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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, May 28




  William Johnson
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Pit Bill



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50 per cent, plus 1 space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, September 25, 2015 – Page A14
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Gatineau, Que. -- Re Mulcair In The Crosshairs (Sept. 24): As the Supreme Court made clear in its response to the reference on Quebec's secession, a clear answer to a clear question is only the first step: The critical action begins when the federal and provincial governments meet to reconcile Quebec's wish for sovereignty with the rights of the other provinces (the ''federal principle''), the rights of minorities and aboriginals; and, to be legitimate, do it in accordance with Canada's Constitution.  FULL STORY arrow
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Independence referendum? Scotland has it right space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, November 5, 2012 – Page A13
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-- Former president of Alliance QuebecThe referendum on independence to be held by Scotland in 2014 differs dramatically from the two referendums Quebec held in 1980 and 1995. The issue in Scotland will be clear: independence. Equally clear will be the referendum question, just 10 words long: ''Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?''  FULL STORY arrow
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The fragmentation of Quebec space
The province's political culture is contradictory and ruled by fairy tales, William Johnson argues
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, August 26, 2011 – Page A15
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-- Why is Quebec fragmenting politically?Consider. Four parties have members in the National Assembly. A fifth, sixth and possibly a seventh party are at various stages of formation. All this in a province with a ''first past the post'' electoral system. The more parties running, of course, the more distorted the outcome.  FULL STORY arrow
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The torture of Question Period space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, April 11, 2011 – Page A13
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-- Author and former president of Alliance QuebecThere's one gaping hole in the Conservative Party's election platform: It overlooks the rot infiltrating the culture of the House of Commons that all MPs have come to recognize and lament.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you love your country, quit space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, December 10, 2010 – Page A19
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-- A former president of Alliance QuebecWhat should Captain Canada do now?In 1998, Jean Charest was pressed to leave Ottawa and leap to Quebec to lead the foundering Quebec Liberal Party. He alone, so the chorus chanted, could save Canada after the fright of the 1995 secession referendum and Lucien Bouchard's accession as Quebec's premier. Mr. Bouchard, after a near-fatal attack from flesh-eating disease, rose from his hospital bed, and it seemed he could walk on water. He threatened to achieve Quebec's independence after Jacques Parizeau's near miss.  FULL STORY arrow
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Spinning the fairy tale of secession space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, October 29, 2010 – Page A23
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecHave our leaders learned nothing? On Oct. 30, 1995, Quebeckers voted 49.4 per cent for secession. Had the vote tipped 50 per cent, Jacques Parizeau was set to declare Quebec's independence.  FULL STORY arrow
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Quebec's English-language-education bill is everyone's villain space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, September 17, 2010 – Page A19
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-- Author; former president of Alliance QuebecIt's supposedly about equity. What's really emerging is a confrontation between Quebec's French majority and English-speaking minority.At the National Assembly, leaders of both communities appear daily before the parliamentary committee studying Bill 103. It restricts children from gaining a right to subsidized English schooling by first attending an unsubsidized private English school.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Bloc's / silent partner space
The Quebec Liberal Party is complicit in separatism's continued appeal to Quebeckers
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – Page A13
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecThe separatist movement turned out jubilantly on Sunday in Montreal to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that day - Aug. 13, 1990 - when Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe was first elected to Parliament.  FULL STORY arrow
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In Quebec, meanwhile, the Queen is still Wolfe in sheep's clothing space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, July 16, 2010 – Page A13
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecThe difference is arresting. David Johnston's appointment as governor-general was greeted across Canada by an effusion of congratulatory editorials, columns and blogs. But not in Quebec.  FULL STORY arrow
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One referendum, three decades of misrepresentation space
Nobody enshrined a secession standard of 50 per cent plus one in 1980 - not even the Parti Québécois
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, May 20, 2010 – Page A17
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecNo major event in our history has been so consistently misrepresented as Quebec's referendum of May 20, 1980. Its significance has been twisted by politicians and pundits for 30 years now.  FULL STORY arrow
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The scandal that keeps on flying space
Harvey Cashore explores a labyrinth of lies, denials, deceptions and Swiss accounts
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, May 1, 2010 – Page F13
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-- THE TRUTH SHOWS UPA Reporter's Fifteen-year Odyssey Tracking Down the Truth about Mulroney, Schreiber and the Airbus ScandalBy Harvey CashoreKey Porter, 536 pages, $34.95  FULL STORY arrow
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Politics from both sides of the track space
Two men could not have come from more different backgrounds, yet both forged successful public careers
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, February 27, 2010 – Page F11
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-- MADE IN CANADA: A Businessman's Adventures in PoliticsBy Alastair W. Gillespie with Irene SageRobin Brass Studio, 269 pages, $40''GO TO SCHOOL, YOU'RE A LITTLE BLACK BOY'': The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir  FULL STORY arrow
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The PQ's dead-end road space
Quebeckers have more pressing problems than redefining their collective identity
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, February 19, 2010 – Page A23
