belonging to former auto executives. But Ms. Fraser's street has become a target for arsonists and every house across from her is burned out.

"The houses went to hell," Ms. Fraser said from her sagging porch. "I hate to see it looking like this."

Ms. Fraser's neighbourhood looks completely uninhabited. Her son and grandson come by to mow the lawn, the only sign that her house has not been deserted. She moved to Detroit from Tennessee in the 1950s and worked until her hip gave out. Now she spends most of her time inside watching television.

Ms. Fraser would like to move, but said she can't afford to, as her only income comes from social security checks.

Unpaid property taxes

Removing blighted homes is costly and time consuming. The process can take months and costs run between $9,000 and $25,000, not including extra costs for taking out any asbestos and maintaining the vacant land.

For grassroots blight removers like Mr. George, the process takes much longer, especially as he has to rely on grants, donations and volunteers. First, he has to figure out who owns the property, and then buy it. There's also the cost of paying the city and gas company to disconnect utilities, and the time required to obtain permits to wreck the building.

Asbestos removal will add an additional $1,000 to $2,500 to the tab. The dumpsters cost money. The final task is to find volunteers, or pay workers, to demolish the house.

The city should be in the best position to remove houses, but the declining tax base means Detroit doesn't have the money. And with so many people out of work, the city's revenues are stretched thin.

"There's a tremendous amount of taxes not being paid," said David Szymanski, the chief deputy treasurer for Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit and other neighbouring cities.

"It is largely due to the fact that Detroit has gone from a population of 1.8 million to under 700,000. Therefore, we basically have housing for one million people who don't exist, so those properties don't generate any tax revenue," he said.

Just about $706-million is owed to Detroit in overdue taxes and penalties, according to detailed property data compiled for the city by Loveland Technologies.

"What has happened is that the situation got so bad that enforcement of collection of taxes became impossible," said Mr. Szymanski, who estimates that Wayne County loses more than $100-million a year in unpaid property taxes.

"It probably started off very innocently. 'I have limited amount of money. I can either pay my taxes or feed my family.' That's an easy choice to make," the deputy treasurer said.

The revenue shortfall combined with growing debts, political corruption and gross fiscal mismanagement finally pushed Detroit into bankruptcy a year ago. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States and the city owes more than $18-billion to thousands of creditors, including Wall Street banks, bondholders, retired city workers and pensioners.

The bankruptcy plan crafted by the state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, provides the city with about $400-million to tackle blight, though the funds will come at the expense of creditors, who are expected to fight back.

If the bankruptcy judge approves the plan, Detroit still falls short of what's required to remove all the ailing structures.

Even if the city found enough capital to raze the existing blight, it will be facing much more.

The scale of the problem is monumental. Roughly 26 per cent of Detroit's remaining houses are candidates for foreclosure. That's nearly 100,000 homes. On top of that, another 59,000 households are considered "tax distressed" because residents are behind on their property taxes, according to Loveland Technologies' website that maps out every property in Detroit. "Tax distress is the clearest lens to the health of a neighbourhood. If you've got tax foreclosure, it is a bad sign," said Alex Alsup, the chief product officer with Loveland.

In recent years, Detroit, like many other U.S. cities, became a target for real estate speculators, eager to snap up houses that had sunk in value. Rather than drive a rebound in home prices, however, they have contributed to the city's revenue shortfall, with many of the speculators buying houses and then failing to pay the property taxes. Owners are often hard to track down or unresponsive.

Beverly Frederick, 56, patrols her neighbourhood to make sure there is no blight. When she tried to get the listed owner of one property to take care of his battered house, he offered to pay her $40 to cut the weeds and vanished. That left Ms. Frederick and other neighbourhood volunteers to continually weed-whack and mow the lawn.

The city is now suing owners of abandoned houses and auctioning off houses seized through nuisance laws. Meanwhile Wayne county auctions off properties seized through tax foreclosures.

Urban agriculture

The foreclosures and blight have created another problem: what to do with all the cleared land. One in every three houses are gone and the vacant spots have become makeshift dumping grounds.

A city project called "Detroit Future City" developed a grand, all-encompassing plan that would repurpose a good chunk of the unused land into forests, farms and so-called green neighbourhoods lined with apartments surrounded by community gardens and forests.

The plan devotes 22 per cent of the city's land to traditional neighbourhoods, down dramatically from the current 58 per cent.

"Large-scale urban agriculture is part of Detroit's future," said Michael Score, the president of Hantz Farms, a venture created to buy and rehabilitate vacant city land. The company recently bought 150 acres of land in Detroit's east side and is growing a mixed wood forest on the site.

The owner of Hantz Farms, Detroit businessman John Hantz, watched the city become less livable and wanted to do something with the empty spaces. He is among a handful of business people that are trying to help rebuild the city.

Mr. Hantz started negotiating with officials in 2008 to buy the acreage. This year he succeeded and paid about $400,000. However the land came with about 70 blighted properties that will cost about $800,000 to remove. "Land is cheap, but the property is not," Mr. Score said.

Acres of saplings are now planted although the odd blighted house can still be seen from any point on the young farm. Eventually Mr. Hantz hopes to break even on the farm once the trees are large enough to sell.

Rejuvenating the downtown

The most high-profile investor in Detroit is Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, the country's second-largest retail mortgage lender. Born in Detroit and schooled in Michigan, Mr. Gilbert moved his corporate headquarters to the city from the suburbs in 2010.

He has spent around $1.3-billion to buy more than sixty Detroit skyscrapers and properties, including several city landmarks, and he controls the bulk of the downtown core.

Mr. Gilbert, who is on the Forbes "World's Billionaires List" with a net worth of $3.8-billion, has devoted much of his energy to rejuvenating Detroit. On top of co-chairing the federal-convened blight removal task force, Mr. Gilbert has donated funds to help map out the blighted properties as well as to save the Detroit Institute of Art from selling its collection to pay the city's creditors.

There is a youthful energy in the headquarters of his umbrella company, Rock Ventures, where the route to Mr. Gilbert's office passes a basketball court.

Rock Ventures hired more than 1,000 interns from dozens of colleges and universities across the country this year, training them in everything from marketing to mortgage banking. The average age of his employees is 28.

Jeremy Paolercio moved to Detroit from Manhattan for the opportunity. The 27-year-old is now working as a loan officer. In his one year on the job, he has been promoted and is earning more than he did in New York.

"You can make a name for yourself here," said Mr. Paolercio, describing his move as becoming a big fish in a small pond.

That Mr. Gilbert's efforts have transformed downtown is beyond dispute. A 700-square-foot condo in downtown Detroit can rent for as much as $1,700 a month. Mr. Gilbert's organization has created 10,200 new jobs, though it is not known how many of those jobs were filled by Detroit residents.

"I do believe he is trying to rejuvenate the downtown area. I am all for it. But it doesn't affect the common man... It doesn't mean anything to the neighbourhoods themselves," said Jay Peltier, a Detroit realtor.

Staying put

Many describe the bankruptcy filing as a fresh start for the city. Housing prices have started to rebound and business is picking up in places. Investors are looking for deals, the downtown core is coming to life and Detroit has attracted worldwide attention, albeit more for the blight than its rich culture.

Back in Delray, there aren't many signs of change. The streetlight behind Mr. Green's house doesn't work and the other day he heard the sound of gunshots in his back alley.

In the old days, Mr. Green said he never had to leave the neighbourhood. He and his wife raised their four children here; there was a movie theatre, a hospital and five schools. He used to sell ice cream from his Green's Variety, which he has operated since 1959.

His daughter owns the only other house on his street that is not blighted or razed. She wants her parents to move, but Mr. Green, who has lived in Delray since he was one year old, refuses to leave.

For him, this is home.

"I try not to worry," he said.

Associated Graphic

Albert Green, 86 years old, stands outside his well-kept house that sits next to a burnt, blighted, vacant home in the Delray neighbourhood. Mr. Green and his wife of 68 years have lived in the home for 56 years where they raised four children.


One of the last two remaining vacant 15-storey towers at the Brewster-Douglas housing complex in Detroit is seen during demolition.


Albert Green at the counter of the small neighbourhood store he has owned for 55 years. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Michael Score of Hantz Farms: 'Large-scale urban agriculture is part of Detroit's future.' REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Most of the homes in Mary Fraser's neighbourhood are blighted and vacant. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Beverly Frederick watches for deteriorating homes in her neighbourhood. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL


On the ground in Malaysia, grief and disbelief are on equal display after not one but two national airline disasters in a matter of months. It's also a moment of reckoning - how the country handles tragedy could shape its future
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F6

Kuala Lumpur -- Hariyati Abdul Majid makes regular dashes for Kuala Lumpur's international airport.

She uses its sleek terminals to fly to Somalia and Kashmir, Tamil Tiger-controlled areas in Sri Lanka, tsunami-ravaged Indonesia and parts of Myanmar and the Phillipines battered by guerrilla fighting. The soft-spoken psychology professor is a member of Mercy Malaysia, a group that counsels those suffering from the rending grief that comes with wars and disasters.

Four months ago, Dr. Hariyati was dispatched once again to Malaysia's main airport - but this time she never left.

Instead of boarding a Malaysia Airlines flight, she was assigned to help the cabin crew of the national carrier deal with the devastating loss of Flight 370, which had mysteriously vanished en route to Beijing. There were 239 passengers on board, including 12 employees from the airline, whose staff are so tight-knit that some have bought houses next to each other and become neighbours, as well.

Now, all of these people had simply disappeared, almost assuredly dead, although without death's finality.

The search for that plane was still ongoing when another Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 17, crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur last week, shot from the sky over eastern Ukraine.

Dr. Hariyati and her team once again rushed to the airport - this time at 1 a.m. - to break the news both to disembarking Malaysia Airlines staff, who had been airborne as their colleagues were downed, as well as those who, immediately after hearing about the crash, still had to prepare for takeoff into what now seemed like increasingly unfriendly skies.

"Many of them were already emotionally drained," says Dr. Hariyati, 44, as she sits at a small canteen table at the airport before breaking her Ramadan fast with her colleagues. "MH17 opened up a new floodgate."

Because Dr. Hariyati didn't leave the airport for two-and-ahalf days, she didn't notice at first the posts on her Facebook page asking whether it was true that she, too, had lost someone in the crash - former student Mohd Ali Md Salim.

The 30-year-old had left for Rotterdam to do his PhD. But the two remained in touch; Mr. Salim had showed Dr. Hariyati's parents around Amsterdam while she was at a conference there. Many on the Mercy Malaysia team also knew the young man. He had been flying home to Malaysia, and was uncomfortable about the flight; before leaving, he posted a short video from his cabin on social media: "Feeling a little nervous," he wrote in the caption.

Leaving even grief counselors grieving, the two catastrophic events of the past four months - their sheer unlikeliness, their sheer horror - have become a sort of prolonged Malaysian 9/11, the kind of searing tragedy that not only forces a country to deal openly with private pain, but to reflect on collective problems and national identity. The question now is whether citizens in this relatively young country, which gained independence in 1957, will use this opportunity to address issues such as ongoing ethnic tensions, cronyism, and an autocratic goverment, and to come together in a new way - or whether this nation of 30 million will simply mourn, shrug off the tragedies as a matter of fate, and move on as before.

"As a nation, were' still an adolescent," says Dr. Hariyati. "This tragedy has happened at a time when Malaysia is trying to consolidate our identity. Maybe this is God telling us to stop our bickering."

Making amends

This latest tragedy has at least offered Prime Minister Najib Razak a second chance at shaping Malaysia's reputation - as well as his own.

On the Monday after the crash of MH17, he called a hastily arranged press conference well after midnight - not at his office, but at his white-washed palatial mansion in Petrajaya, just outside Kuala Lumpur, where the driveway down a palm-fringed road is protected by a massive gate bearing the tigers of the country's coat of arms. His podium was set up in a regal room with five chandeliers.

Everything about the setting implied that, this time, Mr. Najib was in control: While Western leaders were lashing out at Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government is widely suspected to be behind separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine who are believed to have shot down MH17, Mr. Najib's defense and transport ministers had been dispatched to Kiev - and he had called journalists to announce a surprising deal that he had personally brokered with insurgent leader Alexander Borodai to retrieve the black boxes and, most importantly, the bodies of the 43 Malaysians on board.

"In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel, and that I feel," said Mr. Najib, reading in a deep voice from a statement, dressed in a sombre pin-striped suit. "But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome."

He took no questions, leaving Malaysian journalists, many of whom work for news outlets owned by firms linked to Mr. Najib's ruling party, grumbling. But since then, the prime minister has been portrayed as a steady-handed leader firmly in control of the MH17 tragedy.

This praise is a stark contrast from how he was perceived after MH370. Mr. Najib was largely absent immediately after the tragedy, and his government fumbled without him. Malaysia has long been a hub on the Pacific Rim - with short flights possible to places as diverse as Sydney and Calcutta - but the government was unused to harsh questions or being a part of a developing global news story, so they retrenched. Malaysians assumed their bureaucrats were too lazy or uninterested to risk bothering their superiors, and were left embarrassed in the spotlight and reliant on international sources for information about their own country in the crucial early hours.

"For all we knew, the plane could have gone down in the South China Sea, with people floating there - those hours could have been life-saving," says Nathaniel Tan, a writer who used to work with the political opposition.

Critics of the government saw this as proof of a larger problem, a sharp drop in the quality of national institutions after decades of cronyism: hiring policies favour the majority Malays - who make up more than 50 per cent of the population - over sizable communities of indigenous peoples, ethnic Chinese and Indians.

The ruling coalition is also largely composed of Malays. Although the opposition won a majority of the vote in the last election (with a voter turnout of about 85 per cent), they were frozen out of power by gerrymandered constituencies. The opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has been repeatedly jailed in recent years on charges of sodomy - with an acquittal overturned as recently as March, around the same time as the disappearance of MH370.

The powerful elite was personified by the man Mr. Najib tapped as a spokesperson after that first crash: defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is related to two former prime ministers, and once, on TV, brandished a traditional Malay dagger that reminds many ethnic Chinese Malaysians of scarring race riots in 1969.

"I was embarrassed at our incompetence," says Subramaniam Pillay, a business professor at Taylor's University in Kuala Lumpur.

Some hoped that the outrage so many Malaysians felt would at least bring the country's divided groups together. Mr. Najib has attempted to do that with a "1Malaysia" policy. An advisor to the prime minister had to resign after he threatened to take away Indians' citizenship if they made more demands on the government, and called Chinese and Indians in Malaysia "immigrants." But there are entrenched biases between ethnic and religious groups here, who have their own schools and tend to socialize only with one another.

"Over the years it's become more and more polarized," Mr. Tan says. "Things that would be appallingly politically incorrect in the West are fine here."

Racial tensions did cool after MH370, but they were simmering again by the time of the latest crash. And while there was anger at the government after the first crash (one poll showed that less than 26 per cent of Malaysians thought the government was telling the truth about MH370), this time Malaysians view their government, and their national airline, as an innocent bystander to a tragic, international accident.

"With [Flight] 370 there was a really high degree of frustration with the government," says Ambiga Sreenevasan, former head of the Malaysia bar association and a prominent activist who strongly criticized the government's response to the first plane crash. "With MH17, [politicians] know they cannot be blamed for what happened."

Indeed, the only real point of anger in the last week or so has been over the state of the bodies after the crash.

Islam is Malaysia's state religion, and Muslims traditionally bury the dead within 24 hours, which was impossible when bodies lay in a Ukrainian field, surrounded by armed rebels who were rooting through the debris, bagging remains and initially preventing crash investigators from accessing the scene.

By making a deal with the rebels, Prime Minister Nijab could speak to the vivid concerns of Muslim Malays, and claim to be taking clear action for the global community. But he was also careful not to alienate Russia, which provides military hardware and fighter jets to Malaysia.

"In Malaysia, there is a view that Russia is still a super-power and that [the government] shouldn't antagonize them until there is clear evidence of their complicity," says James Chin, a political scientist with Monash University in Kuala Lumpur

Indeed, as U.S. officials were linking Moscow to the Buk surface-to-air missile systems suspected to be behind the strike on MH17, Mr. Najib's foreign ministry was busy denouncing another government - Israel, for its ground assault on Gaza's Palestinians, whose plight is a popular cause among Malaysia's Muslims.

Religion is not just a cynical political play, though, it's key to how a majority of Malaysians have responded to recent events. Anger at the government is muted in part because of a sense of resignation in the face of God's will.

More than 60 per cent of the country are Muslim, and some observers believe there has been a steady Islamicization of the country in the last few decades. Those who marry Muslim Malays, for example, must convert, and are not allowed to convert back if there is a divorce. One of the youth leaders of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party also suggested the MH17 plane disaster was God's wrath at Malaysia Airlines for serving alcohol and letting flight attendants wear alluring uniforms, although his remarks were widely condemned.

"It's a very conservative country, and religion plays a very important role in people's lives," says Ibrahim Suffian of the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, who has done polling in Malaysia for more than a decade. "You have a habit of consigning things to fate or bad luck. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

A test

Fate and faith. Over the past few months, Malaysia has grappled with the misfortune of the one, and leaned on the grief-relieving power of the other.

Dr. Hariyati built up trust over four months of counselling with airline employees. But even they shared the Malaysian view that therapy is mostly for those with "mental problems." Islam, on other hand, offers a wellspring of practical help for the stricken - a sense of community, rituals surrounding death and explanations for those who have lost loved ones. The Prime Minister tapped into this with a call for national prayers after the catastrophes, as well as with his focus on getting bodies back for burial.

Akmal Nazim and Akmal Nizam - boyish twentysomething brothers with similar black side parts and plans for international study - have relied on Islam to comfort them during the nation's recent turmoil. They turned to their imam in the days after the crash and have rationalized what's happened according to their faith. They now describe the two events as a "challenge" to their country.

"At the mosque, we talked about it as a tragedy - how God wants to test us, if we see it in a good way or a bad way," says Akmal Nazim, an engineering graduate who plans to study in the U.K.

His older brother, who studies in Sydney, says much the same. "The Japanese had the tsunami," says Akmal Nizam. "Every country has their problems that are created by God. These air crash disasters are tests for Malaysia, for our prime minister."

Such interpretations are inevitably heightened by the timing of the latest crash, which occurred during Ramadan. This is when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and many on the plane were coming home to celebrate Hari Raya (Eid), a feast to break that fast. It is actually considered an honour to die during Ramadan. The push to bring bodies back to Malaysia has partly been to get them home before the end of Ramadan (although the complications of a multi-country forensic investigation have made this impossible).

Diyana Yazeera, the 15-year-old daughter of a flight attendant aboard MH17, illustrated this view in a series of posts on Instagram - of herself and her mother, along with messages like this one: "You were my everything. Your departure hit me hard. [But I am starting to realize] how lucky you are to have left on [Ramadan]. Every Muslim's wish and you were the chosen one. I'm sorry I couldn't grant your wish of bringing you to my graduation day ... Allah loves you more and I accept that."

Of course, not everyone is able to accept what has happened. For some, the second tragedy has simply been too much to comprehend. "There is a sense of numbness," says Han Yang Chung, a Malaysian counselor who works with HIV/AIDS patients but also counseled Malaysia Airlines staff.

One morning this week, on a busy street outside the Russian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Fujii Loh was trying to defy this denial. Standing in jean shorts and striped, slip-on shoes, with her earbuds in, she held up a sign before the morning rush hour traffic that said, simply, "Justice for MH17."

Unlike much of the West right now, she wasn't blaming Russia for the crash, but hated the way the bodies were being treated, and figured Russia had the most influence over that. More importantly, though, she says she wanted to remind a crisis-weary nation that the lives lost on Flight 17 still matter.

"I think Malaysia has gotten used to this," she says. "When it first happened, everyone was talking about it. But I checked my Facebook feed yesterday and it wasn't trending anymore. They weren't talking about it. After 370, people have just gotten tired. That's why I wanted to stand here and remind people."

But some here can't forget the dead.

It was the middle of the night, just after Malaysia Airline Flight 17 was blasted from the skies, when Cynthia Gabriel heard a soft knock on the door of her condo in Kuala Lumpur.

The city councilor had spent the previous, horrific day like most Malaysians: On the phone, scrambling to figure out the details of what had happened and reach those who might be affected. Exhausted with grief and confused as to why anyone would be calling on her so late, Ms. Gabriel nonetheless got out of bed. Standing at the door was an old college friend, Mabel Anthonysamy.

They had lived in the same hostel at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, a Malaysian island close to the country's northern border with Thailand, but only recently reconnected at the funeral of a mutual friend's father in Kuala Lumpur - where they had exchanged numbers, optimistic about rekindling a faded friendship.

But now, Ms. Anthonysamy was frantic. "She was asking for help because the plane had crashed," Ms. Gabriel says.

And then she woke up.

Ms. Gabriel knew before she went to bed that her friend, her friend's husband - an oil industry executive - and their young son, were among those who boarded flight MH17 in Amsterdam. But even in her dreams, she was struggling to adjust to her nation's misfortune.

"Why Malaysia Airlines? Why are we impacted with so much bad luck - so much tragedy that has created so much agony," she says. "The more you think about it, the worse it gets."

Ms. Gabriel sees a parallel between the loss of her friend to a foreign conflict and the ethnic and religious tensions dividing her own country.

"It's probably a good time to reconcile," she says. "Wherever there's war, whether in Gaza or Ukraine, it just shows everyone, everywhere - that we're all human beings."

Iain Marlow is The Globe's Asia-Pacific correspondent.

Associated Graphic

Top right: Remains from Flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine. The main concern in Malaysia - where 60 per cent of the population is Muslim - has been to retrieve the bodies of the dead for proper burial.


Top left: Religion has been a balm for many Malaysians in recent months. Here, Malaysia Airlines staff read verses from the Koran during a special prayer session.


Centre left: The Akmal brothers turned to their imam to understand the recent catastrophes in Malaysia.


Bottom left: Psychology professor Hariyati Abdul Majid wears a headscarf, but offers a more secular style of grief counselling to Malaysia Airlines.


Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R8

'It's very complicated." Ross Frank was on the phone the other day trying to explain, concisely, cogently, the "difficult history" of Plains Indian ledger drawings and how it couldn't be anything but complicated when the subject is a cultural phenomenon informed by unequal parts subjugation, resistance, acculturation, appropriation, admiration, creativity and, yes, beauty.

An associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California San Diego and director of the La Jolla-based Plains Indian Ledger Art Project, Frank is in the forefront of an effort to study, preserve and make available the riches of the mostly 19th-century art form. The illustrations were usually done on lined pages and in prosaic paper ledger books used to record, say, a merchant's spending, or the disbursal of hardtack from a U.S. Army supply depot in Wyoming. Other ledgers might have contained the accounts of an Indian agent on a reservation in Nebraska, or, more sinisterly, the target practice scores of U.S. cavalrymen circa 1874 as they trained to subdue the Cheyenne, Kiowa and the other First Nations they believed were impeding the realization of America's so-called Manifest Destiny.

PILA was founded by Frank in 1995 to promote the preservation of, research on and public accessibility to these palimpsest-like metaphors of cultural collision, largely, in recent years, through high-resolution digitization of ledger books and pages. Yet as this has been occurring, ledger drawings not housed in public collections or in institutions such as PILA have become hot commodities in the art market. Be they intact ledger books or individual renderings, the most vivid and artful depictions of First Nations' history, life and rituals can now fetch tens of thousands of dollars each, and sometimes more.

Unsurprisingly, there is intensifying commercial pressure to break up books and sell their contents page by page, thereby shortcircuiting any possibility of them being studied and understood as whole entities. While no one, not even First Nation peoples, argues that ledger art can't be sold - for one thing, they're not swathed in the religious significance accorded, say, sacred bundles - much more research needs to be done. Faced with the both the anarchy and logic of the market, Frank sees one of his primary jobs these days as "sensitizing people" to the issues.

It was this sense of mission and, of course, expertise that recently brought Frank to Calgary's TrépanierBaer Gallery as guest speaker at the opening of "Keeping Time: Ledger Drawings and the Pictographic Traditions of Native North Americans ca. 1820-1900."

For TrépanierBaer, which typically showcases contemporary artists such as Evan Penny and Chris Cran, it's an unprecedented exhibition and sale. The quality of work available is impressive - there are almost 70 ledger drawings by Sioux, Hidatsa, Arapaho and Cheyenne artists, with prices ranging from $8,500 to $95,000, plus 20 or so related objects. They include a pair of 1880 painted Cheyenne parfleche rawhide bags, and a painted Crow shield and cover from 1870, made of buffalo hide and deerskin which are selling for $175,000. It's the single largest assembly of ledger art ever offered for purchase.

Most of the works are from the collection of the respected Canadian tribal-art dealer Donald Ellis, who operates out of New York. Ellis is perhaps most famous for shepherding the return of the Dundas Collection to Canada from the U.K. in 2006. (The collection's 40 artifacts, from B.C.'s Tsimshian First Nation, were acquired under murky circumstances in 1863 by Anglican prelate R.J. Dundas.)

While Ellis has had a long-standing interest in ledger drawings, what really galvanized his engagement was seeing the nowepochal 1996 exhibition "Plains Indian Drawings 1865-1935: Pages from a Visual History" at Manhattan's Drawing Center. (It came to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in 1997.) Here was a fresh, little-known graphic art tradition. "Exotic," to be sure. One that seemed to offer "the other side" of the victory narrative found in the paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, yet whose best works had the colour sense of a Dufy or Vlaminck, the graphic economy and rhythmic dynamism of a Matisse.

"It set the New York art world on its ear," Ellis recalled recently of the show, which drew big crowds and rave notices from the critics. "So I've been sort of quietly, actively working with a few major collectors, building their collections and at the same holding back drawings with the idea of doing a much larger presentation on a commercial level, rather than a museum level."

The drawings at TrépanierBaer, mostly 14 or 22 cm by 29 cm, are flavoured with the same bittersweetness tasted (and remarked upon) by visitors to the Drawing Center show. It's true their depictions of courtship rituals, dancing and hunting, horseback riding, camp life and combat are a continuation of a rich artist-historian tradition among Plains Indian tribes. But for all that these works represent what ledger art historian Janet Catherine Berlo calls a "great flowering of graphic arts on the Great Plains of North America," they are also telling documents of a culture under severe duress.


Before the American Civil War (1861-1865), the imagistic rendering of significant events among Plains Indians largely involved the application of pigments made from minerals, plants and soils on the stretched hides of buffalo and other wild animals. Post-war, this tradition was ruptured as whites of various stripes - soldiers, settlers, adventurers, prospectors, whisky traders and government bureaucrats - gazed firmly westward and, for the next 35 years, proceeded to attack, sack and debilitate aboriginal societies, eviscerate buffalo herds, swarm sacred sites, violate treaties and drive formerly nomadic bands onto confined reservations. Faced with this aggression and displacement, Plains Indian artist-historians switched to a new, non-native, decidedly more convenient medium, the ledger book, variously bought, received as a gift, stolen or scavenged from the whites they were encountering.

A salient example of the phenomenon would be the so-called High Bull roster book of drawings, now in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Originally the property of a sergeant in the U.S. 7th Cavalry, the book listed the best marksmen in his company, among other records. In late June of 1876, the sergeant was one of hundreds who lost their lives at the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn in what is now southeastern Montana. The roster book was taken from the sergeant's body by the Northern Cheyenne warrior High Bull who, with other Cheyenne, drew over the records with graphite and crayons. Five months later, the book was back in white hands after High Bull himself was killed in another battle with cavalry. From there, Frank speculates, the book "may have been purchased a few times" before ending up in the possession of the wealthy author/suffragist/peace activist Grace Hoffman White, who donated it to the original Museum of the American Indian in New York in 1925.

Paradoxes abound in the "great flowering" that was ledger art. Though it may have been a symbol of an invasive, destructive culture, "paper, when it came, gave more opportunity to different people to draw, rather than just the tribal few," a First Nations' artist remarked. "So you saw things that weren't done before, like courtship rituals ... the soap opera of the day." Aboriginal scouts, hired by the U.S. cavalry, also made drawings in ledger books, sometimes giving or selling their narratives of present and past history to their white employers, who, in turn, would bring them home as souvenirs of their participation in the Indian wars.

One of the most illustrious profusions of ledger art didn't even occur on the Plains, but in a military prison on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Following the conclusion of the Red River War of 187475, close to 75 Plains Indian warriors and chiefs, mostly Cheyenne and Kiowa, were sent by rail to Fort Marion, near St. Augustine, after being deemed "murderers" by military court. Of these, 20 or so were given unlined paper, crayons, pencils, ink and paint, and for the next three years they churned out a voluminous number of drawings, many of them bought by tourists to the region. TrépanierBaer is selling at least eight drawings with a Fort Marion connection, including six especially striking works attributed to the Cheyenne warrior Howling Wolf (1849-1927), one of the most proficient and sought-after ledger artists.

"He clearly loved what he did. There's such attention to every aspect of art-making, from the paper it's drawn on to the colours used, how things are rendered, the subject matter. Extraordinary, really," says Yves Trépanier, coproprietor of the Calgary gallery.

Attribution of ledger art, it should be noted, is fraught and slippery. Frank observes some Fort Marion artists did write their names on some of their work because they were being taught to write and read English. Moreover, most of the Fort Marion drawings in the Calgary sale have inscriptions in English written by the fort's commander, Capt. Richard Pratt.

However, Candace Greene, an ethnologist at the Smithsonian Institution, noted in a recent e-mail: "We know that many inscriptions [found on ledger art generally] are incorrect." What does "count for a 'signature' in ledger art," says Frank, "is a system of 'name glyphs' that hover above the heads of figures" in the drawings. But not all ledger drawings have them (most, in fact, do not); and sometimes a glyph represents both the figure in the drawing and the artist, but other times not.

Connoisseurship of a kind is a factor, too: For example, University of New Mexico historian Joyce Szabo, author of Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art (1994), thinks a case can be made that the Fort Marion drawings in Calgary are from the hand of another distinguished Cheyenne warrior, Chief Killer, whereas Trépanier and Ellis, among others, hold for Howling Wolf.

It's been argued that works such as the Fort Marion drawings are "products" of a people in exile and therefore are "tainted" and less "authentic" than the bynatives/for-natives works done prior to incarceration or confinement on reservations. Despite this reality, Joyce Szabo writes in Imprisoned Art, Complex Patronage (2011),"nothing suggests that any of the men was forced to draw ... The men known to have made these images had to want to do so."

Admittedly, Fort Marion's overarching agenda was one of acculturation: Capt. Pratt liked to say his job was to "kill the Indian, save the man," and to that end Howling Wolf and his fellow inmates had their hair shorn and traditional garb removed. Yet at the same time, according to Szabo, "an atmosphere existed that encouraged the creation of drawings and inspired experimentation."

Adds Frank: "In every case that we know of of what might be called 'patronage' of ledger art, it was unlike, for example, trading posts in the Navajo territories when trading-post folks would say, 'Do this design' ... This didn't happen in ledger art. Even when prisoners were in jail or commissioned to fill out a sketch-book album, they were allowed to do whatever came to them. The interest of the people commissioning them was to get the authentic Indian production."

And the results, more often than not, were pictures that display what New York Times critic Holland Cotter, in his 1996 review of the Drawing Center show, described as "a shrewd, bitter, dogged impulse to perpetuate the realities of Indian life, both as longed-for past and often grim but resilient present."


Today, the big issue about ledger drawings has less to do with how much coercion was involved in their creation or what compensation their creators received, and more with maintaining, as Ellis says, "the integrity of the full ledger book."

Almost from their initial transfer to private hands from aboriginal, these books have, in many instances, been broken up and their individual pages scattered. One example involves the late movie star Vincent Price, who in the 1950s acquired a ledger book with more than 100 Cheyenne and Arapaho drawings purportedly done in the late 1870s. Price apparently kept the book intact for decades - but then, sometime in the 1980s as the commercial value of single drawings rose, he allowed the book to be unbound and individual pages sold. Five illustrations (including one double-sided drawing) from Vincent Price Ledger Book, as it's called, are in the TrépanierBaer exhibition/sale. Fortunately, four have been scanned for PILA's digital archives, part of a PILA initiative calling on all the owners of original Price pages to submit an image or images to permit the book's reconstruction online.

Ellis, meanwhile, has been working on a project to "rebuild" some of the actual ledger books dismantled during the 1980s and 1990s. And, to prevent any further dismemberment, the dealer and a "very serious major Canadian client," unnamed, is letting it be known they're prepared "to pay a premium for full books." It's an ethos shared by a U.S. private foundation, also unnamed, which recently acquired a complete book of 140 drawings called the Sheridan Ledger, for donation to PILA.

(Sheridan is John L. Sheridan, brother of Gen. Philip Sheridan, who oversaw the "pacification" of the Plains Indians, declaring, according to some accounts, that "the only good Indians I saw were dead" - a remark subsequently "translated" into white popular culture as "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." John, a lawyer and land agent, acquired ledger art during visits to forts in Oklahoma in the late 1870s. Another batch of his drawings, 40 in total, torn from an unknown ledger book, are called the Sheridan Pages; 26 are for sale at TrépanierBaer. PILA has obtained permission to digitally archive the Sheridan Pages.)

Given the fraught history of ledger drawings, you might think the genre would be anathema to contemporary aboriginals. But in fact artists, men and women such as Michael Horse, Terrance Guardipee and Sheridan MacKnight, continue the tradition by drawing and painting not just in old ledger books but on sheet music, maps, cheques, government documents, boarding-school records and hymnals.

Horse, a Yaqui/Mescalero Apache/Zuni who also acts in film and TV and collects ledger art, showed up at the opening of Keeping Time last month and was "very impressed" by what he saw.

"Very seldom you actually see that many really good pieces of ledger art," he said. Speaking the other day from his home near San Francisco, Horse likened ledger art to the blues, another art form born of suffering and repression yet attesting to survival, preservation, resistance. "Imagine you're a free person, you have no boundaries, only where the wind takes you and the buffalo. And all of a sudden, in just a few years, somebody draws a little square and says to you, 'You can't go out of there' ... When people see ledger art sometime, even people who aren't collectors of native art, they know something's going on here. Yeah, it's a lot like the blues."

Keeping Time: Ledger Drawings and the Pictographic Traditions of Native North American ca. 18201900 continues at TrépanierBaer Gallery in Calgary through Aug. 16.

Associated Graphic

Sheridan Pages (Sundance), Southern Cheyenne, ca. 1885, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper


Henderson Ledger Book (page 6), Arapaho, ca. 1880, coloured pencil and watercolour on lined paper

Sheridan Pages (page 39), Southern Cheyenne, ca. 1885, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

Fort Marion Ledger page, Cheyenne, ca. 1870, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

Detail of Chief Killer among the turkeys on the Canadian River, c. 1875-80, graphite, crayon, coloured pencil on paper

Vincent Price Ledger Book (page 238), ca. 1875-78, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

The NBA Summer League is a basketball pilgrimage, becoming de rigueur to see and be seen. And Canadians are strutting their stuff like never before
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

LAS VEGAS -- It is 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning outside the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a half-hour before the doors open to a day of hoops at NBA Summer League. It is 39 C, on the way to an afternoon high of 43 C. The phrase "it's a dry heat" alleviates nothing.

A hundred or so basketball devotees are up against the building, waiting in a sliver of shade. The line is mostly male - boys and fathers, brothers and friends.

Nearby, there's a statue of Jerry Tarkanian, the longtime UNLV coach, immortalized in bronze, a towel between his teeth. "Look at Jerry T!" says an arriving fan to his buddies. "That's awesome. Tark!"

This is a pilgrimage, and this is their church.

And this is where they can mingle with the people they usually see only on TV.

Summer League is 11 intimate days when the world of pro basketball gathers to hang out in Vegas to watch the kids: heralded rookies, undrafted players and those a little older scratching for their last shot. It is a hoops fest of sights and sounds - this year featuring a prominent contingent of Canadian players - yet with real consequences for careers. Only some of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

'I love you, Anthony!'

Anthony Bennett wasn't here last summer. The No. 1 pick of the 2013 NBA draft, the first Canadian to ever reach such a height, had shoulder surgery and couldn't play Summer League ball. The Cleveland Cavaliers had shocked the NBA when they chose the young man all his confidants call AB first overall. He had been a consensus top-five pick, but No. 1?

Everything went wrong. He piled on weight after surgery and stumbled through one of the worst rookie seasons a top hoops pick has ever played. He did not start a single game and averaged 4.2 points an outing.

Skeptics cackled with glee, the Internet a chorus of mockery. For AB, at 20 years old, it was a boyhood dream achieved and destroyed.

A year later, Bennett is rehabilitated. Warming up for a game on Sunday afternoon, he embraces the ESPN analyst and retired NBA big man Tim McCormick on the sideline. "I'm at the top of his fan-club list," says McCormick a few minutes later. "He's got a lot of work to do, but I really think he's going to be a tremendous player."

McCormick pauses the conversation to say hello to two old friends, retired all-star Grant Hill and voice-of-basketball Marv Albert. This place is a fan's fantasy: Hey, there's Phil Jackson; hey, there's Mark Cuban. The obsessed trawl for pictures and autographs.

Canada has invaded the desert. The United States dominates basketball and 269 of the prospects here are American. The next largest group is Canadian, 14, including back-to-back No. 1 draft picks Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.

McCormick returns to the conversation. He's from Detroit; he knows hockey, too. He predicts a roundball future for the red and white, the country that spawned the inventor of the game, James Naismith, so long ago.

Bennett, Wiggins and the rest are the children of Vince Carter, the Toronto Raptors showman who inspired what is poised to become a golden generation.

"They saw NBA basketball," McCormick says, "and started dreaming. Hockey's a very expensive sport. Basketball, you need some shoes and a ball and you just dream."

The game begins. Twenty pounds lighter than last year, Bennett bounds down the court with the gait one would not expect for a man who is 6 foot 8 and 240 pounds. He happily pops up threes. He throws down dunks. He grabs one, two, three rebounds. He finishes the first 10minute quarter with eight boards. A female fan bellows out: "I love you, Anthony!" Late in the game, Bennett slams in an arena-rattling dunk. He bellows.

He spent a year being laughed at.

No more.

After the game, there's a string of questions about Bennett to Cavaliers coach David Blatt - whose roster includes the morefamous Wiggins and, come fall, a guy named LeBron.

"What's this, the Anthony Bennett show?" Blatt quips.

"Calm," says Bennett of his mood in a scrum of reporters afterward. "I've proved to everybody I can play."

A television reporter asks: "When was the last time somebody said, 'I love you, Andrew,' from the crowd? Did you hear that?" The reporter has confused Anthony and Andrew, Bennett and Wiggins.

"Aw," says Bennett, a bit embarrassed, a bit annoyed, "I never heard that."

"I saw you smile," says the reporter.

"My name's Anthony," Bennett says. "I don't know Andrew."

Bennett chuckles. He of course knows Wiggins, the boy wonder who has overshadowed the rest of Canadian basketball for a couple of years.

There's just one thing: For all their apparent future together in Cleveland, both Bennett and Wiggins keep being mentioned in trade rumours with the Minnesota Timberwolves for all-star forward Kevin Love.

'How do you feel about losing by 30 points, and the game was all your fault?'

The Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian team in the NBA, have one Canadian player on its Summer League roster, 22-year-old Myck Kabongo, who at the moment is a long shot for the NBA. The Raptors wanted to draft Brampton, Ont.'s, Tyler Ennis, but Ennis went 18th to the Phoenix Suns, two spots ahead of the Raptors. Toronto then went way, way off the board to pick Bruno Caboclo, an unknown 18-year-old Brazilian, a raw teenager with intriguing athletic promise.

It's a day earlier, Saturday, and the Raptors are getting punched up by the Denver Nuggets, 45-21.

Jesse Mermuys, the Raptors assistant coach who has the head bench-boss role at Summer League, has called a timeout and unleashes a torrent at his players gathered in a circle. There's five minutes left in the second quarter. "Right now," Mermuys tells his team, "we've got to make a stand." They don't. Another timeout, a couple minutes later. It's 55-27. Mermuys is much calmer.

Denver is hitting everything.

"We're going to have to grind it out," he tells the players.

The scores in Summer League are not what counts. For rookies headed to the NBA, this is step one on a long road. For fringe players, this is the chance to put on a show, impress someone. For men like Mermuys, 34, this is the opportunity to display head coach bona fides. Still, even after a 110-82 loss, the sting is softened.

This is the off-season, in Vegas.

In a corner behind the stands, outside the makeshift locker room, a pointed questioner grabs a mic. It's Kyle Lowry, the star Raptors point guard who two days earlier re-signed for four years and $48-million (U.S.) and is in Vegas hanging out. "How do you feel about losing by 30 points, and the game was all your fault?" Lowry demands. Mermuys's smile is delightful. On the court, the American anthem is about to ring through the arena ahead of the next game, sung by Duncan Jones, the film-director son of David Bowie.

"I'm glad I'm getting this media training right now after I got blown out," Mermuys says. "I feel really frustrated, angry and trying to do the best I can as a young coach to stay composed."

Lowry approves. "That's nice. That's a good answer."

The Sundance Film Festival of the NBA

Vegas Summer League was founded a decade ago and in the first year there were six teams. The figure more than doubled the next year and it became an institution. Twenty-three teams are here this year, and players from 25 countries. Summer League has been called the American Idol of pro basketball. It has also - with all the coaches, scouts and executives dressed casually in polo shirts and shorts in the house - been called the Sundance Film Festival of the NBA.

Because it's mostly rookies, and the pressure is on to make a mark, it can get wild. Players chuck up shots.

"A weird mutant form of basketball" is how one scout puts it.

But the first pillars of reputations can be made. Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas was MVP last summer.

'I'm getting a good vibe. I love it here'

It's early afternoon Monday, and the Thomas & Mack Center, adjacent to the Cox, is almost empty.

The Sacramento Kings - with three Canadians on their Summer League roster, No. 8 pick Nik Stauskas, 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar and brother-of-Andrew Nick Wiggins - are warming up. Old highlight reels unspool on the scoreboard above.

On the baseline sits Buzz Peterson, the college coach and good friend of Michael Jordan, owner of the recently renamed Charlotte Hornets. Peterson is in town doing a bit of scouting for his pal.

The Hornets have a 24-year-old Calgarian on their roster, Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 centre who last winter at Arizona State blocked the most shots in all of Division I.

Bachynski wasn't drafted but eight teams wanted him in Vegas.

Many players here have less-certain futures in the NBA, such as Bhullar and Nick Wiggins. Higher-ranked names such as Ennis of the Suns, the No. 18 pick, will likely eventually become NBA regulars.

Peterson says there could be room on Charlotte's regular-season roster for Bachynski as a third centre. "We're really interested," he says.

A couple hours later, after a Hornets game next door at the Cox in which Bachynski played well - a block, a steal and six points in eight minutes of work - one of the best-ever big men chats with reporters, towering over them.

"He's just got to want it," says Patrick Ewing of Bachynski.

The Hall of Famer-turned-Charlotte assistant coach goes on: "Do the things that he's been doing his whole career. Block shots, rebound. As a big, those are the things that will stand out. People drive to the basket - step up and block shots. Defend the rim."

A monk-like summer, in the gym and on the court, lays ahead for Bachynski back home in Phoenix, where he lives with his wife and newborn son. A night of Netflix is as wild as it will get.

The real audition is this fall at training camp, where he is ready for "more intelligent basketball," he says.

Making it is about providing for his young family. Bachynski feels buoyant. "Just showing the coaches what I can do, and what I can possibly be," he says. "I'm getting a good vibe. I love it here."

'Stauskas - rookie of the year'

The story of Stauskas, whose draft stock steadily climbed until he cracked the top 10, has become a Canadian hoops fable.

The backyard court his dad installed in Mississauga. A young Nik shovelling snow in winters.

Shot after shot after shot. It's the basketball mirror of the backyard rink Walter Gretzky made each winter for his boys.

Stauskas is a highly efficient shooter, an assassin. So he's stereotyped: White guy can shoot.

Larry Bird. Can he defend?

He's an affable 20-year-old - but takes it as an insult. To him, saying a ballplayer can't defend is like saying he can't shoot.

"I know a lot of people have questioned me," Stauskas says.

"I'm showing I'm a capable defender at this level."

The believers are confident.

Among a small contingent of diehard Kings fans in their purple jerseys, one holds a sign: "Stauskas - rookie of the year."

On Monday afternoon, he looks like a contender.

With a minute left in the first half, the game tied, Stauskas has an open-look three in the corner and rises for the shot before rifling a pass to a teammate under the hoop who finishes with a dunk.

Before the half ends, Stauskas puts up a three, and hits.

'Show us the dunk! Show us the dunk!'

Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 athletic wonder, has just pulled off one of the feats that lead people to pin so much promise on his 19-year-old shoulders.

Monday night, on the baseline in the second quarter of a game in which he's been a nonentity, he drives to the hoop, busts out a crossover spin move and trampolines to hammer home a dunk.

Immediately thereafter, Wiggins bolts down the floor and swoops in behind top prospect Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wiggins bounces into the air and, like a ninja, swats away the ball as Noel lays it up.

"Show us the dunk! Show us the dunk!" A fan wants a replay of Amazing, Part 1.

He keeps up his solo chorus for several minutes until his wish is granted, the replay put on the big screen on the wall. The fullhouse crowd roars.

Sport is about spectacle and this is awesome. Never mind Wiggins finished the night with only 10 points. The replays, on the Internet, Twitter and elsewhere, are everywhere, instantly.

The day before, Sunday, Wiggins missed most of his shots and sometimes looked listless. ESPN, grading the top names daily, gave him a C+: "You can see how the narrative about the lack of a 'killer instinct' got started."

Monday's display, however, was the stuff most players can only dream of, and ESPN awarded an A-, even on an otherwise so-so night: "All we're going to talk about is that dynamic dunk off Wiggins's dreidel move."

When the game concludes, Wiggins lingers in the makeshift locker room. He has his knees iced, wrapped in plastic, his left wrist too. He then exits, passing through reporters and into a service elevator. He descends one level and sits for an interview with He then proceeds to get his visage and body scanned for the video game NBA 2K. Wiggins is going to be a star.

No, he's long been a star. He was a YouTube sensation at 14. He's a quiet kid but is not shy. When he went No. 1, dressed sockless in a suit to kill, his smile easy, he publicly announced his goals: rookie of the year, NBA all-star, alldefensive team. Summer League, for Wiggins, is merely prelude.

Associated Graphic

Canadian Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers is on a fine run at the NBA Summer League. He's on a path to redemption after a weak rookie season.


Jabari Parker, left, of the Milwaukee Bucks drives by Andrew Wiggins of the Cleveland Cavaliers in NBA Summer League play last Friday.


'Boring engineer' has his day in the sun
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B3

Shawn Qu is doing his best to avoid being a compelling interview subject.

"I am a boring engineer," he says. "I work 16 hours a day and I don't really spend money."

He's sipping coffee in a bland boardroom in a low rise factory on the outskirts of Guelph, Ont., wearing the classic engineer's uniform of a dark suit with an open-necked shirt.

Behind this low-key facade, however, is an extraordinary story of a poor Chinese immigrant who came to Canada to advance his education, then created from scratch what has become one of the world's largest and most successful solar energy firms, with annual revenue closing in on $3-billion.

In 13 years, Canadian Solar Inc. has built three solar panel factories in China and two in Canada; in 2013 alone, it manufactured panels that can generate almost two gigawatts of power, enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes. Its market cap is about $1.3-billion (U.S.), making Mr. Qu's personal holding of 27 per cent worth more than $300-million.

But Mr. Qu is reluctant to consider himself a high-tech wunderkind.

"Lots of great companies were built in shorter times. In that regard I don't think I'm such a superstar," he said. "The superstars are the guys who do Internet, instant messaging, that kind of stuff."

He does acknowledge, however, that building a company that makes physical products is more complex than expanding a firm based on software. "Real manufacturing and the energy business takes a much longer time and it is harder work and effort than [a company in] the virtual economy," he says. "In that regard, I think we have chosen a difficult path. But I am glad we are doing something that eventually will change the energy infrastructure of the world."

He is also keenly aware that what he has built could collapse if he isn't careful. "I know that in any industry you can be leaders for a while, but if you don't watch out and make sure you change your business model, you can be washed away in four or five years.

Just look at what happened to Nokia or Nortel or BlackBerry.

That is the life of being an entrepreneur. I am aware of it so I am prepared for it."

That preparation began when Mr. Qu arrived in Canada in 1987, shortly after the Chinese government first allowed students to leave the country to study abroad. In his mid-20s at the time, he had an undergraduate physics degree from a Chinese university, and was teaching in a college in Beijing. But teaching was anything but lucrative, and he didn't make enough to pay for any further overseas education. "I was making something like 76 renminbi per month, and that translates to less than $10," he said. Consequently, "applying for study abroad meant applying for a scholarship."

The University of Manitoba gave him that scholarship, an offer he still sees as extraordinarily welcoming, especially at a time when western countries didn't understand the quality of education in China. "I was very grateful.

Canada was a very open and fair society compared to many other countries."

But wasn't it a tremendous culture shock coming to a small city in the western prairies? Not as he recalls.

"I didn't feel it. I guess I was young. At that age, you can venture into any place, any culture, and you will survive. Canada is a lawful society, and the infrastructure on campus was good, and people take care of you. There must have been a culture shock, but when I look back I don't remember it."

After completing his masters degree in physics in Winnipeg, Mr. Qu moved to the University of Toronto to do a PhD in materials science. That's where his interest in solar power took hold.

After graduation, he considered jobs in academia or management consulting, but took a position at Ontario Hydro (now called Ontario Power Generation), working on a solar power project inside the Crown corporation. When that project was sold to ATS Automation Tooling Systems in Cambridge, Ont., he went with it. ATS had also bought Photowatt, a French solar product manufacturing firm, and that gave Mr. Qu exposure to yet another culture.

It also gave him a sense of the social value of solar power. One of ATS's projects was a Canadian government-supported scheme to help with rural electrification in China. His group developed tiny solar cell and battery systems that could power two lamps and a radio.

"It was a very interesting project that gave me a chance to visit these remote areas. People really loved it. It made me think about how I could do more in solar ... I felt fulfilment."

But Mr. Qu admits that, over all, he was bored at ATS, which was losing money on the solar operation and didn't give it many resources. It was time to venture out on his own.

"All this experience on the technical and manufacturing side, and experience in different cultures - Chinese, Canadian and French - and also experience in government programs, got me prepared to launch my own business."

He started Canadian Solar in 2001, but at the beginning never dreamed of creating a multibillion dollar company.

"At that time, my vision was probably a small company working on renewables, which [I thought would be] good for human beings and would allow me to feed my family. I am a programmatic engineer. I do it step by step."

The first step, however, was a big one. A business contact mentioned to Mr. Qu that Volkswagen's Mexican operation was looking for a solar device to keep car batteries charged when new vehicles were sitting in outdoor parking lots, sometimes for months at a time.

He set to work, came up with a design, and won the contract.

"The challenge was that I had a purchase order without a real company. I didn't even know where the factory was going to be.

I had to do my budgeting. Where was the money going to come from, where was the equipment going to come from?" Canadian Solar ended up building a plant in China, and it lived off the Volkswagen order for a couple of years, shipping hundreds of thousands of units. Mr.

Qu created a team, raised money, and in 2004 got another big break when the German government put in place incentives for solar panel installations, opening up an enormous market. The fact that Canadian Solar was already a key supplier to Volkswagen opened a lot of doors. "It meant a lot to my initial German customers. We were at the right place at the right time."

For the next several years Canadian Solar - and most other solar companies - flourished, as more governments put incentives in place, and sales boomed. The government stimulus that followed the 2008-2009 recession also pumped up the industry, and more and more companies jumped into the fray - an ominous sign.

"In the U.S., they had a recovery plan. In China, they also had a big incentive plan. Everyone had easy access to money and easy access to debt. So, you saw those factories - not just solar factories but all kinds of factories - just mushroom," he said. "We started to see everyone get into the solar business. The writing was on the wall."

A perfect storm of issues, including the glut of supply and cuts to European subsidies during the financial crisis, pushed panel prices down and prompted a dramatic shakeout. Some of the biggest players collapsed, along with many small ones, and stock prices tumbled off a cliff. Canadian Solar's shares went from over $50 in mid-2008 to below $3 in 2012. (They've since climbed back to almost $31.)

But Canadian Solar was one of the survivors. A strong balance sheet and conservative capital spending kept it afloat. And the drop in prices meant solar became more competitive with other conventional forms of energy generation, making incentives less important - a trend that continues today.

Mr. Qu also made a crucial change at Canadian Solar during that period. He decided the company should be not just a cell and panel maker, but also get into the business of building solar farms - a segment of the business where the fall in component prices was actually an advantage.

Most of its projects are in Canada, the United States, China and Japan. In most cases, once solar farms are up and running, Canadian Solar sells them to independent power producers who then hold them for the long term.

Canadian Solar is expanding in Canada, and recently opened a panel-making facility in London, Ont., in addition to its first panelmaking factory in Guelph. The corporate headquarters are also in the Guelph facility, which Mr. Qu visits about once a month.

And, he insists, despite the frequent characterization of his company as Canadian in name only, it really is Canadian. Indeed, the only time he becomes really animated during our chat is when I bring up the company's nationality.

"It is a Canadian company," he says, his voice rising slightly. "It is registered here. We pay Canadian tax. We have a major operation here. For 2014, Canadian revenue will probably be half of the company's total revenue. So we do more business in Canada than any other places. So why are we not a Canadian company?" And, he points out, "lots of companies do manufacturing in China. So what? Look at Apple.

Where do they make their cellphones?" In fact, he says, good Canadian companies should be international. "I hope that Canadians will develop this kind of international mindset."

Mr. Qu, who is a Canadian citizen, does spend the majority of his time in China, where he lives near the company's biggest manufacturing plant in Suzhou, just outside Shanghai. But he is on the road - or rather in airplanes - a great deal of time, and he uses that time to e-mail and read industry materials.

Okay, you're an engineer and you work like mad, I acknowledge, but don't you have any diversions? He said he does take the occasional ski vacation - often in Japan - and he swims every other day when he is at home, putting in 1,000 metres each time at a health club near his house.

But he's not a big spender, and admits he doesn't even know how to shop online. He leaves that up to his children.

Success hasn't changed him much, although he says he gets less anxious about the business than he once did, since he has delegated a lot of the day-to-day work to his management team. Now he can be the big picture guy.

Since he has a little more free time than he used to, he's even starting to read some novels. A current favourite author is Chinese writer Mo Yan, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2012, and whose novels often deal with politics and sex.

That should be a bit of a diversion for a "boring engineer."



Born in Beijing 50 years old Married with three children


BSc in applied physics from Tsinghua University in Beijing MSc in physics from the University of Manitoba PhD in material science from the University of Toronto .


Worked on a solar project at Ontario Hydro, before moving to ATS Automation Tooling systems Founded Canadian Solar in Ontario in 2001 Began manufacturing in China in 2002 Opened a plant in Guelph, Ont. in 2011, then one in London, Ont. in 2014 .


"My dream was to see solar panels on every household ... to create a clean world for the next generation, for our children."

"I manage a new economy, new energy, business in a very traditional way. I guess I am quite different from other entrepreneurs who start companies. It is very different from the Facebook style."

"The conventional energy industry receives more tax breaks and incentives than the solar industry. People just don't see them."

"We will see costs going down and prices going down, and solar becoming more economic. It will be more and more competitive compared with conventional power sources."

" Financial institutions have started to see solar as an investment grade asset."

Associated Graphic

Shawn Qu, founder, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar Inc.


Innovative builder brought malls to Israel
Polish-born tycoon gave away millions in philanthropic endeavours in the Jewish state and Canada - the two 'homelands' he loved
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S11

It took an adroit grasp of Hebrew to come up with a term for what David Azrieli was building in Israel. Like earlier pioneers of the revived tongue who had to create words for "airplane" and "automobile" for use in the modern Jewish state, Mr. Azrieli pondered a name for his gleaming creation, the country's first enclosed, American-style shopping mall. Israelis were more used to shopping at small, stand-alone stores or chains; a sprawling, airconditioned mall complete with cinemas, banks, restaurants and piped-in Muzak was a foreign concept. So when it opened in the city of Ramat Gan in 1985, Mr. Azrieli, a one-time Hebrew teacher, dubbed his 25,000-squaremetre edifice "Canion Ayalon."

Ayalon was the name of a nearby valley, and canion was a word he coined by clumping together two Hebrew words: koneh, to buy, and chanayah, to park.

"I felt strongly that we should have a Hebrew word," Mr. Azrieli explained in a biography prepared by his family for his 85th birthday. "Perhaps this is part of my attention to detail." He compared his insistence on using the vernacular with Quebec's zeal to protect French, though he felt that campaign had been "carried to extremes."

The mall was a roaring success and transformed retailing in Israel (for the worse, charged those who rued the shift to Western consumerism). Mr. Azrieli went on to build 12 more enclosed malls in the country in the ensuing years, with yet more to come.

To this day, Israeli teens hang out at the kenyon (a version of Mr. Azrieli's canion).

A hard-charging, soft-spoken real-estate tycoon who fought for the fledging Jewish state and gave away millions in philanthropic endeavours, Mr. Azrieli died at his country home in Quebec's Laurentians on July 9 at the age of 92.

After building office towers, highrise residences, hotels and shopping centres in Canada, the United States and Israel, he remained chairman of Tel Aviv-based Azrieli Group Ltd., one of the largest commercial and office real-estate companies in Israel, until a week before his death, when he stepped down.

"I have always wanted to be a builder," he said in a 1988 magazine profile. "I was always drawing and sketching. Of all the arts, architecture influences people every day. It's very humanistic."

The self-made billionaire was a "Donald Trump-type developer with Trump's splash and vision tempered by Jewish values and Zionist altruism," blogged his friend, McGill University professor Gil Troy. "His story is Israel's story, a redemptive tale of building an old-new land as sleek and modern as many but uniquely soulful and traditional."

Among those is Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, which was the largest shopping centre and business complex in Tel Aviv when it opened in 1988. Its three sleek office towers dominate the city's skyline but retain a whimsical, almost childlike character, as one structure is a cylinder, one is triangular and one square.

Known widely in Israel as the Mall Man from Montreal, Mr. Azrieli also held interests in the energy, water, banking and environment sectors, through his company. With a net worth of $3.1-billion, he was ranked the 12th-wealthiest Canadian by Forbes this year.

"David was very sharp. He always loved to talk business," Mitch Goldhar, owner of Torontobased shopping-centre developer SmartCentres, told The Globe's Bertrand Marotte. "He had good radar, predicting where things were going. He stepped up on many investments where others were going the other way."

On May 10, 1922, he was born David Joshua Azrylewicz in the Polish town of Makow-Mazowiecki, the second of four children. His father was a prosperous clothing designer and manufacturer, and both parents were ardent Zionists. Three days after the Nazis invaded Poland in September, 1939, Mr. Azrieli and a younger brother fled eastward, hoping to escape the fate of an older brother who had been forced to join a work brigade. The train Mr. Azrieli was riding was strafed by German planes four times; a bullet travelled through his arm and killed the man huddled next to him.

At just 17, Mr. Azrieli settled for a while in the Soviet-occupied city of Bialystok, where he completed high school. Further flights took him to the Uzbek republic where, in Bukhara in late 1942, he joined the Polish Armed Forces in the East, known as the Anders Army, whose plans were to move from Iran through Iraq and on to the teen's longed-for destination, Palestine.

But in the fog of war, the plans went awry, and Mr. Azrieli decided to make a dash for the Holy Land himself. From Iran, he reached Iraq with his brother Adam, who had travel orders for Baghdad. Disguised as an Arab villager, Mr. Azrieli bribed an official and rode the train to the Iraqi capital. Lacking a passport, he dodged guards by disembarking at stops then scampering back aboard into another car.

Once in Baghdad, he hooked up with two members of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary group (one was the future eyepatched general, Moshe Dayan). "'Suddenly, Dayan burst through the door, muddy and exhausted," Mr. Azrieli later wrote in his memoirs, fittingly titled One Step Ahead. "He gave specific instructions on when and where to meet, and we left the hotel.'" They arranged for the young man to be smuggled into British Mandate Palestine amid a shipment of arms hidden in coffins.

After a five-day bus ride on bonerattling roads, Mr. Azrieli finally arrived in late 1942. Years later, he discovered that of his family, only he and one brother had survived the Holocaust.

He also conceded how recklessly he had behaved, driven by his desire to reach Palestine and get away from the Nazis. "Desertion, in the middle of a war, would surely have led to my execution," he would write. "I was foolish and young."

He studied architecture at the Israel Institute of Technology but quit to fight in Israel's War of Independence, serving in the storied Seventh Armored Brigade during the Battle for Jerusalem.

After the war, he decamped for South Africa, where he taught Hebrew, then to Britain, New York and finally, Montreal, where he arrived in 1954 alone to work as an architect's assistant. He would earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Montreal while teaching Hebrew.

Pooling $3,000 in savings by 1957, he bought 10 lots of land to build four modest duplexes in a suburb, then sold all 10 lots. He never looked back. Mr. Azrieli founded Canpro Investments Ltd. in the early 1960s, focusing on developing high-rise residential buildings and building the Hotel des Artistes, which housed musicians and other artists who performed at Expo 67, according to the family charitable foundation's online tribute.

But what still rankles many Montrealers was Mr. Azrieli's role in the demolition of a landmark on Sherbrooke Street. In 1973, he purchased the historic Van Horne Mansion from the descendants of 19th-century railway magnate William Cornelius Van Horne, and planned to demolish it. There was public outcry, protests and even a credible offer from another developer to buy the centuryold greystone.

Emboldened by the seeming indifference of government officials to the fate of the anglophone landmark, Mr. Azrieli went ahead and bulldozed the building, in the dead of night to avert protests.

Montrealers awoke to a pile of rubble that eventually became the site of a concrete office tower and later a Sofitel hotel.

The episode sparked the creation of the heritage preservation group Save Montreal (now Héritage Montréal).

Though the mansion was razed more than 40 years ago, memories are long; a recent letter to the editor in the Montreal Gazette recalled two sardonic words hand-painted over the cornerstone plaque on the building that replaced the proud mansion: "Thanks, Dave."

In an interview, Mr. Azrieli defended his actions, saying the mansion had not been classified as a heritage property and that the application to demolish it had been approved by the appropriate authorities.

"Everybody knows that I only purchased the land and not the building," he said. "The heirs of Van Horne actually demolished it.

The condition that I bought the land was the building should be torn down."

The bad press continued when a 1994 Gazette article accused him of calling himself an architect when he wasn't. "I never did call myself a licensed architect," he retorted. "I never did sign plans officially."

Three years later, he was granted a master's degree in architecture at Carleton University at the age of 75. In 2008, the university renamed its architecture school the Azrieli School of Architecture in recognition of a $5.5-million gift from him. At least one professor publicly groused that Mr.

Azrieli was unworthy of the honour, citing the Van Horne Mansion episode, while others grumbled that money had done the talking.

Mr. Azrieli was resigned to the blowback. "If you do things," he told the Ottawa Citizen, "then you're subject to criticism."

His better-known Canadian projects included the largest shopping mall in the National Capital Region, Les promenades Gatineau (originally called Les promenades de l'Outaouais). He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1984 and the Ordre National du Québec in 1999.

"He combined a number of things that resulted in his success," said Myer Bick, president of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation in Montreal, who knew Mr.

Azrieli for 30 years. "He had complete, enormous confidence in himself, in his judgment. He also was a risk-taker, ready to shoot the dice, which he did many times in his career and came out smelling like roses."

Mr. Azrieli's namesake foundation has doled out an estimated $100-million since its founding in 1989, underwriting initiatives in education, architecture and design, scientific and medical research, and the arts. Among the projects it supported was the Institute for Educational Empowerment, a program aimed at Israeli youth at risk, and the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program, established in 2005. To date, it has published 48 volumes of survivors' recollections - 28 in English and 20 in French. An additional nine titles are scheduled for release this autumn.

"In telling these stories, the writers have liberated themselves," Mr. Azrieli felt. "For so many years we did not speak about it, even when we became free people living in a free society.

Now, when at last we are writing about what happened to us in this dark period of history, knowing that our stories will be read and live on, it is possible for us to feel truly free."

In 2011, the foundation donated $5-million to Concordia University, in Montreal, to establish the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies.

"He was a formidable person, very strong-minded," noted the institute's associate director, Norma Joseph. "And he used his mind for a wonderful vision of community and building."

Later in life, he divided his time between Canada and Israel. "I have two homelands," he once said, "two places I love and where I have been blessed to do what I love best."

Loving what one does is "genuine freedom," he said. "If you have to spend your life doing things you don't love to do, you are no better than a slave. This then, is my message: Do what you love to do."

He leaves his wife of 57 years, Stephanie (née Lefcourt), children Rafael, Sharon, Naomi and Danna, and seven grandchildren. He was buried on July 14 in a cemetery on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives.

Associated Graphic

The foundation David Azrieli founded in 1989 has given out an estimated $100-million in Canada and Israel toward initiatives in education, architecture and design, scientific and medical research, and the arts.


Mr. Azrieli raised the ire of many Montrealers when he razed the Van Horne Mansion to build an office tower on Sherbrooke Street West.

How Ontario became the centre of sun-powered energy in Canada
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

NEWBORO, ONT. -- In what was once a rocky hayfield in southeastern Ontario, a very 21st-century type of farm is taking shape.

Construction workers are piecing together rectangular racks supported by galvanized steel posts. Tractors pulling loads of solar panels trundle by. Others teams attach one-by-two metre solar modules into groups, and mount them gingerly onto the racks.

Here, a few kilometres from the tiny town of Newboro, Ont., in the Rideau Lakes region between Ottawa and Kingston, one of Canada's newest solar farms is close to completion, with the final rows of photovoltaic panels now being installed. Standing among them is like being in a vast shiny sea that rolls off in all directions over the contours of the land.

"By October, this thing will be pumping power," says project manager John Caruso, who has been nursing what he calls his "baby" to completion since work on the site began last fall.

His baby is Newboro 1, a utilityscale solar-power-generating station being built by contractor Renewable Energy Systems Canada for renewable energy developer SunEdison Canada. When it's finished, the project's 55,000 solar panels, mounted on more than 5,000 posts driven into the rock across 120 acres, will generate 10 megawatts of electricity for Ontario's power grid, enough to power more than 2,000 homes.

The Newboro project is part of a solar building boom under way across Ontario this summer, with construction crews active on about two dozen large solar projects. They will add to the more than 70 large solar farms already up and running all over the province - from Dryden in Northern Ontario, to Chatham in the Southwest, to Cornwall near the Quebec border.

While that puts Canada among the top 10 countries of the world when it comes to the amount of solar installed, the planned and operational solar farms will contribute only about 1 per cent of Ontario's power. Still, combined with other renewables such as wind, it is helping the province to wean itself away from fossil fuels, and close its coal-fired power plants.

The action on large solar projects is taking place only in Ontario, where pro-renewable-energy government policies essentially subsidize solar installations. That has not been duplicated in any other province. Without government support, solar projects elsewhere will likely be small scale, until dropping panel prices allow the industry to compete with other forms of power. The biggest project outside Ontario right now is a small 1 MW solar farm under construction near Kimberley, B.C.

But in Ontario, big solar farms have become positively commonplace. Directly across the road from SunEdison's Newboro site is another 10 MW project owned by Northland Power Inc. that has been in operation for a year. SunEdison has another solar site under construction a few kilometres away, near the town of Westport. Less than an hour's drive southeast from Newboro, South Korea-based Samsung Renewable Energy is planning a massive 100 MW solar farm - 10 times the size of the Newboro project - on the western outskirts of Kingston.

These aren't anything like the rooftop installations of a few dozen panels that you see on houses, factories and warehouses across the country. They are huge, ground-level projects, sometimes covering vast tracts of land. A massive 100 MW Samsung solar farm currently under construction south of Hamilton, covers 750 acres and when finished will have 450,000 solar panels angled toward the sky.

Unlike wind farms, which have drawn heavy criticism from nearby residents for their shadow flicker, noise and the towering presence of turbines that rise over 100 metres into the sky, solar farms have a much lower profile - both literally and figuratively.

"Solar has a very high approval and support rating," says Georges Arbache, vice-president for global infrastructure at consultant KPMG. "It sits there, it's quiet, and it is not very visible because it is flat on the ground."

There are some legitimate concerns from residents who live near planned solar farms because of the hum from inverters, the glare from panels, and worries over water, wildlife and the loss of farmland. But these have usually been remedied by setting the panels back from roads and property lines, and making sure panels are clear of waterways.

And Ontario no longer allows solar farms to be installed on its most productive farm land.

Last year, a Canadian Solar Inc. project set to be built on the Oak Ridges Moraine - part of the green belt surrounding Toronto and an important watershed - raised hackles among some local residents. But a compromise was reached at an environmental tribunal when the project was shifted to protect nearby wetlands.

Chuck Mercier, mayor of Scugog, the township where the project is located, says the solar farm now has a smaller footprint, and will have plantings to make the site more presentable.

"I don't think anybody is totally opposed to [solar projects]," Mr. Mercier says. "Over all, solar has been embraced by most of the community. Solar doesn't present the same kind of issues as wind."

This relative lack of opposition has cleared the way for the flurry of activity in large-scale solar, which is a direct result of Ontario's public policy on renewable power. Its Green Energy Act passed in 2009 was designed to boost renewable energy development - and the industry that supports it - by paying high prices for electricity generated from wind, solar and other clean sources.

Under that "feed in tariff" (FIT) program, the owners of the Newboro 1 project, for example, will receive 44 cents a kilowatt hour for all the power it generates over the next 20 years, about three times more than the retail electricity rate of less than 14 cents a kilowatt hour.

Developers who won contracts under the the FIT program are now rushing to complete their projects by set deadlines, to ensure they can collect on those high power rates.

"There has been a lot of construction activity last summer, this summer in particular, and it will continue through 2015," says John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CANSIA).

"Our numbers show that by the end of the construction season next year, Ontario will have installed 2 gigawatts [2,000 megawatts] of solar, and the majority of that is utility scale."

Canada still sits behind leaders such as the United States, however, where 4.7 gigawatts of solar was installed last year alone. "In the U.S., 33 per cent of all new electricity generation installed was solar," Mr. Gorman says.

At the moment, however, the Ontario boom is intense enough to cause a shortage of skilled labour in the solar construction game.

"Bottlenecks within the system have been a struggle for everyone in the industry," Mike Dilworth, country manager for SunEdison in Canada, says. "That is the biggest challenge for [meeting] timelines, and getting the projects built," he says, especially when the bulk of construction is concentrated during the summer months.

Still, Ontario's solar boom is not likely to last, at least not at the current pace. That's because last year the provincial government - under pressure from critics concerned about upward pressure on electricity prices and slower demand growth - discontinued the FIT program for largescale solar projects.

From now on, solar farm developers will have to make competitive bids if they want to build large solar farms. Essentially, the provincial government will determine how much solar power it wants to buy, and developers will submit potential projects and say what price they are willing to sell their electricity for.

In general, the lowest bidders will get the contracts, provided their projects meet other criteria and are in locations where power is needed.

Ontario has also said it will likely buy just 140 megawatts of new solar power from large scale projects in each of 2014 and 2015, far less than in the past few years. Under the competitive process, it is certain that developers will be paid less for their solar power than they received under the FIT program.

"Now things are going to start to level off a little bit," Utilia Amaral, director of government affairs for SunEdison in Canada, says. But a more measured pace of solar development is not a bad thing after an overheated few years, she added, particular if the procurement process becomes "reliable and predictable."

It was a relief to those in the industry that the Liberal Party won a majority in Ontario's recent provincial election, as it has pledged to continue supporting renewable power production.

The opposition Progressive Conservatives had essentially pledged to dismantle all green energy support.

Mr. Gorman, of the solar industry association, said he is confident there won't be much of a lull in solar energy development over the long term. If the new procurement process is run efficiently, new projects contracted this year and next should be under construction by 2016, he said.

"We are hopeful that the momentum will continue."

There is one crucial factor that will allow developers to continue building money-making projects, even if the price they get for the electricity they produce is much lower than under the FIT program. The price of solar panels is continuing to fall sharply, reducing one of the key costs of building a large-scale solar farm. Solar cells cost about $76 per watt in the 1970s, according to CANSIA figures, and have now dropped to below $1 per watt.

Developers may also save money from another crucial change to Ontario's renewable energy policy: Solar projects will no longer have to guarantee that they will buy a certain percentage of their supplies from Ontariobased manufacturers. Those "local content" requirements, which applied to a variety of renewable energy projects, including wind farms, were dropped after a World Trade Organization panel ruled that they breached international trade law.

The Newboro project, which had to follow the local content guidelines, got its panels from Canadian factories run by Celestica and Flextronics. Racking came from the Toronto plant of U.S. company Unirac, and steel piles were sourced from a company in Windsor, Ont. But future projects will be able to look further afield for lower-cost supplies if they want to.

The end of local content rules was deeply disappointing to most Ontario-based companies supplying the renewable sector. But some suppliers, such as Canadian solar panel makers Celestica and Canadian Solar Inc., have been gearing up to export some of their products, to help replace lost volume from Ontario.

"We'd like to be here for the long haul," said Colin Parkin, general manager of Canadian Solar's panel-making operations in Guelph, Ont., which now ships some panels to the booming U.S. market. "We're not at par with manufacturing costs in China yet, but we are trending in that direction."

Mr. Arbache of KPMG says there will certainly be rationalization among the Canadian solar product makers as a result of the end of the local content provisions, but the program has succeeded in creating strong local firms with expertise in manufacturing and a reputation for high quality. "We have developed an expertise here that is in demand outside of Canada," he said, and consequently many firms that sold their products and services in Ontario should be able to make the transition. "The Green Energy Act and the FIT program is what created the market. ... I don't know that we would have been able to achieve what we have achieved without [it]."

Associated Graphic

When SunEdison's Newboro 1 project is complete, its 55,000 solar panels, mounted on more than 5,000 posts driven into the rock across 120 acres, will generate 10 megawatts of electricity for Ontario's power grid, enough to power more than 2,000 homes.


Does Heather Conway have what it takes to save the CBC?
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

Heather Conway is fairly certain nobody wants to stab her in the back just yet.

"I gotta believe I'm so beloved that just none of that is going to happen," she says with a wry smile, taking a seat with her back to the dining room of Luma, an upscale redoubt in TIFF's Bell Lightbox headquarters.

Give it some time. It has been less than seven months since Conway became the executive vice-president of CBC's English services, giving her responsibility for CBC-TV, CBC News Network, the documentary channel, Radio One and 2,, other digital operations, and more than $750-million in annual spending. Even at the best of times, the position is one of the most scrutinized in the Canadian cultural industrial complex.

And in case you haven't been paying attention, these are not the best of times for CBC.

Potential critics have been warming up in the wings. Within days of her appointment last fall, some began grousing that Conway - a former marketing executive with no direct programming experience - was a dismaying choice for one of the most powerful broadcasting jobs.

Then last month, while staff were still trying to digest a cut of 657 jobs announced in April, they responded icily as Conway helped unveil an overhaul of the public broadcaster that will axe about another 20 per cent of their colleagues, or 1,500 positions across English and French services, over the next five years. During a tense town hall where the strategy was launched, she was accused of being gleeful about the cuts.

One staffer, echoing a popular conspiracy theory, noted darkly that Conway and her boss, CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix, had each previously been associated with the Conservative Party of Canada, the CBC's perceived Enemy No.1.

In person, at least one accusation immediately seems off-base. "I'm the anti-glee," Conway notes here at Luma. She speaks in a low register, with muted expressiveness. "On my happiest day, glee is probably not an emotion that pops to the surface." Over a twohour lunch, there are only three moments that approach delight: while showing a video of her nearly four-year-old daughter Olivia, whose birth mother is her expartner Camilla Gibb; recalling the "brain-on-fire" experience of working on the introduction of the GST in the late-1980s with then-finance minister Michael Wilson and future Bank of Canada governor David Dodge; and talking about the Green Bay Packers.

Perhaps, then, she is not such an odd choice for a time of existential uncertainty at the CBC. The daughter of Scottish Catholic immigrants, Conway is focused on the practical. She has an undergraduate degree in economics, a master's degree in industrial relations, and a wonk's passion for public policy.

"It might be my economics background, but I tend to look at problems and challenges and say: 'What is fixed, and what is variable?' "she says. "To put your calories against the stuff you can actually have an impact on, the variables, is so much better use of your time, your energy, your intellect, your creativity, than to spend all of your time focusing on what's fixed."

Is she referring, perhaps, to the CBC staffers and others who rail fruitlessly against the federal government's funding cuts? "I'd put that in the category," she says with a nod. "I think there's a - 'If wishes were, you know, butterflies,' or whatever - I don't even know what the expression is, but it's a desire, and I understand it completely, and I can sympathize with it. I could join in, but it doesn't really get me anywhere."

Conway grew up watching and listening to the CBC in a household with deep respect for public service and its unique responsibilities. Her father was in the military, and then a public servant; her mother was a teacher. "My very first memory of a news event was the [April 1968] Liberal convention, and my parents yelling at the TV: 'Tru-deau! Tru-deau!' "She was six years old.

Politics was a mainstay of the dinner table. Conway found her own path, becoming, she says, a "card-carrying member of the NDP." After working with Wilson, she served as a strategist on Jean Charest's failed leadership campaign against Kim Campbell, an experience which she says "soured me on party politics." In 1994, she left Ottawa for Toronto and the private sector.

She joined TD Financial Group, rising to executive vice-president of corporate and public affairs, where she helped sell the 2000 merger with Canada Trust and the resulting layoff of more than 4,500 staff. That led to Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., the film and TV producer-distributor.

