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Listening to a good book
Tuesday August 9th, 2016
Only one of my eyes has ever worked well enough to read. Besides that, in my 20s I was diagnosed with a chronic ophthalmic inflammation that requires daily cortisone drops to control. Some versions of my condition can lead to blindness, but I’ve been lucky. Gratitude for the gift of sight, along with a skulking dread of going blind, has therefore been a constant mental c...
How dignity lost its shirt in high office
Friday August 5th, 2016
An Ontario family, out camping in Gatineau Park near Ottawa last weekend, was startled to cross paths with the Prime Minister and his family enjoying a cave-exploration excursion. As is his wont, Justin Trudeau greeted the Godby family members with affability and enthusiasm. And then he posed for the now-obligatory selfie with one of the Godby children. It apparently did not occur ...
Women don’t need Hillary Clinton to be president
Wednesday August 3rd, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both rotten candidates for the U.S. presidency, but they do provide great fodder for comedians. For example, the following joke arrived in my Inbox this morning: Trump and Hillary meet at a bar. Donald leans in and smiles, “The media are really tearing you apart for That Scandal.” Hillary answers, “You mean my lying abou...
Thanks to proportional representation, Israeli Haredi children will not be learning math and science
Tuesday August 2nd, 2016
To many Canadians critical of our “unfair” first-past-the-post voting system, proportional representation (PR) is the elusive pot of true-democracy gold at the end of the governance rainbow. But if they paid attention to Israel’s domestic politics, they’d find many cautionary tales. Israel’s PR-elected government has a notorious history of making deals...
In a case with no witnesses, how can any judge be so sure?
Tuesday July 26th, 2016
Last week York University PhD candidate Mustafa Ururyar was convicted of sexually assaulting grad student Mandi Gray. My curiosity piqued by reports of comments made during trial by Justice Marvin Zuker, I read the 179-page judgment. The specifics of the incident — an evening of social drinking, a quarrel en route to Ururyar’s home, his break-up of their two-w...
David Brown — the black leader America needs
Tuesday July 19th, 2016
On Sunday, a remarkable exchange took place between outspoken Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and CNN’s Don Lemon (both black) after the Baton Rouge, La., incident in which three police officers were killed (one black) and three wounded, by a black man whose social media posts suggested a racial motivation for the attack. It’s worth watching. Lemon represents the &l...
Dads are parents, too
Tuesday July 12th, 2016
Poor, poor, poor Gwen Stefani. The Hollywood star split from her rocker husband Gavin Rossdale in 2015. But that’s not why we must pity her. After all, Stefani’s marriage lasted longer than those of most of her peers. No, the reason Stefani feels she has a claim on our sympathy is that she discovered, to her horror, that when couples split up, their children – in ...
A Canadian childhood Forty famous Canadians share their favourite memories
Tuesday July 5th, 2016
Until I was 10 and bundled off to overnight summer camp, I spent whole summers in Balfour Beach, a 50-family community near Keswick on the south end of Lake Simcoe, a relatively short commute for fathers on Wednesday nights and weekends. Its handiness to Toronto was—is—arguably its most marketable feature. For it isn’t an attractive site. I remember our tiny crescent-sh...
In BLM’s view to be white is to be racist and to be black is to be a victim
Tuesday July 5th, 2016
Don’t you just hate it when you invite the new folks next door to dinner so they can meet the neighbours, and then they arrive an hour late, after which they trash your cooking skills and demand better wine? Pride Toronto knows that feeling. Members of the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM), “honoured guests” at Sunday’s Pride parade, staged an unsc...
The indigenous tribes of Israel
Tuesday June 28th, 2016
Two stories this week turn on a misunderstanding of the word “indigenous.” On June 21, Conservative MP Jason Kenney tweeted: “On Aboriginal Day we honour those who first settled in Canada, and their generations of descendants.” The word “settled” whistled up the identity police. One twitterer responded: “Oh puleeze. Calling Indigenous...
