Issues

May 2013

Is the Canadian centre – economically, politically, culturally – moving to the west? That’s the provocative thesis of The Big Shift by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker, who believe that the “Laurentian consensus,” the coalescing force of Quebec and Ontario in Canadian public affairs, has had its day. New western economic muscle and substantial waves of immigration, they say, are creating profound changes in our values. Our reviewer Yuen Pau Woo, head of the Asia-Pacific Foundation in Vancouver, begs to differ.

When it comes to energy costs, both financial and environmental, should we focus more on supply or on demand? Michael Cleland, a leading energy analyst, argues in his feature essay, “Demand Better,” that far too much analysis goes into the pros and cons of producing energy, from wind farms to oil sands, and not nearly enough into reducing demand through intelligent efficiencies. Cleland’s piece is one of the 40th Anniversary Max Bell Essays and Lectures, presented by Max Bell Foundation, and the LRC is pleased to feature it here.

Sarah Elton’s new book, Consumed: Sustainable Food for a Finite Planet, makes an eloquent case for a more human scale and much more environmental awareness in our food production systems. Reviewer Jennifer Clapp, author of Hunger in the Balance: The Politics of International Food Aid, agrees with many of Elton’s arguments but makes some further – and highly urgent – ones of her own.

When the CanLit awakening took place in the 60s and 70s, it was confidently predicted that schools across the land would embrace our authors and that Canadian students would grow up with a strong sense of a national literature. Critic Michael LaPointe decided to test that thesis in 2013 by asking teachers from coast to coast what authors they were featuring in their classrooms. The answers he found may – or may not – surprise you.

Happy spring reading!

Bronwyn Drainie Editor