The incomparable Flora MacDonald
To borrow from the title of a landmark political history by Dalton Camp, this is a book about gentlemen, players, and politicians. But in this case, the consummate political player happens to be a woman. Flora! A Woman in a Man’s World is a captivating tale of hopes and dreams, schemes and crushing disappointment.
Flora MacDonald was Canada’s first female external affairs minister (under Joe Clark) and the first woman to run for the leadership of a major federal…
This is Peter Mansbridge
The title may be Off the Record, but if you’re looking for major revelations, whether personal or political, you won’t find them here. After fifty years at CBC News and thirty years in the anchor chair, Peter Mansbridge must know where a fair number of the Mother Corp’s bodies are buried and may even have the goods on a few Ottawa…
The sorry state of our national broadcaster
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s operating licence will expire at the end of August, and the Mother Corp is seeking a five-year renewal from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. “As part of the CBC/Radio‑Canada licence renewal process,” a November press release read, “the CRTC wants to hear from Canadians across the country to ensure that the content produced and distributed by the public broadcaster reflects the diversity of Canada’s…
Automobility, the newspaper wars and how paved roads came to Hogtown
Local newspapers are an endangered species in Canada today. At least 70 community newspapers have shut down across the country since 2008, as recorded by the Local News Research Project at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. In 2016, the 149-year-old Guelph Mercury ended its print edition, as did the Nanaimo Daily News and the Northern Journal in the Northwest…
How much influence can think tank funders buy?
Stephen Harper qualifies for an “ism,” as in Thatcherism and Reaganism, because, according to Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada, he has shifted the political culture of Canada incrementally and perhaps irrevocably to the right. Donald Gutstein, a journalist and Simon Fraser University communications professor, focuses on the global network of conservative think tanks that have contributed to this…
How much can newspaper coverage do to prevent atrocity?
Hardly a day goes by that we do not confront the mixed reality of living in an increasingly globalized world on an increasingly small planet. We are all connected.
Today there can be no horrific events taking place in a faraway land we know nothing about with no implications for those of us who live in peaceful developed western…
How a century-old news cooperative helped Canadians learn who they are
The Canadian Journalism Foundation, an organization that aims to promote excellence in journalism, has a slogan—“as journalism goes, so goes democracy.” It is a lofty ideal and, if it is true, the Canadian Press has surely done its bit for democracy in this country.
CP has been around for almost a century. While its website says “Many Canadians are familiar with THE CANADIAN PRESS credit on countless newspaper stories,” my guess is that most Canadians have never heard of…
Did a popular premier just get too far ahead of the curve?
We can never know what might have been. If Dave Barrett’s NDP government in British Columbia had done things differently, could they have been elected for a second term? Or was their brand of social democracy just too radical? That is the question posed in The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in …
Three memoirs by victims of the booming kidnapping industry
Years ago when I was a volunteer for Canadian University Service Overseas in Africa, you could hitchhike the Great North Road from Zambia to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania without much concern for safety. This was a time before the proliferation of guns throughout Africa, before “failed states” and the rise of feudal warlords. At that time there was still a post-colonial deferential attitude toward white…