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance Quebec***Lucien Bouchard hasn't lost his mojo. Nine years after he resigned as Quebec's premier, he managed to shock all Quebeckers this week into talking about what he said at a scholarly symposium on the province's past 100 years. People have been sounding off around the kitchen table, on open-line radio programs, in editorials, columns, letters to the editor, and even daily in the National Assembly.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Pied Piper of Quebec space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 – Page A21
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance Quebec***It's a con job, titled La souverainete du Quebec: Hier, aujourd'hui et demain. Its climax, the happy ending foretold, is achieving Quebec's independence demain.  FULL STORY arrow
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'Just watch me'? How could we not? space
Pierre Trudeau's first election campaign was truly a love affair with Canada, when politics came alive, were glamorous - and mattered. Canada seemed poised for a golden age
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, October 31, 2009 – Page F9
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-- JUST WATCH ME The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1968-2000 By John English Knopf Canada, 789 pages, $39.95 ***Lucky biographer. Pierre Trudeau, the subject of Waterloo University historian John English's two-volume study, was the most provocative, controversial, flamboyant and yet intellectually profound prime minister in Canada's history.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Supreme Court must face facts: French is thriving in Quebec space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, October 23, 2009 – Page A23
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OTTAWA -- Author and a former president of Alliance Quebec Once again, part of Quebec's language law has been found to be unconstitutional and a violation of the Charter rights of Canadians. The legislation struck down unanimously yesterday by the Supreme Court of Canada had been passed unanimously in 2002 with the support of both the Parti Quebecois government and Jean Charest's Liberal opposition, to further restrict access to publicly supported English schools.  FULL STORY arrow
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What if Montcalm had won? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 – Page A13
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-- Author adn a former president of Alliance QuebecWhat if, 250 years ago, the Marquis de Montcalm had defeated James Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham? Would French-speakers today be more numerous on this continent, more socially and culturally developed, more prosperous and secure? Would the Quebecois be happier?  FULL STORY arrow
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A new chief, a new mood space
Phil Fontaine preferred negotiation. But assertiveness is increasingly seen as the best way to restore nationhood
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, July 24, 2009 – Page A13
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecYou can bet on this: The Assembly of First Nations, under newly elected national chief Shawn Atleo, will be far more demanding, provocative, denunciatory, muscular and pre-emptive than it was under Phil Fontaine.  FULL STORY arrow
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Indians and the just society space
Forty years after Jean Chrétien's 'white paper,' we still struggle to reconcile the Canadian square and the aboriginal circle
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, June 25, 2009 – Page A17
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecA bombshell. No, a mega-magnitude earthquake. The tectonic plates underlying Canada collided against each other. To this day, the aftershocks continue their eruptions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Where does the 'true patriot' really stand on national unity? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, April 30, 2009 – Page A15
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-- Author and a former president of Alliance QuebecSpeak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee.- from Melville's Moby-DickMuch will be expected this weekend when Michael Ignatieff climaxes the Liberal Party convention with his acceptance speech. The man with the head of a sphinx has much spoken and written in the past about what he calls the first priority of the party he now leads: maintaining the unity of Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sarkozy? Or Marois, Duceppe and Charest? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 – Page A21
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-- Now, at last, there's no ambiguity. On Feb. 2, French President Nicolas Sarkozy removed the last illusion that sustained Quebec's separatism since 1967: that France would ensure international recognition for an independent Quebec. His speech, after conferring the Legion of Honour on Quebec Premier Jean Charest, spurned separatism as ''sectarianism,'' ''division,'' and ''the need to define one's identity through fierce opposition to the other.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Why the kingmaker can't stop laughing space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, December 4, 2008 – Page A23
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-- There is a Quebec political syndrome. It inspired the decision of Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe to seize power, dumping the Conservatives.Is it coincidence that all three are from Quebec? Even Mr. Layton was born and bred there, graduating from McGill University. His father was a Quebec MP in the Mulroney government.  FULL STORY arrow
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Marching in Mississippi in 1966: We have overcome space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 6, 2008 – Page A23
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-- The miracle has happened. The United States has fulfilled at last the long-delayed founding promise of 1776 in the Declaration of Independence: ''We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The perils of Julie space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, October 11, 2008 – Page D4
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-- MY STORYBy Julie CouillardTranslated Michael GilsonMcClelland and Stewart,319 pages, $29.99Femme fatale? Hell hath no fury like Julie Couillard's scorn for former lover Maxime Bernier. It burns through the 319 pages of My Story: ''He ruined my life.'' This is her revenge. She depicts him as weak (''You really have no balls at all''), lazy, vain, superficial, two-faced; a compulsive skirt-chaser who badmouths Stephen Harper and his own constituents in the Beauce. She even has Canada's minister of foreign affairs predicting Quebec's separation as inevitable: ''It doesn't frighten me at all, that's where we're headed. And I have no problem with that, I'm ready. I'm expecting it.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The rise and fall of the Harper majority space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, October 10, 2008 – Page A19
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-- What happened? When Stephen Harper called an early election Sept. 7, it looked like a sure thing for him and his party. The Conservatives were alone on the centre-right, while four parties divided the centre-left vote.  FULL STORY arrow
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National unity - then and now space
In the fall of 2005, as we awaited the election call, there was deep foreboding in the land over the threat of Quebec secession
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, September 8, 2008 – Page A17
