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  • Pope’s visit should also remind us that Indigenous peoples “were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions”

    Posted: July 28th, 2022 | No Comments »
    “Interstellar Polemic” by prize-winning Toronto artist Michael Seward, July 2022.

    COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. JULY 28, 2022. Paul Elie, a senior fellow at Georgetown University with a special interest in religion, has written in The New Yorker about Pope Francis’s current Canadian visit, to confront the role of the Catholic Church in the historic appalling and now quite discredited Indian Residential Schools in Canada :

    “On Sunday [24 July 2022], he met with Indigenous representatives at the airport in Edmonton; then, on Monday, he travelled fifty miles south to the hamlet of Maskwacis. There, seated in a wheelchair, he addressed other representatives, saying, ‘I have come to your native lands to tell you in person of my sorrow.’”

    Mr. Elie carried on : “The apology that followed was striking in its openheartedness. “I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” the Pope said … The apology suggested that regardless of how long Francis remains Pope, the trip will serve as a capstone to his tenure. Much of his papacy has involved redressing wrongs committed by the Church, and he has done so by striking a note of penitence that’s relatively new to the papacy — but that he has now established as an essential part of the office.”

    Immediate historical background

    “Pope Francis is greeted by George Arcand, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, as he arrives in Edmonton on Sunday, July 24, 2022.”

    We can only hope that Pope Francis’s Canadian visit will equally advance the cause of Indigenous “Reconciliation” and (a word much used in this context) “healing” in the 21st century world’s second-largest mass of political geography. (The largest, by far, belongs to Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation. And in this one geographic respect Canada is actually slightly larger than the usually friendly giant USA next door — although Canada currently has only 11.5% of the human population of the United States!)

    It is without a shred of doubt quite impossible to say anything good about the Indian Residential Schools experience in Canada today (or, eg, the parallel assimilationist — and “Western or European cultural imperialist” — Indigenous educational institutions in the USA and elsewhere). And there is no question that “ground-penetrating radar” evidence in June of last year on what Paul Elie in The New Yorker has called “the remains of two hundred and fifteen children from the Church-run Kamloops Indian Residential School, in British Columbia” has “brought fresh urgency to the request” for a papal apology.

    (And this concept of a papal apology, as Mr. Elie has suggested, had still deeper roots in “the findings, released in 2015, of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the Canadian government had launched to investigate the role of the Church, among other governing entities, in the historical mistreatment of that nation’s Indigenous peoples.” And this Commission in turn had grown out of the “largest class action settlement in Canadian history to date” of 2006–2007, known as the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), and then the “full apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools system” delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 11, 2008.)

    Need for broader historical perspective

    “Hot Damn” by Michael Seward, July 2022.

    At the same time, to us there are also some things missing from the current debate that ultimately weaken the cause of Indigenous Reconciliation — and Recognition for the still largely unsung Indigenous role in what the arguably so far greatest Canadian historian has called “the growth of Canadian institutions.” And one of these things is some broader historical perspective on the real and quite impressive role of Indigenous peoples in the long-term growth of Canada (which is exactly what the misguided 19th century inventors of the residential schools lacked as well).

    The Catholic Church was involved in “Canada [the Indigenous word] or New France” in a big way from the serious beginnings in the early 17th century. And Catholic priests almost certainly played a destructive role in the mid 17th century defeat of the Wendat confederacy between what are now called Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay in Ontario, at the hands of the early “New York imperialist” Five Nations Iroquois.

    Pontiac’s Rebellion begins at Fort Detroit spring 1763. It would finally save Canada from being absorbed into what would become the new United States of America a dozen years later. (From painting by Frederic Remington.)

    (One faction of the fleeing Wendat followed the fleeing French priests and allied workers to the Quebec city region, where their descendants still live in the early 21st century. And in the late 17th and early 18th centuries the New York Iroquois were expelled from the north shore of Lake Ontario by the Mississauga from the further We the North!)

    The “Residential School Timeline” posted online by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, however, starts as recently as 1831 — with “Mohawk Indian Residential School opens in Brantford, Ontario.” And even here the main starting point is 1883 — with “Sir John A. Macdonald authorizes the creation of residential schools in the Canadian West. Sir Hector Langevin, Secretary of State for the Provinces tells Parliament: ‘In order to educate the children properly we must separate them from their families. Some people may say this is hard, but if we want to civilize them we must do that.’”

