Have the Doug Ford Conservatives just made a major miscalculation — using the notwithstanding clause to trash democratic rights?

Posted: June 14th, 2021 | No Comments »
Tks to Barista at Red Star Café.

SPECIAL FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, BUCKHORN, ON. MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2021. A great many individuals and organizations down in The Smoke (also capital city of Canada’s most populous province) are up in arms today.

Using the so-called “notwithstanding clause” in section 33 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the Ford government is going ahead with its controversial election spending legislation, despite a court judgement that this violates the Canadian Charter of Rights in earlier sections of the Constitution Act, 1982.

According to Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park man in charge for the Toronto Star, the legislation, newly refreshed by references to the notwithstanding clause “should pass this afternoon.” The Ford government does have a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly. And the voice of parliament — the supreme authority in our “Westminster” system of government — is clear.

Changing face of Ontario’s capital city in The Smoke — east to Bathurst from Palmerston just north of Bloor. Photo by Michael Seward, June 2021.

Just to round out the theory, it is the supremacy of parliament in our kind of parliamentary democracy that the notwithstanding clause is meant to guarantee. And now as of 4:31 PM EDT The Canadian Press is reporting that Mr. Benzie was right : “Ontario passes election spending bill with notwithstanding clause … The Ontario government has passed a bill limiting third-party election advertising by employing a rarely used legislative power … Bill 307 used the notwithstanding clause to reintroduce parts of a law struck down by a judge last week … The clause allows legislatures to override portions of the charter for a five-year term … The bill passed this afternoon after a marathon weekend debate in which opposition politicians argued the government was trying to silence criticism ahead of next June’s provincial election.”

I wouldn’t pretend to any deep knowledge on this issue. And, like so much else, it does strike me as at least somewhat more complex than the most aggressive arguments of all three opposition parties in the Ontario legislature might suggest.

In the Globe and Mail this morning, eg, Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and Scott Hennig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation noted that “Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government first brought in a law in 2016 that gagged citizens from using paid means of amplifying their voices” before elections.

From Theo Moudakis in the Toronto Star.

But Van Geyn and Hennig also point out that the new Ford Conservative government law of 2021 goes far beyond the earlier Wynne government rules on election spending. The Bill 307 that has now been duly passed by the provincial parliament means that “today, with just under a year to go before the next Ontario election, citizens are effectively barred from spending their own money to voice their opinion on any political issue.” And while “Mr. Ford’s target may be the union coalition Working Families, the impact of the law is far broader, and limits comment on essentially any public policy issue when these comments matter the most.”

I would agree as well that the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution Act, 1982 is not meant to be an ordinary or customary exercise of parliamentary sovereignty. If it were there would be no point in having a charter of guaranteed human rights in “a free and democratic society” that legislatures cannot just override whenever they like.

Changing face of Ontario’s capital city in The Smoke — eastern Beaches, just northwest of the Balmy Beach Club. Photo by Jeanne MacDonald, June 2021.

(And in the land of the mother of parliamentary democracies itself, the eminent journalist Neal Ascherson has recently complained that the “idiotic doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty — the late 17th-century transfer of absolutism from kings endowed with divine right to an elected assembly — excludes any firmly entrenched distribution of rights. Popular sovereignty in Britain is a metaphor, not an institution.”)

The ultimate practical political question, however, is will the Ford government that has now used the notwithstanding clause to override Charter rights find itself in trouble with the people of Ontario it so often claims to be supporting in the June 2, 2022 election, a little less than a year ahead?

This past Saturday Chris Hall, one of the more astute political analysts at CBC News, pointed out that both the Quebec and Saskatchewan provincial governments have already used section 33 of the Constitution Act, 1982, without suffering any retaliation from voters at election time. The Ontario PC brain trust supporting the Ford government has apparently calculated that something similar will now happen in Ontario.

One counter-argument is that this is the first time the notwithstanding clause has been used north of the Great Lakes. And unlike either Quebec or Saskatchewan, Ontario is a province that has traditionally put Canada first — and that especially values the Charter of Rights masterminded by Pierre Trudeau’s federal government some four decades ago.