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-- How Canada has changed in just three years. Can this federal election spring as many surprises, trigger as many reversals of fortune, as did the last? Will our country be unbelievably different?  FULL STORY arrow
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Still speaking with forked tongues space
Politicians have misrepresented the ruling for years
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 – Page A17
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-- Chief justice Antonio Lamer considered it the most important decision in the history of the Supreme Court of Canada. For this country, it could mean the difference between life and death.  FULL STORY arrow
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Toujours la France, toujours de Gaulle space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, July 7, 2008 – Page A11
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-- French Prime Minister Francois Fillon showed more charm and subtlety, but he recalled Charles de Gaulle in his speech Thursday commemorating the 400th anniversary of Champlain's landing in Quebec.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why Fête Nationale is really Fête Nationaliste space
Quebec invests millions in celebrating a shared national identity - too bad the organizers are separatists
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, June 26, 2008 – Page A21
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-- What a chance to teach Quebeckers the meaning of their history. The Fete Nationale of June 24 was traditionally called La fete de la Saint-Jean until the secessionist Parti Quebecois took office in 1976 and changed the name to exclude French Canadians outside Quebec from the festivities. But it was and is a truly popular revelling in a shared national identity.  FULL STORY arrow
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A new harmony? space
For the Quebec of the past, the report will come as a shock
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, May 23, 2008 – Page A19
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MONTREAL -- Am I my immigrant brother's keeper? The answer came thundering yesterday in the report of Quebec's Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.For the Quebec of the past, which lingers tenaciously outside the metropolitan centres, the report will come as a shock, an act of subversion, even a provocation. Consider. The report proposes that official Quebec become resolutely secular. The crucifix must come down from the wall of the National Assembly. All municipal councils must cease opening their sessions with a prayer. The law cannot prohibit businesses opening on Sunday. Witnesses must no longer be asked to swear upon the Bible. However, the illuminated cross on Mount Royal can be spared as an archeological, rather than religious, relic.  FULL STORY arrow
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Awaiting Stéphane Dion, the next iteration space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, May 16, 2008 – Page A21
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-- Stephane Dion has been counted out before - several times. When, after the near-disastrous 1995 referendum on secession, he was introduced by Jean Chretien as the new minister-saviour for national unity, Quebec was in disbelief. Him? The professor who had urged that Quebec did not need and should not have extensive new powers? He rebuked Robert Bourassa and Daniel Johnson after Meech Lake failed, for saying that the status quo was worse than secession. Dion? Get serious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Vive le Canada! space
Nicolas Sarkozy plans to undo the diplomatic charade and fully embrace the country
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 – Page A17
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-- Amazing Nicolas Sarkozy. After four decades during which France's presidents expressed ambivalence toward Canada, even sometimes conspiring to promote Quebec's secession, President Sarkozy is proving to be Canada's staunch friend.  FULL STORY arrow
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Good Lord, what an uninspiring bilingualism report space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, March 24, 2008 – Page A15
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-- Yes, the recognition of two official languages is a bedrock condition for the continued existence of a united Canada.That came some four decades ago, after the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism had warned: ''Canada, without being fully conscious of the fact, is passing through the greatest crisis in its history.'' Pierre Trudeau, on the strength of his status as Quebec's most respected son, headed off the demands of Quebec's provincial leaders for ''special status,'' ''two nations,'' ''associate states'' and ''sovereignty-association.'' He offered, instead, a truly national status to the French language and vested this in the 1982 Constitution Act. It remains as a foundational commitment, but one that must evolve with changing times and circumstances.  FULL STORY arrow
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OK, Ottawa: Seize the moment and clear up the secession confusion space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, February 21, 2008 – Page A17
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-- Will the international recognition of Kosovo's secession - like Montenegro's in 2006 - create a precedent favouring the secession of Quebec? That's the assumption behind the jubilation in Quebec's secessionist circles since Kosovo's parliament proclaimed a unilateral declaration of independence.  FULL STORY arrow
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The latest target: anglophones space
Le Journal's 'exposé' taps into fears the English peril is eroding Montreal's very heart
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, January 31, 2008 – Page A17
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-- First, we had Herouxville. Now we have Montrealville.The witch hunt in both cases was ignited by a newspaper, the low-brow mass circulation Le Journal de Montreal and its twin, Le Journal de Quebec. Before last year's Quebec elections, Le Journal published provocative reports about so-called ''reasonable accommodations'' reached in deference to the sensibilities of Muslims and ultra-Orthodox Jews. It tapped into a nativist outrage surging through the boondocks over foreign ways, deemed to threaten Quebec's pure laine identity.  FULL STORY arrow
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No Queen at the fête? Good space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 – Page A25
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-- So the Queen will not be invited. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided that Quebec City will celebrate the 400th anniversary of its founding without Her Majesty. Right decision or wrong-headed slight?  FULL STORY arrow
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Federalists in Quebec find their voice space
Fourteen personalities come together, each proposing a vision of Canada as an opportunity to be grasped
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 – Page A27
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-- In Quebec, a commonly shared vision of our history was expressed by then-Bloc Quebecois MP Suzanne Tremblay: ''There are two founding peoples,'' she told the Commons. ''We arrived here before you. You conquered us in 1760, you reconquered us in 1980 by the first referendum, and you reconquered in 1995 by the second referendum. But we will conquer you with the third referendum.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Why Quebec is spurning Dion: the compact myth space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 – Page A19