    Indigenous peoples “fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions”

    Studio portrait taken in July 1882 of the surviving Six Nations warriors who once again defended Canada in the War of 1812. (Courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-085127.)

    It is no doubt crucial to recognize publicly nowadays that this old 19th century Western imperial concept of civilization is appalling and quite wrong, on several grounds. But modern Canada (again an Indigenous word) begins long before the 19th century.

    Note, eg, the still impressive first volume of the Historical Atlas of Canada, edited by R. Cole Harris of the University of British Columbia, and first published as long ago as 1987. Mr. Harris observes in his preface that the volume (subtitled From the Beginning to 1800)“has tended to confirm Harold Innis’s general insights … As Innis maintained, the pattern of Canada has been taking shape for almost 500 years and by New World standards is old.”

    And then from another more recent source : “In its still ringing and provocative conclusion, Harold Innis’s now more than 90-year-old local classic, The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History, complains: ‘We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.’ (And 2020s apologies for this customary anglophone lexicon of the 1930s!)”

    We Non-Indigenous Canadians have still in many ways not yet realized just what this now more than 90-year-old conclusion to a still-in-print book continues to mean for the Canadian future.

    And we won’t realize this also crucial aspect of real-world Indigenous Reconciliation if we never talk about it, Non-Indigenous and Indigenous alike.

    Catching up with Pierre Poilievre — how a guy born and raised in Calgary became an Ottawa region MP and likely next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Posted: July 19th, 2022 | 1 Comment »
    “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Michael Seward, July 2022.

    ONTARIO TONITE. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, TUESDAY 19 JULY 2022. For the longest time I have done my best to ignore Pierre Poilievre (“he pronounces it ‘paul-ee-EV’”), current frontrunner in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race (to be decided this coming Saturday, September 10 — now less than two months away).

    It was as long as 18 years ago, on June 28, 2004, that, having only recently celebrated his 25th birthday, M. Poilievre first entered the Canadian House of Commons.

    He won election as MP for “Nepean-Carleton (since renamed Carleton), a sprawling suburban and rural riding southwest of Ottawa, under the newly united Conservative banner that Stephen Harper knitted together out of the [Canadian] Alliance [Alliance canadienne] and the Progressive Conservatives.”

    It says something about Pierre Poilievre’s current credentials that he has been comfortably re-elected for more or less the same riding (“renamed Carleton” in 2012 for 2015) in every subsequent federal election (2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021).

    Career under Harper government

    “Poilievre speaks during question period in the House of Commons in May 2018 (Chris Wattie/Reuters).”

    Poilievre was the youngest MP in the House when first elected. (Andrew Scheer was 14 days older.) And he subsequently earned a reputation as a “Conservative attack dog” inside and outside parliament.

    The Stephen Harper government that was more than nine years in office, 2006–2015, gave the young attack dog Pierre Poilievre some intriguing assignments. (Overseeing the drafting of the controversial 2006 Federal Accountability Act is one example.)

    Perhaps understandably, however (given his youth alone), Poilievre only made it into the cabinet proper as Minister of Employment and Social Development for the Harper government’s last nine months in 2015.

    He nonetheless also did some controversial work on the Fair Elections Act (passed) and the bill that was to become the Citizen Voting Act (not passed) as Minister of State for Democratic Reform, 2013–2015.

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    Strange state of conservative politics in Canada and UK (and USA — could BOJO even be Trump’s successor??)

    Posted: July 9th, 2022 | No Comments »
    “Same Old Story” by prize-winning Toronto artist Michael Seward, July 2022.

    SPECIAL FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, ON THE EDGE OF THE CANADIAN SHIELD IN BUCKHORN, ON. K0L 0C1. 9 JULY 2022. The only immediate conclusion we up here in the Kawartha wilderness can draw is that some prominent Conservatives in Canada really do not like Patrick Brown.

    He was replaced as Ontario PC leader by Doug Ford only months away from the 2018 provincial election.

