Archive for December 2009

Ho hum .. it’s December .. time to prorogue Parliament in Canada again – whatever that means, etc, etc ..

Dec 30th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2009. [UPDATED DECEMBER 31]. So all the inside rumours about Canadian federal politics have now proved true. Today Canada’s minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper phoned Governor General Michaelle Jean and asked her to prorogue Parliament until March 3, 2010. And she has accepted the advice, as some would say she is bound […]

21st century already older than it seems: reflections on a day when we started drinking too soon ..

Dec 29th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

You might say that we will enter the second decade of the 21st century on New Years’ Day 2010. So we should have an inkling of what it’s about by now. Yet there is a pedantic definitional issue right away: “Most people assume that the 21st century starts with 2000, but a vocal minority insists […]

Happy holidays … 10 top tunes of the season

Dec 24th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

One of the amazing things about YouTube is how you can listen to all kinds of music on it. And whatever else, music is a big part of this holiday season. Here’s our very casual selection of 10 holiday tunes on You Tube 2009: * Angels We Have Heard on High. Based on a traditional […]

Did Wonder Man of Mount Royal work miracles? .. Merry Christmas Brother André anyway 2009 ..

Dec 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

One pristine winter in the early 1970s I took a trip with several friends to the annual carnival in Quebec City. While passing through Montreal we paid a poignant chance visit to St. Joseph’s Oratory, at 3800 Chemin Queen-Mary on Mount Royal. This was my first encounter with Brother André (1845—1937) – who inspired  the […]

Are McGuinty and Stelmach really the worst premiers in Canada and its provinces today?

Dec 18th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

Only people like Hitler, George Orwell said (more or less), never change their minds. And I am  now changing my mind about Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s current political prospects. My immediate motivation is the new Angus Reid approval ratings for Canadian provincial premiers. Based on surveys in the nine most populous provinces from November 23—29, […]

How did PM Harper do it in 2009 .. and will it still work next year?

Dec 17th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

TORONTO. DECEMBER 17, 2009. It is hardly surprising when the Toronto Star’s Chantal Hébert explains how “Harper Tories are own worst enemies” – even though: “Only a few weeks ago” they seemed “headed for a triumphant year end.” But when anyone at the National Post asks  “How does Harper do it?” – and then gives […]

Haida Gwaii : a 2009 Christmas present for Canada and its organic constitution

Dec 14th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

This past Friday, December 11, 2009 the British Columbia government and the Haida First Nation signed a “broad-reaching land use and economic development agreement that included officially renaming the Queen Charlotte Islands with the traditional native name Haida Gwaii.” The deal will strengthen the Haida First Nation in the regional economy of Canada’s Pacific Coast. […]

Strange gifts from Santa: HST in Ontario and BC and Afghan “detainee-abuse” testimony in Ottawa

Dec 9th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2009. With Santa just starting to pack his sleigh up at the melting North Pole, only a few will be relieved to read “Ontario passes bill to create HST … Harmonized 13-per-cent tax to take effect July 1.” (Or “HST bill passes, 13% tax starts July 1 … BC expected to follow […]

The Hated Sales Tax in Ontario and BC and the Governor General in Ottawa … what has Bill Vander Zalm been smoking????

Dec 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Canadian Provinces

You could say that current plots to “harmonize” the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) into one more efficient HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) are only afoot in two of Canada’s 10 provinces – and thus of only slight interest Canada-wide. But the two provinces involved, Ontario and British Columbia, […]

Remembrance of coalitions passed … and the Canadian rebellion tradition

Dec 6th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

TORONTO. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2009. Yesterday marked the 172nd anniversary of William Lyon Mackenzie’s ill-fated (and no doubt somewhat comic-operetta) march down Yonge Street in a much earlier incarnation of this city – the height, as it were, of the Upper Canadian Rebellion of 1837. On a perhaps vaguely related but much more recent wave […]