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-- No, it's not possible. Can the federal Liberals have plunged so low in their once impregnable Quebec fortress? Some finger Stephane Dion. Others smell poison lingering from the sponsorship scandal. But another factor, more fundamental, goes ignored: ''the compact between the two founding peoples.''  FULL STORY arrow
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It's all about Brian, Brian, Brian space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, September 15, 2007 – Page D4
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-- MEMOIRS1939-1993By Brian MulroneyMcClelland and Stewart,1,121 pages, $50''There is nothing like the revenge of a prime minister writing his own memoirs,'' Brian Mulroney confided to Peter Newman in The Secret Mulroney Tapes.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's back to the 'nous' in Parti Québécois land space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, September 4, 2007 – Page A21
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-- There is a new political dynamic at work in Quebec. Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois demonstrated it last week at her nomination meeting for the Sept. 24 by-election in Charlevoix. In her speech, she never once mentioned Premier Jean Charest. But she did train her artillery on Mario Dumont, leader of the Official Opposition.  FULL STORY arrow
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Can Pauline Marois change the PQ's spots? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 – Page A15
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-- Can the Parti Quebecois change its spots? Can its newly crowned leader, Pauline Marois, deliver on her promise to ''modernize'' the party's fundamental tenets, presently consecrated in its revered program?  FULL STORY arrow
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Another leader denied the promised land space
It's been down, but never has the Parti Québécois fallen so low
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 – Page A19
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-- When Andre Boisclair sprang his surprise by resigning as Parti Quebecois leader, there was a telling moment. He chose to end his speech on an uplifting message: ''I'd like to conclude on a note of hope for those millions of Quebecois . . .''  FULL STORY arrow
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Quebec's long identity crisis space
With the Quiet Revolution, Quebec lost one identity and went in search of another. It never quite found it, says author WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 – Page A21
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-- For nearly half a century, Quebec has mystified the rest of Canada with a kaleidoscope of shifting visions and conflicting demands. What does Quebec want? That was the question du jour during the 1960s. And now?  FULL STORY arrow
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The autonomists' threat: death by a thousand cuts space
The federalists, in turn, must insist on a full, final disclosure of all the new powers and money that Quebec will demand, says author WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, March 31, 2007 – Page A23
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-- As of Monday's election in Quebec, a referendum on secession is off the agenda, perhaps forever. Now comes the hard part.For three decades, Quebec's political class raised the referendum to the status of a myth. The referendum founded an all-or-nothing proposition. You won or lost the referendum, there was no in-between. You won or lost sovereignty, depending on the referendum vote. The Constitution? The rights of aboriginals or other Canadians? They vanished when the magic wand of a referendum was waved.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's Boisclair. No, it's Dumont. No, it's Charest. No, it's ... space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, March 8, 2007 – Page A19
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-- The Quebec election campaign has so far unfolded as a dramatic personal tragedy for the tall, handsome, usually broadly smiling Andre Boisclair. The 40-year-old leader of the Parti Quebecois carries in his person not just the darkening fortunes of his party, but also the dream of Quebec's independence.  FULL STORY arrow
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Quebec: the endless debate space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, March 3, 2007 – Page D9
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-- French Kiss:Stephen Harper's Blind Datewith QuebecBy Chantal HebertKnopf Canada, 279 pages, $32,95The provocative title, French Kiss: Stephen Harper's Blind Date With Quebec, suggests cross-cultural seductions to be revealed by Chantal Hebert as she explores the wiles and ways that Harper used for his shocking breakthrough of January, 2006, when he captured 10 Quebec seats and a quarter of the vote.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tories' shameful ads set a new low for uncivil discourse space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, February 17, 2007 – Page A21
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-- Make no mistake, the French television assault ads targeting Stephane Dion launched this week by the Conservative Party are astute and deadly. They are also dishonest, and set a new Canadian standard for uncivil discourse.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ségolène's Québec libre space
Vive le Canada libre! Gone are the days, says WILLIAM JOHNSON, when we tolerated French officials meddling in our domestic affairs
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, January 26, 2007 – Page A17
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-- How times have changed. Segolene Royal did no worse Monday than previous French dignitaries when, after meeting visiting Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair, she declared that her ''affinities'' were ''in conformity with our values that we share, that is, the sovereignty and the liberty of Quebec.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Recognizing the elephant in Confederation space
By adding a few simple words to a Bloc Québécois motion, Stephen Harper may have changed the course of the country, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 23, 2006 – Page A25
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-- Now there's a turnaround. It was only on June 23, the eve of the Fete Nationale, there on the battlements of Quebec's Citadel overlooking the St. Lawrence River, that Stephen Harper stumbled when asked whether he recognized that Quebec was a nation. He would only go so far as to recognize that the National Assembly had declared that Quebec was a nation. As for himself, he chose not to pronounce himself on what he considered was only a question of semantics.  FULL STORY arrow
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Paul's fall: not Greek tragedy space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Saturday, November 4, 2006 – Page D7