As head of marketing, Conway negotiated the carriage agreements for the company's growing stable of specialty channels.

Later, she served for 21 months as CEO of the Canadian division of Edelman, the worldwide public relations firm. She was about the same length into her tenure as chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario last year when CBC came calling.

Lacroix praised her experience. "We need somebody who understood the magnitude of the challenges - the management challenges, the financial challenges, the technical challenges - and if you look at her CV, her background, that's exactly what she brings," he said at the time.

And if Conway has never programmed a network, she moves easily in the world of TV and film production: Her domestic partner is the writer-director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park). She joined a fantasy football league whose commissioner is Kid in the Hall Mark McKinney; she loses because she repeatedly overpays for the Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. She can't help it. She's a Packers fan. She even owns one of the team's trademark cheesehead hats. "They were the last community-owned team in the NFL, and that appealed to me," she says. "Like CBC."

Like fantasy-football players, all media executives these days are picking their strategies and hoping for the best. Rogers Media spent $5.2-billion last November to nab the rights to 12 years' worth of NHL hockey in part because the company believed its traditional business model - importing scripted U.S. programs to air on its City network in prime time - was in trouble. Bell Media bought Astral Media for $3-billion to ward off competition from services such as Netflix. Shaw Media, Bell and Rogers have all laid off staff in the past year. In the U.S., Rupert Murdoch's 21stCentury Fox took a run at Time Warner this month, betting that bigger is better.

"We're all sitting on a bit of a rocket," offers Conway. "We don't know where it's going to land. And I think that's why you're starting to see people make choices. [Rogers Media CEO Keith Pelley] says: 'I'm betting on sports. That's my bet: live events.' "

CBC's bet will see it spend the next five years moving from focusing on content primarily for television and radio, with digital and mobile platforms trailing behind, to developing content primarily for mobile and digital consumption - with television and radio trailing behind.

It will contract out all production except radio and TV news and current affairs.

While CBC's move was widely maligned - partly because it will contract out documentary production - all media companies are rushing into mobile. But CBC is making the shift under a massive microscope.

Conway says there is no similar legacy organization pursuing the same strategy as CBC. One potential model is Vice Media, the Montreal-born, Brooklyn-bred, multi-platform renegade outfit whose dance card has recently filled up with stodgy media companies wanting to know how they too can become popular with fickle millennials.

Conway met with two Vice executives in the spring.

"Vice has actually said that part of their inspiration is the CBC. Watching [former reporter] Joe Schlesinger in their youth do his stand-ups [in the field] is part of their DNA," she says. "So I think the CBC brand is not as far from the Vice brand as somebody might initially think."

She adds: "I think their interest in trying to do something with us is genuine. It's not motivated by money. Because, you know, my first words to them" - she laughs - "are, 'We don't have a lot of money.' "

But Vice is also part of the problem for CBC: In a world where consumers and citizens are already able to access a dizzying array of information, why do they need CBC?

"I think in a media landscape where the audience fragmentation is getting greater and greater and greater, there is an even greater need for the CBC," Conway replies. "When you can get more and more and more cultural content from everywhere, and everybody is trying to push that content on to you free, because they can monetize it through advertising and other means, where do you see yourself reflected?"

She draws a parallel to her experience as a lesbian viewer of TV and film. "I've had to watch many, many not critically acclaimed shows, because they're about gay people, right? Because there's so little content available to me that reflects who I am, that I will go - ehhh- "she makes what she laughingly characterizes as a "cringey" face. "I'm in a marginalized community, to some degree, from a pop-culture sense. So I'm watching The L Word, whether I think it's great or not."

Who else, she asks, will program the "risky" programs? She points to The Boys of St. Vincent, an acclaimed two-part mini-series produced by the National Film Board about sexual abuse by priests at a St. John's orphanage.

Produced by the National Film Board, the film was slated to air on CBC in December 1992, when it was hit with an injunction brought by four priests then at trial for sexual abuse. CBC fought the injunction, and the film aired in some areas of the country - accompanied by emergency helpline information for victims of abuse or those who just needed to talk about what they'd seen. But it wasn't until a year later that viewers in Ontario and parts of Quebec were finally able to watch it. "That was a national conversation that we needed to have. And very few nations had it," says Conway. But a skeptic might point out that her example is 22 years old.

Conway acknowledges she doesn't know exactly what the result will look like or whether viewers will want the content the new CBC offers - she and her staff will need to feel their way through the transition. "I don't know who has the answers," she admits. "I haven't heard anybody yet where I have just felt that light bulb moment and said: That's it!"

"I think that's the challenge of the town hall, where people were saying: Where's the Apple moment, the Steve Jobs moment?

I think even Apple's gonna have a tough time finding the Apple moment from here on in. It may just be a bar that's not realistic any more, in a landscape where every day brings" - she pauses, then torques the next words with irony - "brings a new opportunity to learn. To put it mildly."

Follow me on Twitter:@simonhoupt

Associated Graphic

Conway has two university degrees and a wonk's passion for public policy.


She brought Carnaby Street to Toronto
Over her lengthy career, fashionista's designs were worn by Cher, Ella Fitzgerald and possibly even the Beatles
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S12

In the late 1960s, fashion designer Pat McDonagh was a driving force behind Toronto's transition from tame to trendy.

Without her vision and determination, the radical mod look, then storming through the streets of British fashion, might have taken longer to cross the Atlantic.

Over her lengthy career, Pat McDonagh's designs have been worn by Cher, Ella Fitzgerald and possibly even the Beatles. Her creations also appeared in the 1960s TV series The Avengers, sported by Diana Rigg.

Ms. McDonagh won a New York Times Award for design excellence in 1992, an award for best shoe from the Bata Shoe Museum in 2000, and, in 2003, a lifetime achievement award from the Fashion Design Council of Canada, an organization she cofounded in the early days of her business. Her clothing was sold in prestigious stores such as Holt Renfrew, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's and Bonwit Teller.

Retirement was never an option for Pat McDonagh. Well into her 70s, she received accolades for the military-style coat worn by former governor-general Michaëlle Jean to greet Barack Obama during his 2009 visit to Ottawa. Although she never smoked, Pat McDonagh died of lung cancer on May 31 in Toronto.

She was 80.

The cognoscenti of the fashion world, famous clients and those to whom she'd simply been kind were among the 250 mourners who attended her funeral at St.

Mary's Catholic Church in Toronto. Pat McDonagh had a generous side and frequently participated in charitable causes such as the Dare to Wear Love fashion show to raise awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The foundation, in turn, supports other organizations that assist people living with HIV and AIDS.

In a quote she gave to Canadian Press, Pat McDonagh said, "I think we're given the glory of walking down a runway and everything that goes with it but I think at the same time, as a designer you have a responsibility to use that platform to do something a little more important than showing off."

Showing off her wit, however, was never a problem for Ms. McDonagh. In his eulogy, Pat McDonagh's brother, Michael, told a story about a documentary that was filmed toward the end of her life. "The director's final question was, 'Tell me, Pat, how does it feel to be dying? Quick as a flash and with a wicked glint in her eye, she retorted, 'I don't know.

I've never died before.' "At the end of his tribute the crowd applauded. Former television host Dini Petty said, "I don't think I've ever been to a funeral where that happened. Pat would've loved it."

Pat McDonagh's ancestral roots lay in staunchly Catholic Ireland.

At the turn of the 1900s, her grandfather, an ornamental plasterer, left his homeland to settle in Manchester, England. In 1931, his son, Alex, married a gifted seamstress named Josie McLaughlin. Three years later, on St. Patrick's Day, in Harpurhey, an inner-city area of Manchester, they had their first child, Patricia Mary McDonagh. Three other children followed. Pat McDonagh's father worked his way up in sales for various companies. He became successful enough to build his family a house in a leafy middle-class suburb south of Manchester. Both parents, from poor working-class backgrounds, were determined that their children would attend university.

Josie McDonagh saved money by utilizing her natural aptitude for sewing. She upholstered furniture and made clothes as well as curtains. She sold cushions at her church bazaars.

As a teenager, Pat McDonagh bought the fashion magazine Elle to show her mother pictures of dresses she liked. Michael McDonagh said, "My mother would search the Jewish fabric wholesalers for remnants, then she would throw the fabric over your body, start cutting and make a perfect replica of a picture with no pattern. It was remarkable and surely where Pat inherited her skill."

Pat McDonagh attended a convent school, then Manchester University, where she studied philosophy and French. Stunningly attractive, with long legs and dark hair that she eventually wore in a signature bob, Pat McDonagh was approached by a top modelling agency in Britain. Her parents were horrified when she announced she was dropping out of university. "My poor, conservative, religious parents were mystified that their daughter had become this feisty, glamorous, post-pubescent diva," Mr. McDonagh said. He said his sister was also a great storyteller, a trait she never outgrew. "Pat had a tendency to exaggerate. You'd hear some outlandish story and you wouldn't believe it. Sometimes, years later, you'd meet someone who'd actually corroborate it."

In demand as a television and magazine model, Pat McDonagh was never short of suitors. She finally married David Main, a high-profile producer working at Granada Television. Once again she defied her parents. David Main was not Catholic.

The two married in August, 1960, and settled in Swinton. A year later Pat gave birth to a daughter, Louisa, then two years later had a son, Dominic. The travel required for modelling was incompatible with motherhood.

Retail beckoned.

Already sketching designs, Pat McDonagh opened a trend-setting store in Horwich, England, then a second in Harley. Through her husband, who put the Beatles on local television, she met their manager, Brian Epstein. She liked the Beatles' music but was even more excited by the daring new styles emerging from designers such as Mary Quant. Mini-skirts, platform boots and super-skinny model Twiggy were fast becoming the hottest trends. Then, to Ms. McDonagh's chagrin, in 1966 she found herself in the fashion backwater of Toronto with nary a mini-skirt or false eyelash in sight. David Main had accepted a lucrative offer from CBC that was too good to pass up.

Ms. McDonagh saw an opportunity and quickly seconded her youngest brother, Michael, as a buyer. To his delight, he found himself representing his sister at London fashion shows, placing orders for The Establishment, an ironically named store that his sister opened in the Lothian Mews off Toronto's Bloor Street.

Dini Petty, who got to know Ms. McDonagh through Mr. Main, said, "Pat brought the whole swinging Carnaby Street look to Toronto. I remember her showing me an item and I said 'What's that?' And she said 'pantyhose.' I asked her if they were comfortable. I'd never seen them before."

When shipments from Britain arrived late and Ms. McDonagh found herself with chiffon miniskirts to sell in the middle of winter, she decided she needed her own manufacturing facility. She opened a factory on Dupont Street, stopping briefly, in 1968, to give birth to a third child, Kate.

Mr. McDonagh recalled visiting his sister in hospital. "The bed was strewn with fashion magazines. A nurse was poking around in my sister's, ahem, nether regions and there she was on the phone discussing an order."

Mr. McDonagh stayed with his sister and brother-in-law from time to time and remembers her children being raised by a succession of nannies and eccentric friends. "Pat would fly in the door, throw something together for dinner, then rush out again." In 1972, Ms. McDonagh and her husband divorced. "David Main was very cerebral, and a deep thinker. He couldn't stand bullshit and bullshitty people and there was Pat in this flighty world of fashion. They were just diametrically opposed to each other," Mr. McDonagh said.

Ms. McDonagh opened a second store, on Yonge Street, called The Re-Establishment. In the 1970s she entered into a deal with Dylex Ltd., owner of Tip Top Tailors. It invested in the McDonagh brand, built a new factory, and ensured her fashions were sold in major department stores. In the early 1980s, however, when a recession began, the company pulled out of the deal. Ms. McDonagh was left to fend for herself.

"She wasn't the best businesswoman," her brother said. "She invented an all-in-one lacy garment with press studs in the crotch. It sold like hotcakes but she never patented it, so it was ripped off and copied. Her true strength lay in her creativity."

Attention to detail was another forte. Friend and designer Marilyn Brooks remembers a time they were travelling by train to a fashion show in Montreal. "Pat was in the washroom of the train dying gloves for the models because she had to have the exact shade she wanted," Ms.Brooks said. When things did not go her way, Ms. McDonagh had a fiery temper. "She had a sewing lady who worked with her for 40 years," Mr. McDonagh said. "Their shouting matches were legendary. But Pat would often apologize later. She did not bear grudges."

As her reputation grew, Ms. McDonagh designed gowns for wealthy patrons of Toronto's annual fundraiser, the Brazilian Carnival Ball. She ensconced herself in an atelier in Toronto's Clarence Square, and lived above it. Occasionally she could be seen in Yorkville strolling with her parrot, Thomas, on her shoulder.

In 2006, the National Post's Nathalie Atkinson reported on a makeover that the newspaper sponsored for novelist Susan Swan. The idea was to prepare Ms. Swan for a glamorous evening at the Giller Prize gala. Pat McDonagh was the designer chosen to dress Ms. Swan. In a diary kept by the author about her transformation she wrote, "Pat tells me a story about dressing the Beatles in Nehru jackets for a movie, and how the local barber's standard pudding-basin haircuts became their trademark.

A designer with a romantic past!"

Officially, however, the design for the Beatles' Nehru jackets is attributed to Douglas Millings, a men's wear manufacturer from Manchester. When asked about the likelihood that Ms. McDonagh's story had any grain of truth, Michael McDonagh said, "Pat was frequently consulted about style by people who worked with her husband. It's possible that when Pat met Brian Epstein, he said he was looking to smarten up the Beatles, away from the biker/ leather look. He wanted suits, but something different. Pat could easily have scribbled the collarless Nehru look on a piece of paper and put him in touch with a manufacturer." As far as the pudding-basin barber story, that was likely a typical Pat McDonagh embellishment to make her tale more entertaining.

While her past was certainly colourful, Ms. McDonagh always had a discerning eye on the future. She saw no reason why her name should die along with her. She worked with her brother to create a legacy collection and, up until her death, was busy updating some of her older designs. She also hoped for a retrospective exhibition of her life and work.

Fashion doyenne Jeanne Beker said Pat McDonagh's designs had an air of whimsy, elegance and sophistication. "At the same time she was incredibly hip. She was one of those ageless women who was really in touch with her inner child," Ms. Beker said. Ms. Petty said, "Pat McDonagh was definitely cut from her own cloth."

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Associated Graphic

Fashion designer Pat McDonagh in 1966. She was in demand as a television and magazine model in Britain during her early career.


Retirement was never an option for Pat McDonagh.

We take our vacations outside the city - hoping to escape the stress and pollution of day-to-day life. But a growing movement is pushing to change that equation, with urban spaces as healthy as the places we pay to play in
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F4

Root Gorelick is cagey about sharing details of his work commute; he doesn't want a sudden uptick in early-morning traffic scaring off the otters. Or the minks and duck families.

To get to his office in the biology building at Carleton University, Prof. Gorelick rides his bike from his Ottawa home down to the Rideau River, pulling his canoe on a trailer behind him. He then paddles 25 minutes to the university, a route he typically takes each spring when the ice is just breaking up on the river and as late as Christmas Eve, with the snow falling.

"You lose complete track of time on the river," says Prof. Gorelick.

"All the stress gets erased."

To his left, up the bank from the river and through the trees, harried drivers trapped in stop-andgo traffic on Riverside Drive might tell him to go dunk himself. No one's playing peek-a-boo with tail-slapping beavers on that commute to work.

If Canadian city-dwellers don't notice nature in their midst, maybe it's because they've been conditioned not to. Cities are about concrete, pollution and traffic jams, not kayaking and ducks.

You go to the cottage for a bit of fresh air on the weekend, then brace for another week on the urban island, spending too many hours in a fluorescent-lit cubicle in a forest of other cubicles.

But a growing body of research suggests the cost: Cities are the main human ecosystem - 60 per cent of us now live in metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people - but they also make us sick, depressed and anxious. By contrast, being around blue water, green trees and space makes us healthier, more productive, even more generous - a positive effect known as "biophilia."

Asks Lisa Nisbet, an assistant professor at Trent University who studies nature and psychology, "Why would we think it's okay to breathe in a lot of pollution five days a week, and just get our healthy air on the weekends or vacation?"

So how do we build an everyday environment with the healing power of a cottage escape? "How do you create cities that profoundly foster that connection with the outdoors?" asks Tim Beatley, a professor of urban and environmental planning in the school of architecture at the University of Virginia, who has written several books on the subject.

"How do you create the sense of living in a garden and a forest?"

The need for 'Vitamin G'

For her graduate work at the University of Washington, Judith Heerwagen, an evolutionary psychologist, studied the living conditions of the macaque monkeys at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. At the time, the zoo was bringing in biologists and botanists to design better landscapes for the animals, including an African savannah where several species might live together as they did in the wild. The effect on the monkeys, she says, was noticeable: They became less aggressive, healthier.

"It was just an 'aha!' moment," says Dr. Heerwagen, now an environmental consultant in Seattle.

"We do a better job building zoos for animals than buildings for people."

If the hubbub of cities heightens anxiety - as recent German research suggests - then nature is Valium. There's a near-universal calm in the rustle of wind in the trees and the steady slosh of an ocean tide. In the Netherlands, researchers call it Vitamin G, as in "green."

Human beings, Dr. Heerwagen says, prefer a sense of both prospect and refuge; we like to see a wide view while being protected, like standing under a tree staring out at a lake - possibly, he suggests, a leftover from our earliest ancestors, whose living conditions were far more unpredictable.

Why else would we spend our vacation dollars to lie on a beach by the sea? Or invest in cottage by a lake? Or go to sleep with a soundtrack of waves? According to Statistics Canada, in 2012, Canadians spent $3.5 million travelling to a cottage, trailer park or camping ground.

But knowing this, and acting upon it - both as individuals and in urban policy - have not proven to be the same thing. "Historically, the attitude toward the importance of green space has been basically to consider the presence of greenery as an aesthetic nicety, rather than as something of fundamental importance to people's psychological state," says Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo who studies the psychology of place.

Close proximity to nature has been linked to healthier babies, less lonely and depressed seniors, and more productive workers. In part, that's because people naturally hang outside more and get exercise - behaviour that makes communities more cohesive.

Urban neighbourhoods with more green space have lower crime levels and interpersonal violence, according to research from the University of Washington. The study shows that public housing residents with trees and natural landscapes nearby reported 25 per cent fewer acts of domestic violence and aggression, as well as roughly 50 per cent fewer total crimes than other buildings with sparse green space.

Green space doesn't just help people shake the blues: According to a major British study, people who live near forests or the ocean live longer than those in urban centres, even adjusting for other factors.

Prof. Ellard, who is working on a book on place and psychology, recently conducted a set of experiments in New York City, Berlin and Mumbai. People were asked to walk a specific route while giving self-assessments of their moods and feelings, while their heart rate and sweat levels were measured for signs of stress.

In all three cities, the findings were the same: In natural environments or parks, people's stress levels dropped, even more than their self-assessments predicted. It didn't take a Central Park-sized green space, either. New Yorkers received a positive effect just by peering over a fence into a community garden that had unexpectedly closed for the day. In Mumbai, the green space was a garden behind a psychiatric hospital where study subjects could see patients being wheeled by in gurneys, but the positive benefits of nature persisted. (By comparison, when confronted by a street with a blank, windowless building, people instinctively walked more quickly.)

Building 'custodianship'

The trick is to include nature as a fundamental part of cities - not a tacked on afterthought. What most urban ecologists call for is a larger rethink of cities as natural ecosystems with their own metabolism - a blend of natural space, wildlife and built structures, not unlike a river with a beaver dam.

Instead of adding green to urban blueprints, they argue for the "biophilic city," an urban space that is natural in its own right, with green included from the ground up.

Features such as living walls, in which greenery is planted vertically, or cookie-cutter parks may amount to little more than greenwashing, argues Joseph Juhasz, a professor emeritus in the architecture faculty at the University of Colorado at Denver.

"They dress up the city, grow cucumbers on the wall, but they don't deal with the fundamental problem - we have to build in a manner in which the site does not dictate the building."

Like many environmentalists, Dr. Juhasz says urban planners too often settle for short-term design that leaves a long-term footprint.

"We have lost a sense of custodianship. Will their great-grandchildren be happy with what they have built?" If anything, skyscrapers grow like weeds, with one condo development sprouting beside another.

Still, many urban centres are taking a new look at the nature that already exists inside their borders, focusing on how to both protect and develop it. In many cases, it is about being newly innovative with space that already exists. In Birmingham, England, for instance, city planners have mapped 200 kilometres of creeks flowing though the city, often concealed by development, with the hopes of redesigning culverts and other structures to make them more accessible to residents.

In Detroit, where a steep economic downturn has created wide, empty urban spaces, planners are exploring how to redevelop those abandoned sites to maximize nature, including creating a large urban farm. Wellington, New Zealand, has an enviable 500-acre nature sanctuary in the middle of the city, but its native bird population has been decimated. To bring them back, the city installed pest-proof fences around the sanctuary; the birds, including parrots, are returning to adjacent neighbourhoods, expanding beyond the park. (As part of its blue belt, Wellington also created a protected "snorkel trail" on its waterfront.)

Other urban centres are already well ahead, especially in Europe, where cities compete to be named Europe's Green Capital. Oslo has earned the title: Two-thirds of the Norwegian capital exists in a protected forest, and 94 per cent of its residents live within 300 metres of a park or green space. Singapore is renowned for the vertical gardens in its skyscrapers, and the city transformed a former channel into a meandering river.

As cities continue to sprawl, ecologists, such as Lenore Fahrig at Carleton University, suggest that the principle of proximity to green space should be essential to neighbourhood planning. Cities have tended to put roads where they are cheapest to build, which is usually around a greenbelt or along a river, the places where "they have the most damaging impact." Toronto's Don Valley Parkway is a classic example.

Roads and the pollution they create may decimate urban wildlife populations and disturb the migratory patterns that allow those populations to exist in different parts of the city. She suggests creating compact clusters of homes separated by small amounts of green space, but linked by a larger park, with an even larger natural space, such as a lake or forest, a short bus ride away. Cities would maximize public transit to reach those spaces, especially on weekends, so residents would have trees outside their door, a park a walk away, and green space for the Saturday afternoons.

"If we get that connection on a day-to-day basis in small ways," she says, "we don't have to jump in our cars to find it." That's also better for the environment, she points out. "The less we are driving back and forth from where we live and the country, the less we are contributing to climate change."

Prof. Beatley suggests that this kind of shift in thinking requires a more abstract conversation, including an attempt to quantify the economic benefits of nature in actual dollars. How will a city measure the level of "biophilia?" (Perhaps, Prof. Beatley suggests, by the volume of bird song in its neighbourhoods.)

He has proposed thinking of nature consumption the way one thinks of food. The annual trip to Costa Rica, for example, would be a decadent cheesecake. The cottage might be fish and chips. But the everyday nature in what is increasingly humanity's natural environment should be the largest helping - the fruits and vegetables. "That has to make up the bulk of the urban nature environment," he says, "and that's what's going to make us happy and healthier."

Erin Anderssen is a feature writer with The Globe.

Associated Graphic

Professor Root Gorelick makes nature part of his everyday life, paddling his canoe to work along Ottawa's Rideau River.


Spiritual quest led to his serene sound
In India the jazz musician spent several months as a devotee of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, studying Transcendental Meditation
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S10

A jazz musician's search for spiritual enlightenment led him to an ashram in India, where he befriended the Beatles.

When a plan to film the band fell through, Paul Horn travelled to Agra, where he played his flute within the echoing majesty of the Taj Mahal.

The resulting recording was intended originally for friends. Instead, his label released it as a long-playing record. Inside has sold one million copies, boosting a new genre of music and gaining for Mr. Horn a reputation as a founding father of New Age music.

Mr. Horn, who died on June 29 after a brief illness, moved to British Columbia in 1970, by which time the acclaimed jazz musician had begun melding his experience with Transcendental Meditation into his performances. He spoke often of the benefits of meditation, performing at countless benefit concerts for non-profit groups.

He toured both China and the Soviet Union at a time when the leaderships of both countries were suspicious of jazz as a subversive force. He followed the Taj Mahal recording with similar performances at other sacred sites.

Mr. Horn's years on Canada's West Coast are best captured by an image from the early 1970s, as he sits cross-legged on a rug, playing flute for a captive male orca named Haida.

An interest in the spiritual led Mr. Horn to explore a serene, mellow and meditative sound.

Even a jazz purist could become immersed in the warm, contemplative groove conjured by his superior musicianship.

Music writers liked to quiz him about an earlier dissolute jazz life in New York and Los Angeles, where he recorded with the likes of Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, a longtime friend.

Paul Joseph Horn was born in New York on March 17, 1930, to Frances (née Sper) and Jack Horn, a wholesale liquor salesman. Before her marriage, Ms. Sper had been a Jazz Age singer and an in-house pianist for Irving Berlin.

Paul played piano at age four, clarinet at 10, saxophone at 12, and the flute at 19. His parents encouraged their only child's musical obsession. "People don't expect it from a jazz musician," he once told a filmmaker, "but I had a good home life." After moving from his childhood home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., to Washington, young Mr. Horn attended local jazz clubs as an underaged performer. He earned a bachelor's degree in music, majoring in clarinet, at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where his daily regimen included five to eight hours of practice. He followed with a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

After three years of military service, during which he was armed with a flute in the U.S. Army Field Band, the composers Eddie Sauter and Bill Finegan invited the young player into their Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, an innovative ensemble incorporating such unusual instruments as the kazoo. Within a year, Mr. Horn left to join the Los Angelesbased Chico Hamilton Quintet.

One of his first gigs with the group was opening for Billie Holiday at New York's Carnegie Hall in November, 1956.

The Hamilton group featured in the 1957 Hollywood movie Sweet Smell of Success, starring Tony Curtis, and Mr. Horn revived his friendship with the actor later during the filming of the similarly jazz-themed movies The Rat Race (1960) and Wild and Wonderful (1964).

He signed with Dot Records in 1957, the year the label released his debut album, House of Horn, on which he played flute, alto flute, alto sax, clarinet and piccolo.

A valued studio session man, Mr. Horn also formed the Paul Horn Group, which was followed by the Paul Horn Quintet. Deeply influenced by his friend Miles Davis, Mr. Horn adopted a more melodic modal jazz style. "Miles knows how to wait," Mr. Horn once said. "He doesn't make notes unless he has something to say. Then he speaks true, and he sings out." Mr. Davis recommended Mr. Horn to Columbia Records and the resulting LP, The Sound of Paul Horn (1961), earned a four-star review from Billboard magazine.

The flautist was the subject of a 26-minute, black-and-white television documentary, The Story of a Jazz Musician, produced by David Wolper, which aired on CBS in 1962. By this time, he had separated from his wife, Yvonne (née Jordan), sharing with her the raising of their sons, Marlen and Robin. His quintet is shown playing a Horn composition, Count Your Change, at Shelly's Manne-Hole club in Los Angeles.

Mr. Horn gained mainstream attention with his performance on the record Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts, which earned Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin a Grammy. (The album earned another Grammy for best cover photography.) A review in Life magazine hailed the flautist as the star of the recording. "His varied pipes flood out a torrent of late-progressive arabesques in a kind of confession-withoutwords," the critic Carter Harman wrote in 1965.

After being asked to join a recording session by the sitar player Ravi Shankar, Mr. Horn decided to travel to India to study its music. Besides, he had tired of a "plastic lifestyle" in Los Angeles, including "smoky nightclubs, late-night hours, marijuana and a heart-breaking affair with a beautiful actress."

Leaving in December, 1966, he spent several months as a devotee of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, eventually becoming a Transcendental Meditation instructor. Mr. Horn also recorded two albums with Mr. Shankar's students, In India and Paul Horn in Kashmir.

(These would later be reissued in a collection titled, Cosmic Consciousness, one of the Maharishi's catchphrases.)

The musician returned to America a different man, eschewing drugs in favour of meditation.

Mr. Horn returned to India in 1968 intending to film a documentary on the Maharishi. He was at the ashram on an escarpment above the Ganges across the river from Rishikesh during the famous visit by the Beatles, who were joined by the Scottish singer Donovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, the actress Mia Farrow and her sister, Prudence, among others. The planned film was never completed, but Mr. Horn did have a state-of-the-art tape recorder on hand when he visited the Taj Mahal with sound engineer John Archer.

"I never heard anything so beautiful," he wrote of standing beneath the white marble dome that surmounts the tomb. "Each tone hung suspended in space for 28 seconds and the acoustics are so perfect you couldn't tell when his voice stopped and the echo took over."

The long span between blowing a note and its decay demanded the flautist provide space for the echo, otherwise, he once explained, "the music would just have become a mess, a confusion of notes and sounds reverberating."

Mr. Horn was teaching meditation in L.A. when Epic Records asked if he had any new material. He forwarded the Taj Mahal tape, which Epic released in 1969, his 14th album, with the promotional line: "Paul Horn's jazz fame is already great. But this makes it truly monumental."

The haunting, atmospheric instrumental, running less than a half hour, found an audience where one had not previously been known to exist. Though Inside did not get radio air play, it did receive some critical praise.

"A cathedral-like depth and echo haunts his flute and the voice chants of a local caller," Billboard noted in a 1969 review. "Horn spies mythical entities, moods, and musical meditations, using the Taj Mahal to add to the eerie beauty. A sleeper to watch." It was while touring with Donovan that Mr. Horn first visited Vancouver Island. In 1970, he loaded a van with his two sons and, joined by girlfriend Tryntje Bom, a Dutch-born fashion designer known in L.A. as Miss Bom Bom, headed north to Canada, where they settled in Victoria's leafy Gordon Head neighbourhood on an acre overlooking the sea.

He maintained a steady, albumper-year output. Mr. Horn played regularly in Vancouver clubs such as Gassy Jack's and Oil Can Harry's.

He often was an instructor at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, working with teenagers in summer jazz workshops. In 1973, he hosted 13 episodes of an eponymous variety program on CTV.

Meanwhile, he lent his name and musical talents to several causes, including the environmental group Greenpeace and its campaign to save whales. He was called in by Sealand of the Pacific, an aquarium in Victoria that has since closed, to play for Haida, a captive male said to be bereft after the death of his mate, Chimo. Mr. Horn performed Bach, an Irish jig, and his own contemplative music. The musician and the lovelorn cetacean also appeared in We Call Them Killers, a 1972 National Film Board documentary.

The success of Inside (later retitled Inside the Taj Mahal) led Mr. Horn to record in other sacred locales, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and the Kazamieras Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania. He returned to record again at the Taj Mahal in 1989.

Mr. Horn made two tours of China and three to the Soviet Union, accompanied on the latter by his son, Robin, who served as drummer.

In 1974, the independent, Vancouver-based Mushroom label released a double album of material, including a 24-page booklet on his career. The package quickly sold an unprecedented 10,000 copies, proof of a growing market for New Age material. He later founded his own Golden Flute label.

The Grammy Awards added a New Age category in 1986. Mr. Horn received nominations in 1987 for Traveler and in 1999 for Inside Monument Valley with R. Carlos Nakai.

Late in life, Mr. Horn married the South African-born singer and composer Ann Mortifee, whom he had first met during a taping of his television show. The couple collaborated on In Love with the Mystery, a 2010 project that combined inspirational writings and accompanying music.

They divided their time between his home in Tucson, Ariz., and hers on Cortes Island, B.C. They also owned a condominium in Vancouver, where Mr. Horn died. The family has declined to disclose the cause of his death. He was 84. He leaves Ms. Mortifee, his two sons, a stepson and four grandchildren.

In 2009, Mr. Horn took part in a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, which promotes the Transcendental Meditation program.

The show at Radio City Music Hall in New York included such musicians as Moby, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder and Bettye LaVette.

It also reunited Mr. Horn with Donovan, as well as the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, the four reprising the dreamy season they enjoyed together 41 years earlier in India.

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Associated Graphic

Paul Horn made recordings in several sacred settings, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and the Taj Mahal.

Paul Horn befriended the Beatles at an ashram in India. From left: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, an unknown man, Donovan, Pattie Harrison, John Lennon and Paul Horn.

Doctor taught lessons in dying and healing
She lived her life among the terminally ill and the mentally disabled while touting values of spirituality and friendship
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S8

There's a documentary from the 1970s in which a BBC journalist takes a film crew to Little Ewell, the first l'Arche community in England, to interview Thérèse Vanier, its director.

The journalist is trying to plumb the concept of a faithbased community, in which the mentally disabled live in harmony with volunteers or "assistants," not as charges under care, but as equal participants.

Gently, Dr. Vanier, a tall, elegant woman with a silver helmet of hair who resembles International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, explains that the weaker members of society have a great deal to give, but we rarely give them the chance because they are so often pushed to the fringes.

"Are there spiritual benefits that I, as an outsider, am excluded [from], because I am not in contact with the mentally handicapped?" the journalist asks.

Regarding him patiently, Dr. Vanier delicately suggests that he might accrue some spiritual benefits by looking "at the weak and apparently foolish," and asking, "is there something there I can learn? Is there something in these people that is going to bring me closer to God?" That quest, expressed simply but compellingly, is a key to Dr. Vanier's life.

The only daughter of former governor-general Georges Vanier, she was a decorated veteran of the Second World War, a distinguished hematologist at London's St. Thomas' Hospital, a pioneer of palliative medicine with her friend the late Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher's Hospice, an eloquently bilingual speaker and lecturer and a devout Catholic.

She is even more remarkable for the ecumenical way she lived her life in friendship and spirituality among two of the most marginalized groups in contemporary society: the terminally ill and the intellectually disabled.

"Ti - we used to call her Ti, for Thérèse - woman of few words, great love," her brother Jean remembered in his eulogy after her death at 91 on June 16.

But beneath her competence and her love and her great caring, he said, "there was a thirst," to "bring people together in love."

In trying to slake that longing, she recognized that the weakest among us and those who are terminally ill will "lead us to unity," if "we listen to God."

That ecumenical vision was heralded earlier this month at Canterbury Cathedral during a requiem in her memory, possibly the first time the mass has been celebrated there since the Reformation in the 16th century.

Thérèse Marie Chérisy Vanier was born in Camberley, Surrey, on Feb. 27, 1923. Her father, Georges, a decorated soldier who had lost a leg fighting in the trenches during the First World War, trained as a lawyer before joining the Canadian Foreign Service; her mother, Pauline Archer, was the daughter of a judge in the Quebec Superior Court.

Because of her father's peripatetic postings, Thérèse grew up in Canada, England and France, often far away from her parents and siblings.

She spent her early years being educated by the Holy Child nuns in central London and then moved to Mayfield School in Sussex, while her father rose through the diplomatic ranks.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King posted Mr. Vanier to Paris as chef de mission in 1938. During the fall of France, in June, 1940, the family made a dangerous escape across the Channel to England.

After surviving several months in London during the Blitz, Pauline Vanier and the children, which then included a teenaged Thérèse and three younger brothers, sailed the treacherous Atlantic convoy route back to Canada; Mr. Vanier stayed behind as the Canadian representative to the Free French, among other governments in exile.

In 1942, Thérèse Vanier joined the British Mechanised Transport Corps. No stranger to danger at 19, she made her way back to England, sailing once again in a convoy, during the treacherous Battle of the Atlantic, joined a Free French contingent near Worcester and then switched to the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWACS), after they too made it across the Atlantic.

She eventually rose to the rank of captain.

"Thérèse graduated first in her officers' training class at Wellington Barracks," Pauline Vanier told Deborah and George Cowley, for their book, One Woman's Journey: A Portrait of Pauline Vanier, "which prompted Georges to say she had learned a most unfeminine number of ways in which even the strongest of men could be permanently disabled."

After the Normandy invasion in 1944, Thérèse Vanier was sent across the Channel as a liaison officer with the Free French, exercising her bilingualism and organizational skills with such aplomb that she was later awarded the Croix de Guerre.

With peace finally established, she studied medicine, first at the Sorbonne, then at Girton College, Cambridge, followed by clinical training at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where she began a life-altering friendship with fellow trainee doctor Cicely Saunders.

A decade later, Dr. Vanier had become the first female consultant in hematology at St. Thomas' Hospital and Dr. Saunders had left organized medical practice to start St. Christopher's, a palliative centre for the terminally ill, thereby founding the modern hospice movement in England. Meanwhile, Dr. Vanier's younger brother Jean, a naval officer by training and a philosopher by vocation, abandoned his professional career in 1964 to live communally in northern France with a couple of intellectually challenged men whom he had befriended.

At the time, Dr. Vanier wrote to her parents at Government House in Ottawa, that Jean was "very busy over some new project which he may have mentioned to you ... a plan to set up some sort of house or houses near Compiègne for des débiles mentaux ... I hope it works out alright."

That first dwelling in TroslyBreuil, some 90 kilometres north of Paris, which Mr. Vanier named l'Arche in commemoration of Noah's Ark, has since grown to 146 ecumenical communities for the mentally disabled in 35 countries on five continents.

A frequent visitor to l'Arche in the early days and a confidante to her friend Dr. Saunders, as she built her "total pain, total care" palliative model, Dr.

Vanier pulled together the various strands of her life - medicine, community service and religious faith - to weave the fabric of her personal, spiritual and professional vocation.

Over Easter, 1971, she joined an international pilgrimage to Lourdes in France, organized by her brother Jean. That pilgrimage precipitated two monumental decisions for Dr. Vanier.

In 1972, she startled the medical establishment by resigning her prestigious appointment at St. Thomas' Hospital to work instead as a consultant at St. Christopher's Hospice, helping Dr. Saunders ease the fear, warm the bleakness and stifle the pain of dying patients.

"When there is nothing more that can be done, everything can still be done," was her guiding principle.

Although a traditionally trained doctor, she had an innate empathy with patients and was known to observe, "Doctors should be obliged to go into hospital once a year, so that they remember what it feels like."

That same year, her widowed mother, Pauline, moved into the l'Arche community at Trosly, and Dr. Vanier began fundraising and organizing to establish l'Arche in England, based on her brother's model that the mentally challenged should be active and distinct members of shared communities, rather than passive recipients of institutionalized care.

The first group home, in which the handicapped shared chores and life with "assistants," opened in January, 1974, in a former Anglican vicarage near Canterbury, a gift of the Archbishop - an early ecumenical gesture by the head of the Church of England.

For the next quarter-century, Dr. Vanier used all her skills to meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of the terminally ill and the mentally challenged, bridging the information gap about palliative care and spreading the message about the simple yet profound blessings that the "people of the heart" can bestow on the rest of us.

Eloquently bilingual and mesmerizingly empathetic, she undertook an international ministry by giving lectures, appearing on television shows and speaking on panels in French and English language countries, including Canada.

Balfour Mount, a Canadian cancer surgeon, visited St. Christopher's in 1973 and asked Dr. Vanier if he might accompany her on rounds. To his astonishment she "blushed and apologetically responded that she would not be comfortable with that, adding, 'I wouldn't know what to say.' "Later that afternoon, as he made his way through the wards, he saw Dr. Vanier sitting at the bedside of an elderly patient.

"She was bent low ... gently holding the woman's hand; her right ear was discreetly at the woman's mouth," Dr. Mount wrote in an e-mail message, describing a "deep, if near-wordless, conversation" that "was a moment of intimacy, a moment of healing" for both patient and doctor.

It was a lesson in dying and healing that he took back with him to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, where he subsequently established the first palliative care unit in a Canadian hospital.

A devout Roman Catholic, Dr. Vanier became troubled that the shared life at l'Arche, which now has a half-dozen communities in England, didn't include a celebration of the Eucharist for non-Catholics. L'Arche welcomes people of all faiths and none, but inevitably they go in different directions for religious services.

This separation at what she considered the heart of communal living - a celebration of religious faith - led her to join the ecumenical movement.

After she retired in 1988, she settled into l'Arche Lambeth on London's South Bank, and wrote extensively on ecumenical and interfaith issues, including the short books, Nick, Man of the Heart, a spiritual biography of her friend, Nick Elleker, a disabled Anglican member of l'Arche Lambeth, and One Bread, One Body: The Ecumenical Experience of l'Arche.

Early in June, as l'Arche U.K. was preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary in Canterbury Cathedral, Dr. Vanier wrote a letter to the organizers, saying, "I remain deeply grateful for all that l'Arche continues to be for me and for so many others."

That evening she had a serious fall and was taken to St. Thomas' Hospital, where she had been a trainee doctor half a century earlier. She died a week later.

After the exquisite ecumenical symmetry of her requiem mass in Canterbury Cathedral, she was buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Barfrestone, close to the first English l'Arche community.

Dr. Vanier was predeceased by her brothers Georges and Bernard and leaves her brothers Jean and Michel, and a host of friends and admirers.

Sandra Martin's book, Great Canadian Lives: A Cultural History of Modern Canada through the Art of the Obit, has just been released in paperback by House of Anansi Press.

Associated Graphic

Thérèse Vanier with her brother Jean, the founder of l'Arche, a network of 146 ecumenical communities for the mentally disabled in 35 countries on five continents.

Dr. Vanier studied medicine first at the Sorbonne, then at Girton College, Cambridge, and then did clinical training at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where she became the first female consultant in hematology.

A new Thomson Reuters list ranks the 3,200 researchers who are making the biggest impact on science worldwide. Canada has 89 names on the list, a modest amount compared with the U.S., which puts it in sixth place. As Ivan Semeniuk reports, one key to getting more Canadians to make the grade lies in good old-fashioned networking with international colleagues, which is essential for generating all-important academic citations
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

Science is serious business. Governments, companies and charities invest hundreds of billions to fuel research efforts worldwide. The results, they hope, will increase knowledge, drive economic growth, improve lives and create new possibilities for people in the future.

But which science matters most and who's doing it? Those are the questions underlying a new list of the world's top researchers compiled by the data and media company Thomson Reuters.

Roughly 3,200 names appear on the list, which represents the company's best estimate of who is making the biggest impact in science worldwide.

The effort is driven by a growing interest among universities to assess their faculty and prospective hires, and among funding agencies to compare and quantify the impact of the science they support.

Yet hidden within the global list lies a fascinating and unvarnished glimpse at Canada's role in the scientific enterprise. It highlights where public investments are making the biggest impact and raises questions about how Canada's modest resources can best be used to foster scientific excellence.

"Much of science occurs at the expense of taxpayers," says Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters' intellectual property and science division. "We think it's important that people know how well that money is being spent and how much result it's creating for society."

Experts are quick to point out that numbers aren't everything, especially when it comes to assessing the quality of an individual scientist or of a country's overall contribution. But numbers do have meaning, and they can play a role in shaping national science policy.

With this in mind, The Globe and Mail has taken a deep dive into the Thomson Reuters data to see what it says about Canada's scientific footprint.

Making the grade

To get a handle on what's happening in the research world, the creators of the list divided science into 21 discrete fields, from agricultural science to space. They then combed through data on millions of published research papers to see which were the mostly highly cited by other researchers. By their definition, a highly cited paper means the top 1 per cent in a given field.

This is a new approach to a familiar idea - that a scientist's impact can be measured by counting how often his or her published work is referred to in the work of others. In 2001, the previous time Thomson Reuters went through this exercise, the company counted up total citations per researcher over a decade-long period. But experts in bibliometrics - the technical name for this type of analysis - point out that this kind of strategy tends to favour established researchers, including those who may have accumulated many citations with work of medium impact.

Thomson Reuters says the news list is better at capturing the current state of science and identifying the up-and-comers who define the leading edge of research.

A changing world

The United States outspends all other countries in science and it shows. More than half the researchers on the list are affiliated with U.S. institutions, including government labs. On a short list of the world's very top scientists - those with the highest number of "hot" papers that received the top 0.1 per cent of total citations - 13 out of 17 are based in the U.S. Of those, seven alone are associated with the Broad Institute, a leading-edge genomics centre run jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

But it's also clear the world is changing. In the totals of highly cited researchers by country, Thomson Reuters notes the arrival of China as well as Saudi Arabia among the top 15 science countries. Today, a significant portion of scientific discovery in the U.S., as in Canada, represents the work of highly talented researchers who have come from abroad. As emerging economies assume a larger share of the world's highest quality research - and benefit from it - that dynamic seems likely to change: More top scientists may be persuaded to stay or return home.

"Emerging markets are spending an increasing amount of time and effort to develop scientific output," Mr. Moftah says. "What started as growth based on consumerism is now turning into building more sustainable growth paths for countries."

Canada's place

Canada has 89 names on the list (91 when those who divide their affiliations are included). That is about 2.8 per cent of the global pie, a modest amount that nevertheless puts Canada in sixth place in terms of global science impact, just ahead of France.

The number broadly confirms what federal ministers of science often say - that with about 0.5 per cent of the global population, Canada is "punching above its weight" in research.

Yet there are clear indications that Canada could be doing better. When countries are ranked by number of top scientists per capita, Canada's position drops rather than goes up.

Despite a small and relatively well-educated population, it still lags behind the U.S. and Britain, which are also the two countries that dominate lists of top research universities.

Perhaps more worrying, Canada falls behind Australia and some non-English speaking European countries, such as Switzerland and Denmark, in its number of top researchers per capita.

These are places where, despite small populations overall, investments in science have developed or attracted a higher number of top-ranked researchers than in Canada relative to the total population.

For Howard Alper, who chairs the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, which advises the federal government, the data may not suggest that Canada is lagging in producing top scientists, but in getting those scientists on the radar of their international colleagues, which is essential for generating citations.

"Networking is key," Dr. Alper said. "You need to be present and known by others around the world. That increases the prospects of getting cited."

One way Canadian researchers can improve their global standing is to wrangle more face time at international conferences and meetings, Dr. Alper said, including invitations to deliver keynote talks.

Another answer may lie in the approach taken by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The institute funds groups of researchers across disciplines both within and outside Canada and fosters their collaboration.

The Thomson Reuters list suggests such virtual clusters have a high potential for impact and for connecting top Canadian scientists with international peers. For example, of the 41 scientists in the institute's cosmology and gravity program, seven make the global list of the world's most influential scientists, with three based in Canada.

Top performers

Salim Yusuf, a cardiologist and director of McMaster University's Population Health Research Institute, is Canada's most influential scientist, based on citations. In recent years, nine of his studies, which involve large-scale clinical trials across countries and population groups, have been among the research world's top 0.1 per cent.

Dr. Yusuf is well known as a pioneer in his field and his efforts this year earned him a Gairdner Award, generally regarded as Canada's most prestigious prize in biomedical science.

"To me he represents McMaster, period," says John Kelton, vicepresident of the university's faculty of health sciences. "We're an upstart medical school, 40 years old, but we have always been considered, to our knowledge, one of the most innovative."

The numbers seems to bear this out. Dr. Yusuf is not an isolated success but merely the tallest spire within a cluster of the world's most highly cited clinical researchers at McMaster. Among Canada's top 10 scientists across all fields, four are based there.

The country's second-most cited scientist, Marco Marra, who is director of the Genome Sciences Centre and a professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia, sits at the core of a similarly high-performing cluster.

He and a colleague, bioinformaticist Steven Jones, both make Canada's top-10 list.

Two others, Joseph Connors and Randy Gascoyne, are in the top 20.

The group has lately become known for its groundbreaking work applying the tools of genomics to study tumour cells.

The work involves "a heavy element of discovery," Dr. Marra says.

"We're learning a huge amount about the genes that drive the cancers."

Despite the cutting-edge nature of his science, Dr. Marra adds, the groundwork that ultimately brought him and Dr. Jones to UBC was laid two decades ago, when others saw the need and value of creating a centre for genomics research in cancer.

"This is a really key, important point," Dr. Marra says. "It's not that I'm working harder than other folks, it's that I've had the benefit of this previous investment."

Who's missing

One program specifically designed to bring leading researchers to Canada is entirely absent from the Thomson Reuters list. These are the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs), initiated by the Harper government in 2010.

Currently, 19 chairs are filled at various universities. Each represents a $10-million investment by the Canadian government to lure a global research superstar. In many cases, universities have built around these chairs by raising additional funds and attracting other researchers doing related work.

Yet while many of the chairs are high-profile scientists, none are among the the world's top 1 per cent by citation. At the same time, many of the Canadians who appear on the global list are Canada Research Chairs, who are far more numerous and cost much less per chair.

The contrast is curious, but it may not indicate a flaw in the CERC program, which is new and small in terms of total number. The list of chairs is expected to grow to 30 in the coming months.

The question will be what happens as time passes and the chairholders have more opportunity to exert their influence.

McGill University, one of the country's most highly regarded schools, also comes up short in the Thomson Reuters list. In 2001, McGill was in third place behind the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia in its share of top researchers in Canada. It has slipped considerably in 2014 and has just two researchers on the global list - well behind Toronto with 19, UBC with 17 and several other Canadian institutions.

Even more striking is the lack of Canadian women on the list.

Only one in 10 of Canada's most influential scientists are women.

At times, such statistics have been offered as evidence that women lack the drive to succeed at the highest levels of science. A more evidence-based reading of the data suggests Canada could improve its world standing by better supporting early and midcareer female researchers rather than allowing them to drop out of science or languish in junior roles.

With a report from Arik Ligeti

Associated Graphic




Six daughters, three sons and the corner office
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B3

Helena Morrissey doesn't believe in work-life balance.

The CEO of London-based Newton Investment Management is a rare female leader in Britain's asset management sector and - even rarer - has nine children, ranging in ages from 5 to 22.

They are all hers - no mixed families - and she says technology makes it possible to juggle her life by allowing her to work from home late at night or deal with her children's issues while at work.

"I don't believe in work-life balance, I just believe in living a life where you're kind of like at 360 degrees all the time," she says.

Ms. Morrissey was in Toronto recently to help plan the launch of her international 30% Club in Canada this fall. The club is for CEOs and board chairs who have pledged to work to improve the proportion of women in senior roles.

With no time for lunch, we met mid-morning for coffee - or more accurately, bottled water.

She is chatty and warm, readily volunteering examples of what she calls "huge mistakes" she has made in her career, and happily discussing her busy life with six girls and three boys.

None of her children has yet expressed interest in a career in business, she says. But she remains optimistic. "I've got to have one. But so far no one is obvious, if I'm really honest," she says. "Hopefully I haven't put anybody off."

Ms. Morrissey created the 30% Club in 2010 after spending years advocating on behalf of women, but seeing almost no progress in the proportion of women on boards or in top executive roles. "We had lots of efforts and lots of events, and people said, 'How inspiring, how marvellous.' But it didn't actually seem to inspire real change."

She concluded the same people were talking about the issue without winning over key business leaders who were unconvinced. "We needed to include the people in power more," she says. "So that was where the idea came about that the members of the club would be chairmen."

At the start, however, she says she made a key mistake. In her enthusiasm to recruit senior business leaders, she personally wrote to chairs of Britain's largest companies to invite them to participate.

She says she didn't realize how much resistance there was to diversity initiatives at the time, and discovered she should have left the task to the club's member chairmen, who would have been more warmly received by their conservative peers. "I literally had hate mail from people - very rude," she says. "Really, very abrupt."

The name of the club comes from the idea that British companies in the FTSE 100 index should aim for 30 per cent women on boards, but chairs don't need to pledge a precise target to participate.

There are now 100 participating board leaders in the U.K., and the concept has spread to Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States, where a club launched in April.

A Canadian club is coming this fall, organized in co-operation with women's advocacy group Catalyst Canada.

"I firmly believe that rules don't necessarily get the right behaviours out of people," she says by way of explaining why she opposed regulation that would introduce quotas for women. "You only get that from people owning it in their hearts and in their minds."

Amid the heightened regulatory pressure, the proportion of female board members in Britain's FTSE 100 index has climbed from 12.2 per cent in 2010 to 21.6 per cent by May this year.

In Canada, where women comprised 12.3 per cent of directors on boards of S&P/TSX composite index companies in 2013, there has been less external pressure to compel reform.

Some provincial securities regulators are preparing voluntary guidelines that would require companies to report on their approach to diversity or explain why they have opted not to make any disclosure. There is no threat of quotas, and no proposed targets.

Ms. Morrissey says the political climate in Britain created impetus for change, but it is possible for the private sector to take the lead in Canada. She says she is optimistic because business culture is changing quickly. "I think now there is a genuine realization that if you want to lead a modern business that's going to be successful in the future, you have to get with the program."

Ms. Morrissey, 48, has seen the changing culture during her own career.

In her 20s, she worked at London asset management firm Schroders, but left in dismay after her boss expressed doubts about her commitment because she had had her first child and had taken a short maternity leave.

She joined Newton in 1994, and found a more amenable environment, but one that was still predominantly male. Initially she was a fixed-income fund manager, and describes herself as "most lonely person on the investment team," working under the only other woman in the group, who ran a bond portfolio. After a year in the job, her manager quit, and she took over managing the bond portfolio.

In the late 1990s, Newton was 75-per-cent owned by U.S.-based Mellon Financial Corp., now called Bank of New York Mellon.

In 2001, Mellon exercised an option to buy out shares of Newton it didn't already control, including shares owned by some senior executives.

The decision prompted the departures of a raft of senior people in the firm, including Newton's chief executive officer and chief investment officer. By then Ms. Morrissey was one of four people on a senior strategy team at the company, and was quickly offered the chief investment officer position.

Other managers at Newton balked, however, saying the job should go to someone with a background managing equities because most of the firm's business was in managing equity portfolios for pension funds, charities and other clients.

In a surprising twist, however, the same group of managers agreed Ms. Morrissey would be well suited to be CEO instead of CIO. Senior officials at Mellon agreed with their recommendation.

She was only 35, had five young children at home at the time, and says she didn't even have a clear sense of what the CEO needed to do. "I remember calling my husband, and I said, 'I'm not going to be the chief investment officer any more, I'm going to be the chief executive," she recalls.

"He said, 'What does that do?' And I said, 'I have no idea,' which was absolutely true. I'm the poster child for not having management training. And I made huge mistakes."

Her examples of her mistakes, however, are personally embarrassing rather than financially misguided.

On her second day on the job, for example, she gave a lengthy interview with tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, a sensational publication she says she didn't understand was "so infamous." The headline on the story the next day called her Billion Dollar Babe, referring to her oversight of Newton's huge assets under management, today worth more than $90-billion.

"I was so mortified. My colleagues were up in arms - it was so frivolous. [They said] it's going to kill this firm in a week.

I didn't talk to anybody in the press for five years after that."

In her early days as CEO, she had little interest in campaigning for more women in leadership, saying she was absorbed with learning the job and doing it well, while also focusing on her growing brood of young children.

She credits her husband, Richard Morrissey, with making her home life possible with nine children. A former financial journalist with Bloomberg, he quit when they were having their fourth child to stay at home, helped by a long-time nanny.

"We kind of muddled through, but it was the only way we could make it happen."

She grew more interested in becoming an advocate for women, however, as more young women kept approaching her privately for advice about how to make their careers work with a family. She began to appreciate the importance of having more role models in senior positions.

The question was how to frame the debate. Ms. Morrissey says she is a "passionate believer in equality" and a "huge feminist" but feels making the argument in feminist terms will have negative connotations for some people.

The 30% Club stresses that diversity improves decision-making and group dynamics and helps boost bottom-line profitability. Its literature says gender diversity is "a business issue, not a women's issue."

"A lot of this is about levelling the playing field, but through the language of business rather than just saying it's about something that could be viewed as political correctness," Ms. Morrissey says. "Because not everybody responds well to that."


Personal Helen Morrissey, 48. Married to Richard Morrissey, with six daughters and three sons.

Advice for women who want to be on boards: "You have to speak the language. When you sometimes meet people trying to get on boards, and people sometimes say, 'Do you have to dress a certain way or be a certain way?' And I say, no, you have to be true to yourself so you're confident. But you do have to speak the language of business and you have to understand that if someone comes in from left field, it's just not going to get through."

Career advice for women "If I was to generalize about one thing, it's that often I find women are quite anxious about the next step and analyze things to death sometimes. ... Take it one step at a time. That's my biggest advice for people. I never had a big career plan, and maybe I wouldn't have gotten it if I had wanted it so badly. "

Lessons from having children "It does make you a little bit more relaxed about realizing that people are very different, and you can only influence things so much, and you can't have your hopes resting on them. You have to respect their personalities."

How to manage a major investment firm "Running an investment business, you can have a period of underperformance or a wonderful period of great performance, and you mustn't get carried away by your own propaganda or hubris."

Why she launched a campaign to get more women on boards: "I don't want to sound any way conceited, but if you could make a difference, you'd really want to do that ... I feel conscious of having great opportunity. Having a family and seeing the future with them, I think it reminds you of how we are kind of here for a relatively short time but could be impactful if we so choose."

Associated Graphic

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of 30% Club


9,500 14,000
Do the numbers add up? The case for a new Scarborough subway relies on projections of how many riders will fill it. Billions of dollars and the shape of our transit network are at stake. But, as Oliver Moore reports, predicting the future is a very murky business
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

When Toronto dug its first subway, the long lines of streetcars on Yonge were proof of a ready-made ridership.

More recently, though, subway boosters have needed to weigh potential demand when making the case for the expensive form of transit. Which is why the city planning department's new and higher Scarborough ridership projection last year was so pivotal, and so controversial.

An old ridership projection pegged peak one-direction usage at 9,500 passengers per hour, barely enough to justify a subway extension. The new one - which appeared as the transit debates rose to their crescendo - boosted peak ridership to 14,000, almost beyond the capacity of light rail.

In a stroke, the case for a subway was much stronger.

Amid political squabbles, good projections can help cut through the debate and offer the closest thing to an impartial assessment of a subway line's worth. But if they're wrong, they can help lumber a city with an expensive white elephant such as the underused Sheppard subway.

The problems on Sheppard - where ridership is about one-third the original projection, forcing heavy subsidies - speak to the dilemma with forecasting. Planners looking to the future have to make assumptions that could, with the benefit of hindsight, prove unwise.

In the case of the Scarborough extension, the bulk of the nearly 50-per-cent increase in projected ridership is based on two decisions that raise questions. Planners assumed a train frequency that does not appear budgeted for and they assumed that transit projects that today are unfunded lines on the map will be completed.

But these assumptions are not cast in stone. Although pro-subway politicians like to declare the project irrevocable, the planners who produced the Scarborough projection are the first to stress that their work is preliminary. Even though all three levels of government have committed big dollars to the project, much more analysis needs to be done and a more accurate ridership figure has yet to be determined.

Councillor Josh Matlow, who continues to advocate for a lightrail line in Scarborough, views the latest number with skepticism, He still recalls how frustrated he was at council trying to determine the basis and validity for the increased ridership figure that emerged at such a pivotal moment.

"Right now it's still clear that there's different numbers that are competing with each other," he said recently. "It's not like we just didn't happen to have the information. I clearly asked for the information... that information never came to the floor of council... and council decided nonetheless just to move forward, regardless."

With the debate about Scarborough continuing to reverberate through the mayoral election - as recently as late June, Premier Kathleen Wynne had a chance in a press conference to state definitively that the province's funding for transit in that part of Toronto would be for a subway only and chose not to do so - The Globe took a close look at the math.

More trains Although subway boosters have argued for years in favour of more underground transit in Scarborough, the numbers undermined their case.

But there were signs of hope in 2013, when the transit debate heated up again and city planning staff produced new data showing peak ridership of 14,000 per direction per hour by 2031.

This represented a huge rise over the previous projection, done in 2006, which pegged peak ridership by 2031 at 9,500 people an hour, easily within the capacity of an LRT.

Mike Wehkind, program manager with the Transportation Section of the city's Planning Department, said that the "lion's share" of the jump was because the model they were using to project ridership assumed an increased frequency of trains in the subway extension.

The model back in 2006 assumed that half the BloorDanforth trains would go only as far as Kennedy and then turn back, with the remainder carrying on to the final station. The new model - based on current TTC service levels - assumes every train will continue on to the end of the line.

It's far from clear, though, how often the trains would run if the extension gets built. A city report in 2013 suggested TTC budgeting for the project assumed only enough new vehicles to run half the trains to the final station. The TTC did not respond to a detailed question about train frequency.

The exact portion of the increased ridership due to greater train frequency would be impossible without more research, Mr. Wehkind said. "It certainly is an important part of it, you know. I just don't know if it's 60 per cent or 50 per cent or 40 per cent, or 35 per cent, for that matter."

Based on those rough estimates, running only half the trains through to the end of the line could theoretically drop ridership to between 11,300 and approximately 12,400 per hour at its peak.

The process sparked concern from widely read blogger and local transit expert Steve Munro, who said that, while he had no reason to believe the planners had "cooked the numbers," he wondered if there might have been willful blindness.

"Dare I say that when you run a model and it produces the results you want, you stop working."

Changing landscape

Another reason for the increased ridership figure is it takes into account proposed and ongoing transit projects, making the assumption they would all come to fruition.

In the summer of 2013, that looked like a reasonably solid idea. The Liberals were being propped up by an NDP that appeared unwilling to force an election. Ms. Wynne, a former transportation minister, had become Premier and was promising a serious discussion on funding transit expansion.

Fast forward to now and the picture looks much murkier. The conversation on funding dwindled into silence. Shortly before the election, the Liberals unveiled a plan to fund $15-billion worth of transit expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, but earmarked only about half the money needed. A major expansion in suburban commuter rail could cost as much as $12-billion, leaving little for other projects if different sources of money are not found.

And those projects - including ones that could affect Scarborough ridership - will be among a longer list jockeying for funding.

Eric Miller, director of University of Toronto's Transportation Research Institute, said that it is normal to start a projection with what he called a full build-out scenario. This model includes everything you might possibly build. After this, he explained, you start adding and removing elements from the model to see what results this causes.

"We often get kind of locked into 'the scenario for the future' and then spend a lot of time debating it, where we really should be looking at, you know, what are the differences if we do different things?" Prof. Miller said.

"And it's those differences that I think are important. The absolute forecasts we know are going to be wrong. Just the question [is], how wrong?"

He said that a problem in government is that they often lack resources to produce and analyze multiple variations on a model. Mr. Wehkind, at the city's planning department, confirmed that this work is only just beginning. It will be next year before this more detailed analysis is tabled.

Ed Levy, whose book Rapid Transit in Toronto detailed a century of ambitious plans that too often didn't come true, called it "foolhardy" to include in the model projects that remain very much up in the air.

"Certainly not when you're trying to seek the commitment of billions of dollars, for a project that is of questionable benefit, that's for sure," he said.

If the broader transit landscape changes substantially, the current projection for ridership of a Scarborough subway extension would invariably have to be adapted. And another wild card is mayoral candidate John Tory throwing his support behind the provincial plan for increased suburban commuter rail, with an unknown effect on Scarborough subway demand.

More than numbers?

Although planners stress that early projections are works-inprogress, politicians have a tendency to run with the number if they like what they hear.

This happened after Toronto Transit Commission CEO Andy Byford repeatedly described the projection during last year's debates as being "on the cusp," justifying either type of transit.

With a projection that offered some solace to both subway and LRT camps, more subjective factors - among them value for money, impact on motorists, city-building and Scarborough alienation - became the dominant narratives in the debate at city hall.

In recent interviews, two of the biggest subway supporters on council played down the importance of ridership, suggesting that momentum and doing the right thing in Scarborough are more important.

"All Toronto residents should have access to a good healthy vibrant transit system," said Councillor Glenn de Baeremaeker, a subway booster through whose ward the extension would run. "If it went as low as 9,000 people per peak hour, I would still say you build the system, just like you did when you built it up to North York [in the 1960s]."

And fellow councillor Karen Stintz, who helped orchestrate the move away from light rail, said the numbers were just one component of an important citybuilding project that cannot be derailed.

"I'm only concerned about the divisive debate that we'll have if we reopen this issue. That concerns me more than anything," said Ms. Stintz, whose changing position on transit was widely seen to be a stepping stone for her mayoral candidacy. "From my perspective, there's no going back."

In the planning departments of the city and TTC, though, work will continue.

The 14,000-passenger figure for a Scarborough subway extension will be further refined through an environmental assessment. If the data being used in the model change, so will the result. For staff at the TTC and the city, the projection is considered a good first stab.

"What is actually going to be happening by 2031? I don't know. I think then it would probably fall somewhere within here," said Bernard Farrol, senior planner with the TTC, gesturing to the projections for 9,500 and 14,000 riders.

Later in the interview he elaborated, speaking about the larger of the two figures.

"We would be in the ballpark," he said. "How big is that ballpark? I'm not going to say that.

But, would it be double that?

I doubt. Would it be half that?

I doubt."

Associated Graphic


Scarborough RT passengers arrive at Kennedy Station in June. A new line, either subway or LRT, will replace the aging rail system.


An SRT train leaves Kennedy Station.


Waterfront Toronto has become a political lightning rod, facing claims of overspending. But the real story is sunny: In the muck of the waterfront, the agency is delivering great parks, careful development and a vision for Toronto's future
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

On Unwin Avenue in Toronto's port lands, the ground looks like a blank canvas: it's largely a scrubland of asphalt and sumacs, punctuated by a power plant. The skyline of downtown shimmers like a mirage, but it's just four kilometres away.

From here, it's clear why governments see this area of the waterfront as ripe for development, and why the public agency Waterfront Toronto was created in 2001 to make that happen. But as the agency's CEO John Campbell explains, it's not as simple as it looks. "All the land south of Front Street is landfill," said Mr. Campbell in an interview this week. "It's all brownfield" - former industrial land, often contaminated - "and it shifts. The costs of building down here are exorbitantly high. That's why nothing much has happened here for so long."

Yet Waterfront Toronto is responsible for revitalizing about 2,000 acres of this waterfront land, an area roughly equal to the entire downtown core, while reporting to three levels of government.

Seen as a whole, this is the biggest project of its kind in the world. So far, the agency has spent nearly $1.5-billion on infrastructure, cleaning polluted soil, and creating new parks and places of extremely high design quality. It has brought in profitable and attractive private development with a serious greenbuilding agenda.

And it has been largely free of controversy - until this month, when it faced claims of overspending from Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong and Mayor Rob Ford, and the mayor called for Mr. Campbell's resignation. These attacks come just as it seeks $1.65-billion in funding for the next 10 years of its work.

Those deciding whether or not it gets that vote of confidence need to look at its record. Working quietly, the agency has become the great success story of Toronto urbanism in the 21st century.

Because the agency was created by all three levels of government, it has been able to pursue its long-term plan, which will take at least 25 years to complete, without being derailed by changes of government. The mayor, who seems to have forgotten that he was appointed to Waterfront Toronto's board, can't force Mr. Campbell out; Doug Ford couldn't overrule years of planning with his ill-conceived pitch for a Ferris wheel and shopping mall.

The agency says that its first $1.26-billion in spending generated $622-million in direct revenue to government, plus $838-million in revenues from the development projects it has made possible. "It's very close to break-even, plus much more in spinoffs already," Mr. Campbell argues.

So far, the agency is doing largescale development the right way.

It is creating a series of cohesive new neighbourhoods, extending from Jarvis Street through the port lands, mixing public space, public buildings, and profitable private housing with a component of affordable rentals to create a real community.

The agency takes a long-term approach that sees both beauty and return on investment in building a 21st-century cityscape: vibrant day and night, pedestrianfriendly and focused on the street, and with broadband to support employment and entrepreneurship in tech and related fields. The goal is what Mr. Campbell calls "a pedestrian, high-quality, beautiful environment that has a quality of place that's second to none."

Urban beauty is a tool of economic development. "Talent and capital are mobile," Mr. Campbell says. Keeping them here - attracting educated, entrepreneurial people who increasingly want to be in places that feel like cities - is the goal. Mr. Campbell, a career real estate executive who oversaw the completion of the BCE Place complex in the early 1990s, deeply understands the cultural shift that is drawing some businesses away from Bay Street towers toward hipper precincts. This insight guides waterfront development. "It's about making the city's quality of life and quality of place make us competitive in the long run," he says.

"It's an economic long game." Waterfront Toronto seems caught off-guard by the recent political attacks, particularly Mr. Campbell - a jovial man who's as lean as a plank and seems boyishly enthusiastic about the agency's mission. He is too proper a civil servant to argue with the mayor, but also a bit flummoxed. "If you ask my staff, I'm very tight-fisted when it comes to expenses and such," he says. "It's the Scottish blood in me."

To execute its vision, the agency has started with public space: 23 new or improved parks. Following the wisdom that's driven port lands redevelopments across Europe and the Americas, the agency understands that creating a sense of place is crucial in making new neighbourhoods. They've used design competitions to hire some of the best landscape architects in the world to do this.

Take Sugar Beach. The two-acre park opened in 2010 at the foot of Jarvis Street, the point where the busy central waterfront starts to dissolve into a terra incognita of light industry and parking lots.

The park, designed by Montreal's Claude Cormier and Associates, is a showcase, and isn't a "beach" in any real sense; it is a public square for a very dense neighbourhood that is coming into being. The office building next door houses radio station The Edge; when they host instudio performances, audiences of up to 1,000 spill out onto Sugar Beach's paved plaza. Mounds of granite, transported from a Quebec hillside, provide a lunchtime perch for office workers and students from the George Brown health campus that's opened one building down; condo-dwellers from the St. Lawrence neighbourhood now come here to sunbathe or take their toddlers to the splash pad.

A certain amount of hardiness and rigour, not to mention quality of place, was required. These are among Waterfront Toronto's core principles."We've got to get this right," says Mr. Campbell. "It's a once-in-100-years opportunity; you can't jerry-rig it. We have to make sure that the quality is there, and it's something we're all proud of."

Cormier's landscape architecture firm won a design competition; changed their design following rigorous feedback from the public and the competition's judges; and then the construction of the project went out for competitive bidding.

For this and for each of Waterfront Toronto's capital projects, the agency must submit a formal application for funds that is vetted by the city, province and federal governments. That vetting process, Mr. Campbell says, has taken an average of six months for each project. "This idea that we don't have oversight - we have more oversight than you can shake a stick at," he says.

And the results in the case of Sugar Beach are extremely strong.

The park functions well as public space and also as an Instagramable landmark. The sugary white sand is a welcome place to sunbathe, against the backdrop of a cargo ship parked at the Redpath Sugar plant just across the water.

It meets the granite mounds, which Claude Cormier calls "rock candy," to form a playful tableau.

And those beach "umbrellas," now notorious after Mr. MinnanWong's attack on their price tag of $11,565 each, are solid. They are tough fiberglass on a stainlesssteel structure; each stands on a concrete base about three metres square. In its shaft, each holds an LED light fixture, weatherproof and controllable. This is not lawn furniture. It's infrastructure, built to survive wild crowds and January winds and stand up for a thousand selfies.

The need for all this will be clear when the neighbourhood is fully built out, which is happening rapidly. Next door, Waterfront Toronto is building a Waterfront Innovation Centre in two buildings adjacent to the park, to house tech companies and draw on the ultra-high-speed broadband Internet service that they have brought into the area.

Workers and others will be able to live nearby: developers Hines and Tridel have a 363-unit building under construction next door, and a second phase is coming.

They'll be part of a well-planned neighbourhood that includes small, pedestrian-friendly streets lined with retail, designed to mitigate the sense of corporate sameness that comes with all large development projects.

That is an important concern, and WT is right to worry about it: The agency's plan is to build 40,000 residential units, which will house an estimated 115,000 people.

This whole area of the city is changing almost by the hour.

Right across the street from Sugar Beach is the 2.8-acre site of The Guvernment nightclub; it's owned by developers Daniels, who are planning a mixed-use development that might include four separate buildings. This is not a Waterfront Toronto project, but it is subject to a city design review panel - through which new buildings get critiqued by a group of top design professionals.

And a sophisticated context has been set by the parks, the excellent office and college buildings, by Diamond Schmitt and KPMB, and the nearby condos currently under construction - including the River City project a few blocks away, by Montreal architects Saucier and Perrotte, a complex of what are the most adventurous and handsome residential buildings in the city. Their developers, Urban Capital, won the right to build here after submitting a competitive bid to WT. And while the agency picked their proposal based on a mix of criteria including design quality, it also included the highest financial return for the agency and governments.

That has happened, says Mr. Campbell, with each of the agency's condo deals so far. "We set the bar high," he says. "Developers see that there's room here for a high-quality product. We all win."

For many Torontonians, that sounds too good to be true. For 200 years the waterfront has been a place where grand dreams go to drown. The idea that a government agency is accomplishing something here, and doing it right, is hard to imagine. But it's true. To show off the vision, Mr.

Campbell took me to the new park, Corktown Common, at the foot of River Street, which opened officially this month. I was there a few times last year, and the park looked great. This week it looked even better: lushly green, the playgrounds full, a new artificial wetland humming with life, and the skyline in front filling in nicely. It suggests what the port lands could look like in a generation.

It's a vision of Toronto's future going surprisingly right.

Associated Graphic

Sugar Beach and its 'umbrellas' have been criticized as extravagant; but in fact the park sets an example.


Without a trace
After more than a decade of campaigning from families, politicians of all stripes and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Ottawa has pledged to create a DNA-based national missing persons index to help authorities identify the hundreds of unidentified remains across the country. But as Kathryn Blaze Carlson reports, other voices are raising concerns about the database's security and independence from other indexes used by police to solve crimes, as well as privacy and legal issues
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

Judy Peterson arranged to meet a pair of British Columbia RCMP officers on the side of the road halfway between Courtenay and Victoria. The police opened the back of their SUV, retrieved a DNA collection kit and pricked Ms. Peterson's fingertip for blood.

The sample was transformed into a genetic profile and uploaded into the province's DNA databank, where it was crosschecked with profiles culled from unidentified remains - a system unique to B.C. in Canada. There wasn't a match: Ms. Peterson's missing daughter, Lindsey, wasn't among the remains stored at the B.C. Coroners Service facility.

But what Ms. Peterson still doesn't know is whether Lindsey is among the hundreds of other unidentified remains across the country. Nor does she know whether her daughter's DNA was found at a crime scene. That's because Canada doesn't have a national missing persons DNA databank - yet.

The Conservatives' latest budget, tabled in February, pledged up to $8.1-million over five years starting in 2016-2017 to create a DNA-based national missing persons index (MPI). It's what Ms. Peterson has been fighting for since about 2000.

"They say if you lose a child, it's like you lose a limb, and you have to learn how to live and function in the world with part of you missing," said Ms. Peterson, whose daughter disappeared at age 14 in August, 1993. "When you have a missing child, it's like your limb has been crushed. Every time there's a new lead or there's something in the news, it's as if that wound gets bumped and starts bleeding again."

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, the lead minister on the file, told The Globe and Mail he will always remember the late Jim Flaherty delivering his final budget, looking up at Ms. Peterson in the House of Commons' gallery and promising to create a national MPI. Calling the measure one of Mr. Flaherty's legacy items, Mr. Blaney said he's committed to tabling legislation by the end of 2015.

He said it's "realistic" to foresee the government creating a national MPI and a national human remains index (HRI), both of which could be housed at the RCMP's existing National DNA Data Bank facility in Ottawa.

Mr. Blaney also said it's within the realm of possibility to cross-reference those two indexes with two existing ones - the crime scene index (CSI) and the convicted offenders index (COI) - to search, for example, for missing people like Lindsey at known crime scenes.

The measure is in draft stage, he said, and it's too soon to know exactly how it will unfold or what the consultation process will yield, including with regard to privacy. But now that the majority Conservatives have promised funding, the question doesn't appear to be whether the measure will come to fruition, but rather what its scope and fine print will look like.

Decade in the making

The creation of a national MPI has been debated in Canada for more than a decade, championed by MPs of various stripes, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and mothers such as Ms.

Peterson and Melanie Alix, whose then-21-year-old son, Dylan Koshman, went missing in Edmonton, 2008. NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said the budget measure is in principle a "good idea and could have positive results."

But it has likewise elicited concern from the Criminal Lawyers' Association and the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which doesn't object to a national missing-persons databank so long as it's tightly secured and independent from the CSI and COI.

Those two indexes collectively contain more than 350,000 profiles and have gleaned over 29,000 "hits" assisting investigations.

The Assembly of First Nations, which isn't mandated to speak on the issue but has discussed it with relatives of some of the hundreds of missing aboriginal women, said some families cautiously support the measure but are wary of the government's motives for acquiring and storing DNA.

There are untold missing people across the country, the number unknown since some cases go unreported and others are misrepresented in national data, in part due to repeat runaways.

According to numbers released by the Canadian Police Information Centre in April, more than 60,000 missing adult, youth and children reports were filed last year.

At the same time, there are hundreds of unidentified remains in Canada. Ontario Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer said his office is aware of about 200, including a case dating back to 1964, while the acting manager of the B.C. Coroners Service Identification and Disaster Unit, Bill Inkster, said there are 188 there.

The two provinces, home to the highest number of missing persons reports last year, have different ways of handling remains deemed unlikely to be identified. Dr. Huyer said it's standard practice to bury the remains but first preserve a tooth for possible DNA extraction. B.C., meantime, stores the entire dried skeleton in a cardboard box.

"All of our unidentified remains cases are missing persons - every single one of them," Dr. Inkster said, noting his office identifies remains but doesn't investigate missing persons cases. He said it's a "big day" if there's a random match between a missing person's profile and a human remains profile. "We probably get three or four a year, but that's huge."

The B.C. human identification model, which also tracks cold cases using a geographic information system, is so pioneering that the man credited with the regime, Stephen Fonseca, has been seconded to a Middle Eastern country hoping to establish a similar system.

Debate over DNA

The budget says the national MPI would "supplement" the work now under way at the RCMP National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, which doesn't include DNA profiles but maintains a website called "Canada's Missing." It displays pictures and biological information about hundreds of missing people, as well as photos, sketches and busts of the faces of unidentified remains.

"The DNA piece has always been the missing piece of the puzzle," said Jim Gurney, a retired Edmonton constable who for five years worked on the Koshman case. "Soon we'll have the sense that, for the most part, everything that can be done will be done." He said police have traditionally kept an ear out for possible connections to remains found in other jurisdictions, but "if you don't hear about it, you don't know about it."