    Now only a very few months away from the 2022 Conservative Party of Canada leadership vote he has suddenly been disqualified from the race, for reasons still less than altogether clear.

    (Party official “Brodie said he would like to share all the information the party has on the matter with members, but for legal reasons can’t right now.”)

    “Patrick Brown Coup 2.0″ — Conservative democracy in Canada

    “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, was a surprise guest Wednesday [April 22, 2015] at a campaign reception in Toronto hosted by MP Patrick Brown, the front-running candidate for leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives.”

    The man in charge of the apparently 11–6 vote to disqualify Patrick Brown in 2022 is the political scientist Ian Brodie, a former Stephen Harper chief of staff and author of the 2018 book, At the Centre of Government: The Prime Minister and the Limits on Political Power. Those in the know like to say that Mr. Brodie is a Conservative Party of Canada official of great integrity.

    There are also such recent news headlines as : “Patrick Brown was aware company was paying for campaign work, whistleblower says” ; “Conservative Party tried to bring Brown into compliance with election laws and failed: leadership chair” ; “Brown axed to keep Conservative party ‘beyond reproach,’ top official tells members” ; and “Patrick Brown, disqualified from CPC race, facing Brampton mayoral troubles as well.”

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    On Canada Day 2022 these are times that try us (esp in USA) .. but there’s solace looking at summer on Blueberry Hill

    Posted: July 1st, 2022 | 2 Comments »

    NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, FRIDAY 1 JULY 2022. On the one hand, Canada Day 2022 could be declared a happy event since the country has largely joined the growing part of the global village that is pretending the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

    This year there is a Canada Day Picnic more or less in the neighbourhood where I live. It’s a long walk, and driving means you have to find an almost impossible parking space. It’s best to take the streetcar.

    (Years ago we’ve taken the streetcar all the way downtown for free hot dogs at Queen’s Park — well five-cent hot dogs anyway. But there’s nothing free at Doug Ford’s Queen’s Park now.)

    On the other hand, in the world I live in it’s not easy to be happy about the public realm this year — in Canada as well as next door in the USA. With such international headlines as “Johnson and Trudeau Mock Putin’s ‘Tough’ Persona at G7 Meeting,” you might think the domestic Justin Trudeau critics who call Canada’s PM “whimpy” would be at least somewhat pleased. But growing bodies of evidence make clear they are not.

    (Though a June 16 Mainstreet poll shows both New Democrats and Liberals ahead of their 2021 election results!)

    And then there’s the sad truth made clear in Felix Richter’s June 27, 2022 statista article, “How Representative Is the G7 of the World It’s Trying to Lead?” In a nutshell the current G7 that has just been meeting in Germany’s old Catholic state of Bavaria (the United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Italy) has 43.4% of the world’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product or annual economic production), but only 9.8% of the world’s population.

    (And a June 28 global Gallup poll reports “World Unhappier, More Stressed Out Than Ever.”)

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    Is Justin Trudeau’s problem that Canadian prime ministers do have too much power?

    Posted: June 21st, 2022 | No Comments »
    Father’s Day 2022 — Justin Trudeau still slightly taller than his older son!

    COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. JUNE 21, 2022. If it were just Don Martin on the CTV News site saying “The fall of Justin Trudeau has begun” that would be one thing. But when Chantal Hébert is also asking in the Toronto Star “Is Justin Trudeau headed for defeat?” something at least half-serious could be afoot.

    Our own immediate opinions are somewhat closer to Aaron Wherry’s recent piece on the CBC News site : “The Liberals face a summer of discontent … The government has had a productive spring — but there are minefields ahead.”

    Whatever else, the current opinion polling does suggest that Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberals have recently fallen somewhat in the people’s esteem. The 338Canada June 19, 2022 update now has the leaderless Conservatives in first place with 33.4% of the Canada-wide popular vote. The Liberals have only 31.6%.

    It may be hard not to wonder just how much of this present Liberal polling setback flows from the Trucker Convoy in Ottawa this past winter? And how much draws on current events in the USA next door?

    The progressive agenda under attack

    Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau agree on at least some key parts of progressive agenda.