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-- Right Side Up:The Fall of Paul Martinand the Rise of Stephen Harper'sNew ConservatismBy Paul WellsMcClelland andStewart,336 pages, $34.99Blessed are the chroniclers of kings and nations who witnessed the end of an era. Others write books on routine elections. But to see a prime minister self-destruct in 25 months from an apparently unassailable ascendancy; to watch as the disdained upstart supplants the emperor, then begins taking the country in a new direction -- that, surely, is felicity.  FULL STORY arrow
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The inherent dangers in recognizing Quebec as a nation space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, October 27, 2006 – Page A23
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-- Pierre Trudeau, back in 1962, got it right: ''It is not the concept of nation that is retrograde; it is the idea that the nation must necessarily be sovereign.''So it is today with last Saturday's resolution adopted by the Liberal Party of Canada's Quebec wing. It is not the fact that ''the Liberal Party of Canada recognizes the Quebec nation within Canada'' that is dangerous. Rather, as Mr. Trudeau understood, you can't extricate the concept of nation from Pandora's box without releasing a terrifying flock of birds of prey.  FULL STORY arrow
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Charest's a federalist? space
Quebec, according to the Premier, is bound to Canada by nothing more than its own self-interest, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 – Page A13
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-- Just how federalist is the Liberal Party of Quebec? Prime Minister Stephen Harper is prone to praise Jean Charest for his federalism. ''This is the strongest federalist premier in my lifetime,'' he has repeated.  FULL STORY arrow
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A reality check for separatists space
Last week's manifesto by eight prominent sovereigntists goes partway to demolishing the PQ's 'mad illusions,' WILLIAM JOHNSON says
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, May 15, 2006 – Page A13
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-- Now there's a breakthrough. Eight prominent Quebeckers, committed to Quebec's independence, published a manifesto last Thursday that calls for ''realism,'' while cutting to pieces the Parti Quebecois's official program for achieving secession. They also demolished the PQ's approach to its 1980 and 1995 referendums. ''What energy we are wasting with chimeras, mad illusions, wrong tracks and phantasmagorical deadlines.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Stephen Harper: a man in a hurry space
Making his debut as PM in the House today, he is in a rush to create a record, says biographer WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, April 3, 2006 – Page A15
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-- No Mr. Dithers, he. The Stephen Harper who meets Parliament today for the first time as Prime Minister is better known than the man who won a plurality on Jan. 23. Since then, he has gored some sacred cows -- including a whole parliamentary press gallery stocked with them. He established himself as extraordinarily focused and rather a control freak. He knows what he wants, pursues it single-mindedly while imposing an iron discipline on caucus and staff.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Harper stereotype is all wrong space
A moralist? A stern figure of rectitude? In fact, Stephen Harper has always been an economic conservative, not a social conservative, says his biographer WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, January 25, 2006 – Page A21
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-- Stephen Harper won the election, but can he govern successfully?That he won, even with a minority, is a wonder. The man has no charisma. An introvert, he has resisted doing politics as theatre, refused to ingratiate himself with the pundits, and tended to disappear for weeks from the public's sight.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tell Quebec la vraie question space
Paul Martin plays the nationalist in English. Why, when talking to francophones, does he underplay the threat to this country's survival? demands WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 – Page A23
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-- After Friday's English language leaders' debate in Vancouver, Prime Minister Paul Martin issued a truly Churchillian challenge to Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, saying he was ''ready to meet him on every street corner, in every city and in every town and village in Quebec.'' No Mr. Dithers, he.  FULL STORY arrow
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No silly walks in Quebec space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, November 8, 2005 – Page A19
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-- Is Governor-General Michaelle Jean still standing?Last week, Ms. Jean was pummelled in Quebec's French press for a satirical speech she gave on Oct. 22 at the annual dinner of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. She was accused of dishonouring her high office, of meddling in politics by attacking Parti Quebecois leadership front-runner Andre Boisclair, of attacking prominent journalists, of ridiculing separatists and generally making a fool of herself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Still seeking the '95 referendum's lessons space
Chrétien was irresponsible, Parizeau reckless and a CBC documentary just propaganda, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, September 12, 2005 – Page A15
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-- The twin mountains of Radio-Canada and the CBC joined together in close embrace and produced an elephant. Rather they produced identical twin elephants named in French Point de rupture, in English Breaking Point, both after the 1995 Quebec referendum on secession.  FULL STORY arrow
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L'affaire Lafond: Forget it space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, August 15, 2005 – Page A13
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-- Will it work? The radical fringe of Quebec nationalism has launched a campaign to unseat Michaelle Jean as governor-general by outing her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, as a separatist and an admirer of FLQ terrorists.  FULL STORY arrow
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The elephant at the PQ convention space
To overthrow the Constitution, as the delegates seemed set to do, or to call it into question invites chaos, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 – Page A19
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-- They have seen the future and it works. That -- with the resignation of Bernard Landry -- sums up the Parti Quebecois's weekend convention.  FULL STORY arrow
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No meant no space
Twenty-five years after Quebeckers voted to accept their place in Canada, their province remains on a slippery slope to secession, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, May 16, 2005 – Page A13
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-- What a contrast between that memorable May 20, 1980, when federalism triumphed in Quebec's first referendum, and federalism's fallen state now, 25 years later. Then, Canada was headed by Quebec's most admired son, Pierre Trudeau, who, in elections just three months before, had received 68.2 per cent of the Quebec vote and 74 of the 75 seats. Last June, Paul Martin's Liberals took 21 seats, with 33.9 per cent of the vote. The coming elections promise a collapse of the Martin Liberals in Quebec, followed two years later by a crushing defeat for Jean Charest's Quebec Liberals. The separatists will control almost all of Quebec's political space in time for the next referendum. We are in for the perfect storm.  FULL STORY arrow