The Bill 307 the Ford government used its current parliamentary majority to push through today just might prove to be the big mistake that will finally crystallize the popular opposition to rule by the Ford Nation that has been growing for some time, and ultimately throw the government from office at last on June 2, 2022!

On the other hand, I wouldn’t bet the family farm on this prospect just yet. Chris Hall has a point. Moreover, for all his growing unpopularity, Doug Ford has yet to discover an opposition leader who can clearly take him (and especially his Ontario PC party) down. Inside, hiding from the pouring rain today, I googled the 2018 Ontario election results. On some rough figuring I calculated that the PC s won as many as 33 of the 124 seats in the Ontario Legislative Assembly with more than 50% of the riding vote back then. No other party has quite this kind of record.

Mitzie Hunter, Kathleen Wynne, and Mike Schreiner in Ontario legislature, Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Personally, like many others in the province (if not enormous numbers where I’m living now, in the wonderful Kawartha wilderness, far away from the anxieties and obsessions of The Smoke) I think Doug Ford is altogether the wrong person to be presiding over the current parliamentary democracy in Canada’s most populous province.

But I wish I could be more confident, for the moment at least, that he won’t still be around after June 2 next year — even though I do believe that Bill 307, finally passed by the Ford PC parliamentary majority today, does use the notwithstanding clause to trash and trample on the democratic rights of the people of Ontario. And that is of course a bad and perhaps even appalling thing, especially in the 2020s!

Langevin, Macdonald, and Ryerson in the wake of the Kamloops graves : where do they belong in Canadian history?

Posted: June 11th, 2021 | No Comments »

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK — RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. JUNE 11, 2021. I think Stephen Maher’s June 7, 2021 Maclean’s article, “John A. Macdonald can wait … We are at the beginning, not the end, of a process of reassessing our history…” says a number of good things on an important issue at the right moment.

The article has inspired me to quickly add a few unusually soon further notes to my own more modest thoughts of the same date on “We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.”

Not just John A. Macdonald

One good thing about Maher’s “John A. Macdonald can wait” is that he points out how this particular “architect of the system” of “Indian Residential Schools” in Canada “looked to the United States, where residential schools were being used to destroy Indigenous communities, and imported the system.”

(Macdonald arguably did something similar with the economic development strategy often called his “National Policy” — a variation on the “American System” next door.)

Here in Toronto (as in other places), where clips of the tumbling Egerton Ryerson statue on the campus of the downtown university that still bears his name have lately haunted the local TV news, we also can’t forget that there were other reputed “architects” of the appalling residential schools system.

Similar thoughts may still linger in the capital city at Ottawa, where the “Langevin Block” was re-christened the “Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council” on June 21, 2017, after “the Assembly of First Nations called for the building to be renamed, due to Hector Langevin’s role in the creation of Canada’s controversial Indian residential schools system.”

The broader assumptions of the societies in which they lived

Neither Langevin nor Ryerson have as big a reputation in traditional Canadian history as the first prime minister of the 1867 confederation John A. Macdonald. And that’s a good reason for a good journalist rightly concerned about keeping things not too demanding for many diverse readers to focus on Macdonald.

General Brock meets Tecumseh, his ally in defence of Canada in the War of 1812.

At the same time, the presence of more than one particular “architect” of the residential schools in Canada — and their deeper origins in the “Native American Boarding Schools” of the United States — suggest some kind of important broader historical reality to me. And hopefully this will become clearer as we, in Stephen Maher’s words, carry on with the current “process of reassessing our history, and filling in the silences that are needed to get at the truth.”

It may seem somehow comforting, for example, to identify a few individuals — such as Ryerson, Langevin, and Macdonald — to take the major blame for the residential schools. But my sense of the 19th century Canadian world they lived in (flowing especially from my current work-in-progress on “Democracy in Canada Since 1497” — now at least closer to completion than it has ever been before) is that their views on the future of the various Indigenous peoples of Canada largely reflected the broader assumptions of the societies in which they lived.