    At the same time, the as-hard-as-it-gets federal political fact is that the March 22, 2022 “Supply and Confidence Agreement” between the Trudeau Liberals and the Singh New Democrats still seems quite intact. And even on the June 19 338Canada numbers the Liberals and New Democrats together have 51.3% of the cross-Canada popular vote.

    As Aaron Wherry’s recent piece wisely concludes : “The most important thing Trudeau did for himself this spring may have been signing that confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP. It means (at least in theory) that the threat of an election is no longer constant. And it offers his government (again, in theory) some time to ride out the current turbulence, put an agenda in place and make the case that it’s the right agenda for the moment.”

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    Looking at US politics and the crucial 2022 midterm elections from we the north

    Posted: June 14th, 2022 | No Comments »

    NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, 14 JUNE 2022. Last week I had lunch on the leafy sunshine back patio of a long-established local bar with an old colleague and friend seriously down on the USA.

    (And today this is only slightly remarkable in someone born and raised in a neighbouring state of the Union, who has now lived most of his adult life in the northern confederation of 1867.)

    In some ways I agree with my friend about the present state of the land of his birth. But I also have personal reasons for wanting to see at least some strategic regions of the USA today with a future for the people who live there. And I have lately been warmed by the advertising slogan, “The Los Angeles Times … The state of what’s next.”

    California for example (with a population slightly larger than all of Canada) has its problems. And its government could stand some reform. But who and what else hasn’t and couldn’t and so forth. In this as in other places there are still large parts of America’s too-little-celebrated remarkable diverse geography where civilization prevails. (And, to be broad-minded, I suppose I should say on either of two broad definitions, one of which I certainly do not accept myself.)

    US midterm elections : historical background

    It is in this spirit in any case that I have recently started thinking more or less seriously about US politics, with special reference to the legendary midterm elections — to be held this coming November 8, 2022 — less than five months away.

    (And I note with special reference to some of my fellow counterweights editors that the interested North American audience is also now avidly contemplating the continuing TV presentation from the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC — with some attackers waving banners that proudly proclaimed “TRUMP”!)

    The historical experience since 1862 has been that the president’s party (in 2022 Democrats of course) has lost seats in the House of Representatives in every midterm election except 1902, 1934, 1998, and 2002.

    The results in the Senate have been somewhat more favourable to the president’s party. It lost no Senate seats (and often gained) in 1862, 1866, 1882, 1886, 1890, 1898, 1902, 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998, 2002, and 2018. (Though note here as well that US Senators were not popularly elected by US citizens until the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution took effect in 1913. Before this “senators were elected by state legislatures.”)

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    ONTARIO ELECTION WATCH VI: Ford Conservatives win majority government .. with record low voter turnout

    Posted: June 3rd, 2022 | No Comments »
    “Seniors’ Day at Value Village” by Michael Seward, May 2022.

    ONTARIO ELECTION WATCH 2022, CW EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. JUNE 3, 2022, 2:15 AM EDT. The results as of this moment in a 124-seat Legislative Assembly with a bare majority of 63 seats are : Conservatives 83 seats with 40.8% of the province-wide popular vote ; New Democrats 31 seats with 23.7% of the vote ; Liberals 8 seats with 23.8% of the vote ; Greens 1 seat with 6.0 %, and 1 Independent with 0.5%.

    The election was altogether a disaster for the Ontario Liberals (even if they do end with very slightly more of the popular vote than the New Democrats). Leader Steven Del Duca lost his own seat in Vaughan-Woodbridge. And at the end of a rather classy speech to his campaign workers and supporters (and the wider TV audience), he announced his resignation as party leader.

    Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats managed to retain a somewhat chimerical status as “Official Opposition” (with 52 seats less than the governing Conservatives). The NDP has done better in Toronto than it apparently feared it might. But it has (by the counting at this point) nine fewer seats than it won in 2018. And in a rather showy speech to her supporters, Ms Horwath also announced her resignation as party leader.

    Mike Schreiner’s Green Party increased its share of the province-wide popular vote — from 4.6% in 2018 to 6.0% in 2022. It came close enough but did not win in Parry Sound-Muskoka (18,102 votes to 20,216 for the winning Conservative). It finished fourth in University-Rosedale in Toronto. And in the end it still has only Mike Schreiner’s seat in Guelph (which he did win convincingly with 54.5% of the riding/electoral district vote). At the end of Mr. Schreiner’s characteristically genial speech to supporters, he urged the second Ford “Progressive Conservative” majority government to steal Green Party policies!