The Conservatives' budget says the funding would be used to support police and coroners in submitting samples and would facilitate the comparison of those profiles with ones from the National DNA Data Bank. That language seems to suggest the two new indexes would be linked to the CSI and the COI.

Mr. Garrison said "useful things" could be accomplished through cross-referencing, though he added he doesn't want the proposed program to be derailed over controversy around linking it to the two existing investigative-focused indexes. "We need to see the legislation," he said.

Those who want the two new indexes to exist independently from the older ones say looking for missing people in, especially, the crime scene index risks privacy and legal issues.

Anthony Moustacalis, the head of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, said it's possible an intentionally "missing" person's DNA could innocently end up at a crime scene. Police might then become aware of that person's whereabouts, infringing on the freedom to move with anonymity.

He explained his apprehensions on the legal side this way: "If I decide I want to leave a relationship, and the person is insecure about that, and someone wants to issue a personal effect and track me down for an improper purpose, my DNA goes in the databank. If something matches with a crime scene, then my right against incriminating myself with my own bodily substances has potentially been violated."

Earlier iterations of proposed missing-persons databank legislation said a DNA profile could only be used for the purpose of search and identification - ruling out, it seems, criminal prosecution. Mr. Blaney wouldn't speculate on whether the forthcoming legislation would contain similar language, but said the point of the measure is to bring families closure.

Ms. Peterson said she wants to look for Lindsey in the CSI because if her daughter was killed but no remains were found, then it's possible a trace of Lindsey is in that index.

Seeking closure

From the moment Mr. Blaney was sworn in as Public Safety Minister, his Conservative colleague, John Duncan, has been pressing him to move forward with the measure, Mr. Blaney said. It was Mr. Duncan, the Chief Government Whip, who got Ms. Peterson in a room last November with three key people - Mr. Blaney, Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Minister of State for Finance Kevin Sorenson - to make her case for federal funding and legislation.

Mr. Duncan, who met Ms. Peterson at a picnic commemorating 20 years since Lindsey's disappearance, said it would make the "most sense" to house the two new indexes at the existing National DNA Data Bank.

This, briefly, is what happens there today: After a blood, saliva or hair sample is transformed into a DNA profile, it is then uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a U.S.-developed software package that stores and compares the profiles.

For privacy's sake, convicted offender samples are denoted by a barcode and crime scene samples by a unique number identifier, an RCMP spokeswoman said, adding that any identifying information is kept at a separate RCMP registry.

Mr. Gurney said police figured Ottawa would eventually establish a national MPI and HRI, but he expressed surprise that it has taken this long to see tangible federal commitment.

"It's not going to create any happy endings, but at least for some families it'll give an indication of what happened, rather than them never knowing," he said. "Until [Dylan Koshman] is found, people will keep asking, 'Hey, did you ever find out what happened to Dylan?' One day, we want to be able to say 'yes,' but we're just not there yet."

Associated Graphic

Judy Peterson, whose daughter Lindsey Nicholls went missing in August, 1993, has been fighting for a missing persons index for more than a decade.


Why Hamas is winning the war
After 19 days of fighting, Israel and Hamas have agreed to observe a 12-hour humanitarian truce on Saturday. The pause comes at a time when body counts - more than 800 Palestinians killed in Gaza vs. 38 Israelis killed - show that Hamas is clearly the losing side. But current support for Hamas may never have been greater, while discord in Israeli society has erupted in violence
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

Jerusalem -- International efforts to put a stop to the 19-day-old conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza faltered Friday night when Israel's security cabinet unanimously rejected a draft ceasefire agreement put forward by Egypt and supported by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon.

Israel and Hamas did agree to a 12-hour humanitarian truce to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday. Mr. Kerry said he would continue efforts to close the gap between the parties over the weekend.

Terms of the broader proposed ceasefire agreement, which included a seven-day humanitarian truce, were not released, but Israeli sources said the agreement would give a victory to Hamas.

That may be, but in so many other ways, Hamas already is winning.

War, as the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz said, is the continuation of politics by other means. And victory is not only measured by body counts. The fact that more than 800 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in this conflict, compared with 38 Israelis, three of them civilians, tells us that Israel is winning on the battlefield. Hamas, however, is playing for higher, longer-term stakes.

"Hamas's strategic objective," said Ariel Ilan Roth, director of the Washington-based Israel Institute, "is to shatter Israel's sense of normalcy." In pursuit of this goal Hamas certainly has succeeded. By their rockets with longer range and bigger payloads, the militants have brought the war to the doorstep of many more Israelis than ever before. They have put "panic in the eyes of Israelis," in the words of the Hamas MP and prominent imam Naif Rajoub. And with its labyrinth of tunnels beneath Israel's frontier, Hamas has undermined Israelis' sense of invulnerability.

Neither Hamas nor the Palestinians of Gaza have yet been knocked off balance. Remarkably, support for Hamas may never have been greater. This was not what Israel expected when it launched this war earlier this month, blaming Hamas for starting the conflict and emphasizing how the militants use civilians as human shields.

And it's certainly not what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wanted. The fact that Gazans are largely united in opposition to Israel and that support for Hamas extends also to the West Bank, where Mr. Abbas presides, has left the Fatah Party leader scrambling for relevance.

Indeed, pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests have broken out in the West Bank in areas near Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus on a scale not seen since the 2000-2005 second intifada.

The protests Friday in Ramallah had the blessing of Mr. Abbas and his party. Seven Palestinians have been killed since late Thursday in clashes with the Israeli army.

To preserve his hold on power, Mr. Abbas was forced to go from being a supporter of Egypt's first ceasefire proposal - one that Israel supported and that simply called for the parties to halt fire with no concessions to Hamas - to being an antagonist of Israel. It was Mr. Abbas's initiative that dragged Israel before the UN Human Rights Council this week, leading to a UN inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in waging its war in Gaza.

Rather than continuing to support Israel's position on a ceasefire, Mr. Abbas was moved to support Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's position instead. That position calls for a number of moves that, in effect, would end the state of siege Israel maintains on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Chalk up another win.

Israel certainly has recorded considerable victories of its own in this conflict. The Iron Dome anti-missile system has proved to be a wonder, shooting down most rockets headed for populated areas, and helping keep Israel's casualties to a minimum. Israeli operations to unearth and destroy Hamas tunnels and to root out Hamas's command centre in the Gaza town of Shejaia, while costing Israel a substantial number of casualties, have been battlefield triumphs.

Israel's exemplary practice of issuing warnings before strikes on certain neighbourhoods or buildings has given Israel a degree of respect and understanding in the international community, as has Israel's exposing of Hamas's technique of using civilians as human shields, a likely war crime.

But the goodwill Israel enjoyed at the start of this conflict has been squandered as the number of civilian deaths has risen. As British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond cautioned Thursday, "As this campaign goes on and the civilian casualties in Gaza mount, Western public opinion is becoming more and more concerned and less and less sympathetic to Israel."

What good are Israel's so-called "pinpoint attacks" when other possible consequences are ignored?

On Monday night in Gaza City, Israel carried out a targeted attack on someone in the 10-storey Al Salam Towers apartment building. It appeared that a carefully aimed missile entered the building at about the fifth floor; it still is unclear who the target was.

But the effect of the missile was to take out the supports on which the five upper storeys rested.

They collapsed together, as in the manner of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, coming to rest like a stack of six pancakes atop the fourth storey.

On Tuesday morning, the leg of one man could still be seen dangling in the air, as the rest of his body was pinned inside the collapsed building. The Israeli military, no doubt, had no intention of causing such collateral damage. But at least 15 people, including three children, were killed in this targeted attack.

Hamas's own battlefield accomplishments are not insignificant.

Just as its arsenal of long-range missiles has taken the war to Israel's civilians, Hamas's tunnels and overall combat preparedness have taken the battle to the Israeli forces.

In the 22-day war that began at the end of 2008 and extended into early 2009, Hamas militants ran rather than fight. Not this time.

Israelis say they are astonished at the extent of the group's tunnels and the determination of its fighting forces. The 35 Israeli officers and soldiers killed in fighting, mostly in the battle for control of the tunnels and the bloody battle of Shejaia, are testament to Hamas's acquired skills.

In the entire 2009 ground campaign, only eight Israeli soldiers were killed by resistance forces.

(Four others died from friendly fire.)

If Hamas has uncovered any weakness in the Iron Dome system it is that a big enough salvo of rockets makes it more possible for at least one rocket to get through. And it only takes one.

Targeting Ben Gurion Airport east of Tel Aviv was also a shrewd move. Most rockets aimed in that direction either fell harmlessly in open areas, or were shot down by the Iron Dome. One, however, this past week, landed about a kilometre from the airport and destroyed a house. It was enough to cause a stampede of airlines cancelling service for at least 24 or 48 hours. Some still have declined to return.

The odds of a rocket hitting a moving plane are remote in the extreme, but hitting a building is conceivable, and airlines already were skittish because of the downing of a Malaysian aircraft over war-torn eastern Ukraine earlier in the week. Hamas chalked up another triumph.

The conflict has also exposed rifts in Israel. Gangs shouting "Death to Arabs" and "Death to Leftists" broke up a peaceful protest against Israel's war in Gaza last Saturday night in Tel Aviv's Habima Square.

Witnesses say the goons then went on a rampage in the city's downtown, even as Israeli troops were expanding their ground operation in Gaza.

Similar scenes were re-enacted during the past week in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, showing a sinister side to Israeli society. "As soldiers fight in Gaza, right-wing extremists have organized ad-hoc militias to fight the 'war at home,' "noted Israeli political writer Asher Schechter, writing in Haaretz.

Such battles reveal a growing schism in Israeli society, a product of the war with Hamas and the issues that underlie it. Writing in this week's Foreign Affairs magazine, Mr. Roth of the Israel Institute, noted that sowing discord in Israeli society, such as witnessed in the past two weeks, is one of several ways in which Hamas is winning this war.

While not in itself bringing Israel to its knees, such discord eats away at the cohesion that has given Israel its historic strength to face its enemies.

But it is in the strategic areas that Hamas has enjoyed its greatest success.

By holding out so resolutely, and turning down ceasefire proposals, Hamas has succeeded in putting its wish list before the world.

Mr. Meshaal, the Hamas political leader based in Qatar, presented the list to the public Thursday.

The people of Gaza, he said, want an internationally backed commitment to ending Israel's siege of Gaza and the targeted killings it carries out inside Gaza.

They want an international airport, a seaport, an opening to the outside world. They don't want the situation where they are "controlled by a few border crossings that turn Gaza into a huge prison, where no one can leave even for medical treatment or to work."

If Hamas is offered those things, or a good number of them, its leaders say they'll stop firing at Israel. A growing number of people around the world don't think those demands are unreasonable.

Israel thought that by abandoning Gaza in 2005, pulling out all Israeli settlers and soldiers, and building a wall around it, Israel would enjoy quiet.

This war has shown that such an approach won't ever be successful.

Associated Graphic


An Israeli army officer takes journalists on a tour of a tunnel said to be used by Palestinians for cross-border attacks.


Palestinians block the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron during a funeral for three Palestinians.


An undercover Israeli police officer holds a gun as other officers detain a Palestinian suspected of throwing rocks in East Jerusalem.


A Palestinian protester holds a Palestinian flag as he runs past burning tires during clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah.


Electric cars and Muskrat Falls: A power player's clean-energy vision
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B3

HALIFAX -- Chris Huskilson drives a battery-powered Chevy Volt from his lakefront home to Emera Inc.'s gleaming headquarters on the Halifax waterfront, a former power plant that was given a $53-million makeover, transforming it into one of the Maritimes' most environmentally advanced buildings.

His electric car and his company's new headquarters are outward signs of the CEO's decade-long strategy to transform Emera from a sleepy holding company for Nova Scotia Power into an industry-leading growth story.

Mr. Huskilson has embraced the challenge of reducing carbon emissions in the electricity systems of his home province and the New England states, and has made key acquisitions in New England and the Caribbean of "broken" assets that need to be fixed. In doing so, he has driven growth at Emera, and has earned shareholders fat returns and some enviable compensation for him and his executive team.

He has also courted controversy by pursuing the ambitious - critics have argued, misguided - partnership with Newfoundland and Labrador's Nalcor Energy to build a hydroelectric power station on the Lower Churchill River and transmit the electricity via underwater cable to Nova Scotia and New England. He defends the Muskrat Falls project as one of the largest untapped sources of clean power in northeastern North America.

His advocacy of clean energy is based less on preachy environmentalism and more on hard-headed business sense - electric cars may create significant demand for his product; efficient buildings represent a responsible way to consume electricity; while investments in hydroelectricity and renewables are being mandated by governments.

"Our strategy right now is about producing cleaner energy for customers at the lowest possible cost," he says over lunch.

While acknowledging that customers often get frustrated by the price tag associated with cleaner power, he notes that Emera's utilities are typically responding to provincial and state climate strategies.

"Almost all the places we do business - Nova Scotia, New England, the Caribbean - they are all very carbon intense electricity markets. So the opportunity to reduce the carbon intensity and reduce the emissions from electricity in those markets is what we focus our strategy on," he said.

A low-key executive who likes to stay beneath the public's radar, Mr. Huskilson is one of the top business leaders in Atlantic Canada. He heads the largest multinational company based in Nova Scotia, which is also one of the biggest private sector employers and the parent company of the province-wide electricity utility.

With his rimless glasses and close-cropped, greying hair, the 57-year-old engineer would be Hollywood's picture of a utility company executive - no flash, conservatively dressed, affable but deliberate in conversation.

He is also a lightning rod for criticism in the province, often the target for angry consumers who complain they are being gouged by Nova Scotia Power to benefit Emera's bottom line and Mr. Huskilson's paycheque. It's a subject that clearly makes him uncomfortable; he deflects it by referring questions on executive compensation to the board.

With his multimillion-dollar annual compensation, he is the rare breed in a province where the most ambitious people often leave for opportunities in Toronto or Calgary or New York.

His own ambitions always lay in Nova Scotia.

A true Bluenoser, he was raised in South Shore town of Shelburne, of Icelandic and Scottish stock that goes back five generations in the province.

His father, Graham, who died in April, was a prominent local businessman who owned a garage and car dealerships in Shelburne.

The energy executive is clearly proud of his Nova Scotia heritage. We meet for lunch at the Henry House near the Emera headquarters. It's an impressive stone structure that was built in 1834 and is now a national historic site. A plaque on the outside wall pays homage to one-time resident William Alexander Henry, one of the Fathers of Confederation, who served as mayor and later a justice on the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Emera chief executive orders the seafood chowder, which he suggests is particularly good at Henry House, and enthusiastically recommends it to his central Canadian guest.

And he talks of his love of home. He lives on Grand Lake, 60 kilometres outside Halifax, where he and his family race Tanzer sailboats, preferring the warm inland water to the icy Atlantic.

He traces his heritage to an Icelandic forebear who landed in Nova Scotia five generations ago, and stayed while the rest of the immigrants moved to Gimli, Man. And he expects his lineage to remain in Nova Scotia - three sons are engineers or studying to become one, and Mr. Huskilson says all of them want to pursue careers in their home province.

While many of his engineering classmates headed west after graduating in the 1970s, he joined Nova Scotia Power and was a lifer there, becoming chief executive officer before moving to its parent company, Emera.

"The reason I joined the company originally is that I really wanted to stay in Maritime Canada and in Nova Scotia if possible, to be able to do something that would make a contribution," he says. "So that drew me to this business. And at the end of the day, I've never had a dull day."

After university, Mr. Huskilson went to work on a visionary energy project that proponents hoped would provide a massive source of clean electricity: Nova Scotia Power's effort to tap the enormous potential of the Bay of Fundy.

As a young software engineer, he was part of the team that built a fully automated tidal pilot project, though the utility soon discovered it could not capture large amounts of electricity without causing major environmental damage. The tidal plant is still producing 20megawatts but the vision has been scaled back and Nova Scotia Power is now developing smaller-scale generators that float in the tide.

The downsizing of the utility's tidal-power ambitions was humbling for a young engineer, and a lesson that remained with the energy executive as he prepared to invest $1.5-billion in the underwater transmission system that will bring power from Muskrat Falls in Labrador. The partners spent some $300-million on front-end engineering before even receiving regulatory approval.

Many in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have questioned the expense of bringing Labrador power to Nova Scotia, but Mr. Huskilson is confident it makes economic sense.

The province still depends on coal for 60 per cent of its power, and the federal government has mandated that provinces essentially shut down coal-fire stations by 2030, unless they can virtually eliminate carbon emissions.

The clean energy from the Lower Churchill "will be in the market for decades and decades; it's a 100-year project," he says.

The Maritime Link is a big bet for Emera, but it's just one of several that Mr. Huskilson has made. Since he took the helm, the company has weaned itself off its reliance on Nova Scotia Power, which accounted for 90 per cent of revenue a decade ago and was down to 44 per cent last year.

Shareholders have reaped the fruits of his growth plan. Over the past five years, Emera has provided a 17.5-per-cent return, on a compounded annual basis.

For that success, Mr. Huskilson has been well rewarded. His compensation was raised to $4.7-million in 2013, an increase of 54 per cent. His 2013 pay ranked 57th among CEOs of Canada's top 100 public companies, but was tops in the Maritimes.

His pay raise prompted some inevitable criticism. Provincial Energy Minister Andrew Younger said ratepayers were "frustrated" at news of the pay package when their rates kept rising. The Emera board justified the increase by stating that the CEO's compensation had not been on par with other utility executives, while the company's performance was among the best.

While Nova Scotia Power's regulated rates have soared in the last decade, Mr. Huskilson notes that the provincial government is forcing the utility to adopt more expensive renewable power to combat climate change even as the price of coal and fuel oil rose dramatically.

But the CEO takes some pride in steering one of Nova Scotia's business success stories. In the past four years, Emera has added 500 head office jobs and makes an effort to recruit locally through scholarship programs and other training initiatives.

"We're very proud to be here and be from here," he says.


Personal: Scion of the Shelburne County, N.S., Huskilsons, who trace their roots to Icelanders Erlandur and Guolaug Hoskuldsson, who landed in Canada around 1875.

Son of the late Lloyd (Graham) Huskilson, a prominent local businessman who owned a garage and Toyota and Chrysler car dealerships, and was a founding shareholder of Seabreeze Cablevision, which brought cable television to Shelburne County.

Married with three sons, all of whom are either engineers or studying to become one.

Education: BS in Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton; MS in Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton.

Boards of Directors: The Canadian Electricity Association (past chair); Innovacorp, the provincially funded venture capital fund; Algonquin Power, of which Emera owns 25 per pent, and various Emera subsidiaries.

Awards: "Energy Person of the Year" awarded to him and Nalcor CEO Ed Martin for their work on Muskrat Falls hydro development, by the Energy Council of Canada.

Passion: Sailing. He and his family own the largest fleet of Tanzer 22 racing sailboats on Grand Lake near Halifax.

Career: Joined Nova Scotia Power in 1980. Became chief operating officer for Nova Scotia Power in July 2003; president and CEO in November, 2004, when he also became president and CEO of Emera.


On acquisition strategy: "We like broken things."

On being a "Nova Scotia" company: "We've very proud to be here and be from here.

We don't make any apologies about it. Most of the people in our business have grown up in our business, and have developed both the business and themselves."

On engineer's approach to business strategy: "At the end of the day, it is always about doing the proper planning and really understanding the environment you are working in."

Associated Graphic

Chris Huskilson, chief executive officer of Emera Inc.


Finding the meaning of 'Altmanesque'
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

Altman Directed by Ron Mann Written by Len Blum Featuring Robert Altman, Kathryn Reed Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Julianne Moore, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis Classification: 14A; 95 minutes

Ron Mann's new documentary Altman, an affectionate, moving portrait of the legendary director of such era-defining movies as M*A*S*H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, California Split and Nashville, begins with two men on a beach, building a sand castle. The process is accompanied by a song, Let's Begin Again, written by Robert Altman. In voice-over, the director, who died in 2006, begins talking about how making movies is a little like building castles out of sand.

Though the creative collaborative with cast and crew is temporary, the record of those experiences over his almost 40 movies survives. It's a tribute to Mann's film - which will show at the Classics program of the upcoming Venice Film Festival - that it leads you from Altman's life back to his films, and makes you want to see them anew.

Conveniently for fans in Toronto, 18 of Altman's feature films will be shown in a retrospective, Company Man: The Best of Robert Altman, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Aug. 7-31. The retrospective opens with Mann's film, and will be attended by Mann and Altman's widow, Kathryn Reed Altman.

Altman is very much family collaboration, told largely with the salty eloquence of director's voice, but also with narration from Kathryn and the couple's two sons, who worked on his film crews. What we get is a broad overview of a six-decade, up-and-down career, as well as samples from Altman's films, television shows, photos and home movies.

We see how the filmmaker's long apprenticeship, making industrial films and then mainstream television, gave him the confidence, like a jazz improviser, to work spontaneously on the set. It was a quickie teen film, The Delinquents (1957) starring a young Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack), that caught the attention of Alfred Hitchcock, leading to a busy period directing episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and shows such as Bonanza and Maverick.

But Altman frequently chafed at the advertising-driven television formulas. He was fired from the Second World War series Combat! after inserting a plot about a shell-shocked American GI who mistook a German soldier for a friend. Getting fired was something of a habit. Studio boss Jack Warner fired him from a feature film about a moon launch, called Countdown, when Altman employed a technique he later became famous for: Having characters arguing over top of one another.

His breakthrough was the antiwar satire M*A*S*H (1970) starring with Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland. At 45, he became a hot property and counter-culture figurehead.

But instead of making a comfortable commercial followup, he shot a weird fairy tale, Brewster McCloud, starring unknowns - Bud Cort and Shelley Duvall. Next, he went to British Columbia to shoot what he called his "anti-Western film," McCabe & Mrs. Miller. (Altman named his first production company Lion's Gate, after the Vancouver bridge.)

Throughout the 1970s, now seen as a golden age for American independent cinema, Altman upended genre expectations in films such as Thieves Like Us, California Split and The Long Goodbye, and offered his definitive sardonic American bicentennial statement with Nashville.

But by 1980 and the failure of his expensive Robin Williams vehicle, Popeye, Altman's Hollywood career faltered. He directed theatre, worked in video, taught a course at university and adapted plays for the screen.

Perhaps the most Hollywoodlike aspect of Altman's career, however, was his comeback. The return started with the ahead-of its-time HBO mockumentary Tanner '88, and led to The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993), Gosford Park (2001), The Company (2003) and his final film, A Prairie Home Companion (2006). He received an honorary Oscar for a lifetime of work at the 2006 Academy Awards, just months before his death. Though often painted as an obstreperously anti-establishment figure, Altman's gratitude on awards night was plain-spoken and heartfelt. "No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," he told the audience.

Though made for television (including The Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada), Mann's film is up to the Altman standard of unconventionality in his handling of celebrity interviews. Instead of straightforward celebrity endorsements, he shoots each person, posed against a dark background in a studio, and asks them the same question: Could they define the adjective "Altmanesque."

Keith Carradine, Gould, Bruce Willis, Paul Thomas Anderson, Julianne Moore and Lily Tomlin give it their best shot: Sociability, collective play, freedom and iconoclasm. Together they suggest something gritty but elusive, those grains of sand that slip through our fingers, but sometimes can be grasped and shaped into castles.

If you were in the film business over the past 30 years, Altman wasn't hard to meet. But somehow, Mann never had the experience. The Canadian director behind Comic Book Confidential, Poetry in Motion and a dozen other counter-culture-oriented documentaries, had idolized Altman, written essays about the director's work in university. Mann had gone to Cannes at 18 in 1977, saw the premiere of 3 Women and attended Altman's press conference. Both Mann and Altman publicly supported the pro-pot National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Mann had even shared TIFF's Mavericks program with Altman in 2003, and befriended Altman's protégé, director Alan Rudolph. All of which leaves the impression that Mann didn't really try to pursue the connection.

"I probably would have been too intimidated," he says.

After reading Mitchell Zuckoff's entertaining 2009 book Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, Mann decided that Altman should be his next film subject. Zuckoff told him he needed to meet the director's widow, Kathryn. Mann swung an invitation to the 2011 Torino Film Festival, which had compiled a complete retrospective of Altman's work, and Kathryn was attending.

He sent her a note and three days later she invited him to lunch, along with Altman's longtime producer Matthew Seig and the actor Michael Murphy. They spent the day together watching films, and she asked him to send her his DVDs. Later, she invited him to visit her in New York and gave him carte blanche on the project, including access to binders full of family photo albums.

When Mann announced the Altman doc at Cannes in the spring of 2012, he had barely scratched the surface of the research. He spent six weeks going through 900 boxes of material at the University of Michigan Altman archive with an assistant, digitizing 15,000 images, and sourcing hundreds of interviews. As an afterthought, Mann asked Kathryn if there were any home movies, and they found a trove of Super-8 footage and a bundle of unfiled home video, all of which can be seen in public for the first time in Mann's film.

"I literally killed myself on this," he says, only slightly exaggerating. His one promise to Kathryn was that he would not screw up, "which sounds easy enough, but I swear that promise kept me up nights. I really love Kathryn."

Kathryn is a key to understanding Altman's character, his irrepressible sense of mischief. In the film, she recounts how she met her husband in 1959 on the set of a TV show about rescue pilots called Whirlybirds. Both had been divorced. Their first encounter sounds like something out of a Bogie and Bacall script: "How are your morals?" Altman asked by way of introduction. "A little shaky," she answered. "How are yours?" Six weeks later, they were married and she was pregnant.

They stayed married for 47 years, until his death.

I was curious why Kathryn Altman put her trust in a Canadian filmmaker she didn't know.

"Let me tell you," she says in a phone interview from Los Angeles, "I'd wanted someone to do something like this for a while, but hadn't found the right person. When Ron approached me, I liked him but I didn't know anything about him, so I did my research. People I trust said, 'Well, he's an excellent documentarian but he's ... kind of quirky, not middle-of-the-road.' And I thought, 'Well, that's right up the Altman alley.' After talking to some more people, and looking at his films, I decided he was the guy. After seeing the film, I think I was absolutely right.

"There's a sweetness to the film all the way through, but it also kind of hits you here and there," she adds. "Of course, for me to have an opinion about it is ridiculous. I'm too emotional about it.

I've seen it three times now and I'm still all aflutter."

She is slightly annoyed about one quote in the film, when one of her sons says that, in the early years, Altman put work ahead of family. She insists that was never the case.

She also says her husband mellowed with age: "In his approach to life, love and humanity, yes.

But he didn't mellow in his strong convictions about politics and film and himself. He never got sloppy about things."

There were two defining qualities in her husband's character that never changed: resilience and humour.

"When he had a setback, he was unbelievable," she says. "I'd be devastated, thinking we were finished. He'd be down maybe 10 or 20 minutes, suffering in silence. Then he'd have a plan, or a plan to get around it, or to forget about it. I joked that he was Elastic Man, the way he'd snap right back. I don't think you can learn that. You're born with it.

"And he was so funny. Humour is what attracted us to each other, and what kept us together.

Bob was fun - that was the bottom line."

Follow me on Twitter:@liamlacey

Associated Graphic

Altman kept his strong convictions about politics and film despite having otherwise mellowed with age, his wife says.


A SIN SELFISH HEALTHY HARMLESS A WEAKNESS HUMAN NATURE And it's time we finally talked about it. It just may save a life, Peter Scowen writes
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F4

I feel compelled to begin this piece by joining in the newsroom snickering it has prompted, and telling you that I've been thinking about masturbating a lot this week. There, I did it; we can now dispense with the jokes and the discomfort they deflect.

It has been on my mind ever since I learned that a 14-year-old boy in San Diego, Calif., killed himself last fall after a fellow student snuck into their high-school bathroom and recorded a video of him masturbating in a stall. The student of course posted the video on social media, it of course went viral, and two weeks later, on American Thanksgiving weekend, Matthew Burdette, bullied, friendless and beyond comforting, took his own life. Of course.

Matthew's parents are talking about him now only because they have launched a lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District for failing to help their son.

His story is being flashed around the world. It is international news that, in an age when sexual and social taboos are dropping like flies - gay marriage, LGBT rights, pornography, smoking pot - the shame of getting caught masturbating would drive a boy to suicide. But I completely understand the horror he felt.

I've been asking grown men whether they would have killed themselves in the same situation, and many said it would have crossed their minds. They certainly would have wanted to be dead. We remember, viscerally, the fear of getting caught at that age. Other men I've spoken with, their horror over Matthew's fate contorting the lines of their mouths, say they wouldn't have contemplated suicide but they would have asked their family to move them to another continent.

Only today, thanks to the glories of the Internet, there is no place to run.

Some might say this story begins and ends with cyber-bullying, and the similarities with the tragedies of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons are undeniable.

But where those two Canadian girls were pushed to the brink by predators and bullies who systematically destroyed their lives with compromising images, this story revolves around a video of something that research consistently shows 95 per cent of men do, and between 60 and 80 per cent of women. We can all relate. There is no doubt the boy who posted the video masturbates, and so do the other boys who mocked Matthew and made his life hell at school.

It's not just boys who are conflicted. The science about the ubiquity and harmlessness of male masturbation is as settled as that of evolution, but no matter how much he tells himself that, and even though a sex shop in San Francisco has declared May to be International Masturbation Month, the average man would never want his habits to be public knowledge.

It's simply too fraught, too weird. A psychiatrist of my acquaintance who has counselled couples told me that some women who catch their husbands or boyfriends masturbating see it as cheating.

It remains today a dangerous act best kept between a man and his conscience, even if it is known to reduce stress, improve sleep, help balance a couple's contradictory libidos and, according to some studies (and contradicted by others), might actually lower the risk of getting prostate cancer.

So how is it that masturbation remains such a complicated act in the 21st century?

And could anything have been done to help that boy in California?

A brief history of masturbation

Like so much human activity, masturbation was an uncontroversial fact of life until religion got involved. Some preChristian societies included ejaculation in their most important rituals and creation myths. But then the Roman Catholic Church came along and declared masturbation to be a "grave disorder."

Islam is equally disapproving, although some sects generously allow a little leeway if it helps a man avoid sex outside of marriage (the leeway is for men only, of course). Judaism technically forbids it, but what are you going to do?

The proscriptions stem from a view consistent across the three religions that sperm should not be wasted by being spilled outside procreation - "seed in vain" is how one Talmudic scholar put it - as well as by the worry that focusing on lust takes the mind off God. (Bans on female masturbation seem to have come as an afterthought; men saying, if we can't do it then neither can our girlfriends and wives.)

But as tempting as it is to point the finger at religion for the stigmatization of "self-abuse," the few modern writers who have investigated the history of masturbation lay an equal share of the blame on crusading Enlightenment doctors and philosophers.

Mels van Driel, a Dutch urologist and the author of the 2012 book With the Hand: A History of Masturbation, writes that an English surgeon named John Marten published a book in 1712 entitled Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self Pollution that solidified society's already dim view of the churchproscribed act. Marten claimed masturbation stunted children's growth, caused epilepsy, fainting spells and infertility, and was generally harmful to the sacred institution of matrimony. That he happened to sell some laughably dubious cures (penis ointments!) for masturbation at the end of the book was apparently lost on his followers. Onania was a bestseller that was published in countless editions and in the United States.

Later the same century, a Swiss doctor named Samuel-Auguste Tissot, who had no previous expertise in the subject, declared sperm to be a form of concentrated blood and said that spilling it was dangerous and could lead to madness (and blindness, which is where that started). He, too, produced a best-selling book.

Adding to the anti-masturbation frenzy were philosophers, including Voltaire and Immanuel Kant, who considered the act worse than killing oneself because it reduced man, who in the Age of Enlightenment was supposed to be rational, to an animal state (horses, apparently, are chronic masturbators).

"For centuries, the commandment 'thou shalt not masturbate,' which became a paradoxical fusion between the progressive spirit of the Enlightenment and conservative ecclesiastical views, held the community morally in its thrall," Prof. van Driel wrote in a piece for Huffington Post.

The Western anti-masturbation movements that peaked in the 19th century are remarkable for the impact they had on our everyday lives. The innocent little graham cracker of S'mores fame was the invention of a rabid American anti-fappiste named Sylvester Graham who thought his countrymen's love of meats and fats were the cause of their lust and, in 1829, invented a bland bread to help them combat their urges. Another "Grahamite," John Harvey Kellogg, developed an equally unappetizing breakfast cereal made from corn that he fed to patients in a sanitarium in order to quell their desires.

In the 20th century, masturbation was considered the first step in a doomed boy's descent into alcoholism, adultery and ultimate moral ruin, and called into question the character of anyone caught in the act. By the time I was a teen in the early 1970s, Alfred Kinsey and other groundbreaking researchers had already reported that 95 per cent of males masturbate, but it was still socially proscribed, seen as a weak and selfish habit, and intrinsically linked with another great evil of the day, pornography.

Boys understandably went to great lengths to cover their tracks, knowing that getting caught would result in merciless teasing by their conflicted peers and a possible visit to the pastor.

Since the sexual revolution, attitudes toward masturbation have changed in fits and starts. In 1992, the infamous "master of my domain" episode of Seinfeld broke the taboo against talking about masturbation on television.

But two years later, the U.S. Surgeon General was fired for saying young people should be taught about masturbation as a safe-sex practice. A study in 1994 revealed that 50 per cent of men and women who masturbate feel guilty about it, according to a 2002 report by Planned Parenthood entitled Masturbation: From Stigma to Sexual Health.

Today, the stigma is remarkably persistent. Type the word "masturbation" into Google and the first and only recommended result it returns is "masturbation is a sin."

Sexual dysfunction

Matthew Burdette's death is a reminder that North America doesn't get even the small things right when it comes to human sexuality. Ontario's new sex education curriculum includes an option for teachers to address masturbation with Grade 6 students when discussing puberty, but controversy over that and other aspects of the curriculum prompted the government to delay implementing it. And any U.S. Surgeon General today who advocated teaching students about masturbation would face an even bigger backlash than in 1994, thanks to the culture wars raging in that country.

In Europe, though, educators and health officials are doing things that could have made Matthew's life easier. In 2009, the U.K.'s National Health Services actually encouraged children to masturbate as a way of exploring their burgeoning sexuality and practising safe sex. The slogan on a pamphlet distributed to students was "an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away."

In the absence of even nominal public education about masturbation, what Matthew Burdette needed was some person of stature in his social circle - a teacher, or a jock, or maybe a celebrity - to step forward and admit, I do that too. In the absence of that, and if it could help other boys struggling with the fear, guilt and shame of being caught, maybe all of us men should find the courage to stand up and say, don't worry, guys, you're not alone.

Peter Scowen is an editorial writer and editor at The Globe.

'The property was used as an instrument of unlawful activity ... it simply must be sold' 'I just didn't think what was happening was right'
Robert Murray was prepared to go to trial against B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office. He is one of a growing list of critics with concerns the agency created to fight organized crime has come to have too broad a reach, Sunny Dhillon reports
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

When the first offer from B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office came in, suggesting Robert Murray could keep 20 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of his property if he gave the office the other 80 per cent, he believed the government agency was shaking him down. Mr. Murray's property near the southeastern B.C. community of Nelson had been searched by RCMP in February, 2012. He says the search, which turned up dozens of marijuana plants, violated his Charter rights because police did not have a warrant. Mr. Murray maintains he only grew for personal use.

"I just didn't think what was happening was right," he recalls.

Criminal charges were never laid, but the Civil Forfeiture Office took on the case nonetheless. The office's director last year told The Globe and Mail that 99 per cent of the people it targets settle in its favour.

Mr. Murray, who has worked as a legal assistant, was in the small group prepared to go to trial. But, in May this year, the office suddenly abandoned the file. The property had already gone into foreclosure and was sold in early April. Mr. Murray said the sale price of $150,000 meant he lost between $50,000 and $75,000 on the deal.

Mr. Murray agreed to give The Globe and Mail access to dozens of e-mails, letters and other documents about the case because he believes the civil forfeiture process is cruel and unfair. He is one of a growing list of critics with concerns the agency created to fight organized crime has come to have too broad of a reach. The documents provided by Mr. Murray offer a rare behind-the-scenes look at the civil forfeiture process. They show the office's hard-line negotiating tactics, with disagreements over settlement amounts and whether the case could proceed without a Charter hearing. The documents detail the office's firm initial belief it would win the case and - after increased media attention and a key legal defeat - its sudden retreat.

Mr. Murray remembers the anxiety he felt upon reading the August, 2012, e-mail proposing he turn over 80 per cent of proceeds. By March of this year, a lawyer from the office was asking for 10 per cent and threatening to make Mr. Murray pay high legal costs if he refused.

Instead, within weeks of that ultimatum, the office threw in the towel.

Hard bargaining

Mr. Murray asks to meet in a coffee shop, then remembers a hockey game is on and requests a move across the street to a bar.

There, he hands over a USB drive with the e-mails and documents from the case. His tone shifts throughout the conversation - at times he chuckles at what he says is the absurdity of it all, while at other points he is angered.

The first document on the drive is an e-mail thread between Mr. Murray and Johnny Van Camp, a lawyer representing the Civil Forfeiture Office. Mr. Murray wrote that he legitimately purchased the property with money from his parents' estate. He also asked to see a copy of the police file.

Mr. Van Camp, in his reply, ignored the statement about the police file and made the offer for 80 per cent of proceeds, after payment of outstanding taxes, the mortgage and realtor fees.

When Mr. Murray replied by e-mail that he would pay that amount only if ordered by a judge, Mr. Van Camp's initially cordial tone changed. He said he "reserve[d] the right to insist that further communications be made by written letter, if this correspondence becomes unnecessarily frequent or inappropriate."

Jay Solomon, a lawyer who has worked on several civil forfeiture cases but was not involved in Mr. Murray's, said an 80/20 or 75/25 split is generally the office's opening offer, though he said the office can be willing to negotiate, depending on the perceived strength of its case.

In November, 2012, Mr. Van Camp reduced the offer and said the office would be prepared to accept 60 per cent of the proceeds. He said that was based on Mr. Murray's equity level and was dependent on him accepting other conditions, including that the property be sold.

Mr. Murray, the following January, offered to pay the office $20,000. Mr. Van Camp, however, said the office wanted $50,000.

The next month he reduced the desired amount to $40,000, though it is not clear why.

By April an agreement still had not been reached and Mr. Van Camp became more forceful.

"If we cannot come to an agreement in the manner proposed by April 15, 2013, my firm instructions are that the deal is off and to set down a hearing for an interim preservation order and immediate conduct of sale," Mr. Van Camp wrote. He underlined the word "firm." Mr. Van Camp did not respond to an e-mail containing questions about the case and the civil forfeiture process in general. A government spokesman said the office could not comment on the individual case or negotiations.

By September, the Civil Forfeiture Office had lowered its request to $25,000. But, by that point, Mr. Murray was unwilling to accept any deal. His lawyer, Christopher Maddock, informed the office his client wanted to see what happened in another civil forfeiture case involving Charter issues, that of David Lloydsmith.

Mr. Lloydsmith's home had been searched by police without a warrant. The search had also turned up marijuana plants.

Dirk Ryneveld, another lawyer representing the Civil Forfeiture Office, wrote Mr. Maddock that it would be inappropriate to wait on another case and said discovery of Mr. Murray should begin in October. The case, however, would linger.

In February, B.C.'s highest court dismissed the office's appeal against Mr. Lloydsmith.

Mr. Murray had assumed the ruling would bode well for his chances but, in late March, Mr. Ryneveld e-mailed to say the office wanted to settle the case for $10,000. If Mr. Murray did not agree, Mr. Ryneveld wrote, a bifurcation application - to split the proceedings in two and hear the argument about the alleged Charter violations first - could begin in June.

"This is a final offer, and should it not be accepted, I would be willing to discuss mutually available dates in June for your bifurcation argument," the e-mail read. "If this offer is rejected, my instructions are to proceed on the basis that we would be seeking costs."

Instead, the office dropped the case against Mr. Murray. It had already abandoned its pursuit of the property belonging to Mr. Lloydsmith.

Seized coin collection

Mr. Murray was not the only one to have something seized after the February, 2012, police search of his property. Bill Pundick, a pensioner, had been living in a separate cabin on Mr. Murray's property. Mr. Pundick's decadesold coin collection, valued at $9,251, would also be seized.

Blair Suffredine, Mr. Pundick's lawyer and a former member of the B.C. Liberal government who has equated the office's conduct at times to bullying, e-mailed Mr. Van Camp to say the money should never have been seized.

"I have evidence in the form of credit union receipts to show that my client cashed his pension cheque each month and received cash. He made a practice of checking each bill against his catalogues and keeping any that he felt might have greater value [than] on their face. ... The funds you have are simply not proceeds of unlawful activity. They are his pension income," Mr. Suffredine wrote in August, 2012.

But the money was not returned until after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled it should not have been seized. The judge, in the June, 2013, ruling, said it was clear the money was lawfully obtained.

Micheal Vonn, policy director with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said it has long heard concerns similar to those laid out in the e-mails.

"We have always been concerned about people's ability to effectively address these demands," she said in an interview. "... This is a civil court proceeding that almost never gets to court. It's all of this negotiation with the Civil Forfeiture Office. ... What we're seeing is many people capitulate without any form of really effective adjudication."

Mr. Murray said he still gets angry when he reads the documents, particularly the one with that initial 80/20 offer.

"They made it sound like they were doing me this great favour," he said.


November, 2003 Ontario becomes the first Canadian province to open a civil forfeiture office.

March 7, 2005 Solicitor-general Rich Coleman announces B.C. will begin "hitting back at organized crime" through civil forfeiture legislation.

April 20, 2006 B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Act comes into effect.

Nov. 9, 2007 Solicitor-general John Les announces the province has seized the Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo.

May 4, 2011 Solicitor-general Shirley Bond announces B.C. will become the first province in the country to introduce "administrative forfeiture." The process makes it easier to seize property worth less than $75,000.

July, 2014 B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office has taken in approximately $47million in property since it opened. The Ontario office has taken in $43.4-million.

Associated Graphic

A letter sent to the lawyer for Robert Murray on Jan. 23, 2013. The letter, sent by a lawyer for B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office, rejects an offer from Mr. Murray to settle the contentious civil case for $20,000. The office's lawyer counters with an offer for $50,000. The office abandoned the case this past May.

The St. Lawrence River has a magic that deserves a special kind of pilgrimage. Having travelled its shorelines for years, Sarah Hampson maps a trail replete with charm, history, romance and even a sercret garden
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T1

BAIE-SAINT-PAUL, QUE. -- I tell you this story with hesitation. And I tell it happily, too. It is about a place I know well; one that is full of curious equivocations; somewhere half serene, half rugged, on the lip of a body of water that is half river, half sea. I think everyone should know about it for it holds so much beauty, so much Canadian history, but then again, another part of me wishes people might stay away, so it will remain a secret.

And yet it's a secret only to the modern world, because in an older one, it was well known; famous, even. It was where many in the 19th and early 20th centuries went to find their recreation and traditions of summer, partly because the river - in this case, the St. Lawrence River - was nature's easy, wide-open highway that took passengers to hundreds of special places along its shores. I often think of the St. Lawrence as a deep incision into the body of the land, exposing its innards, all its idiosyncrasies and unexpected treasures. But that description is only half-right - true geographically, but not in its suggestion of violence. In this part of the province of Quebec, bounded by the St. Lawrence, where it is wide like the sea, there is only tranquility.

I refer to this region as the Gaspé. But that, too, is not quite correct. The Gaspé, officially, is on the south shore of the river, a large peninsula east of the Matapédia Valley in Quebec that extends out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But I'm going to cheat a little bit, and write about the beauty of travelling along both the north and south sides of the St. Lawrence. It is not to say that the Gaspé Peninsula itself is not worth your entire concentration. There are many beautiful destinations along its rim - Pointe-à-la-Renommée and, of course, Percé at the tip, with its famous sheer rock formation just offshore, "pierced" by one of the world's largest natural arches. That route along the remote shoreline is a vacation in itself, stopping to camp or stay in a bed-and-breakfast - called a gîte in French - as you make your way around to Chaleur Bay, bringing you to the northern end of New Brunswick.

But the St. Lawrence River has a magic that deserves a special kind of pilgrimage. And the best place to start is in Quebec City - just beyond which the river becomes tidal. A wonderful hotel there is Auberge Saint-Antoine, a place in the Old Port area. Named the Top City Hotel in Canada in Travel + Leisure's 2012 World's Best Awards, the hotel is part museum, with fragments of artifacts from an archeological dig on the site displayed in artful, kaleidoscopic arrangements throughout the property, parts of which date to the end of the 17th century. Think thick stone walls and crisp fresh linens, a glorious immersion in the past and present.

From here, stay on the north shore of the St. Lawrence and enjoy a drive that rivals that of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. The north shore is all steep, forested hills and stunning views. This Charlevoix region is a treat for foodies with lots of local cheeses, foie gras and specialties such as banana goat-cheese pie. Stop in Baie-Saint-Paul, where Cirque du Soleil had its start with local buskers during a summer festival. The village is charming. Stay for lunch in a bistro and take the time to stroll through the village to check out all the fineart galleries. Some are aimed at the tourist; others cater to discerning art lovers.

Further along the shore is La Malbaie, or Murray Bay, once a fashionable summer resort for the elite who would travel down the river from Montreal in grand steamships to stay in the Manoir Richelieu, a big castle-like hotel overlooking the water.

I would avoid staying there now, as it is disappointingly sterile and frequented mostly by tourists interested in the casino next door. It has the architecture of another time but the atmosphere of a bus stop. Better to find a small place such as the nearby Auberge des 3 Canards, where the rooms are simple, the view divine and the food delicious. If you plan well ahead - and you should - you can organize a visit to Les Quatre Vents gardens, which have been described as "the most aesthetically satisfying and horticulturally exciting landscape experiences in North America," as well as "Canada's best secret garden."

It was developed by the late Francis Cabot, a legend among gardeners who was born in New York but spent his summers on the family estate outside La Malbaie. Originally part of a French seigneury dating to the 1700s, the gardens cover more than eight hectares but are only open to the public about four times a summer. Tickets go on sale online in the winter. Act fast, because they sell out quickly to garden enthusiasts eager to tour the grounds, which are high up on a hill and famous for their framed vistas, intimate spaces and whimsical follies, incorporating ideas from Japanese and English landscapes - a white garden inspired by Vita Sackville-West's creation at Sissinghurst in England - and even India's Taj Mahal.

Continue on the north shore all the way to Tadoussac, passing over the Saguenay River on a short car-ferry ride when the highway abruptly stops at the water's edge. And here, well, all I can say is that there are times when you travel that you can prepare yourself for beauty.

There you are, a disparate group of image-snappers gazing at the Doge's Palace in Venice in the gentle morning light. But then there are times when the beauty you come upon is so unexpected it's like a drug - bringing on a sudden altered state, outside of normal experience. I felt that way, standing with my back to the parked cars and trucks on a simple ferry, looking out to an otherworldly scene of steep cliff, water, sky. I knew that whales cavorted beneath me and, at one time, French fur traders pushed into the interior along the river in their fragile canoes. I was between sky and sea and earth and time.

Tadoussac dates to the 1600s as a trading post, and in the 1850s it, too, became a fashionable place to summer, for people travelling from Quebec or Montreal via steamship. It's worth staying here - the Hôtel Tadoussac is a family-friendly landmark with its red roof and dormer windows - to enjoy biking and whale-watching trips. The next day, continue northeast to Forestville - its origins are not hard to fathom - to catch the ferry across to Rimouski on the south shore. You have to book your passage ahead of time online for all the ferries that traverse the St. Lawrence. I have crossed the river at several points, but I like this one best. The wharf is in the middle of nowhere. And crossing the river is like a ride on horseback, bumpy and wild and invigorating. If you're lucky, you might see a whale breach, which the captain calls out, "Baleine!"

Once on the south shore, in the Gaspé, there are two directions to go. Travel further east about an hour to Grand-Métis to visit the world-renowned Reford Gardens, where an annual garden festival showcases innovative creations by landscape designers from around the world. Carry on to Métis-sur-Mer to check out Café sur Mer, a happening place in a sleepy hamlet, where French Canadians and Anglo summer residents come together for tea dances, literary events and art shows - and to buy lovely pottery, homedecor items and folk art. There is also a small, comfortable inn in the village, Auberge du Grand Fleuve, which has a popular gourmet restaurant.

Heading back to Quebec City, make time to spend a night in Le Bic, another summering spot from the 19th century. I think of it as St. Lucia of the north with its small pitons and gorgeous views over the water. A few years ago, we found a cozy place to stay, Auberge du Mange Grenouille, which is decorated in colourful, quirky taste - a true delight. Sit on the deck with a glass of wine and enjoy a wonderful dinner in their restaurant. This place was a great find. There's a cute shop as well with local items.

As you leave to return to Quebec City, don't think your journey has ended, because this southern shoreline is almost the best part of the trip. It is fairly flat here - good for cyclists - and the tides provide endless fascination, pulling back like a blanket from a sleeping body, revealing all - mounds of rock, tresses of frilly seaweed, taut, glistening sandbars.

This is the river that seduced our country's discoverers, drawing them in; that brought prosperity and provided transportation; that offered leisure and recreation; and that still, even now, carries you away to a place that is here and now and past and lost.

Associated Graphic

The tranquillity of the St. Lawrence River, nature's wide-open highway that has delivered passengers to hundreds of special places along its shores, makes you appreciate the here and now.


Soak in the scenery at Bic provincial park (left) and admire the work of Marcel Gagnon at his riverside inn/gallery in Sainte-Flavie.


More forest fires on the horizon
Climate change and a buildup of debris mean B.C. will endure larger, longer and more frequent blazes
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Few people know better than Lori Daniels that the pillars of dark smoke rising over the forests of British Columbia this summer are going to increase in both frequency and intensity in the future.

The University of B.C. associate professor knows that in part because of what she sees looking into the deep past, studying the fire scars left on trees as far back as 700 years ago when the Black Death was sweeping through Europe and the Ming Dynasty was beginning in China.

"In our Cranbrook [research] area we have fire records back to the 1300s," she said, referring to the data being gathered from tree rings.

Now, driven by climate change and fuelled by a stockpile of debris, the forests of B.C. are headed for another period of frequent fires.

But this time around they will be more intense and the fire season will be two months longer, according to one Natural Resources Canada study that looked at the impact of climate change on forests.

Part of the problem in the future lies in the past. Drawing on samples collected from nearly 250 research sites in the Cariboo, Okanagan and East Kootenay regions, Prof. Daniels and her team have received "a strong, repeated message" that fires centuries ago were more frequent.

Her research shows that surface fires were flashing through forests once every 25 to 40 years. In some areas, there were fires every 10 years.

"And then a very interesting pattern emerges regardless of where we are [gathering data]," Prof. Daniels said. "The fire scars stopped about a century ago."

She attributes the change partly to a period of cooler, damper weather, but largely to the arrival of settlers.

"There were many changes to the forest that came with that. In part, land clearing," she said, "and also with settlements we would have had First Nations being excluded from the landscape ... so they were no longer using the land in a traditional way or it was changing where and when they were using fire as a management tool."

Aboriginal people used to set fires to promote the growth of berry plants and to clear grazing areas for elk, deer and moose.

But the biggest impact Europeans had, Prof. Daniels said, was the introduction of forest firefighting. As settlements grew and the importance of logging to the economy increased, the government became increasingly efficient at suppressing fires.

"We made a decision decades ago that fire had only negative effects on the forests and we valued the forests for economic reasons ... so we made a huge effort to suppress fires and we have been very successful," she said.

"The numbers from the Ministry of Forests tell us 97 per cent of fires are put out before they reach four hectares in size. And over many decades that's had a cumulative effect and certainly that's reflected in that lack of fire scars in the 20th century."

But the success of firefighting created more risk. Without regular fires, fuel built up on the forest floor.

"When there's high frequency of fires, every 10, 20, even 40 years, that means in a human lifetime there would have been three or four fires repeated in the forest around them. And those fires would have burned off leaf litter and needles and fine fuels that accumulate on the ground ... But in absence of those fires the fuels accumulate and ... you get the conditions for a much more severe fire," she said. "And so there's the big paradox - by trying to protect ourselves from surface fires we've created conditions ... for big severe fires."

When fires get going in a forest where fuel has been stockpiled, they can quickly get out of control, as they have increasingly in B.C. They have sometimes become so big, so fast that even the best fire teams can't stop them. In Kelowna in 2003, a fire swept over Okanagan Mountain, destroying 25,000 hectares of forest before jumping fire lines, forcing the evacuation of more than 27,000 people and burning 239 homes.

Fires of that intensity are going to be more common in the future said Prof. Daniels, because climate change is making the already dangerous forest more vulnerable. "If I look to the past and try to see what we've learned and then look to the future, there's a few patterns that emerge. One is that ... fires burn during drought years," she said.

And droughts will become more common because of climate change, which has already caused the average temperature to climb by 1.7 C in B.C., with a up to a 4 C increase predicted over the next 100 years.

Climate change means moreprecipitation in some areas, but it has reduced winter snow packs and is producing drier springs and longer summer droughts.

Prof. Daniels said droughts in B.C. are driven by oceanic conditions such as El Nino, which brings warmer water up from the South Pacific. El Nino events have become more frequent and more intense off the West Coast since 1980. All of that sets the stage for more and bigger fires.

"Climate change models ... tell us ... what used to be extreme [is] what we're moving toward in terms of what might become our average," Prof. Daniels said.

Mike Wotton, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, says studies over the past 20 years show that climate change will have a dramatic impact across the country - but especially in B.C.

One study he did, which broke the country into six zones from West to East, suggests that the fire season will be extended on average by 30 days nationally by 2040, except in B.C. where it will be 50 days longer.

Mr. Wotton isn't sure why B.C. will be the hardest hit, but topography and the influence of El Nino events on regional weather are key factors.

There is no question, he says, that climate change is increasing the fire risk. Simply put, longer periods of warmer weather will quickly dry out the forests, making them more susceptible to lightning strikes or humancaused fires.

"We do not intend to suggest that increased fire season length and the accompanying increase in forest fire occurrence and severity would be catastrophic for the Canadian forest," wrote Mr.

Wotton and his co-author Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta. "However, increases in the severity of fires and in fireoccurrence frequency, and thus fire load, could make forest management a more difficult task.

From a fire protection and suppression point of view, this could translate into significantly increased resource commitment by firefighting agencies."

This week B.C. has more than 3,000 firefighters on the ground, including 350 from other provinces. B.C. has allocated $161-million to fight fires this year, up from the $134-million in 2013 but less than the 10-year average of about $170-million. If the fire season extends by 50 days, it could add hundreds of millions of dollars to the annual bill.

In an interview Mr. Wotton said the changes over the next 30 years will be relatively small compared with what will happen by the end of the century.

Over the next 85 years, climate change models predict "an increase [in fire occurrence] on average for the nation of 75-100 per cent. So almost doubling the numbers," he says.

Prof. Daniels said it is clear British Columbians will have to do a better job of living with the threat of forest fires. That calls for more prescribed burns, to mimic the frequent surface fires of the past and clear out fuel. It also means more fires should be left to burn, when they don't threaten infrastructure or valuable resources, which is a policy recently adopted by B.C. And it means communities have to work continuously to clear away fuel building up in nearby forests.

"We have the fuels present and we have the right weather conditions ... to dry out the fuels that put us at risk," she said. "I know people in Kelowna after 2003 ... thought of that fire as a once-ina-lifetime event. Maybe an important message to get across to British Columbians is ... That was the new norm."


Assess the "ignition zone," land within 30 to 100 metres of any structures.

Clear away any build-up of pine needles and leaves in that area.

Create a three-metre-wide, non-combustible zone on all sides of the home.

Keep trees and shrubs pruned and spaced far enough apart to slow the spread of fire.

"Limb up" trees around the house by removing branches within 2.5 metres of ground.

Keep lawns irrigated.

Use non-flammable roofing materials.

Ensure chimneys for all wood-burning appliances are screened so sparks can't escape.

FireSmart Canada

Associated Graphic

A man relaxes in a park and other spectators lean on a fence while helicopters drop water on a burning hillside in West Kelowna, B.C., last week.


An air tanker drops fire retardant on a blaze in West Kelowna, B.C., last week. This week B.C. has more than 3,000 forest firefighters on the ground.


The West Kelowna blaze spreads down hillsides on July 18, forcing more than 2,500 residents to flee their homes.

A helicopter battling the West Kelowna blaze replenishes its water supply from Shannon Lake before heading back to the hills.

Airdrie, Calgary struggle with grim puzzle
Neighbours of alleged killer Douglas Garland say he has always been an enigma, while many close to the three victims remain in shock
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

CALGARY -- Surrounded by large yellow fields of fragrant canola and patches of swaying green wheat, the faded sign at the end of Range Road 291 reads "Rural Crime Watch Area."

To long-time residents, the sign always seemed out of place on this farming road in southern Alberta, at the edge of the quiet bedroom community of Airdrie.

Everyone on Range Road 291 knows and helps one another.

This is an area ruled by tradition and hard work, where neighbours share coffee over wellworn kitchen tables. Descendants of the five families that first settled the area a century ago still meet at Christmas annually.

Near the edge of the road, where asphalt gives way to gravel that continues to the horizon, Archie and Doreen Garland have owned a large acreage for more than 40 years. A tree-lined lane runs to their home from the road, with rusted and sagging barbed wire strung across the front of their property. This has been home to their family for decades.

However, to neighbours who know everything about each other, the couple's son was always an enigma.

Douglas Garland, 54, was considered quiet, a loner. He was never seen at the bank, at local bars or shopping at the supermarket. Where most locals would honk and wave as they drove past, Doug would stare straight ahead through the steering wheel of his green Ford F-150.

"They're great neighbours, everyone likes them," says Jim Nevada, a retired chuckwagon racer who lives nearby. "But no one can tell you anything about Doug except his parents. There is a big blank at the end of the road and no one can fill it, not even the neighbours."

Life on Range Road 291 changed forever at 1:30 a.m. on July 14. The quiet street was awash with flashing lights that night as neighbours said Mr. Garland crossed two open fields and was arrested on the porch of the home behind his family's property.

Two RCMP cars now sit at the end of the Garlands' laneway and could be there for weeks. Every slough, ditch, field and corral in the immediate area has been picked through as police search for the bodies of five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes.

Calgary police charged Mr. Garland with two counts of firstdegree murder and one count of second-degree murder the day after his arrest. Investigators believe the reclusive man is responsible for an act of violence on a sleepy street a half hour to the south in Calgary.

Over the last weekend of June, hundreds streamed through the front door of the blue-grey clapboard house at 123 38A Avenue in Calgary - the Liknes home. One of the many vehicles to park near the house, police would later reveal, belonged to Mr. Garland, whose sister, Patti, was in a common-law relationship with Alvin and Kathryn Liknes's son Allen.

Why he may have visited the Liknes home around the end of June remains a mystery and the subject of theories in Calgary and the town of Airdrie.

Over the weekend before they disappeared, the Likneses held an estate sale that had been publicized online. More than 200 people walked through their home and bought much of what they owned. The grandparents were moving to Edmonton and wanted to downsize.

The Liknes home is in Parkhill, a small enclave of only a few streets tucked between one of southwest Calgary's main arterial roads, the Macleod Trail, and the Elbow River.

The area is a mix of homes only a few minutes from downtown.

At one end of short 38A Avenue, bare-chested locals cut the grass in front of their tract housing in mid-July, leaving the fresh smell hanging over the area. Only a short walk to the west, an ultramodern mansion with an imposing security system sits by the river.

Tracy, who preferred to withhold her last name, was a local resident who stopped by the Liknes's estate sale, leaving Friday evening with her eye on a set of dressers. Her boyfriend returned the next morning to haggle over the price.

"I spoke with [Ms. Liknes]. She seemed happy, telling us about how they were going to move and take a trip somewhere," she said.

According to the woman, Mr. Liknes wasn't very visible during the sale. When her boyfriend returned the next morning, he also spoke only with Ms. Liknes.

On Sunday, five-year-old Nathan came over to help his grandparents with the sale and spent the night. With blond hair and a cherub face, Nathan was wearing peach-coloured shorts that day, along with a blue hoodie. He was constantly reminding his grandmother to thank people who purchased items.

Police investigators have called the many layers of this case "strange." It's a once-in-a-career mystery, they say, with little information on Mr. Garland except a series of court documents stretching to the early 1990s, few friends and stumped neighbours.

Records start in 1992 when Mr. Garland was arrested for making amphetamines at his family's farm. Instead of appearing in court, he fled to Vancouver where he adopted the name Matthew Kemper Hartley, taken from a 14-year-old who had been killed in a car accident in the 1980s.

With the new identity, he worked in a series of laboratories until the RCMP eventually caught him. In 2000, Mr. Garland was sentenced to 39 months in jail for operating the drug lab.

Police say there may have been "bad blood" between Mr. Garland and Mr. Liknes due to a patent dispute over a pump that could extract gas from wells thought to be dry. Both men may have also shared investments that went badly.

Mr. Liknes's business history shows a series of failures. His latest venture went bankrupt only weeks before he went missing.

According to Winter Petroleum's former chief operating officer, the firm had been a mess before going under. Former employees and creditors lost money.

No one has seen Nathan or his grandparents since that Sunday.

The next morning, Jennifer O'Brien came by the home to pick up her son. No one was home and things were not as they should have been. According to police, there were signs the three didn't leave willingly. Something had been dragged from a side door to the driveway, leaving a dark trail.

Police posted an Amber Alert that Monday, June 30, which was displayed across Calgary, including on the electronic billboards over Highway 2 linking Calgary and Airdrie.

On Wednesday, Ms. O'Brien made a public appeal for her son's safe return, as well as that of his grandparents. "You're all superheroes," she said, flanked by her six-year-old Luke, and one-year-old Maximus.

By Friday, police were calling Mr. Garland a "person of interest." Footage taken from the Parkhill neighbourhood placed his green truck in the area around June 29. Mr. Garland was arrested that day for unrelated reasons. He would be released a week later.

Throughout early July, police searched the fields around the Garland family home. Teams also picked through Calgary's municipal dumps. The searches continued until July 13. Mr. Garland was arrested very early the next day on the porch in Airdrie. On July 15, Mr. Garland was charged with three counts of murder.

That evening, hundreds of green balloons were launched from Calgary as part of a vigil for the missing three.

There is now a rolling vigil outside the Liknes home as families visit through the day, adding teddy bears, flowers and toys to a growing memorial on the parched lawn.

Standing in front of the collection, mothers explain to their daughters what has happened and what they are looking at.

Fathers bring balloons and notes.

On a piece of pink paper, a child has written out the Lord's Prayer for Nathan. Some drop their offerings and walk away quickly; others stay and speak with other strangers who have come from across Calgary to pay their respects.

There are two boxes with green ribbons outside the home. Large and small, homemade and storebought, the ribbons are everywhere in the Parkhill neighbourhood of Calgary. The green symbolizes missing children.

Many neighbours are still struggling with what happened.

"It's still too hard," says one, declining to provide her name.

Several others responded in the same way.

John Monteiro and his wife, Anna, have lived in Calgary for 35 years. "I guess there is nothing we can do now," Mr. Monteiro says as he leaves the Liknes's lawn. "I just can't believe someone would do this to a five-yearold, an innocent."

Mr. Monteiro and his wife walk near the Liknes home daily. They brought balloons and flowers, with the added touch of ice cubes to help the flowers cope with heat that was nearly in the 40s.

Ms. Monteiro says she wants to stop by the home daily. Her neighbour knew the family and she sees a mirror of her life in that of the Likneses'. She has seven grandchildren and a similar home in a similar neighbourhood nearby.

"I'm scared," she says. "I live with my husband and have grandchildren just like they did. This could happen to anyone, this could happen to us."

Associated Graphic

Flowers and gifts left by well-wishers sit at the home of missing Calgary grandparents Kathryn and Alvin Liknes on Thursday.


Mighty brain helped avert Apollo 13 tragedy
Professor led a group of six Toronto scientists that came up with a solution for the damaged spacecraft's re-entry
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

It was not supposed to happen. When Apollo 13, the third manned mission intended to land on the moon, took off from the Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, no one imagined that after minutely detailed planning, testing and preparation it would have to be aborted just two days later because of an exploding oxygen tank.

The explosion had crippled the service module where water, food and oxygen were stored, but luckily some additional supplies were available in the lunar module, which became the crew's life raft. The lunar module was needed as long as possible, but then had to be jettisoned. But how?

The U.S. contractor Grumman Aerospace Corp., which had built the lunar module for NASA, put in a call for help to the University of Toronto, where they knew there was a wide range of engineering expertise.

That a tragedy was averted was in large part due to a team of engineers at the university - led by Bernard Etkin as the senior scientist - who stepped in at the crucial moment with nothing more than their slide rules and powerful brains.

Prof. Etkin, usually called Ben, died at the Baycrest Centre in Toronto on June 26, at the age of 96. He had begun as a young lecturer in aeronautical engineering in 1942 at the University of Toronto and never really retired.

"He was a giant in Canadian science and engineering," said Gabriele d'Eleuterio, a professor at the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and one of his former students.

"Ben Etkin was one of the best scientists the university ever had," said his colleague Rod Tennyson, who had been a member of the six-man team convened on April 16, 1970, to figure out how to push the lunar module off from the command module to which it was attached so that the command module could re-enter the Earth's atmosphere unimpeded.

If the moon landing had succeeded, the lunar module would have been left behind and no such problem would have arisen.

Without the service module, the crew were suffering from carbon dioxide buildup and dropping temperatures, "but the big problem was 'Okay, guys, how do we get rid of this lunar module prior to re-entry?' "recalled Prof. Tennyson. "That was the basis of the call. There was only a day left before they had to do something; there wasn't much time."

A small tunnel connected the modules. "The tunnel had a hatch in it, and if they closed the hatch and pressurized the tunnel, they would explosively separate the lunar module, then blow it away from the command module just prior to reentry," explained Prof. Tennyson.

"They didn't want the lunar module to come tumbling after them."

The pressure required had to be precisely calculated. "Too high, and it might damage the hatch and the astronauts will burn up because they won't be sealed in the spacecraft. Too low, and the lunar module would not get separated enough from the command module.

"We had maybe six hours to make the calculations, and in those days we didn't have numerical models or computers," Prof. Tennyson remembered.

The Toronto six (it included also professors Barry French, Philip Sullivan, Peter Hughes, a specialist in orbital mechanics, and another senior scientist, Irvine Glass, a specialist in shock waves) assumed that they were not the only ones sweating over the slide rules.

They believed that others were working on the same calculations, perhaps at MIT or Caltech.

"The guy from Grumman never told us that we were the only ones he had asked. We found out later when he sent us a thank-you letter. It kind of shook us," Prof. Tennyson said.

The calculation they came up with was relayed by Grumman to NASA, and from there to the astronauts. It worked perfectly.

You won't find the U of T engineers in Apollo 13, the movie about this nail-biting event, starring Tom Hanks; perhaps the image of these six modest Canadians with their slide rules does not fit heroic American stereotypes.

It took 40 years for their roles to be publicly recognized and for one of the astronauts, Fred Haise, to thank them personally.

In 2010, the still-living members of the group were honoured with medals by the Canadian Air and Space Museum. Mr. Haise spoke at the presentation.

Bernard Etkin was born May 7, 1918, one of five children and only son of poor Jewish immigrants from Belarus, a contested land north of Ukraine. His parents Samuel and Mary Etkin (originally spelled Itkin) ran a small cleaning and tailoring business until they lost it during the Depression. Young Ben, a top student, had to drop out to go to work to support the family; he completed high school via night classes. His adoring sisters, by then out in the working world, helped pay for his tuition when he entered U of T and obtained an honours degree in engineering physics in 1941. A master's degree in aeronautical engineering followed, then a doctorate from Carleton University in Ottawa.

At 21, he was a counsellor at Camp Yungvelt, a summer camp in Pickering, when he met Maya Kasselman, then 16. "He was playing chess and my mother walked by and said, 'Are you sure you want to make that move?' "said his son, David Etkin. They married five years later; a daughter, Carol, came along in 1946, followed by David in 1949.

Bernard Etkin liked to build model airplanes and gliders with his children and pose science problems at the dinner table, challenging his kids to solve them by dinner the following day.

But it was Maya (a family therapist) who mainly raised the children, while Prof. Etkin's academic career took off. He became a professor at UTIAS, chairman of Engineering Science (1967-72) and dean of the university's Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, the largest in the country. Even as dean, he taught first-year students, who found him endlessly encouraging and kind.

"My father exemplified the best qualities of a scholar. He had no ego," recalls his son. "He was pre-eminent in his field but extremely humble. He was an enabler of other people, especially his students."

At UTIAS he designed and built a large wind tunnel where he tested the effects of air movement on buildings, among other things. In the 1960s, when the new Toronto City Hall was to be built, he was invited to provide input on how well the two wings of the boomerangshaped structure would stand up to strong winds, and found that they needed to be more strongly anchored.

Prof. Etkin held 11 patents, including one for a novel way to stabilize a satellite and another for a particle separator.

He wrote the standard textbook Dynamics of Flight, which has gone through four editions since 1959 and is still in use today in English and other languages.

He produced a string of papers on aerodynamics for learned journals, consulted to industry on everything from the stability of airplanes, the design of heliports and the reduction of subway noise and vibration, to the most reliable windshieldwiper design.

He was showered with honours, including an Order of Canada in 2003 and an honorary degree from Carleton University, and was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He was invited to lecture in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Israel, where he was on board of governors of Ben Gurion University and Technion university.

Troubled by global warming, he published his last scientific article at the age of 92 in the Journal of Climate Change.

According to his son, Prof. Etkin graphed CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere against global average temperatures over a span of 420,000 years (he used data derived from ice cores taken from Antarctic glaciers) to demonstrate that the two are now out of whack in a way that is historically unprecedented.

In their final years, Maya and Ben Etkin lived in a retirement home in Toronto. Prof. Etkin's last patent, which he was working on not long before his death, was inspired by a friend who sat at his table there.

This gentleman had Parkinson's disease, which caused his arm to jerk upward uncontrollably. "My father thought there must a mechanical way to reduce the degrees of movement, and came up with a sleeve fitted with plates, and lined with stretch fabric," recalled daughter Carol. He sent his design to be refined and patented by an engineer he knew in China.

Bernard Etkin died after a short illness of mantle cell lymphoma, which chiefly affects men over 60.

His wife had died in October. Mr. Etkin leaves his daughter, son and two grandchildren.

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Associated Graphic

Ben Etkin also held 11 patents, was showered with honours, wrote the standard textbook Dynamics of Flight and produced a string of papers on aerodynamics for learned journals.

From left, Phil Sullivan, Rod Tennyson, Irvine Glass, Barry French and Ben Etkin were five of the six scientists who helped safely bring the damaged Apollo 13 back down to Earth.


Aviator blazed a trail for other women
Canadian delivered military aircraft during the Second World War, later becoming a flight instructor and bush pilot in Ontario
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

In the spring of 1944, when the Allied forces were preparing for the invasion of Normandy, the job of transporting aircraft to strategic spots along the south coast of Britain fell to members of a little-known civilian group called the Air Transport Auxiliary. Many of the planes, which would provide vital air support on D-Day, were flown by women such as Violet Milstead Warren, then a 24-year-old Canadian with unshakeable confidence at the controls.

She was a petite woman, at just over five feet tall, and male pilots would mock-faint when they saw her climb out of the cockpit while delivering planes. None of the Allied air forces had female pilots at the time.

"For women to fly military aircraft was extremely revolutionary," Joyce Spring, an expert on female aviators, said in the CBC Television documentary Women of WWII: Spitfires in the rhododendrons. The women who flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary blazed a trail, doing what no women had done before, Ms. Spring said.

Getting the planes from British factories to the squadrons often meant navigating through unfamiliar terrain or bad weather while watching for barrage balloons or enemy aircraft incursions. After landing each Spitfire during the D-Day buildup, Ms.

Warren recalled in the documentary, she had to conceal the aircraft, sometimes in an orchard, among a grove of trees, or under some rhododendrons, until it was needed.

A huge responsibility rested on her slender shoulders and she carried it with aplomb, eventually earning a slew of honours, including the Amelia Earhart medal, the Rusty Blakey Award and induction into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. She was named to the Order of Canada in 2004.

To celebrate her 85th birthday, her friend and biographer Marilyn Dickson took her out for a plane ride. The octogenarian confidently took control and did most of the flying. Ms. Warren was 94 when she died on June 27 at her home in Colborne, Ont.

Her passion for flying had begun seven decades earlier when a novice pilot buzzed the field one day while she was in the stands watching a high-school football game in Toronto. The sight of that plane gave her a rush that she never forgot. She decided then that she would fly. Her meticulous logbooks chronicle a life in flight that saw her progress from studying aviation as a teenager to ferrying fighter planes during the war to navigating through the bush of Northern Ontario (the first woman to do so, by most accounts) to teaching journalist June Callwood and scores of others how to pilot an aircraft.

"I felt alive in a way I had never before imagined," she told Shirley Render, author of No Place For a Lady: The Story of Canadian Women Pilots 1928-1992. "Flying, as a vocation, is in a class by itself. It is the very greatest. It affords satisfactions - intangible ones - available in no other line of work and, after the hangar doors are closed, fellowships of the finest and most enduring kind."

Violet Milstead was born to Harold and Edith Milstead on Oct. 17, 1919, and grew up in Toronto. Her father was a carpenter and to help make ends meet during the Depression, her mother opened a wool shop at Yonge Street and St.

Clair Avenue. She pulled 15-yearold Vi out of school, against the girl's wishes, to help in the store, Ms. Dickson says. Once Vi had caught the flying bug, the wool shop became a way to save up money for flying lessons while she took night classes in flight theory, navigation and meteorology. She took her first flying lesson on Sept. 4, 1939, and had her pilot's licence before Christmas.

Her commercial licence followed in the spring. When she received her instructor's rating in July, 1941, she was one of only five Canadian women to do so before the end of the war.

She taught flying for a time, but as the war heated up, gas rationing put an end to civilian flight in November, 1942, so when Ms. Warren heard of the Air Transport Auxiliary, she and her friend and fellow pilot Marion Orr signed up and sailed to Britain in the spring of 1943. Only two other Canadian women were admitted to the elite organization. The ATA's contingent of pilots - totalling 166 women and 1,152 men - consisted of those who were ineligible for military service because they were disabled, too old or female.

Required to fly a variety of different aircraft, the pilots often had to consult a manual before takeoff to figure out how to use the cockpit controls, which could vary widely from one model to the next. During her service with the ATA, Ms. Warren logged 600 hours while flying 47 types of planes, themselves divided into 74 different versions. Sometimes she had to perch on a parachute sack or her black leather overnight bag just to see the controls.

"Vi was an inspiration to any young woman because of her ability to fit into a male world and retain a sort of femininity," said novelist Jane Urquhart, a neighbour and distant relative of Ms. Warren. "She never paused for a moment to think that she couldn't do it." Despite the obstacles she overcame, or perhaps because of them, Ms. Warren often said that wartime was the highlight of her life. "They were thrilling, nervetingling days," she said in Ms. Render's book.

She would often share stories about her wartime experiences, and particularly the challenge of navigating visually, using landmarks. "They would have to follow rivers or fences," Ms. Urquhart said. "She said once that she followed Hadrian's Wall getting from Point A to Point B. I found that kind of flying by sight and her recalling of it to be almost literary in a way, and of course that appealed to me enormously."

She was discharged in the fall of 1945 and returned to Canada, finding a job as a flight instructor with Leavens Brothers Air Services at Toronto's Barker Field, where she had learned to fly. One of her students there was Ms. Callwood, who profiled her in a magazine, calling her, "Canada's most competent female airline pilot," and asserting that "she would rather fly than eat, drink or be married."

The young flight instructor changed her mind about that final point, however, when she met Arnold Warren, a fellow pilot and co-worker, and the two set off on a life together.

After a couple of years at Barker's Field, they left to take jobs in Sudbury with Nickel Belt Airways. Doing a mix of instructing and charters, Ms. Warren would fly planes on floats in summer and on skis in winter, according to The Sky's the Limit: Canadian Women Bush Pilots, a book by Ms. Spring.

She was happy flying deep into the bush, although navigating there was difficult, as she had become accustomed to flying over built-up areas and no longer had structures such as Hadrian's Wall to help her. Although there are competing claims as to who was Canada's first female bush pilot, both Ms. Spring and Ms. Dickson insist that Ms. Warren was the first.

When Nickel Belt Airways fell on hard times, the couple were forced to find work elsewhere, first at a flying club in Windsor, then in Indonesia, where Mr. Warren was an aviation instructor. Although Ms. Warren was allowed to fly there, she couldn't get work teaching. The couple returned to Canada after his two-year contract was finished. They found various jobs, including a stint at Orenda Engines, at the Avro Arrow plant, until the aircraft program was cancelled. They retired in 1973, settling first in the Magdalen Islands and later in Colborne, Ont.

Ms. Warren continued living with her dog in her beloved log home by Lake Ontario after her husband died in June, 2000. The house was situated so that she could see the horizon where the lake meets the sky, Ms. Dickson said in her eulogy.

Outside the window was an elaborate bird feeder, recalled Ms. Urquhart, who has a cottage near the Warrens' house. "I asked her once, 'Vi, what is it about birds?' and she looked at me like I had the IQ of a fencepost and said, 'They fly.' "Ms. Warren leaves several nieces and nephews, her late husband's three daughters and many close friends and neighbours.

"I seem to be blessed with a temperament," she once told Ms. Render, "which has enabled me to delight in the challenges of flight, to love its freedom, its selfsufficiency, its splendid loneliness, to marvel at the awesome beauty of skyscapes, to pity the earthbound."

