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From the archives

Paper Rout

Postmedia in the gutter

Past Trauma

Richard Wagamese and an Indigenous literary resurgence

Family Pride

Profiles in gay life

James Hughes

James Hughes is a fellow of Renaissance College at the University of New Brunswick and former deputy minister of social development for New Brunswick. He is also a former member of the National Council of Welfare. He owns no right, title or interest in the Fram brand.

Articles by
James Hughes

The Longest Nights

When the temperatures dipped in Montreal April 2022
Stella Stosik, 64, of Montreal passed away in peace on Thursday, January 20 from an aortic aneurysm.— Montreal Gazette notice, January 29, 2022 The word that best describes ­winter 2022 in Canada’s second-most populous city may well be “grim.” By conveying the twin qualities of darkness and otherworldliness, it is perfectly suited to summarizing a season of macabre and strange firsts — and…

Mission Critical

No shelter to these outrages November 2021
I should probably dislike Erin Dej’s A Complex Exile: Homelessness and Social Exclusion in Canada more than I do. After all, the book is a searing critique of modern homeless shelters and their sometimes paternalistic and exclusionary practices. I happen to run one of those shelters in Montreal, the Old Brewery Mission. Like other shelters across the…

Mission Statement

A shelter from the storm July | August 2021
Even before the pandemic, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation proposed that a group of nurses be called a “compassion.” And since January, compassions have been a regular sight at the shelter I run in downtown Montreal. Every five days or so, with their laptops and super swabs, a half-dozen nurses in full scrubs have been conducting COVID‑19 testing of the people we serve at the Old Brewery…

Why We Can't Afford Poverty

The case for paying now, so we don’t pay more later April 2012
There is a great ad from the 1980s about Fram oil filters you can still find on Youtube. A mechanic is telling his customer that his colleague, Joe, has been fixing a lot of engines recently. To avoid this cost, he affirms in a friendly and confident way that it is important to change the oil regularly and “put in a new Fram filter when you’re supposed to.” The ad concludes with these legendary words: Narrator: “You can pay me now [for the filter].” Joe: “Or you can pay me later [to fix your engine at a much higher cost].” Since the dawn of the welfare state in Canada (and everywhere else in the developed world for that…