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    Now the Toronto Star is saying “Those who want to ditch Canada’s monarchy will have to do better to make their case”

    Posted: June 2nd, 2022 | No Comments »

    ONTARIO TONITE. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, 2 JUNE 2022. [UPDATED 6 JUNE]. This is the first day of the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th or platinum anniversary of what no less than the Toronto Star has called “her journey as the longest-serving monarch in British and Canadian history.”

    (One might quibble about the “Canadian history” here. Serious monarchists in Canada today include the French monarchs to 1763 as part of this history, and Louis XIV was the Sun King of France for 72 years, from 1643 to 1715!)

    Yesterday the Toronto Star joined the Globe and Mail — which on May 26 published its commemorative editorial entitled “Canada’s monarchy is here to stay. Embrace it” — in editorializing on the virtues of the British monarchy in Canada.

    The Star, as Toronto’s alleged progressive or at least liberal newspaper, was not quite as aggressive in its support for what the late Toronto city councillor Tony O’Donohue liked to call (with a smile) “the offshore monarchy” in Canada. (A smile that would be warmly shared by the late Toronto civil rights lawyer Charles Roach.)

    According to the Star editorial : “Those who want to ditch Canada’s monarchy will have to do better to make their case … ‘If those who oppose the Canadian monarchy can show how that can be done better with an all-Canadian model, then fine. But the burden of proof is on them.’”

    The Star goes on : “There’s the obvious point that it would take a constitutional amendment to ditch the Canadian monarchy, which is baked into our constitutional arrangements through the role of the Crown as an institution (not the role of any individual … as monarch).”

    Key to our system is parliamentary government not monarchy

    But if you look at how our system actually works it is not the “role of the Crown as an institution” that is “baked into our constitutional arrangements.” It is the role of British-style or so-called “Westminster” parliamentary government.

    And such other former self-governing British dominions and present-day parliamentary democracies as India and Ireland have shown that independent democratic ceremonial heads of state can serve Westminster parliamentary governments even better than the monarch who lives in Buckingham Palace in London, England.

    The Toronto Star editorial also urges : “Anyone proposing that Canada overhaul its basic constitutional order will have to show what problem that is meant to solve.”

    The first problem with the Star’s editorialists here is that, as just noted in the cases of Ireland and India, ending the role of the monarchy does not at all mean any “overhaul” of the “basic constitutional order” in a Westminster parliamentary government — in Canada any more than in Australia or any other of the dwindling number of remaining “Commonwealth realms” today. (And the new Labor government in Australia, eg, has just appointed an Assistant Minister for the Republic, Matt Thistlethwaite.)

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    ONTARIO ELECTION WATCH V : Almost all sources seem to agree it’s in the bag for Doug Ford .. even if that’s not what 62% of Ontario people want !!

    Posted: May 31st, 2022 | No Comments »
    “Caught with Your Pants Down” by Toronto artist Michael Seward, May 2022.

    ONTARIO ELECTION WATCH 2022, CW EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. MAY 30, 2022, 11:50 PM EDT. [UPDATED MAY 31, 3 PM EDT] : As we finally approach election day on June 2 there is some slight slippage of Ford Conservative support in all of the latest CBC Ontario Votes 2022 Poll Tracker, 338Canada Ontario, and the Toronto Star’s “2022 Ontario Election forecast tool,” The Signal.

    By a similarly slight margin the Liberals have been gaining a little more than the NDP. With the actual election just two days away, however, none of the recent changes seem at all large enough to cast serious doubt on the projection by all three main poll aggregators of a Ford Conservative majority government.

    It does seem possible or even likely enough that the Ford Conservatives will win a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on June 2 with a percentage of the province-wide popular vote even lower than the 37.6% won by the Bob Rae New Democrat majority government in 1990. (If not quite as low as the just under 34% won by what finally became E.C. Drury’s Farmer-Labour coalition government of 1919-1923.)