Read the rest of this page »

“We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions” (and then there’s Democracy in America today)

Posted: June 7th, 2021 | No Comments »
“Mi-O-My-O” by Michael Seward, May 2021.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK — RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. JUNE 7, 2021. The troubling big news in Canada right now appears in reports like : “How radar technology is used to discover unmarked graves at former residential schools” ; and “Papal apology for church’s role in residential schools may not be ‘way forward’: archbishop.”

In the midst of much not always enlightening commentary I think CBC News (believe it or not) has put together something helpful and even more or less objective with : “Your questions answered about Canada’s residential school system … Discovery at former residential school in Kamloops, BC has led to calls for action.”

“Further Wreckage” — photo by Michael Seward, May 2021.

It is intriguing if not surprising that Canadian reporting on the residential schools issue seldom (if ever) acknowledges the parallel experience next door. See eg a National Public Radio report on “US Boarding Schools Were The Blueprint For Indigenous Family Separation In Canada” ; or a USA Today article : “Mass grave of 215 children in Canada a stark reminder of the dark history of Native American boarding schools in US.”

My personal view is that we are still light years away from honest conversations about the role of Indigenous Canadians in Canadian history. It is often said that the 1930s marked the height of the appalling residential school system in Canada (operated in conjunction with church organizations, as in the former Catholic school in Kamloops where radar technology has suggested as many as 215 graves of Indigenous schoolchildren).

At the same time, it was also in 1930 that Harold Innis’s still-in-print classic on The Fur Trade in Canada : An Introduction to Canadian Economic History included this provocative sentence in its striking conclusion : “We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.”

“Canada” itself is an Indigenous or Native North American word. (Iroquoian more exactly. Like, if I understand correctly, the Algonquian words Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Toronto, and on and on and on.) In the 1990s Brian Slattery at Osgoode Hall Law School was arguing that what were then legally known as Aboriginal peoples (as in the Constitution Act, 1982) “were active participants in the lengthy processes that eventually gave rise to the federation of Canada … Aboriginal peoples should be viewed as active participants in generating the basic norms that govern us … as contributors to the evolution of our Constitution and most fundamental laws.”

Read the rest of this page »

Checking in on Premier Doug Ford as the COVID-19 numbers get better in Ontario (and Alberta, if not Manitoba)

Posted: May 27th, 2021 | No Comments »
“Venturing Out” by Michael Seward, May 2021.

MORE NOTES FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, BUCKHORN, ON. THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2021. In some ways the Doug Ford who spoke to the people of Ontario via TV on Thursday, May 20, 2021 was different from the Doug Ford who had addressed the same democratic audience on Friday, April 30.

Back last month he was a man in a casual jacket with “Premier Doug Ford” written on it, talking from his late mother’s backyard. Not quite three weeks later, two-thirds of the way through May, he was a man in a dark suit, white shirt, and sober tie, seated indoors in front of blue curtains and two Ontario flags.

Ontario flag today.

(Btw, why does Premier Ford seldom if ever speak with Canadian as well as Ontario flags nearby — in a province where many still put Canada First? Moreover, the present British imperialist Ontario flag, like the Ford Nation, is finally a memento of times gone by that will never seriously return. A government that was really open to all the new businesses of the 21st century would dream up a better flag. Or at least not wave the current rather foolish one we have so often. And for evidence that work on a new flag has already begun among we the common people see “ontario flag redesign” on Google Images.)

Lower Buckhorn Lake, Ontario.

The main point of Premier Ford’s brief May 20 TV remarks was to introduce Ontario’s “phased 3-step approach” to “reopening” the province, as the end of the latest lockdown looms (at some point), and the latest COVID-19 numbers in Canada’s most populous province are more or less moving down (new cases May 18 = 1616, eg ; May 27 = 1135).

As his part of “ONTARIO UNVEILS REOPENING PLAN” the premier stressed that the 3-step approach will be very, very careful and gradual — especially because the federal government, according to Doug Ford, is leaving the province with “unprotected” borders. There “might be some people [the premier went on] who want to move faster but we can’t risk it right now.”

The most significant part of Premier Ford’s introduction may have been his leaving the details of Ontario’s 3-step approach to subsequent remarks from Minister of Health Christine Elliott. As the premier explained : “Minister Elliott has done a tremendous amount of work on this plan.”