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Associated Graphic

Violet Milstead Warren flew 47 types of planes with the civilian Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.


Hunted to brink by fur traders, this marine mammal's return is largely accepted, even by those competing with it for shellfish
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALVERT ISLAND, B.C. -- The evening before Barb Wilson faced the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations she had a nightmare.

The Haida elder and her colleague, Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, had asked to speak with the chiefs about the spread of sea otters on the West Coast.

The species is making a remarkable comeback in British Columbia after being pushed to the edge of extinction nearly 100 years ago.

The revival of the otters is seen by some as a great environmental success story, but it is triggering dramatic ecological change and pitting native fishermen against animals that have a voracious appetite for urchins, crabs and clams.

Ms. Wilson wanted the leaders to embrace the change, to look back to a time when there were many more sea otters than now and native communities lived in harmony with them. But on the eve of that pivotal meeting, she was filled with doubt and dreamed she was driving a bus that was careening downhill without brakes.

If anyone had reason not to support sea otter expansion on the B.C. coast it would be the 14 tribes of the Nuu-chahnulth, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. They rely heavily on shellfish harvesting, and the sea otter population has exploded in their territory, leading to increased predation on shellfish that flourished in the absence of otters.

And here was Ms. Wilson about to tell them it was a good thing the otters were back.

"Oh my God," she said to herself the morning of the meeting.

"Do you know what you've gotten into? These guys hate sea otters."

Sea otters were over-hunted by the fur trade starting in the early 1800s. By 1929 they had virtually been eradicated from Alaska to California.

In B.C., sea otters vanished completely until 89 were released by government biologists on the west coast of Vancouver Island between 1969 and 1972. Spilling into bays both north and south of the original release site, with annual population growths of up to 18 per cent in some areas, they had reached a population of nearly 5,000 by 2008. A new study by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is under way, and it is expected to find there are far more sea otters on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island and at two locations on B.C.'s Central Coast.

Sea otters, which are still listed as a species of "special concern," have not yet re-established themselves on Haida Gwaii, inside Georgia Strait and along some stretches of the Central Coast.

But that's coming. The population is steadily expanding and the mission Ms. Wilson and Dr. Salomon have set for themselves is to get First Nations to support a wider return of the animals. They know that will be difficult in some places because sea otters feed voraciously on shellfish that are both commercially and culturally important to native communities.

Although Ms. Wilson initially feared meeting the Nuu-chahnulth, the chiefs listened to her argument and nodded in agreement.

"They came on board," Ms. Wilson said. "That was the turning point."

Ms. Wilson said she was able to win support by telling chiefs: "Our people up and down the coast ate and lived with the sea otters and we want to get back to that ... we both have a right to eat."

Now, one year later, the initiative she and Dr. Salomon started is gaining broad support among coastal First Nations. If the plan succeeds, it will allow sea otter populations to return along the entire coast of B.C.

Bringing back sea otters is important, they say, because it will trigger dramatic ecological changes, reshaping the Pacific near-shore ecosystem.

In a recent conference at the Hakai Beach Institute on Calvert Island, native leaders from B.C. and ocean scientists from Alaska to California gathered to examine how to manage the return of sea otters.

It's estimated that 300,000 sea otters populated the West Coast of North America when Captain James Cook acquired pelts at Nootka Sound, on Vancouver Island, in 1778. The soft, rich coats of the otters became a fashion sensation in China, triggering a fur-trading rush to the B.C. coast. But with as many as 18,000 pelts being collected yearly by trading ships, the sea otters were quickly wiped out.

By 1830 they had vanished from many areas, Norm Sloan, a Parks Canada marine ecologist and co-author of Sea Otters of Haida Gwaii, told the conference.

In their absence, the marine environment changed dramatically, Dr. Sloan said, and the return of the animals will also have an impact.

"It's going to change your near-shore ecology," he said.

"There would be very dramatic change ... [and] people will be competing with sea otters."

James Estes, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told the conference that when sea otters are gone, sea urchin populations explode. Sea urchins in turn eradicate kelp forests.

Diving near islands in Alaska, Dr. Estes found that where otters existed, there were extensive seaweed beds and diverse ecosystems, but where otters weren't found, there were "urchin barrens" where sea urchins thrived but many other species did not "It was staggering to stick my head underwater and see this," he said, of finding how urchin barrens depended on the absence of otters, and kelp forests on their presence.

"What you see is pretty much the same thing everywhere," he said. "Where otters are gone there are lots of urchins and very little kelp."

The impact is far-reaching and profound, Dr. Estes said, because where there are kelp beds you will find more fish, more sea birds, more mammals, even more eagles.

But delegates at the conference also heard how sea otters are controversial. Ginny Eckert, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska, said sea otters were reintroduced in Alaska in the late 1960s, when 450 animals were released. By 2012 that number had grown to 25,000 sea otters. "This is an incredible conservation success story. A species that was wiped out has come back," she said.

But that has led to concerns in fishing communities. "I think sea otters are hated, and they are shot [in some places]," Dr. Eckert said.

Hup in Yook, Hereditary Whaling Chief of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island, said there is a real worry that as sea otters spread they will come into increasing conflict with shellfish harvesters. But he said native people once lived in harmony with sea otters - before the fur trade led to over-hunting - and he thinks they can again. Some hunting of sea otters will have to be allowed, however.

"It needs to be ... in harmony with nature," he said of the sea otter's place in the Pacific. And that ecosystem, he stressed, includes humans.

Jenn Burt, a marine ecologist and PhD student working with Dr. Salomon, said in summarizing a group discussion that while most people wanted the sea otter back, they didn't want otters to be allowed to wipe out shellfish beds.

"The only way is to hunt them in some way," she said, reporting the views shared by native leaders and scientists. "Maybe you don't have to kill a whole bunch. Maybe you just have to show enough [they will be shot at] so that they learn."

But she cautioned that managing sea otters in that way would be controversial. "As soon as it comes into the public eye it becomes difficult because of the cruelty to animals thing. It's not going to be easy," she said.

Guujaaw, past president of the Council of Haida Nation, told the gathering that the public would accept native hunting of sea otters, but the reasons for it would need to be explained.

"If you use language like eradicate, or kill, or control, the public will be down on it so quickly to rescue these little creatures we'll never get anywhere," he said. "We've just got to be seen as a natural part of the ecosystem ... otherwise it will get stopped before we get anywhere."

He reminded the gathering that before the fur trade began, natives on the West Coast had lived in harmony with sea otters for thousands of years and the marine environment had flourished.

"We want to have another 10,000 years like that," he said.

Associated Graphic

Barb Wilson, left, and Anne Salomon (at Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver on Wednesday), lead efforts to get First Nations support for the sea otters' return.


A pair of sea otters eat a salmon near dawn at Esquimalt, B.C., on Vancouver Island, in this 2010 photo. They caught the fish in nearby waters and devoured it on a small dock.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014


A story on Saturday about the recovery of sea otters on the West Coast was incorrectly illustrated by a photograph of two river otters, many of whom inhabit coastal areas.

To the sun - and back
This long and winding 80-km route involves a hairpin corner, goes through tunnels, and inches upward ever too close to precarious cliffs
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D6

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONT. -- Drivers aren't obliged to take the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. There are plenty of roads around the park. But during the summer months when open for travel, millions of enthusiastic travellers go out of the way to experience it.

Built over the span of 20 years nearly a century ago, the 80-kilometre road climbs to 2,026 metres at Logan Pass on a long and narrow 6 per cent grade that is rarely wider than 6.7 metres.

Winding and twisting under overhanging rocks, it takes a hairpin corner, goes through tunnels, and inches upward ever too close to precarious cliffs - forbidden to most trailers or larger motorhomes. Cyclists, motorcycles, enviable convertibles, minivans and tourists in the brilliant red topless buses flock to the spectacular mountain route in record numbers every year. Without stopping, it takes two hours, but you are going to want to stop.

Entrance at Belton Station

Though we live in Alberta, I enter the park from the southwest to follow the route as it was constructed. When the Great Northern Railway was completed in 1893, the national parks created destinations to lure tourists from the eastern United States to this new wilderness. To accommodate them, two boxcars that had served as the railway's depot at the western entrance were replaced by small Swiss-style buildings and renamed Belton Station. Many of those buildings are still intact, housing cafes and shops.

Lake McDonald and the lodge

The road follows Glacier's largest lake from tip to toe. It's 16-km long, and 2.6 km across at the widest spot. Near the midpoint, Lake McDonald Lodge built in 1895 by John Lewis and cleverly called the Lewis Glacier Hotel, was accessed by a steamboat from the village of Apgar. The great western artist, Charles M. Russell, was a frequent guest during the 1920s and was said to have etched pictographs into the dining room's original fireplace hearth. Stop in to see the historic hotel. Better yet, book months in advance for a stay in a lakeside cabin (

Going to the Sun: Legend or just a darn good name?

The road officially received its name, "The Going-to-the-Sun Road," during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-tothe-Sun Mountain. Local legend and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach Blackfeet braves the rudiments of the hunt. On his way back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the top of the mountain for inspiration to the Blackfeet. An alternate story suggests a local hunter and his companion from the Pikuni Nation created the name after successful hunt in the late 1880s.

Watch for the jammers

The vintage buses with the rollback toppers roaming the road are from the 1930s and were the first authorized motor transportation utility allowed in the parks. The first tour buses were horse carriages hauling 11 people up the road. The brilliant red colour was chosen to match a ripe Mountain Ash berry. The drivers are called "jammers" because they used to be heard jamming the gears of the buses as they grinded up the steep inclines. Back in the days of jamming gears - women were not allowed to sit in the front rows. They were thought to distract the driver. This fleet of 33 buses is considered to be the oldest touring fleet in the world.

Slow, steady and costly or zig-zag?

In 1924, Stephen Tyng Mather became the first National Parks service director and was in charge of designing a route over the continental divide that would bring visitors. Mather, along with key engineers and architects on horseback, rode into the valley, up over the Continental Divide and stared out at the view. George Goodwin, an authority on mountain road construction, waved his arms back and forth - envisioning switchbacks like in Europe. There would be 15 on this side of the valley and another three on the eastern side of the divide. As a car zigged one way, they would see the cars below them zag the other way on an 8 per cent grade. Goodwin thought that was a spectacular engineering feat and an attraction.

However, landscape architect Thomas Vint said that Goodwin's roads would look like logging or mining roads and cause huge scars on the pristine environment. He suggested one long slow road benched into the sedimentary rock of the Garden Wall. It would be longer and far more expensive but would leave the landscape preserved.

Mather took the ideas to other engineers and architects and even though the switchbacks were cheaper, the scenic aesthetically pleasing route was picked because it "performs its work more silently."

The Tripe Arches

This road wasn't easy to build, with most of the materials and equipment brought in by horse. To blast the rock, workers were lowered by rope to hand-drill holes in the rock face. Instead of leaving the blasted rock along the route as unsightly debris, it was used as fill under this road and in the retaining walls that hold the road in place. A crew of Russian stonemasons built retaining walls and the famous Triple Arches.

They could lift most rocks on their own but at the corner, a derrick was used to place the larger rocks. Workers were paid 50 cents to $1.15/hour. In the 1920s and '30s, men were desperate for work and eagerly took the wage. At the peak of construction, more than 300 workers were scattered through the valley.

Almost at the top of Logan Pass

At 2,026 metres, Logan Pass is the lowest pass across the Continental Divide. Near the top, there is a parking lot to pull in to take a break. Walk along the raised boardwalk to see how the road hides in the stratigraphy. It's a lovely spot to watch for wildlife - including mountain goats.

Stretch your legs

Stop at the information centre at the top of the pass to refuel your souvenir hamper, water bottle or coffee cup and give your legs a stretch. There are more than 1,126 kilometres of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, with a few leaving from the Logan Pass Visitor Centre. The easiest is the interpretive trail. The interactive story boards along the way explain the topography, the flora and fauna and history. Another great trail from Logan Pass is the Highline Trail hike above the Garden Wall. Five words of advice: You are in bear country.

Expect waterfalls, walks and wide open spaces as you head to the east

Getting to the top from the west was the great push of the 1920s. But it would be two years before the east side of the road could be started because cash was hard to find. Not only that, landowners knew they held all the cards and inflated the price for their land. By 1931, the last 17 kilometres to St. Mary was open for bids. This side of the pass is not as technical but there were still challenges to overcome. Watch for parking areas leading to hikes along the refreshing Virginia Falls.

Rock work is a masterpiece

Setting an example for the rest of the national parks was important to Mather. The guard-rails and arches are made from native stone, mainly limestone and red and green argillite salvaged from blasts and excavations. Mortar sand was dredged from McDonald Creek. Put it all together and there is more than 13 kilometres of the stone rail lining the Goingto-the-Sun Road. The sturdy walls were such a hit with National Park dignitaries that they became the standard for guard walls in all U.S. national parks.

See the glaciers before they disappear

"Only about 25 glaciers remain from the 150 that were here in 1850," says a sign at the numerous roadside vista parking spots. Citing everything from global warming to natural progression, the sign warns that in as little as a few decades, the view will undoubtedly change. The view from the lookout for Jackson Glacier is perfect for that last opportunity.

Associated Graphic

The view from the lookout for Jackson Glacier. 'Only about 25 glaciers remain from the 150 that were here in 1850,' says a sign at a roadside vista parking spot.


Belton Station features dining and shops.


Going-to-the-Sun is 80 kilometres of twisty road that is rarely wider than 6.7 metres.


The average national wintering mortality rates for honey bees reflect the changing health of apiculture in Canada. A 15-per-cent rate is seen as acceptable.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

New alarm bells are ringing after a report on honey bees released Wednesday shows that more than half of Ontario's 100,000 colonies died off during the past winter. The news comes as the Ontario government moves to restrict or license the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of chemical linked to the worldwide loss of pollinators vital to the food supply


A hard winter for Canadian bees

A new report on the health of honey bees in Canada says 58 per cent of the colonies in Ontario did not survive the winter.

Among the possible causes cited for the colony failures are starvation during a long winter, weak queens, viruses, and poisoning from pesticides, said the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA), which compiled the survey.

The report comes as the Ontario government moves toward a system of restricting or licensing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a widely used class of chemical linked to the losses of bees and other pollinators that are vital to the food supply.

According to the CAPA report, the Canadian average of overwintering bee losses was 25 per cent, a number that falls to 19 per cent when Ontario is excluded.

"This level of winter loss is considered a high winter loss for most Canadian beekeepers..." the report said. "Clearly the impacts of pest, pathogen and environmental factors continue to be a challenge through the year to beekeepers across Canada."

Wintering losses were 28.6 per cent in 2012-2013; 15 per cent in 2011-2012; and 29 per cent in 2010-2011, according to CAPA.

For the latest winter, New Brunswick had the second highest percentage of honey bee losses, 26 per cent. Alberta, which has the largest number of colonies, lost 18.5 per cent of its honey bee colonies.

DEBATE Beekeepers vs. seed treatment companies

Beekeepers and a growing body of scientific research say the neonicotinoid class of pesticide that has become widely used in the past decade is contributing to the decline in populations of bees and other pollinators. They say the chemicals designed to protect crops against worms and other pests are weakening beneficial insects and making them more vulnerable to viruses, parasites and loss of food supply.

Neonicotinoids, known as neonics, are applied by the seed companies on corn, canola and some soybeans. They are also used by vegetable farmers and growers of ornamental flowers.

The pesticide is systemic, which means it is present throughout the plants, including the nectar and pollen eaten by honey bees and other insect pollinators that are responsible for a third of the food humans consume.

Bayer CropScience, the largest maker of neonic-coated seeds in Canada, says the chemical is safe, and that there is not enough of the pesticide in crops' pollen and nectar to be lethal to bees.

That view is not widely held in the honey industry.

"This is a systemic pesticide that is designed to kill something that tries to eat it.

So when a bee tries to eat from the flower, there's still a little bit of poison there," said Dan Davidson, president of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association and a beekeeper in Watford, Ont., who lost about 35 per cent of his bees last winter.

Beekeepers say winter loss tallies underestimate neonics' toll on bee populations because they do not include the ones that disappear in the summer.

"They collapse throughout the summer, and that doesn't stop in the wintertime, it's just beekeepers are not cleaning up the mess because it's frozen. It's just a bigger pile [of dead bees] in the spring," said Tibor Szabo, who breeds queen bees and is vice-president of the beekeepers' group.


Studies link deaths and pesticide

In the most comprehensive study of the effects of neonics, 29 scientists recently reviewed more than 800 scientific reports issued over the past five years and found neonicotinoids are "a key factor in the decline of bees." The group, known as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, found neonics persist in soil and affect everything from birds' flight to tunnelling abilities of earthworms. "The effects of exposure to neonics range from instant and lethal to chronic. Even long-term exposure at low (nonlethal) levels can be harmful," the group's report said.

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency in September blamed bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec on planting corn treated with neonicotinoids, calling the use of neonic-treated corn and soybeans "unsustainable."

A recent study co-authored by University of Guelph professor Nigel Raine found bumblebees' foraging abilities were impaired by the consumption of neonicotinoids, and that chronic exposure to pesticides is a threat to colony survival. "Our results show that neonicotinoid exposure has both acute and chronic effects on overall foraging activity," the paper said.

A Dutch study this month in the journal Nature found neonics have adverse effects on bird populations by reducing the number of insects available to eat.

University of Saskatchewan researcher Christy Morrisey found wetlands in Western Canada were contaminated by neonics, and the resulting drop in bug populations was bad news for the birds that eat them.


Large corn crops and a warmer climate

A harsh winter is cited as one of the reasons bee deaths are so high in Ontario. But winter was extremely cold and long in much of Canada, so why were losses not as deep elsewhere?

The answer is unclear, but could lie in one of the province's most important crops: corn. All corn is coated with neonics, and Southern Ontario's warm climate makes it one of the few suitable areas to grow the crop used for ethanol and animal feed. The province grows 62 per cent of the country's corn, followed by Quebec at 30 per cent, Statistics Canada says.

Planting the irregular-shaped corn with air-pressurized seeders kicks up enough dust with the pesticide in it to affect bees adversely. (Bees do not feed on corn pollen; the crop is wind-pollinated.) At Health Canada's direction, seed companies and growers took steps this year to reduce the amount of dust generated by seeding machines, using a waxy lubricant with the seeds and fitting machinery with air deflectors.

Density is another possible factor in the numbers of bee deaths in Ontario. The province's ever-shrinking farm country means fewer bee-friendly meadows and fallow fields, said Mr. Davidson of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association. And beekeepers who want to move their hives away from a farm planting corn have fewer places to go.


The move to control use of pesticides

Last winter, Europe banned for two years the use of three types of neonicotinoids.

The pesticides, which generally coat seeds, are widely used in North America on corn, canola and about 50 per cent of soybeans, in addition to greenhouse flowers and vegetables. Provinces lack the power to ban pesticides, which are regulated by Health Canada. But Ontario is poised to become the first to regulate them by moving toward a licensing system that would require commercial growers to apply to use them.

"Our goal is to develop a system that targets the use of neonicotinoid-treated seed to areas or circumstances where there is demonstrated need, recognizing the important role both pollinators and farmers play in Ontario's agrifood industry," Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bees are in trouble worldwide. Between 2006 and 2011, the average yearly decline in managed honey bee colonies in the United States was 33 per cent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. In the United Kingdom, 29 per cent of honey bee colonies did not survive the winter of 2012-2013, the highest death rate in Europe.

In Canada, the average winter loss since 2009-2010 is 20 per cent, after reaching a high of 35 per cent in 2007-2008, according to CAPA.

For some fruit growers in China, fewer bees means they have to take matters into their own hands, standing on ladders and using small brushes to do the job of the insects.

"Insect pollination is a vital ecosystem service that maintains biodiversity and sustains agricultural crop yields. Social bees are essential insect pollinators. So it is concerning that their populations are in global decline," Guelph University professor Nigel Raine said in a study published in the journal Functional Ecology.


The average national wintering mortality rates for honey bees reflect the changing health of apiculture in Canada. A 15-per-cent rate is seen as acceptable.

Associated Graphic


The worst outbreak of the incurable disease sows panic in some of the poorest countries in the world. As the number of dead in West Africa this year soars to more than 670, including the doctors and medical staff caring for Ebola patients, a new case raises fears the virus may spread due to poor screening of travellers
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

DAKAR -- No one knows for sure just how many people Patrick Sawyer came into contact with the day he boarded a flight in Liberia, had a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo, and then arrived in Nigeria, where authorities say he died days later from Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to humans.

Now health workers are scrambling to trace those who may have been exposed to Mr. Sawyer across West Africa, including flight attendants and fellow passengers.

Health experts say it is unlikely he could have infected others with the virus that can cause victims to bleed from the eyes, mouth and ears. Still, unsettling questions remain: How could a man whose sister recently died from Ebola manage to board a plane leaving the country? And worse: Could Ebola become the latest disease to be spread by international air travel?

Mr. Sawyer's death on Friday has led to tighter screening of airline passengers in West Africa, where an unprecedented outbreak that emerged in March has killed more than 670 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. But some health authorities expressed little confidence in such precautions.

"The best thing would be if people did not travel when they were sick, but the problem is people won't say when they're sick. They will lie in order to travel, so it is doubtful travel recommendations would have a big impact," said David Heymann, professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

"The important thing is for countries to be prepared when they get patients infected with Ebola, that they are isolated, family members are told what to do and health workers take the right steps."

Still, detecting Ebola in departing passengers might be tricky, since its initial symptoms are similar to many other diseases, including malaria and typhoid fever.

"It will be very difficult now to contain this outbreak because it's spread," Dr. Heymann said. "The chance to stop it quickly was months ago before it crossed borders ... But this can still be stopped if there is good hospital infection control, contact tracing and collaboration between countries."

International travel has made the spread of disease via airplanes almost routine. Outbreaks of measles, polio and cholera have been traced back to countries thousands of kilometres away. Even Ebola previously travelled the globe this way: During an outbreak in Ivory Coast in the 1990s, the virus infected a veterinarian who travelled to Switzerland, where the disease was snuffed out upon arrival and she ultimately survived, experts say.

The World Health Organization is now awaiting laboratory confirmation after Nigerian health authorities said Mr. Sawyer tested positive for Ebola, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said. The WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions since the outbreak came to light.

"We would have to consider any travel recommendations very carefully, but the best way to stop this outbreak is to put the necessary measures in place at the source of infection," Mr. Hartl said. Closing borders "might help, but it won't be exhaustive or foolproof."

The risk of travellers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva, some experts caution. Ebola can't be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

"If you look at the numbers, there are probably about 300 people who are currently infected with Ebola virus, and most of those would be too ill to sit up or walk," Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading in Britain, told Bloomberg News by telephone. "So the odds are small, but it is something that needs to be watched."

Patients are contagious only once the disease has progressed to the point they show symptoms, according to the WHO. The most vulnerable are health-care workers and relatives who come in much closer contact with the sick. One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a Ugandan doctor working in the country died this month, and two American aid workers at a hospital in the West African country have been infected. Sierra Leone's leading Ebola doctor tested positive for the virus last week.

Still, witnesses say Mr. Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian Finance Ministry employee en route to a conference in Nigeria, was vomiting and had diarrhea aboard at least one of his flights with some 50 other passengers aboard. Ebola can be contracted from traces of feces or vomit, experts say.

Mr. Sawyer was immediately quarantined upon arrival in Lagos - a city of 21 million people - and Nigerian authorities say his fellow travellers were advised of Ebola's symptoms and then were allowed to leave. The incubation period can be as long as 21 days, meaning anyone infected may not fall ill for several weeks.

Health officials rely on "contact tracing" - locating anyone who may have been exposed, and then anyone who may have come into contact with that person. That may prove impossible, given that other passengers journeyed on to dozens of other cities.

Still, the mere prospect of Ebola in Africa's most populous country has Nigerians on edge.

In Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Alex Akinwale, a 35-year-old entrepreneur, said he is particularly concerned about taking the bus, which is the only affordable way to travel.

"It's actually making me very nervous. If I had my own car, I would be safer," he said. "The doctors are on strike, and that means they are not prepared for it. For now I'm trying to be very careful."

It's an unprecedented publichealth scenario: Since 1976, when the virus was first discovered, Ebola outbreaks were limited to remote corners of Congo and Uganda, far from urban centres, and stayed within the borders of a single country. This time, cases first emerged in Guinea, and before long hundreds of others were stricken in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Those are some of the poorest countries in the world, with few doctors and nurses to treat sick patients let alone determine who is well enough to travel. In Mr. Sawyer's case, it appears nothing was done to question him until he fell sick on his second flight with Asky Airlines. An airline spokesman would not comment on what precautions were being taken in the aftermath of Mr. Sawyer's journey.

Liberian Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told The Associated Press last week that there had been no screening at Liberia's Monrovia airport. That changed quickly over the weekend, when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said a new policy on inspecting and testing all outgoing and incoming passengers would be strictly observed. She also announced that some borders were being closed and communities with large numbers of Ebola cases would be quarantined.

International travellers departing from the capitals of Sierra Leone and Guinea are also being checked for signs of fever, airport officials said. Buckets of chlorine are also on hand at Sierra Leone's airport in Freetown for disinfection, authorities said. Liberia, meanwhile, closed most of its border crossings and introduced stringent health measures on Sunday, a day after an American doctor working in Liberia tested positive for Ebola.

Nigerian authorities so far have identified 59 people who came into contact with Mr. Sawyer and have tested 20, said Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris. Among them were officials from ECOWAS, a West African governing body, and airline employees, health workers and the Nigerian ambassador to Liberia, he said. He said there have been no new cases of the disease.

When will it end? An outbreak could not be declared over until two full incubation periods - 42 days - have passed without new cases, said Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

"The concern is that the outbreak can be reseeded, much like a forest fire with sparks from one tree," said Dr. Monroe. "That is clearly what happened in Liberia," he said, noting that the country made it for more than 21 days without cases, but Ebola returned.

"They were reseeded by cases coming across the border, so until we can identify and interrupt every source of transmission, we won't be able to control the outbreak."

Associated Graphic

Red Cross workers carry the body of Marie Conde, 14, who died of Ebola, through the bush in Koundony, Guinea, earlier this month. Health workers are the most vulnerable to the potentially fatal virus.



Canadian tennis has gone through a massive overhaul in less than a decade, changing its culture, its approach and, most important, its results on the court. Players such as Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard expect to win every time
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Grant Connell has lost track of how many times he's played centre court at Wimbledon. The best guess he can muster is somewhere north of a dozen.

Tennis once consumed him. But since retiring in 1997, one of Canada's most successful players has largely moved on from the sport. The 48-year-old real estate agent in Vancouver estimates he's maybe watched three matches on television since then.

But when Eugenie Bouchard steps onto centre court at the All England Club Saturday for the women's final, it will draw him back. And what he sees on TV will be something even Connell says he doesn't recognize - a brand of tennis that is almost foreign to this country. It is about Canada not just playing and hoping, perhaps praying, to do well, but a new kind of drive that comes with an expectation to win every time out.

"It is a whole different ball game," Connell said of the tennis he sees Canadians - such as Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil - putting on display this year. "It's not like 'wow.' It's not a novelty. They expect to be there. It's night and day from when I played 20 years ago. It's kind of nice."

Canadian tennis has gone through a massive overhaul in less than a decade, changing its culture, its approach and, most important, its results on the court.

A country that was once a backwater for the sport now boasts a national program that has become the talk of Wimbledon with a pipeline of young stars. At 20, Bouchard has a shot Saturday at becoming the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title, while Raonic, at 23, came close before falling to Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Pospisil, 24, will compete in the men's doubles final, and countryman Daniel Nestor, the elder statesman at 41, will likely find himself playing for the mixed doubles title.

Canada is everywhere in London, but to understand how the country turned itself into a contender, you have to go back to the early days of the transformation. The talent factory Tennis Canada has created began as a rough blueprint in 2005, and an idea that its board members hoped would work - though they didn't know for sure.

At that time, Tennis Canada's chief role as a non-profit organization was to host the two Rogers Cup tournaments in Toronto and Montreal, and channel the proceeds into developing the sport.

The money was paltry, though, producing about $3-million a year for Tennis Canada, compared with well over $50-million that Grand Slams such as Wimbledon and the U.S. Open can generate, said Roger Martin, a former Tennis Canada chairman who remains on the board.

An injection of new board members, which included Martin, then-dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; Tony Eames, the former head of CocaCola Canada; tennis mind Michael Downey; and Nova Scotia lawyer Jack Graham decided the non-profit needed to get more aggressive. In addition to squeezing more revenue out of the Rogers Cup, boosting the proceeds to the $12-million to $14-million range today through better marketing, the federation needed to spend its limited money smarter.

Rather than spreading the funds thin, supporting too many players across the tennis ranks, the board decided to revamp the program and begin targeting players that showed the most promise, and the fiercest dedication. And it needed to consolidate those players in one spot, so they could practise and play together, which spawned the National Tennis Centre in Montreal.

"We said, we're only playing to win," Martin recalls from the early board discussions. "It's not justifiable to spread money around to players who aren't training the way they need to train to be great. Historically, if you were sort of okay, you got money from Tennis Canada - a little bit for everyone. And we said no, we've got to focus the money on the people who are training the way we need to train."

Then Downey suggested Tennis Canada attempt something it had never done before. It would take some of that money and hire international coaches to teach Canadian players. It is what some people see as the pivotal moment for the program.

"Downey hired foreign coaches for the first time ever, and he was under the gun. He got a lot of criticism," Connell said. "But he had the guts to do it. That's what is behind the success. He hired outside."

Two men led the shift. The first was French coach Louis Borfiga, who was hired as vice-president of high performance athlete development in 2006. In addition to being a hitting partner for Bjorn Borg in his prime, Borfiga helped build the French Tennis Federation into a venerable force, overseeing the emergence of young French players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gaël Monfils and Gilles Simon in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The second key move was hiring Australian Bob Brett, who coached Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic, among others. While Borfiga was tasked with building the country's tennis talent at the top, Brett's job was to oversee the development of players under age 14. It was something few countries had tried, said Martin, taking a top pro coach and putting him with kids.

"We had to give our young players world-class coaching that was required, because if you didn't have that, it was getting to the point where it just didn't matter any more how good you were athletically, you could not be a winner," Martin said. "You have to have world-class coaching and an environment for that."

After years in France, Borfiga recalls arriving to a much different situation in Canada in August, 2006.

"When I arrived, what surprised me a bit was that there was no structure. What I tried to bring above all was a very solid structure," he said on the phone from Wimbledon. "We gathered all the players together in the same place. We had them compete with each other, and work with coaches."

Changing the Canadian psyche in tennis was more difficult, Borfiga said. "I found the Canadian players ... they played to have a good match, rather than to win," he said. "What I tried to do was change the mentality ... telling them that they are really stronger than the others, that they could win. We did this work even with the younger players, with all the boys and girls at the centre."

Raonic went through the program at 16, while Bouchard was a student at 14. With Raonic, the coaches wanted to build out his strength, and get him playing more on clay to develop tactics in his game. But when the student started to outstrip the program in terms of talent and drive, Tennis Canada took another important step. It knew Raonic was too good to be training full-time in Canada, and helped him arrange coaching in Spain, where he could practise with better players, and continue getting funding from Tennis Canada.

Bouchard made the same step with training in Florida.

But the success of Tennis Canada's makeover has come with certain casualties. Downey was poached to run the British Lawn Tennis Association, and took Brett with him, as the British hope for similar results in their program.

Despite the praise being heaped on Tennis Canada by other countries, Martin says the results seen at Wimbledon this year are undoubtedly the work of the players. Bouchard, Raonic, and Pospisil are special talents who deserve the credit. The organization has simply helped move them along.

"To say that it's [the strategy] and not the players, would be, of course, stupid," Martin said. "We have awesome players with heart and awesome willingness to train."

Tennis Canada bristles at the suggestion that this generation of talent is just a lucky streak for Canada.

"This is not a fluke. There are more coming through the pipeline," Martin said. Keeping that talent flowing for years to come will be the ultimate challenge.

With a report from Susan Krashinsky

Associated Graphic

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard will be playing in the biggest match of her career when she faces Petra Kvitova on Saturday in the women's final at Wimbledon. Bouchard is an example of how Canada is becoming a powerhouse in tennis.


The subject of a new biography and career appraisal, landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has designed some of Canada's most iconic outdoor spaces, but the nonagenarian isn't resting on her laurels. 'It tickles me,' she tells Sarah Hampson, 'to do another project that's better than the last one.' And she has a tip for her successors, who she feels are thinking too small: 'Use every piece of ground ... to make people feel good'
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L9

Years ago, Barbara Walters famously asked Johnny Carson, to much derision afterward, what kind of tree the TV legend would be if he were in fact a tree. I don't do that with Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who is sitting across from me in New York City. But I do ask her what her favourite specimen is. One of the most important landscape architects of the 20th century and a pioneer in the fields of green design and rooftop landscapes, she has spoken and written often about the "solace" of trees.

"It's the ginkgo biloba!" she responds, without hesitation, in a delighted voice. "Oh, I just love it," she goes on, taking out her business card, which features a delicate line drawing of the tree's distinctive leaf. "It's the oldest tree alive - 250 billion years old.

And the amazing thing is that, when Hiroshima was bombed, the first tree to bud was the ginkgo."

"Yes," she asserts plainly, placing her hands, palms down, on her lap, as though the tree were a child whose persistence she admires. "And it had red leaves because it mutated," she concludes, smiling broadly.

Hahn Oberlander is not only a highly respected landscape architect responsible for some of Canada's most iconic public spaces, from Robson Square in Vancouver to the gardens of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, she is also one of the most beloved.

"I'm 93," she offers when I ask if she minds telling me her age. "Can you believe it?" she says, leaning across a small table and placing one hand on top of mine. We are in a Manhattan hotel's café, where I met her following a book launch for Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape, both a biography and a history of her work, written by Susan Herrington, professor of architecture and landscape architecture at the University of British Columbia.

One of Hahn Oberlander's key messages is that the ecology of a location be respected by planting native rather than exotic species. "Don't reinvent the wheel," she says, referring to the example of her landscape design at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre in Vancouver, completed in 2011 and certified under the Living Building Challenge, the most advanced measurement of sustainability possible in the built environment. The surrounding areas of the landmark facility, which also has a living roof, range from a rainwater garden to woodland and meadow, each zone carefully designed and planted with native species that flourished when Captain George Vancouver's botanist first began cataloguing the diverse region in 1792.

The recipient of numerous honorary degrees from universities in Canada, Hahn Oberlander exudes the "Five-P" principles that she has identified as integral to her 65-year career: patience, persistence, politeness, passion and professionalism. Several times, when I ask her a question, she responds first by saying "thank you," as it has reminded her of something she wanted to express.

Born into a Jewish family in Berlin, Hahn Oberlander left Nazi Germany for the United States with her mother and sister in 1939. Her father had died in an avalanche while skiing six years earlier, leaving her mother, Beate Hahn, a formidable woman who was a professional horticulturalist and author, to look after her children on her own. Under her mother's guidance, Hahn Oberlander learned to plant and care for vegetables and flowers from an early age.

By 1940, she went off to Smith College in western Massachusetts - the campus of which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted - and then onto Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where she was one of the first female alumni. Her future husband, the late Peter Oberlander, was a student there as well, having completed his undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal.

"If I had stayed in Boston or here in New York, I could never have done what I did in Canada in the fifties," she says when asked how this country has shaped her career. "The freedom to create, the freedom to think differently, was unlimited." In 1953, she and Peter, a prominent architect and Canada's first professor of urban planning, had moved to Vancouver, where she still lives. "It was a younger country and very open to new ideas. Just imagine working with [the late architect] Arthur Erickson, who thought up what Vancouver would be. There's nothing like that on the market today. There are not people who are thinking big."

Working at a time when the field was male-dominated, Hahn Oberlander never considered herself a feminist and juggled the demands of being a wife and mother with her ambition. "Peter had a fantastic career. Of course, he came first and I wanted him to shine," she says, noting the time when he was called to Ottawa in 1970 to initiate the federal government's Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, becoming its deputy minister. "He was very strict. He wanted me to cook every meal and be cognizant of what the family should eat," she says without rancour of her "terrific" 56-year marriage, in which they often collaborated on projects. "In three and a half years, I had three children. What could I do? I did playgrounds or housing projects because I didn't work full-time." (One of her early projects in Canada was the Children's Creative Centre at Expo 67 in Montreal.)

In her own unique way, Hahn Oberlander exemplifies the truth about many women's lives - that the combination of work and family simply gives a different arc to the trajectory of success. When Hahn Oberlander was asked in the early eighties to work with architect Moshe Safdie on the gardens of the National Gallery, one of her daughters told her, "Mummy, you have really crawled out from under," meaning her husband, she tells me with a giggle. Her landscape design for the National Gallery was inspired by Group of Seven paintings, which is appropriate: As one critic noted at the time, it's "as much a work of art as any in the building next to it," giving visitors a glimpse of "the country's soul." In 1975, Hahn Oberlander opened a public speech on the subject of women and leisure with a quote from George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance: "A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell." Does she still work daily? "Every day," she responds emphatically.

Why? "It tickles me to do another project that's better than the last one." Hahn Oberlander is currently designing a green roof for a house near the sea in Vancouver. "There is the wave of the sea, the shininess of the sea, that I would like to echo on that roof," she explains, adding: "We have to use every piece of ground, whether it's on the roof or on the ground, to make people feel good."

At the end of our exchange, we walk out onto Park Avenue, where she stands, at the photographer's instruction, on a leafy treed median that bisects the street. Hahn Oberlander takes a moment to straighten her posture. She gave up downhill skiing only two years ago after a snowboarder knocked her over, but she goes cross-country skiing, walks, swims and eats healthily. "You lose a lot of friends," she says of the aging process. "I look upon this as a life cycle. And I am grateful for what I can do every day."

Associated Graphic

DESIGNING WOMAN Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, pictured here on Park Avenue in New York, is the focus of a new book by UBC professor Susan Herrington, who examines both her life and her professional legacy. The Vancouver-based doyenne of Canadian landscape architecture, who established her practice in the early 1950s, turned 93 last month.


WORKS OF HEART Over her decades-long career, Hahn Oberlander has overseen some of the most important postwar landscaping projects in North America, including (clockwise from top left) Robson Square in her hometown of Vancouver, the grounds around the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the outdoor spaces at the headquarters of The New York Times in Manhattan. According to one critic, her work at the National Gallery is as artful as anything inside the building, providing a glimpse of 'the country's soul.'


In an unprecedented doubling-down, the Stratford Festival this summer is offering two versions of the same play. J. Kelly Nestruck joins Chris Abraham and Peter Sellars to analyze these very different dreams
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

This summer, for the first time in its history, the Stratford Festival is presenting two different productions of the same play by William Shakespeare.

A Midsummer Night's Dream appears on the Festival Theatre stage in a big, joyous, gender-bending production directed by Stratford regular Chris Abraham, and at the Stratford Masonic Concert Hall as an intimate, four-actor "chamber play" staged by avant-garde American director Peter Sellars.

Globe theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck brought together Abraham, the Siminovitch Prize-winning artistic director of Toronto's Crow's Theatre, and Sellars, an internationally in-demand opera and theatre director and past recipient of a MacArthur "genius grant," to meet one another for the first time, to dissect their Dreams and discuss the myriad life forms - royalty and pagan spirits; young lovers and amateur actors - who inhabit them.

J. Kelly Nestruck: A Midsummer Night's Dream is probably the most produced of Shakespeare plays - it's certainly the one I have to review the most. What did you think when Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino proposed having not one, but two in the same season?

Chris Abraham: Antoni quite savvily asked me first if I wanted to do A Midsummer Night's Dream, and then said, "Oh, by the way. ..." It certainly shaped the way I thought about engaging with the play. It highlighted the fact that there would be two interpretations. I support that idea: engaging an audience - and this audience - with the idea that Shakespeare writes these plays and that there isn't one way to do them.

Peter Sellars: I was particularly thrilled, because anything that liberates Shakespeare from the idea of monoculture is to be applauded. So many people think there is a way to do it.

Nestruck: I have the advantage of having seen Chris's production, which is framed as a performance of the play at the backyard wedding of two men. For yours, Peter, I only know what I've read online, that four actors will play two couples who "become gods, animals, demons, monsters, children, playthings and, finally, gradually, compassionate, honest, loving adults."

Sellars: Very simply, the couples in every realm [of Shakespeare's play] are mirrors of each other, so I thought let's make them the same two couples all the way through. ... We all know the relationship with your partner where you're kings and queens, then the next moment you're animals, and the next you're hell-beings. I call it a "chamber play" in honour of August Strindberg's chamber plays, his really intense portraits of marriage.

Nestruck: Chris, what was behind your decision to centre your Dream around a same-sex marriage - and also introduce gay and lesbian relationships into the play by changing the gender of Lysander and Titania?

Abraham: I found it hard to imagine doing this play without imagining it in the context of the world that I live in, the context of how I understand love and what it is, and how I understand marriage and what it is. I found the focus on the heterosexual relationships at the centre of the story limiting. It's the connection for me of the prohibition of love and marriage [of Hermia and Lysander] at the beginning of the play and ultimately the reversal of that decision that Theseus makes on a dime. ... That's not a piece of bad dramaturgy, that's that power of love in the play - the way in which love is more powerful than reason, than laws, than society.

Nestruck: Maybe I was naive, but it was surprising to me to learn that this is controversial - and that there were walk-outs from several American school groups early in the season.

Abraham: The last time I saw the show, I was sitting it the back row and somebody got up within a couple of minutes of the two guys kissing. He came back in after 10 seconds and said, "God have mercy on your souls," quite loudly.

Sellars: Shakespeare has never struck me as normative in any way. He always strikes me as trying to subvert any established structure. And every single comedy of his is the saddest thing I've ever seen, heartbreaking. So many of the marriages are so fragile, and so many of the final acts are twilight and melancholy. Or have people truly, strangely chastened. For me, Shakespeare's plays don't end - they arrive at a new beginning.

Nestruck: What is the darkness that you find at the end of Dream, where all the lovers are matched up and wed?

Sellars: Puck's last speech: "Now it is the time of night / That the graves, all gaping wide. ..." Hello, it's not exactly heartwarming.

We're not handing out little bonbons. That is serious stuff about mortality.

"If you pardon, we will mend.

..." That's a big question in human affairs. Seriously, how much forgiveness do we really have? But I don't ever want to characterize a Shakespeare play as happy or sad, because it's like saying a Mozart symphony is happy or sad.

What's great about Mozart is it can be really happy or sad at the same point.

Nestruck: Chris, the ending of your production - it's textured, but it's quite joyous.

Abraham: I see constantly in Shakespeare this very, very hopeful evidence of love as the primary force in the universe - a force that has an opposite, but fundamentally a weaker opposite.

Nestruck: So different from love in a Strindberg chamber play - where it's often a destructive force.

Sellars: The worst days of your relationship also make the best days possible. You're not going to have one without the other - it's a total weather system. For Shakespeare, love is not a romantic thing; love is cleaning the bathroom. It's a lot of work and it's a lot of commitment.

Nestruck: While Shakespeare's plays may not be happy or sad, we do split them into comedies and tragedies. Is there a bias against the comedies? We talk about Hamlet and King Lear as his greatest works, but Dream as simply popular. Is there an argument to be made it's one of his best, too?

Abraham: Yeah, probably. I don't know if I would make that argument.

Sellars: I'm not too into ranking things, but in the history of humanity, it's one of the most amazing things ever conceived ... a volatile, exploding volcano of energy.

Sellars: We know why Dream is usually presented to us in a certain [innocuous] image, and when the image of the fairy kingdom in the 19th century, and the children's books, and the Mendelssohn music and all that took over. But Shakespeare actually wrote a play for adults - and it's an adult play, not a kids' play.

Nestruck: I've been telling visitors to Stratford bringing kids to go see the Dream at the Festival Theatre. Chris - you've even included children in your cast, playing the fairies.

Abraham: I wanted children to be there. I wanted that to be part of the inclusive premise of the piece.

I wanted that to be part of the process of making the play too, so guys could kiss and we could do all the sexy humour in the play in a way that both honours the bawdiness of it, but that we would also have to wrangle with children being in the room. That was my largest goal, that it would be something we could do for the whole family.

Sellars: A lot of my shows are about putting all kinds of people on stage with actors. We're interested in theatre not because we're interested in theatre. We're interested in theatre because we're interested in life. For me, you want as much life as possible on stage and you want all life forms. God knows, Shakespeare calls in this play for all life forms - everything in the whole universe is in this play.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

A Midsummer Night's Dream continues to Oct. 11 in Stratford, Ont. A Midsummer Night's Dream, a chamber play continues to Sept. 20 (

Follow me on Twitter:@nestruck

Associated Graphic

Chris Abraham and Peter Sellars flank a bust of their inspiration.


Where sushi meets sublime
If you're looking for a seafood-induced bliss-state, head to Yasu on Harbord, a sushi counter that will make you dream of Jiro
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M6

A mid the rush of new sushi restaurants into the city these past few years, there's always been a conspicuous absence. We've seen new panAsian spots where they'll wrap your futomaki rolls in Thai black rice, new all-you-can-eat joints (caveat you've-got-to-be-crazy), a "sustainable" sushi counter, vegetarian sushi businesses, aburi-style specialists where nearly everything comes blowtorched, and restaurants where you pluck your sushi from a conveyor belt and hope it's on its first time around. There are big-box-sized rooms where the sushi comes in wooden boats, as well as pressed-sushi purveyors, hybrid sushi-ya-izakayas, an arriviste new Vancouver-style spot where the fish is great (but what they do with it isn't), and a place where they seem to think that deep-fried sushi pizza is an extremely good idea.

But until this past spring, what the city didn't have was the sort of sushi restaurant that you might have seen in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. What we didn't have was a sushi counter that did nothing but top-quality sushi: that served only just-warm, vinegar-seasoned rice draped with superlative fish, made to order right in front of you and served a single bite at a time.

Early this May, an Osaka-raised chef named Yasuhisa Ouchi [Ohoochee] quietly opened just such a spot on Harbord Street.

Yasu, as the room is called, is bright and modern, wide glass out to Harbord's stream of summer bicyclists. The décor is suitably minimalist for a place with such laser-focus: There is little more here than an L-shaped counter, 10 comfortable stools and an open glass icebox where the fish is kept.

At Yasu, there is only one menu option: for $80, you get 20-odd pieces of pristine sushi, cut right there in front of you.

All but two pieces come served over just-warm rice.

It might start with an ivory slice of Japanese amberjack, its texture almost apple-crisp, its flavour clean, brushed lightly with nikiri (sweetened soy sauce), and set on gently roastytasting rice. There will be grouper from South Carolina, sweet and buttery with a minor wasabi backnote (the wasabi is fresh, of course; Mr. Ouchi prepares it a bit at a time by rubbing a gnarled-looking piece of the root on a sharkskin grater). All the fish is seasoned when you get it; you won't be needing a bowl of soy sauce to dunk it in.

The scallops are warmed with a blowtorch and brightened with sour-floral pepper seasoned with summer yuzu; they melt as you eat them, almost like ice cream from the sea.

The fish selection changes constantly. The chef has had Pacific spot prawns, live Maine and B.C. urchin, and Gaspé scallops on the half-shell lately, in addition to many other less common sushi species. To eat a piece of Mr. Ouchi's sardine sushi, to name just one, is to forever banish anything you knew about oily-fleshed seafood.

Where you might be expecting your usual sardines' greasy pong, at Yasu they are fresh enough to taste disarmingly mild: rich and dark-flavoured, umami-dense and meltingly light, without even a hint of fishy.

And as with everything else here, they are beautiful also: Those sardines appear as whole shimmering fillets, topped with a daub of ginger and a tiny green tangle of scallion shavings, lain out on a bed of cloudlike white rice.

Yet what's extraordinary about eating here, beyond all the fish's tastes and textures and remarkably different characters, is how the focus and the pace of the meal - one piece at a time - encourage you to do something that people too often forget when eating sushi: to think about what you're eating.

There's no filler here, no salad or noodles to arrive just as you're about to get to the Tasmanian sea trout; no wagyu beef sukiyaki sizzling at the counter space next to you so that all you can smell is aerosolized fat. (Both of these happened to me at Sushi Kaji earlier this week.)

Both times I ate at Yasu, the progression of fish and the pace of the evening sent me into a seafood-induced bliss-state.

While I've had that experience at a sushi counter in Tokyo and another in Vancouver, I had never before felt it here.

Mr. Ouchi, who is 40, began his sushi training in Osaka when he turned 16, he said. He spent the first five years of his thirties in Australia, much of that time at modernist sushi king Nobu Matsuhisa's Melbourne branch.

He came to Toronto in 2009 and opened a takeout counter in Leaside called Nigiri-Ya.

Yet what he's always loved most is straight-up Edomae-style sushi, made and served to order. "For Japanese, when you think sushi, it's just fish and rice," he said. He sold Nigiri-Ya last fall and took the plunge.

Yasu has so far gone mostly unnoticed. (Credit to The Grid's Karon Liu, who was the first, and until recently only city food writer to feature the place.) The first time I ate there, I was one of just five people at the counter. The second time, it was just me and a friend. There are two seatings nightly, at six p.m. and 8:30, and the restaurant doesn't accept walk-ins (it buys just enough fish for its reservations); I don't doubt this is part of the problem. But maybe it's also asking a lot of the city to accept an $80-per-person sushi place that isn't known and doesn't have a gimmick.

For the record: $80 is a steal for sushi this good. And as for the empty part, I can only hope that this will change, fast.

The last time I was there, they had small, sweet shrimp from Hokkaido, dense, dark purplish bonito dressed with garlic, superb Norwegian mackerel with pickled daikon, and warm, candied-tasting sea eel.

The urchin had just come in from Hokkaido that morning. It tasted intensely of the ocean: of sea spray and iodine. Even the nori was extraordinary. Mr. Yasu's sous chef handed us each a square of it, topped with a cube of rice and a spoonful of vermillion-coloured salmon roe and a squall of summer yuzu zest. Nori is usually unremarkable: it is structure, not splendour. But here it tasted like dark grass and smoke and green tea - it was the first thing we noticed.

(The rice and ikura were exceptional too.)

The final sushi course, a piece of the sweet, sponge-cake-like egg and shrimp omelette called tamago, is one of the most traditional tastes in the Edomae sushi canon; it is also one of the most difficult to make. (In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, one of the great one's acolytes recalls crying when after four months and 250 failed attempts he finally made one fit for service.)

Mr. Ouchi has spent much of his life making tamago, and still it isn't perfect. The edges, where the square pan is hottest, were puffed up a touch too much both times I had it; one of the pieces was slightly cracked. Yet while it may not have been perfect, it was unequivocally delicious. And in the tradition of all great sushi chefs, Mr. Ouchi said he won't ever stop chasing perfection. "I work on making better tamago every day," he said.

Follow me on Twitter:@cnutsmith



81 Harbord St. (at Spadina Avenue), 416-477-2361,

Atmosphere: A bright, serene room built around a simple sushi bar. Friendly service.

Wine and drinks: Well-selected sake, the usual Japanese beers, as well as good Champagne and French wines.

Best bets: There is just one option: 20-odd courses of chef's choice sushi, for $80 .

N.B.: If you're at all concerned about sustainability, ask for a substitution to the bluefin tuna course.

Associated Graphic

Chef Yasuhisa Ouchi garnishes sushi for the omakase menu at Yasu. For $80, you get 20-odd pieces of pristine sushi.


H now accepting visitors 24/7
Think of it as a different kind of life support: Hospitals across Canada are throwing open the doors for friends and family to come and go as they please, as part of a wider trend toward patient-centred care
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

When Chuck Davis was rushed to Kingston General Hospital in May 2013, the nurses in the intensive-care unit offered his wife something she did not expect - a cot.

Phyllis Davis was surprised because the last time Davis's Type 2 diabetes, low hemoglobin and other health troubles landed him in at KGH, back in 2008, she was not allowed to bed down in his ICU room. When visiting hours ended at 8 p.m., she had to drive an hour to the couple's home in Prince Edward County, where she would fret until her husband's inevitable call.

"He would phone me, totally upset, then I would try to sneak in to see him and see what I could do," she recalled.

"There was angst on his part, on my part. It was not a very nice situation at all."

All that changed in 2010, when KGH followed an increasingly widespread trend in the United States and became one of the first hospitals in Canada to do away with visiting hours, a move at least 20 other hospitals and health-care facilities across the country have since followed and which others are considering.

The open-door approach is one element of a larger move toward putting patients and their families - as opposed to doctors and nurses - at the centre of hospital culture, a shift that "patient engagement" proponents say helps the ill get better faster.

At KGH, signs advertising visiting times and loudspeaker announcements hustling family and friends out the door at 8 p.m. were eliminated and replaced with a "family presence" policy - which, translated from healthcare speak, means letting in as many visitors as a patient wants, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That idea is as appealing to some as it is repellant to others. Supporters see it as a way to involve families more intimately in their loved ones' healing, while opponents worry that an around-the-clock parade of visitors could spread infectious disease, disrupt other patients and put unnecessary pressure on nurses and security staff.

The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC), the major U.S. organization advocating the end of visiting hours, says those fears have not come to pass in the American hospitals that welcome family and friends day and night.

The Bethesda, Md.-based organization is hosting its first international conference outside the United States, in Vancouver Aug. 6-8, and the group's campaign to end visiting hours is one of the bolder pitches on the agenda.

"Families are less angry when we get rid of these locked doors," said Beverley Johnson, president and CEO of the IPFCC, a non-profit that helps health-care facilities implement pro-patient practices.

Johnson said hospital bosses in the U.S. are warming to the idea of around-the-clock visiting. In 2008 and 2009, about three-quarters of all hospitals and 90 per cent of ICUs in the United States restricted visitors in some fashion, according to a study of 606 hospitals published last year in the journal Critical Care.

A survey conducted this year by the research and education arm of the American Hospital Association found 42 per cent of hospitals in the U.S. reported restrictive-visiting-hour policies, which suggests the open-hours trend has spread over the past six years. (It should be noted, however, that the 2014 survey was not a straight replication of the 2008-2009 study, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.)

In Canada's fractured provincial health system, nobody is keeping track of the number of hospitals that have done away with visiting hours. But, at least anecdotally, it appears that more are giving it a try. Island Health, the health authority on Vancouver Island, made the change a few years ago; Quinte Health Care, a network of four hospitals in and around Belleville, Ont., announced the end of visiting hours last October; and Providence Health Care, a network of 16 facilities in Vancouver, officially followed suit in December.

Before Providence Health Care's facilities moved to a family-presence policy, the network approached visiting hours in the same ad hoc way that a lot of hospitals do. There was no blanket visiting hours regime, just a patchwork of rules that varied from unit to unit and even shift to shift, depending on the staff on duty.

"You'd get one nurse who worked a night shift who would say, 'Yeah, absolutely, come by whenever you feel like it,' and literally at the next shift, you'd get, 'No, no, no, you have to go home, it's 4 p.m,'" said Shannon Parsons, a nurse who is leading Providence Health's patient-engagement efforts. "It was seen as our - meaning our health-care providers' - space, which you were being invited into."

Shifting that mentality can be challenging, especially for nurses and other frontline workers who are already overburdened.

Linda Haslam-Stroud, the president of the Ontario Nurses' Association, said welcoming visitors all day and night has advantages for patient well-being, but can pose minor headaches for workers, particularly in older hospitals with cramped rooms that hold up to four patients, and in the rare cases when visitors turn violent.

That is nothing her members can't handle, she added - they are already handling crowd control during designated visiting hours.

Leaving it to nurses to exercise their judgment is a cornerstone of the family-presence approach.

Common sense is supposed to prevail. All such policies include provisos allowing staff to ask visitors to quiet down or leave if they are bothering other patients in shared rooms, or if neighbouring patients need privacy during sponge baths or when hearing about test results.

The policies also advise sick visitors to stay away, which has helped keep the open-door approach from opening the way for more infectious disease outbreaks linked to guests.

"The data [linking visitors and infectious disease] is simply not there," Johnson, the IPFCC head, said. "That's not where we're getting all these infections in hospitals. We're getting them mainly from staff not washing their hands."

The upside, meanwhile, is that family support can be as practical as it is comforting. Relatives and friends help patients to the bathroom, track their medications and watch how wounds are dressed so they can repeat the procedure when patients are sent home.

For Phyllis Davis, the benefits of around-the-clock visiting hours at KGH could not have been more clear. After Chuck's stint in the critical-care unit, he was transferred to a general medicine floor where he stayed until his death in October, 2013, at the age of 66.

Phyllis, 65, stayed, too.

"The only time I ever went home was on the weekends, when I would just buzz home quickly, have a shower, do a wash, get clothes for the week and go back again. I wouldn't be away for more than about three or four hours," she said.

When Chuck, her husband of 25 years, died, Phyllis was at his bedside.

"Oh, what a relief to have spent that time with him, to have been there," she recalled, weeping openly. "He kept saying to me, 'Thank you so much for staying.

Thank you so much for doing this.' He was such a sweetheart. I said, 'Where else would I be?

Where else would I be?'"


Eliminating visiting hours is just one part of the push for patient- and family-centred care at North American hospitals. On its face, the campaign might seem unnecessary - who else would be at the centre of a hospital's mission?

- but hospital culture has historically suited doctors and nurses more than their patients. Some of the other changes that hospitals are making include:

Creating patient-and-family advisory councils, whose members weigh in on nearly every decision a hospital makes.

Asking former patients to help design learning materials and signage for the hospital.

Inviting patients to sit on hiring panels for hospital staff.

Hosting town hall-style meetings at which patients and their families can raise concerns about the hospital.

Associated Graphic


An open-door approach let Phyllis Davis be with her husband, Chuck, in the intensive-care unit through his illness.


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is putting the very idea of Europe into question, argues Doug Saunders
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

We're used to thinking of Ukraine as a grey and hazy place of disorder and uncertainty, a country befitting a name that translates to "borderland," just off the edge of the map, between blocs we still insist on describing as "East" and "West."

So when something unambiguous happens in Ukraine, we're forced to start looking clearly into this middle ground and watch our myths shatter under the hard focus of reality.

This is, above all else, a war of ideas. Along with countless shells and missiles, what Russian President Vladimir Putin has lobbed into Ukraine is a set of ideological challenges to the post-Second World War peace built on progressive pluralism and European cooperation. These challenges, and the urgent need to respond to them, have unseated much of the conventional thinking of our time.

Russia's invasion has not relented despite 298 civilian deaths last week in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by Russia-supplied missiles.

Mr. Putin's assault on the idea of Europe is three-pronged.

First, as he told his country's parliament in a March speech justifying the takeover of Crimea, is waging this war in the name of ethnic nationalism - he is doing so, he said, in order to "defend the interests" of "millions of [ethnic] Russians and Russian-speaking people."

Second, Mr. Putin is doing this in the name of something very similar to imperialism, albeit without the means or ability to really carry it out: An expressed desire to control any territories where Russian is spoken and secession can be engineered (including not just Crimea and eastern Ukraine but also the periphery of Georgia). And third, as a leader who has effectively ended democracy in his own country, he is attacking Ukraine in opposition to the democratic desires expressed freely and fairly by its people.

In other words, Mr. Putin is challenging the three core ideas of the postwar peace. The Brussels-based institutions of modern Europe were built in order to prevent authoritarianism, imperialism and ethnic nationalism from ever again taking root in the continent and leading it to war. It has worked well.

The European response to this new threat, however, has been slow, uncertain and ambiguous. But that shouldn't surprise us, because Putin's challenge has undermined the ideological foundations of prominent groups on both the right and the left, forcing a realignment of ideologies.

To understand the effect Vladimir Putin's actions have had on Europe and the wider world, we should look inside the minds of the three political groups whose ideological assumptions have been unseated by his invasion: the antiEuropean right; the anti-American left; and the NATO Cold Warriors.

The anti-Europe right

In the 21 years since the Maastricht Treaty brought the European Union into existence, no member of that 28-country bloc has either become undemocratic or declared war on another member - an astonishing accomplishment in a continent that was mainly authoritarian as recently as the 1980s. What has arisen, though, is a populist politics opposed to the EU itself. The most prominent of these antiEurope politicians is British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has promised a referendum on EU membership.

The Ukraine crisis has forced these politicians and their backers into a corner. The crisis arose, after all, because a majority of Ukrainians strongly desired EU membership and the higher living standards and free movement that come with it. In 2013, Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who had been fairly elected in 2010 but had subsequently demolished democratic institutions and jailed opposition leaders, went one step too far when he cancelled a trade pact with the EU, under pressure from Mr. Putin, destroying any chance of a potential pathway to EU membership. This triggered a mass movement to overthrow him and restore the treaty, and led to his ouster by his own parliament.

Suddenly Europe's conservatives have been forced to choose between the EU or Moscow. To the shock of many voters, leaders of successful euro-skeptic parties in Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Austria went with Moscow: Party leaders such as Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party and Marine Le Pen of France's National Front have voiced outspoken support for Mr. Putin, in good part because he was waging war on the EU, but also because they admire his strongman authoritarianism and opposition to ethnic minorities. Mr. Cameron, visibly appalled by this movement, has abandoned much of his euro-skeptic platform and sided with Brussels: He has repeatedly backed Ukraine's membership bid, to the horror of his more right-wing supporters.

The anti-American left

In the wake of Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the NSA spying scandal, many Europeans, especially on the left, abandoned their traditional support for the United States and began to see Washington as a meddling threat to democracy and national sovereignty - many even used the word "imperialist."

But Ukraine tossed this belief on its head and proved a test for anti-Americans. Most inconveniently, the United States sided strongly with Ukraine's democracy movement, to the point that State Department official Victoria Nuland was recorded, in an apparent Russian phone-bugging in February, discussing which opposition candidate to give Washington's backing and support to (her analysis actually seemed, to Ukrainians, to be very sound). The fact of U.S. backing created an impossible, head-exploding paradox for many Europeans on the left: If Washington was supporting the anti-Putin, proEurope movement, then clearly Mr. Putin must be in the right and Ukrainians the victims of Washington's, not Moscow's, meddling.

Nowhere is this line of thinking more prevalent than in Germany. "The Ukrainian conflict with Russia is, for parts of the German population, surprisingly, a conflict with America," writes the German journalist Sebastian Fischer. Polls show that, while most Germans express almost no sympathy or support for Mr. Putin, almost half see the United States, not Russia, as the malevolent force in Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an instinctually centrist leader who forged her coalition government by hewing close to public opinion, has been slow to impose the sort of sanctions that would be needed to hinder Mr. Putin's ambitions - in part because German corporations are tightly tied to Russia, but also because the German left distrusts Washington more. Members of her foreign ministry have gone further, joining former Social Democrat leader Gerhard Schroeder in embracing Mr. Putin during the crisis. It appears that the Malaysian Airlines catastrophe has provided a reveriebreaking slap for many: During the last week, Germany has become far tougher on Moscow.

The Cold Warriors

Much of this sounds like a return to the days of the Iron Curtain: an expansionist, undemocratic Moscow facing off against a defensive, Washington-focused West in an all-or-nothing standoff. Yet those who believe in this analogy, the Cold Warriors, have been proven equally wrong. NATO's symbolic gestures and its leaders' threats of eastward expansion have been useless at best and counterproductive at worst: They are beside the point.

Those who believe the old East-West divide needs to be reconstituted, that missiles should be lined up along Russia's border, are also missing the point: Russia is not acting out of projected strength, as it did in Soviet times, but out of internal political and economic weakness of a profound degree. This is a failed state on Europe's borders, impoverished and run by a dictatorial clan, lashing out vainly. To respond to its false logic by creating a mirror image of it in the West would be to lend it credibility.

What needs to be sought is not an amplification of Mr. Putin's myth of a divided continent, but an end to it. A tough economic response is required, along with a generous democratic response that would bring Ukraine into Europe - alongside a refusal to play along with Mr. Putin's attempt to manufacture a civilizational showdown. Ukraine and Russia are both European countries, as much as any other; it is time to put aside our old illusions and help both countries get on the path to peace, prosperity and European values.

Doug Saunders is The Globe's international affairs columnist.

True colours: Why I pine for a little pink house
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Recently, I watched a man paint the exterior of his white clapboard house a bright kelly green. I was sitting in my favourite café in a village I love on the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec. This man was painstakingly painting one side of the house, while his wife held the ladder on which he stood. Brave is the man who paints his house a bright, shout-y green, I thought to myself. (And patient is the wife who holds the ladder for hours on end.)

Pink would be my choice of colour, even though that, too, has its own kind of daring. I have long had a fantasy of living in a pink house. It's the opposite of the white-picket-fence fantasy, which is really a dream of conservative family perfection: the two kids, the dog, the tree in the yard, the station wagon, the husband who wears slippers on a Sunday morning. The pink house is a lovely confection in my mind, full of cheer and creativity, an island of whimsy in a sea of drab conformity.

But when I consulted expert opinion, my little pink dream quickly faded. "With exterior paint colours, you have to behave yourself," says Janice Lindsay, a Toronto-based colour designer and consultant whose company is called, ahem, Pink Colour & Design.

"It's not about you. It's about you, your neighbour and the natural world. The colour has to fit into the setting. It's all about context." A pink house in the middle of white or grey or beige ones in a city might look like a woman who shows up to a business function in a cocktail dress and a frou-frou fascinator.

"It's kind of majority rules. But that doesn't mean we should be beige, beige, beige. People should play with colour values," Lindsay explains, adding that potted flowers can add the needed colour punch. "You can't do it with bricks and mortar." That said, she found an innovative solution for one client who wanted to express herself in a conservative, uptown Toronto neighbourhood.

"The front of the house is grey and pastel blue, and the back is Mexican red," Lindsay says.

Apart from the issue of community norms, colour has long had an uneasy relationship with architecture, perhaps because of how it competes with form, potentially distracting from it. Bruno Taut, a German architect, urban planner and painter in the Modernist period, was often ridiculed for his use of bright colours, which he believed were powerful evocations of nature.

In the Weissenhofsiedlung housing estate exhibition of 1927, Taut presented his work alongside Mies van der Rohe and Walter Groupius. Many of the houses were flat-roofed and pure white. Taut's house No. 19 was painted in primary colours. In fact, each surface of the home, inside and out, was painted a different colour.

His contribution was met with ridicule, horror and incomprehension. Van der Rohe disliked it, and said so. Taut simply replied: "If it seems out of place in the present state of the project, this may mean, not that the colours have been wrongly used, but that the surrounding buildings are unfinished."

Like I said, it takes balls to go green or red or pink curb-side. You're better off being a colour lemming and following the crowd. In fact, I would venture to say that we should add colourism to the world's ism list of uncharitable judgments. Your character is questioned if you dare to break out the canary yellow in the wrong context. In seaside villages, it's okay, because many others do it, too. Pink is de rigueur in Bermuda and the Caribbean, where some communities have official pastel colour palettes. In that setting, pink suggests the inside lip of conch shells, cotton candy and sunsets - a certain lightness of living.

In the little village in which I spied Mr. Kelly Green and his wife, they live right on the water. Some houses on the street are mildly colourful - a subtle ochre yellow here, a deep orangey facade there. While not commonplace in that particular village, there is still a history of colourful houses. In Newfoundland fishing villages, the houses are brightly painted different colours. Ditto in Irish coastal villages. Local lore in many of these places is that the tradition started so that returning sailors and fisherman could easily identify their homes as they entered the harbour. But it could also be that they were simply using "leftover boat paint," Lindsay notes. (I didn't ask Mr. Kelly Green.)

No matter its origins, the trend caught on, creating its own kind of colour snobbery. "In that context, if your house were beige, you'd look wrong," she says.

I like to think that people who live in brightly coloured houses are happy. There's a childlike quality of simplicity and innocence in those primary colours - the shade of crayons.

But maybe that's wishful thinking. In 2006, two Dutch artists, Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn (known as Haas & Hahn), developed the Favela Painting art project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The favelas or slums in Rio are notorious for their violence. The Dutch artists, who had travelled there to film a project on hiphop culture, were shocked by the living conditions and wanted to initiate a community-driven project of painting the buildings in artful, bright murals in an effort to boost community pride.

Grants and donations allowed the project to flourish and in 2010, the pair devised a style for painting a Rio slum called Santa Marta in bright, stripey patterns, which quickly became a media sensation.

It worked in one way but, sadly, not in another. Santa Marta draws tourists, and was included in the 2012 book, Design Like You Give A Damn [2]: Building Change From the Ground Up, which also featured the High Line project in New York and the revitalization initiative from the Make It Right Foundation, which Brad Pitt founded in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. The various art projects in the Rio slums have made the areas famous for more than their drug-trafficking. But they haven't put a stop to the crime.

Perhaps we all want simple solutions that come with a lick of paint. Ladette Randolph had a pink house fantasy, too. The novelist and teacher of creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, once lived in a house that she and her husband painted pink. When they decided after 10 years to make a lifestyle change to live in a farmhouse in the country, Randolph was so concerned about the move that she wrote a memoir, Leaving The Pink House.

"That pink house came to symbolize a lot for me," she says in a telephone interview. "It was about second chances. This was my second marriage. It was about stability after a lot of instability in my youth."

But her revelation was that a house is just a house until you make it your home.

"The whole time we were working on our next house, I was mourning the pink house. I really wanted to stay there. But when I woke up that first morning we moved into the new one, it was fine. And when I went to see the pink house, I thought, 'Oh, it's just a house.'"

Randolph had found her happiness in the pink house, she tells me. She had raised her three children there. Together, they had restored a wreck of a house, and in the process, built a life.

The lesson is simple and comforting, and one I know as well when I think about it. A home is what you make of it. The pink house of your dreams is possible even in a beige one.

Associated Graphic

There is a childlike simplicity and innocence in the primary colours used on home exteriors in coastal communities, such as these rowhouses in St. John's, above. In Rio de Janeiro, left, Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn developed an art project to help painters transform a local slum and boost community pride.



The Rosemary's renovation raises the bar
New owner invests $3-million to restore historical mansion as a private home
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

Shaughnessy's biggest mansion will be restored to its original glory, thanks to a new offshore owner who fell for its glorious 1910s craftsmanship.

It's fortuitous that a 16,000square-foot Shaughnessy house would find a heritage-loving owner in today's white-hot, globally driven property market. But the Rosemary, as the home is called, will live to see another century, if the new owner from China has his way.

He's painstakingly renovating the Edwardian/Tudor-style mansion at 3689 Selkirk St. in Vancouver as part of a $3-million, two-year project. The house is a Heritage Register A-listed house, which means it has a plaque; but, in less sensitive hands, it would have been perfectly legal to have gutted its interior down to the studs. In fact, it would have been routine for all its carved oak woodwork, delicate plaster flower motifs, inlaid oak flooring, coffered ceilings, numerous fireplaces, oak banisters and stained-glass windows to have been ripped out.

Instead, a team of heritage pundits are advising, an expert European restorer and his crew have been brought in, and the owner - who wishes to remain unnamed - is on-site, visiting every day. He is collecting antique furniture for the rooms, and becoming more and more enchanted with the house, say those who are working with him. When it's done, he plans to live there. Those working with him say he doesn't understand all the fuss surrounding his decision to renovate the house.

But for anyone trying to save Vancouver's stock of exquisitely crafted heritage homes, the owner is something of a hero.

FairTradeWorks president Jim Perkins, who is overseeing the project, believes that the Rosemary will set the bar high enough that it will open a few eyes to the possibilities for old houses.

"This will set the standard for heritage homes in Vancouver and what can be done, and what can be achieved, and the value that is created from the business side," said Mr. Perkins, seated in the house's opulent living room.

"Because as Vancouver gets chopped up and subdivided, and density grows, properties like this will become ever more valuable for the right individual, which I believe is good for Vancouver."

It's hard to believe that it takes convincing for some people to see the beauty in a house like the Rosemary. Over our heads, there is a garland of intricate gold cast plaster decorating the circumference of the high ceiling, an enormous bay window with window seat, leaded glass windows and a forest worth of carved golden oak.

The light streaming through the windows feels like it's from another time. The house even had the service bells in each room that would have been used to call for the butler, à la Downton Abbey.

"It was a sleeping dinosaur," Mr. Perkins says.

The Rosemary was built by one of the wealthiest men in British Columbia at the time, a lawyer from Hamilton, Albert Tulk. He had already made his money in the liquor trade when he went into law, becoming a successful barrister until he died in 1922. He had four children, including daughter Rosemary, who was born the year construction on the house started. It was built by famous architects Maclure and Fox over a six-year period that included the First World War, which meant they had to scale back from the original brick and stone design as a result of material shortages. Despite the war, it was the biggest and most expensive house built by the talented duo.

The house was later owned by John W. Fordham, who'd become B.C.'s lieutenant-governor, and gold-mine owner Austin Taylor.

After the Second World War, Shaughnessy mansions were too big for most families and often got carved up into rooming houses. By 1947, the Rosemary was turned into a retreat run by nuns. The nuns moved out in 1994, and it was sold in 1996 to a local owner who protected the house with a Heritage Revitalization Agreement, which allowed it to be subdivided into three parcels. An on-site caretaker moved in, and eventually it was leased out to film studios, operating as a movie location for the past decade or so.

"I think the new owner is very sensitive to the history and the value," says Heritage Vancouver's Don Luxton. "I would say it's pretty exceptional and a wonderful opportunity to maintain a Maclure and Fox masterpiece. But the problem is, a house of this size and age needs this kind of investment or it will just start shredding and falling apart. So it's important to make sure the investment happens. They have to love this house and bring them back or they won't survive."

So far, Mr. Perkins and his crew are doing the significant repair work that a mostly neglected 100year-old home would need. They have rewired the house, replaced the asbestos-covered boiler, as big as a shed, and replastered some walls and ceilings. Everything is being returned to its original glory, except for the kitchen and bathrooms, which need updating.

On a tour given by construction adviser Conor Doyle, he points out that even the original kitchen cabinets are being stripped of paint and restored for use in the new kitchen.

"It's a huge undertaking," Mr. Perkins says. "People have looked at this house many, many times and have been scared by it because there are so many unforeseens. Everywhere you look, there is a leak. It's a daunting task - that's why he's a special individual who purchased the home, because he's willing to take this on. It's like an antique car or something, it requires continued maintenance."

About 1,000 houses a year in Vancouver are sent to the landfill as a result of investment-minded purchasing of homes. The city is trying to abate the trend with hefty new requirements that demolition materials will need to be recycled for houses built prior to 1940. But Mr. Perkins believes a shift in values is already under way.

"With construction practises, and education, and real passion about what they are purchasing, and not just seeing it as a piece of land, there has been a real shift in people, especially around Shaughnessy. They are willing to invest in extensive renovations."

It's a nice reprieve for the old houses, in light of the fact that historic Legg House in the West End was demolished last month.

Besides, many of the old houses are of far greater quality than most of the new builds. Jeremy Nickel of Nickel Bros. House Moving says that houses built between 1902 to 1928 "belong to a tremendous period" in construction. Mr. Perkins, who is from Britain, and understands and appreciates historic buildings, concurs.

"With a brand new house, you get, 'Where's my wine cellar and my swimming pool?' There's a checklist of features that people expect when they pay a certain price tag. But I had a discussion over dinner with the owner, and I said, 'I can't build this house anywhere else. How can I create the age, the soul of this house?' You can't in new construction.

"Out front of this house, there's a plaque that tells you who built it, who owned it. People need to know that. ... These days, it's a numbered [building] company, and people are paying multiple millions of dollars for a home and they have absolutely no idea who built it. They are just throwing these houses together, out of sheer demand ... and there are going to be huge problems. Come and talk to me in 50 years and this house will be standing and those houses won't."

Associated Graphic

The long history of the Rosemary, built in the early 1900s by famous architects Maclure and Fox, includes being a retreat run by nuns from 1947 to 1994.

These pictures show the Rosemary before a $3-million renovation that will see most of the Edwardian/Tudor-style mansion restored to its original glory.

The rebels' final days?
The Donetsk People's Republic army was already losing ground before the MH17 disaster. Now the separatist forces are in full retreat and, as Mark MacKinnon reports, a drawn-out guerrilla war could be next
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F5

The Russian-backed separatists who control the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk have been fighting and losing on two fronts for the past week.

In the battle for public opinion, they've struggled to convince the world they had nothing to do with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, their credibility ebbing even further as they badly mismanaged the crash site and the handling of the bodies of the 298 people killed in the atrocity.

In the second and more tangible war, the seemingly demoralized rebels have been rapidly ceding ground to an invigorated Ukrainian army. This week the separatist fighters deserted their positions around the city of Donetsk, their de facto capital, withdrawing to the city's centre in an apparent attempt to lure the advancing national army into a street-by-street battle.

These could be the last days of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic. And, if so, they're likely to be bloody and drawn out - featuring the sort of urban warfare Europe hasn't seen since the crumbling of Yugoslavia two decades ago.

Russia's Itar-Tass news service quoted the military leader of the separatists, Igor Strelkov, on Thursday saying the rebels had suffered 50 casualties - "mostly wounded fighters" - and had lost two tanks, two fighting infantry vehicles and one armoured personnel carrier in clashes with the Ukrainian army in and around Donetsk. It was not clear what time frame the losses occurred in and, although Mr. Strelkov claimed government losses were "several times greater," there was no question that it was his forces that were on the defensive.

It's a reversal of the situation of two months ago, when it seemed the rebels were capturing new cities and towns almost every day. At one point, the Donetsk People's Republic and the affiliated Lugansk People's Republic controlled a swathe of territory stretching from the port of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, to their fortified military headquarters of Slavyansk, more than 200 kilometres to the north, and another 200 kilometres east to the Russian border.

