March 2010

Extreme talkfests are a Canadian specialty, and at the end of March the confused Liberal Party of Canada will be holding one in Montreal. To help the delegates focus their minds, the LRC has commissioned Andrew Potter of Maclean’s to suggest ways through the party’s ongoing “Identity Crisis.” Potter reminds us that the Liberals have been here before – three times, in fact – and have always followed their soul-searching years in the wilderness with an immediate return to power. Can they do it again?

When women began swelling the ranks of scientists and engineers in the 1980s and 90s, we thought the trend would just continue. But since 2003, the number of women involved in science in this country has been steadily declining, and Monique Frize set out to find out why in her book, The Bold and the Brave: A History of Women in Science and Engineering. Our reviewer, Sheilla Jones, has done her own hard time in the physics lab before leaving to become a science writer instead, thus adding to the statistics.

We are all familiar with the iconic Haida images that the late West Coast artist Bill Reid sculpted in wood and gold, in argillite, ivory and bronze — images we encounter at the Canadian embassy in Washington, at Vancouver International Airport, on the backs of our $20 bills. Most Canadians, though, don’t know that Reid was also a perceptive writer about the history and culture of Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). Solitary Raven: The Essential Writings of Bill Reid is the book that gathers this material together, reviewed for us this month by Norbert Ruebsaat, who has also written extensively on these subjects.

Happy reading.

Bronwyn Drainie