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No right to secede space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, April 20, 2004 – Page A16
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Gatineau, Que. -- Your editorial of April 15 (The Distance Between Tibet And Quebec) declares: ''Both the Supreme Court and the federal government have acknowledged Quebec's right to secede, given a clear majority vote on a clear question.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's kidding itself space
Whatever Stéphane Dion says, Canada shows little talent for dealing with separatist threats, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, November 3, 2003 – Page A13
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-- What a crazy country. Last Tuesday, the respected pollster CROP revealed its findings that 46 per cent of Quebeckers now say they are favourable to Quebec becoming a sovereign country, and 47 per cent would vote yes in a referendum on sovereignty that included a partnership with the rest of Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sign language makes noise at the UN space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, October 3, 2003 – Page A29
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-- The Lyon and The Wallrus rides again. It's an antique shop in Quebec's Eastern Townships, and its owners, Walter Hoffmann and Gwen Simpson, went to court five years ago to defend the store's bilingual sign, which contravenes the province's language laws. On Monday they will appeal to the United Nations to determine that Quebec's sign law violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  FULL STORY arrow
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Inching forward: the Canadian way on church and state space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, August 22, 2003 – Page A13
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-- No wonder Liberal members of Parliament meeting in North Bay were of two minds and conflicting passions over same-sex marriage. Canadians are similarly torn. Same-sex marriage forces to consciousness and to public dispute an underlying Canadian double vision regarding the relations between church and state. Our Constitution speaks with two contradictory messages.  FULL STORY arrow
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We're forgetting someone space
Canada's issues with Quebec and aboriginals both date back several centuries, says WILLIAM JOHNSON. The Council of the Federation resolves neither one
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, July 16, 2003 – Page A15
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-- The premiers of Canada met in Charlottetown last week and decreed a council of premiers, which they called, grandiloquently, the ''Council of the Federation.''They declared ''a new era of co-operation.'' In fact, it's merely a resumption of the new era launched by Quebec's Jean Lesage in 1960 when he inaugurated the annual premiers' conference. Since then, the premiers have acted like a union facing management, uniting their efforts to wring money and powers from the big, bad federal government.  FULL STORY arrow
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The death of an enfant terrible space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Wednesday, June 18, 2003 – Page A21
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-- It's a sign of the times that Quebec separatism's former enfant terrible, Pierre Bourgault, died quietly Monday at the age of 69, his death followed by a chorus of eulogies and adulation.  FULL STORY arrow
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Hey Tories, what about the elephant? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, June 2, 2003 – Page A13
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-- Since 1967, the Progressive Conservative Party has been shackled to an elephant. That elephant, in the just-ended Tory leadership contest, was the embarrassing presence none of the contenders chose to notice.  FULL STORY arrow
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In search of a happy ending: It takes only two people space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Monday, May 5, 2003 – Page A15
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-- Is a ''happy ending'' out of the question for homosexuals? Or does it apply exclusively to a man and a woman in each other's arms?The B.C. Court of Appeal went to the heart of human happiness last week when it ruled that Canada's long-standing common-law definition of marriage as ''the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others'' violates the equality rights of gay couples wishing to marry. The court proposed this non-discriminatory definition: ''the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.'' Parliament has been given until July of 2004 to change the Marriage Act accordingly.  FULL STORY arrow
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The nerve that Jacques Parizeau hit, again space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friday, April 4, 2003 – Page A13
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-- Jacques Parizeau had to go. The man's dangerous. He lets too many cats out of too many bags.This week, the former premier withdrew from the current Quebec election campaign. ''Parizeau's head cannot become an election issue,'' he said. ''With the kind of role I'm playing, you take part only as long as you're useful. When you no longer are, you drop out.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Bilingualism: classic doublespeak space
Want to enhance your legacy, Jean? Appoint a royal commission on Canadian unity, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, March 13, 2003 – Page A17
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-- A familiar Canadian drama was staged yesterday.In Quebec City, Premier Bernard Landry called an election for April 14, his objective being still to take Quebec out of Canada. His means: relentless propaganda presenting Canada as keeping the ''Quebec nation'' in a state of inferiority, while he pretends that a velvet secession is to be had simply by wanting it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pierre Bourque: He's back space
The former mayor of Montreal is by far the most attractive political figure in Quebec today, says WILLIAM JOHNSON
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 – Page A17
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-- Is Pierre Bourque for real?Think of it. There he stood, on the last day of January in the city of Montreal that he'd ruled for eight years as mayor. He announced that he'd be a candidate in this year's Quebec election -- not for the separatist Parti Quebecois, but for the upstart Action Democratique du Quebec, led by a 32-year- old country boy, Mario Dumont.  FULL STORY arrow
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Making the gun registry look good space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, January 16, 2003 – Page A19
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-- What a mess. Ottawa's handling of claims for compensation by ''survivors'' of the native residential schools will produce years of bitter conflict and billions of dollars in costs. The gun registry will compare as thrifty.  FULL STORY arrow
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Democracy is the only way space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, January 9, 2003 – Page A15