As battle-hardened mercenaries from Russia's wars in Chechnya poured in to support the rebels - and the rebels gained Soviet-era tanks and antiaircraft batteries - it seemed the poorly equipped and under-trained Ukrainian army could do nothing to stop the separatists from carving out their mini-state.

More than 1,000 combatants and civilians have been killed since fighting began in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in April. The two Russian-speaking oblasts, or provinces, declared independence from Kiev following controversial referenda in May. Both regions seek eventual union with Russia.

That has always seemed a distant goal, and it has been getting more remote. The rebels fled Slavyansk in early July and since then the Ukrainian army has been taking the fight to them - using air strikes and artillery that the rebels don't have (and which the Ukrainians had previously been reticent to use). Now the rebels are in full retreat and looking across the border for more help from Russia that likely isn't coming on the scale the separatists need.

"Before last week's events, I would rather suggest that support [for the rebels] would intensify to avoid military collapse," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a Moscow-based foreign policy journal. "Now it's more difficult."

Kiev's comeback

The rebels appear to have lost focus and morale since MH17 crashed in their territory, bringing the Donetsk People's Republic under intense worldwide scrutiny. At the same time, the Ukrainian army - which stood aside and did little as Russian troops flooded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula earlier this year - has emerged as a credible fighting force, rapidly gaining in training and experience it previously lacked.

In an interview with the BBC - during which he repeated the claim that his forces didn't have the capability to shoot down an airliner flying at an altitude of 10 kilometres - rebel "prime minister" Aleksandr Borodai admitted that his fighters were in a "forced retreat" on the battlefield.

"We admit it honestly, the size of our force does not compare to the mobilized forces of the Ukrainian army, whose ranks are swelled by huge numbers of mercenaries from many different countries," he said. Sounding somewhat bitter, Mr. Borodai said "the Russian people" were supporting the separatists, but he claimed to be getting little help from the Russian state.

That doesn't mean Moscow has ended its support of the Donetsk People's Republic. Russian President Vladimir Putin has showed no signs of giving in to the key Western demand of shutting his country's border with Ukraine to cut off the flow of fighters and weapons. Analysts say Mr. Putin would see his popularity sag at home if he suddenly abandoned his key foreign policy principle of standing up for Russianspeakers abroad.

On Wednesday, two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down, with Kiev claiming they had been hit by missiles fired from Russia (Moscow denied involvement, and the rebels said they shot down at least one fighter). There have also been increasing exchanges of fire across the Russia-Ukraine border, and new reports of a buildup of Russian troops in the region.

The United States said Thursday it had evidence Russia was firing artillery across the border - directly targeting Ukrainian military positions - and was moving to deliver "heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers" to the separatists.

But unless Moscow chooses to wade in even more directly, and with the Ukrainian army on the verge of routing the rebels as a military force, Mr. Lukyanov said the next stage of the battle for eastern Ukraine may be a guerrilla war, rather than a continuation of a head-on military confrontation the separatists don't look able to win. "As long as there's a chance to prolong the fight - no one can confirm how much Russia helps [the separatists], but of course there's some help - Russia will continue. There will be an insurgency in some form."

The Ukrainian army's gains have come despite international calls for a ceasefire in the region to allow for a proper investigation into the fate of MH17. Both Mr. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have called for a halt in the fighting, but there has been little sign of it on the ground.

A Donetsk resident told The Globe and Mail that he could hear artillery rounds and rockets landing in the city throughout Wednesday night and all day Thursday. Earlier this week, shells struck near Donetsk's train station, killing at least five people. Thousands of residents have already fled the city.

Lugansk has also seen heavy fighting. Dozens of people were reportedly killed there in the last week amid seemingly indiscriminate shelling that the Ukrainian army and rebel forces each blame the other side for.

The advances have come at a heavy cost to the Ukrainian military. A government spokesman said eight soldiers were killed and 50 were injured in one 24hour period last weekend. On Wednesday, Mr. Poroshenko signed a decree ordering partial mobilization of the country's reserve forces.

Moscow and Kiev remain at odds about how to end the crisis. The Kremlin wants to see a redrawn Ukrainian constitution that weakens the central government, puts the Russian language on an equal basis with Ukrainian, and guarantees Ukraine will be a neutral country, unable to join blocs like NATO or the European Union. Mr. Poroshenko has hinted he'd accept some of those changes but has refused to meet directly with the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic, whom he calls "terrorists."

No one sees a quick end in sight to Ukraine's troubles. But for the first time since March, when Russia swept in an annexed Crimea from a staggering Ukrainian government, Kiev has the upper hand.

Mark MacKinnon is a senior international correspondent for The Globe. He is based in London.

Associated Graphic

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk: The rebels have been pulling back into the centre of the city for the past week.


Far from the busy beaches, Amanda Ruggeri discovers solitude in a medieval mountaintop town and a better way of life in the coastal city of Trapani
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T1

TRAPANI, ITALY -- As our car hurtled over a dirt road along a coastline rugged with limestone, jagged with mountains and spotted by mahogany-brown cows, I felt glad I was with a local.

Not just because my friend knew, like any born-and-bred Sicilian, how to handle a stick shift on the area's unpaved roads. Not just because she'd known to stop at a little forno off the highway where we purchased pane cunzato, the local sandwich of freshbaked bread, olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies, that we carried in a paper bag, to be devoured when we sat on the rocks. But because it was thanks to Clio that I was here to begin with.

I'd been to Sicily several times. This, however, was my first trip to the island's littleknown, northwest tip, a 100-kilometre curve of coast within the province of Trapani. If tourists come here, it's usually to make the 11/2 hour, 100 km drive west from Palermo to the famed white beaches at San Vito lo Capo. But it was the height of the August holiday, Ferragosto, and we had no plans to head to a place where, by this time of year, the water was aqua, the sand white and the beach towels edge-to-edge.

Instead, Clio promised me, where we were going would be even better.

When we pulled to a stop, we were the only car in the tiny, unpaved parking lot. We headed into the 537-hectare Riserva Naturale Orientata Monte Cofano on foot. Although people first settled here back in 12,000 BC - as evidenced by the discoveries of Paleolithic flint and graffiti in the reserve's Grotta Mangiapane - the only traces of civilization today are crumbled remains of ancient Punic-Roman walls and a couple of 16th-century towers.

In the shadow of one of the towers, built to defend the coastline against Saracenic pirates, we dipped our feet into a tidal pool and listened to the chop of the waves.

The nature reserve is only one gem that most tourists miss by skipping over this section of Sicilian coast. Even Trapani itself, a coastal city of about 70,000 and the province's capital, charmed me. Much of Trapani was bombed out by the Allies during the Second World War; today, only the heart of its centro storico, with its baroque palazzos and cobblestone streets, shows how lovely the entire city must once have been. Today, plenty of more photogenic, attraction-filled cities elsewhere in Italy outshine Trapani. But that is exactly what I loved about the town: It wasn't made for postcards, it was made for living. From the looks of the families going for passeggiate (evening strolls) as the Sicilian sun set, to the old men playing cards outside of cafés who greeted us warmly as we passed - it was living in a way I admired.

Trapani was founded by the Elymians, a Bronze Age civilization, to guard the nearby mountaintop town of Erice (then called Eryx). Erice is so ancient and revered, Thucydides wrote that the town was founded by the descendants of refugees from Troy; Virgil said that Aeneas visited, twice.

We took the cable car up 750 metres to the top of the mountain to visit it ourselves. I've seen many medieval Italian towns, but I understood Aeneas: Erice had something truly special. I ducked off a cobblestone street into the Chiesa Madre, built in 1314, and sucked in my breath: the interior, with its elaborate, icing-like lacework of Norman spirals and swirls, was stunning. Our other friends had to come and drag me out.

We stopped at Clio's family's house, a restored convent overlooking a medieval church (which, incidentally, they rent to guests). As we sat on their balcony, the church bells clanged; people buzzed on the piazza below and lined up at the corner bakery for cannoli and genovesi (local pastries stuffed with sweetened ricotta, cream or Nutella). After a dinner of fresh pasta and fish, we ambled to the Norman Castle, built on the ruins of the ancient Temple of Venus, and past Pepoli Castle, built by the Arabs. Below us, Trapani was a carpet of glittering gems that ceased, abruptly, when they bumped up against the blackness of the sea.

On another day, we drove to Marsala. Slightly larger than Trapani, the university town is the province's most populous city; by night, its laid-back energy spilled into the streets. On the piazza before the city's baroque cathedral, a live band played as a crowd danced along.

Better even than our evening in Marsala, though, was our stop in Stagnone, just 10 km north. Stagnone, meaning "large pool," is home to Sicily's famous salt pans, first constructed by the Phoenicians some 2,700 years ago. It was one of the most unusual sites I'd seen in Sicily, a vast area of completely flat, still water, dotted with the picturesque windmills introduced to the area in the Middle Ages. And, more strangely, dotted with what looked like glittering cones of snow, and each one larger than I was.

The stillness of the salt pans makes Stagnone one of the area's finest places to watch the sunset.

As the evening turned pink, the colours shone back at us from the water. The air filled with the sounds of people chatting, laughing and the strains of live music; locals gathered for aperitivo at Mamma Caura, an outdoor bar overlooking the lagoon.

"When you come back," Clio said, pointing, "we have to take the ferry out to the islands."

Islands such as San Pantaleo, with its Phoenician ruins and the remains of a warship - likely wrecked in the 241 BC Battle of the Egadi Islands. And to the island of Favignana, a half-hour ferry ride from Trapani, where she and her friends spent lazy summer days snorkelling in the aqua-blue waters.

I nodded. When I came back, we would do all of those things. And I hoped it was sooner rather than later.


Alitalia, Air Canada and AirTransat offer nonstop flights to Rome, and Ryanair runs budget flights from Rome to Trapani (about one hour). If you want to explore the coastline, rent a car at the airport.


Erice Villas Egadistar must be one of the loveliest places to stay in Erice: yes, this is the restored convent that my friend's family has turned into a villa for guests. They also run several apartments in the heart of Trapani. From $30 a person.

Located in the countryside 15 kilometres east of Trapani, Agriturismo Don Carlo has not only six sweet, clean rooms and a swimming pool, but homemade meals, cooking lessons and wine and oil tastings from the farm's own produce. From $44 a person.

The four-star boutique hotel Residence La Gancia, located in the heart of Trapani, has spacious rooms, a swimming pool, gym and breakfast on the terrace. From $103.


Erice's Antica Pasticceria del Convento is ignored by many guidebooks - but not by locals, who line up until midnight for the fresh cannoli and genovesi.

Ristorante Monte San Giuliano serves up local dishes using homemade pasta and fresh fish like scialatelle garibaldina (pasta with mint, swordfish, cherry tomatoes and eggplant, $14), at moderate prices, including lovely terrace seating.

In Marsala, Ristorante San Lorenzo is a trendy, stylish spot known for its super-fresh fish, from cuttlefish to calamari. Via Garraffa 60; 39-09-23-712593 .

Associated Graphic

A cable car takes visitors 750 metres up to the village of Erice and its Norman-built Castello di Venere.


In the centre of town, Trapani's baroque palazzos and cobblestone streets are impressive, and yet the city wasn't made for postcards, it was made for living.


In Stagnone, watch the sun set with an aperitivo at Mamma Caura, a local bar that overlooks the region's famous salt pans.


Annuities vs RRIFs: six questions answered
Annuities can be an expensive altenative but they provide certainty
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B8

Nothing provokes some investors so much as a kind word for annuities.

Last week's article compared an annuity's payout with that of a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) and concluded that "annuities deserve more of a role in retirement planning."

This rather tepid observation drew a flood of comments. Some readers were complimentary, many asked questions. A surprising number, though, were dismissive and even angry about the notion that annuities should play any role at all in your post-work portfolio.

The good news is that this provides us with a wonderful excuse to return to the always fascinating topic of life annuities. On a nice summer day, that's even more fun than running through a sprinkler! .

'Is it an all-or-nothing decision?'

Many readers asked whether you can have both an annuity and a RRIF. Short answer: Yes.

In fact, splitting your RRSP money and using part to buy an annuity while putting the remainder into a RRIF makes loads of sense.

An annuity can provide you with the security of knowing you'll have an income for life, while a RRIF lets you invest in stocks or other investments that offer a shot at bigger gains, as well as providing protection against possible inflation in the years ahead.

'When should I buy an annuity?'

Annuities generally start looking attractive when you hit 70. The payouts become increasingly enticing with age and are usually very tempting by the time you hit 75, according to Fred Vettese, chief actuary at human-resource consultants Morneau Shepell.

Just one caveat: Annuities are expensive at the moment in comparison with their past prices, because they move in the opposite direction to bond yields.

"Right now, annuities look worse than they have before because the U.S. is depressing interest rates around the world," Mr. Vettese says.

Given that, he suggests you may want to think about moving into annuities gradually, spreading your purchases over several years, in hopes that rates will revert to more normal levels.

'Why assume a comparison with a RRIF yielding only 2 per cent?'

The point of the comparison was to show how an annuity stacks up against a RRIF with roughly equal volatility and risk. That means a fixed-income portfolio, and 2 per cent, is a reasonable estimate of what such an investment-grade, bond-heavy portfolio might yield at today's rates.

'But I can get much higher returns with stocks!'

Sure, that's possible - but, unlike an annuity, those returns aren't guaranteed. Comparing a stockpacked RRIF against an annuity means balancing the certainty of the annuity against the potentially higher - or lower - returns from the RRIF.

I'm indebted to David Morris, a retired financial analyst in Calgary, for providing me with a detailed spreadsheet in which he lays out various scenarios for our hypothetical retired couple, Joe and Jane, assuming they invest their $1-million starting portfolio in both stocks and bonds.

Mr. Morris shows that steady, albeit modest, returns from a balanced portfolio can easily result in Joe and Jane winding up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their RRIF at time of death. (Mr. Morris's baseline assumption is that Joe dies at 86, while Jane makes it to 91. He also assumes they receive equal income each year to what an annuity would provide.)

Those numbers make the case that annuities can be an expensive way to ensure you don't run out of money. But it's important to look at several factors before deciding whether an annuity is a good or bad deal for you.

For starters, much depends on how long you think you may live. "Annuities make a lot of sense if you think you have a reasonable chance of living to 90 or beyond," Mr. Vettese says. "That's when they really start to deliver value. If you don't think you have much chance of reaching that age, then annuities become less attractive."

Then there's an inconvenient reality to consider: The real world doesn't deliver steady annual returns. Returns are volatile and go through bad patches.

In real life, it's not just average returns that matter, but also the sequence of returns. Especially important are the profits you get - or don't - in the first few years of your retirement.

CLA Wealth Advisors, a U.S. firm, demonstrates this by looking at the case of an investor with $2-million (U.S.) who wants to withdraw an inflation-adjusted $90,000 a year from a portfolio invested in large-cap U.S. stocks.

If this investor began withdrawing money in 1979, just as the market was beginning a wonderful decade of strong returns, she would be delighted. Based on historical returns, she would be able to withdraw more than $5.6-million over the next 30 years and still be left with a fortune of more than $23-million in 2008.

But let's imagine that the sequence of annual returns had happened to unfold in the reverse order - an entirely possible event in an uncertain world. Instead of having her portfolio boosted by early strong returns, she begins retirement with the crash of 2008, then enjoys a much better 2007, 2006 and so on, before being hit again by losses in the dot-com debacle.

In this case, her money runs out after 13 years.

"Generally, when people say annuities are expensive or bad, they're not taking risk into account," Mr. Vettese says. "If you look at risk-adjusted returns, annuities usually deliver good value compared to the available alternatives."

'But how big is the risk?'

York University professor Moshe Milevsky wrote a paper in 2007 in which he calculated the probability of "portfolio ruin" - running out of money - for various investors.

One of the examples he uses is a 65-year-old retiree, with a remaining life expectancy of 25 years, who invests her $1-million retirement portfolio in mutual funds that are expected to earn 7 per cent a year after inflation, with moderate volatility. The retiree plans to withdraw an inflationadjusted $45,000 a year.

What are her odds of portfolio ruin? About 10 per cent, according to Prof. Milevsky.

Different people will react to that forecast in different ways.

Some will point out you do just fine in most cases. Others will decide they don't want a onein-10 chance of living in a basement at age 90.

'But I want to leave something behind!'

That's understandable and praiseworthy. But it does raise the question of how to judge any retirement strategy.

Since we can't predict when we'll die, or how a RRIF portfolio might perform, it's difficult to premise your entire retirement plan on leaving behind a big bequest. Your best-laid plans can be undone if you simply happen to live a long, long time.

One thought: If you're intent on leaving something to your kids, why not give them the money now?

It'll mean more to them in their 20s or 30s than it will in their 50s or 60s. In addition, being free of the need to leave a bequest will enable you to focus your retirement planning on a single objective - achieving the most income possible for whatever level of risk suits your personal taste.

Follow me on Twitter:@IanMcGugan


If you think annuities are right for you, here are helpful tips on buying them from Fred Vettese, chief actuary at Morneau Shepell.

Age matters: For most people, buying an annuity starts making sense around age 70 and becomes extremely attractive at 75.

Consider a mixed strategy: Putting half your money into annuities and half into equities can provide you with both security and a chance for growth.

Ease into annuities: If bond yields rise in coming years, annuity prices will become more attractive. Therefore, you may want to move into annuities in stages, in hopes that prices will improve.

Six ways to salvage summer
It's almost over, and chances are you failed to seize it. David Eddie sets out to make the most of what's left
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

I've been busy. That's my excuse. Chasing that brass ring around and around like a greyhound chases a mechanical rabbit (and probably with about as much chance of catching up). But I awoke the other day with a start and realized: our short Canadian summer is more than half over and I have failed to seize it. I have failed to savour it.

In fact, I've barely noticed it. I'm shocked at myself. Shivering through the heinous winter of 2013-14, a season that seemed like it would never relinquish its icy grip on our collective throats, I pined for summer, with everyone else. But what do I do when it finally comes along? Sit inside, blinds drawn, typing furiously on a computer. A sin, sure to infuriate an already angry deity.

So I have decided to straighten up and seize the rest of summer before the leaves turn and flakes fall and meteorologists start speaking of wind chill factors and I'm kicking myself like a self-loathing mule. If, like me, you haven't done much, summer-wise, follow the bouncing ball and try one or two of my ideas for yourself.

1. Eat outside more often

As the French say: "Dejeuner sur l'herbe plus souvent." How have I not picnicked this summer? Samuel Johnson once said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." Likewise, you could say: "A man who fails to picnic all summer should have his head examined."

I mean, it's not as though it's hard to do. You know how they say "it was no picnic" when something's difficult? That's because picnics are both fun and easy. A blanket, a basket, some sandwiches, maybe a hardboiled egg or two. Friends, family, fine wines. Eyes darting around, looking for Mounties, feeling naughty as you pour chardonnay into plastic cups. Boom: Instant memorable meal with your favourite people.

And why we haven't dined en famille une seule fois in the backyard this summer is a head-scratching mystery. But it will happen, je te jure.

2. Float in a body of water

You can do this in any body of water. But if you're ambitious, read a book, sip a drink, and float, all at the same time. A little tricky when you don't personally own a cottage. Traditionally I've always buttered up friends with cottages. (Invite them over for a nice boozy meal April-ish, and pray that afterward, full of bouillabaisse and chardonnay, they'd lean back and, glowing with beneficence, say something like: "You know, this summer we should really have you guys -" Me: "Love to! Name a weekend!").

It's amazing, how cottage invites dry up when you have three kids and a mangy little mutt. But you know what? Go online for an hour, and you can find one.

Rented cottages are never perfect, but who cares? It's time with family, playing board games and such, that matters. That, and my favourite earthly activity (well, second favourite): Lounging in one of those floating armchairs, drink in little holder, reading a book - mankind's most godlike state. (P.S. You can keep the "roughing it." Some people might be wondering why I don't mention camping in this article. To which I answer: I have never, I don't think, come so close to divorce as the one time our family went camping.)

3. Tackle chores in the fresh air

I know, I know, not exactly everyone's idea of "summer fun." But I never said "summer fun." I said "seize the rest of summer," which in my view includes some productive, non-recreational activities. And it kills two birds with one stone: You get stuff done, kids are detached from their beloved screens, and you spend time bonding and interacting. Or is that three birds?

Anyway, paint something, "strip" something, plant something. Me, I started an herb garden with my youngest: chives, oregano, basil, etc. It gives us both a measure of pleasure all out of proportion to the thing itself. I buy him little plastic planters of herbs (Me: "Hey, Adam, I got you a tarragon." Him: "What's that?" Me: "Oh, it's delicious, got kind of a licorice-y flavour, I'd eat just about anything with tarragon on it," etc.)

And he becomes all invested in the making of dinner - because we're using his herbs! Could I sound any more like a little old lady? Maybe as an antidote I should think about getting a fresh tattoo, maybe an evil sailor with dagger in his teeth, and while donning sunglasses, a leather jacket and boots, I should ... (see No. 4)

4. Feel the wind in your hair

You could roar into a small nearby town on a motorbike, glare threateningly at the locals, pop wheelies and do smokin' doughnuts in the town square. Me, I don't have a Harley, but I did recently chuck my rusty old Raleigh 10-speed and bought a bit of a "sweet ride" of a bike complete with Flintstones-like 29-inch tires and disc brakes. Can't wait to take it on a long ride.

You too, dear reader: Choose your favourite form of unenclosed transportation and go on a nice day trip. If you have a convertible, my hat's off to you (doing cartwheels through the air in your rear-view mirror). Or a motorcycle. (If not, it's possible to rent these items, too.)

Have lunch. Check out what's on offer, e.g. antiques. Besides, popping wheelies is dangerous and probably unlawful and you should eschew it in favour of safe motoring at all times. And try to interact with the locals as peacefully as possible. You might even get a free jar of locally sourced jam out of it.

5. Have a squirt-gun fight

Only for kids and Pride paraders, you say? Poppycock. Maybe if we were talking about the kind of squirt guns we had when I was a kid. But these days, they're not "squirt" guns at all. They're "super soakers" and that's no misnomer: you can really hose someone down with one of these things.

My kids come in from these "squirt gun" fights looking like someone upended a bucket of water over their heads. Drenched. And shivering. And laughing. Kids know how to stay cool and have fun all at once. When did we lose that? Time to reclaim it. I'm lucky, I have three male offspring, my house already has a large cache or plastic arsenal of water-combat ordinance.

But if you don't have them, they're cheap to buy, and nearly free to operate. Tons of intergenerational fun.

6. Take the indoors outside

Things that don't have to be indoor activities: Reading a book. Sitting around a fire (get one of those "outdoor fireplaces"- they're cheap). Listening to radio. For the adventurous and amorous, the lovers out there - ah, wait, scratch that one. I could get in trouble for recommending you do that "sur l'herbe." And you could get in trouble doing it. But how about watching a movie? I love doing that in the summer, and can't believe we haven't had a "backyard movie night" yet.

They're easy. Extension cord. Bowl of popcorn. Rented "popcorn movie."

I watched one of the all-time great "popcorn movies" with my kids the other day: Jaws. What a classic. It holds up. ("This shark, swallow you whole. A little shakin', a little tenderizin', down you go.") They were blown away. I envied them, having the experience of watching it for the first time. We should have watched it outside. That'll happen soon, too. Je te jure.

Associated Graphic


The rodeo's secret-service men
Scott Byrne is a bull fighter, not a rodeo clown - and he never hesitates to rush in and take the hit when the riders are down
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S2

INNISFAIL, ALTA. -- The clouds roll in and the mood darkens as eight oneton assassins are caged in their chute. Some are grey in colour, some are black; some even have the tips of their horns sawed off to make them less dangerous.

You look at those horns close up, from behind the chute, and your guess is it has only made them madder.

Standing in the arena, Scott Byrne waits for the mayhem. It comes with an eruption of anger and streams of whip-snapping drool as the bull known as Bombs Away drops its rider, then turns to run him over.

Byrne puts himself between the bull and bull rider. He dekes one way; the beast goes the other, before trotting off to its pen.

The rider leaves without winning a nickel. Byrne readies for the next explosion.

They call themselves bull fighters, not rodeo clowns, and you can tell the difference when you watch them in action. There is no grease paint on their faces, no water-spraying plastic flower pinned to suspenders straps.

They don't tell jokes. They don't hide in barrels and they don't sit at a poker table and let a bull crash through them. Oh yes, that's been done.

What bull fighters do is protect bull riders. In rodeo parlance, they are the secret-service men.

They stay in the background until needed, then rush in to take the hit.

"In a nutshell, mentally and physically, you have to want to put your body on the line for someone else," Byrne explains.

"It's really a game of close calls and quite a bit of luck ... Honestly, I love it."

The man who tangos with bulls was born in Saskatchewan, operates a horse-boarding business near Brandon, Man., and at 42 is considered the dean of his rodeo profession. Today, Byrne makes his 12th appearance at the Calgary Stampede, "the greatest outdoor show on earth."

At his first, he says he stood in the infield dirt hours before the show started and stared at the huge grandstand. "I almost crapped my pants," he recalls. "I was so nervous."

Since then, Byrne has garnered the intestinal fortitude and savvy to keep bull riders from getting seriously skewered.

Naturally, he is drawn into a conversation about the hits he's taken over the years, including the one last summer in Ponoka, Alta, when a bull stomped on his face.

It was a hoof that caught Byrne under his right eye, ripped open a slice of his upper lip and smashed the orbital bone to the point where his face was swollen beyond recognition.

He can touch his forehead and still feel a tingling sensation in his cheek.

Of course, that was nothing compared with what happened several years ago in Lethbridge, Alta. A bull hit him so hard it broke five of Byrne's ribs and bruised a kidney. He was stretchered off the field and felt this strange warmth overtaking his body. He figured he was dying.

He took the next day off. The day after that, he was back in the arena, putting his broken chest to the test.

"All the bull fighters make you feel pretty safe," says Tanner Girletz, the rider who was planted by the despicable Bombs Away. "But when you have the elite guys, like Scott, you feel you can bear down and go harder. He reads stock better than anyone. He can remember bulls and how they react."

So you ask Byrne how he does it and does it so well. (The "why" question comes later.) Does he keep a running journal on which bulls do what? Does he play the percentages? Is there such a thing as bull fighting analytics? He chuckles and says he has learned to expect the unexpected; that it is better to react than to try and out-scheme a raging Brahman.

The safest move is to get "in the pocket" - more rodeo parlance, this time for standing next to the bull, in tight by its shoulder so the bull fighter can grab one of the horns and steer it away. The rationale is simple: Bulls don't have a great turning radius. What they do have is power to spare. On a straightline dash, the four-legged beast will beat the two-legged cowboy every time.

"We also do a lot of hand touching on the bull's head," Byrne continues. "When you touch bulls, nine times of 10 they want to throw that off their head. They'll bay up a little bit.

That buys us that second or half a second to get in the pocket or get away."

He was a lousy bull rider in his day, but too infatuated with rodeo life to let it go. Having an uncle who was one of the best bull fighters of his generation made for too good an opportunity to waste. So Scott went to Ryan Byrne for help.

Ryan Byrne spent 25 years fighting bulls and remains the only Canadian to have worked the prestigious National Finals Rodeo in the U.S. He wore the face paint because it was tradition. Clowns in the early 1900s wore it. Jasbo Fulkerson wore it when he became the first man to hide inside a barrel then get knocked around the infield. The legendary likes of Rex (Mr.Smooth) Dunn, Leon Coffee and Flint Rasmussen all wore makeup while they dodged disaster.

Ironically, few of them wore anything more protective than a knee brace.

"I don't think there's much difference," Ryan Byrne says of bull fighting then and now, "except for the opportunities. There are more indoor rodeos and so many more rank bulls that bull fighters can make a pretty good living at what they do ... My boys are enjoying it."

Jesse and Bo Byrne are bull fighters; younger brother Tanner is a bull rider. At the 2014 Calgary Stampede, cousins Jesse and Scott will offer up their protection while Tanner will ride. All the Byrnes share the same desire to be where the danger is.

"That's what I'm always asked: 'Why? Why are you a bull fighter?' "Scott Byrne says. "It's an addictive sport. I'm always a little nervous before the chute is opened. But when that bull comes out, it's an adrenalin rush. It's hard to describe unless you're out there doing it."

With his ankles taped, knee braces on and his chest protector pulled snug, Scott Byrne does some stretching behind the chutes. The rodeo announcer tells the Innisfail crowd, "This is the toughest eight seconds in sports," alluding to the amount of time a rider has to stay on his bull before looking for a soft place to land.

On this cloudy afternoon, Byrne is working with fellow bull fighter Scott Waye. It's a Yoda-Luke Skywalker type of arrangement. Inside the arena, Waye feeds off Byrne's confidence and experience. Out of the arena, Waye takes in Byrne's worldly advice.

"He's a businessman," Waye says. "He told me right from the start that I should be thinking about what I'm going to do when my bull fighting career is over because it doesn't last forever."

When the last bull has been dispatched to its pen, Byrne and Waye shake hands, then mingle with the fans exiting the Innisfail grandstand. Everyone is in agreement: This was a good day. The rain held off and no one got hurt, not even the bull fighters.

Associated Graphic

Bull fighter Scott Byrne distracts a charging bull from getting at a rider at the Daines Rodeo in Innisfail, Alta., last month.


To prepare for work and for protection, Byrne gets his ankles taped, and wears knee braces and a chest protector.


Little feet, little spaces
Rather than migrate to the suburbs, some growing middle-class families just won't leave their compact downtown condos
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S5

Kirk Jong and his wife, Elaine, are both engineers in their early 40s, making healthy salaries. They have two children - Kali, 9, and Kyle, almost 5. They sound like your average Canadian family, the kind found living in a big suburban house with a yard, a dog and a small, private transit system running everyone to jobs, schools, sports and the mall.

Instead, they're living the antisuburban life. The four Jongs (and a cat) live in what is essentially a large, open room - a 1,000square-foot loft near Vancouver's downtown and its rail-related industrial lands. They bought the condominium unit in 2003 for $269,900. Their three beds are within inches of each other on the upstairs half-floor. Kali's play area has been carved out of space under the staircase. And a family's worth of stuff is stacked tidily in cabinets, on shelving, and in plastic boxes as high as they'll go along the walls.

"I get told a lot that I'm crazy, that we need to move," says Kirk, who works at a high-tech business in Richmond. Adds Elaine, while the two kids fence beside her with rubber swords: "My parents don't understand why you'd live in an apartment."

But the Jongs, who both grew up in bucolic southeast Vancouver, say they're not willing to leave their central Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, and they feel that buying anything house-like in the area they've come to love would mean too big a jump up the mortgage ladder. This week, the cheapest duplex for sale in the area is listed at $599,000; the cheapest house that isn't a teardown or on a major traffic street is $899,000. Their building, an artists' live-work loft, gives them a spectacular view of the city. It's just a few blocks from the comicbook store, the cafés and the other businesses they visit regularly on Main Street. They won't even consider the suburbs.

The Jongs are part of a small but noticeable trend in both the United States and Canada - middleclass families who are so determined to hang on to the centralcity urban life they got attracted to in their 20s that they're refusing to follow the normal migratory flight to the land of the split-level and double garage.

Vancouver's chief housing officer, Mukhtar Latif, in a presentation on affordable housing to city council last week, reported that more than 11,000 families with children are living in studios or one-bedroom units in the city. The trend is so pronounced that it's skewing school planning. A new school that is about to be built near Chinatown has had to have more space tacked on at the last minute. Planners never expected that so many children would appear in the areas nearby, because most of the units were small. They were wrong.

While many of the city's crowded households are undoubtedly the traditional poorer families who've always packed into small spaces, some are not.

Instead, they're middle- to higher-income families. A recent New York Times article noted that the number of white professionals with one or more children living in one-bedroom condo units in that city had jumped by almost a third between 2000 to 2006.

Andrew Beveridge, of Queens College of the City University of New York, said the pattern is showing up in other expensive U.S. cities. In Toronto, the 2011 National Household Survey showed there are about 72,000 families living in 71,500 units in buildings with five or more storeys - undoubtedly many of them the new, tiny condos proliferating there.

Vancouver has made an effort to attract families to its downtown and central areas, pushing developers to provide daycare spaces and parks and, not always successfully, three-bedroom condos.

Developers have tended to prefer building smaller studios and onebedrooms, which are snapped up by first-time buyers and investors. There's been a boom in children downtown, but many couples in the past have only lasted a couple of years with an infant or a toddler in 600 square feet, before moving on. What's different now is the way the parents are hanging in past toddlerhood in the relatively small downtown condo units, people like the Jongs and a host of others.

It takes strategic planning to live in that small a space, they acknowledge. Kirk and Elaine wear headphones to watch TV while their children tumble around the living area. When Kyle was a newborn and started crying, one parent would have to decamp to the bathroom and shut the door to try to keep the noise level bearable. Kali has never had school friends over because there's just not enough room, although she loyally says that she copes. "I find it more comfortable. I have my brother here all the time."

Kirk describes it as "kind of like living in a hotel room." But he and Elaine also say it allows them to spend real family time together, not the kid-activity-oriented lives they see others embroiled in. The four spend a lot of time outside the condo, eating out and walking all over the city.

"On the weekend, we'll leave here in the morning and we won't come back till 9," says Kirk. They walk to Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinatown, Science World. Since they're so close to Main and Hastings, they often walk past the city's most notorious drug corner. But the people hanging out there will call out, "Kids on the block," and everyone is on their best behaviour while the Jongs pass.

That's what they and many other middle-class families like - the sense that they're living in a walkable place that's almost like a village and where there's a tolerance for all kinds of people. The Jongs' children know most of the store-owners along Main and can call on them if they need help.

And what about adult alone time? Well, that too takes some strategy and planning but it all works, say the two diplomatically.

Like many other city families, Kirk and Elaine are always wondering how long they can hang on living in such a small space. They thought they'd move when the first baby was born. Then the second. "Even now, we keep saying we've got to move eventually," says Kirk. But they also keep putting it off.

In Yaletown, Melanie Osmack says she and all the parents around her have gone through the same angst. Ms. Osmack, who runs a business targeted at the swelling population of middleclass families around her (preand postnatal fitness and yoga classes), said there's been a sea change since she had her son 10 years ago. Her family and friends in Langley used to think it was just weird that she stayed downtown with two kids (her daughter is 7) in a 700-square-foot condo unit. Even when she moved to her current abode, 1,100 square feet with - gasp - a second bedroom, it wasn't seen as a huge improvement. But she's stopped hearing the suggestions that she should move to a real house, after years of her enthusiastic descriptions of the close community she lives in and the parks and activities she and her children have access to.

"I don't get the pressure any more." But she does wonder what she'll do when her son is a teenager and maybe not so eager to share a bedroom with his sister.

Associated Graphic

Kirk and Elaine Jong watch as their children romp in their Vancouver loft. It's 'kind of like living in a hotel room,' says Kirk.


Travel the world and still get a paycheque: The allure of a results-only workplace
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

When Alex Pineda's bosses decided their employees could work wherever they wanted, the web developer didn't park his laptop at home or at the neighbourhood coffee shop. He left for Paris.

"If it doesn't really matter where I am," he figured, "then why am I in my own apartment instead of a place in Europe?"

So this time last summer, having sold the idea to his managers, Pineda stuffed his backpack, crossed the Atlantic and began hopscotching around some of the world's most historic cities, while still working full-time for Mabel's Labels, a Hamilton, Ont.based company that makes childfriendly labels. By the time he returned home nine weeks later, he'd visited Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona, living off his regular pay cheque.

For Canadian workers stuck in an office, clock-watching through a too-short summer, Pineda's European adventure sounds like a fairy tale. "My goal was to change my whole environment," he says, "a little bit of a reset."

Most employers would likely struggle to accommodate requests for such ambitious "resets," leaving staff tied to set shifts that don't always coincide with their real or optimal work days. And some workers prefer the structure of office life. But research and case studies are building evidence that Canadian employees might want to leave on their bosses' desks; the findings suggest the most efficient, least-stressed work force is one freed from time, and, yes, space.

Pineda's "work-ation" was only possible because in March, 2013, Mabel's Labels became the first Canadian company to fully adopt a workplace strategy known as ROWE, which stands for "results-only work environment." The company's 40 employees, once given their responsibilities and deadlines, can get their work done in the manner, place and time that works best for them. They are judged only by their performance, not their ability to sit at a desk all day. Some staffers at Mabel's still need to be at work - to receive shipments, for instance, or work the production line. But generally, attendance isn't monitored, and meetings have to be justified.

"You get more done," says Cynthia Esp, Mabel's co-founder and vice-president. "The people who are overseeing the team are focused on what matters, not whether someone came in 10 minutes late."

It also means, says Esp, that some of the workplace tension around who gets flex-time arrangements has vanished. "As long as they are meeting their goals, we don't care if we see them in the office or not."

ROWE is the brainchild of Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler, two former Best Buy managers who have been training companies around the world on how to create a flexible, performance-driven workplace. Their clients include government departments, financial institutions and even child-care centres.

Thompson says the ROWE concept - which one magazine headline dubbed "Work Like It's Saturday" - improves on telecommuting arrangements that aren't possible for many workers. The idea is to change the top-down culture in many companies that supervises staffers as if they were children who need permission to use the washroom or to leave early on a sunny Friday afternoon. Instead, the focus is how to reorganize the workplace to improve customer service and productivity.

One of the rules in ROWE is to avoid popping in on a co-worker unannounced. In one call centre, Thompson says, staff worked out their own schedules to suit the company's needs and their own lifestyles. She dismissed concerns that workers will slack off, saying that's something they can do by shuffling paper and pretending to be present at their desks. "The only way you can take advantage is by not doing your work, and then you get fired," she says.

"No results, no job."

A flexible, results-driven workplace can also make it easier to attract and retain good staff, as ATB Financial, an Alberta-based bank, discovered. President and CEO David Mowat says the company began moving toward more work-away arrangements when it faced losing a top manager, who needed to care for his dying father in British Columbia. That manager now supervises call-centre staff through a computer from Kelowna, B.C.

Security technology, Mowat says, has made it possible for financial companies to allow more staff, including those taking customer-service calls, to work out of the office in ways they couldn't previously. "You can craft a job that's perfect," he says. "If you are in a wheelchair, you don't have to commute. If you're home with the kids, you can be there when you need to be."

As for the lack of face time, Mowat says, during online "coffee breaks," employees still use the office texting system to chat about their kids or the latest episode of Breaking Bad. And he argues there's no issue with accountability - good managers know their best and worst employees no matter where they work.

Of course, some industries and jobs don't suit office flexibility very well. But even companies that might benefit find the concept a hard sell. Working from home has taken a hit: Last year, in a high-profile change of direction, incoming Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned the practice of telecommuting at the tech company. According to the most recent Statistics Canada data, the number of employed Canadians who worked at home - even one day a week - only increased by 1 per cent between 2000 and 2008, to a total of about 11 per cent of the population.

Research, however, continues to suggest that more autonomy at work reduces stress and increases productivity. One Stanford University study divided staff at a call centre for a Chinese travel website into two groups - half worked from home, the other half in the office. Researchers found that the people working at home were happier, less likely to quit, and completed about 13 per cent more calls than staff in the office. Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom, who coauthored the study, suggested the quieter home environment made work easier. At the end of the experiment, some staff chose to return to the office - flex-work suits some employees more than others - and the study found that those who stayed home because they preferred it were even more efficient. "People are productive when they are motivated and given peace and quiet to work," Bloom says.

Faced with the temptations of playing tourist in a foreign city, Pineda says finding a good work space was important. It also helps, he jokes, that the timezone difference allowed for sleeping in after late nights out. He was careful to answer e-mails right away, even if he couldn't immediately address the content.

In Amsterdam, he hooked up with a group of computer programmers who rented a daily workspace with fast Internet connections in a new building called the A-Lab. In Rome, he mostly worked out of his hostel. In Berlin, he worked out of a BetaHaus, which has workspace for start-ups and a bustling café jammed with brainstorming techies on the ground floor.

Last summer's trip "was another notch in things I thought I would never do," Pineda says. "I had never been to Europe, never travelled solo, never worked remotely while travelling." He is now considering the logistics of working out of Central America, this time staying based in one city for at least a month. "It's just going to get easier to jump ship and travel."

The view from the office never looked better.

Associated Graphic

Alex Pineda, who works for Mabel's Labels in Hamilton, Ont., recently travelled to Europe and worked remotely from there for a few months, spending time in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin.


Snarled city
We're facing the worst construction season in years, and it's all happening at once. But the people who oversee the projects say this is 'a necessary evil' to tackle our repair and maintenance backlog. It's the price of progress. But it's not ending anytime soon, Marcus Gee writes
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

Stephen Buckley and Jeffrey Climans understand that they may not be the most popular guys in Toronto right now. Mr. Buckley is the city's general manager of Transportation Services. Mr. Climans is director of Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination. Together, they help oversee the scores of projects that have torn up roads, blocked lanes, diverted buses and streetcars and turned Toronto into what sometimes seems like one giant construction site.

Bloor Street West is getting new sidewalks and asphalt. Dundas and Spadina is being dug up for track and water-main work. Construction fencing is going in and heavy equipment is setting up on Eglinton Avenue for the Crosstown light-rail transit project. Then, of course, there is the Gardiner Expressway, now in the midst of a massive rehabilitation that often slows traffic to a crawl even more snail-like than usual. With contractors hurrying to finish projects for next year's Pan American Games as well, it is feeling like the worst construction season in years.

Mr. Buckley and Mr. Climans don't try to minimize the public's annoyance. They hear about it all the time.

They just ask people to wipe the construction dust from their eyes for a second and try to see the bigger picture.

After decades of short-sighted underinvestment, Toronto is finally making progress against its repair and maintenance backlog.

"We are at the point where we feel we are no longer losing ground," says Mr. Buckley.

"There are cities that aren't making these investments that in 10 or 20 years are going to be in a bad situation, where I think Toronto, by doing the right thing, will be in a much better situation."

Much of Toronto's infrastructure was built in the postwar years and is now reaching the end of its natural life, which means a lot of major work has to be done at once. Mr. Climans says the city is spending close to a billion dollars a year on various projects and will continue spending at that pace for seven or eight years at least.

This summer's construction blitz is only the beginning.

To illustrate the scale of the work, Mr. Climans pulls up a website the city uses to track and co-ordinate all its projects. It's called T.O. INview (for infrastructure viewer). Click on road resurfacing and dozens of squiggles appear on a map of the city to show those projects. Click on bridge rehabilitation and several dots appear. Do the same for water-main replacement, on-street bikeway construction, gas-line work, laying of communications cable, storm-water management and all the other kinds of projects and soon the surface of Toronto is nearly covered with the multicoloured tattoos of its work boom.

The result, no way around it, is a big mess. Viewed from the ground, it can seem as if nobody is in charge. Drivers fumed when lane closings on Lake Shore Boulevard this spring coincided with the Gardiner work.

Campaigning politicians, picking up on the frustration, insist things would be different if they were in charge. John Tory said this week that if he became mayor he would set up a special committee to co-ordinate projects and make himself its boss for the first six months. Karen Stintz says she would appoint a "transportation czar" instead. Olivia Chow would fine companies like condo builders that needlessly close down road lanes for construction.

If only it were so simple. The task of rebuilding the nerves and arteries of an aging city is almost unimaginably complex. When you dig up a street in Toronto, it often means bringing in everyone that has stuff underground. Do the water folks need to get in there to fix their pipes? How about the telecommunications companies and their fibre optics?

Mr. Buckley and Mr. Climans help choreograph this delicate ballet of cranes, diggers and dump trucks. After the bad press over poorly co-ordinated projects such as the St. Clair streetcar line, they have been working hard to make sure work is done in the right sequence and with the minimum inconvenience to residents.

"We have to invest, we have to improve, we have to upgrade the infrastructure - it's a necessary evil - but we're doing it in a kinder, gentler way," says Mr. Climans.

That means taking more care to tell the public about planned construction and its effects.

T.O. INview gives all the players a heads-up about what work is planned and where, in case they have to do work of their own in the same place.

"We are putting all our marching orders out in plain view," Mr. Climans says.

The aim is "less surprise, less uncertainty and ultimately more accountability." A second website for the general public lists all the construction projects ward by ward, as well as the many parades, marathons and other special events that can snarl traffic.

Yes, Toronto could get projects done faster by ordering roundthe-clock work on high-priority projects, as Mr. Tory proposed this week. The city is considering just such a step. But it would boost the cost, and in a city where more and more people are living on busy main streets, residents would be sure to complain about nighttime work.

As Mr. Climans puts it, "we can't turn the city off." Along with Mr. Buckley, he is faced with the challenge of "shoehorning into a vibrant, active environment all the investment that is required not just for the next year but for the next 10 or 100 years."

It's easy to rant about the crazy amount of work that is tearing up the city, but wouldn't it be worse if the work wasn't being done at all? Many people who complain now about all the road work were complaining not long ago about the poor condition of the roads.

It's easy to cast blame, too - to say that all we need is a new mayor to crack the whip. But it isn't Rob Ford's fault that the city is overwhelmed by construction right now. It isn't anyone's fault. It's just that we have a whole lot of important and necessary work to do at the same time. It's going to be a pain no matter who is in the mayor's chair.

So if you feel like fuming over all the congestion and roadwork, fume away. But don't forget the payoff: a better, sounder city down the (torn-up) road.


Areas to avoid:


The intersection currently has one lane open in both directions, but will close completely for a few weeks starting July 28.


Many commuters are already familiar with this construction headache. Front Street is set to reopen by December, according to the city's site.

3. GARDINER EXPRESSWAY Stretches of the Gardiner from the foot of Fort York west to Humber Bay will have lane closings ending as early as the fall and as late as 2016.

4. QUEEN'S QUAY WEST The waterfront area, which has been plagued with construction for a while, is due to be completed come December.

5. THIS WEEKEND: The Honda tndy car-racing event is running through the weekend, which means some road closings by the waterfront. Strachan Avenue will be closed between Fleet Street and the Lake Shore until midnight Sunday. Same goes for the Lake Shore, which will be closed from Strachan to British Columbia Drive.

Associated Graphic

Traffic has been reduced to single lanes in all directions at Dundas St. West and Spadina Ave. for water main and streetcar track repairs.


Serious interviews and serious salaries are things of the past
Bill Good reflects on 50 years in broadcasting as he wraps up his final weeks at CKNW radio
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Bill Good didn't want to make his last few weeks at CKNW all about his goodbye. He wanted to continue to do what's made him a broadcasting legend in this town: discuss the issues. But callers to his talk show haven't been able to help themselves.

"First I'd like to congratulate you on a fantastic career. You've been a huge inspiration for me," one caller began during a segment last week, before launching into his thoughts on an MLA's proposal to bring in a guaranteed minimum income.

Mr. Good hosts his final show on CKNW on Friday, signing off after 50 years in broadcasting - 26 of them at 'NW, and all of them based in B.C.

The Globe and Mail spoke with Mr. Good, now 68, in the green room next to his studio, after a busy show.

Your dad [Bill Good Sr.] was a broadcaster. Was that what made you interested in this field?

Yes. As a youngster, I watched my dad, who was a very prominent sports broadcaster, travel the world, meet interesting people, always seeming to be having a good time and being well compensated for it. My mother says when I was four years old I was speaking into a spoon pretending it was a microphone, so there was never any doubt in my mind what I wanted to do. The funny thing is I swore I would not do sports, and I happened to join the CBC at about the time the Vancouver Canucks were coming into the market. They wanted me to audition for Hockey Night in Canada, which I did, and I spent 10 wonderful years there, and did two Olympics and the Soviet-Canada hockey series. So some of the highlights of my life came from doing what I swore I wasn't going to do. So I tell young journalists: Don't get too fixed on what you're going to do when and where; take the opportunities as they come along.

What was your first job in broadcasting?

My first job was a short one; I was a summer relief announcer at CFPR in Prince Rupert. But that summer, a private station was opening in Prince Rupert, CHTK, so I went right from the summer relief job at the CBC to a full-time position at CHTK in Prince Rupert. I was there for a year. I was doing everything: I was doing news, I was a disc jockey, I did play-by-play of high school basketball, I did play-by-play of curling, and I did commercial remotes on the weekend.

(After a year he went to CFAX in Victoria and joined the CBC in 1967, first doing radio before moving to TV news. In 1988, he left CBC for CKNW. He also anchored the news on BCTV and then CTV before leaving at the end of 2010.)

I know it's an impossible question but are there any interviews from over the years that really stand out for you?

I've had so many. One of my first interviews with a senior politician was with Pierre Trudeau the morning after the Constitution was repatriated. At that time, I was a pretty young news anchor and I was pretty intimidated by him. And when he died, I was terrified that the CBC was going to run that interview again, which they did, and it turned out I did pretty well. But here he was still intimidating me after he was dead.

What's your interviewing approach?

I've always thought the guest should be the most important part of the conversation. And that's not always the case in talk radio.

How has talk radio changed over the years?

It's evolved more than changed. The biggest change probably is the technology. When I started, most people were calling from home and on land lines and now almost all of my calls come from cellphones.

The business has gotten more serious. When I was doing television in the old days at CBC, a cameraman mooned me, a producer crawled under the desk and rolled my socks down and when that didn't work, he put his hands in my pockets. And instead of laughing I finally looked at him and said, 'Would you please just go away?' Stuff like that doesn't tend to happen any more.

There's no question CKNW has been hugely influential over the years, but the ratings have been in decline recently, and there are some big personnel changes here [morning show host Philip Till's last show was Thursday]. What's going on?

It always changes and there's no question this is a difficult time for talk radio around North America. A few years ago they instituted something called [Portable] People Meters (for ratings), which requires people to wear little pager-type devices, and my understanding is that this audience isn't terribly inclined to wear those things. They also give FM stations a huge advantage because if you walk into your doctor's office and they're playing an FM station at a very low level, they get a rating for it, even though people aren't really listening to it. Plus our signal has deteriorated terribly downtown; we've tried for a long time to get an FM signal and the CRTC hasn't seen that our way. But with the e-mail I get and the Twitter activity and Facebook and the phones, I don't get any sense that there are fewer people out there or that they care any less about the issues.

Are you concerned about the future of the business?

I'm concerned about the future of media. I think there are fewer and fewer ways for people who want intelligent information, discussion, debate to get it. There's no question in my mind I've lived through the best of times in terms of local television and local radio and I suspect you would say the same about print.

Nearly all of the news organizations now are owned by big corporations who are run more by accountants than by broadcasters and all they're looking at, generally speaking, is short-term, quarterly results.

In some places, people who have been around for a long time and are making a good salary are being pushed out and replaced by young people who won't make a good salary.

That's the part I don't like. I would be much happier today if I was leaving and somebody else was coming in as a young person on a track to make the kind of money I've made. I don't see it happening and that's a real shame because then the business won't attract the quality of people that it has in the past.

Was this your decision or is someone trying to get your big salary off the books?

It's my decision. And the timing was my decision.

What are your hopes for your own life now?

I've never had a game plan. The only one I had I screwed up terribly: I wasn't going to do sports. I anticipate that there will be people out there who will want to involve me in various projects but I don't know what they are. Maybe there won't be any and I'll really have to retire.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

CKNW Radio talk show host Bill Good listens to a caller during his show in Vancouver on Wednesday.


Air strikes and heavy tank shelling knock out the region's only power plant as Israel targets Hamas command centres on the bloodiest day of conflict so far
The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP -- Israel unleashed its heaviest air and artillery assault of the Gaza war on Tuesday, destroying key symbols of Hamas control, shutting down the territory's only power plant and leaving at least 128 Palestinians dead on the bloodiest day of the 22-day conflict.

Despite devastating blows that left the packed territory's 1.7 million people cut off from power and water and sent the overall death toll soaring past 1,200, Hamas's shadowy military leader remained defiant as he insisted that the Islamist militants would not cease fire until its demands are met.

The comments by Mohammed Deif in an audiotape broadcast on a Hamas satellite TV channel cast new doubt on international ceasefire efforts. Aides to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Egypt was trying to bring Israeli and Palestinian delegations together in Cairo for new talks in which Hamas would be presented this time as part of the Palestinian team.

Israel's final objective in Gaza remained unclear a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israelis to be prepared for a "prolonged" war.

Mr. Netanyahu is under pressure from hawkish members of his coalition to topple Hamas in an all-out offensive, but has not let on whether he plans to go beyond destroying Hamas rocket launchers, weapons depots and military tunnels used to infiltrate Israel and smuggle weapons.

Dozens of Israeli air strikes and heavy tank shelling hit areas across Gaza, which was plunged into complete darkness Tuesday night after a strike on its sole power plant set a fuel tank ablaze.

In the sprawling Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, at least 24 people - 10 of them from the same family - were killed and dozens wounded in a barrage of tank fire, Hamas health officials said.

"Tanks were firing in all directions and shrapnel was flying," said Moussa al-Mabhouh, a volunteer for Gaza's Civil Defence.

"Smoke was rising from houses and from nearby workshops."

The Israeli military has said it is targeting Hamas command centres, along with rocket launchers and weapons arsenals, but has not provided explanations when asked about specific strikes in which many members of a single family were killed.

On Tuesday, multiple members of at least five families were pulled from the rubble after air strikes and tank shells struck their homes, including the mayor of the Bureij refugee camp, his 70year-old father and three relatives, according to Palestinian health officials.

In all, at least 1,229 Palestinians have been killed since the start of fighting on July 8, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

More than 7,000 have been wounded, he said.

Israel says it has lost 53 soldiers, along with two Israeli civilians and a Thai national.

Despite the heavy Palestinian losses, Mr. Deif, the commander of the Hamas military wing, said fighting would continue. "There is not going to be a ceasefire as long as the demands of our people are not fulfilled," he said.

Hamas has demanded that Israel and Egypt lift a border blockade they imposed on Gaza after Hamas seized the territory in 2007. Over the past year, Egypt has further tightened restrictions, shutting down hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the EgyptGaza border that had provided crucial tax income to Hamas. The closing of the tunnels drove Hamas into a severe financial crisis.

Mr. Deif's voice was recognizable in the audio statement on AlAqsa TV. He has survived repeated Israeli assassination attempts and has operated from hiding for years.

Al-Aqsa also broadcast a videotape it said showed an infiltration by Hamas fighters into Israel on Monday through a border tunnel.

The footage showed armed Palestinians climbing out of a hole in the ground and attacking an Israeli guard post near the border.

They were then seen fleeing back down the hole.

The Israeli military said Hamas infiltrated Israeli territory near a communal farm and killed five soldiers on guard nearby. A Hamas gunman was also killed in the attack. Israeli media reported a soldier shot and killed him while he was dragging one of the bodies back to the tunnel.

Meanwhile, the miserable living conditions for Gazans deteriorated even further after two Israeli tank shells struck one of three fuel tanks of Gaza's only power plant. The hit set off a massive fire and a column of thick putrid smoke rose from the site for hours.

"We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room," said Fathi Sheik Khalil of the Gaza Energy Authority. "Everything was burned." The shutdown meant that Gaza has an 80-per-cent deficit of electricity, said Sari Bashi of the Israeli rights group Gisha. Widespread power outages also disrupt water supplies because electricity is needed to operate water pumps.

In Gaza, about 1.2 million have no access to running water, she said.

Maher Salem of the utilities department in the Gaza City municipality said about 600,000 of the city's 800,000 residents were facing water problems.

"But the most catastrophic issue for us, which is the ticking bomb, is that once we have run out of fuel [for back-up generators], we have to shut down the waste water treatment," he said, adding that fuel would last up to four more days.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration urges "all parties to respect the civilian nature of these facilities."

The Israeli military has not commented on the shelling of the power plant.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of attacks, levelling the home of the top Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and damaging the offices of the movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, a central mosque in Gaza City and government offices.

Mr. Haniyeh's house, in a narrow alley of the Shati refugee camp, was reduced to rubble but no one was hurt.

Israel has targeted several homes of Hamas leaders but so far none has been killed. Mr. Haniyeh said in a statement Tuesday that "destroying stones will not break our determination."


This map illustrates satellite-detected damage and destruction in the northeastern portion of the Gaza Strip, including areas of Gaza City, Toffah, Shejaia and Shaaf, resulting from ongoing violence in the area. Using a satellite image collected on July 25 and compared with a precrisis image collected on July 6, analysis by the UN Operational Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT) identified 700 destroyed structures, 316 severely damaged structures and 102 moderately damaged structures. It also identified more than 400 craters on roads and in rural areas. In cases where access by UN teams to stricken areas is impossible or too risky, UNOSAT assessments are often the first reliable source of information, even pending their validation by missions on the ground. The resolution of imagery commercially available nowadays is good enough to guarantee that the impact of shelling and heavy weapons is clearly detected.

Associated Graphic

A Palestinian firefighter covers his eyes, left, at the scene of a blaze at Gaza's main power plant, which was hit by shelling. Israeli air strikes also flattened the Gaza home of Hamas's top political leader, Ismail Haniyeh.


Smoke rises from Gaza behind an Israeli soldier, below, near border on Tuesday. Meanwhile, bottom, Israeli soldiers mourn the death of Sergeant Sagi Erez, a soldier training to be a squad commander, during his funeral at a military cemetery in Haifa, northern Israel on Tuesday. Mr. Erez, 19, was killed Monday in combat.



Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair was expected to employ a more progressive leadership style following the controversial reign of previous chief Julian Fantino. Blair's sometimes rocky tenure as the leading officer of Canada's largest police force will be remembered for clashes at the G20 summit, the fatal shooting of Sammy Yatim, a fractious relationship with Mayor Rob Ford and friction with the police services board.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

Chief Bill Blair was tapped by then Toronto mayor David Miller as a more progressive leader after the combative Julian Fantino, now a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government. But recently, questions have lingered over Chief Blair's future.


It was one of the biggest controversies under Chief Blair's leadership. Police in riot gear wielded batons against protesters, people were routinely stopped and searched for wearing a backpack and officers fired tear gas on the streets of Toronto in the summer of 2010 for the first time in the force's history.

The final day of the G20 international summit, when police corralled about 250 people at a downtown Toronto intersection, became a flashpoint. The confrontation began around 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening, after a group of protesters arrived at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue on bike and on foot, along with curious onlookers.

Within minutes, police surrounded the crowd from all sides and squeezed them into a contained area, a tactic known as "kettling."

Those caught on the wrong side of police lines were detained for four hours in torrential rain, as officers pulled them one by one out of the crowd for arrest.

Those responsible for acts of violence - shattered storefronts, burnt police cruisers, graffiti-streaked walls - escaped largely unscathed. In all, more than 1,000 people were arrested, but only 263 were charged with anything more than breach of peace.

In the aftermath of the weekend summit, there were demands for Chief Blair's resignation and calls for a judicial inquiry into allegations of police brutality. The chief defended his officers, saying there was no need for an inquiry. A week later, the chair of the Police Services Board, which acts as civilian overseer of the Toronto police, launched the first of several independent reviews into police conduct during the G20.

Nine officers were disciplined for removing their name tags during the summit. A Toronto constable was found guilty of assault with a weapon after he struck a man with a baton while he was pinned to the ground by several officers - the arrest of protester Adam Nobody was captured on video. And Ontario's police watchdog concluded in a 2012 report that police used excessive force.


Sammy Yatim was alone on a streetcar and wielding a knife when a Toronto police officer fired three shots and then, six seconds after the 18-year-old fell to the floor, discharged six more bullets.

Another officer tasered the teenager's fatally wounded body.

The incident early one morning last July riveted the city, sparking debate among those trying to make sense of why the young man who had gotten lost trying to meet up with a friend was shot.

"Sammy didn't have to die," his mother, Sahar Bahadi, said in a statement. "Something went very wrong."

Chief Blair launched an internal review - a two-pronged process that includes a mandated investigation into the shooting and a separate examination into the police service's use-of-force tactics in dealing with emotionally disturbed people.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, which probes civilian deaths and serious injuries involving police, said it believed only one officer caused Mr. Yatim's death. The SIU laid second-degree murder charges in August, 2013, against Constable James Forcillo.

The 31-year-old officer is also facing the additional charge of attempted murder.

Chief Blair acknowledged in an earlier interview that the most difficult event of last summer was the shooting death of Mr.

Yatim, which was captured on video.

"I certainly was concerned with what I was viewing on that video and I took certain actions in the immediate aftermath to address some of those concerns," the chief said.

Tasers came under heightened public scrutiny after the death of Mr. Yatim and after Ontario's police watchdog launched an investigation into the tasering of an 80-year-old woman it says fractured a hip after being struck. But the questions swirling around tasers did not stop Chief Blair from pitching a plan to expand his force's use of the stun guns.


Chief Blair dominated the airwaves and the front pages of every daily newspaper in the city when he held a news conference on Oct. 31, 2013, to announce that police had recovered a video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The chief's revelation confirmed bombshell reports that emerged five months earlier about the existence of a video allegedly showing Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine.

"Are you shocked?" one reporter shouted. Chief Blair's response: "I'm disappointed."

His statement came just hours after a 474-page police document was released, revealing that the mayor had become the focus of an investigation and was often in contact with an alleged drug dealer.

It was not only a day Torontonians will long remember. It also cemented the chief's adversarial relationship with the mayor and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford. The brothers have launched a series of attacks against Chief Blair. Councillor Ford even criticized the chief's fishing trip with a police board member, saying he was in a conflict of interest for vacationing with Andrew Pringle.

But when news broke on Wednesday that Chief Blair's contract would not be renewed, the brothers put their animosity aside.

"I want to thank Chief Bill Blair for his service to the people of this great city for the last 10 years," Mayor Ford said outside his office at City Hall.


The police services board sent a blunt message to the chief in April, making it clear it was not happy with his efforts to find efficiencies in the force. The board hired a separate group of consultants to conduct their own assessment, after the chief came up with a plan that would shave just $7-million from the force's annual budget of $1-billion. Councillor Michael Thompson, a member of the police board, made headlines for going public with his opposition to extending the chief's contract.

With a report from Kaleigh Rogers

Associated Graphic


Anti-summit protesters clash with police in downtown Toronto in June, 2010. The police crackdown at the G20 summit was one of the biggest controversies under Chief Bill Blair's leadership. Police in riot gear wielded batons against protesters, people were stopped and searched for wearing backpacks and officers fired tear gas on the streets for the first time in the force's history.


City of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo has been charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in the shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in Toronto, on Aug. 20, 2013. Chief Blair has acknowledged that the most difficult event of last summer was Mr. Yatim's shooting death, which was captured on video.


An Internet article published on on May 16, 2013, stated Toronto police had recovered a video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Months later, Chief Blair confirmed the bombshell report about the video.

The recruit class of 2014 attends the Toronto Police College Graduation Ceremony in Toronto on May 14. The Toronto force's Chief Blair was at odds with the police services board the month before over his efforts to find efficiencies in the police force.


Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair was expected to employ a more progressive leadership style following the controversial reign of previous chief Julian Fantino. Blair's sometimes rocky tenure as the leading officer of Canada's largest police force will be remembered for clashes at the G20 summit, the fatal shooting of Sammy Yatim, a fractious relationship with Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford and friction with the police services board
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

Chief Bill Blair was tapped by then Toronto mayor David Miller as a more progressive leader after the combative Julian Fantino, now a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government. But recently, questions have lingered over Chief Blair's future.


It was one of the biggest controversies under Chief Blair's leadership. Police in riot gear wielded batons against protesters, people were routinely stopped and searched for wearing a backpack and officers fired tear gas on the streets of Toronto in the summer of 2010 for the first time in the force's history.

The final day of the G20 international summit, when police corralled about 250 people at a downtown Toronto intersection, became a flashpoint. The confrontation began around 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening, after a group of protesters arrived at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue on bike and on foot, along with curious onlookers.

Within minutes, police surrounded the crowd from all sides and squeezed them into a contained area, a tactic known as "kettling."

Those caught on the wrong side of police lines were detained for four hours in torrential rain, as officers pulled them one by one out of the crowd for arrest.

Those responsible for acts of violence - shattered storefronts, burnt police cruisers, graffiti-streaked walls - escaped largely unscathed. In all, more than 1,000 people were arrested, but only 263 were charged with anything more than breach of peace.

In the aftermath of the weekend summit, there were demands for Chief Blair's resignation and calls for a judicial inquiry into allegations of police brutality. The chief defended his officers, saying there was no need for an inquiry. A week later, the chair of the Police Services Board, which acts as civilian overseer of the Toronto police, launched the first of several independent reviews into police conduct during the G20.

Nine officers were disciplined for removing their name tags during the summit. A Toronto constable was found guilty of assault with a weapon after he struck a man with a baton while he was pinned to the ground by several officers - the arrest of protester Adam Nobody was captured on video. And Ontario's police watchdog concluded in a 2012 report that police used excessive force.


Sammy Yatim was alone on a streetcar and wielding a knife when a Toronto police officer fired three shots and then, six seconds after the 18-year-old fell to the floor, discharged six more bullets.

Another officer tasered the teenager's fatally wounded body.

The incident early one morning last July riveted the city, sparking debate among those trying to make sense of why the young man who had gotten lost trying to meet up with a friend was shot.

"Sammy didn't have to die," his mother, Sahar Bahadi, said in a statement. "Something went very wrong."

Chief Blair launched an internal review - a two-pronged process that includes a mandated investigation into the shooting and a separate examination into the police service's use-of-force tactics in dealing with emotionally disturbed people.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, which probes civilian deaths and serious injuries involving police, said it believed only one officer caused Mr. Yatim's death. The SIU laid second-degree murder charges in August, 2013, against Constable James Forcillo.

The 31-year-old officer is also facing the additional charge of attempted murder.

Chief Blair acknowledged in an earlier interview that the most difficult event of last summer was the shooting death of Mr. Yatim, which was captured on video.

"I certainly was concerned with what I was viewing on that video and I took certain actions in the immediate aftermath to address some of those concerns," the chief said.

Tasers came under heightened public scrutiny after the death of Mr. Yatim and after Ontario's police watchdog launched an investigation into the tasering of an 80-year-old woman it says fractured a hip after being struck. But the questions swirling around tasers did not stop Chief Blair from pitching a plan to expand his force's use of the stun guns.


Chief Blair dominated the airwaves and the front pages of every daily newspaper in the city when he held a news conference on Oct. 31, 2013, to announce that police had recovered a video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The chief's revelation confirmed bombshell reports that emerged five months earlier about the existence of a video allegedly showing Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine.

"Are you shocked?" one reporter shouted. Chief Blair's response: "I'm disappointed."

His statement came just hours after a 474-page police document was released, revealing that the mayor had become the focus of an investigation and was often in contact with an alleged drug dealer.

It was not only a day Torontonians will long remember. It also cemented the chief's adversarial relationship with the mayor and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford. The brothers have launched a series of attacks against Chief Blair. Councillor Ford even criticized the chief's fishing trip with a police board member, saying he was in a conflict of interest for vacationing with Andrew Pringle.

But when news broke on Wednesday that Chief Blair's contract would not be renewed, the brothers put their animosity aside.

"I want to thank Chief Bill Blair for his service to the people of this great city for the last 10 years," Mayor Ford said outside his office at City Hall.


The police services board sent a blunt message to the chief in April, making it clear it was not happy with his efforts to find efficiencies in the force. The board hired a separate group of consultants to conduct their own assessment, after the chief came up with a plan that would shave just $7-million from the force's annual budget of $1-billion. Councillor Michael Thompson, a member of the police board, made headlines for going public with his opposition to extending the chief's contract.

With a report from Kaleigh Rogers

Associated Graphic


Anti-summit protesters clash with police in downtown Toronto in June, 2010. The police crackdown at the G20summit was one of the biggest controversies under Chief Bill Blair's leadership. Police in riot gear wielded batons against protesters, people were stopped and searched for wearing backpacks and officers fired tear gas on the streets for the first time in the force's history.


City of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo has been charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in the shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in Toronto, on Aug. 20, 2013. Chief Blair has acknowledged that the most difficult event of last summer was Mr. Yatim's shooting death, which was captured on video.


An Internet article published on on May 16, 2013, stated Toronto police had recovered a video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Months later, Chief Blair confirmed the bombshell report about the video.

The recruit class of 2014 attends the Toronto Police College Graduation Ceremony in Toronto on May 14. The Toronto force's Chief Blair was at odds with the police services board the month before over his efforts to find efficiencies in the police force.


Sticking to the shtick
The man behind parody hits such as Tacky and Amish Paradise talks about bad behaviour, desserts and weird tattoos
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R2

On his 14th studio album (debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's chart), Mandatory Fun, Weird Al Yankovic sticks to shtick, sending up current it-artists such as Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Lorde and that guy who used to be married to Paula Patton. Here, The Globe talks to the man behind hits such as Smells Like Nirvana and Like A Surgeon about the tackiness of social media, the Coolio beef and the weirdest place he's ever seen a Weird Al tattoo.

Two of your new releases - Tacky and Word Crimes - deal with abhorrent human behaviour and abhorrent grammar, respectively. So which irks you more?

From a guy who's worn Hawaiian shirts for the better part of 30 years, I'm not going to be too offended by any kind of sartorial infraction, so I'm probably more upset by bad grammar. I really feel pain when I have to correct my own press releases.

Are your parodies a way of airing grievances?

Not always. My primary focus is figuring out a way to be funny, but if I'm able to work in a personal pet peeve then that's just added fun. I tend to stay away from controversy and politics, one of the reasons being that politics doesn't age very well, so it can become a bit of an albatross for the catalogue. Plus the fact that it's divisive. I don't want to lose half my fan base because they don't agree with my views.

Okay, let's go back to Tacky for a second. A lot of your material from that song comes from behaviour we see online - Instagramming meals, selfies at funerals. Are social media making us grosser people?

That's an interesting hypothesis. I'm not sure. I think that because I'm so tapped into social media that I'm more aware of the related faux pas. Social media didn't make people tacky, but maybe it gave them permission to be tacky more often.

And to share it with their 500 closest friends. Where's the weirdest place Weird Al has ever taken a selfie?

It wasn't a selfie, but I had my wife take a picture of me texting at the Grand Canyon. There I am with all of this majesty behind me and I'm just staring at my phone.

You have a policy to only publish songs where you have the original artist's permission, even though you're not legally obliged to. Is that just good old accordion-playing values?

I think it's just an extension of my personality. I don't like drama, I don't want to offend anybody, I would prefer that the artists feel like they're in on the joke. I think that's one of the reasons I've managed to stick around for so long - I respect people, I don't burn bridges.

There was that one incident with Coolio [In 1996, Weird Al released a parody of Gangsta's Paradise called Amish Paradise; Coolio said he had not okayed it].

He is totally fine now. He has publicly apologized a few times [for the confusion] and said that he overreacted. Also, that was 1996, so a lot of water under the bridge.

The last time I talked to him, we hugged it out. There is certainly no beef any more - everything's totally Coolio.

And it probably upped your cool factor a bit to be involved in a rap beef. I'm just glad I wasn't involved in a rap drive-by.

I was just watching your VH1 Behind the Music special, hoping to find some dirt. Unless the comment about your cherry pie obsession was a euphemism, then your biggest vice is dessert?

That was kind of the running joke that there was very little drama. Usually about 30 minutes into Behind the Music it will be like, "And then things went horribly wrong." I've never had that. I've always been a relatively happy guy.

You have parodied the MTV era, the grunge era, the Gaga years - how does your personal taste in music play into the songs you choose to send up?

As far as the parodies are concerned, it's really more a case of trying to do songs that are popular and that I feel I can do something comedic with. I do tend to pick songs that I like because I'm going to have to work on them in the studio and then perhaps play them on stage for the rest of my life.

What video do fans tend to approach you about most often? I don't know that there's one hit.

It seems like everybody's favourite Weird Al song is whatever came out when you were 12 years old.

I was six years old when Eat It came out. I knew all the words to that song before I had even heard of Beat It. Does that happen a lot?

I do get that sometimes. A friend of mine is a stand-up comedian.

He's got this whole routine where he talks about how he's only going to play the Weird Al versions of songs for his kids so that one day they'll be in college and be like, "Who's this Michael Jackson guy who keeps ripping off Weird Al?" .

Ha! Has a fan ever weirded out Weird Al?

No, I wouldn't say that my fans are weird. I am amazed by the fact that a lot of fans have Weird Al tattoos - I've met at least a few dozen people who have tattoos of my image or my autograph or a reference to one of my lyrics tattooed permanently on their bodies.

Where is the weirdest place you've ever seen a Weird Al tattoo?

I've seen them in various places. I've met a mother and daughter who have matching Weird Al tattoos on their ankles. There is a line in one of my movies, UHF -"What better way to say I love you than the gift of a spatula?" I met a boyfriend and girlfriend who had matching spatula tattoos on their stomachs because of that. It's pretty flattering.

I feel as if there should be a Weird Al convention.

Actually, there have been a few. Nothing that I was officially involved in, but there have been fans who have put together these things called Al Cons. I have dropped by unannounced a couple of times to check it out. They have Weird Al lookalike contests, talent shows, a charity sale. I gave them a baggie of my dryer lint to auction and somebody paid $600 for it.

Holy crap. Your fans have also campaigned to get you a star on the Walk of Fame. Any update?

I'm not sure about the current status, but I know that my fans have spearheaded a movement. I feel very honoured, but it's more just the fact that I have fans who are so loyal and so devoted.

I think when your dryer lint sells for $600, the star is implied.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

Weird Al Yankovic's album Mandatory Fun debuted at Billboard's No. 1: 'My primary focus is figuring out a way to be funny, but if I'm able to work in a personal pet peeve then that's just added fun.


No longer the sweetest man in Canada
Jason Holborn was not obese and under no orders when he gave up refined sugar in 2012. But he was an addict. He regularly poured white sugar on sweet cereals, ate an entire cake at dinner or a two-litre tub of ice cream as a reward for feeling good or a pick-me-up when he felt down. Now sugar-free for almost 600 days, he talks with The Globe's Affan Chowdhry about getting off the sugar-fuelled roller coaster, how his palate has changed (sour cream anyone?) and the importance of the sign in his window
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L5

What motivated you to give up sugar?

I used to eat more sugar than probably anybody you've ever met in your life. I realized it was a tiny problem - just a tiny problem. Several years ago, I read a very famous article actually in The New York Times - Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes - and that article really changed my perspective. I tried a lot of gimmicks to give up sugar. But I was very seriously addicted. It was really, honestly, a chemical drug addiction. I finally had a different idea for a different gimmick - which was to post the number of days I could live without eating refined sugar out on my window. It was kind of desperate and last-ditch, but it actually worked. I really thought, I really expected, I would hit 10 or 20 days occasionally, and then I would reset it quite a lot. But it was much more effective than that. I made it to 74 days. Then I had to start over again. And now I made it to 567 days and I'm aiming for 1,000.

Let's go back to the addiction - what did that look like?

I had and probably still have a serious addiction to refined sugar. I used to pour at least half a cup of sugar on my cereal in the morning. And that cereal would be Frosted Flakes, or it would be Cocoa Pebbles, or something like that. I used to take a cup of sugar every day and mix it with a cup of butter, and eat it. That's what I did every day after school. I used to eat frequently. Quite often I would eat a key lime pie for lunch or a cake for dinner. I ate a lot of sugar when I felt bad to improve the day, because I thought that I had earned it for feeling bad. I used to eat sugar because I had such a great day [and] I wanted to reward myself. Looking back, I see more and more clearly [that] a lot of my life revolved around indulging my sweet tooth.

Something tells me that if you ate that much sugar, you would have looked different. A lot of people are surprised to meet me. A lot of people think that I will be a weightier, heavier - even more, possibly obese - person. I honestly don't know how I got away with eating all that sugar. I have dropped some weight since giving up refined sugar [but] I didn't have a big weight problem before. I don't know if that's just genetics. I've probably lost about 10 pounds.

Tell me about the relationship with sugar and the difference between what you've given up and natural sugar.

I'm still allowed to eat fruit. In fact, there have been a few days where I have quite a lot of fruit. But generally I do try to keep fruit down. I try to focus on low glycemic fruits - so I eat apples and raspberries. I do eat bananas. A lot of doctors tell their patients to give up bananas. I haven't come to that point. I still eat them. I do avoid juicy fruits. I don't eat melons or pineapples.

Everything tastes different. A lot of things that didn't used to taste sweet, they taste a little bit sweet now. A glass of milk tastes really, really sweet to me now - in a way that it never tasted before.

How do you explain that?

I've read the exact same story over and over again: "Wow, today everything tasted so much sweeter. Now that all the refined added sugar is out of my palate, I can taste a lot more natural sweetness in other foods that I never thought of as sweet before."

Would you say you enjoy that sensation now more than you used to?

Definitely, definitely. A glass of milk has become a real treat for me. I have to be careful. I used to eat - several times a week - a two-litre carton of ice cream.

Today, I really love eating sour cream. It tastes so good now. So I have to be careful not to eat too much of that.

What are some of the other changes you've noticed in your body, your outlook, your thinking?

My life has changed quite a bit since I gave up sugar. I've always yearned to have a six-pack. I do now. That's because I gave up sugar. Spiritually and emotionally, my life is on a much more even keel now. I have a lot fewer emotional ups and downs during the day. I never anticipated that, but a lot of people on the Internet report the same thing. I never thought sugar was causing an emotional roller coaster during my life. But today I'm pretty sure that that is true. I definitely feel day to day a more stabilized mood.

What are the challenges?

It used to be so easy to eat. It used to be so easy on the run, if you were hungry, to go grab a doughnut. [It] used to be so easy to pop in anywhere and pick up something to satisfy your hunger cravings. I have to plan ahead more now. I have to cook more ... Finding food easily throughout the day - especially when you're not at home - that's by far the biggest challenge. I'll be honest, it's often hard to live without your addictive indulgence - whatever it might be, TV or cocaine. In my case, luckily it was just refined sugar. It's hard to go without it on hard, tough, sad or angry days. It's definitely a challenge to get over that hump. You're used to making your bad feelings go away a certain way. Now you have to come up with something different. That is definitely a challenge.