Read the rest of this page »

Understanding the strange state of conservative theory and practice today

Posted: May 23rd, 2021 | No Comments »
“Shadow” by Michael Seward, May 2021.

SPECIAL FROM L. FRANK BUNTING, PANCAKE BAY, ONTARIO. 24TH OF MAY WEEKEND. The May 13, 2021 issue of the New York Review of Books has an essay by Mark Lilla on the German novelist Thomas Mann (1875–1955), and his rather strange 1918 book Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man.

(The NYRB Classics series is in fact publishing a new edition of Reflections of a Nonpolitical Mantranslated from the German by Walter D. Morris, introduction by Mark Lilla … Publication Date: May 18, 2021.” The Review does not say that Lilla’s essay in its May 13, 2021 issue is substantially the same as his introduction to the NYRB Classics republication. But that seems a plausible guess.)

“Thomas Mann and daughter Erika in Tulsa, Okla., in 1939. PHOTO: WILLIAM VANDIVERT/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES.”

The broader point about both Lilla’s essay and the republication of Mann’s book seems to be that Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, and Mann’s subsequent struggles to “to distance himself from many of the reactionary political views he had expressed” there, can help us understand and finally transcend the twisted and much-worse shape of so much conservative political theory and practice in our own time.

As Lilla explains, in Thomas Mann’s homeland immediately after the First World War (1914–1918) the “shock of Germany’s defeat and the punitive Versailles Treaty, compounded by hyperinflation, transformed the ideological landscape.” By 1922, only four years after Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man was published, Mann felt he had to put its “repellent” anti-democratic views behind him. He “delivered a lecture, ‘On the German Republic,’ that endorsed Weimar democracy and put himself on record against the reactionary passions that he called ‘sentimental crudity.’”

I have never quite warmed to Thomas Mann. But like others I know I remain intrigued by the democratic Weimar Republic in Germany (1919–1933) — and the various deep German thinkers who, like Thomas Mann, wound up in the United States after Hitler destroyed the Republic and established his demonically anti-democratic Third Reich (1933–1945).

Democratic refugees from Hitler’s Germany in America : Left to right — Franz and Inge Neumann, Golde and Leo Löwenthal, and Herbert and Sophie Marcuse, ca. 1937.

Reading Mark Lilla’s May 13, 2021 piece on Thomas Mann finally led me back to the early 1980s. At that point I had stumbled into the writing of another 1930s Weimar Germany emigré to the USA, Franz Neumann (1900–1954) . When Ronald Reagan’s (and Margaret Thatcher’s) conservatism was starting to re-orient much political thinking in many places, I found a posthumous collection of Franz Neumann’s later writing in English especially helpful. Edited by his friend Herbert Marcuse and published in 1957, it is aptly entitled The Democratic and the Authoritarian State.

Read the rest of this page »

“I don’t belong to any organized political party … I’m a Democrat”

Posted: May 8th, 2021 | No Comments »

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK — RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. MAY 8, 2021. My treasured daily mail from Rachel Maddow a few days ago included a well-earned slight on the still-all-too-alive top Republican in the US Senate.

It read : “This is his vision. It is not a secret. With Biden in the Oval Office, McConnell has a guiding principle: Failure is the goal. ‘Democrats can and should learn from his candor: Republicans aren’t interested in governing’ … Mitch McConnell keeps telling anyone who’ll listen that he prioritizes partisanship over governing. It’s time to believe him.”

I altogether agree with this as far as it goes. It is pointless to place any kind of faith in M. Mitch McConnell and any Republican enterprise he controls. But to me the problem Democrats face at the moment goes deeper as well — on at least two fronts.

“The sun is warm, the coffee is hot, sitting in my backyard early in the morning,” Michael Seward, May 2021.

As a very practical matter, and unlike FDR and LBJ (as the great Ron Brownstein and others wisely point out), the Biden Democrats have only a slender majority in the House (which may slim down even further under the new census numbers?), and a precarious parity at best in the Senate (Senator Manchin etc). And there’s only so much White House Executive Orders can do.