New Haven pit bull attack
Monday June 27th, 2016
It was announced this month that both Montreal and Quebec City intend to pass dangerous-dog legislation bills that have enraged pit bull advocates but will, in a victory for public-safety proponents, ban new pit bulls from the general dog population in these jurisdictions. As with bans in other jurisdictions like Denver, which has not seen a dogbite-related fatality since its ban w...
Could Islamism be to blame for the Orlando attack? Perish the thought!
Tuesday June 21st, 2016
Last week, I was invited into a talk-radio forum on the Orlando massacre. It provided a good example for listeners of the competing interpretive narratives the mass killing has generated. My interlocutor positioned the massacre as a product of America’s gun culture, one in a chain of mass gun-related calamities like Columbine and Sandy Hook, coupled with a disordered min...
Want to help society? Let kids know their fathers
Tuesday June 14th, 2016
Fathers Day — celebrated this Sunday — is rapidly becoming the most meaningless holiday of the year. Or, for too many kids, the saddest. U.S. government statistics tell us that over a third of all American children are not living in two-parent homes: forty per cent of children are born out of wedlock and between 33-50 per cent of children of divorce ...
There’s no argument. Pit bulls kill
Saturday June 11th, 2016
Thursday the Montreal Gazette commissioned two responses to the fatal attack of a pit bull on a Montreal woman, which happened to occur just as the city is weighing the potential benefits of a pit bull ban: mine, which was pro-ban, and another, by Paul Labonté, which was anti-ban. Neither of us had seen the other’s piece when we wrote our own. Now that I have read Labont&eac...
Let’s not become Belgium when it comes to assisted suicide
Tuesday June 7th, 2016
In February, the archbishop of Edmonton announced that in the event of legalized euthanasia, physicians and other health-care workers of Covenant Health Hospital would not be participating in the active termination of patients’ lives. In response last month, Alberta’s associate health minister Brandy Payne stated that Covenant Health’s conscientious objection woul...
Absolutist dogma is chilling transgender research
Tuesday May 31st, 2016
Grayson Perry, a successful British potter, has from the age of 10 enjoyed dressing up as a woman. Perry’s “alter ego” Claire sometimes favours a Mrs. Thatcher persona, sometimes a “girlish shepherdess” look. Perry considers his penchant a fetish — “my greatest sort of potent sex dream was to be a housewife walking down the road” — an...
A testimony to Canada’s human rights superstar
Monday May 30th, 2016
Is there a Nobel Peace Prize in the near future for former Liberal Justice Minister and human-rights luminary Irwin Cotler? There will be if fellow human-rights superstar Alan Dershowitz has his way. Cotler and Dershowitz are Canada’s two most recognizable names in human rights advocacy. Both are so articulate and passionate about their work that people often confuse the...
The Enemy Within the “Safe Spaces” of Jews on campus
Friday May 27th, 2016
Academia is awash in social justice warriors (SJW). There are SJW consumed with racism, gender and Islamophobia, but the issue that looms largest and most relentlessly on all campuses with a sizable Jewish population is anti-Zionism. A demonstration of one’s unnuanced hostility to Israel coupled with unconditional sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians has become something of ...
Montreal moratorium is bad news for horses and drivers
Thursday May 26th, 2016
Montreal is a great tourist town, but our tourism season is relatively short as compared to other North American cities of similar size. So entrepreneurs invested in those five profitable months don’t want to miss a single day of work once the trees are in bud. Nobody is a greater stakeholder in the fine weather than the calèche drivers of Old Montreal. Tourists like r...
The Dorchester Review — the little magazine that can
Tuesday May 24th, 2016
My heroes in the writing game are the contrarians who beat against cultural currents by publishing small magazines. These magazines boast rich content, but appeal to circumscribed markets. The monetary reward is zilch. Satisfaction is almost entirely bound up (both for the editor and the usually unpaid writers) with pride in the product. Which brings me to my subject for today, the...