Why is it a challenge finding food outside the home?

It is a challenge finding [food] when you're on the run because everything has added sugar in it.

Processed food is engineered to make you want more. That's why they say: "Betcha can't have just one." They say that about chips but they mean it about root beer, gummies or a can of Coke or a scoop of ice cream - as much as they do about anything else. It's tough.

What is the effect of the sign in your window?

It's great to know that my place in history is secure. I am the inventor of the window scoreboard. It really has changed my life in a dramatic way. It's a sense of accountability. I don't have a clue who's looking at my window but I assume somebody out there is.

Even if they're not, it's a big psychological impetus for me. Easily, easily, at least 100 - probably at least 300 times - I've said no to a doughnut, a slice of pie, or a fruit juice because I really do not want to come home and reset my window to zero. It's been an incredible, massive life-changer.

This interview has been edited nd condensed.

Associated Graphic

Jason Holborn's sweet tooth has evolved in weird and wonderful ways: 'A glass of milk has become a real treat for me.'


The entrepreneur vs. the trainer: In Forest Hill, a dustup leaves a swanky gym hanging
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

One is a high-profile entrepreneur who used to own the Argos. The other is an ambitious fitness trainer with dreams of turning his gym into an L.A.-style health bar. Their souring business partnership has become the talk of Forest Hill Village.

David Cynamon is suing his former personal trainer Larry Track for $800,000 and alleging that the owner of Track Fitness has failed to comply with the terms of a loan agreement signed more than two years ago.

The business relationship between the two men, which an Ontario Superior Court judge recently described as starting with "a high degree" of trust and optimism has now spun into an acrimonious court battle, with name-calling and the success of the popular fitness studio possibly hanging in the balance.

Already, Mr. Cynamon has been unsuccessful in an attempt to get a court order to force the club, which continues to operate, into bankruptcy. Mr. Cynamon, 50, perhaps best known for co-owning the Toronto Argonauts with developer Howard Sokolowski between 2003 and 2010 and rescuing the team out of bankruptcy, started working out at Track Fitness four years ago. Impressed with its operations, Mr. Cynamon soon signed up for daily personal training sessions with Mr. Track.

By the end of 2012, Mr. Cynamon agreed to lend $800,000 to Mr.Track to help finance an expansion to the size of the fitness studio. Mr. Cynamon also received a 40 per cent stake in its ownership, until his money was repaid.

Mr. Cynamon is the co-founder and executive chairman of water treatment company K2 Pure Solutions Inc. Recently, along with Mr. Sokolowski (the husband of Senator Linda Frum), they donated $5-million for a Jewish community centre in Toronto. The society pages also frequently picture Mr. Cynamon and his wife, Stacey, at charity galas.

Ms. Cynamon, the daughter of the late private label soft drink executive Gerry Pencer, is an officer of a charity named after her parents aimed at improving the quality of life for people with brain tumours. In 2012, the couple, who also oversees its own charitable foundation, were included in Toronto Life's list of the 10 individuals and couples who host the city's "most preeminent power parties" at one of the three homes they own in Forest Hill.

Mr. Track, who has been a personal fitness trainer for 15 years and started Track Fitness in 2005, states in the court documents that he routinely works 16 hours a day at the club that has steadily expanded over the years, going from 1,000 square feet to its current space of 10,000 square feet.

The business arrangement "was not the type of transaction I would normally do," said Mr. Cynamon in an August, 2012 e-mail included in the court documents. "But I really believe in you and your dream and realize that without my capital you would have difficulty expanding your business to the new space and next level of success," he said in the e-mail to Mr. Track.

Within a year, a frustrated Mr. Cynamon wanted to be bought out and suggested Mr. Track had failed to develop a "coherent plan" for the club's financial success. Mr. Cynamon said last fall he was willing to accept $1-million to be bought out, which he described as a "very modest profit" in an e-mail message to Mr. Track.

Instead of a resolution, the two men traded occasional messages, with very different interpretations of the club's financial operations.

Court records show Mr. Cynamon alleged the club generated nearly $1-million in net income since 2012. In response, Mr. Track's lawyers argued that there was a net loss of about $140,000 when taking into account funds that had to be set aside for operating expenses.

The two men also disagreed about how much Mr. Cyanmon had been paid back. He said it was $10,000, while Mr. Track stated it was $38,000.

The fitness club owner said the agreement was always clear that Mr. Cynamon would be repaid once the club had positive cash flow. The "vision" for Track Fitness that the two men shared, "came with a price tag," said Mr. Track in a sworn affidavit, adding that the club's financial situation has finally turned the corner.

Mr. Cynamon is described as an "experienced, successful entrepreneur," by Mr. Track in his affidavit, yet his demeanour comes in for criticism. "In passing, David consistently speaks to me, and about me, with such a condescending tone, despite the fact that he knows that the business has had no excess cash flow until recently in light of the significant capital expenditures," states Mr. Track.

Some e-mail and text message correspondence are included in the court documents by Mr. Track to try to back up this assertion. In a December, 2013, e-mail, Mr. Cynamon writes, "the $38K would have been interest for a few months, but sure, go ahead and deduct if that makes you feel good." (Mr. Track states in his affidavit this shows how much as been repaid so far).

In another e-mail, sent in January, Mr. Cynamon suggests clients are leaving because of the way they are treated by Mr. Track. "You wonder why all our communication is negative ... it's because the news is negative."

"I don't need a Monday morning quarterback," Mr. Track responds in an e-mail. "What have you really tried to do? What extra effort have you really given other than workout with me at 5 a.m. and give me your opinions ... if I had the cash now I would have already bought you out," he writes.

A few hours later, Mr. Cynamon replies. "You better go find a great lawyer!" says the e-mail, filed in court.

After lawyers for both sides failed to reach an agreement to settle the dispute, Mr. Cynamon launched the court action in May. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Justice David Brown found that Track Fitness had failed to provide certain financial statements and its legal arguments were an attempt to "rewrite" the terms of the loan. But the judge declined to appoint a receiver because of a term in the loan agreement meant that Mr. Track was not in default.

"Whatever may be the present financial circumstances of Track Fitness, Cynamon agreed to link the risk of the repayment of his loan to the ability of Track Fitness to generate a sufficient amount of net income to cover a reasonable reserve for future operating expenses. If the company could not do so, the obligation to repay would not arise," wrote Judge Brown.

The decision means that there will be no forced sale of Track Fitness, which is seeking outside investors, according to the court documents. But the legal dispute between Mr. Cynamon and Mr. Track continues.

The bankruptcy motion ruling "is part of a larger proceeding that is still ongoing," said Francy Kussner, the lawyer for Mr. Cynamon.

Steven Graff, who represents Mr. Track, is hopeful that both sides can reach a settlement and said it is "business as usual" at Track Fitness. "My client is a hard working entrepreneur who would like to continue successfully running his business," said Mr. Graff.

Associated Graphic

David Cynamon (left, with his wife, Stacey), is suing Larry Track, seen with sister Joanna.



A Dream fulfilled: Peter Sellars's radical rethink of a Shakespeare classic
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Chamber Play

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Peter Sellars

Starring Sarah Afful, Dion Johnstone, Trish Lindström and Mike Nadajewski

At the Stratford Masonic Concert Hall in Stratford, Ont.


A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Chamber Play, which opened at the Masonic Concert Hall on Thursday night, is the most daring version of a classic to be staged at the Stratford Festival in years.

Indeed, Peter Sellars's production busts many myths that have been built up around the plays of William Shakespeare and how they are best done - myths that Stratford, you would think, has an institutional interest in maintaining.

So this is great news, because any artistic organization that doesn't allow its shibboleths to be shaken from time to time will atrophy.

And it's even better news because this reduced and remixed A Midsummer Night's Dream is a breathtaking piece. It is fiercely intelligent, emotionally restorative, allows one Stratford Festival actor to do the best work of his career - and introduces another actor who could be the theatre company's next big star.

Here's what Sellars, the Los Angeles-based director, has done with Shakespeare's text: He's kept the dialogue of Dream in its usual order, but condensed it, stripped it of its narrative context, and dispersed it between four actors.

Dion Johnstone and Sarah Afful speak the lines usually allocated to Theseus and Hippolyta, the Duke of Athens and his conquered Amazon bride; teenagers Demetrius and Helena, former lovers lost in the woods; and Bottom, the weaver and amateur actor transformed into an ass, and Puck, the mysterious fairy messenger; and even Pyramus and Thisbe, the tragic lovers in the play within the play.

Meanwhile, Mike Nadajewski and Trish Lindström channel a variety of characters, primarily those of the fairy-world monarchs Oberon and Titania; the lovers Hermia and Lysander; and Moonshine and Wall (who turn out to have more - and more important - things to say than you might have thought).

On its most literal level, what this Dream's audience is presented with is a tale of two intertwined and overlapping pairs of lovers who are working out their identity crises and relationship issues in a claustrophobic chamber as part of some bizarre Shakespearean off-shoot of couple's therapy.

You might say that Sellars' Dream flattens a wonderfully sprawling play, crams multiple dimensions into a tiny room, and trades Shakespeare's metaphoric exteriors for less rich, interior psychology.

But Sellars' production is not just a Dream - it's a dream, and one that follows its own nocturnal logic. If you let it, A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Chamber Play does not flatten, but layer - creating a pleasing puzzle that allows audience members familiar with Shakespeare's text to at once watch a production of the comedy that plays out in their memory, and a brand-new story dramatized before their eyes.

It's a particularly exciting way to experience Shakespeare's language in a new way, and often really hear it for the first time. "I will roar you gently as any suckling dove," says Johnstone, sandwiched in between Afful and Lindström, turning one of Bottom's most ridiculous lines into one of the sexiest pick-up lines ever.

But this Dream's genius lies less in funny recontextualizations than in finding ways to repurpose lesser-known dialogue into deep revelations. Lindström, for instance, makes the humorous lines spoken by Wall in the play-within-the-play suddenly seem like hard-won wisdom of a mistress discarded. Afterward, you may struggle to remember exactly why a moment felt so resonant, but that is the nature of dream epiphanies: They are powerful, but fleeting.

As a bottomless Bottom, Johnstone - an actor I, in the past, have unfairly dismissed as merely solid - dominates the production, physically but also in the compelling psychological journey he maps. He's a man who contains multitudes - boys, warriors, men - and wants to be everything at once, but keeps trending toward the tragic figure of Pyramus against his will. His performance is a tour de force.

Afful, an actor in her third season at the Festival who has hitherto been in hidden away in choruses and as an understudy, delivers an equally stunning performance - wounded and revengeful, seductive and forgiving. She is absolutely ferocious as an unhinged Puck. "Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down!" she cries amid cacophony, and it terrifies. I can't wait to see what she does next.

It's no secret that many of the most-talked-about Shakespearean productions in recent years internationally have been sitespecific or immersive. For this Dream, Stratford has built an entirely new space. Creating an unsettling atmosphere in the Masonic Concert Hall are the loud sound design by Tareke Ortiz, which rumbles so deeply it provides a free massage; the acid-trip lighting of James F. Ingalls; and an installation designed by Abigail DeVille that hangs chairs and doors off the ceiling amid a quilt of alienrepelling foil.

By far the biggest complaint I hear from audiences about Shakespeare - at Stratford or anywhere else - is that is difficult to hear actors. The fault is not with actors, though, but in our ears and our expectations. We have become used to electronic sound coming out of speakers - and is it simply harder to listen to acoustic voices these days. Meanwhile, movies and television have led us to expect a certain naturalism from actors in terms of expression that is at odds with the type of projection that is required to fill a big space. So actors are faced with a Catch-22: Be called a ham and be heard, or go for a subtlety of expression and be accused of being too quiet.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Chamber Play has the actors miked - and what an incredible opportunity it affords the actors to engage with Shakespeare's language. In fact, though I've seen a dozen productions of Dream before, this time whole new passages opened up for me in different ways simply because I could listen to them whispered rather than wailed.

With its psychedelic vibe, New Age soundscape and an emphasis on psychic healing, acceptance of yourself and others, Sellars' Dream is West Coast down to its core. "Be as thou wast wont to be; see as thou wast wont to see," Nadjewski says, and it soothes satisfyingly.

This isn't for everyone, of course. But the truth is, neither is Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolinio's King Lear starring Colm Feore. And so, Cimolino, above all, deserves credit more for creating a space for many different types of Shakespeare in his festival, showing that just because Stratford is a big institution doesn't mean it has to be bureaucratic and institutional. The company is feeling like an international mecca for Shakespeare again - with Cimolino directing King Lear in the "Stratford" style, Tim Carroll playing the game called "original practices" with his King John, and Chris Abraham finding new way to encourage playfulness among actors in his mainstage Dream.

I can't think of another theatre company in the world currently offering such variety stylistically - and all of it at the highest standard, too.

Follow me on Twitter:@nestruck

Associated Graphic

From left, Sarah Afful, Dion Johnstone, Mike Nadajewski and Trish Lindström play multiple roles to transform this Dream.


Teaching the finer points of beer
Some are meant for careful sipping, some pair better with spicy food - and Canada's only Master Cicerone wants to spread the word
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

Between tastings, festivals and promotional to-dos, summer is perennially busy for the beer industry. But this particular summer will be especially hectic for Mirella Amato, Canada's only Master Cicerone, or beer sommelier. Along with the public appearances that comprise her beer career, Amato released her first book, Beerology, last month. Its format, with a focus on four different types of "brews" - refreshing, mellow, striking and captivating - is unconventional, more choose-your-own-adventure than textbook. Accompanied by charts and graphs developed by Amato when she was studying for her beer-judge certification exams, the book is a straightforward plunge for both beginner and accomplished beer drinkers.

Tell me about your 'crusade.'

One of the main reasons people aren't more adventurous in the beers they drink is they don't know those beers exist, or they don't know where to start. My crusade right now is to promote beer appreciation, share information about beer, with the goal being that everyone in North America gets to the point where they have the same basic knowledge they have of beer that they do of wine.

When it comes to pairing with food, what are your general guidelines?

You have to be mindful of the intensity of your beer and the intensity of your food: They need to match up. If you have a light salad, you don't want to pair that with a 14-per-cent-alcohol, really roasty imperial stout that's been aged in a barrel. It's going to completely bowl over your salad. On the other hand, if you have a big, rich stew with meat and tons of spices, if you pair that with a light lager you might as well be drinking water.

I use a little trick, something that I just realized one day, and haven't read anywhere, so I call it Mirella's rule of thumb: Line up the colour intensity of your dish's main ingredient with the colour intensity of your beer. If you're having white fish or chicken, use a pale golden or amber beer. If you're having pork or lentils, you might want to go with an amber beer. If you're having steak or portobello mushrooms you'll go with a brown beer, and with chocolate cake you want to go with a black beer.

I'm not sure why it works but it just does, and if you do that, and keep in mind the intensity, you'll be fine. For example, in the light amber-beer spectrum, with chicken, if it's just steamed, you'll want a light golden beer, like a Helles, but if that chicken is in a curry and a spicy, rich sauce, you might want to go for a pale ale. It's in the same colour family but is more intense.

What are some common mistakes people make when pairing beer?

It's my understanding that in pairing wine with food there are problem foods - asparagus is one. With beer, that's much less of an issue. There are two things you do have to be careful of: One, if you have a really oily fish, you're going to want to select a beer that doesn't have too much hop. The hop can distort the flavour of the fish oils in the same way red wine can. The other thing is, if your food is spicy you want to stay away from a higher-alcohol beer, because it aggravates the sensation of heat, which is why wine can be a challenge with spicy food.

What styles or types of beer are underappreciated?

Pilsner. I really believe there's a beer for every mood, food and occasion. I think when people explore craft beers they're drawn to the flavourful big beers, and those beers are delicious and they're exciting, but the Pilsner also has its place. When it's warm out and you want to be refreshed, nothing, nothing is as refreshing as a Pilsner.

What's amazing about beer is that there's this huge spectrum of flavours. Right now, all of the flavourful, crazy beers are getting a lot of attention and the more subtle, nuanced beers are getting less attention. It's okay to drink those beers. They have a time and a place, and it worries me sometimes because if the demand is no longer there, there's going to be fewer and fewer of them. It's way more stimulating to see a range of beers from a Pilsner to an imperial stout than to see a selection of 50 IPAs and 30 imperial stouts. We're falling into the same trap of all the beers being in the same range again.

A few years ago the popularity of heavily hopped IPAs was incredible. What do you think the next big style or trend in beer will be?

I wonder if sour beers will do that. The thing with IPAs is that they have a bold bitterness to them, which is a polarizing flavour. There are many people, when they first had it, didn't like it, but then it grew on them. I'm seeing a similar thing happening with sour beers right now, where people are not quite wrapping their brains around them.

Someone who works in wine and beer sales told me he is encountering more insufferable beer lovers - who will only drink certain styles of beer or judge other people's beer choices - than wine lovers. In an effort to have beer taken more seriously, some people are going too far?

I'm not of the notion that beer needs to be elevated or better respected; I think it just needs to be better understood. In discovering and praising its bolder aspects, and the fact it can be paired with food, we shouldn't lose sight of its strengths. It is a great social beverage. At the end of the day there's a huge spectrum of beers out there, and while beer certainly has the ability to tread in wine territory, in terms of food pairing and beers that are meant for careful sipping, there are also areas beer is in, where wine is going to have a hard time going. If I'm on a dock on a hot day, I need a refreshing beer: Nothing else will do.

This interview has been condensed and edited.


This summery cocktail brings together the fresh flavours of cucumber and lime with herbal notes from both gin and Pilsner. The resulting combination of flavours takes the refreshing nature of Pilsner to a whole new level.

11/2-inch-thick slices of cucumber (peeled) 1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar 1/2 tbsp (2.5 ml) lime juice (juice of half a lime) 1/2 ounce (15 ml) gin 2 1/2 ounces (75 ml) Pilsner Cucumber wheel for garnish

Cut the cucumber slices into thin strips. Muddle the lime juice, cucumber and sugar at the bottom of an 8-ounce (240 mL) rocks glass. Add gin and stir. Half-fill the glass with ice. Gently pour in the Pilsner and garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Reprinted from Mirella Amato's Beerology.

Associated Graphic

Mirella Amato's rule of thumb for pairing food and beer: Line up the colour intensity of your dish's main ingredient with the colour intensity of your beer.


Goldman's Alibaba regret
A $3.3-million investment and the billions that could have been
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

BEIJING -- Fifteen years ago, when Shirley Lin started talking to Jack Ma about investing in Alibaba, he wanted to sell 10 per cent of his company for $5-million (U.S.).

Alibaba wasn't much then, just a small collection of people who got their start in an apartment building a website to connect businesses with consumers.

Ms. Lin was with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where she helped lead the firm's "principal investment area" in Asia, a private-equity arm that sought out promising companies around the world. The fund held billions. It was hardly a fair fight.

What Ms. Lin ended up with was a deal any investment banker could love: $5-million for 50 per cent of Alibaba, with Goldman given control of the board and anti-dilution rights that meant it would never have to spend another dime to hold its stake.

It was a gold-plated agreement, in a company Ms. Lin believed in.

She was, like many who would follow her, convinced that Mr. Ma, the Alibaba founder who is now a billionaire and icon of China's new generation of entrepreneurs, was worth backing.

But almost immediately, she ran into trouble.

Goldman wasn't eager to pour $5-million into a small and potentially risky company, and asked that other investors join the deal.

Eventually, the Goldman investment was pared down to $3.32million.

Even then, Goldman Sachs was the first major outside investor to put money in Alibaba, a company whose meteoric ascension to the pinnacle of Chinese e-commerce has primed it for what may be the biggest IPO in world history.

A series of estimates have suggested the online juggernaut is now worth hundreds of billions; recently Morningstar predicted a $26-billion IPO, which would imply a total equity value of $220billion.

But Goldman sold out in 2004, happy with $22-million, a tidy return of nearly seven-fold.

"It was far too quick, you cannot believe it," Ms. Lin says today, in her first public comments on the matter.

She is no longer with Goldman Sachs, and now teaches in the Master of Social Science in Global Political Economy program at City University of Hong Kong. Goldman owns none of Alibaba any more, although it is one of six lead underwriters in the company's IPO, a reason it offered in declining comment.

But "every time I see someone at Goldman, they still tell me, 'Shirley, I didn't do it. I had nothing to do with the sale,' "Ms. Lin said.

When Ms. Lin started crisscrossing China in the 1990s, searching out new investments, she found herself confronting an unexpected question.

"Those days, when I went to a meeting and said I was with Goldman Sachs, they asked me if I was Mrs. Goldman or Mrs.Sachs. They had never heard of the firm," said Ms. Lin.

China was then, particularly for an outside Goliath such as Goldman, fertile ground but difficult terrain. "There was no competition for about five years," Ms. Lin said. "We were one of the few big games in town." But finding investments meant bouncing across unpaved roads to factories and sorting through a fire hose worth of ideas.

"We would get literally 500 business plans a week," Ms. Lin said. But "everything in China was very murky." Figuring out what was worthwhile meant picking 10 out of the 500 to see, travelling to find them and then, on rare occasions, investing.

Ms. Lin helped shepherd Goldman money into a series of Internet companies that would gain household recognition, including Sohu, NetEase and Sina. "I even thought of merging Sohu, NetEase and Sina, since we owned them all," she said. "This was 2000. It was really amazing."

When she ran into opportunities over her own approval limit, she teamed with others, such as Foxconn's Terry Gou, who invested with her in Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. - now one of the biggest semiconductor makers in the world.

"It was really wonderful, heady days," she said.

When Ms. Lin first began speaking with Alibaba, it was a small company in a sea of contenders. "Really, it was all about Jack and his people," Ms. Lin said.

At the time, Goldman sorted its Chinese prospects into two camps: those heavily reliant on expats, and those with a more local bent. Alibaba was firmly the latter. "And I really thought that to invest in China, you have to know the local market," Ms. Lin said. Mr. Ma, an English teacher turned Internet pioneer, "was as local as it gets." Plus, he was a born entrepreneur.

She was sold.

The deal was signed Oct. 27, 1999. Fidelity Growth Partners Asia invested alongside Goldman.

Mr. Ma "recently jokingly said doing the deal with me [in terms of selling 50 per cent] was the 'worst' deal he's done because he sold too much," Ms. Lin said.

"But he sure was happy to get our investment. I don't think any of us thought how big it would ever become." And at the time, it didn't hurt Alibaba to have the Goldman Sachs name behind it.

Others soon saw the company's promise. In early 2000, Masayoshi Son, founder of Japanese phone and Internet giant SoftBank, led a group to invest $20-million. SoftBank later added to that sum, and now owns 34.4 per cent of Alibaba, a share that, depending on the IPO price, is likely worth $60-billion to $75-billion.

But it wasn't immediately obvious that Alibaba was a winner. Often forgotten in the company's meteoric growth tale is that early in its life, in the midst of the global dot-com bust, it stumbled badly. It looked like it might join the legions of other companies tripping into a corporate grave.

Within three years, Goldman had marked down its Alibaba investment by 50 per cent. "They thought it was hopeless," Ms. Lin said.

Huge numbers of other startups failed outright. At one point, China had some 2,000 small companies looking at models similar to Alibaba, said Peter Liu, the founder and chairman of WI Capital Group who is one of the pioneers of venture capital in China. "Those days it was just the wild wild west," he said.

"In the early to late nineties, a lot of foreign direct investment going in got wiped out."

For Goldman, too, small Internet investments never fit comfortably into its multibillion-dollar private equity fund. "They were not interested in most of the things we were doing in China. They wanted quicker results," Ms. Lin said.

She helped keep the Alibaba investment intact while she was at the firm. But in May, 2003, she left. Early the next year, Goldman sold. At the time, it looked like an undeniable win - a massive increase in just over three years.

It didn't take long to see that the exit was early. The very next year, Yahoo's Jerry Yang invested $1-billion for 40 per cent of Alibaba; Yahoo still holds 22.6 per cent.

But by then Goldman was out, missing out on a return that, today, would have been massive.

"In the 10,000 times is very much an understatement," Ms. Lin said.

Associated Graphic

Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, China, in February, 2012. Estimates suggest the company is worth hundreds of billions.


Thrusday, July 31, 2014


A July 5 Report on Business article on Goldman Sachs incorrectly said Shirley Lin teaches at City University in Hong Kong. In fact, she teaches at Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Virginia.

'Botched' executions revive debate in U.S.
Court challenges, high-profile cases reveal a system that varies wildly from state to state, but with common problems
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A9

Clayton Lockett wouldn't do what he was supposed to do. He wouldn't die.

For 43 minutes in April, the convicted murderer lay on a gurney inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary's execution chamber, lethal drugs running through his body but his heart still beating. His feet kicked, his teeth clenched, he mumbled incoherently. More than half an hour in, the execution was finally called off by the director of Oklahoma's Department of Corrections. Mr. Lockett died anyway 10 minutes later of a heart attack, according to corrections officials.

On Wednesday, it happened again. Witnesses said Joseph Wood, a convicted double murderer, continued to gasp and struggle to breathe after Arizona prison officials injected him with a cocktail of drugs to kill him. He did not die until nearly two hours had passed, and not before his alarmed lawyers pleaded with a federal judge to stop the "cruel and unusual punishment" and revive Mr. Wood.

A string of high-profile botched executions has drawn widespread criticism from U.S. President Barack Obama and other elected officials, horrified human-rights groups and prompted several states to temporarily halt planned executions.

After Mr. Wood's execution, Amnesty International researcher encapsulated the controversy.

"How many more times do officials need to be reminded of the myth of the 'humane execution' before they give up on their experiment with judicial killing?" he asked.

Since the first American was put to death using the lethalinjection method in 1982, it has become the standard means of capital punishment in the United States. But a number of botched executions this year - including at least two in Oklahoma and one in Ohio - have put the practice, as well as the death penalty itself, under intense scrutiny.

The picture that has emerged, after myriad court challenges and cases similar to that of Mr. Lockett, is of an execution system plagued by intense secrecy and a lack of standard protocol. Both Mr. Lockett and Mr. Wood had demanded to know the mix of drugs that the states would use to execute them, arguing unsuccessfully in court that keeping the information secret violated their constitutional rights.

But beyond institutional problems, a growing number of drug companies within the United States and around the world are refusing to make or sell to corrections officials any drug that may be used for execution. A severe shortage of the basic drugs necessary to carry out lethal injections has forced some states to improvise with untested chemicals, sometimes with horrific results.

"This has been going on for 32 years," said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University and one of the country's leading experts on the death penalty. "Things have gotten worse now than they ever have been. We're seeing a pattern of devastating executions where people have suffered."

The United States is one of the very few developed nations in the world that still employs the death penalty, and that position has led to one of the thorniest legal and political showdowns in the country today - one that pits constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment against a state's right to use the most extreme form of punishment on those convicted of the most extreme crimes.

The modern history of the death penalty in the U.S. began in 1976, with a series of Supreme Court decisions that essentially concluded that several states' newly revised death-penalty guidelines did not violate the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Since then, roughly 1,400 people have been executed in the United States by hanging, electrocution, lethal gas and firing squads. But by far the most popular method, accounting for a little less than 90 per cent of executions, is lethal injection.

As with most contentious national issues in the U.S., the norms of lethal injection vary wildly from state to state.

Thirty-two states now authorize the death penalty, as do the federal government and the military. Most states that use lethal injection tend to use a cocktail of drugs to kill condemned prisoners - for example the anesthetic sodium thiopental, followed by the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide, and finally potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Other states, such as Missouri, have attempted to use a single drug, the popular anesthetic propofol. (Missouri halted a planned propofol execution last year after concerns that Europe, which supplies the vast majority of the drug to U.S. hospitals, would halt imports if the drug was used to kill.) Some states have complex dosage guidelines taking into consideration, for example, the prisoner's size and weight. Others use the same dosage across the board, potentially increasing the likelihood of a botched execution.

The potential for something to go wrong is increased by the fact that most health care professional groups, including the American Medical Association, have prohibited their members from involvement in capital punishment proceedings on ethical grounds. The lack of trained medical professionals willing to facilitate executions is particularly important given that many death row inmates may have health issues, such as damaged veins, that make proper injection difficult.

State officials have also had to contend with a near-universal reluctance on the part of drug makers to see their chemicals used in executions. In 2009, Hospira Inc., the only American maker of sodium thiopental, sought to build a manufacturing plant in Italy. There was only one problem: Italian authorities wanted assurances from the company that the anesthetic would never be used in an execution. After much discussion, and fearing it could be held responsible in Italy for a use of its drug in the United States, Hospira got out of the sodium thiopental market altogether in 2011.

And because the U.S. imports so many of the drugs used in executions from European nations, the continent's near-universal abhorrence of the death penalty has had a profound impact on capital punishment in the United States. Not only have European countries refused to provide chemicals for executions, but their American counterparts have also declined, fearing an outright European ban on the export of medically vital drugs.

That has left many state officials scrambling for solutions. In Oklahoma, corrections officials tried a new, untested drug in Mr.

Lockett's case. In Utah, a lawmaker has proposed bringing back firing squads; in the modern U.S. history of the death penalty, execution by firing squad is the only method that has never failed.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the use of capital punishment in the U.S. has been on a downward trend since the turn of the millennium.

In 1999, 98 people were put to death nationwide. In the past four years, the annual number has hovered between 39 and 46.

The decline mirrors a growing distaste among Americans for the death penalty in general. In the late 1990s, some 78 per cent of Americans approved of the death penalty, while 18 per cent opposed it, according to the Pew Research Center. Last year, 55 per cent approved, and 37 per cent opposed.

Associated Graphic

Some pharmaceutical companies refuse to make or sell any drug that may be used for execution.


Note: Death penalty abolished in New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012 and Maryland in 2013.


When libidos don't align, it's easy to blame your partner. Asymmetry of desire, Zosia Bielski reports, is the top sexual problem couples experience. Is there a solution?
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

"Our sex life HAS tapered in the last few months, but isn't that allowed? We are adults leading busy, stressful lives. I cook for him, I do his laundry, I keep our house clean and tidy. It's not like our sex life was going to be this way FOREVER, it was a temporary slow-down due to extenuating circumstances."

That was the defence from "F26," whose husband had just fired off a "sex spreadsheet" detailing his sexual frustration in their marriage. He tabulated his thwarted attempts (27 out of 30 over a month and a half) and his wife's rejection lines, from "I need a shower, I feel gross" and "I might be getting sick" to "I'm watching the show (Friendsrerun)." Stunned by his aggressive approach, the wife posted that spreadsheet to Reddit, where she appealed for advice from an anonymous community on the website's relationship forums.

Since it was posted last month, the well-circulated spreadsheet has stirred up marital anxieties and embittered men and women - even as the couple remains anonymous, the post has since been locked and its offending attachment removed. The feminist camp condemned antiquated notions of "wifely duties." Others argued that sexual compatibility in marriage is, after all, important. "Sex isn't owed but it's expected in a sexual relationship," wrote Thought Catalogue's James B. Barnes, opining that spreadsheet husband is probably entitled to watch a lot of porn, if not a divorce.

The spreadsheet raised another uncomfortable prospect: that partners "keep score," if not with an Excel document than with some kind of running mental tally on the quantity and quality of sex with their partner. But as desire shifts over time in a relationship, how do couples dance around their own individual "quota"? And what to do if a relationship suffers from an asymmetry in desire between the partners?

"It's the No. 1 sexual problem that couples have," says Michael Alvear, author of Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat: How to Stop Worrying About Your Body and Have Great Sex.

That asymmetry can come as a shock because it's usually nowhere in sight during the courtship phase, Alvear says; the "high-desire person" doesn't realize he or she is dating a low-desire partner until domestication sets in. More often than not, "the lowdesire person is perceived as the problem," he says. As to the mental tally, Alvear says men do it, although "we'd rather score than keep score."

Although women came forward on Reddit to describe their listless husbands, the problem of mismatched libidos is more often portrayed as men wanting sex and women withholding it.

"It's more acceptable to think of it like that. You don't have that many men in the locker room talking about how their wife wants sex every night and he says no," says Esther Perel, therapist and author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, an influential 2006 book about sexual desire in domesticity.

Perel says off-kilter desire isn't just a male gripe; she estimates that about half of her therapy clients who lament being "flatlined" by a spouse are women.

"The most common one is women who feel that their partners would rather satisfy themselves in solo sex online than engage with them. Or, they've become best friends and they're very loving, but there is no oomph," she says in an interview from New York.

In cases where the man's desire is lower, women are less likely to blast off a spreadsheet than to take the problem personally, treating it as yet another self-improvement project, says Kate Rose, founder of That's What She Said, a documentary series about women's desires.

"When women aren't wanted or if there's not enough sex in their relationship, they tend to put it on themselves: 'I'm not desired. Maybe it reflects on me,' "Rose says in an interview from Brooklyn. "They internalize it. The guy with the spreadsheet isn't really looking deep within himself to see if there's anything that he has done for the wife not to want it." (As Perel put it, "He never asks himself whether, maybe, she's perfectly interested in sex. But she's not interested in the sex she's going to have.")

Beyond women and men keeping score, Perel says the spreadsheet hints at a serious issue in modern love. "This kind of story just highlights how complex the role of sexuality in modern coupledom has become. This is the first time in the history of humankind that people are meant to have sex not because it's a woman's wifely duty, and not because they're trying to have 10 children because a few won't make it. This is the first time that we are having sexuality in committed relationships that is organized around the principle of desire," says Perel, whose next book is titled A State of Affairs: Cheating in the Age of Transparency.

At the core of the problem, Perel says, is that keeping an equilibrium in mutual desire over the long haul takes work, just like other aspects of long-term committed relationships - communication and fair division of chores, for example.

Sex that requires effort is an idea that turns off many couples, especially if they have bought into romantic notions that an initial infatuation should fuel the sex for decades, she says. They don't talk about it or work at it until a situation detonates: "They only talk about sex when there's a sexual problem."

So how to align asymmetrical desire? No one backs the spreadsheet manoeuvre, which likely zapped F26's loins. For those with a genuine interest in bettering sex in committed relationships, Perel says it's about "making efforts, stretching." Her current venture is a series of webinars titled "Love, sex and power," which challenges participants with questions such as what meaning sex has for them, what experiences they would like to have, and what their inhibitions are.

As Alvear says: "A lot of lowdesire people believe that the only time that they should act is when they are overwhelmed with desire. Sometimes the best sex you ever had started out when you weren't feeling very sexual." (This isn't so much doing your spousal duty as it is tuning into a half-stirred state that Alvear likens to a "flicker," not a "flame.")

Alvear's general advice for those who want to level out with their more amorous partner: "You're responsible for your own libido. You can't put that off on another person," he said. "You have the right to say no, but the obligation to try."

For spreadsheet wife, the message from thousands of Redditors was just that: try harder. While many excoriated her husband for his communication style, they didn't let her off the hook, either.

Ease up on the housecleaning, they whispered; men much prefer sex. Stop obsessing about your body, everything will only get worse with kids, they cautioned. Many warned of a dreaded Reddit forum called "dead bedrooms," reserved for sexless spouses headed for divorce. Some more gently advised couples counselling. Others suggested a simpler fix: have sex in the shower.

Associated Graphic


For Willem Dafoe, 'the target is always moving'
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

Maybe he doesn't like to talk about it. Maybe he mistrusted my intentions. But when I interviewed Willem Dafoe by phone this week, he had a lot less to say about the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, with whom he locks horns in the new political thriller A Most Wanted Man, than I thought he might.

The two have had similar careers. In film, they used their unconventional looks to their advantage, alternating steady character parts with the occasional leading role. On stage, they worked with companies they co-founded (Dafoe stayed in his, The Wooster Group, for more than 20 years), presenting challenging pieces. They vibrate with the same intensity on screen and share a deep commitment to their characters. They even lived in the same neighbourhood in New York. But - incredibly to me - A Most Wanted Man is the first time the two had worked together. So I imagined they'd had a lot to talk about. "Not really," Dafoe says. "I'd seen Philip perform over the years; he'd seen me. But it's strange, I didn't know him personally. He was sweet with me, easy to work with. He was a pro; he'd been around the block.

But we didn't share reflections."

"Nothing?" I press.

"We had very little contact except doing our scenes," Dafoe replies. "I think he had his hands full."

Whether Dafoe is referring to the demands of Hoffman's lead role, or to his personal life, he doesn't say. Certainly Hoffman carries A Most Wanted Man, which opens Friday. His role as Gunther Bachmann, who heads a small, covert anti-terrorist unit in post-9/11 Hamburg, is one of the last he completed before his drug-related death in February, and it uses everything he had: his physical skills, his sad humanity, his shrewdness and anger. He knows the world is a messed-up place. He knows he can't fix it. But he can't help trying anyway.

Based on the novel by John le Carré, and directed by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American), the film follows a Chechen Muslim who illegally immigrates to Germany. Though he may not be a terrorist, he may have ties to some, and he pulls a number of unwilling accomplices into his wake, including Gunther and his team: a human-rights lawyer (Rachel McAdams); an international banker (Dafoe); and the CIA, in the form of Robin Wright.

It's a prickly, smart, elegant thriller, with a distinctly European point of view (Corbijn is Dutch) - the Americans are not the good guys they think they are. And if the ending doesn't punch you in the heart, you may not have one.

"The beauty of this story is, everybody is trying to do the right thing on some level," Dafoe says. "But they're all flawed, they all have moral dilemmas. The line in the film that every good man has a bit of bad in him - that's always been a big attraction for me."

Dafoe chuckles dryly. He'll turn 59 next week, and his distinctive, slightly nasal voice sounds lower and gruffer than it once did. You can still hear a touch of his native Wisconsin in his vowels, but he has learned to be a careful enunciator. I got the impression he was a bit weary of doing interviews, that he was choosing words rather than conversing freely. He and his wife of nine years, the Italian actress and director Giada Colagrande, live a peripatetic life, keeping homes in Rome, New York and Los Angeles, while following their work around the world. (Dafoe also has an adult son from a previous relationship.)

This year, Dafoe has been on screen steadily: making his O face in Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac; gritting his teeth as a comic baddie in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel; shattering the hopes but steeling the spines of the teenaged lovers in The Fault in Our Stars. He has worked with Anderson and von Trier before, and is more drawn to directors than characters or projects.

"If I like the company I keep, I'm more trusting, and more able to challenge myself to not do the same old, same old," he says. "To not let your level of engagement get stale or fake or feel inessential - that's the thing you've got to beat over and over again."

Theatre-wise, he and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been touring a two-man show, The Old Woman, an absurdist piece directed by a master of experimental theatre, Robert Wilson (with whom Dafoe had previously done an acclaimed production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic).

Dafoe and Baryshnikov dress identically in black suits and white makeup, kind of a cross between Kabuki and German Expressionism, and there's a lot of miming and movement. They've played several European cities including Paris and Manchester, did a week in Brooklyn in June, and are bound for South America and then back to Europe.

That may sound exhausting, but Dafoe thrives on it. "When you're travelling, you're given the opportunity to reinvent yourself, to reconsider things. The target is always moving," he says.

His secret to enjoying life is "to have flexibility, to feel newness in everything I do. The only thing I can brag about is this: As I get older, things go faster and faster, there aren't enough hours in a day to do the things I want to do, be the things I want to be - but I'm never bored. And that, if you ask me, is an accomplishment, because I look around and I see a lot of bored people."

So what does he want to do; who does he want to be? "Not feel stuck or limited," he answers. "Not be mired in 'should' or 'I' or 'I'm not happy unless I have x.' To challenge conventional notions of pleasure and pain.

To be immune to that."

His life and work are so intertwined he can't separate them - nor does he want to. "I'm always preparing for something," he says. "I can't tell whether I'm a little dumb, or I will this kind of dumbness, but each time I do something, the pleasure and the process and the challenge always feel different."

Dafoe likes to act on his feet, but most of his scenes in A Most Wanted Man were static, behind desks or in the back seats of cars.

So his challenge was to create energy in those confined spaces.

"The scenes have so much dilemma and mystery that that's what we concentrated on," he says. "Anton [the director] was a photographer first, and once he sees his shot, he has the scene. He doesn't do a lot of takes. So everything you do, there's a pressure on it. The heat is turned up - it makes you play everything for keeps."

So maybe it makes sense that Dafoe doesn't have a lot of Hoffman stories. Maybe their relationship is where it should be - on the screen, thrumming, making us watch with our hearts in our mouths.

Associated Graphic

Willem Dafoe, shown on the red carpet at Cannes in May, stars in A Most Wanted Man.


To salsa or not to salsa? Summer street fests stir debate
For some establishments, huge street festivals are a boon. But not everyone benefits from massive crowds - some even lose business
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M5

For two days in the summer, Salsa on St. Clair transforms the street into a vibrant dance party. With the street brimming over with potential patrons crowding onto patios and shelling out cash for street fare such as tacos and burgers, it looks as if a business owner's dream come true. But for some, it's a nightmare.

Toronto hosts dozens of street festivals every summer across the city, blocking off sections of main arteries from traffic to host music, art and food events. They draw crowds of hundreds of thousands - or one million, in the case of the Taste of the Danforth - and are billed as celebrations of the city's vibrant communities. But behind the scenes of Toronto's street festivals, there are people who aren't as enamoured with the events and it's a cause for endless tension among the organizations tasked with hosting these festivals.

"Every year, it's a debate," says city Councillor Joe Mihevc. His ward is home to the Salsa on St. Clair festival, a Latin food and dance party that runs for the 10th year this weekend.

"Some do better than others, depending on the nature of the festival and [at Salsa] a lot of food is eaten so the restaurants do better than, say, the cleaners or the hairdressers."

Street festivals tend to disproportionately benefit restaurants and bars, while service and some retail stores have their regular customers blocked out. Some still find the foot traffic benefits their business and will make efforts to cater to festival-goers by offering different wares or hosting sales, but for other businesses it's all bad news.

"I actually lose business because of Salsa," says Winston Burnett, a co-owner at Spectacular Sounds Ltd, an audio equipment store on St. Clair. Since most of his products are large speakers and equipment, his customers need to be able to easily load their purchases into a car. No cars means no business.

"Maybe it helps the restaurants, because a lot of them have outdoor patios and all that, but for my business? No. It kills it."

Spectacular Sounds Ltd. is a paying member of the Hillcrest Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the business collective that pays Canadian Latin broadcast company TeleLatino to organize and host the event each year. TeleLatino originally cooked up the idea for Salsa based off of the Calle Ocho Cuban festival in Miami. They approached the Hillcrest Village BIA, who was eager to participate, as they'd been looking for a festival to focus a spotlight on their community.

Though the neighbourhood wasn't necessarily a centre for Latin culture, the BIA and TeleLatino hoped to build one through Salsa.

"We have a Little Italy. We have a Chinatown. We don't have a Little Havana, but this festival has kind of created this hub in Toronto," says Bruna Aloe, the public relations manager for the Salsa festival.

"It's Canada's biggest street dance party and so it's managed to unite Latinos and Latino lovers over the course of the weekend in an area that, 10 years ago, was desperately searching for this revitalization."

But each year since the festival started, the debate over the costs and benefits to various BIA members gets more tense.

"The only people it seems to benefit in this area are bars that can do extended patios. For us, it's a break-even proposition," says Kirby Azuma, owner of Noir Coffee and Tea, a coffee shop on St. Clair and also a member of the BIA. To counter the crowds, Mr.

Azuma has to bring in extra staff for the weekend, a cost he says is rarely covered by in the increased revenue.

"There are so many places that just shut down for the weekend and it's really criminal for them because they're paying into the BIA. Their taxes are going to fund this thing and they lose the revenue for the weekend."

A newly opened bake shop on St. Clair has opted to close for the weekend - though the owner says she wasn't fussed over the lost revenue - as has The Stockyards restaurant and Roast, a local butcher shop. Roast's owner has instead decided to set up a barbecue stand in front of the shop, but his regular business will be squashed by Salsa.

Even some bar owners who participate question if the festival is of benefit to their business.

Business owners expressed frustration with rowdy crowds, litter, vandalism and increased pressure from bylaw officers who crack down during festival times, meaning owners must be extravigilant while also juggling massive crowds. For some, it's not worth the headache, even when they come out on top, financially.

Of course, there are businesses owners who love these events.

Frank Pronesti, another BIA member who owns two restaurants on St. Clair - The Rushton and Catch - says if other businesses embraced the festival, they'd see the benefits.

"We do well for sure. It is a lot of work to get prepared for it but I think the benefit of it is way positive. It's been a very successful festival," he says. Though restaurants and bars stand to gain more than some other businesses, Mr. Pronesti says promoting the neighbourhood to new customers is a benefit to everyone on the strip. "It's brought a lot of attention to this neighbourhood. Just the media attention we get has been fantastic for us."

No single event will ever be a boon for every business in a given area, and it's up to the local BIA to weigh the options and vote on whether it's of a net benefit. After participating in Salsa just once in 2007, Hillcrest's neighbouring BIA - the Wychwood Heights BIA - decided that benefit simply wasn't there. On College Street, the end-of-summer Tarantella Festival met its demise this year because businesses weren't seeing the same kind of payoff they get during the Taste of Little Italy.

At Toronto's largest street festival, the Taste of the Danforth, similar tensions arise. The bash draws crowds of more than one million people, but restaurants have to pay fees to extend their patio or set up food booths. Due to the extra hassle, many businesses there choose to opt out or close entirely.

But even with ongoing tension between business owners, the city's headline street festivals are here to stay. The popularity and support from city council makes many of the events too big to fail.

Albert Stortchak, the acting chair of the Danforth BIA, whose antique lighting store just south of the Danforth on Broadview doesn't stand to benefit from the likes of Taste of the Danforth, says it's best if the city's business owners learn to support their neighbours.

"I've lived in this neighbourhood off and on all my life and I think if we relax and embrace it, it's once a year. A lot of the businesses, this is the weekend that can make or break them."

Associated Graphic

The annual Salsa on St. Clair Festival starts this weekend. Every year there's a debate in the neighbourhood about whether the festival is good or bad for the area.


Light and shadow, sound and silence
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R5

It's a measure of the esteem in which Geoffrey Farmer is held in the art world - and the anticipation that attends the debut of a new work by him - that a preexhibition talk and "slide show" by the Vancouver artist at the Art Gallery of Ontario's Jackman Hall drew more than 100 attentive attendees earlier this week. After, a reception in the gallery's Walker Court was cluttered with a who's who of prominent collectors, curators, administrators and fellow artists, Michael Snow, Scott McFarland and Shary Boyle among them.

The occasion was the world premiere of Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it, described as both "a son et lumiere" (sound and light) by Farmer and "a generative composition" collaboration with fellow Vancouverite and electronics artist Brady Marks. Running through early September, the exhibition is Farmer's first at the AGO since 1998's Hunchback Kit and part of the honours package awarded the laureate of the annual $50,000 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, which Farmer won in June last year.

Now 47, Farmer's been something of an international artworld darling for a decade.

Famous for the eclecticism and avidity of his compendious interests and a practice that has encompassed sculpture, found objects, video, sound, drawing, painting, performance and detritus juxtaposed in expressive, arresting configurations, he has been on an especially wellreceived roll the last two years.

There was Leaves of Grass, his sprawling 2012 installation at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany, featuring some 15,000 paper images - faces, animals, consumer products, machines - clipped from 50 years of Life magazines, arranged chronologically and categorically on stalks of dried grass. (It's now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada.) Last fall he turned an enormous gallery at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton into a spooky walkthrough called The Intellection of Lady Spider House. Also last fall, in a ravishing piece titled Boneyard at Toronto's Mercer Union, he mounted hundreds of tiny figures, mostly images of sculptures cut from discarded art books, on a huge white circular plinth.

Alas, fans of those shows are likely to find Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it more dry cup of soup than tall glass of water. The installation/environment is situated in the spacious Henry Moore Sculpture Centre on the AGO's second floor, where Farmer has positioned some 15 plaster assemblages by the famous British artist in pretty much the same configurations as they were when first installed in 1974. (Another six will be brought on-site once their use in the AGO's Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty show ends July 20.)

To help restore what he calls "the original mechanisms of the Moore space," Farmer has also screened off the northern view of the Galleria Italia designed six years ago by Frank Gehry - a fixture Farmer likens to a "glassand-wooden battleship that has blasted a cannonball through Moore's thinking." Six speakers have been positioned at various points near the ceiling. Near the centre of the Centre, there's a cluster of 20-plus lights of various sizes, intensities, colours and ranges of motion, their automated actions on the Moores and exhibition visitors synchronized to produce "a series of vignettes" in tandem with a rotating potpourri of short audio clips. (During my one-hour visit the other day, I heard, among other things, crickets chirping by a stream, artillery explosions, garage-band rock, sound poetry, bird songs and the voices of Winston Churchill and a woman claiming to be Jackie Onassis "looking for some action" in Times Square. Outside the space one finds three vitrines with Moore-themed objets - a photo of a slag heap, the light for a miner's helmet lamp (Moore's father was a coal miner), a book of Etrsucan sculpture, a reproduction of a de Chirico painting with a Moore-like sculpture reclining in a piazza.

If all this sounds rich, dense, sophisticated, well yeah. Unfortunately, the execution is such that Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it never achieves the lyricism needed to alchemize concept and constituent elements into a satisfying whole.

Part of this has to do with the space itself. The natural light coming down through the AGO skylights, especially at this time of the year when days are long, is simply too strong. As a result, the shadowy and luminous effects created by Farmer's light station on Moore's bodies and those of the exhibition's visitors register more as evanescent gliss than "urgent whistle."

Then there are the Moores themselves. In deploying sound and light, it's clear Farmer wants to tease out whatever animative/ animistic/amatory possibilities are latent in Moore's Neolithic forms. But finally, for the most part, they're simply too grounded and solid to get up and dance.

One exception is Two Piece Reclining Figure #1, whose sexual content Farmer makes cheekily explicit with the help of a quilted blanket used by conservators.

In a recent e-mail interview (Farmer prefers them to in-person interviews, and, boyishly handsome though he is, doesn't like to have his picture taken), Farmer said the Moore Sculpture Centre was not his first choice as the locale in which to realize the Iskowitz commission. "We were originally going to show a mechanical play that I produced last year ... a musical of sorts about the life of Frank Zappa. [Titled Let's Make the Water Turn Black after a 1968 Zappa compostion of the same name, the sound sculpture marked Farmer's first solo presentation in Switzerland.] For various reasons it wasn't possible, and then Kitty Scott [the AGO's curator of contemporary and modern art] and I began to talk about the Henry Moore space. It is a space that I have always been interested in; I think a lot of artists are. ... There is a clarity there."

The clarity, unfortunately, doesn't extend to the room's acoustics, which are on the cavernous side. Then again there seems to have been some intentionality to this. According to Farmer, "I wanted to return the space back to its original configuration to hear how it might have sounded in 1974." Another Farmer intention was to scatter platforms throughout the space to permit visitors to "recline, rest or sleep" as the vignettes rolled through the day.

Alas, that part of the installation has been "reconsidered," an AGO spokesperson says. Now there are just a couple of squishy faux-Mies backless couches near the space's entry. It's too bad: The platforms could have helped make the Moore centre into a kind of Platonic cave, the recliners immersed like Plato's prisoners on the border of art and life, alternately entranced and bored by the play of light and shadow, sound and silence.

Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it opens Saturday at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto for a run ending Sept. 7.

Associated Graphic

Geoffrey Farmer's exhibit is a first for the AGO.


Farmer's Leaves Of Grass installation at the dOCUMENTA (13) art exhibition in Kassel, Germany in 2012.


What happens if your broker goes broke?
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B10

Bad news: There is no investor protection scheme to make good your losses in a financial market decline.

This clarification is offered up to the people who misunderstand what agencies like the Canadian Investor Protection Fund are all about. "The challenge that we seem to have most often with people understanding our coverage is that we don't cover a loss in market value," said Rozanne Reszel, CIPF's president and CEO. "We are only triggered by insolvency - protected means having your assets returned to you."

Risk is talked about constantly in the investing world - stock market risk, interest rate risk, currency risk, the business risk associated with a particular stock and social/political risks as well. The risk of your investment dealer going bankrupt and taking your assets with it is not as urgent as these other threats, but it shouldn't be ignored because firms do fail.

Since 2011 alone, CIPF has paid out claims totalling $8.4-million related to insolvencies at MF Global Canada Co., Barret Capital Management Inc. and First Leaside Securities Inc. The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada's Investor Protection Corp. (IPC) has received claims totalling about $7.9-million related to the bankruptcy last year of W.H. Stuart Mutuals Ltd.

Markham, Ont.-based W.H. Stuart was a mutual fund dealer and insurance agency that was suspended by the MFDA last May and later had its client accounts transferred to another firm, Keybase Financial Group Inc. Dorothy Sanford, president of the MFDA investor protection plan, said her organization is halfway through the process of paying out claims related to "significant shortfalls" of client money. "It was a really complex situation and our focus is now on processing the claims," Ms. Sanford said.

Whatever type of investment company you deal with, ask yourself this question: If the firm goes bankrupt, are my assets protected?

CIPF's members are investment dealers (including both full-service and discount brokers) that belong to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). If a firm sells stocks, bonds and other securities, it should be a member of IIROC and if it's a member of IIROC, it has to be part of CIPF. Likewise, the MFDA's members, mainly financial planning and wealth management firms, must be part of the association's protection plan. Note that the MFDA plan does not apply in Quebec, which has its own compensation fund.

Don't assume your investment firm is a member of IIROC or the MFDA, and thus their insolvency protection plans. Always verify - that's what I do in my ranking of online brokerage firms (read it online at Every year, each firm in the survey must confirm that it's a member in good standing of both IIROC and CIPF.

There are two notable parts of the investing world that are not covered by insolvency protection plans. One of them is so-called exempt dealers, who sell products like hedge funds to high net worth individuals who are supposed to be sophisticated investors. Another is portfolio managers, who look after investments for high net worth families, endowments, foundations and pension funds.

Katie Walmsley, president of the Portfolio Management Association of Canada, said in an e-mail that her members do not "handle or hold" client assets. Instead, they're held in the custody of IIROC-regulated investment firms or a division of a bank. Portfolio management firms must have insurance that offers protection in case of employee fraud.

Both CIPF and the MFDA's investor protection plan cover investors for total assets of as much as $2-million. That's $1-million for "general accounts," typically a cash or margin account, and $1-million for "separate accounts" such as registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds. If you have multiple general or registered accounts at a firm, they would be aggregated and considered as a single account.

TFSAs, being comparatively new, are in a kind of grey zone right now. "We've not had a circumstance where we've had to adjudicate whether TFSAs should get separate coverage, but that's certainly something that's on our radar for clarification," Ms. Reszel said. "At this moment, I would consider them to be part of your general account."

It's primarily the cash in your investment account that is at risk if your firm goes bankrupt, although securities are also covered. "In Canada, client [cash] money is in the mix of the company money, just like it would be at a bank," Ms. Reszel said. "It's not held separate and apart in a trust account." If securities were missing from your account in the event of an insolvency, they'd either be replaced or you'd receive the cash value on the date of insolvency.

The biggest case ever handled by CIPF was the 1987 demise of Osler Inc., which accounts for almost 40 per cent of the $40-million in claims and related expenses paid out since inception. Today, Ms. Reszel said the plan has a general fund of $440-million invested in bonds, and a line of credit with two banks for $125million. The MFDA's investor protection plan will gradually boost its $35-million fund to $50-million in the years ahead, and there's a $30-million line of credit to draw on. Both plans are funded through fees paid by member firms.

Let's be clear on what investor protection plans do not cover: Losses due to inappropriate advice; fraud that does not result in a company's insolvency; or financial market declines. Confusion over whether market losses are covered by CIPF and the MFDA's protection plan may result from the fact the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. protects bank deposits against losses of up to $100,000. Guaranteed investment certificates are included in this coverage.

The Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR) did a study of investment fraud a few years ago and found that fraud and insolvencies often go together. The group also found many instances of fraud involving individuals and firms that were members of neither the MFDA nor IIROC. Marian Passmore, FAIR's policy director, said the group is calling for all investment firms to be members of an industry organization with its own insolvency plan for clients.

"Right now," she said, "investors should make sure they're dealing with either an IIROC or MFDA member if they want this protection."

Follow me on Twitter:@rcarrick


The Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada's Investor Protection Corp. (IPC) are designed to protect investor assets against the bankruptcy of an investment firm. Here's a look at both plans:

*general means cash, margin or U.S.-dollar accounts, separate refers to registered accounts like RRSPs and RRIFs;

**in addition, claims of almost $8-million have been received for the latest insolvency faced by the MFDA IPC;

***this is a list of MFDA members, all of which are required to be part of the organization's investor protection plan.

Associated Graphic

Source: CIPF and MFDA IPC websites, most recent annual reports

The risk of your investment firm going bankrupt - and taking your money with it - shouldn't be ignored.


Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R11

Mini-reviews rated on a system of 0 to 4 stars. Original reviews were published on the dates indicated.


Doug Liman's latest summertentpole cornpopper is about a man - Tom Cruise - spun by a time loop to fight the same marauding alien hordes on the same beach every time he dies. The movie is almost hermetically airtight in terms of structure, and the genre-mashup it attains so seamlessly - imagine Saving Private Ryan cross-pollenated with Groundhog Day, or War of the Worlds reconsidered as heavymetal romcom - is only more impressive for providing precisely what we've come to expect in our opening-run megaplex experience: aliens, effects, superheroics, roller-coaster tummy flips and, of course, Cruise, whom Liman brilliantly casts as a spineless coward turned reluctant hero, a kind of 21st-century Cary Grant. All in all, a perfectly superior example of industrially fortified Hollywood fun. PG (June 6) -


Josh Boone's super-sticky, tissueshredding adaptation of John Green's young-adult bestseller The Fault in Our Stars hews tightly to teen-flick conventions. Although ostensibly a movie about how two doomed teenaged lovers refuse to march to society's drumbeat when it comes to fatal illness - she has stage 4 cancer and he's also a survivor - Fault is at heart a full-throttle, bythe-numbers tearjerker. The two principals are winningly, almost impossibly, loveable, Shailene Woodley's unsentimental Hazel Grace melting inexorably in the face of Ansel Elgort's take-noprisoners campaign of puppy-dog persistence as Gus. PG (June 6) - G.P.


Wes Anderson's eighth feature film is also one of his best. Along with the usual pop-up-book visuals and precision-timed deadpan humour, there's a quality of both melancholy and grimness underlying this fanciful tale - set in a fictional central-European country in 1932 - about a lobby boy (Tony Revolori) and the flamboyant concierge, Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes, in a wonderful performance), the martinet of the gaudy, pink-wedding-cake of an alpine spa-hotel that gives the movie its title. The central plot involves an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, with cameos from all Anderson's regulars (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson etc.), but at its core is a barely disguised story of the destruction of old Europe and the rise of the Nazi regime, inspired by the writings of Mitteleuropean cultural chronicler Stefan Zweig. 14A (March 14)


A Christian-themed story based on the bestseller by Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo, "heaven is for real" is the good news delivered by a four-year-old boy who returns from a bout of operatingroom anesthesia with a message of Jesus's love. Greg Kinnear stars as the pastor father, beleaguered by medical debts in a failing rural community, who has his faith tested and renewed. What starts off as an intriguing dilemma about rationalizing an apparent miracle in the contemporary world all too quickly resolves into a dramatized religious pamphlet. PG (April 16) - L.L.


How to Train Your Dragon 2 may be the first postmillennial children's movie. Instead of pampering the "be yourself" pap the genre usually trades in, this sequel sets reluctant hero Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) on a quest to sculpt the contours of his own identity. There's plenty to admire about Dragon 2, from the strong acting to the gorgeous digital animation and clever use of 3-D. Most commendable is the film's message. How to Train Your Dragon 2 makes a strong case for the will of the collective trumping that of the individual. Even as Hiccup nears closer to embracing the destiny laid out for him early in the film, it becomes clear that he's doing it on his own terms - as fully realized a young-adult character as you could hope to see in a 3-D cartoon about riding dragons. It's a rare film that encourages kids to think for themselves. PG (June 13)


Angelina Jolie's magnificent turn as wicked (but redeemable) fairy godmother saves this cleverly revisionist version of Sleeping Beauty from the noisy 3-D battles and grating fairies that occupy the rest of the film, directed for Disney by visual-effects artist Robert Stromberg. PG (May 30)


The idea of casting the Muppets in a retro-Cold War spy thriller may have seemed like a better idea when Muppets Most Wanted was green-lit than it does now, but that isn't the only thing that's slightly off in this eighth Muppets feature, starring Jim Henson's Muppet family along with Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey. Gervais plays a museum-robber and showbiz impresario who books the Muppets on a European tour. He then replaces Kermit with his evil doppelganger, the Russian arch-criminal Constantine ("I em Kyermit!"), while the real Kermit languishes in a Siberian gulag, under the eye of show-tune obsessed guard, Nadya (Tina Fey). Gervais and Fey's campy performances get tiresome quickly, though the song-and-dance numbers are fairly clever (courtesy of Flight of the Conchords's Bret McKenzie), and adults can spend their time spotting celebrity cameos. G (March 21) -L.L.


This indie romcom features U.S. comedian Jenny Slate as a Brooklyn stand-up comic who gets pregnant during a one-night stand and, without any fuss or judgment, goes ahead with an abortion. Despite the refreshing realism with which a commonplace decision is portrayed, the film never rises above its low comedy (lots of fart jokes) and conventional romantic plotting.14A (June 20) - K.T.


2 ½

Director Jim Jarmusch's take on the vampire genre is his best film since his 1995 western Dead Man, and another idiosyncratic story of a precarious journey. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play Eve and Adam, vampire lovers who buy their blood - "the good stuff" - from black-market medical labs, live like bohemians in Detroit and Tangier, and shake their heads regretfully at the havoc the "zombies" (mortals like you and me) have wreaked on the planet. Elegant, melancholic and lightly humorous, Only Lovers serves as a manifesto of the director's cultural touchstones and, as usual, his eclectic musical taste. While fans of Twilight may not be inclined to bite, this is definitely the "good stuff." 14A (April 25) - L.L.


Director Nick Cassavetes's baggy comedy about three women (Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton) who set out to punish a philanderer (Nikolaj CosterWaldau) seems intended as a cross between The First Wives Club and Bridesmaids, but despite low ambitions the results are oddly engrossing. The key dynamic is between Mann's actively uncomfortable performance as a wildly needy basket case of a wife, and Diaz's as a hard-shelled Manhattan lawyer who joins forces with the wronged spouse. Together they upset a few Hollywood stereotypes. While not exactly feminist - this might be called "feminish" - it takes a few tottering stilettoheeled steps forward. PG (April 25) - L.L.

Associated Graphic

Despite the refreshing realism of Obvious Child, the film never rises above low comedy and conventional romance.

Canadian wrestlers lead the way
Final day on the mat sees Canada win two gold and two silver to take event total to 12 medals, including a Games-high seven gold
The Canadian Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

GLASGOW -- All that Tamerlan Tagziev wanted to do was make his adopted homeland proud.

He succeeded in impressive fashion at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The Russian-born freestyle wrestler arrived in Canada five years ago, and won his first international gold medal for his new country with a dominant victory in the men's 86-kilogram division final.

Still trying to catch his breath after the match, Tagziev pointed to the Maple Leaf on his chest as the reason for his 14-4 manhandling of Nigeria's Andrew Dick.

"It's a big deal to represent our country. I'm proud of being Canadian," said the 32-year-old who lives in Toronto. "I'm so happy that I can make all Canadians happy.

"I'm so proud. The national anthem [played] for me."

Tagziev's gold came on the heels of Danielle Lappage's earlier victory in the women's 63-kg division and capped a great event on the mat for Canada on a day that also saw Brittanee Laverdure and Jevon Balfour win silver medals.

Canadian wrestlers finished with 12 medals - a Games-high seven gold along with two silver and three bronze - in Glasgow, tied with Nigeria and behind only India's 13 (five gold, six silver, two bronze).

Elsewhere, Canada won three additional gold medals Thursday. Montreal diver Meaghan Benfeito won her second gold of the Games in the women's 10metre platform. Gymnast Scott Morgan of North Vancouver, B.C., won gold in the men's rings event, adding to his silver in the floor event earlier on the day, and Montreal's George Kobaladze won the men's 105plus-kilogram weightlifting event.

Canada is third in the medal standings after eight days of competition with 65 medals (27 gold, 13 silver, 25 bronze). England leads with 123 medals and Australia is second with 113.

In the men's 63-kg final, Dick jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in the first round against Tagziev, but the native of Beslan, Russia, quickly countered to score 12 straight points.

"I knew I was going to beat him easy," Tagziev said. "He surprised me [early], but I was sure I was going to beat him."

India's Pawan Kumar and South Africa's Armando Heitbrink split the bronze medals.

Meanwhile, Lappage defeated India's Geetika Jakhar 7-0 in the women's 63-kg final to also cap off her first Commonwealth Games in style.

"It was awesome. The Games experience, the whole thing was just incredible," said the 23-yearold from Olds, Alta. "The crowd was amazing. I've never wrestled in front of this many excited people before."

Lappage and Jakhar got off to a tentative start in their bout before the Canadian scored six points in the second round to seal the victory.

"I think that I was just really nervous and hesitant to make a mistake at the beginning," Lappage said. "As I warmed up I started to calm down a bit.

"There was built-up excitement and nervousness. I feel relieved. I'm really excited," Lappage added.

Cameroon's Blandine Metala Epanga and Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu won bronze.

Earlier in the day, Laverdure suffered a nasty hand injury in the closing moments of her loss in the women's 55-kg division final to India's Babita Kumari.

"I looked down and the finger was poking out of the skin," said the 32-year-old Calgary lawyer, who shrugged off the pain to accept her silver along with bronze medalists Louisa Porogovska of England and Ifeoma Nwoye of Nigeria.

Laverdure, who also hurt her shoulder last year and only got back competing in March, found herself down 5-0 halfway through the match before falling 9-2.

"For me, it was a slow start because I shouldn't give up the first four or six points because they take the points and shut down," she said, before adding: "I'm happy with a silver."

Canada's other podium finish in wrestling came by way of Balfour, who dropped the men's 65kg final to defending Olympic bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt of India by a score of 10-0 in the first round.

"I knew he was a good wrestler," said 19-year-old from Brampton, Ont. "I don't know if that got to me or not, but he's a good wrestler. Obviously he knew what he needed to do.

"I know what I need to work on. I need to train harder."

Sampson Clarkson of Nigeria and Scotland's Alex Gladkov settled for bronze.

Balfour said that despite the disappointment of his final match in Scotland, he was pleased with his first Games.

"My personal goal was to medal. If I didn't medal, I would be pretty upset at myself," he said.

"I don't like going to a competition, coming all this way, and not getting on that podium."

Elsewhere, Benfeito won the 10-m platform with a combined score of 372.65 points, while Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., took bronze with 361.80. The pair combined for a gold medal in the 10-m synchro platform earlier in the Games.

"It can't get any better than winning two gold medals at your last competition of the season," Benfeito said. "I had a really tough morning in preliminaries. To come out on top is absolutely amazing."

Filion said she exceeded her expectations to cap her best season internationally on individual tower.

"Coming out with 361 points and a bronze medal is absolutely amazing," she said. "It was a tough competition with many of the world's best and I'm pleased with my achievement. I just wanted to do good dives in the final and do a better score than in preliminaries. I knew if I did that I stood a good shot at a medal."

Kobaladze won gold by lifting a Commonwealth Games record total of 400 kg - 171 kg in the snatch and 229 kg in the clean and jerk.

"I was more confident for the last lift than for the first attempt. I started slowly with a lighter weight, but when I saw I had a chance for a gold medal it became easier for me," Kobaladze said. "It was always a dream for me to finish first, because my father was a very good weightlifter and I always wanted to show him I could become a champion.

"It's the first time I've won at this high-level international competition. At 38 years old, I've used maybe my last chance."

Elsewhere, Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que., won silver in the women's 1,500-m T4 wheelchair, Alex Dupont of Saint-Rémi, Que., won bronze in the men's 1,500 wheelchair and Christabel Netty of Surrey, B.C., won bronze in the women's long jump.

Associated Graphic

Canada's Danielle Lappage, left, wrestles Geetika Jakhar of India during their 63-kilogram freestyle final in Glasgow on Thursday.


Canada's Jevon Balfour, right, wrestles Terry van Rensburg of South Africa during their 65-kg semi-final bout. Balfour went on to the final and took home the silver.


Christians face increased risks in China
The past year has seen Communist Party clamp down on free speech. That effort is now expanding to religion
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A15

WENZHOU, CHINA -- A church stands beside a busy highway in the southeastern Chinese city of Wenzhou, its steeple shrouded in construction tarp. Its cross is gone, unceremoniously removed. A short distance away another church, a gleaming new structure only barely finished, has been reduced by wrecking equipment to a crater of rubble in another hillside. Police stand in the pouring rain to keep visitors from driving down the road that passes by.

Across Zhejiang, the Chinese province where Wenzhou is located, Christians have counted at least 100 churches forced to make alterations, knock down wings or remove crosses in recent months.

It is the most visible evidence of a renewed Chinese effort to restrict the spread of religion, and particularly Christianity, which had until recently flourished over a decade that saw China soften its enforcement of rules that outlaw anything that officially sanctioned worship.

The changes are visible across China, with Christians being detained, publishers facing sudden restrictions on printing new Christian books and rising concern among those whose faith is again placing them at renewed risk in a country often criticized for religiously-motivated human rights violations.

"It's very worrisome," said Bob Fu, the founder of China Aid, a Texas-based group that advocates for Christian rights in China. Mr. Fu, who helped human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng leave China, said he has seen official documents that suggest the Chinese central government sees an imperative to, as he put it, "contain the rapid growth of Christianity, or religion."

China is home to one of the world's fastest-growing populations of Christians - 67 million in 2010 (or 5 per cent of the population, compared with 18 per cent for Buddhism), according to the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project. At the time of the Communist revolution in 1949, there were an estimated four million Christians. At its current rate of expansion, China may one day be home to more Christians than any other country.

"Underground" churches and seminaries - so-called because they are unofficial and operate in a legal grey zone - have in recent years flourished in plain sight, some occupying large office buildings and welcoming parishioners by the many hundreds.

But the past year has seen China clamp down on free speech and lock up hundreds of prominent online critics and human rights lawyers. That effort is now expanding to religion in a campaign that now threatens a much larger segment of the country's population.

In May, Zhang Chunxian, the Communist Party chief in China's far western Xinjiang territory, pledged "strengthened management of religious affairs in accordance with the law," according the state-run Xinhua news agency. Those remarks were seen as opening a round of new crackdowns on Muslims in that region.

However, it has become clear that they also gave voice to a broader effort to regulate religion nationwide.

Many attribute the changes to Xi Jinping, who has waged a broad battle since becoming President a year ago on any force he sees as potentially threatening to the rule of the Communist Party.

"We can see that the new central government is really much more controlling," said Max, a former pastor who asked to be identified only by his English first name for fear of repercussions as he remains an active Christian outreach worker.

Across China, in the clusters of tiny house churches that always operate with the fear of official displeasure, there are signs of a much farther-reaching campaign.

Twice this year, police broke into meetings between members of the Beijing-based Holy Love Fellowship home church and hauled people away on charges of gathering illegally. Thirteen were taken in January and another seven in March 1, each for a month.

The January group included Holy Love Fellowship pastor Xu Yonghai. "We were detained in the No. 1 Detention House," typically reserved for criminals on life or commuted death sentences, he said in an interview.

Other new restrictions have also quietly arisen. According to three sources, including an executive at a publishing company, publishers of Christian books in China also have encountered tough new challenges in obtaining ISBN codes that allow them to print new titles, a method of impeding publication of Christian material.

Such a restriction, emanating from central authorities, suggests the crackdown is not regional, but national in nature, the executive said.

The most intense activity has been reserved for Zhejiang province, and the area around Wenzhou, a thriving trading city with churches more than a century old that has been called China's "Jerusalem." The most prominent was the recent demolition of Sanjiang, or Three Rivers, Church - a massive structure that authorities had said was built much bigger than approved. The church had earlier been held up by local authorities as a "model project."

The demolition happened despite the best efforts of congregants to protest and stop it. Keep protesting and "your shop will be shut down," a local storeowner said she was warned. "If you have a son or daughter who is working here, their job will be suspended."

The storeowner spoke in a back room, for fear of being seen speaking with a foreign journalist.

Chinese authorities deny staging a crackdown. "The Chinese government earnestly protects the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens, including safeguarding the freedom of their religious belief," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said recently. In Zhejiang, he said, "the demolition took place because those structures were built against relevant regulations. It has nothing to do with religious belief."

Christianity arrived in China as early as the seventh century, and Jesuits arrived in the 17th century.

But Communist China has long had an uncomfortable relationship with those who believe in a power higher than the General Secretary. Though the Communist Party officially recognized five religions - Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam - Mao Zedong once famously told the Dalai Lama that "religion is poison" in part because "it neglects material progress."

Religion was made illegal during the Cultural Revolution, when the Communist Party drove out foreign missionaries and turned church buildings into factories.

Churches weren't allowed back into the open until the reform and opening up in the late 1970s, and gradually gained in size and strength. Recent years have seen increased liberties, with many church leaders saying security forces have paid less attention to them until recently.

In Wenzhou, the crackdown has grown personal. Zhao, a pastor there who asked that only his surname be used, recently vented his anger on Chinese social media with a long letter addressed to corrupt local officials demanding compensation for what he called the "illegal" act of tearing down churches and crosses. "And we don't want you to use taxpayer money for compensation," he wrote. "We want you to sell your own houses and watches."

Associated Graphic

A Sunday morning service in May at a church belonging to the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement, in Wenzhou, China. Many residents of this city, known as 'China's Jerusalem' for its proliferation of churches, are upset by the recent demolition of the huge Sanjiang Church.


A pile of rubble on a hillside is all that remains of Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, China. Officials recently had the church demolished.


Something new under the sun
We've explored the Moon. And Jupiter and Mars. But as Ivan Semeniuk reports, the next series of space missions are finally set to chart new territory - and perhaps change our understanding of the solar system
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

When astronauts set foot on the moon 45 years ago this week, those who watched on live television witnessed not just a spectacular feat of engineering but a landscape utterly unlike anything on Earth. Chasing that thrill - of seeing other worlds for the first time - has been a key part of space exploration ever since.

"People love it when we go somewhere new," says Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at Boulder's Southwest Research Institute.

That can be a challenge, however, as there are fewer "firsts" left to explore. The International Space Station is just a short step from home, and places like the moon and Mars have been visited multiple times by robot explorers. But Dr. Stern is about to change that: He's the lead scientist on a mission called New Horizons, which is set to unveil the biggest piece of unexplored real estate in the solar system - Pluto.

And his is just one of several upcoming efforts that promise to show us new terrain, off the wellbeaten path and out of Earth's orbit.

The impact on science will be significant: Every new mission tells its own story about the origins of the solar system, and, in doing so, reveals something about our own place in the cosmos. But these missions will also revive a previous era in space history, showing us what we've never seen before.

The building blocks of life

The Pluto encounter is set for July, 2015, but first up on the view screen is another mission called Rosetta. Launched by the European Space Agency in 2004, the spacecraft is less than three weeks from reaching comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a four-kilometre-wide pile of ice and dust named after the two Soviet-era astronomers who discovered it.

Other spacecraft have approached comets before and captured fleeting glimpses, but Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit one. In November, it will also drop a 100-kilogram lander onto the comet's frozen crust.

It's a tall order. The comet is steadily vapourizing, so the lander will have to find a spot to latch onto that's not disintegrating under it. Once on the surface the probe may even see the comet changing in real time, says Dr. Stern, who is also on the science team for Rosetta."It's much more rapidly evolving than any object we've ever been to."

This week, photos from Rosetta revealed the mission's first big surprise: The comet looks like it's made of two distinct sections, one rounder and one flatter, stuck together in a way that one scientist on Twitter compared to a rubber duckie. The weird shape could pose an additional challenge for the lander, which will have to cope with the comet's small but complex gravitational field as it tries to touch down.

The payoff is a better understanding of the raw material that larger planets are made of, and a first "in situ" look at what happens on a comet's surface as it warms in the sun.

Other journeys to small places have a similar goal, including OSIRIS-Rex, a NASA-led mission to bring back a piece of a nearby asteroid called Bennu. This week, the Canadian Space Agency awarded the contract to build Canada's share of the mission, a laser altimeter (a.k.a. lidar) that will map the asteroid in three dimensions and help scientists assess where to move in and grab a piece once the spacecraft arrives in late 2018. In exchange, a share of whatever OSIRIS-Rex returns in 2023 will end up in Canadian labs.

It's not the first time such a mission has been attempted. Japan did it in 2005. But they only managed to retrieve a few grains. The mission to Bennu will mark the first time a spacecraft has made contact with a carbon-rich asteroid - precisely the kind of object that may have once carried the building blocks of life throughout the solar system.

"It will give us insights into what kinds of organic molecules might have seeded Earth before life evolved," says Ed Cloutis, a planetary scientist at the University of Winnipeg who will be among the researchers trying to find the most interesting spot to grab a sample on the asteroid.

Collectively, asteroids like Bennu - of which there are hundreds of thousands - form a part of the solar system that Canada is especially well-qualified to explore: The lidar that will be used on OSIRIS-REx is a spinoff of one previously built for a Mars lander; the technology that went into the Canadarm could be repurposed for grappling with small asteroids.