    338Canada Ontario still has the Conservatives at 38% of the popular vote. But the May 30 CBC Poll Tracker puts them at 36.6%, and The Signal on May 29 is even lower at 35.8%. Whatever the exact result proves to be, it will no doubt be true enough that Doug Ford’s party will form a second majority government (if they do, as widely predicted), even though this is clearly NOT what more than 60% of the Ontario people want!

    “Censored or ( 🤬 )” by Michael Seward, May 2022.

    Part of this is just the result of the current “Three Plus” Ontario party system. The “First Past the Post” electoral machinery Ontario has works best from the standpoint of winning majorities of the popular vote when there are only two main parties. It is also true that the last time any Ontario government won a majority of the popular vote was 1937 — before the election of 1943, as it were, introduced the modern “Three Plus” party system!

    Whatever else again, it is a plain if apparently impotent truth that Doug Ford’s Conservatives remain unpopular with a majority of the electorate, and there remains a very slight chance that the anger still felt by many against him finally will express itself more aggressively on election day, and stick the self-styled “Ontario PCs” with an unworkable minority government. But if we were betting men and women we wouldn’t put any money on this prospect. What will be will be. And the time for post-mortems is after the actual deaths!

    UPDATE MAY 31, 2022 , 3:00 PM EDT : Thanks to the latest poll from Mainstreet, putting the Ford Conservatives as high as 39%, the CBC Poll Tracker “Last Updated: May 31, 2022 9:44 a.m.” has Doug Ford’s Party increasing its share of the vote somewhat, while all the other parties have lost share slightly.

    Meanwhile yesterday Josh Rubin, Business Reporter at the Toronto Star, was continuing to explain : “Steven Del Duca at risk of losing his own riding, while Doug Ford headed for a second majority, polls show.” It would of course be so nice if the June 2 results wound up rather differently, just to confirm that it wasn’t really a “rigged election” folks. But again we betting women and men would not put our money where that particular mouth is right now!

    The Globe and Mail seems to be saying that Canada must just accept some obsolete colonial constitution forever (and make the country today an Authoritarian State?)

    Posted: May 28th, 2022 | No Comments »
    “Lemongrass Sutra for Allen Ginsberg” by Michael Seward, May 2022.

    SPECIAL FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, ON THE EDGE OF THE CANADIAN SHIELD IN BUCKHORN, ON. K0L 0C1. 28 MAY 2022. There was a time when I thought of the Globe and Mail as Canada’s newspaper of record..

    Then a retired engineer I knew who had worked on the Avro Arrow cancelled his longstanding subscription to the Globe. He said it had become too right wing politically for a real newspaper of record. Living in the GTA (aka Big Smoke), he subscribed to the Toronto Star instead.

    My grandparents’ Toronto house where I lived until age 11 (long before I moved up here to the Kawartha exurbs) preferred the old Telegram (and before 1936, I was told, the old Mail and Empire). My grandfather apparently felt that the Toronto Daily Star of his day was a “red” newspaper. Yet in his last few decades my father, who was still taking the Telegram when we moved to a new house of our own in the suburbs, also finally subscribed to the Toronto Star.

    When the old Globe, founded by George Brown in 1844, became today’s Globe and Mail in 1936.

    I was still reading the Globe and Mail more or less as a newspaper of record back when my own kids were younger. I can remember them reporting on the subject to their grandparents. But like the retired engineer, by the time my kids were in their late teens or early 20s, I was also growing estranged from what was then I think still calling itself “Canada’s National Newspaper.”

    I should acknowledge that I have all due respect for the hard fact that, according to one “List of the top 10 Canadian newspapers by circulation … Updated July 2021,” The Globe and Mail — “In print for 170 years” — is currently at the top, in the Number 1 spot, etc.

    I should confess as well that I am an I-think-inadvertent part of the problem old newspapers seem to be confronting virtually everywhere, in the face of the new information technology.

    I used to live in a house that sometimes seemed engulfed by newspapers (and magazines). I live in a much more at least orderly looking house now, with a much smaller overall consumption of paper products.

    I no longer lean on even the pay-walled websites of the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail online. I rely on the still free reporting available on the CBC News and CTV News sites (to present them in alphabetical order). Then again, there is a vast assortment of tailor-to-taste online reportage and opinion in such places as Twitter …

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