June 2014

The future of the CBC has become a pressing concern for all those interested in the ongoing culture of this nation, made even more urgent by the loss of NHL hockey as a money-maker for the corporation. Should the Corp be competing aggressively with the private services, or should it be downsizing and focusing more on its public mandate? And does the administrative structure of the CBC allow for the kind of flexible creativity that may be required to keep it going? These are the questions communications expert Barry Kiefl raises in his feature essay, “The CBC in Crisis.”

The story of Canada during the Great Depression has been, in large part, one of drastic deprivation and unemployment which the federal government was largely unable to alleviate because of the constitutional division of powers that allotted welfare responsibilities to the provinces. Independent historian Edward Whitcomb reopens this Pandora’s Box in his essay, “The Great Depression,” and makes the case that Ottawa’s decision not to intervene more than it did was political, not constitutional.

Digging into Canadian history from a literary angle, a new book titled Canadian Gothic: Literature, History and the Spectre of Self-Invention by Cynthia Sugars postulates the need for settlers in a new land to, essentially, create their own imaginative past – their own ghosts, as it were – as part of the process of acclimatizing to their new home. It’s an intriguing thesis, analyzed in a clever review by Yvette Nolan, playwright and theatre director of mixed Algonquin-Irish heritage.

Plenty of provocative reading for the month of June!

Bronwyn Drainie