But there's limited support from the federal government, so Canadian researchers have to find other ways to leverage their expertise and get a piece of the action. For example, Dr. Cloutis is gearing up for some big revelations next February as an outside collaborator on NASA's Dawn mission, which will make the first visit to Ceres, the largest asteroid.

With a diameter of 950 kilometres Ceres is comparable in size to Quebec, but it remains too distant for astronomers to see in any detail from Earth. It's physical nature is a mystery. Especially tantalizing are recent hints that Ceres is releasing trace amounts of water vapour from a hidden, internal source.

A new part of the solar system

But Pluto remains the big prize in this latest exploration boom.

With its own atmosphere, one large and four smaller moons, Pluto presents a rich trove of new information. Its complex formational history will likely have something to say about our own Earth-Moon system. And with the possibility of internal heat and a subterranean ocean, Pluto cannot be ruled out as a haven for alien life.

Pluto was the solar system's ninth planet until its demotion by the International Astronomical Union into a new class known as "dwarf planet." But whether it is an "official" planet or not, it's a novel world and the gateway to an entirely different part of the solar system, full of thousands of small icy bodies.

After it leaves Pluto, New Horizons is meant to be directed at another of these bodies. The trouble is that a suitable target has not yet been found and time is tight.

This month astronomers have turned to the Hubble Space Telescope in a final attempt to sift out some appropriate targets for New Horizons. "It's a real challenge ... you're looking at the gaps between the stars for these faint moving things," says JJ Kavelaars, an astronomer with the National Research Council, based in Victoria, B.C., who is participating in the Hubble search.

Meanwhile, excitement continues to build around the Pluto visit. By early next year, the probe will have crossed to the point where it can see Pluto better than any telescope - a thrill we should do our best to savour, says Dr. Stern.

"It's rare that we get a chance to go somewhere and expect to be nothing but surprised."

Ivan Semeniuk is The Globe's science reporter.

Associated Graphic

The Rosetta mission will land on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this November, a rare chance to explore new territory in space.

Clark storms late to top Furyk and take the win at Royal Montreal
The Canadian Press
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

MONTREAL -- When Jim Furyk's charge to a third RBC Canadian Open title stalled in the final round, Tim Clark decided to go for it.

The 38-year-old South African, whose wife is Canadian, fired five birdies on the back nine to overtake Furyk on the 15th hole and hold on to win the $5.7-million (U.S.) tournament at Royal Montreal on Sunday.

Recovering from a first-hole bogey that put him four shots off the lead, Clark shot a fiveunder-par 65 to finish at 17-under-par 263 and claim his second career PGA Tour victory and the $1.026-million winner's prize.

"It looked like Jim wasn't going to make any mistakes," said Clark, who had moved into contention with a 64 on Saturday. "He was pretty solid, so I knew I had to make birdies.

"At that point, there was nothing to lose. Suddenly I got hot and I went with it."

It was another frustrating defeat for Furyk, who has now lost seven tournaments in a row in which he led after 54 holes.

He went into the final round with a three-stroke cushion but never found traction. He shot 69 to come second at 16-under 264.

"I kind of controlled my own destiny," Furyk said. "I've got to shoot three or four [under par] and it would have been impossible to catch me, or darn near it.

"I left the door open with even par on the front nine and Tim took advantage and shot 30 on the back."

Furyk has not won since a victory at the 2010 Players Championship that gave him the FedEx Cup title and PGA player-of-theyear honours. He fell short in a bid to join elite company in Tommy Armour, Sam Snead and Lee Trevino by becoming the fourth player to win the Canadian Open three times after his victories in 2006 and 2007.

Instead, it went to the stocky Clark, the long-putter user who needed a win after battling elbow trouble in recent years.

The win moved him from 85th to 27th in the FedEX Cup standings and gave him entry into next week's World Golf Championship event in Akron, Ohio, and into the PGA championship. He also gets fully exempt status on the PGA Tour through the 2015-16 season.

While Graham DeLaet's bid to became the first Canadian to win his national open in 60 years fell short, the trophy went to a player with connections, and a history, in Canada.

Clark's wife, Candice, is from Toronto and has family in Montreal. He won his first professional tournament at the New Brunswick Open on the Canadian Tour in 1998 and followed a week later with a win at the CPGA Championship.

"The irony of it is Canada could be the location of my first win and my last one," he said. "To come back here, it's full circle.

"That was 16 years ago when I was just cutting my teeth as a professional golfer and I was fortunate enough to be given some starts up here, so I have fond memories.

"It's certainly one I've wanted to win for a long time. Any national championship to me is special. particularly to the people from that country. It's an honour for me to be the open champion."

Delaet was in contention after he and Furyk tied the course record with 63s in the second round on Friday, but he went 7068 in the last two rounds to finish at 10-under 270. He took the low Canadian honour by one stroke over Brad Fritsch of Ottawa, who closed with a 64 to end up at nine-under, tied for ninth with Kevin Kisner and Graeme McDowell.

"I fell a little short, but it was fun," said DeLaet, Canada's topranked player. "So many people were cheering for me.

"Now I know how Tiger and Phil and those guys feel all the time because it was pretty neat.

Coming down 18 was a special moment.

Justin Hicks shot 64 to leap into third place alone at 13-under 267 in his best performance of the season.

Matt Kuchar (65), Michael Putnam (66) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (66) finished tied for fourth at 11-under 269.

Organizers moved up the starting times by two hours and had the players go out in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees to try to fit in the final round between forecast rainstorms.

It almost worked to perfection.

Most of the field had finished their rounds when a cloudburst halted play for 26 minutes with the final group - including Furyk, Clark and Kyle Stanley - with only four holes left to play.

Clark and Furyk were tied at 15under when the rain came. When play resumed, Clark birdied to take the lead. Both players birdied the 17th to set up a dramatic final hole.

Clark left a 44-foot putt about six feet short, but Furyk missed left on a 12-footer and Clark sealed the win by holing a sixfoot putt.

"Once he missed his putt, I didn't want to have to go into a playoff, knowing he can take it over the water [off the 18th tee] and I have to play over to the right," said Clark. "So it was huge for me to get it finished right there.

"I got hot with the putter on the back nine. To stand over that putt and still feel confident was really nice."

DeLaet, from Weyburn, Sask., tied for seventh with Dicky Pride, who matched the course record with a bogey-free 63.

Pride had the course record at 64 the last time the event was held at Royal Montreal in 2001, only to see Scott Verplank and David Morland go one shot better the next day.

"I had to get my course record back," said Pride, who birdied the 17th and 18th for the record. "So to tie them and go back and get it, I'm pretty happy about that.

"And I was thinking about it on 18 too, which is an idiotic thing to do, but I made the putt anyway."

Fritsch had a 10-foot putt on the 18th in a bid for a share of the record, but missed by perhaps a centimetre.

But the 36-year-old in the Ottawa Senators golf shirt used his 64 to finish the event at nine-under.

His bogey-free round included three birdies and an eagle on the back nine. Fritsch just made the cut on Friday with a birdie on the 18th.

"We made the most of the weekend," said Fritsch. "We felt like we were playing with house money this weekend just because we felt lucky to even be playing."

"I played great today. On the back nine, I made a bunch of putts and made some good shots coming down the stretch."

Associated Graphic

Tim Clark of South Africa celebrates after winning the Canadian Open in Montreal on Sunday. Clark's first professional win was in New Brunswick in 1998, and his wife is from Toronto.


Race undercuts discussion on affordability
Studies show an influx of Chinese millionaires is raising home prices in Vancouver. So why can't we talk about it?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G3

VANCOUVER -- It helps to have a thick skin when reporting on the nexus between Chinese money and Vancouver's sky-high property market. It also might help if that skin, like mine, isn't white.

Accusations of racism flow thick and fast whenever an attempt is made to connect wealth-based immigration, primarily by rich Chinese, and housing prices here. Since influential condo marketer Bob Rennie delivered a speech to the Urban Development Institute in May, in which he said "sensational" stories making that link were "bordering on racism," an array of industry figures have lined up to support his proposition.

But now, some in the Chinese community are pushing back.

"Guys like Bob Rennie, they are trying to stop full conversation and intelligent conversation by using words like 'racism,' "said long-time Chinatown activist David Wong. "People are afraid to speak when people start throwing that word around."

Mr. Wong, an architect who has campaigned on behalf of impoverished Chinese immigrants, said it was vital to have a frank discussion about the impact of rich immigrants on greater Vancouver, where average detached house prices top $1.2-million.

"Every time people want to talk about this, they get labelled a racist, especially if they are nonAsian," said Wong. "That's nonsense. We've got to talk about it.

The politicians are gutless because they are afraid they are going to lose the so-called ethnic vote."

Mr. Rennie's May 15 speech was swiftly followed by a range of commentary that hewed closely to his line. On June 3, pro-development political consultant Bob Ransford warned in The Vancouver Sun that addressing unaffordability by restricting foreign ownership would "tread very close" to the historical discrimination of the anti-Chinese head tax.

Two days later, University of British Columbia professor Tsur Somerville - whose Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate is sponsored by developers Grosvenor and Henderson Development, as well as the Commercial Real Estate Development Association - told CKNW Radio that although ignoring the issue would be "foolish," the debate risked descending into "prejudice, stereotypes and racism." Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C.

Real Estate Association, meanwhile told The Vancouver Observer on June 5 that linking immigration to property prices "is beginning to sound suspiciously awkward."

The debate is certainly getting awkward, though perhaps not in the way Mr. Muir suggests. Brandon Yan, a Vancouver city planning commissioner, summed it up in a Twitter critique of Mr. Rennie's speech: "Let's leave it to the rich white dudes to decide what's racist, right?"

Mr. Wong, a spokesman for Chinatown's Ming Sun Benevolent Society, said he took particular issue with those comparing possible property market curbs to the head tax, imposed in 1885 to deter Chinese immigration. Such comparisons were "complete bull," said Mr. Wong, who added that Singapore recently imposed restrictions on foreign buyers without being accused of racism.

"People over here will say and do whatever they can to stop any efforts that would prevent them from making more money," said Mr. Wong. "It's wrong. They use the term 'head tax' without even understanding the history behind it. It really appalls me."

Messers. Rennie, Ransford, Muir and Somerville have all said that evidence tying Vancouver prices to immigration is anecdotal. But there is a range of statistical support for the case.

UBC's Prof. David Ley, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Geography, has long studied links between international immigration to Vancouver and home prices there. In his 2010 book, Millionaire Migrants, the Oxford-educated researcher found an "unusually decisive" +0.94 correlation between the two factors (in which +1 represents movement in perfect correlation, -1 represents movement in exactly opposite directions, and 0 total randomness). This correlation far exceeded that between prices and interest rates (-0.12), rental vacancies (-0.03), unemployment (0.16) and other conventional correlates.

Dr. Ley's conclusions are bolstered by a 2011 study by Landcor Data, which pored over sales records in Richmond and Vancouver's West End to discover that 74 per cent of all luxury purchases in 2010 were made by buyers with purely mainland Chinese names. "What some have underplayed or dismissed as apocryphal 'as told by Realtors,' is underpinned by educated numbers," said Landcor.

The sheer number of millionaire migrants who have poured into Vancouver is also compelling: From 2005 to 2012, 36,973 arrived in B.C. under the nowdefunct immigrant investor program, which imposed a wealth benchmark of $1.6-million on applicants. Before being frozen in 2012, the scheme was the world's most popular wealth-migration device, with Chinese immigrants planning to settle in B.C. submitting 65 per cent of all applications in 2011. Chinese domination of wealth migration to Vancouver is a statistical fact that belies widespread belief in other reservoirs of rich newcomers. B.C. admitted 30,013 millionaire migrants from Greater China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) from 2005 to 2012. In that period, there were 242 from Britain and 160 from the United States.

Thousands of the rich have also moved to Vancouver after first arriving in Quebec under that province's own immigrant investor program. According to Ottawa, 90 per cent of Quebec's millionaire migrants move elsewhere within five years, mostly to Vancouver. That likely adds 20,000 or more millionaire migrants to Vancouver's tally in the 2005-2012 period.

Sid Chow Tan, a founder and director of the Head Tax Families Society of Canada, said "resentment" of the influx of millionaires to Vancouver cuts across racial boundaries. He said previous Chinese immigrants paid "a very much higher price" than investor migrants for their Canadian citizenship "and it was not measured in dollars, either."

Mr. Tan scoffed at real estate figures raising the spectre of the head tax: "I've been engaged in anti-racism work for decades.

Conflating the Chinese head tax and exclusion laws and rich immigrants and real estate is absurd, if not somewhat evil."

Mr. Rennie, who warned against repeating discriminatory "patterns of the past" in his speech, told me his views were informed by diversity. "My in-laws come from Japan, my children are halfJapanese, we [Mr. Rennie's headquarters] are in the oldest building in Chinatown," he said.

He said the subject was a touchy one. "Everybody has to watch when they are talking about racism, that they aren't trying to be opportunistic, and it bends to the answer that they want, whether it is to exclude or include. So it's a very dangerous topic."

On this, Tan agreed, but suggested Mr. Rennie and others in the property industry steer clear of attempting advocacy on behalf of the Chinese community. "Bob Rennie standing up for the Chinese community? What Chinese community? Real estate investors and landowners. That's the community he's standing up for."

Ian Young is the Vancouver correspondent for The South China Morning Post and the author of its Hongcouver blog.

Associated Graphic

Angela Li, centre, pitches properties by Vancouver developer Westbank Corp. at a booth in Shanghai. From 2005 to 2012, nearly 37,000 millionaire migrants moved to B.C. under an investor program.


From the projects, for the projects
Judge fights for people from the area he grew up in, where he says he learned about the value of morals and fatherhood
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

His father left home when he was four, and he grew up in Toronto's housing projects. But Donald McLeod has never been one to let personal circumstances stand in his way. Today, he is an Ontario Court judge.

"You're in a country that will allow you to dream," he said.

Even as the Conservative government comes under criticism for choosing only a handful of visible minorities to be new judges on federally appointed courts across Canada, the lower courts are changing and Justice McLeod is part of that change. Having emerged from the an inner-city childhood to sit in judgment on people from backgrounds similar to his own, he is challenging the stereotype of the remote judge.

He is deeply involved in programs aimed at helping young, black people succeed in school and life.

Growing up in housing projects meant a different vantage point on life - which he used to his advantage as a lawyer.

"I could say to a jury: 'When you came through the door, you really felt that my client was guilty. Because the first thing you said to yourself was, 'I wonder what he did?' I know when we were growing up sometimes we were pigeonholed. We must have done something wrong if there was an issue - if something was gone, stolen. I learned we were sometimes guilty by association. Sometimes the association was just where you lived, how you dressed, how you walked, what your hair was like."

But as a judge, he said, "I don't think the law is different whatever race you are or whatever neighbourhood you grow up in. The law obligates me to look at the personal circumstances of each person who comes in front of me. My background doesn't help me to make the decision. At times it may help me to understand the individual."

In Ontario, the law governing the appointment process encourages diversity, and even requires diversity on the selection committee. According to an annual report for 2012, 7.1 per cent of the Ontario Court of Justice's members are from visible minorities, and another 1.9 per cent are from First Nations. No such tracking of racial diversity exists at the federal level.

Justice McLeod's personal story is about the surprising benefits of growing up in public housing, and about how a black teen might find a mentor in anyone - even a white South African.

At age 10, living with his mother and sister in Gilder, a housing project in Scarborough, he already knew he wanted to be a lawyer. "I wanted to be able to fight for people," he said in an interview in his office in the Brampton courthouse.

"When you grow up in Gilder or Regent Park, sometimes you feel there isn't really anyone out there fighting for you."

Being raised in public housing was a crucial part of his education, he said. "The friends you make there, the life values of being honest to your peers and true to your word - moral integrity becomes a very important thing. We all grew up understanding that we want to make it out of this predicament. And so you learn what a work ethic is really all about if you want to be successful."

He was on a school trip to Osgoode Hall, the courthouse in downtown Toronto, when he met a young lawyer, Larry Lowenstein, who was white and had been raised under apartheid in South Africa. Mr. Lowenstein told him if he was serious about the law he should drop in at his office at Osler Hoskin Harcourt, a prestigious Bay Street firm.

His subsequent visit to Mr. Lowenstein's office made a lifealtering impression on him, he said, citing Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. "There were people who were in the cave who made their way out and never came back, because they saw something different," he said. "When I saw how lawyers actually worked there was no turning back: 'This is how I want to be.' "He got a summer job in Osler's mail room, and was on his way.

He earned his law degree from Queen's University in Kingston and started his own firm, offering legal services in the areas of criminal, sport, entertainment and administrative law. His clients included an accused Muslim terrorist from the Toronto 18 and a teenager accused in the fatal school hallway shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Manners.

The Ontario government appointed him to the bench in the fall of 2013. Judges, he believes, do not need to be remote figures. He remains deeply involved in the black community, as founder and co-chairman of a fund organized by black men, in support of a summer school for black boys aged 12 and 13, mostly from Regent Park and in need of remedial help.

He also co-chairs Stand Up, which brings black men in to speak to groups of boys (of any race) in Grade 7 and 8.

"It was time for us as a community of black men to put our money where our mouth is," he said. "If we can't even show our own young boys that we value them, we're sending a message that we're not willing to give but only to take."

Of the black men who support the fund, known as 100 Strong Inc., he said, "most of us were raised by black women. There were always women who were breaking their backs." (His mother was his most important mentor, he said. She was a nursing assistant who returned to school at 55 and became a nurse.)

He said the black community should do more to address the issue of absent fathers. His father was not around for his childhood; he only got to know him later in life. Justice McLeod, who is married and has a 10year-old son, spoke about the surprises of being a father.

"My son gets up in the morning, gets his clothes on, comes downstairs, has breakfast, and when I'm downstairs making breakfast he says, 'Hey Dad.' To me, that's novel. Because at 10 years old I would never have said that. At eight years old I would never have said that. I'm the recipient of something I never experienced before.

"Absent fathers are still a difficult issue in our community. It impacts a lot on young black men. In the criminal justice system, there are a lot of individuals who do not have their fathers present. It's something that has to be addressed."

In his swearing-in speech, Justice McLeod said he stood on the shoulders of other black judges, such as Justice Michael Tulloch, first black member of the Ontario Court of Appeal (an appointee of the Harper government). "And so now I add my shoulders to the conversation, and upon these shoulders the next and then the next."

Associated Graphic

Justice Donald McLeod stands near where he grew up at Gilder Drive in Toronto in February. He is known in legal circles for his career in criminal, human rights and administrative law.


In Tom Rachman's world, characters are adjustable
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

Is Tom Rachman pulling some sort of con?

It seems a reasonable assumption. Before you meet him, you watch an interview from January 2011, when Rachman was visiting Canada to promote the paperback edition of his bestselling debut novel, The Imperfectionists, and you notice that he was possessed of a lilting British accent.

That part makes sense: He had lived in England until age 7, when his family moved to Vancouver, and he returned to London in his early 30s.

But then things get odd. Rachman, now 39, still lives in London, yet when he drops into Toronto to discuss his new novel, The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, he has a very proper Canadian accent. (Odder still: When he did a radio interview in Washington, D.C., just before this Toronto stop, it was with the British lilt.)

Perhaps it's just an enigmatic marketing ploy for Rise & Fall.

The book, after all, centres on Matilda ("Tooly") Zylberberg, a 30-something owner of an ailing Welsh bookshop who has an extraordinary backstory and an inbred recognition that people's characters are situational. As a child, Tooly was spirited from one place to another by an anxious male guardian; entering each new school, Tooly would take the opportunity to reinvent herself.

At age 10, in what seems an abduction, she lands under the care of three other adults, including a charismatic grifter (a Canadian!) who drafts her for the occasional con.

Like Tooly, Rachman is a world traveller whose character seems to shift depending on the context. When The Imperfectionists was published in 2010, he admits, he wasn't entirely certain who he was. After working as a journalist for about 10 years, he was still navigating how to answer questions instead of ask them.

"I had had no experience in doing this sort of thing at all," he recalls, seated at a corner table on a quiet late-June morning at the restaurant Mercatto. He takes a sip of orange pekoe tea, leans back, and spreads his arms wide.

"Everything was completely new. I was coming into it uncertain of how to be, and I had this sort of imposter syndrome at the start. With The Imperfectionists, I had this panic that people were going to ask me the name of a character and I wouldn't remember it, and they'd think I didn't write it."

With reviews for Rise & Fall largely mirroring the raves for his debut, Rachman seems wholly comfortable now in the role of bestselling, critically acclaimed author, if not exactly at ease. (It turns out that his slippery British accent appears when he is in the spotlight - for an onstage reading, say, or during a TV or radio interview.) Asked a question, he'll unpack a comprehensive response that spills out in a steady stream of words - paragraphs, really - leaving little room for interjections from others.

At one point, he notes that giving interviews can be difficult for writers "who are wary of having their own story defined and out of their control, when they're in the habit of trying to do exactly that, themselves."

His manner of speaking echoes the highly controlled structure of his fiction. In Rise & Fall, Rachman takes what might have been a relatively simple story if told chronologically and transforms it into a mystery that is both intimate and globe-straddling. In 2011, when the novel opens, Tooly is living quietly in Wales when she receives a message from an old friend that sends her from one country to another in a quest to understand her own past. As the story toggles between that time period and both 1988 and the turn of the millennium, Rachman sets Tooly's unusual narrative against the enormous changes that reshaped the world over the past quarter of a century.

"When we live through these things - the difference between you at 15 and you at 35 - it's all so incrementally slow that it's very, very hard to [track]," he notes.

"You feel like you're the same guy, yet in fundamental ways you barely remember that person, you're not quite that person anymore. You share the same organs with them, but your mind has changed, so much of your experience has changed the essence of you. It's hard to detect these changes, and the same goes for the society that's living it. These changes are so gradual that one misses the extraordinary differences in periods."

Rachman seems well-placed to track these changes: He calls himself an "internationally fractured person," and admits it took a long time before he felt comfortable claiming any one particular identity. "When I was younger, I felt it was a weakness. I thought: I don't know what group I fit into," he says.

"Then, once I realized I was never going to have a single group that was really mine and would really define me, it was liberating. Because I suddenly thought: I have this amazing possibility - as does everybody - to pick and choose and to explore the world, and find features that seem rich and valuable, and add them to my life, rather than having to set down a certain restricted way of being."

He is now working on his third novel. And while he no longer needs journalism to support his book-writing aspirations, he says he hopes to continue doing it for the way it feeds his imagination.

He aspires to the model of George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh and others who practised journalism as well as wrote fiction.

"There's a danger with fiction writers, that the point at which you're able to do it full-time, you've realized this long-held hope," Rachman says. "And you hole yourself up in that garret and you sit around and you write away and, over the course of the decades that follow, your new experiences are fairly limited, you know? You've got your friendships, maybe your kids, your divorces, your teaching, creative writing - whatever it is - but you may find much of your work revolves around the first 35 years of your life, and you write that over and over and over and over.

"I think the great asset I gained, having worked in journalism, is that I'm able to go out and do these sorts of stories that will really put me in a completely different setting, will introduce me to people I never would have met, who have no idea that what I like to do most of my time is write fiction. I'm just another reporter turning up, and I love that. It gives me hope that I can not just have an interesting life, but hopefully infuse my fiction over time with aspects of the living world as it's going on and progressing and changing."

Follow me on Twitter:@simonhoupt

Associated Graphic

Tom Rachman in Toronto last week. He's working on his third novel.


50 years of sculpture that drew attention
Much of artist's later work was influenced by nature and his thoughts on the cosmos and the larger meaning of existence
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

In 2001, Walter Redinger, then 61, walked into the Mitchell Algus Gallery in New York for the opening of his solo exhibition.

The young artists who filled the room, admiring the Canadian legend's vast sculptures and abstract drawings, did a double take: They expected an artist their own age to have produced this kind of cutting-edge work.

The same thing happened at his 2007 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto. Many at the opening knew that he had been a hot commodity in the 1960s and 70s and represented Canada for sculpture at the 1972 Venice Biennale - including art legend Michael Snow and art dealer Avram Isaacs, who gave him one of his first breaks. Those who did not were surprised that the raw work on display came from this retirement-age man afflicted with Parkinson's disease. They had no choice but to get over it when the Walter Band took to the stage and the artist - a rough-looking character with a beard and shaved head - played guitar and sang the blues.

On display at the 2007 exhibit was the 13-metre Ghost Ship, a sculpture made of driftwood, sumac branches and fibreglass, a monumental piece that had several incarnations and was nearly a decade in the making. David Liss, curator of the museum, first saw the work in Mr. Redinger's barn in West Lorne, Ont., a few years earlier. "I was just instantly blown away by it," he recalls.

"This has to be seen in Toronto," he told himself at the time.

Whether his work was in fashion or not, Mr. Redinger had a 50-year career creating the kind of sculptures that got people's attention. Mr. Redinger, who died on June 17 at the age of 74, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, also produced a vast number of paintings and drawings. "Walter had a voracious appetite for work," recalls Ed Zelenak, a childhood friend and fellow West Lorne-based artist.

Much of his later work was influenced by nature and his thoughts on the cosmos and the larger meaning of existence. "He wasn't speaking to the art world," Mr. Liss says. "He dealt with larger issues of life and death and who the human race is."

Although Mr. Redinger was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 48, he continued to create at a diligent pace. "He was probably more careful about what he chose to do after his diagnosis. It took a lot of energy," says Marian Redinger, his wife of 53 years and long-time business manager. "He worked hard. Someone said to me: 'Can you imagine what he could have done if he didn't get sick?'"

Besides art, he was passionate about music. In 1999, he formed his own band with his son, Jeff, on drums, playing the blues, which he had listened to as a teen. The Redingers listened to classical music every morning when they got up and every night before bed. Mr. Redinger was also a huge sports fan. He followed the Toronto Maple Leafs but also adored baseball and its stats. His team, the Cleveland Indians, was a perennial loser, just as the Leafs were.

Below his gruff, almost bikerdude exterior, Mr. Redinger was a loyal family man who was authentic in everything he did, from his music to his art.

Born in 1940, Mr. Redinger grew up on a tobacco farm in West Lorne, a small town outside London on the shores of Lake Erie. His German immigrant parents owned a tobacco farm and Mr. Redinger and his five siblings helped out on the farm and were educated in a one-room schoolhouse. Fortunately, that schoolhouse had a teacher who was an artist and allowed Mr. Redinger and his friend Mr. Zelenak "priority over the chalkboard."

Though drawing was a daily part of life in public school, there was no art program in the 350-student high school in West Lorne.

Instead, the two friends went together to Beal Technical School in London to get the art skills they needed for postsecondary school, and then were both accepted at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University).

Mr. Redinger stayed for two years - he found he didn't define art quite the same way his professors did - then moved to an art school in Detroit, where he won an award for his drawing.

In 1961, he married Marian Manchester, a local girl he first met working the tobacco harvest on the Redinger farm when she was in Grade 9 and he in Grade 12. The young couple moved to Toronto and lived in various livework studios around the city. He began working with cast fibreglass and kept needing progressively larger spaces.

Around that time, he met famed art dealer Mr. Isaacs, who gave Mr. Redinger a solo show at his gallery in 1963, when the artist was just 23. In 1964, with his wife running the business side of her husband's career, the couple moved back to West Lorne and, along with Mr. Zelenak, built a live-work studio on the Redinger property, taking breaks from their art for the construction but also to work the family farm, until the family eventually stopped growing tobacco.

In the larger studio, Mr. Redinger flourished and produced works for a huge number of group and solo shows through the late 1960s and into the 1970s.

(Mr. Zelenak eventually set up his own, separate studio.) His fibreglass pieces, influenced by pop art and surrealism, put him on the cutting edge of Canadian art at the time.

"He was a true visionary," Mr. Liss says.

By the 1980s, his work no longer made headlines, but the young father - his daughter and son were born in the 1970s - kept producing art and Ms. Redinger kept booking installations and shows, many of which were local, in St. Thomas, Stratford and Woodstock.

He was always welcome in London, Ont., where his sculptures still reside at the provincial courthouse and the University of Western Ontario. Museum London owns more than 50 of his works. His work showed frequently in New York, often at solo exhibits, up until 2007.

A bout of cancer and his progressing Parkinson's eventually did slow Mr. Redinger down. He did his last show in 2011 in London and eventually moved to a care facility.

Walter Redinger leaves his wife; daughter, Jennifer Fulmer; son; siblings, Dr. Richard Redinger, Helen Mulcaster, Linda Royal and Shirley Vandenberg; and grandchildren, Jacobb and Emma.

Associated Graphic

Walter Redinger in his West Lorne studio in southern Ontario. Below his gruff, almost biker-dude exterior, the artist was a loyal family man who was authentic in everything he did, from his music to his art.


Mr. Redinger's fibreglass pieces put him on the cutting edge of Canadian art. Pictured above is his piece Klonus 1972, made of cast fibreglass and urethane paint, seen at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Where summer tastes like chocolate with wasabi
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M7

A man and his preschool-aged son walked into a gelato shop on Baldwin Street last Monday with no apparent idea of what they were about to experience. I was outside on a bench in the shade at the time with a pair of friends who were lost in their flavours: fresh guava and plum salt, green tea and Chivas, super-ripe mango that hit with a fiery gust of bird's eye chile. The father and son emerged a few minutes later and sat down, the kid's eyes a storm of confusion.

They had purchased one cone only. The father was eating it.

Sorry, kid. This little gelato shop makes gelato for grown-up tastes.

Kekou's flavour lineup reads like a stroll through an Asian night market. In the year since the shop first opened, its tamest selections have included lemonchrysanthemum, ginger milk, jackfruit and green bean-coconut.

(That last one, a riff on a classic Vietnamese iced drink, is incredible.) The chocolate gelato, when they make it, is spiked with wasabi. The shop's vanilla gelato comes blended with lotus seeds.

Kekou's owners and gelato makers, Yik Sin and Elissa Pham, both grew up in Toronto with new-immigrant parents. Mr. Sin's mainland China-raised family fed him jackfruit, soursop and durian whenever they could get it. Ms. Pham's Vietnamese-Canadian family had different flavour touchstones: sticky rice, avocados with banana, coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk.

Though they're lifelong ice cream freaks, until Kekou neither Mr. Sin nor Ms. Pham had much experience in the business. (The partners took a four-week course in Bologna, Italy, at the respected Carpigiani Gelato University.)

That inexperience doesn't seem to have hurt their shop in the least.

Gelato is more than an Italian way of saying ice cream - with origins in Sicily, it's a different product entirely, with much less fat (gelato typically contains more milk than cream) and far less air churned into it. It's denser, more strongly flavoured and melts less quickly.

At Kekou, the gelati (and the sorbetti) have another important attribute. They are remarkably clean-tasting. You take a bite, the flavours come through in a wallop, and then everything disappears, without frozen dairy's all-too-common manky echo.

Kekou's gelato doesn't contain stabilizers, which even some of the world's best gelaterie use. I'm not sure if that alone is what makes the difference, but either way, you should get there. You'll be too busy swooning to care.

The Vietnamese coffee gelato is superb, a world away from the gritty coffee ice creams that are often made with Nescafé powder.

The peanut-sesame is brilliant (if also completely wacky to my taste), and the whisky-green tea tastes exactly of its namesakes, because that's exactly what it's made with.

You shouldn't go to the shop without trying the guava and plum salt - a common combination in Taiwan - as well as the soursop sorbetto, which comes on green and high-toned and gorgeous, like the spiky, whitefleshed tree fruit it's made with, and then vanishes as soon as you swallow.

The durian gelato is slightly more challenging. Durian is a delicacy if you've grown up on it. To the uninitiated it's reminiscent of past-prime blue cheese and unwashed bodies, garnished with rotting carnation stems. (It's one of Kekou's most popular take-out flavours, Mr. Sin said; you will smell it the moment you enter.)

And a note to parents: Kekou does make an excellent strawberry-lychee sorbetto. It's smooth and sweet and sour a little, fresh summer fruit with a subtle lychee descant. Just maybe wait to mention the lychee part until the kids are done.

A few blocks west on Baldwin Street, at the edge of Kensington Market, Millie Creperie is also run by amateurs. Carson Leung, 24, and Christinn Hua, 25, have no real chef's training; though Mr. Leung worked briefly as a line cook in Mississauga, he is far more of a home cook than a pro one, he said.

They're well-travelled food nerds who ate at Per Se, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin before reaching legal drinking age.

In Japan a few years ago they couldn't help but notice the crowds outside Tokyo's crepe shops. The crepes were thin and crisp, rolled into cones around oddball mixes like ice cream with Pocky and chopped fruit. Toronto, they decided, was missing out.

Millie opened a year ago this weekend. It is tiny - 200 square feet - with just a few tables and a pair of crepe pans in the window.

The crepes, cooked to order from flour, eggs, sugar and milk, are thinner and slightly more crisp than the buckwheat variety from Brittany. Eating them, you'd never know just how amateur the couple are.

Millie's savoury crepes are superb - fast, tasty, way out-of-theordinary takeout. There are Thai chicken crepes, and vegetarian ones the menu calls "rabbit food."

The pork and Corn Flakes crepe is emphatically weird but also very good.The must-get crepe on Millie's savoury menu is the pork okonomiyaki. It comes stuffed with sautéed cabbage and carrots, miso- braised pork belly, kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce (a mixture of Worcestershire, ketchup and soy), and the shaved, dried bonito flakes called katsuobushi, which taste a lot like Spanish ham, but from the sea.

The desserts here get all the attention however, and they ought to. The Japanese special crepe comes filled with a ball of Mr. Leung's excellent green tea gelato, as well as sliced strawberries, red bean paste, a sauce made from matcha tea, and whipped cream. There are endless variations on the theme here, including a parfait that's dressed with Pocky sticks and Corn Flakes, and simple but effective banana and Nutella crepes.

But the best thing in the shop is Millie's sublime mille crepe cake, a stack of 20 crepes with a mix of subtly sweet vanilla pastry cream and whipped cream between every layer. It takes Ms. Hua more than three hours to make just one of them, she said. There's a reason you almost never see mille cakes around town.

While I can't promise that you'll get one, it's a worthwhile goal for a mid-summer's weekend. Worstcase scenario, you get a freshly made crepe filled with sweet, creamy weirdness and chopped fruit, Pocky sticks or breakfast cereal.

Go with it. It doesn't taste like a consolation prize at all.



13 Baldwin St. (at McCaul Street), 416-792-8858,


161 Baldwin St., (at Spadina Avenue), 416-977-1922,

Associated Graphic

Kekou serves Asian-flavoured gelatos, including jackfruit and ginger milk.


Which is better, a RRIF or an annuity?
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B11

It's easy to find advice about putting money into your retirement piggy bank. Far rarer are tips about how to get it out.

That's a pity, because choosing the right option can mean a sixfigure difference to the amount of income you collect over the course of your retirement.

For many Canadians, the problem emerges the year they turn 71. At that point, they must wind up their registered retirement savings plans (RRSP).

They have two options if they don't want to immediately pay income tax on the total amount of RRSP savings they've accumulated.

Like most people, they can convert to a registered retirement income fund (RRIF). Or they can do what practically nobody does and buy an annuity.

Which is better? Surprisingly, the numbers favour the unpopular annuity.

You won't hear this advice often, probably because buying an annuity means giving up control of your investments and handing over a large cheque to a life insurance company in exchange for a regular monthly payment. That doesn't tend to appeal to the swashbuckler in us.

In contrast, a RRIF lets you maintain your existing portfolio of stocks, bonds and mutual funds - although you do have to make minimum annual withdrawals that grow bigger as you age.

The problem is that the flexibility and independence of a RRIF come at a considerable cost, according to Paul Goldstein, who runs an eponymously named financial services firm in Toronto.

He has constructed an example that demonstrates the eyepopping difference between the two options for a typical couple.

In his example, Joe, 71, and Jane, 69, have accumulated an RRSP portfolio of $1,000,000 and want it to generate a healthy retirement income that they can't outlive. They are not in a position to take stock market risk, so they want to stick with fixed-income products and are dismayed to realize that, at today's paltry rates, they can't expect a yield much higher than 2 per cent.

Mr. Goldstein looks at the amount of income this couple will receive each year by sticking to a RRIF and compares it with what they would receive by buying an annuity that guarantees them an income for life.

He assumes they will choose an annuity with a guarantee period of 15 years. This means that even if both Joe and Jane are hit by a bus a day after starting their annuity, their heirs will continue to receive payments until the 15 years are up.

In addition, he assumes their annuity will contain a provision that payments will fall in half after 15 years if either spouse dies.

At today's rates, Joe and Jane could hand over their milliondollar nest egg and buy an annuity that would pay them $71,220 a year, with all the features mentioned above.

How does that compare with the RRIF alternative? Mr. Goldstein assumes that Joe and Jane will withdraw what is required by law each year. That varies from year to year and is calculated according to a formula based on the age of the younger spouse.

In the first year, Joe and Jane would have an income from their RRIF of about $48,000. That, of course, is $23,000 less than they would have received with the annuity.

And the annuity's advantage keeps on growing. After 15 years, Joe and Jane would have pocketed total annuity payments of just under $1.1-million versus about $815,000 from a RRIF.

Since the annuity pays them a guaranteed income of about $71,220 a year as long as both are alive - or $35,610 if one dies after 15 years - they are always better off than under the RRIF alternative, which produces just over $26,600 a year in income by the time Jane turns 95.

To be sure, Joe and Jane will not leave a portfolio behind if they go the annuity route. People who are intent on leaving a large bequest often cite this as a reason to avoid annuities.

However, Mr. Goldstein's numbers suggest this objection is overblown. For starters, whatever is left in the RRIF after both Joe and Jane pass on is immediately subject to tax. If the amount is large, the tax bite is likely to consume nearly half the cash left in the fund.

In contrast, the annuity will have generated far more money in total than the RRIF - and it will have done so in a tax-efficient manner, since the entire income would have been received year-by-year and thus been taxed at a lower rate. By Mr. Goldstein's calculations, Joe and Jane consistently wind up ahead with the annuity.

Can you take issue with this conclusion? Sure - you can assume that Joe and Jane take the RRIF route and hit the right combination of buoyant stock markets and benign interest rates to leave them better off than with the annuity.

But that involves risk - remember the crash of 2008? - and, most times, annuities win. Fred Vettese, chief actuary at consultants Morneau Shepell, compared how annuities would have fared versus a RRIF invested equally in stocks and bonds over every 30-year period between 1938 and 2001 and found that in 30 of the 35 periods, annuities would have produced the higher income.

Mr. Goldstein says annuities deserve more of a role in retirement planning. It's tough to disagree.

Follow me on Twitter:@IanMcGugan


1. Consider your circumstances

Annuities offer good value for nearly all retirees, but they're not perfect for everyone. People with extremely large portfolios and investing acumen may have the ability to take on market risk in a registered retirement income fund, says financial adviser Paul Goldstein. Those who have no resources beyond their registered savings and worry about having money for emergencies might also still find a RRIF has advantages.

2. Compare

Annuity pricing varies widely among companies. It's not unusual to see one company offering monthly payouts that are 10 per cent larger than another's for the same annuity product.

3. It's not all or nothing

Fred Vettese, chief actuary at consultants Morneau Shepell, suggests that annuity skeptics may want to keep a portion of their RRIF savings in equities but convert the part that would otherwise be in bonds into an annuity.

4. You're never too old

Unlike most things in life, annuity deals get better with age, Mr. Goldstein says. Annuities can make sense in your 60s, but as you pass 70, the advantages of buying an annuity become even more compelling as payout rates soar.

Associated Graphic

The thought of buying annuities for retirement is not popular, probably because it means giving up control of your investments in exchange for a regular monthly payment. To risk-takers, that is not an appealing option.


'It's about the monster within'
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

If you look like an alien, chances are you're going to get cast as an alien. Not that the actress Famke Janssen isn't gorgeous - she is. But her beauty is fiercer, more challenging than the easy prettiness that Hollywood tends to reward.

First of all, she stands nearly six feet tall in black leather ballet flats. In the Toronto hotel room where we met this week, she kept her insanely long legs contained underneath her chic black-and-white dress, but they were everywhere nonetheless.

Second, there's the matter of her bone structure: "Strong" doesn't begin to cover it. Her bone structure is imperious.

Then there's her voice, deeper than many men's, growly, authoritative and inflected by her native Dutch. (Born in the Netherlands in 1965, she moved to New York City at age 20 to be a model, and lives there still.)

Finally, there are Janssen's eyes. They're dark as wet tar, yet they emanate this amber glow.

This makes them both mesmerizing and hard to gaze into, and it makes anyone who tries automatically feel submissive.

"I am nothing like the characters I tend to play," Janssen says.

"But I know I look like I would be like that. Of course, over the years I've tried to go against type and do different things. But these roles keep coming back."

Janssen's imposing mien helped land her breakthrough role, as the assassin Xenia Onatopp in the 1995 Bond film Goldeneye. It also explains why she's played a mutant (Jean Grey in the X-Men movies, the character who needs the fewest special effects); a witch (in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters); a transgendered life coach (in Nip/ Tuck); and a wife who instantly makes her husband more interesting just by standing at his side (opposite Liam Neeson in the Taken franchise, whose third instalment is due in January).

It also explains why Janssen was a natural to play Olivia Godfrey, the ageless matriarch of a sinister clan, in the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Hemlock Grove (season two began streaming July 11). Created by goremonger Eli Roth, and shot in and around Toronto, the show is set in a fictional Pennsylvania town populated by vampires, werewolves and other assorted freaks. Every episode is drenched in blood - eyeballs pop out, rotting fingers are snapped off, hearts are pulled from chests and dropped, still beating, to the ground. But Janssen makes Olivia the scariest thing about it, the baddie you root for, who'll sacrifice anyone, including her children and lover, to get what she wants.

"It's about the monster within - who is actually a monster, when you peel back their layers," Janssen says.

"All the writers love writing for Famke," said Charles "Chick" Eglee, an executive producer of season two, in a separate interview. (Before Hemlock Grove, he worked on, among other series, The Shield, Dexter and The Walking Dead.) "I had no idea when I started this show what an enormous instrument she has. She can do anything. Watching her perform is like light shimmering on a jewel - it can shift in a moment, from vulnerability to wickedness to sarcasm to humour. She walks this fine line of being aware she's in the pushed universe of the show, without ever taking it into camp."

So it's ironic that Janssen personally has no taste for grisly stuff. "I'm not a fan," she says, shaking her head. "I'm very nervous about it. I've been asked to be part of it throughout my career, a lot, but I'm squeamish."

When she passes the shreddedcorpse models on the set, she averts her eyes. And when the gory bits air, she fast-forwards.

Her taste runs more to movies from the 1930s and the 1970s, two decades when being born to play strong female characters was an asset, not a liability.

"Women were so delicious then, unique and witty and dark," Janssen says. "Then I don't know what happened. Women were pushed to the background. It's the wrong direction, as far as I'm concerned."

Janssen fights the typecasting by signing on to independent films that showcase more sides of her, such as 2008's The Wackness, and the upcoming Jack of the Red Hearts, in which she plays the mother of an autistic daughter. She's also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and has thrown herself into screenwriting and directing. Her first feature as writer-director, 2011's Bringing Up Bobby, starred Milla Jovovich as a con artist and single mother, and Janssen's currently writing the script for what she hopes will be her second, based on the 1975 novel J R, by the postmodernist pioneer William Gaddis.

"For the last year, I've been writing non-stop," Janssen says.

"I don't have a lot of free time, but it doesn't matter because I write at night, morning, in between takes, on planes. Wherever I can, I write. I love it."

Janssen claims to relish a challenge, and anyone who knows Gaddis's National Book Awardwinning novel, which is about an 11-year-old who builds a financial empire after a class trip to the stock exchange, will agree. It's written entirely in unattributed dialogue, almost 800 pages of it. "It took me months just to fine-tune who's speaking," Janssen says. "But it's both timeless and timely. What's better to satirize at this point than Wall Street? I love a good, dark sense of humour, and the book has that in spades."

The actress has never typecast herself, that's for sure. As a kid, Janssen was a tomboy, then a serious academic, studying economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam. As a model, she worked for Chanel and Victoria's Secret, then quit to study literature at Columbia University. In 1995, she married the director Tod Williams (The Door in the Floor, Paranormal Activity 2); they divorced five years later.

She's a devoted dog owner, museum-goer, Zumba class-taker and Film Forum frequenter, but when she first moved to Manhattan she was so influenced by violent American films that she was afraid to leave her "very posh Upper East Side hotel room."

"I've never had a mentor," Janssen says. "I've always created my own path. And the most difficult one, clearly. Always uphill."

She still feels like her adopted city is one big movie set. "I'm constantly walking down the street thinking: 'This reminds me of Prince of the City or Dog Day Afternoon,'" she says, laughing. But only the exciting parts. And no aliens.

Associated Graphic

Famke Janssen is known for playing mutants and monsters but when it comes to the gore, she looks away.


Pospisil, Sock prove to be sudden bromantic success
On a circuit typically dominated by older players, the Canadian and American appear to be the right match after pairing up at Wimbledon and winning the doubles title
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

WASHINGTON -- This is a story of how two young men fall in love (platonically and professionally) and how Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock are upending the natural order of the tennis world in doubles (at least for now, and maybe for a while).

Fact No. 1: No aspiring tennis player grows up dreaming of doubles. The stars play singles. Young men imagine themselves as a future Roger Federer.

Reality No. 1: There is room for only a few bigtime stars. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have a stranglehold on the roles. Federer remains a maestro but is (slightly) fading. Milos Raonic, with perhaps the biggest serve of all-time, is rapidly rising.

Then there's Sock, a 21-year-old American from Nebraska, currently ranked No. 60 in singles. So let's be pragmatic. Pro tennis is an expensive undertaking, the cost of travel around the world and coaching for intermittent paycheques, chasing the dream alongside a couple hundred men chasing the same dream. Playing some doubles on the side is pragmatic.

Reality No. 2: Sock wanted to play doubles at Wimbledon this year, but he didn't have a high enough ranking to get in. He needed a partner. He texted Vasek Pospisil, the 24-year-old Canadian whom he barely knew and who had had solid success in both singles and doubles. Pospisil was troubled by a bad back and wasn't sure he could play.

Falling in Love No. 1: If Sock wanted in on Wimbledon doubles, Jack needed Vasek.

"Sugar daddy!" declared Pospisil of his standing in their relationship, the two shoulder-to-shoulder in an interview on Monday afternoon in Washington.

Holy moly No. 1: The first time the two young men hit tennis balls together was before their first match at Wimbledon. Pospisil had lost his opening singles match and really turned his focus to doubles. "Then we started to play," Sock said on Monday. "And thank God we did."

The two bumped fists, smiles on their face, their blue eyes locked. At Wimbledon, they ploughed through the tournament, topped by a five-set victory over the legendary Bryan twins, Bob and Mike. The Bryans were gracious but suggested it was a bit of a fluke, the insouciance of first-timers. "The honeymoon period is sometimes, you know, tough to stop," Bob Bryan said afterward.

Fact No. 2: Not a fluke. At the BB&T Atlanta Open last Sunday, Pospisil and Sock won their second title. They lost only a single set. In 31 sets over their two titles, 10 matches, they're now 25-6. They are, suddenly, the No. 7-ranked doubles team in the world - with a solid shot at the prestigious season-end ATP World Tour Finals in London. They will play doubles in Toronto at the Rogers Cup next week, and then Cincinnati the following week, before they aim for another Grand Slam in New York at the U.S. Open.

Important Context No. 1: Pospisil is no doubles schlub. The speciality - and it takes focus, rather than occasional play - is dominated by older men, led by the ageless Daniel Nestor of Toronto, 41. The Bryan twins, one of the greatest teams ever, are 36. Pospisil, however, paired with Nestor, had some essential earlier experience. Nenad Zimonjic, 38, half of the No. 2 team with partner Nestor, specifically pointed to last year's U.S. Open, where Pospisil played with Nestor and nearly defeated the No. 1 Bryans. Zimonjic, not a guy who is effusive with praise, said: "I thought that [Pospisil] was maybe the best player on the court - for that match."

Important Context No. 2: Sock had some doubles bona fides, too. He won an ATP doubles title last year and won in mixed doubles at the U.S. Open in 2011. Sock and Pospisil aren't doubles tourists. They have big serves, tough to break - a doubles essential - and Pospisil is savvy at the net, too, another big plus. "We're very dangerous players," Pospisil said. "Our games mesh really well."

Important Context No. 3: Pospisil, finally, found the answer to his wonky lower back. He was misdiagnosed a bunch of times before he went to Prague and Dr. Pavel Kolar, who, in the words of the doctor's website, has devised "a revolutionary diagnostic and treatment approach known as 'dynamic neuromuscular stabilization.' "

Falling in Love No. 2: The Canadian and the American struck an instant bond. "It was a little bit of that and a little bit of the fact we kept winning," said Pospisil on Monday, laughing. They laugh together like any couple in the swoon of new love. "If we lost right away," Sock joked, "we'd hate each other." Pospisil continued: "No, no! It goes without saying we would be friends. But having such an incredible experience together, our first week together." Sock finished the feeling: "We're pretty much brothers now."

Fact No. 3: Doubles does not make you famous. The U.S. is hungry for a male tennis star. Sock is the second-highest rated U.S. singles player. His Wimbledon win did not get him on latenight TV. "Jimmy Fallon's my goal, so we'll see," Sock said. "I think that'll probably have to come from singles." It's all said in good spirits - but true, too.

Reality No. 3: When the year ends, does the band stay together? The world of doubles, especially for younger players, is one of ever-changing partnerships. That is why the older players, who forge consistent teams, dominate. The machine-gun schedules of modern tennis do not permit players to fully focus on singles and also succeed in doubles. "I'd like to think," Pospisil began, before both begin to hedge. "If our singles schedules line up," Sock said. They'll play doubles at the Australian Open in January, for sure. Then, Sock said, "See how everything goes."

Falling out of Love (professionally but not personally) No. 1: It's not fun to think of breaking up, even though it's what happens to all doubles partnerships. This is a business. Older players dump partners for younger players. Partnerships that flourish eventually falter. Partners move on. Partners get back together. "I'd like to think we'd still be playing doubles, just because of our results right now," Pospisil said. Sock, however, spoke for both of them. "But, yeah, obviously the main focus is singles."


On Wednesday night at the Washington Open, Jack Sock was defeated in a secondround match by second seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3).

Associated Graphic

Vasek Pospisil, left, celebrates with doubles partner Jack Sock after their recent win at the Atlanta Open. They are the No. 7-ranked doubles team in the world.


With his bank's annual profits eclipsing the $8-billion mark, Dave McKay is taking the reins of Canada's most venerable corporate giant. But, Tim Kiladze reports, the new CEO isn't content with the status quo
Friday, August 1, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

By almost any measure, Royal Bank of Canada holds a dominant position in the Canadian business landscape with annual profits topping $8-billion. But incoming chief executive Dave McKay hopes to set a new tone for a banking giant: humility.

Because RBC is so big - by far Canada's most profitable company - it is easy for the bank's employees and for investors to assume the status quo is guaranteed. Mr. McKay wants to stamp out any such thoughts.

"Complacency and ego are killers of shareholder value in organizations," he said in an exclusive interview. "I've seen good organizations struggle with complacency. It can creep up on you really quickly, and if it gets hold of you, it can be tough to shake."

The message comes from a man who has not had an easy time attaining everything he has achieved. Mr. McKay lost his father, who ran a small lighting and furniture business, before he graduated high school, and there were no silver spoons in his family - no assumptions that the next steps were guaranteed. He got his full-time start at RBC on the lowest rung of the ladder, in a branch in suburban Montreal, and slowly worked his way to the top. Now, as he begins his term as CEO on Friday, Mr. McKay plans to push the bank into a new mindset. "What big companies like RBC have to learn how to do better ... is fail fast," he said.

Under Gordon Nixon's leadership, RBC cemented itself as banking giant and the dominant domestic lender. The bank now boasts a market value of more than $115-billion. Yet investors have an insatiable appetite for growth, and Mr. McKay has made it a priority to persuade them that he knows RBC can't be content with its current riches.

Mr. McKay is also acutely aware that this is an era of disruption and the banking sector isn't immune, leading him to become the most vocal Canadian bank executive on the need for change. The likes of Google and Apple are already encroaching on the payments business, with products that allow people to pay by swiping their smartphones at the checkout counter.

Mr. McKay, 50, has been on Facebook's California campus during a "hack" - a 48-hour product development cram session - and the experience taught him just how nimble the new breed of rivals can be.

Under siege from a battalion of coding whiz kids, it helps that Mr. McKay is armed with a math and computer science degree from the University of Waterloo. He also has more than 25 years of experience in banking, a work history that started in 1987 at an RBC branch in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux near Pierrefonds, where he grew up.

Within RBC, his experiences have ranged from corporate banking - a division he joined after graduating with an MBA from Western University in 1992 - to risk management, and colleagues say that it was during his tenure in the latter that he started to shine. Putting his undergraduate degree to work, Mr. McKay helped to develop a new system to better assess a client's riskiness.

Mr. McKay's journey to the top also included leading the bank's payments business - hence his obsession with this space - and he ultimately became head of personal and commercial banking, where he thrived and won Mr. Nixon's trust.

In many ways, Mr. McKay is a consummate retail banker. Talking to him conjures memories of children's television presenter Mr. Rogers - albeit a well-tailored version who also happens to love Pearl Jam. Because he is so wellregarded by Bay Street for his retail banking prowess, his CEO appointment led to speculation that RBC was bound to buy another bricks-and-mortar U.S. retail bank. Shareholders asked Mr. McKay the question so often that he felt the need to rule it out during the bank's previous quarterly conference call.

Still, the RBC Mr. McKay leads is bound to grow beyond its home borders. "I think you'll see over time a greater share of our profits and growth come from outside of Canada," he said, repeating a message he and Mr. Nixon have been spreading for some time. The bank generated 36 per cent of revenues abroad in 2013.

The trouble, though, is that no one quite understands what an international expansion will look like. "The biggest question with this company continues to be what exactly they want their presence outside of Canada to be," Scotia Capital analyst Sumit Malhotra said.

Mr. McKay acknowledged that the messages have been vague so far. Trying to elaborate, he said capital markets and wealth management are the key segments for international growth. "Where the U.S. was in 2006 and '07, we feel our capabilities are [at the same point] in Europe in the capital markets group," he said, referring to the massive U.S. growth RBC experienced over the past eight years that came both from lending to more corporate clients and hiring veteran New York deal makers to help the bank underwrite major transactions.

The future for wealth management isn't as clear, but Mr. McKay said the bank must add equity funds and alternative asset products - which traditionally include infrastructure and real estate - to expand its global asset management presence. RBC also wants to leverage its U.S. wealth management clients, possibly relying on the banking licence it kept from its U.S. retail banking days. By using it, the bank could offer more traditional banking services to its wealth management clients, helping to build a retail presence without physical bank branches.

At home, both Mr. McKay and his family are still getting used to all the change. His wife, a human resources executive at a pharmaceutical company, has her own schedule to take care of, and their two children, both of whom are in high school, are still getting used to the promotion because they didn't find out until the very morning it was announced in December. "They were shocked," Mr. McKay said. "They had asked me over the years if I could be CEO. I said, 'There's a chance I could. I'd like to be.' But I never dwelled on it. I really enjoyed being the head of the retail bank.

I just loved that job."

To maintain some sense of normalcy Mr. McKay plans to keep coaching basketball and hockey. (The third sport in his household is volleyball.) But even with teenagers it's hard to avoid the extra respect the CEO position generates. "People are nicer to me on the bench at the basketball games that I coach," he joked. "They call me 'Mr. McKay' more."

Associated Graphic


Letting go
It was his house, his business, his life. And then it wasn't. Tasneem Jamal on starting over in Canada, and the gift of a man who'd lost everything along the way
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

KITCHENER, ONT. -- I arrived in Canada as a landed immigrant in 1975. I was six years old and all I recall from that day is the image of my grandfather, slightly stooped, dressed in a white shirt and carrying an orange vinyl flight bag that looked as though it might slip off his shoulder.

He was 71, a recent widower and had just single-handedly shepherded three grandchildren under 9 from Nairobi to London to Montreal to Toronto.

My parents were to join us later once they had settled their affairs. Our suitcases disappeared somewhere en route.

And so there was my grandfather, walking a few feet ahead, leading me and my brothers toward our new life and away from our old, with that orange bag slung loosely over his shoulder.

Three years earlier, in August, 1972, dictator Idi Amin had announced that God had told him in a dream to expel South Asians from Uganda. Ninety days later, some 80,000 people, including my family, had been forcibly removed from the country. Bank accounts were frozen; keys to businesses, homes and cars were handed over to Idi Amin's army.

While the majority of those expelled went to Britain, about 6,000 were granted visas to Canada. Their story has never been told in its entirety, has never been extracted from terse headlines, which is why I wrote a novel - not about the people who make history but those forced to accept it. People like my grandfather.

Tall, broad and possessed of a deep bellow

Bapa, as all his children and grandchildren addressed him, was tall, broad and possessed a deep bellow that could make his grown sons cower.

He had come, alone, to Uganda from the Indian state of Gujarat in 1923 when he was 20.

Over the next few decades he pushed into the countryside, opening a small shop, watching it struggle, moving to another village, starting another business.

Between businesses, he taught children to read and write in makeshift schools. He eked out a living and, with my grandmother, raised nine children.

Wherever they went, he built a house, first with mud and then with corrugated iron sheeting and finally - as an automobile business took off in the 1960s - with bricks and mortar.

He was meticulous and exacting. Even as he aged and his sons took over more of the family business, they continued to answer to him. In his home, each meal was prepared at a particular time in a particular manner that he determined.

Once, when Bapa was travelling, and without his knowledge, my parents hired workers to come to the house to tile the kitchen walls. My grandfather, not a man wont to indulge in such frivolities, happened to return home from his trip early and threw the workers out, thundering that no one was to touch his walls again.

It was his house, his business, his life. And then it wasn't.

When our visas were granted and the houses and family business handed over, my grandfather travelled wherever he was taken with whomever could take him.

First he went to Britain to live with a son in Grantham, then he moved in with a grandson and his wife in a cramped London apartment. Later he came to Canada to live with another son here in Kitchener.

When my parents, my brothers and I settled in Nairobi a year after the expulsion, my father still determined to return to his beloved Uganda, my grandfather joined us.

When my father could no longer deny that Uganda was a shell of the country he'd once known, he handed my grandfather plane tickets and his three young children and told him to go back to Kitchener.

A few days after we arrived, our luggage appeared. A few months later, my parents appeared as well.

Life became ordinary. My mother found a factory job while my father slowly built a business repairing automobiles.

My grandfather made our breakfasts, saw us off to school, his tone now soft, his words gentle, his patience endless.

Two years after arriving in Canada, he died of an aggressive cancer in his lungs, and we buried him under an unremarkable stone marker. By the time I received my certificate of Canadian citizenship in 1980, my grandfather had become indistinguishable from the soil, the grass, the flowers, the air I breathed.

Before he died, before he became too ill to do so, Bapa used to go for walks near our house. Sometimes he would ask me to keep him company.

One evening as we walked, the words "Paki, go home!" hurled in our direction shattered the crisp air. I felt myself crumble under their weight. But when I looked up at Bapa, he appeared unmoved, immovable, like a magnificent, ancient tree. If he had heard the words, they had nothing to do with him.

I wish I could say that I continued to walk with him, that I reacted, like him, with indifference to racial slurs. But I didn't.

I never again walked with him. I couldn't bear it.

Instead I adopted these refrains as truths by which I would come to live my life: If they don't see me, they won't attack me. If I am invisible, I cannot be hurt.

But every day Bapa opened the front door, stepped outside.

No bag is big enough to contain a lifetime

Until I found the courage to stop hiding and tell my family's story, that image of my grandfather arriving in this country carrying nothing but one small shoulder bag saddened me.

Until I let myself imagine his experiences and feel what he might have felt, this image came to symbolize incomprehensible loss. As though any bag, any suitcase could be big enough, expansive enough to carry the wealth of lifetimes.

With my focus on what we had left behind, I failed to notice what we were walking toward: a country that was offering us - if we were willing to accept it - a new history.

What I failed to see was the freedom that Bapa had gained from letting go, and the strength he had acquired by allowing life to bend him to its will.

Tasneem Jamal is a writer living in Kitchener, Ont., and the author of Where The Air Is Sweet (HarperCollins, 2014).

Associated Graphic

Kassamali (Bapa) Jamal, at left with arms folded, in 1952 outside his garage in the west Ugandan city of Mbarara: Before being expelled by Idi Amin, he exercised complete control - at work and at home.


'His tone now soft, his words gentle, his patience endless' - Tasneem Jamal, at home in Toronto, remembers a grandfather, who once made the timid tremble.


Business is blossoming as baby boomers are customizing their 'toys' with impressive options
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

Wayne and Betty-Jo Hovdebo were at the communal campfire at a park near Caroline, Alta., a couple of years ago when they noticed one of the regulars wasn't there.

Word soon spread that he was out tricking up his golf cart, the common mode of transport in many camp communities, with the express purpose of coming up with something more eyecatching than the Hobdevos' new model.

"I said, 'We can't let that happen,'" recalls Betty-Jo with a laugh.

So they did some research in hopes of adding a few bells and whistles and were blown away by the vast array of possibilities they found. After a few months - and about $7,000 - they were tooling around the campground in a head-turning fire-engine red cart that looked more like a 1940s-era pickup truck than anything built for a golf course. It even has an ooga horn for effect.

"We've always had a truck and usually red, so it suited us," BettiJo says. "It's perfect for hauling wood around the cabin and it's just so much fun."

Whether for practicality, fun or simply keeping up with the Joneses, the humble golf cart is taking on a role that was previously the domain of sports cars and customized trucks. But these eye-popping carts aren't spending all their time on fairways; they're showing up in large numbers at campgrounds, RV parks and in gated communities.

Evidence of their rising popularity is the number of retailers reporting vastly increased sales in the past few years.

"Over the first four years we were pretty stable, but in the last five years we're selling a lot more high-end models," says Don Brooks, owner of O'Tools golf cart refurbishing in Forest, Ont.

Things are so good for Koolsville Kustoms that the Calgary operation almost tripled the size of its operations over the winter and reeled off $250,000 in sales in the first two months of this year.

"Things are booming here and people want their toys when they have a few extra bucks in their pocket," says Koolsville owner Mike Pledge.

That they do.

Entrepreneur Rick Browne needed something to get his family around Cedar Springs, a rustic cottage community on the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington, Ont. Since the community has its own nine-hole golf course and since the Brownes love luxury vehicles - there's a Mercedes SLC and Porsche Panamera in their garage - they opted for the best.

That meant turning over about $30,000 to Bennett Golf Cars & Utility Vehicles in Stouffville, Ont., for a custom-painted purple golf cart and a top-of-the-line European-made Garia model that not only resembles a Smart car but came with a refrigerator, champagne bucket, heated windshield, sunroof, wipers, headlights and turn signals.

"It's a toy," says Browne, who's in the heavy equipment leasing business. "And nobody else has one quite like it. I love the looks I get when I go on the course or drive down to the community centre."

These toys come with some impressive options - air conditioning, chrome steering wheels, custom dashboards, mag wheels, gun racks, stereos - and a lot of style.

There are basically no limits when it comes to creating a golf cart that will be the talk of the club or trailer park - except maybe a turbo charger. Some look like Harley Davidsons, Corvettes, Mustangs and Model Ts.

There's even one that looks like an 18-wheeler.

Instead of serving strictly as utility vehicles or hauling golf clubs, they become their owners' pride and joy.

"I baby it," Calgary trucker Rick McIntosh says of his electric-blue cart that has a retro feel to it.

"I'm always polishing it up.

"Lots of friends want to rent it for golf, but I just don't want to take it out of the resort. It sure would look good on a golf course, though."

There are many reasons for the popularity of customized golf cars. In addition to making a fashion statement, they're incredibly practical for those with vacation properties.

As with most trends, the customizing wave is fuelled by aging baby boomers who are retiring to rural areas, RV parks and cottages.

"They're almost family vehicles," says Bill Bath, sales manager at Bennett. "People don't want to be driving their cars around at the cottage, so they park them and use the carts to get the kids and grandkids around."

They're practical and feel safer to older drivers not comfortable with getting behind the wheel of an ATV.

Once you get past an initial investment that can range from $3,500 to $20,000, carts are economical to operate. But their appeal goes beyond that.

"It's almost like a little romance, because it's an emotional thing," says Brooks. "You drive an electric cart with all the bells and whistles and it's fun.

It's an expression. It's your own little hot rod."

As the business has grown, more options have become available as manufacturers scramble to both create a market and satisfy it. In addition, with proper lift kits and tires, golf carts can be turned into anything from hunting vehicles to ambulances, snowplows and fire trucks.

There's even one model that was built to accommodate a casket.

"They're great for little cottage communities where a regular fire truck or ambulance can't get in," Bath says.

The environmental angle is a big attraction, too. With batteries improving and coming down in price, electric models are hot sellers because they're quiet and emissions-free.

Many retailers believe they're on the verge of an explosion, believing it's only a matter of time before these vehicles become street legal. While allowed on roads in many American and European jurisdictions - some can hit 40 km/h - they're restricted to golf courses and private roads in Canada.

With the population aging, the golf cart could be the answer for many.

"It's so needed here," Brooks says. "You can fit a wheelchair on the back of some models and a golf cart just makes more sense than scooters."

And you can do so many more cool things with them.

Associated Graphic

Rick Browne's golf cart is equipped with a small cooler, 12-volt power plug, windshield wipers, speedometer, sun roof, wine cooler, and front and rear headlights. The suspension and steering are superior to a normal golf cart.


Koolsville Kustom in Calgary built these golf carts (clockwise from top left): a replica 1940s pickup, a Jeep, a streetrodder kit, a Porsche and a rebuilt 1977 Harley-Davidson.


The 'quirky little car' inspiring an automotive backlash
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

Arnold Klappe was on an ambitious overland tour of East Africa when he saw an unusually angular Japanese van that spoke to his adventurous, West Coast soul.

It was his first glimpse of the famed Mitsubishi Delica, a boxy, diesel-powered vehicle that strongly resembles the iconic Volkswagen vans of a bygone era.

"Everyone has those thoughts: 'If I won a million dollars what would I do?' "Mr. Klappe says.

"I'd buy a Delica, modify it a bit - and drive it around the world."

When Mr. Klappe returned to Canada, he was delighted to find vintage Delicas shipped across the Pacific from Japan were enjoying a mini-renaissance in his native British Columbia. Their niche popularity has spawned a Delica drivers' club. But there are also safety concerns about Delicas, with various provinces and organizations across the country mobilizing to prevent even more of the vehicles from washing up on Canada's shores.

The safety concerns involve right-hand-drive vehicles - the Japanese drive on the same side of the road as the British.

The number of made-in-Japan Delicas from the mid-1990s in B.C. has been growing slowly but steadily over the past five years, from roughly 1,000 in 2009 to around 1,400 in 2013, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). By contrast, Manitoba's provincial insurer says there are only 30 Delicas in the entire province, while Saskatchewan has only nine - and no new registrations so far in 2014. In B.C., one auto importer alone - Steven Lee of Rising Sun Auto Import - estimates he has brought in 65 to 80 Delicas each year for the past five years. Some shipped to B.C. are driven further east, but provinces with private insurance providers make a total tally difficult.

There are various reasons why most Delica vans in Canada - and more than half of the members in the national Mitsubishi Delica Club - are found in B.C.

Vancouver is just across the Pacific from Japan and has a thriving port, so it is the obvious unloading point. More important, Japan has strict vehicle inspections and high depreciation that discourage the use of aging vehicles, which quickly become prohibitively expensive to maintain. That, combined with strict rules for disposing of used vehicles and a perceived cultural preference for newer ones, leads to a steady exodus of high-quality used vehicles from Japan to ports in Southeast Asia and the Russian far east, as well as in B.C. The price for a Delica: anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000.

But to Mr. Klappe and others, there is one outstanding reason for their West Coast connection: Delicas are basically a more modern, practical version of the VW "hippie" van of old - a vehicle particularly well suited to people who love the outdoors.

"It's definitely West Coast," Mr. Klappe says. "If you go up on Vancouver Island or Whistler or Squamish, they're all over the place."

This is despite the fact that imported vans have to be modified. Because the van was originally designed to drive on the left-hand side of the road, its high beams are angled straight into incoming traffic in North America - requiring a fix. There is also the olfactory factor: As recently as 2005, nearly half of all Japanese male adults smoked, and Delica importers are sometimes confronted with ashtrays on wheels. Others take modifications further, installing camping stoves, interior lighting and surfboard racks; some even rig their Delicas' diesel engines to run on waste vegetable oil. The Delica Club's online forum is filled with pictures of Delicas from around the world outfitted with monster truck wheels and tank-style treads.

"I've come across people who are doing extensive tours of North America, Central America and South America with their Delicas," says Mark Szekely, who started the club after setting up a website to sell his first used Delica.

The vehicle, and other bargainpriced Japanese imports, have raised the ire of officialdom.

Concerned by the rising number of right-hand-drive imports, ICBC analyzed crashes involving vehicles like the Delica. In 2009, the agency published its alarming findings: Right-hand-drive vehicles were 40 per cent more likely to be in a crash, and 56 per cent more likely to cause one, than left-hand-drive vehicles. The driver's position is believed to make everyday manoeuvres - such as pulling away from a curb or making a left-hand turn - much more dangerous.

Currently, Canada has a 15-year ban on importing used cars manufactured abroad that do not meet Canadian safety and environmental regulations, which is the reason nearly all the Delicas in Canada are mid-1990s models - and none is newer than 1999.

In 2010, Quebec moved to ban the import of new right-handdrive vehicles, noting that drivers "do not have an optimum field of vision." Although making an exception for commercial vehicles and collectibles, Prince Edward Island followed with similar legislation.

Mark Francis, an ICBC manager of provincial vehicle registration who is on a national working group on the issue, says they asked Transport Canada to increase the number of years before a vehicle can be imported from 15 to 25. That number - which would be in line with the United States - would effectively kill the importation of modern Delicas by making it no longer economic for Japanese exporters to warehouse them.

"We're taking their junk, as we view it," Mr. Francis says. He adds, however, that the lack of any high-profile crashes involving these vehicles means there's little incentive to act. "We're not expecting them to do anything in the near future."

The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association and other industry groups have also lobbied against these imports, fuelling an impression among some Delica owners that big business is trying to make a profit while cracking down on their fun.

At the moment, Mr. Klappe is having a lot of that. Thinking the inside of his van was a tad small, he bought not just one but two Delicas, and then cut them apart to fuse them together into a Godzilla-esque monster van that he can drive - and sleep in - comfortably on travels through B.C., the Northwest Territories and on planned trips to Morocco, Mongolia and South America.

"They're a quirky little car," he says. "It was a vehicle that was designed for the West Coast."

Associated Graphic

Arnold Klappe and his 1993 Mitsubishi Delica L300 stretch van in Surrey, B.C. on Thursday. Mr. Klappe bought two Delicas, cut them apart and fused them together into a vehicle that he can drive - and sleep in - comfortably on his travels.


Canadian wins women's hammer throw
Despite training in Portugal in her bathing suit with borrowed equipment, Sultana Frizell throws 71.69 metres to take gold
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

GLASGOW -- Sultana Frizell spent her preGames training camp in Portugal working out in her bathing suit, throwing someone else's hammers. Her bag had been lost in transit.

It wasn't the perfect preparation Frizell had planned, but she shrugged it off Monday night by capturing hammer throw gold at the Commonwealth Games - breaking the Games record three times in the process.

"I didn't have my hammers or my throwing gear. Or underwear.

For about six days," Frizell said with a smirk. "That was fun. I threw in my bathing suit."

The 29-year-old from Perth, Ont., threw 71.69 metres to claim gold, but left Hampden Park disappointed that she didn't come closer to the Canadian record of 75.73 she threw earlier this season.

"I'm very happy to win gold again and move the Commonwealth record a little bit further," she said. "It wasn't as far as I would have liked it ... I was feeling in good form and I thought I was going to do a little more today, but it wasn't in the tank today.

"But you know what, it was a great day."

Tim Nedow of Brockville, Ont., added a bronze in the men's shot put later in the night, and Damian Warner of London, Ont., ended Day 1 of the decathlon with an 84point lead.

Swimmer Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., also won gold for Canada on Monday, finishing first in the women's 200-metre butterfly. Brittany MacLean of Toronto made the podium at the pool as well, winning bronze in the women's 800-metre freestyle and breaking her own Canadian record in the process.

Edmonton weightlifter MarieJosee Ares-Pilon captured bronze in the 69-kilogram women's class and Pascal Plamondon of Ascot Corner, Que., won bronze in the men's 85-kilo category.

"I was nervous, but not more than any other competition," said Ares-Pilon. "Every time I perform I become a little nervous but that is healthy and normal. I try to stay in the moment because that is what is important."

Canada was tied for sixth in the overall medal standings with 24 total medals (nine gold, three silver, 12 bronze). Australia is in top spot with 87 (30-25-32).

Frizell came in as the defending champion, having won the event four years ago in New Delhi. She opened the night with a throw of 70.55 to break the Games record of 68.92 she'd set in qualifying a day earlier.

She bettered that again on her fifth of six throws. The fans that squeezed into Hampden Park - Scotland's famous national soccer stadium - to watch the first day of track and field roared when she stepped into the circle for her final throw.

"I thought, 'I'd better not screw it up' ... pffft, ... and I did," said Frizell, who ended the night with a 70.60 toss.

The five-foot-10 thrower was actually a figure skater growing up, competing in ice dance until she was 16 - a sport that's a polar opposite to hammer throwing.

"We look pretty twirling," she joked, about hammer throwing.

"I just grew too much for figure skating, for jumping and stuff.

Every year I would grow."

She also played volleyball and basketball in high school and then, forced to pick between track and soccer during the spring high school season, she went with track.

"And I was going to throw.

Because I didn't want to run," Frizell said.

Frizell reeled off one joke after another with the media in the mixed zone after her event, but the thrower is a fierce competitor when she steps into the ring.

"It's game time," she explained.

"You just walk out there like I walked out there today, and it's game time.

"You come off, it's relax time, you're done, you left it all out there on the track and you're done."

Nedow, meanwhile, threw 20.59 to capture the shot put bronze in a field missing injured Canadianrecord holder Dylan Armstrong.

O'Dayne Richards of Jamaica threw a Games-record 21.61 for gold, while Tom Walsh of New Zealand was second with 21.19.

"It was a great competition, two guys breaking the Commonwealth Games record, that just shows how stacked the field is," Nedow said.

The 23-year-old trains with Frizell and Armstrong as part of the throws program coached by Anatoliy Bondarchuk and Derek Evely in Kamloops, B.C.

"We're all fun on the side but when it comes to training, we're serious," Nedow said. "That helps a lot ... it's almost a competition every day."

Warner, meanwhile, is on pace to win the men's decathlon as the leader after Day 1. The 24-year-old from London, Ont., ran 10.29 in the 100 metres to begin the day, breaking the Games record held by British legend Daley Thompson.

"Yeah the 100 was good," Warner said. "When I was about halfway down (the track), I thought, 'Please say 10.29.' Just because I wanted to dip under that 10.30. I got it and I'm pretty happy with that."

He finished the day just two points off where he was after Day 1 at last summer's world championships where he won bronze.

But he gave up about 100 points in the high jump, he said - 100 points that would have put him within striking distance of Michael Smith's Canadian record of 8,626 he set in 1996.

"Pleased with everything except for high jump," Warner said. "I would have liked to get around the 2.05 range. But I guess I have to settle with 1.96 and make up the points in other places."

Warner planned to head straight to the athletes village for dinner, a massage and then sleep before Day 2 began at 10 o'clock Tuesday morning.

A rowdy crowd turned out to watch both the morning qualifying events and the evening finals at Hampden Park.

The storied stadium has been transformed for track and field by raising the surface almost two metres and extending the track over the existing lower eight rows of seats. Hampden Park seats 44,000 now, but it will be returned to a 52,000-seat soccer stadium following the Games.

The venue has seen some huge crowds over the years. One of the biggest was back in 1937 when nearly 150,000 people squeezed in to watch a Scotland-England soccer game.

Associated Graphic

Sultana Frizell of Perth, Ont., competes in the women's hammer throw final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday.


Ferry service has a rough launch
Nova Star crossings between N.S. and Maine have been challenged by bad weather, disappointing bookings and unexpected costs
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

YARMOUTH, N.S. -- The Nova Star is a $165-million luxury ferry that boasts a casino and 70 slot machines, a five-star restaurant offering fine wines and $225 bottles of champagne, and 162 well-appointed cabins.

Since May, it has been making the 10-hour voyage across the Gulf of Maine between Yarmouth and Portland - resuming a Canada-U.S. ferry service that was abandoned five years ago and is now bringing not only American tourists, but a measure of hope to this struggling fishing community.

Behind the optimism of a town, however, are some troubling truths - it has not been all smooth sailing for the Nova Star. Cranky weather, disappointing bookings and unexpected costs have made the first months of the restored and rejuvenated service choppy at best.

Five years ago, Yarmouthians watched businesses fail and neighbours move west for work after the former NDP government pulled its $6-million annual subsidy. The government argued the ferry was not economically viable, and despite a pre-election change of heart, it paid the price at the polls.

The new ferry is not just a people- and car-hauler like the old one, and the town is sprucing up accordingly. Flowers line the streets and the once-vacant ferry terminal and parking lot, which was overgrown with weeds, has been renovated.

Some businesses are noticing changes, too. Len Burkitt, who runs a store featuring Nova Scotia crafts, says his June sales increased 15 to 20 per cent from last year.