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-- Good grief, what have I said? My last column sowed the wind and reaped a whirlwind of outrage. Some readers -- such as T. C. from Victoria -- even summoned my editor-in-chief to censure me -- or else.  FULL STORY arrow
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In search of a safer world space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, January 2, 2003 – Page A15
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-- Can the world be safe without a widespread expansion of democracy? That question will ignite crucial decisions to be taken by Western countries in 2003.Looming over the new year is the spectre of war. War with Iraq. War or sabre rattling with North Korea. War in, if not against, states such as Yemen, Somalia or Sudan where anti-Western terrorists operate. And revolutionary upheavals threaten such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.  FULL STORY arrow
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Flipping out over the flag flap space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, December 26, 2002 – Page A19
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-- 'Tis the season to be sentimental. Who doesn't want to sing Joy to the World while surveying the year-end landscape?In that spirit, an editorial in Montreal's daily LaPresse announced an armistice between Quebec's two major language communities. ''Can it be that francophones and anglophones have buried the war hatchet? It does seem, at least, that there is a truce.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The danger of preaching paranoia space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, December 19, 2002 – Page A23
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-- David Ahenakew has set a Canadian record. No one in this country, in a position of authority and respect, has ever made public statements so heartless, cruel, racist and hateful as those last Friday of the former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don Kyoto: Still tilting at windmills space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, December 12, 2002 – Page A25
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-- Will Canada be the world's Don Quixote? Correction, that should be the world's Don Kyoto. Either scenario features windmills and horse manure.On Tuesday, the House of Commons voted approval for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Within days, the Senate will do the same and Prime Minister Jean Chretien will sign the ratification.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's war!: Landry on cloud nine space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, December 5, 2002 – Page A27
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-- Bernard Landry is marching off to war. In recent days, he huffed and puffed, rattled sabres, threatened to ''go all the way.'' Scary.The apparent casus belli was Roy Romanow's report on reforming Canada's health-care system. The royal commissioner had the gall to propose that federal billions turned over to the provinces be subject to conditions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Chrétien just doesn't get the GOP space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 28, 2002 – Page A23
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-- Francoise Ducros is gone. But the M-word remains, joining the ranks of words that kill. And it hangs over Jean Chretien in his relations with U.S. President George W. Bush.  FULL STORY arrow
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The myth of Séraphin is back space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 21, 2002 – Page A23
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-- By Quebec standards, it's a blockbuster movie. It runs for 2 hours 8 minutes and cost $6.4-million to make, with a promotion budget of more than $2-million in bought or donated publicity. It opens Nov. 29 on some 100 screens.  FULL STORY arrow
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O what wimps we Canadians be space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 14, 2002 – Page A21
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-- Premier Bernard Landry was at his old tricks on Remembrance Day. Shunning the ceremonies for Canada's war dead at Montreal's cenotaph, he attended the separatist Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste's commemoration in Montreal's main Catholic cemetery for ''those everywhere who died for the liberty and independence of peoples.''  FULL STORY arrow
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House reform doomed space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, November 7, 2002 – Page A25
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-- Have we seen the future?Given Liberal traditions, Tuesday's vote against the Prime Minister and cabinet by 56 Liberal MPs astounded the country. Where will the insurrection end? That pack of docile yea-saying ''nobodies'' actually joined MPs from four parties to pass a Canadian Alliance motion to elect the chairs of parliamentary committees by secret ballot.  FULL STORY arrow
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The debt we owe Chinese Canadians space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, October 31, 2002 – Page A21
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-- Will there be redress? Chinese Canadians, descendants of those forced to pay the odious ''head tax'' to be admitted to Canada, demonstrated on Parliament Hill this week. But, so far, they've been unable to sway the Liberal government.  FULL STORY arrow
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Brother, can you spare the ethics? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, October 24, 2002 – Page A23
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-- Is there honour among federal cabinet ministers? Will lustre again attach itself to the title of Honourable Member? To judge by the turmoil and the taunts in the Commons yesterday, honour is still in deficit in Parliament.  FULL STORY arrow
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Preston Manning thinks small space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, October 17, 2002 – Page A23
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-- Preston Manning was a prophet in politics. He thought big, dreamed bigger. When, in 1997, the Reform Party won 60 seats and became the Official Opposition, Mr. Manning was disappointed. He envisioned a new party to defeat the Liberals, as he tells us in his memoirs, Think Big: My Adventures in Life and Democracy.  FULL STORY arrow
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When will we be a real country? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, October 10, 2002 – Page A23
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-- Are Canadians to be vassals forever? God save the Queen of England, and God save us from the ''Queen of Canada.'' May the people of Canada put an end to this vestige of our past as a colony.  FULL STORY arrow
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Harper's Throne Speech space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, October 3, 2002 – Page A21
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-- Parliament was treated this week to no less than two Throne Speeches. The first, on Monday, was delivered after a 21-gun salute by Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson in the Senate. The second, without fanfare, was given on Tuesday in the Commons by Opposition Leader Stephen Harper.  FULL STORY arrow
