Other writing

Culture shifts. Sometimes in a good direction. The pressure to change builds slowly until it is suddenly so apparent that we wonder why it wasn’t always that way. The current poster child for cultural awareness is a 74-year old song Baby It’s Cold Outside. A few years after it was written it made it into a long-forgotten screwball comedy film called Neptune’s Daughter. (This is one of thousands of movies I haven’t seen so I’m relying on Google for my research here.) The song is sung twice in the movie. Once by the romantic leads, Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, then again by the comicRead More →

Canada’s registered political parties are such scurrilous creatures that they must be kept well away from the green and pleasant world of municipal politics. This is certainly the impression you would take away from our recent election. A lot of people expressed joy and relief because they weren’t involved. Political parties couldn’t participate in the election even if they wanted to. It would be against the law. Cities in Ontario exist at the pleasure of the provincial government. The premier of the province is pretty much the mayor emeritus of every county, region, city, town and village in Ontario. As we witnessed recently in Toronto,Read More →

A Chance to Fight Hitler: a Canadian volunteer in the Spanish Civil War by David Goutor. Between the Lines, Toronto, 2018. Eighty years ago, much of western Europe fell under the yoke of extreme right-wing governments. Hitler was in power in Germany, Salazar ruled Portugal, Mussolini held Italy and Generalissimo Francisco Franco led a military uprising against the newly elected government of Spain. There was democratic opposition in each of those countries, but it was ruthlessly suppressed. Fascism consolidated its grip on power in the face of this popular resistance. In many ways the world has changed since 1937. Still, the more things change, theRead More →

With less than two weeks left until the City Council election we see some ballot box issues crystallizing. These are the issues that candidates hope will be front of mind when you stand at the ballot box on October 22. Let’s look at some of them. Experience Should this be a deciding factor in our choice of Mayor? Experience on Council is important, but so is real life experience outside city hall. Managing the city is not in the Mayor’s job description. The Mayor chairs meetings and leads the governance process. City Council hires a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to manage the city. The CAORead More →