"It was overwhelming," says Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, emotional even now describing sailing into Yarmouth harbour on the Nova Star's maiden voyage in May. "After almost five years of fighting for your life, the ship is finally coming in. People were standing on the rocks with big pieces of cardboard ... 'Welcome back. We're so glad you're here.' "The ferry company, Nova Star Cruises Ltd., has already burned through the entire $21-million subsidy from the Nova Scotia government, which was meant to last for seven years. Instead, it ran out after two months.

"To get to this startup position has been very expensive," says Mark Amundsen, the company president. "To build the route equity back up and to get the passengers back has been difficult. I would have liked to have seen higher volumes in May and June."

Mr. Amundsen said Thursday that his company is starting to talk to the Nova Scotia government about future subsidies but so far there is "no commitment."

The 160-metre ship is expensive to run: It costs $20,000 a day for its lease, $40,000 a day for fuel, and there is a crew of 120. At times, the crew has outnumbered the passengers: In the first few weeks of operation, there were about 100 passengers per voyage and fewer than 30 cars.

Although bookings have picked up - from 3,000 passengers in May to 7,000 in June and more than 11,000 booked for July - the boat is not near capacity of 1,215 people and 336 vehicles. Fares have been discounted three times since May.

The ship caters to all travellers, those who want the full cruise experience and those who are looking for economy.

The company is hoping for about 100,000 passengers, who will each spend about $50 onboard, this year. But with such a short peak season - July and August - it may be difficult to reach that goal.

Mother Nature has been no help either. The weather in May and June was miserable, and post-tropical storm Arthur hit on the July 4 weekend, when bookings, according to Mr. Amundsen, were strong. The Nova Star was forced to stay in port for one round trip, and all that business was lost.

Then there were the unanticipated costs: A $5-million operating line of credit promised by the government of Maine has yet to materialize, forcing the province to forward that amount to the company. There was also a $2-million bond that the U.S. government required the company to post - again, from the subsidy. The company is to pay back the province when it is able.

This is in addition to the $10.5-million that was allocated for the first-year startup costs.

The remaining half of the subsidy, $10.5-million, was to be spent over seven years for marketing in the U.S.

Mr. Amundsen is preaching patience. He says that all the cabins sold out last weekend and he's expecting 1,800 passengers over three days of this last July weekend. But the key to success, he says, is not only extra revenue streams from onboard services but attracting commercial trucks; 40 trucks a trip will nearly pay for the fuel.

The history of the ferry service is complicated - and political.

Until it stopped sailing in 2010, a ferry was operating continuously for more than 50 years.

But changing travel habits, the U.S. requirement that Americans carry a passport, and a worldwide recession contributed to the decline in business.

Between 2002 and 2009, there was a 73-per-cent reduction in passengers, according to the findings of an expert panel appointed by the NDP government in 2012 to investigate the feasibility of bringing back a ferry.

Despite the decline, the panel said a service was viable if the business model was "built around the passengers' on-board experience rather than simply offering another transportation route from the U.S. northeast to Nova Scotia." It suggested a "cruise ferry" model. If all the stars aligned, the service could break even in the seventh year, the panel said.

Acting on that, the NDP government, which had been heavily criticized for killing the ferry, reached a deal, including the $21-million subsidy, just a month before the 2013 provincial election. It didn't help the NDP, which lost the election - but the ferry was back.

For Liberal Tourism Minister Michel Samson, whose government inherited the deal, it isn't perfect but must be made to work. "We were under pressure time-wise," he says. "We were determined to have that boat in the water for 2014."

He considers it vital not just for Yarmouth but the entire province: "The message was loud and clear ... Nova Scotians wanted that ferry service back," he says. "And not only did they want it back, they went out of their way to punish the previous administration for taking it away."

Associated Graphic

The Nova Star makes its way into Boston Harbor for a christening ceremony in May. The 528-foot cruise ferry, which can carry more than 1,200 passengers and 300 motor vehicles, makes daily roundtrip crossings between Yarmouth, N.S. and Portsmouth, Me.


Denied third term
Bill Blair was eager to continue as Toronto's police chief, but the Police Services Board said no. It wasn't because of the controversies of his tenure - the G20 crisis or the investigation of his boss, Mayor Rob Ford. The board was worried about his reluctance to modernize and overhaul the force
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who won praise early in his tenure for community outreach but fell out of favour over the G20 protests and became embroiled in the Rob Ford saga, will not serve a third term as head of the country's largest municipal police force.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the civilian oversight board for the Toronto Police Service rejected Chief Blair's request for a contract extension. He will finish his term in April, 2015, making him one of the longest serving chiefs in Toronto's history at 10 years.

Chief Blair was at his cottage northeast of Toronto when he learned his fate around 12:30 p.m. Board chair Alok Mukherjee telephoned him when the special three-hour board meeting finished.

Chief Blair was surprised, according to a close source. Not that the board had denied him a third term - he knew at least three of the seven members wanted him gone - but that the decision was so quick.

The source said the board voted for change not because of the controversies, but because of Chief Blair's reluctance to modernize and overhaul the force.

An old friend of Chief Blair's said the chief had indicated in recent weeks that he wanted to stay on.

The chief had until last Friday to let the board know whether he wanted to continue after his contract was up. There was some speculation at headquarters that Chief Blair planned to retire, but come Friday afternoon, a short letter arrived at the chair's office. He wanted to keep his job, after all.

Few on the force - including, apparently, Chief Blair - seemed prepared for the snap verdict. The board had 30 days to think about it.

The quick timeline indicates the board hopes to choose a replacement before the next city council is sworn in this December. One hiccup in that plan, said a source familiar with the discussions, is that the board is interested in attracting international candidates. That would mean a longer, more complicated, search and approval process.

But, the source said, the view is that only someone from the outside could implement the kind of change needed.

Mr. Mukherjee refused to discuss the board's vote, saying only that it was difficult.

"It was not a decision against Chief Blair. It was a decision about what's the best way to move forward for the city," he said.

A source said that after a vigorous debate, a clear majority opted to look for new blood.

Toronto's police board chose Mr. Blair originally because of his commitment to diversity. At the time, the service was plagued by allegations of racial profiling. Nearly 90 per cent of new hires were white men. By the end of Mr. Blair's first term, women and minorities made up 40 to 60 per cent of recruits. He also caused waves by acknowledging racial bias on the force. His predecessor, Julian Fantino, had vehemently denied the possibility.

In 2009, when members of Toronto's Tamil community staged a four-day demonstration that shut down one of the city's major thoroughfares, infuriating commuters and some residents, Chief Blair resolved the standoff without injury or rioting.

But by the next summer, tensions began to emerge between the chief and his board. It began with the G20 summit. After a small group known as the "Black Bloc" torched police cruisers and smashed shop windows, the service implemented extreme measures on all demonstrations, at one point detaining more than 1,000 peaceful protesters. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director, a police watchdog, found some officers used excessive force.

The board felt the chief did not properly consult his civilian overlords during the summit. The chief felt the board was overstepping its role. Day-to-day operations were not part of its mandate.

Over the next few years, the relationship between the chief and the board worsened, sources say. The chief and the chair began meeting less frequently. Resentment built up on both sides. The last straw was money.

The Toronto police budget is edging up on $1-billion, the largest item of city spending. Since 2011, the board has pressed the chief to overhaul the way the force operates, including outsourcing some administrative functions, cutting back the number of senior officers, and reevaluating whether some jobs could be done by cheaper, civilian employees.

The chief promised to take on the task, but sources said the board felt that after two years, he had not made significant headway.

Toronto Councillor Michael Thompson, the board's vicechair, told The Globe and Mail earlier this year there was "no way" he could support extending Chief Blair's contract, indicating he did not think he had done enough to control costs.

On top of the budget strife, the chief found himself at the centre of a controversy last October when he announced officers had recovered a video of Mr. Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.

At the news conference, Chief Blair said he was "disappointed" at what it showed.

Mr. Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, accused the chief of being political and called for his resignation.

Mr. Mukherjee said the Fords had nothing to do with the decision. An insider said if anything, Mr. Blair's leadership in ordering the investigation of the mayor was redeeming.

Long-time friend and former Toronto deputy chief Kim Derry said Chief Blair had for several years talked about staying at the helm beyond the spring of 2015, as recently as a week or two reiterating that desire.

"He said he was still going forward to renew, and I said, 'You know what, maybe it's time to turn over a new leaf, or rest and just enjoy life,' "recounted Mr.Derry, who has been close to the chief for four decades and retired as deputy in 2011. "And he said, 'You know what? I just want to continue.' "

Mr. Derry was in the United States and had not yet spoken with Chief Blair about the board's decision, but said his friend is likely saddened. "He'd be disappointed, but he also knows that the next phase of his life could be private enterprise or relaxation with grandchildren," he said. "He's got a lot of options."

With a report from Kathryn Blaze Carlson

Associated Graphic

Chief Bill Blair was hoping to have his contract renewed for a third term, but the police board decided it was time for a change.


Rob Ford accused Bill Blair of what he called a politically motivated investigation into the mayor's drug use.


Why Putin can't back down
The Russian President has spent 15 years shaping a narrative that casts the West as the enemy - and the country has bought into it
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

The pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin grows each day. He must end his support for the rebels accused of shooting down a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, Western leaders say, or face tougher economic sanctions and greater political isolation.

And each day, Mr. Putin makes it clearer that he's not about to bend.

Mr. Putin is in a trap of his own making after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. He's unable - even if he were willing - to meet the West's demands, in large part due to the anti-Western opinion in Russia that he and his Kremlin have moulded over 15 years in power.

Having cast the West as Russia's enemy for so long, and having personally vowed to protect ethnic Russians everywhere, analysts say Mr. Putin would be fiercely criticized at home if he pulled an about-face and abandoned the separatists of the Donetsk People's Republic under pressure from Washington and London.

Much of the world sees the pro-Russian rebels as the villains of the MH17 saga. But they have been portrayed as heroes - standing up for their right to speak Russian and choose their own course - on Kremlin-run television for the past five months, making it almost impossible for Mr. Putin to desert them now.

"People are still supportive of the government, and they buy into this picture created by Russian TV of a fascist government in Kiev trying to destroy the population of the southeast [of Ukraine], of Novorossiya," said Sergey Utkin, head of strategic assessment at the Moscow-based Russian Academy of Sciences.

"It's a myth that's dear to Russian conservatives," he added, "and we have quite a lot of Russian conservatives these days - call them revanchists if you like."

"I'm afraid we can't hope that this conflict will end soon. Most probably, it will escalate."

In such an atmosphere, Mr. Putin is under domestic pressure to do more, not less, to support the rebels in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, an area collectively known as Donbass. "Putin risks coming into contradiction with public opinion [if he cuts support to the rebels]. Public opinion is very clear - do not allow the killing of ethnic Russians in Donbass," said Sergei Markov, a Moscow-based political scientist and unofficial Kremlin spokesman.

Amid Ukrainian allegations of a renewed buildup of tanks and troops on the Russian side of the border, Mr. Markov said the option of direct Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine remained very much on the table. "The fact that Putin didn't send the troops in yet is because it requires more preparation."

Kiev and the West accuse Russia of having fomented the civil war in eastern Ukraine, supplying the rebels with fighters and weapons including tanks and anti-aircraft systems. More than 1,000 combatants and civilians have been killed since fighting began in April.

While other observers feel Mr. Putin is extremely unlikely to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine following the MH17 disaster, there is still a sense in Moscow that the country is locked into a confrontation with the West with no obvious way out.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, once a close associate of Mr. Putin's, warned Tuesday that there were some in Russia "who have long wanted to distance us, who have wanted isolation." He said Russians risked seeing their standards of living fall by as much as one-fifth if the conflict in Ukraine continues and the country's confrontation with the West grows.

"All this has fallen onto fertile ground and I'm just surprised at the scale of the anti-Western rhetoric which has emerged here," Mr. Kudrin told the ItarTass news service.

Since last week's downing of MH17, which killed all 298 people on board, Russian media have created another alternative reality, one in which the rebels aren't presumed guilty of firing the surface-to-air missile. Theories suggesting the Ukrainian military may have downed the plane to frame Russia and its allies are given plenty of airtime.

Tuesday saw a fresh tranche of actions aimed at upping the pressure on Mr. Putin. The European Union said it was preparing new sanctions to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, while the United Kingdom announced a public inquiry into the 2006 death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB operative who was poisoned with polonium while sipping tea in a London hotel, to determine whether the Russian state was involved.

Some Russian observers argue that each new round of blame and sanctions from the West makes Mr. Putin even less likely to do what's being demanded of him.

"Any pressure like [new sanctions] would only strengthen the hardliners in Russia, and only lead to a more robust and tough position," said Pavel Andreev, executive director of the Valdai Club Foundation, a state-backed foreign-policy think tank in Moscow.

Indeed, rather than acknowledging his weakening position and stepping away from his unsavoury allies in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin emerged from a muchanticipated meeting of his Security Council sounding as if he was preparing instead for an arms race against the NATO military alliance.

"NATO is demonstratively reinforcing its grouping on the territory of East European states, including in the areas of the Black and Baltic Seas," Mr. Putin said, referring to recent alliance deployments in Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "Because of this, we need to implement all planned measures to boost the country's defence capabilities fully and in time, naturally including Crimea and Sevastopol."

Crimea and the Black Sea port of Sevastopol are considered part of Ukraine by those in the West who consider Russia's March annexation of the peninsula illegal. The seizure of Crimea marked the start of a fresh spiral in relations between Moscow and the West, with the United States, the EU and Canada implementing several rounds of sanctions since then.

The Crimea annexation was part of Russia's response to a February revolution in Kiev, which saw the Moscow-friendly government of Viktor Yanukovych ousted in what Russia says was a Western-supported "coup." The new government of President Petro Poroshenko is portrayed by the Kremlin as having "fascist" leanings, even though far-right candidates were distant finishers in May's election.

Associated Graphic

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting of his security council in Moscow Tuesday. His country faces the threat of even tougher sanctions from the West over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin on Tuesday.


Delving into Vancouver with niche tours
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

VANCOUVER -- It's a sunny Tuesday evening in June, and the 50-person tasting room at Vancouver's Brassneck Brewery is buzzing. On shelves near the front windows, rows of prettily designed refillable "growlers" wait to be filled with beer from the daily list of what's on tap. In the back, stools are packed with a crowd of twenty- and thirtysomethings sampling the brews. In my glass is a thirstquenching raspberry sour, whose "experimental" warning on the board simply made me want to try it more.

It's not my first taste of Vancouver. I've been spending time in the city since I was a girl, and I've done all the tourist favourites (Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium, Granville Island, Gastown). But I've never lived in Vancouver, I've just been an outsider looking in. So on this short trip, I'm trying to delve deeper into aspects of the city that interest me most by trying a few new niche tours.

On my first evening, I meet Suzanne Rushton, owner of Vancouver Photowalks, whose city tours double as photography classes - or maybe it's the other way around. While many of her walks are geared for photography newbies, I've signed up for the nighttime tour of Gastown for those with a little more experience.

We learn to adjust shutter speed and aperture to smooth out the water and turn lights into multipoint stars; we wander over to the edges of Gastown and a corner that's prime real estate for longexposure cityscapes. I try different angles, catching shadows of people and buses in the frame and streaks of a car's bright taillights. After two hours with Suzanne, not only do I feel as if I know my camera twice as well as before, but I have also gained a new perspective on familiar neighbourhoods, and I'm going home with some of my coolest trip photos ever.

The next morning, I head back to the water for a tour that takes guests from Coal Harbour and under the Lions Gate Bridge around into False Creek. It sounds like standard tourist fare, except Sea Vancouver takes its guests out on a Zodiac, with passengers clad in bright orange survival suits. In addition to learning about the city, we zip around at top speeds and lean into tight turns when it strikes the captain's fancy.

Turns out everyone on my boat is a local, and the phrase "as you know" peppers the rehearsed speech about the development of the city and how it has become the envy of the world. I enjoy the seal's-eye view of Stanley Park's popular beaches, of Granville Island, of the vivid yellow pile of sulphur that stands watch over the working harbour. But the biggest rush is getting up close to the massive cargo ships that dot the harbour as they wait to enter the narrow passage. The parade of ships is a dramatic symbol of the sheer amount of stuff that enters and exists this port city. The adrenalin surge from that potent mixture of sun, fresh air and high-speed boating lasts long after I've stripped off the survival suit.

I'm feeling less like an interloper and more like a Vancouverite playing tourist. But I'm not done yet.

It's said there are some 50-odd microbreweries in Greater Vancouver, thanks to a provincewide explosion in the popularity of craft beer, and tonight, rather than signing up for an official tour, I recruit a friend to show me around. That's how we ended up at Brassneck in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant (about three kilometres from downtown). Brassneck opened last fall and has become the go-to spot for locals.

After a drink, we move on to Main Street Brewing Company, which opened in May, just a few minutes' walk away. My friend runs into her neighbours and they chat about condo politics as I dig into my grilled sandwich, along with the tasting flight our server sets on the table: one small glass each of the brewery's Pilsner, Brown Ale, Sessional and Southern Hop.

We end the night with another short walk to 33 Acres, which, at just a year old, is the senior member of the neighbourhood brewpubs. Like the other two, it's busy, and the customers spill into the street but we manage to secure a pair of chairs and a side table. The beverages are bright and lighttasting, a refreshing finale that has me plotting real-estate purchases (or, let's be honest, rentals) in this most photogenic of cities. A city in which I'm starting to feel very much at home.

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism B.C. and Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Neither reviewed or approved this article.



Food trucks - from pizza to Thai to Korean tacos - are parked outside every day so you don't go hungry as you sample the ever-changing lineup of brews at Brassneck Brewery. (2148 Main St.,

Along with pints or palettes of its four standards and rotating casks, Main Street Brewing Company serves food and snacks including panini, local potato chips and dill pickles from a huge counter-top jar. (261 East Seventh Ave.,

Defying the chalkboardand-reclaimed-wood aesthetic so common in brewpubs, the decor at 33 Acres is clean and bright white, making the space as soothing as a yoga studio. (15 West Eighth Ave.,


Get on the water with 90minute sightseeing tours from Sea Vancouver's headquarters in the Westin Bayshore Hotel; $39 a person. (1601 Bayshore Dr.,

During tours by Vancouver Photowalks - themes and locations include Granville Island, iPhoneography and Chinatown - experienced photographers help you move beyond the automatic settings on your camera while exploring the city, too. Prices vary ($49-$99) depending on tour. (

You can visit three breweries in three hours (designated driver included in the $69 per-person fee) with Vancouver Brewery Tours. Or travel under your own steam and take a craft-beer bike tour with Cycle City Tours; the $69.95 fee includes having your guide schlep your growler purchases in the bike trailer. (,


The award-winning Rosewood Hotel Georgia is home to one of the city's hottest see-and-be-seen patios, the fourth-floor courtyard Reflections. Rooms from $232 per night. (801 West Georgia St., .

Associated Graphic

Suzanne Rushton, owner of Vancouver Photowalks, with a visitor. Her city tours double as photo classes.


The turf war in Gaza is very much about Israel and Hamas wanting to get the better of the bargain. With both sides entrenched in their mistrust of each other, expect the conflict to continue to be drawn out
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

Gaza -- While it's commonly thought the interests of Israel and Hamas are worlds apart, the parties at war in Gaza share a singular attitude. Each is mad as hell and not going to take it any more.

Israel's argument in this Sisyphean conflict with Hamas is basically this: Hamas is a terrorist organization that has no right to attack civilian Israelis whether by suicide bombs, as they once did, or by firing rockets at them. The attacks must stop.

Hamas's argument goes like this: Israel is an occupying power that may have withdrawn its settlers and army from inside the Gaza Strip, but maintains a stranglehold on the territory, preventing Gazans from having a normal life, while carrying out targeted killings of people inside. The siege and the killings must stop.

If a deal between these two warring sides is possible, it would look like this: Hamas would stop all attacks on Israelis, and Israel would end its siege and the killings. Israelis would be able to live quietly even in the area bordering Gaza, and Gazans would be able to come and go as they please, by border-crossings into Israel, as once existed, or by sea or air. No one in Gaza would need to fear the extra-legal hand of Israel reaching in for them.

The conflict in Gaza, like the one that took place in 2012 and the one before that in 2008-09, is a crude attempt by the two parties to negotiate such an agreement, with each side wanting, in true Middle Eastern fashion, to get the better of the bargain.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has modestly set Israel's goal in this conflict as the establishment of long-lasting "quiet" for his people.

To that end, Israel would like to use this war to destroy tunnels constructed by Hamas and other groups that allow militant resistance fighters to burrow under the Israeli border and wreak havoc, killing and kidnapping Israelis. Attacks on such tunnels now are being carried out. It also would like to reduce the number of rockets held by Hamas and other groups, which are the biggest threat to Israeli quiet.

To some extent, this is achieved by letting Hamas fire lots of rockets at Israel, shooting down the ones that might kill a large number of people. Hamas is obliging in this regard, although it doesn't seem as if it will run out of rockets any time soon. Israel also shells the sites of rocket launchers, but that doesn't do the whole job.

The most effective way would be to go into the cities of Gaza, where many of the rocket launchers are hidden among the citizens, and spend months finding and eliminating the launchers and the arsenals. Even if you eliminated them, however, what's to stop Hamas and others from building more and better ones?

One way would be for Israel to eliminate Hamas, as the United States removed Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Mr. Netanyahu is under enormous pressure from his own right wing to do exactly that; he himself argued for it at the time of the 2008-09 war.

But such an operation would cost the lives of many Israelis and Palestinians and, as in Iraq, would risk chaos and greater extremists taking Hamas's place. The other way is through an agreement by which Hamas abides.

Israel knows a political solution is the only viable one; that means Hamas must get some of what it wants in return. To a large degree, Israel's ulterior motive in this war is to pressure Hamas to reduce its demands in the bargain at which both will eventually arrive.

Hamas presented a long list of demands going into this war, including the opening of border crossings, airport and seaport, the payment of salaries and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

But are they going about getting these things in the right way?

Firing rockets at Israel only draws Israeli retaliation that leads to death and destruction in Gaza.

Doesn't that turn Gazans against them? Wouldn't it be better to accept a ceasefire and negotiate?

Hamas certainly doesn't think so, and it may be right. Stop the rocket fire and what leverage does it have in negotiations? Hamas's refusal to accept a truce put forward by Egypt on Tuesday led to a truce more attractive to Hamas being proffered on Thursday.

Hamas's refusal of those terms also contributed to the Israeli ground invasion now under way.

So how do all the casualties that will result affect Gazans' attitude to Hamas? In 2006, Israel sought to retaliate against the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah after the group attacked and abducted Israeli soldiers on the border. Besides targeting Hezbollah fighters in south Lebanon, Israel also destroyed a number of bridges, roads and power stations, believing that the Lebanese would blame Hezbollah for the war and turn against them.

Instead, the Lebanese united in opposition to Israel. The same thing is happening in Gaza.

"When you create fear, you build hate. This is what Israel has done," Rawia Shawa, an independent member of the Palestine Legislative Council, daughter of a former mayor and scion of an influential family, said in an interview this week.

"I hate Hamas," she said, referring to its religious agenda. "But we are nationalists, and when you have a common national cause, you'll make an alliance with the devil."

"I don't like Hamas either," said her son-in-law Jason Shawa, owner of a printing company. "But they're defending this place [Gaza] from the Israelis."

Aren't they doing so by hiding rockets among the citizens, using them as human shields?

"Where do you want them to put them?" he asked. "Out in the open where Israelis can destroy them? No, this is the way resistance fighters operate. We aren't concerned by it."

The negotiations to end this conflict may be long and drawn out.

Associated Graphic

Top left: Palestinians looking for their belongings pick through the rubble of a building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday.


Right: Tanks manoeuvre outside the northern Gaza Strip, part of Israel's effort to destroy tunnels constructed by Hamas that have allowed militant fighters to wreak havoc.


Bottom left: Netream Netzleam holds the body of her one-year-old daughter Razel, who medics said died yesterday from injuries sustained in an Israeli air strike. 'When you create fear, you build hate. This is what Israel has done,' said Rawia Shawa, an independent member of the Palestine Legislative Council.


Canada's success hinges on Wiggins in a Wolves jersey
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


Since we are all beaver trappers and igloo dwellers, the United States is keen to make the Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett story about the weather.

"They're from Canada and that's, you know, a climate that's similar to Minnesota," ESPN's Chris Broussard said this week on the topic of trading the two Cleveland prospects. "Maybe that plays in, and those guys would be comfortable."

You know who enjoys the romance of winter? People who've never lived through one. By that logic, Minnesota should be full of adventurous Jamaicans.

Professional athletes, on the other hand, care about two things - winning and money, and not in that order. If they are winning and moneyed, they'd happily live in fire-retardant suits on the surface of the sun.

As greasy foreigners, there is also the suspicion that we lack desire.

"Andrew Wiggins is from Canada," another of ESPN's crack demographers, Jason Whitlock, pointed out, after flipping Wiggins over and scanning his UNissued bar code.

"Canadian athletes, I think, among NBA players and NBA people, perhaps don't want it as much as even some of the Europeans, and certainly the American players."I am here to guarantee you - GUARANTEE - that we want it as much as Europeans. Okay, maybe not as much as Belgians. They want it a whole lot. It's almost frightening how much they want it. But certainly more than Germans and the Portuguese. Also, Poles and unambitious Bulgarians. They don't want it ... wait, what were we talking about again?

It is fun, watching the U.S. react to Canadians as though we were some new species of tree frog they'd stumbled across on an ecohike through the rain forest.

That's what happens when you start horning in on their patch.

America has three cultural inheritances it feels possessive about - jazz, basketball and the inscrutable politics of division. Canada should've known to stick with arena rock, hockey and our tedious need to switch out one ruling party with another that's exactly the same, but wearing differently coloured ties. We are - let's face it - a less attractive-looking version of Sweden.

But if America wants to make The Wiggins Question about Canada, let's do that.

Wiggins will be traded. That's too obvious not to happen, and the rewards are too rich. According to multiple media sources (i.e.anyone within shouting distance of one of LeBron James's vassals), Cleveland has been offered the expiring contract of Minnesota's Kevin Love in return for Wiggins, Bennett and a pair of first-round picks.

It won't happen any time soon, because even Cleveland can't get the plastic shield off the self-destruct button that quickly. The Cavaliers will drag this out through the first half of the season, hoping to carve off some of the purchase price - meaning the picks. Ostensibly, this will be about seeing what they've got.

Wiggins will be as advertised - maniacally athletic and unpolished. There is no way he's anywhere near as valuable as Love, an all-offence, floor-spacing, metronomic-jumpshot-taking big who may be the third best player in the NBA. Not right now, at least, and not for a while. James is about to turn 30 years old and he's the size of a Toyota Matrix.

He needs to win right now, before he breaks.

Wiggins will be dealt because he is young, he plays the same position as James and, since he's never been there, he can't be trusted in the playoffs. Treat that news as if it's already happened.

Nonetheless, when it happens - probably in February - Canada will feel low. It's in our nature to take these sorts of things as national slights.

Don't. That will be the true beginning of Canada's basketball renaissance.

As I sat down to write this, an editor wandered by to tell me two things - that the entire thesis of this piece is wrong (so, the usual) and that I'm not to use the term "golden generation."

Canada's golden generation of players has a solid target - Tokyo 2020. Every one of its core - Wiggins, Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Ennis, Nic Stauskas, Tristan Thompson - will be edging into their mid-to-late 20s at that Summer Olympics.

In basketball terms, that's quite soon. Too soon, really.

By 2024, the window will be half-closed. They'll all be edging into their 30s, having clocked huge NBA mileage. There's no indication that this cohort is being followed by one anywhere near as talented.

As a country, we have a genuine shot at this.

So it behooves us that our best players dominate their professional teams. Try to imagine the last world-beating team, in any sport, on which it could be said that their best player was thirdbest on his/her pro team.

That's what Wiggins has signed up for in Cleveland, no matter how well he turns out. Right now, it's James's team. As he fades, it will become Kyrie Irving's team.

Wiggins is a complementary player in that mix. There will be no pressure to dominate. In fact, he'll be expected to limit himself in order to accommodate two older, better-paid stars. Playing in Cleveland - even if he wins titles there - will stunt Wiggins's growth.

Let's also put aside this idea of James mentoring Wiggins. By the measure of his trade, James is a generous sort, but he's a minuteeating monster who occupies precisely the same floor space as Wiggins. They cannot co-exist for long stretches.

Every favour James does Wiggins will come at the expense of his own touches. Nobody's that generous.

In Minnesota, Wiggins will do three things - lose, freeze and grow. As soon as he gets there, he is the biggest deal in town. The weight of an entire franchise will fall on him. He will be allowed to fail on the court, a freedom he will not get in Cleveland. In six years, he'll be a fully formed star, as opposed to a player easing into the role.

Regardless of the development of everyone else in the program, that is the surest route to international success for Canada.

Maybe not so good for Wiggins.

Unless he really does become a Jordan-level player, he'll never win anything in the United States.

As they keep reminding us, we're different. And so, we couldn't care less.

Follow me on Twitter:@CathalKelly

How to discuss fees with your adviser
Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B9

A summer from hell awaits the investment industry in two years' time.

New securities regulations will require a major upgrade in the level of fee disclosure provided to clients starting July 15, 2016. Ohmy-God moments are guaranteed as investors open account statements that for the first time put a dollar value on fees paid to investment advisers. There will be blood, or at least some testy adviser-client exchanges. Investors, avoid the drama and disruption by scheduling a meeting with your adviser this summer or fall to discuss fees. Here's an agenda for your meeting that you can send in advance to your adviser.


To better familiarize myself with the fees that you, the adviser, are charging and thereby become more engaged in managing my money. I will look as much at the value I'm getting in return for the fees I'm paying as much as the dollar amount. We may have covered this ground before in previous conversations, but I think it's worthwhile to go over it one more time.


1. Fees paid to you, my adviser

I understand that you provide various services, and that there's a cost for this. Please explain how I'm paying you, and how much, both in percentage and dollar-value terms.

Background for your meeting: You're paying your adviser in one of three ways: Through an annualized fee of roughly 1 to 2 per cent of your account value billed directly to your account on a monthly or quarterly basis; through trailing commissions that are buried in the cost of your mutual funds and paid directly by fund companies to advisers; or, through commissions on the purchase and sale of investments. Trailing commissions are typically 1 per cent for equity funds and 0.5 per cent for bond funds. If you're invested in funds with higher trailers, ask for the rationale.

2. Services rendered

Please list all services you provide clients like me in exchange for fees charged.

Background for your meeting: Let your adviser answer in her or his own words and then compare to what you're actually getting.

Investment recommendations and portfolio monitoring are not sufficient to justify that 1- to 2-per-cent account fee, or typical trailing commissions.

Financial planning, whether through a written plan or detailed conversations, should be guiding your investments. Your investment results should be monitored at least once yearly for not only performance, but also progress in meeting your financial goals.

3. Deferred sales charge (DSC) mutual funds

Do I own any of these and, if so, why?

Background for your meeting: A DSC fund costs nothing to buy, but can only be sold by paying fees that might start around 6 per cent and gradually decline to zero over seven years. We should all invest for the long term, but life is too full of surprises to allow yourself to be pinned down like this. Find out your adviser's justification for selling you DSC funds, and then explain that you don't want any more of them.

One of the more egregious things an adviser can do to a client is take money from a fund where the DSC has expired and reinvest in a new DSC fund, thereby restarting the clock for redemption fees.

4. Fees I'm paying on my investments

I understand that in addition to the commissions and fees I pay you, my adviser, there are also fees embedded in many of the investment products I own. Let's look at how much these fees are, and how they compare to both the average for products of the same type and lowcost leaders in the same category.

Background for your meeting: If you're in a fee-based account where you pay 1 to 2 per cent of your account value, then ask about the additional fees charged on any investment products in your account.

Your total cost of investing is your account fee plus the cost of your investments. In that light, fee-based accounts look a lot better with low-cost exchange-traded funds than they do with pricier mutual funds. Note: Feebased advisers should be using F-class funds, with the trailing commission removed to prevent "double-dipping" on fees.

If your adviser is compensated through trailing commissions on mutual funds, then ask for a report on the management expense ratio (MER) for the funds you own. Trailing commissions are folded into the MER, along with the various costs of running a fund. Don't buy the argument that high fees are justified by high returns. Fees are constant, while returns can slump.

5. What annual administration fees am I paying?

I know that investment firms typically charge annual administration fees for registered accounts of all types - how much am I paying on my registered retirement savings plan, registered retirement income fund, tax-free savings account and/ or registered education savings plan?

Background for your meeting: Annual fees that can run to $100plus are typical, though TFSAs are sometimes fee-free.

6. What am I paying to buy or sell stocks, ETFs, bonds and mutual funds?

This one's for investors who pay their advisers through commissions on the trading of stocks, ETFs and other investments.

Background for your meeting: Stock trading commissions are set according to the rates at your adviser's firm, with lower costs for larger accounts. In a fee-based account, you should receive a set number of trades as part of your regular account fees. Advisers are also paid for sales of bonds and guaranteed investment certificates.

7. What am I paying to withdraw money from my accounts?

Please list the fees that apply if I withdraw money from a registered account of any type.

Background for your meeting: Withdrawal fees on RRSPs, which are mainly a savings vehicle, can be as much as $50 or more. Fees are less prevalent with RRIFs, RESPs and TFSAs, which are geared for making withdrawals as well as deposits.


8. What fees would apply if I moved my account?

How much would your firm charge me to move my account to a different adviser?

Background for your meeting: Fees of $100 or more would be typical. If you do move, ask your new adviser to reimburse you.


A final chance for you, the adviser, to remind me of the value of the services I'm getting in return for my fees.

Follow me on Twitter:@rcarrick

Associated Graphic


Controversial chief denied a third term by board
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who won praise early in his tenure for community outreach but fell out of favour over the G20 protests and became embroiled in the Rob Ford saga, will not serve a third term as head of the country's largest municipal police force.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the civilian oversight board for the Toronto Police Service rejected Chief Blair's request for a contract extension. He will finish his term in April, 2015, making him one of the longest serving chiefs in Toronto's history at 10 years.

Chief Blair was at his cottage northeast of Toronto when he learned his fate around 12:30 p.m. Board chair Alok Mukherjee telephoned him when the special three-hour board meeting finished.

Chief Blair was surprised, according to a close source. Not that the board had denied him a third term - he knew at least three of the seven members wanted him gone - but that the decision was so quick.

The source said the board voted for change not because of the controversies, but because of Chief Blair's reluctance to modernize and overhaul the force.

An old friend of Chief Blair's said the chief had indicated in recent weeks that he wanted to stay on.

The chief had until last Friday to let the board know whether he wanted to continue after his contract was up. There was some speculation at headquarters that Chief Blair planned to retire, but come Friday afternoon, a short letter arrived at the chair's office. He wanted to keep his job, after all.

Few on the force - including, apparently, Chief Blair - seemed prepared for the snap verdict. The board had 30 days to think about it.

The quick timeline indicates the board hopes to choose a replacement before the next city council is sworn in this December. One hiccup in that plan, said a source familiar with the discussions, is that the board is interested in attracting international candidates. That would mean a longer, more complicated, search and approval process.

But, the source said, the view is that only someone from the outside could implement the kind of change needed.

Mr. Mukherjee refused to discuss the board's vote, saying only that it was difficult.

"It was not a decision against Chief Blair. It was a decision about what's the best way to move forward for the city," he said.

A source said that after a vigorous debate, a clear majority opted to look for new blood.

Toronto's police board chose Mr. Blair originally because of his commitment to diversity. At the time, the service was plagued by allegations of racial profiling.

Nearly 90 per cent of new hires were white men. By the end of Mr.

Blair's first term, women and minorities made up 40 to 60 per cent of recruits. He also caused waves by acknowledging racial bias on the force. His predecessor, Julian Fantino, had vehemently denied the possibility.

In 2009, when members of Toronto's Tamil community staged a four-day demonstration that shut down one of the city's major thoroughfares, infuriating commuters and some residents, Chief Blair resolved the standoff without injury or rioting.

But by the next summer, tensions began to emerge between the chief and his board. It began with the G20 summit. After a small group known as the "Black Bloc" torched police cruisers and smashed shop windows, the service implemented extreme measures on all demonstrations, at one point detaining more than 1,000 peaceful protesters. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director, a police watchdog, found some officers used excessive force.

The board felt the chief did not properly consult his civilian overlords during the summit. The chief felt the board was overstepping its role. Day-to-day operations were not part of its mandate.

Over the next few years, the relationship between the chief and the board worsened, sources say. The chief and the chair began meeting less frequently. Resentment built up on both sides. The last straw was money.

The Toronto police budget is edging up on $1-billion, the largest item of city spending. Since 2011, the board has pressed the chief to overhaul the way the force operates, including outsourcing some administrative functions, cutting back the number of senior officers, and re-evaluating whether some jobs could be done by cheaper, civilian employees.

The chief promised to take on the task, but sources said the board felt that after two years, he had not made significant headway.

Toronto Councillor Michael Thompson, the board's vice-chair, told The Globe and Mail earlier this year there was "no way" he could support extending Chief Blair's contract, indicating he did not think he had done enough to control costs.

On top of the budget strife, the chief found himself at the centre of a controversy last October when he announced officers had recovered a video of Mr. Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.

At the news conference, Chief Blair said he was "disappointed" at what it showed.

Mr. Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, accused the chief of being political and called for his resignation.

Mr. Mukherjee said the Fords had nothing to do with the decision. An insider said if anything, Mr. Blair's leadership in ordering the investigation of the mayor was redeeming.

Long-time friend and former Toronto deputy chief Kim Derry said Chief Blair had for several years talked about staying at the helm beyond the spring of 2015, as recently as a week or two reiterating that desire.

"He said he was still going forward to renew, and I said, 'You know what, maybe it's time to turn over a new leaf, or rest and just enjoy life,' "recounted Mr. Derry, who has been close to the chief for four decades and retired as deputy in 2011. "And he said, 'You know what? I just want to continue.' "Mr. Derry was in the United States and had not yet spoken with Chief Blair about the board's decision, but said his friend is likely saddened. "He'd be disappointed, but he also knows that the next phase of his life could be private enterprise or relaxation with grandchildren," he said.

"He's got a lot of options."

With a report from Kathryn Blaze Carlson

Associated Graphic

Rob Ford accused Bill Blair of what he called a politically motivated investigation into the mayor's drug use.


Cochrane's gold inspires Canadian teammates
The Canadian Press
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S2

Ryan Cochrane said before the Commonwealth Games it would be difficult to repeat his doublegold performance of four years ago.

The Canadian swimmer is already halfway there.

Cochrane powered past Australia's David McKeon on the final lap Thursday to win the men's 400-metre freestyle for Canada's first gold medal on the first day of competition at the Games.

The 25-year-old from Victoria broke his own Canadian record set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by catching McKeon with just 25 m to go.

"I could tell I was reeling him in, but you also don't know where everyone is in the pool," said Cochrane. "You have to pick your battles of where you look.

There were some many great guys in that final that I was just happy to touch first."

Cochrane won with a time of 3 minutes 43.46 seconds for the fastest time so far in 2014, but said it wasn't his plan to allow McKeon - who wound up 0.63 seconds back - to get so far ahead.

The Australian jumped out to a big lead that he still held with 100 m to go, before Cochrane put things into overdrive.

"I went out hard, and he went out a little harder," said Cochrane. "What worked for me was that it was hard, but it was smooth. In the past I've got excited and it hasn't really helped me, where this time I worked on my strengths and I think that really carried me through the entire race."

Canada also picked up a bronze medal in the pool on Thursday with Montreal's Victoria Poon, Alyson Ackman and Sandrine Mainville and Toronto's Michelle Williams finishing third in the women's 4x100-m freestyle.

Canada won four total medals after Kirsten Sweetland - who grew up with Cochrane in Victoria - opened the day with a silver in triathlon and the Canadian women won gold in the rhythmic gymnastics team event.

Canada stood fourth in the medal standings, while England took the early lead with 17 total medals, including six gold.

A two-time Olympic medalist, Cochrane won gold in both the 400- and 1,500-m freestyle at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and is off to a great start in Scotland.

"It's stressful swimming first day, almost first event, but it's exciting to get a race done and see how that sets you up from the rest of the meet," said Cochrane. "This was by far going to be the harder race - not to say the 1,500 will be easy, because it never is."

Cochrane said he's hoping the performance will be a springboard as he prepares for next summer's Pan American Games in Toronto, and what will almost surely be his final Olympics in 2016.

"I think getting the results here are fantastic and getting [to] the podium and hearing our anthem is what we dream of," said Cochrane. "But also going best time and working off that ... when I hadn't got a best time year after year - that was a bit difficult.

"I can build off that the next few years."

Later Thursday, Australia set a world record with a time of 3:30.98 in the women's 4x100-m freestyle, followed by England (3:35.72) and Canada (3:40.00).

Poon said the Canadian swimmers were inspired by Cochrane's performance.

"For sure, it's a positive motivation for us," said Poon. "He won in the last 25 m - I mean, come on.

"It's just amazing to see him race and he gives us a really good vibe."

England's James Guy (3:44.58) was third behind Cochrane in a raucous Tollcross International Swimming Centre that cheered on Scotland's first two gold medals on home soil.

Hannah Miley won the women's 400-m individual medley with a time of 4:31.76, powering away in the final 50 m to set a Commonwealth Games record ahead of England's Aimee Willmott (4:33.01) and Australia's Keryn McMaster (4:36.35).

Ross Murdoch (2:07.30) and Michael Jamieson (2:08.40) then gave Scotland a 1-2 finish in the men's 200-m backstroke, with England's Andrew Willis (2:09.87) taking the bronze.

Cochrane said the atmosphere was electric for all the athletes, not just the hosts.

"For 5,000 people, it felt like 20,000 people. They're just really excited," he said. "The most important thing as an athlete is you can focus [on] your own race: That excitement factor is something on top of what you can do, and I really felt it tonight."

Gymnast Maria Kitkarska of Montreal also felt the power of the crowd as she helped her team, which also included Annabelle Kovacs of Vancouver and Patricia Bezzoubenko of Thornhill, Ont., to gold.

"We never competed in such a full house, and the cheering was amazing and pumping us up for our routines," she said.

Ottawa native Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was the top Canadian in the women's 400-m individual medley behind Miley, followed by Vancouver's Emily Overholt in fifth and Marni Oldershaw of Oakville, Ont., in sixth.

Toronto's Brittany MacLean finished fifth in the women's 200-m freestyle, while Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., was seventh.

MacLean was pleased with her race, but was even more thrilled for Cochrane.

"Oh my gosh, that was so exciting," said the 20-year-old.

"He's just as good a teammate as he is in the water. He really has been a leader on this team."

Oakville's Tera van Beilen finished second in her semi-final of the women's 50-m breaststroke to advance, Katerine Savard and Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., qualified for the women's 100-m butterfly final and Calgary's Russell Wood made the final of the men's 100-m backstroke.

Cochrane, meanwhile, is set to compete in the 200-metre freestyle on Friday before he defends his 1,500-m title on Tuesday.

"The 200 will be exciting. It will be a splash and dash," he said.

"It's [a short distance] for me, but I'll take what I learned tonight and hopefully I will be that much faster in the morning."

Associated Graphic

Canada's Kirsten Sweetland races to a silver medal - Canada's first - in the women's triathlon on Thursday.


New swimming gold puts Canada fourth overall
The Canadian Press
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

Ryan Cochrane said before the Commonwealth Games it would be difficult to repeat his doublegold performance of four years ago.

The Canadian swimmer is already halfway there.

Cochrane powered past Australia's David McKeon on the final lap Thursday to win the men's 400-metre freestyle for Canada's first gold medal on the first day of competition at the Games.

The 25-year-old from Victoria broke his own Canadian record set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by catching McKeon with just 25 m to go.

"I could tell I was reeling him in, but you also don't know where everyone is in the pool," said Cochrane. "You have to pick your battles of where you look.

There were some many great guys in that final that I was just happy to touch first."

Cochrane won with a time of 3 minutes 43.46 seconds for the fastest time so far in 2014, but said it wasn't his plan to allow McKeon - who wound up 0.63 seconds back - to get so far ahead.

The Australian jumped out to a big lead that he still held with 100 m to go, before Cochrane put things into overdrive.

"I went out hard, and he went out a little harder," said Cochrane. "What worked for me was that it was hard, but it was smooth. In the past I've got excited and it hasn't really helped me, where this time I worked on my strengths and I think that really carried me through the entire race." Canada also picked up a bronze medal in the pool on Thursday with Montreal's Victoria Poon, Alyson Ackman and Sandrine Mainville and Toronto's Michelle Williams finishing third in the women's 4x100-m freestyle.

Canada won four total medals after Kirsten Sweetland - who grew up with Cochrane in Victoria - opened the day with a silver in triathlon and the Canadian women won gold in the rhythmic gymnastics team event.

Canada stood fourth in the medal standings, while England took the early lead with 17 total medals, including six gold.

A two-time Olympic medalist, Cochrane won gold in both the 400- and 1,500-m freestyle at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and is off to a great start in Scotland.

"It's stressful swimming first day, almost first event, but it's exciting to get a race done and see how that sets you up from the rest of the meet," said Cochrane. "This was by far going to be the harder race - not to say the 1,500 will be easy, because it never is."

Cochrane said he's hoping the performance will be a springboard as he prepares for next summer's Pan American Games in Toronto, and what will almost surely be his final Olympics in 2016.

"I think getting the results here are fantastic and getting [to] the podium and hearing our anthem is what we dream of," said Cochrane. "But also going best time and working off that ... when I hadn't got a best time year after year - that was a bit difficult.

"I can build off that the next few years."

Later Thursday, Australia set a world record with a time of 3:30.98 in the women's 4x100-m freestyle, followed by England (3:35.72) and Canada (3:40.00).

Poon said the Canadian swimmers were inspired by Cochrane's performance.

"For sure, it's a positive motivation for us," said Poon. "He won in the last 25 m - I mean, come on.

"It's just amazing to see him race and he gives us a really good vibe."

England's James Guy (3:44.58) was third behind Cochrane in a raucous Tollcross International Swimming Centre that cheered on Scotland's first two gold medals on home soil.

Hannah Miley won the women's 400-m individual medley with a time of 4:31.76, powering away in the final 50 m to set a Commonwealth Games record ahead of England's Aimee Willmott (4:33.01) and Australia's Keryn McMaster (4:36.35).

Ross Murdoch (2:07.30) and Michael Jamieson (2:08.40) then gave Scotland a 1-2 finish in the men's 200-m backstroke, with England's Andrew Willis (2:09.87) taking the bronze.

Cochrane said the atmosphere was electric for all the athletes, not just the hosts.

"For 5,000 people, it felt like 20,000 people. They're just really excited," he said. "The most important thing as an athlete is you can focus [on] your own race: That excitement factor is something on top of what you can do, and I really felt it tonight."

Gymnast Maria Kitkarska of Montreal also felt the power of the crowd as she helped her team, which also included Annabelle Kovacs of Vancouver and Patricia Bezzoubenko of Thornhill, Ont., to gold.

"We never competed in such a full house, and the cheering was amazing and pumping us up for our routines," she said.

Ottawa native Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was the top Canadian in the women's 400-m individual medley behind Miley, followed by Vancouver's Emily Overholt in fifth and Marni Oldershaw of Oakville, Ont., in sixth.

Toronto's Brittany MacLean finished fifth in the women's 200-m freestyle, while Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., was seventh.

MacLean was pleased with her race, but was even more thrilled for Cochrane.

"Oh my gosh, that was so exciting," said the 20-year-old.

"He's just as good a teammate as he is in the water. He really has been a leader on this team."

Oakville's Tera van Beilen finished second in her semi-final of the women's 50-m breaststroke to advance, Katerine Savard and Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., qualified for the women's 100-m butterfly final and Calgary's Russell Wood made the final of the men's 100-m backstroke.

Cochrane, meanwhile, is set to compete in the 200-metre freestyle on Friday before he defends his 1,500-m title on Tuesday.

"The 200 will be exciting. It will be a splash and dash," he said.

"It's [a short distance] for me, but I'll take what I learned tonight and hopefully I will be that much faster in the morning."

Associated Graphic

Canada's Kirsten Sweetland races to a silver medal - Canada's first - in the women's triathlon on Thursday.


Canada's top female boxers used to be friends. But now, Ariane Fortin has the upper hand, Rachel Brady writes
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

After her dream of competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics died, a bitterly disappointed Ariane Fortin had no reason to show up at the boxing gym. But she channelled the pain and kept training anyway.

Female boxers will compete at the Commonwealth Games for the first time next week, but instead of Mary Spencer, whose celebrity swelled before the 2012 Olympics, her archrival Fortin will represent Canada in Glasgow.

The once-close Canadian teammates had both been world champions in different weight classes, but had to put their friendship on hold to compete for Canada's lone Olympic spot in the 75-kilogram class when women's boxing debuted at the London Games in just three classes.

Spencer beat out Fortin to grab the historic spot on the 2012 team, but Fortin defeated Spencer twice in the past year to take the Canadian title and earn the spot to fight in Scotland.

"It made me so much hungrier, and I appreciate every single fight so much more," the 30-yearold Fortin said. "Those years of training with not much reward have made me a better boxer. I have new tools in my toolbox."

The intriguing friend-to-foe rivalry with Spencer was the subject of a 2013 documentary called Last Woman Standing. The two had been on the national team together since 2004 - Spencer in the 66-kg class and Fortin in the 70-kg class - up until news came in 2009 that women's boxing would debut in London, but in only three classes: 51-, 60- and 75kg.

They used to travel and room together on the road, taking countless photos and home videos, many of which showed the two friends celebrating their world titles together. The two women shared an understanding of what it's like to be in the ring, and knew one another's training secrets.

When they faced one another at the 2012 Canadian women's boxing championships to determine who would go to London, Spencer won 18-12 on the strength of a third round, during which she went from trailing by one point to leading by six. Dejected, Fortin left the arena that night as photographers and reporters were still swirling around Spencer.

Some criticized the judging, and pondered whether Spencer had been pre-chosen for the Olympic spot. Fortin challenged the decision, but Boxing Canada denied the appeal. She launched a bid to fight for Lebanon in London, but that ultimately failed.

Spencer got the glory and renown - fashion shoots, a makeup deal with Covergirl, constant interviews, her face on Canadian Olympic billboards across the country. As all of that swirled, it was tough for Fortin to find the motivation to keep training.

"That Olympic year, Ariane was so sad, so down, but even though she didn't feel like coming to the gym, she kept showing up," said Fortin's coach, Mike Moffa. "Missing the Olympics was devastating.

She wanted to turn pro, and I said, 'No, don't do it. Let's keep working harder, and I promise we will beat her.' "Many considered Spencer to be a contender for gold in London, especially since she was a threetime world champion and fivetime Pan American Games gold medalist. But she lost her opening bout in London to China's Li Jinzi.

"I watched Mary's fight on TV, but I didn't follow the boxing too much. Honestly, it was too hard," Fortin said. "But I had all the fights recorded in the 75-k division and, much later, I sat down and watched them all in one sitting. It was a lot of emotion to watch it all, but I kept thinking: 'I belong there, those are my people, I know those fighters, and that's my world.' "

Fortin chose to keep fighting for Canada and gun for the 2016 Olympics. She was, after all, a world champion in 2006 and 2008. She beat Spencer at the nationals last October in Regina, but had to beat her twice to seize her spot on the national team, which she did at the box-off in November in Quebec City.

"Ariane has gotten better, but she's also found a way to beat Mary Spencer, mentally, physically, strategically," Moffa said. "We studied her a lot and really found what it took to beat Mary Spencer, and I don't think she'll be beating Ariane again. I think Ariane is way stronger mentally than Mary. After what Ariane went through, it took real heart and dedication to come back and beat Mary."

A change in the scoring system since the 2012 Games rewards active boxers, and Fortin has thrived under it. She's a southpaw who likes to throw a lot of punches and can dominate her competitors inside.

Boxing Canada is sending five men and two women to the Commonwealth Games. Mandy Bujold of Kitchener, Ont., is the other woman, a six-time Canadian champion in the 51-kg weight class who was a gold medalist at the Pan Am Games in 2011.

The Commonwealth is home to some top contenders in the 75-kg weight class, including 2012 world champion Savannah Marshall from Britain.

"My goal is a gold medal, definitely," said Fortin, whose first bout in Glasgow is expected to be July 29. "I don't want to put pressure on myself, but that's realistic for me. I will be disappointed if I don't win gold."

The battle to seize Canada's spot at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro will resume after that. A Canadian champion will have to be crowned again that year, and then that boxer will have to fight for an Olympic berth at the world championships. A new chapter of the Spencer-Fortin rivalry will likely unfurl.

"There has always been a lot of respect between us, but you can't be friends with your rival, and we're still rivals," Fortin said. "Yes, I beat her, but I don't underestimate her. I'll have to face her at nationals in the future. We've remained very respectful of each other through all of this. We're so used to being rivals now. There's only one spot in Rio."

Associated Graphic

Boxer Ariane Fortin, of Saint-Nicolas, Que., is competing for Canada at the Commonwealth Games.


Ariane Fortin, who's competing for Canada in Glasgow, was a world champion in 2006 and 2008.


Social media has created a growing appetite for the niche business of food marketing. How one agency is cashing in
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B5

TORONTO -- A common knock against social media is that people simply use it to share photos of their lunch.

But in a sunny office in Toronto's east end, where a food stylist arranges peas by hand one by one on a gleaming white plate, getting the perfect shot of lunch or dinner is an art - and a lucrative one.

At food marketing agency The Hot Plate, rustic distressed wood tabletops are stacked against the wall. A prop closet is stacked with colourful plates, bowls and ramekins in all sizes. Four refrigerators are needed to keep the test kitchen running.

The agency has built a growing business out of helping clients, such as Campbell Soup Co., Nestlé Canada Inc. and ItalPasta, to produce content such as photos and recipes at a faster clip than they have needed to before.

For companies in the business of selling food, all those photos of lunch on social media are not an obnoxious trend. They are a golden opportunity: a digital culture where a kind of daily scrapbooking is cool, and where selfstyled foodies see the perfect Instagram or Facebook photo of their quinoa salad as a kind of status symbol. That environment gives food marketers a way into the conversation on social media that often feels forced with other brands.

Food marketers have embraced the opportunity, producing highresolution close-ups of doughnuts for Pinterest, zucchini fritters on Facebook, shrimp quesadillas on Twitter, and blackberry cupcakes on Instagram. By joining in on a growing culture of recipe-trading and vivid food photography, marketers are hoping to endear themselves to consumers who are more interested in playing with their food.

But it has created a challenge as well: all this content costs money. And with marketers under more pressure to control costs, the price of renting props and hiring food stylists, photographers, photo retouchers and recipe developers is a burden.

And while giants such as Kraft Foods Group Inc. or Loblaw Cos.Ltd. can afford to maintain fully staffed test kitchens in-house, that is not realistic for many companies.

"We're trying to produce so much content, and we have limited resources," said Noemie Bessette, director of communications at organic food brand Nature's Path and a client of The Hot Plate.

To keep consumers interested, the company needs to be constantly refreshing the photos and recipes it posts, she explained.

That's important for food companies, because recipes are a way to make consumers think about using the product more. Nature's Path wants people not just to eat its cereals at breakfast; it wants them to make Vanilla Pineapple Ice Pops with its chia, buckwheat and hemp cereal.

Welch's, another client, does not just want people to drink its juice: the brand is hoping they will use it more often during the summer to make frozen treats.

"A few years ago, it was just Facebook and our website. Now we're on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, we have a blog - we just have many more places where we can publish things," said Erika Jubinville, PR and digital marketing specialist at Welch's. "So there's a constant need for fresh content. ... When we had individual, isolated efforts, we didn't have as much control over the cost."

While she was still working as a freelance food stylist, The Hot Plate's founder, Amanda Riva, heard these complaints often.

In early 2013, she launched the agency with the idea that she could offer marketers an easier and cheaper way to manage their digital communications. It started with her and a photographer, in a 750-square-foot condo. In just over a year and a half, it has grown to a team of 24 full-time employees in a 2,500-square foot office that they have already outgrown: a second office is under construction down the hall.

The payment model is different from many ad and PR agencies: there are no time sheets, and they never work on retainer. Ms. Riva decided to sell service packages to clients at a flat fee.

"Marketing budgets are not what they were several years ago, and the clients we're working with are first in the line of fire when budgets are being slashed," Ms. Riva said. "... They don't want to feel like they're in a big commitment [with an agency] that they can't afford."

That does not just apply to companies; commodities boards and other industry marketing associations have also gotten in on the action. The U.S. Popcorn Board recently approached The Hot Plate to produce a stopmotion video, for example.

"Pinterest, for us, is getting huge," said Heather Nahatchewitz, marketing and communications director with Ontario Independent Meat Processors, which represents butchers and delis in the province. "To have professional recipe photography, it's such a bonus."

The control over costs has allowed OIMP to double the number of recipes it produces in just a year.

The group produces recipe books it distributes to members for use in their own marketing.

Sharing recipes and photos on social media attracts food-savvy consumers whom the OIMP can then encourage to visit a local butcher or to consider locallysourced meats.

"In the social space, people are there for themselves and to find out news about their friends and family," said Ms. Jubinville at Welch.

"We want to tell our story in a way that doesn't feel like we're advertising to them too much."

Food styling itself has changed dramatically, as well. The old tricks - lipstick on strawberries, motor oil to give a glossy sheen - have fallen out of vogue. Online photo-sharing has given consumers a new sense of the way food is supposed to look. The most appealing photography does not broadcast its high production values; it is more organic-looking.

"Consumers are more knowledgeable than they were, and they're looking less for that picture-perfect, nuclear family experience," Ms. Riva said.

Hitting the right tone of authenticity is critical for food brands.

"In the past, brands were kind of dictating a bit more to consumers what they should be interested in, and it was about a bigger brand message," Ms. Bessette said.

"Now, the power has shifted a lot more toward consumers. It's forcing us as brands to put much more interesting things together. There's a lot more clutter. If we want people to be interested in what we have to say, we have to be interesting."

Associated Graphic


Music festival dress code strikes a chord
The ban on the aboriginal feathered war bonnets at B.C.'s Bass Coast has sparked similar restrictions at other events
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A5

VANCOUVER -- When the Bass Coast music festival outgrew its Squamish, B.C., home and moved to a site on aboriginal land elsewhere in the province last year, festival organizers began discussing a possible ban on feathered war bonnets, which have, in the last few years, become increasingly popular at concerts and electronic dance music events.

The practice is seen as deeply offensive - a crass form of cultural appropriation, with important traditional symbols reduced to feathery fashion statements by music fans and celebrities one might think would know better (or at least have access to a stylist who does). Pharrell Williams, Vanessa Hudgens and Khloe Kardashian have all recently been called out for wearing them; Mr. Williams apologized after the outcry when he posed in one for a fashion magazine cover.

It took longer than organizers had hoped to work out the details, but when Bass Coast finally announced its plan to implement the ban at this year's festival, which takes place this weekend, it touched an international nerve. Over the past week, the move has put the Merritt, B.C., music fest - and the issue - in the spotlight, and may have the unintended consequence of sparking the beginning of the end to this controversial trend.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see more policies like this popping up," says Bass Coast's Paul Brooks, who has seen the story spread from a brief Facebook post last week to international media attention ranging from The Guardian and the Daily Mail to MTV and BuzzFeed.

"Maybe it's too late in the festival season for it to happen this year, but I think it's going to make a big difference next year.

But people are watching closely," he says.

Inspired by Bass Coast, Fozzy Fest, which will be held in September elsewhere in B.C. - also on First Nations land - has decided to implement "an unofficial ban" on the headdresses; security officials will inform any patrons trying to bring them into the grounds that they are not allowed.

The issue was already on FozzyFest's radar - although it has not been a problem at the electronic dance music festival - but the move by Bass Coast inspired organizers to take action.

"We saw that and we thought, well, we're really happy someone's actually taking a stand," says Raz Rydstrom, who is on the organizing committee of the Calgary-run festival, which moved to a site south of Fernie, B.C., last year because of the flooding and will return to B.C. this year. "We absolutely do not want to disrespect the people whose land we're on."

Another B.C. event, the Tall Tree Music Festival, which took place this summer on Vancouver Island, also bans headdresses. The festival's Emmalee Brunt told The Globe the ban was put in place last year and the organizers "will continue to maintain our stance as long as we are around."

Mr. Brooks says the Bass Coast ban was not an attempt to provoke action at other festivals - or grab headlines for its own event.

"This was about us respecting our community," he says. "The festival is happening on aboriginal land. We felt we wanted to respect our hosts and our neighbours."

There are five First Nations bands in the Nicola Valley, where Bass Coast takes place. The site is on the traditional territory of the Coldwater Indian Band. While Chief Lee Spahan was surprised at the ban - he heard about it on the radio - and wishes local bands had been consulted, he supports the decision. "It's culturally insensitive because they're used in our culture. ... Our leaders, some of them are Grand Chiefs, and they do use headdresses."

Chief Aaron Sam of the nearby Lower Nicola Indian Band, the largest in the Nicola Valley, agrees.

"I support the ban 100 per cent.

I think it's important that people understand that when First Nations people - it depends on the culture, of course - but when First Nations people wear headdresses it's usually in a ceremonial kind of setting or relates to the First Nations culture. It's not for parties or dances."

It's unclear how the trend picked up steam, but Daniel Justice, chair of First Nations studies at the University of British Columbia, says it is only the latest example of this troubling practice.

"The appropriation of indigenous symbols ... has a very, very long and ugly history in the Americas," he says, pointing to examples such as Hollywood films, Halloween costumes and the 1970s disco group the Village People.

This latest emergence - the hipster headdress - is "very weird to me, why all of a sudden it's become this cultural icon," says Dr. Justice, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation. He believes it has to do with aesthetic - and ignorance.

"I think [people who wear them] think it probably just looks cool. But unfortunately behind that 'it looks cool' there's just such a long history of misuse of that particular symbol, but also complete and profound ignorance about indigenous peoples and the fact that indigenous peoples continue to use these various symbols in really culturally meaningful ways."

While there were only a handful of fans seen wearing them at Bass Coast last year, the festival felt it was important to take a stand. Providing further incentive: The Ottawa-based aboriginal DJ crew A Tribe Called Red, vocal critics of the practice, is headlining this year. (Mr. Brooks says he consulted with band member Ian Campeau - Deejay NDN - on the issue.)

"People aren't doing this out of malice; we understand that," says Mr. Brooks. "They're doing it because they think the war bonnet is an amazing-looking thing.

Some people think they're honouring aboriginal culture or that they're showing solidarity, but ... we feel it's a negative thing and we don't want it at our festival."

Anyone seen wearing a war bonnet or anything resembling one at Bass Coast this weekend will be approached by a security supervisor who will explain the policy, educate the person about the issue, and ask the person to put it in a car or tent. Anyone who refuses will be removed.

"This is our dress code, essentially," says Mr. Brooks. "And we're not going to tolerate that on site."

Associated Graphic

Scholars say headdresses, worn here by fans at the 2013 Bass Coast, are popular, partly because of aesthetic appreciation for them and partly out of ignorance of their cultural importance.

How a B.C. music festival's headdress ban made waves
Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

VANCOUVER -- When the Bass Coast music festival outgrew its Squamish, B.C., home and moved to a site on aboriginal land elsewhere in the province last year, festival organizers began discussing a possible ban on feathered war bonnets, which have, in the last few years, become increasingly popular at concerts and electronic dance music events.

The practice is seen as deeply offensive - a crass form of cultural appropriation, with important traditional symbols reduced to feathery fashion statements by music fans and celebrities one might think would know better (or at least have access to a stylist who does). Pharrell Williams, Vanessa Hudgens and Khloe Kardashian have all recently been called out for wearing them; Mr.Williams apologized after the outcry when he posed in one for a fashion magazine cover.

It took longer than organizers had hoped to work out the details, but when Bass Coast finally announced its plan to implement the ban at this year's festival, which takes place this weekend, it touched an international nerve.

Over the past week, the move has put the Merritt, B.C., music fest - and the issue - in the spotlight, and may have the unintended consequence of sparking the beginning of the end to this controversial trend.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see more policies like this popping up," says Bass Coast's Paul Brooks, who has seen the story spread from a brief Facebook post last week to international media attention ranging from The Guardian and the Daily Mail to MTV and BuzzFeed.

"Maybe it's too late in the festival season for it to happen this year, but I think it's going to make a big difference next year. But people are watching closely," he says.

Inspired by Bass Coast, FozzyFest, which will be held in September elsewhere in B.C. - also on First Nations land - has decided to implement "an unofficial ban" on the headdresses; security officials will inform any patrons trying to bring them into the grounds that they are not allowed.

The issue was already on FozzyFest's radar - although it has not been a problem at the electronic dance music festival - but the move by Bass Coast inspired organizers to take action.

"We saw that and we thought, well, we're really happy someone's actually taking a stand," says Raz Rydstrom, who is on the organizing committee of the Calgary-run festival, which moved to a site south of Fernie, B.C., last year because of the flooding and will return to B.C. this year. "We absolutely do not want to disrespect the people whose land we're on."

Another B.C. event, the Tall Tree Music Festival, which took place this summer on Vancouver Island, also bans headdresses. The festival's Emmalee Brunt told The Globe the ban was put in place last year and the organizers "will continue to maintain our stance as long as we are around."

Mr. Brooks says the Bass Coast ban was not an attempt to provoke action at other festivals - or grab headlines for its own event.

"This was about us respecting our community," he says. "The festival is happening on aboriginal land. We felt we wanted to respect our hosts and our neighbours."

There are five First Nations bands in the Nicola Valley, where Bass Coast takes place. The site is on the traditional territory of the Coldwater Indian Band. While Chief Lee Spahan was surprised at the ban - he heard about it on the radio - and wishes local bands had been consulted, he supports the decision. "It's culturally insensitive because they're used in our culture. ... Our leaders, some of them are Grand Chiefs, and they do use headdresses."

Chief Aaron Sam of the nearby Lower Nicola Indian Band, the largest in the Nicola Valley, agrees.

"I support the ban 100 per cent.

I think it's important that people understand that when First Nations people - it depends on the culture, of course - but when First Nations people wear headdresses it's usually in a ceremonial kind of setting or relates to the First Nations culture. It's not for parties or dances."

It's unclear how the trend picked up steam, but Daniel Justice, chair of First Nations studies at the University of British Columbia, says it is only the latest example of this troubling practice.

"The appropriation of indigenous symbols ... has a very, very long and ugly history in the Americas," he says, pointing to examples such as Hollywood films, Halloween costumes and the 1970s disco group the Village People.

This latest emergence - the hipster headdress - is "very weird to me, why all of a sudden it's become this cultural icon," says Dr. Justice, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation. He believes it has to do with aesthetic - and ignorance.

"I think [people who wear them] think it probably just looks cool. But unfortunately behind that 'it looks cool' there's just such a long history of misuse of that particular symbol, but also complete and profound ignorance about indigenous peoples and the fact that indigenous peoples continue to use these various symbols in really culturally meaningful ways."

While there were only a handful of fans seen wearing them at Bass Coast last year, the festival felt it was important to take a stand.

Providing further incentive: The Ottawa-based aboriginal DJ crew A Tribe Called Red, vocal critics of the practice, is headlining this year. (Mr. Brooks says he consulted with band member Ian Campeau - Deejay NDN - on the issue.)

"People aren't doing this out of malice; we understand that," says Mr. Brooks. "They're doing it because they think the war bonnet is an amazing-looking thing.

Some people think they're honouring aboriginal culture or that they're showing solidarity, but ... we feel it's a negative thing and we don't want it at our festival."

Anyone seen wearing a war bonnet or anything resembling one at Bass Coast this weekend will be approached by a security supervisor who will explain the policy, educate the person about the issue, and ask the person to put it in a car or tent. Anyone who refuses will be removed.

"This is our dress code, essentially," Mr. Brook says. "And we're not going to tolerate that on site."

Associated Graphic

Scholars say headdresses, worn here by fans at the 2013 Bass Coast, are popular, partly because of aesthetic appreciation for them and partly out of ignorance of their cultural importance.

What cancer patients really want to hear
Surviving Hodgkin's lymphoma gives one doctor personal insight into the nuances of living with a potentially fatal disease
Monday, July 28, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L4

Early last fall, physician Nikhil Joshi was alarmed to find a lump on his neck. He consulted with his doctor dad and figured it was one of three things: an infection, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In September, 2013, the diagnosis - Hodgkin's lymphoma - arrived just as his fiancée called off their engagement. It was a scary and uncertain time for the St. John's resident, but rather than wallow in self-pity as he underwent aggressive chemotherapy, he blogged about his cancer experience (which later became a CBC Radio miniseries).

In March, he published The End of Suffering, a book of personal musings, to give hope to other cancer patients. Now 28 and with a clean bill of health, he talks with The Globe about his book, the things you should - and should not - say to cancer patients and how his struggles in recent months have made him a better, more empathetic doctor.

How did you feel when you found out it was cancer?

When I was waiting for biopsy results, I was pulling for Hodgkin's lymphoma. My mother was with me when I found out, and she started crying. But I thought I'd won the jackpot - well, not really, but if you're going to have cancer, you might as well have Hodgkin's [which is more treatable than non-Hodgkin's].

What prompted you to blog?

I've always found writing to be cathartic. By blogging, I got clarity and an understanding of how I felt, of how I was doing. In the beginning, I went into it really bravely, very stupidly, and very humanly.

By that I mean I was interested in being the best I could with my illness. I saw my illness as a challenge to be happy in spite of it. I wasn't always happy but I insisted on finding happiness whenever I could. I tried to value the people and the experiences I was having.

How did your friends and family react to the cancer news?

Everyone reacted differently but the overwhelming theme was sadness. It was hard to be surrounded by that. After a while, I instructed people that I wasn't looking for any pity or sympathy. I wanted normalcy and I wanted laughter.

In an article in The Globe in 2011, you wrote a piece entitled 'I'm a Medical Student Who Smokes.' Do you thinking smoking contributed to your diagnosis?

In my opinion, it did - although I hadn't smoked in a while.

Smoking is not clearly a risk factor for Hodgkin's but there seems to be an increased association.

I received nothing but positive reviews for that story. There's often too much of a wall between patients and physicians.

We all have to stop acting like we're perfect and communicate the fact that we all have flaws and vices.

We're here as physicians to understand and help our patients.

Not to judge them.

Was it difficult for you to quit smoking?

Nope. Not after you get cancer.

It caused me to quit permanently and never look at a cigarette again.

Tell us about your blog.

The reaction I got was overwhelmingly human and positive.

So many people wanted to share their stories with cancer and all sent me great wishes. I was contacted by a young female physician in Australia who had Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was Canadian and shared with me what it was like to go through chemotherapy, and the general feelings you get after it. She was done with her treatments and she was able to let me know that things were bad, but they weren't going to stay bad.

What motivated you to write The End of Suffering?

I wanted to stop suffering. I needed a way from everything I was going through and the process of creating literature kind of saved me. I always try to write positive, humourous things when I'm miserable.

That's when my best work comes out.

What did cancer teach you about life, love and being a doctor?

Cancer taught me to be happy.

Every day you stay miserable is a day wasted.

I think you find out who loves you most when the chips are down. It's easy to love people when everything is going well, but the real enduring, beautiful love persists in the space of adversity.

As a doctor, it taught me that patients suffer and that suffering is what they want you, as a doctor, to remove. They don't want you to give them a fancy diagnosis or an expensive drug.

I'm a better doctor today because I understand cancer patients' needs. I know what it's like to wait. I know what it's like to be frustrated and scared, I know what they want is for their doctor to find them a solution.

What things should you not say to someone with cancer?

"What's your prognosis?" Or more bluntly, are you going to live or die? I had someone ask me if I was going to die. I just kind of smiled at him and said, "Why, do you want my stereo?" Healthy people should never give cancer patients health advice. There's nothing worse than being sick and getting advice from the healthy, because it's almost like insinuating you did something to make this happen to you.

Finally, don't say, "Everything is going to be fine." I don't know I'm going to be fine. You don't know I'm going to be fine.

My doctor doesn't know I'm going to be fine.

They mean well by saying that, but what they should say is, "I care about you and I want you to do well."

What else should you say to someone with cancer?

Talk to them about something normal. For some guys, it might be sports. For others, food. For others, politics. But first and foremost, talk about everyday, regular things first, and cancer second.

Also, tell a person with cancer that he or she looks hot. Cancer patients really lose that feeling of being attractive, because you often feel like a pariah. It's all about helping that person maintain some normalcy.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

'Do not try to go around your pain; it is too wide to circumvent,' writes Nikhil Joshi in The End of Suffering.


China probes former security czar Zhou Yongkang
One of the country's most powerful is formally placed under investigation
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

BEIJING -- He was the square-jawed face of China's fearsome domestic spying apparatus, a man at the pinnacle of Chinese power who presided over networks of influence that made him and those around him exceedingly wealthy and seemingly impervious to legal consequences.

The one-time Chinese security czar had the powerful economic connections of Dick Cheney and the fear-inducing presence of J. Edgar Hoover. But for more than half a year, a net of investigations, detentions and arrests slowly closed in on Zhou Yongkang, snaring friends, aides, protégés and close family members.

On Tuesday, Mr. Zhou himself was formally placed under investigation, in a brief but high-profile state media update that said he is now being probed "for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation,'" a routinely used term of art for corruption.

Until 2012, the 71-year-old was a member of the nine-person Politburo Standing Committee that wields immense power over the state and had, for years, occupied a spot atop the state-owned energy sector and its security apparatus, giving him great economic and political influence.

It was a position he allegedly used to divert vast funds to his supporters and protégés, handing out lucrative rights to luxury auto dealerships, housing companies, mines and pipelines, while using oil and gas transactions to line his own pockets. In recent months, hundreds of those people have been investigated and detained.

The case against Mr. Zhou, who if found guilty would be the highest-ranking official sentenced on such grounds in modern China, has exposed the breadth and audacity of graft in the Communist Party, whose control over powerful state industries has offered opportunity for breathtaking personal enrichment.

Documents circulating inside the party and reported by Reuters described asset seizures from Mr. Zhou and his network worth the equivalent of $15.75-billion. The haul included antiques, paintings and stashes of liquor, gold, silver and cash.

The alleged flow of ill-gotten gains stretched around the world, touching Canada, too, after Li Zhiming, once the chief executive of Alberta-based Brion Energy, was detained by Chinese authorities earlier this year. Brion is a Chinese joint-venture company active in the oil sands; at least one other person involved with Chinese oil investments in Canada has also been detained, according to a report by the Beijing-based Caixin news service. Mr. Zhou is believed to have ties to some of the executives who operated in Canada.

Mr. Zhou built a career in China's energy industry, rising to the top of China National Petroleum Corp. in the mid-1990s, before taking the reins of the country's security apparatus. During his tenure, the domestic spying budget exceeded that of China's military.

He has not been seen in public since October, 2013, when he was placed under house arrest - but discussion of his case has been tightly proscribed by Chinese authorities in an active Internet censorship campaign. Confirmation of the investigation against him allowed talk to burst into the open and unleashed a deluge of posts and discussions on the Internet in China, where socialmedia sites have in recent years played a key role in ferreting out official corruption and bemoaning its corrosive effects.

The case against him is notable for the number of people it has ensnared, most prominently Mr. Zhou himself, since service in the Politburo Standing Committee has historically carried a kind of immunity to prosecution.

But since taking office last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has waged a high-profile war on corruption, which he likened to "worms breeding in decaying matter" in describing the threat it posed to the legitimacy of China's one-party rule. In his first speech as Communist Party General Secretary, Mr. Xi specifically pointed out "corruption and bribe-taking" as pressing problems "that need to be resolved."

But Mr. Zhou is widely believed to have mounted a threat to Mr. Xi's ascension to top office, adding a political dimension to the investigation.

Mr. Xi's efforts are notable for their breadth and depth, with some 25,000 officials - from news anchors to oil executives - caught up in the first six months of 2014 alone. The Chinese President has spoken about taking down "tigers and flies," both big-name and small-name targets.

"It has been a massive antigraft campaign. There's no question about it," said Howard Balloch, a former Canadian ambassador to China who remains active in the country. Still, he said, Mr. Xi, like his predecessors, has yet to make the country's political structures less prone to future graft - and it's an open question whether he will now be able to do so, given the political capital he has spent to dethrone people like Mr. Zhou and those around him.

"This is a massive swipe at unacceptable, illegitimate and and system-destroying practices," Mr. Balloch said. But a purge of the body is only truly effective if steps are taken to make it healthy again, he added.

"And in order to be made healthy, it needs ongoing resistance to disease, the disease of corruption."

That could mean creating a more independent judiciary or allowing a more independent press to flourish. But in some areas, such as press freedom, Mr. Xi has actually been more restrictive than his predecessors, leaving lingering doubts about whether a new generation of tigers and flies is just waiting to dip in to the often-heady spoils of corruption in China.

Still, the purge itself may function as reform. China's stateowned companies, where corruption is often most prevalent, are also often the least efficient. Weeding out graft, then, could pay dividends beyond politics.

"The question is, will this end up actually cleaning out a lot of the inefficient corruption in the state sector?" says Jonathan Fenby, an author and analyst who is managing director of China research at Trusted Sources, a London-based consultancy.

He believes that is at least one of the aims.

"The anti-graft is being used as a weapon in the economic reform program, as well as obviously to go bring down political enemies."

Associated Graphic

During Zhou Yongkang's tenure, China's domestic spying budget exceeded that of the country's military.


China's then-public security minister Zhou Yongkang attends the opening ceremony of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October, 2007.


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