Somewhat deeper in the political culture, it could be argued, there’s also the problem that, from the standpoint of the last-stand Anglo-American conservative movement which Senator McConnell and a growing mainstream of his political party are apparently embracing, his anti-governing and alas ultimately also anti-future-America strategy (now as in the preceding age of Obama) makes all too much sense.

Read the rest of this page »

Just starting to probe the mystery of Doug Ford in Canada’s most populous province

Posted: May 2nd, 2021 | No Comments »
Ontario Premier Doug Ford delivers a COVID-19 update from ravine-lot backyard of his late mother’s home in Etobicoke, City of Toronto, April 30, 2021.

SPRING NOTES FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, BUCKHORN, ON. Some of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s continuing rural, small town, exurban, and other supporters may have found it reassuring that the location from which he gave his April 30, 2021 virtual news conference did not look at all like even the suburbs of today’s City of Toronto.

Back in an earlier day visitors from beyond the metropolis (aka “Big Smoke” or even just “The Smoke”) similarly expressed surprise that, as we sat out on a summer evening, there were racoons running along the fence tops in my old streetcar suburban small Toronto backyard, before I moved to the kinder and gentler Kawartha wilderness.

At first I was somewhat confused myself about just where the premier was speaking from in the Ontario spring of 2021. Was he actually in isolation at his cottage, I wondered, as I watched the already blooming springtime foliage stir in the breeze.

“April 27, 2021,” by Michael Seward.

Then my wife set me straight : “He’s just in the backyard of his mother’s place.” (Clearly a classic ravine lot, in the old Toronto west-end suburb of Etobicoke. And the location was later confirmed by a well-groomed lady on CTV News, from her own smartly decorated den at home.)

Quite carefully for the occasion, you might guess, the premier was wearing a black jacket or windbreaker, with an Ontario trillium crest on one side and “Premier Doug Ford” on the other. I tried to make fun of this, but my wife claimed that US state governors often appear in public wearing similar jackets.

Read the rest of this page »

Look what’s happening to Pierre Berton’s Canadian National Dream in 2021

Posted: April 25th, 2021 | No Comments »
“Travelling Toronto’s laneways.” Photo by Michael Seward, April 2021.

SPECIAL FROM RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, APRIL 25, 2021. Pierre Berton published his two-volume history of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1970s — The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 (1970) and The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885 (1971).

I think there are good and bad things to be said about the remarkable Canadian public career of Pierre Berton (1920–2004). And his work in print and on TV was certainly part of the city of Toronto universe in which I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 2021 I would myself not stress the good things as much as the historian A.B. McKillop in “Books, Brands, and Berton” (The Underhill Review, Fall 2009). But I also think this piece offers a good short sketch of the remarkable career itself.

To me the bad things turn around Pierre Berton’s ultimate failure to concoct what McKillop might call a Canadian brand that could stand up to the harsh new challenges of the 21st century.

Remembering Canada and Louisiana in the first half of the 18th century

Harold Innis on the Peace River, doing fieldwork on the fur trade in Canada, 1924.

To start with, there is the US reviewer of The Great Railway who rather darkly wondered : “What kind of country has a railway for its national dream?” (Even if I can’t quite trace the source for this apt remark at the moment!)

More importantly, Canada today is an increasingly complex place, working hard to deal with increasingly complex forces from outside (and inside). Pierre Berton’s Canadian brand finally proved too simple — not at all complex, cunning, and ironic enough to handle what Marshall McLuhan’s global village (and the USA next door) have now started to become.

The complex point is not a dream about a railway. When Pierre Berton was three years old in the Yukon a 29-year-old Harold Innis at the University of Toronto published A History of the Canadian Pacific Railway (a revision of his PhD thesis for the University of Chicago).

The CPR opened Innis’s eyes to the east-west economic geography first mobilized by the first Canadian resource economy of the northern transcontinental fur trade. In 1930 he published his still-in-print classic, The Fur Trade in Canada : An Introduction to Canadian Economic History.

Read the rest of this page »

Why Canada needs a new citizenship oath

Posted: April 10th, 2021 | No Comments »
New Canadians take citizenship oath in Vancouver BC, 2015.