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Will Mario survive les anglais? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, September 26, 2002 – Page A17
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-- On Monday, young wonderpol Mario Dumont wowed Toronto. How shocking! Will his reputation in Quebec survive his lionizing by les anglais?There he was Tuesday on the front page of several newspapers (even the separatist Le Devoir) framed -- almost embraced -- by a huge Maple Leaf. The symbolism, and the conciliatory content of Mr. Dumont's speech, sent the veterans of nationalist wars into a frenzy.  FULL STORY arrow
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Time to remember an old promise, Mr. Chrétien space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, September 19, 2002 – Page A25
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-- Jean Chretien, you promised that, if you became prime minister, you would bring in proportional representation to decide the outcome of future federal elections.You may have forgotten. Others haven't. And the written record is there to bear witness and to jog your memory.  FULL STORY arrow
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The yahoos who shamed Canada space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, September 12, 2002 – Page A17
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-- Call it poetic justice. The pro-Palestinian ultras who prevented Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking at Montreal's Concordia University on Monday, achieved the antithesis of what they wanted.By rioting against an eminent foreign visitor's presence on a university campus, they gave Israel's former prime minister an international spotlight he could never have commanded without the smashed windows, attacks on police, the kicking and spitting on Jews, and bullying of those who came to hear the speaker.  FULL STORY arrow
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Taking the high road space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, September 5, 2002 – Page A19
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-- Canada is on the map. Yesterday's luminous but explosive report of the Senate committee on illegal drugs will be heard like a cannon shot across the world.In a unanimous judgment, nine experienced senators told Canadians that cannabis (a.k.a. hemp, pot, hashish, marijuana) should be made legal in this country and that it should be readily purchasable by all Canadian residents over 16, who would also be authorized to cultivate it for their personal use. Commercial cultivation and distribution to the public would be authorized under licence, according to conditions set by federal, provincial and municipal governments.  FULL STORY arrow
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Turning a blind eye to treason space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, August 29, 2002 – Page A17
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-- Hey, Canada, wake up. Hey, federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, mayday! M'aider!Last week, Mr. Justice Michel Cote of Quebec Superior Court delivered a judgment that should trigger alarm across the country and arouse the guardians of peace, order and good government.  FULL STORY arrow
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Chrétien stands, the office falters space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, August 22, 2002 – Page A17
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-- Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? -- Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1 The King is dead. Well, not quite: only, it seems, in 18 months. Long live the king-killer -- if his time comes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mr. Dion's bilingual flapdoodle space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, August 15, 2002 – Page A15
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-- Our federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs just doesn't get it.Stephane Dion, who holds special responsibility for official languages, provoked a summer storm last week when he said in Fredericton: ''Imagine something like official bilingualism in all the provinces.'' He suggested that French-speaking Quebeckers would then feel more secure and would press the Quebec government to be more open toward English Quebec.  FULL STORY arrow
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When it comes to Quebec, down with Joe Clarkism space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, August 8, 2002 – Page A19
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-- Joe Clark is (almost; probably; unless things change; who knows?) history. But will Joe Clarkism stick around after Joe's gone? Will the main blockage to reuniting the Conservative tradition remain embedded in the Conservative Party?  FULL STORY arrow
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Can Charter trump religion? space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, August 1, 2002 – Page A19
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-- Will Canada soon permit men to marry men, women to marry women?The thought horrifies some and, on Monday, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon played it safe. He announced that Ottawa will appeal the July 12 decision of three Ontario Superior Court judges who ruled that restricting marriage to two people of the opposite sex violates gays' and lesbians' Charter right to equality.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yes, but is he catholic? space
This autocratic Pope has put Rome's imperial traditions before Christ's gospel, subverting the collegial vision of the Second Vatican Council - a vision of the church universal where the people share in the priesthood of Jesus
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, July 25, 2002 – Page A17
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-- He's a living, breathing, stumbling paradox, this Karol Wojtyla, a.k.a. Pope John Paul II.Granted, he's probably the most alluring, charismatic man to lead the Christian church in its entire history. He combines the authority of his office with mastering the idiom of contemporary mass media. He worked his magic on the throngs this week from the moment he began his perilous journey down the ramp after his plane landed in Toronto.  FULL STORY arrow
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Light up, inhale, decriminalize space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, July 18, 2002 – Page A15
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-- Well, it's a start. Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon didn't just confirm that he's thinking of decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana. He actually confessed he'd smoked the stuff -- and made no excuses, no apologies, no silly evasions a la Bill Clinton. Remember? ''I didn't inhale.'' (He didn't have sex with ''that woman,'' either.)  FULL STORY arrow
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Joe Clark: worse than a serial loser space
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By WILLIAM JOHNSON
Thursday, July 11, 2002 – Page A15
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-- Heward Grafftey came out Monday to offer himself as the Conservative Party's white knight, its saviour in its hour of peril.''I do not intend to sit idly by and see the once great party of Macdonald and Cartier die and wither on the vine,'' the former MP for Brome-Missisquoi told the nation.  FULL STORY arrow
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