SPECIAL FROM ASHOK CHARLES, TORONTO/THUNDER BAY. APRIL 10, 2021 : Canada’s current citizenship oath, with its medieval pledge of fealty to a hereditary monarch, does not meet the needs of a prominent 21st century democracy.

In 2019 Canada accepted 340,000 new permanent residents, and is among the countries with the highest levels of immigration. Some 21% of the Canadian population is foreign-born — second only to Australia.

The top 10 countries from which we accept immigrants are India, China, Philippines, Nigeria, United States, Pakistan, Syria, Eritrea, Korea and Iran. Of these, at least half lack one or more of the following: multi-party elections, secularism, egalitarianism, press freedom.

Additionally, Canada is the world’s top re-settler of refugees and admits more people fleeing sectarian and ideological conflict than any other country.

New Canadians take citizenship oath in Toronto, ON, 2020.

It is fair to say that many of those who immigrate to Canada are coming from societies with conceptions of civil rights, freedoms, and responsibilities which are significantly different than our own.

When immigrants have fulfilled the requirements of citizenship, our citizenship oath represents our only opportunity to elicit a formal commitment in regards to how they will conduct themselves as full-fledged members of Canadian society.

It would be prudent to require a pledge to uphold democracy, egalitarianism, secularism and multiculturalism. Each of these principles is upheld by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, as such, they are fundamental Canadian values. We benefit when joined by newcomers who honour them.

Revising our citizenship oath to include a commitment to these values would also benefit potential immigrants as they encounter the oath when investigating Canada’s naturalization process and would see a succinct summary of the ideals which underlie Canadian society.

Read the rest of this page »

Blue Jays 2021 — Expectations will continue to rise .. and Montoyo says “Our guys are ready”

Posted: April 1st, 2021 | 4 Comments »
Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo.

SPECIAL FROM ROB SPARROW, HIGH PARK, TORONTO. APRIL 1, 2021. Life for the Toronto Blue Jays, like everyone else for that matter, was and continues to be upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. A year ago, Canadian government border restrictions forced them to be baseball’s version of the nomadic warriors playing all of their games south of the border. Yet even in that most odd of years, it did not dissuade the youthful Blue Jays, who galvanized as a team and surprised with a 32-28 record and a spot in baseball’s post-season.

The potential for a breakout was there, but the consensus was that it wouldn’t happen until 2021 or beyond. To wit, the young Jays became the first team to ever qualify for the postseason without a single player with 10 years of major league experience. By reaching the playoffs — albeit an expanded 16-team version where they were quickly dispatched in two games by the Tampa Bay Rays — they arrived ahead of schedule.

“I think (we) should get more credit for what we did last year, not having a home and the guys believing from the beginning that we had a chance to play in the playoffs, and they did,” stated manager Charlie Montoyo, when asked if his team gets the respect it deserves. “The season gave us a tremendous window into their resilience, their determination, their perseverance and their toughness,” CEO Mark Shapiro said.

At TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida — where Jays will start 2021 season. Photo : John David Mercer–USA TODAY Sports.

It is with that accomplishment in their rear-view window that they look forward to the 2021 season with much anticipation, although once again with restrictions that will keep them out of Canada. The impact of COVID-19 and emerging variants of concern remains one collective unknown, and is tied to the Blue Jays’ lingering uncertainty over where they will play out their 2021 home schedule. Prevented from hosting games at Rogers Centre due to continued border restrictions, this year the club will begin the season in Florida, and play at least their first few homestands at Dunedin’s newly upgraded TD Ballpark.

Beyond the May 24 timeframe the team has not made any definitive plans. A couple more homestands in Dunedin is one possibility, but the club wants no part of the area’s searing heat and daily thunderstorms during the summer. A return to Buffalo is on the table, although that would also require relocating the Triple-A Bisons. The club’s enduring hope is that vaccinations accelerate enough to contain a third wave driven by the variants of concern, and allow for a return to Toronto, even if to play in an empty stadium.

Whether it’s Dunedin for two months, Buffalo for the summer, or even hope against hope, Toronto in the fall, after last years’ experience they will be more than ready for it. Like many things in this uncertainty of COVID-19, only time will tell.

Read the rest of this page »