Harper: Monarchy is a man’s job
Queen Elizabeth II only came to the throne because she had no brothers, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first son will leapfrog any older sisters to become king, thanks to a 300-year-old act. Now Britain’s deputy PM, Nick Clegg, wants to reform the law. The move requires the agreement of Commonwealth countries directly affected. New Zealand’s PM, John Key, supports the change. Not Stephen Harper: “The successor to the throne is a man,” he said this week. “The next successor to the throne is a man. I don’t think Canadians want to open a debate on the monarchy…at this time.” It’s the same unerring instinct that’s characterized the treatment of female Tory cabinet ministers—think Lisa Raitt, Helena Guergis—and which observers say has limited Harper’s appeal among female voters. Good man, Mr. Harper, good man.
A rapidly Freying narrative
Bestselling Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson is facing buckets of bad press following a 60 Minutes report that questioned his work with his charity, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), for schools in remote Pakistan and Afghanistan. It alleged some schools don’t exist, or haven’t received support from CAI, and that Mortenson uses the charity as a “private ATM machine.” Then there are allegations Mortenson was never kidnapped by the Taliban in Waziristan, as he wrote. Mansur Khan Mahsud told The Daily Beast he played host to Mortenson in Waziristan and was shocked to get a call from Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer (a former Mortenson supporter) telling him the author had described the experience as a kidnapping. Mortenson’s publisher is investigating.
Radio Free Canada
In January, one of Canada’s oldest and most prominent lefty radio stations, Toronto’s CKLN, was taken off the air by the CRTC. A most unlikely defender is riding to its rescue. Right-wing lightning rod Ezra Levant, who debuted The Source—a show that promises to stand up to nanny-state bullying—on the newly launched Sun News this week, is defending the Ryerson University campus station. “What is government doing shutting down radio stations? That’s Hugo Chávez style,” Levant told Maclean’s. The CRTC’s reasons, however, seem more pedestrian in nature: poor quality, paperwork problems and a lack of involvement by students.
For the love of God
Madonna sang Like a Prayer, then worshipped at the feet of Ashtanga yogi Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois and, for the past 15 years, her Kabbalah teachers. Now she’s taken up with Opus Dei, the Catholic sect made famous in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. According to the Mirror tabloid, she’s been cozying up to priests from the centre’s London headquarters. In other news, Madonna’s 2011 counterpart, Lady Gaga, is trying a different approach with her single Judas, sung from Mary Magdalene’s point of view and out just in time for Easter. “Is this the only way to jet up her performance?” asked Catholic League president Bill Donohue.
Et tu, Finland?
Finland, surely among Europe’s most enlightened, pro-eurozone nations, has shocked the continent’s political class by voting True Finn—in a big way. The right-wing nationalist party “rewrote electoral history” Sunday, said Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest daily, in an editorial. Under Timo Soini, it went from having just ﬁve seats to becoming the country’s third biggest party, with 39 MPs and 19 per cent of the vote. And while Soini subscribes to the standard anti-Islam claptrap common to the European right, it’s his stance on the euro and continental “squanderers” that really has Europe—which is hammering out a bailout package for Portugal—worried. “We have been too soft on Europe,” Soini said Monday. Finland must not “pay for the mistakes of others.”
New hope on the left—and right
Privately, B.C. Premier Christy Clark was gunning for Adrian Dix, who won the provincial NDP leadership vote Sunday. Dix, once chief of staff to former premier Glen Clark, is said to be cut from the same cloth as his old boss: a union-backed class warrior, hostile to business. In Liberal eyes, that makes Dix beatable. But Liberals will soon be fending off attacks from another direction. In March, Conservative MP John Cummins dropped out of federal politics to carry the torch for the provincial Tories—until now, an electoral non-entity in B.C. He’ll target disaffected Liberals angered by the party’s moves to the left.
Winning isn’t everything
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones revealed she struggles with bipolar disorder; she was admitted to Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for treatment earlier this month. Dealing with the cancer of her husband, Michael Douglas, reportedly exacerbated her own illness. “I don’t just bring myself down. I bring everyone around me down,” she said. “It’s like a dark cloud, ‘Uh oh, here we go,’ and I have to snap out of it.” Mental health groups hailed her honesty. In more ambiguous news on the bipolar celebrity block, Charlie Sheen, in Toronto for his “Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour, rallied fans for a bipolar awareness walk. Some 200 showed up to support the “bi-winning” star.
Well, it’s official: B.C. is Canucks-crazy. If the “Big Lou-ongo” sandwich at Big Lou’s Butcher shop on Vancouver’s east side—a meatball-and-garlic-drenched sellout named for goalie Roberto Luongo—isn’t your thing, you can take a spin in the “Canuckmobile.” The tricked-out van, embossed with the ’Nucks logo and team colours, is the creation of five childhood friends; on game days, they hit Vancouver’s streets, honking and waving. But no one has taken their love as far as Kelowna’s Lockhart family, who painted their house to resemble a Canucks jersey. The house will stay as is, Madison Lockhart told the Vancouver Sun—as long as the Canucks bring home the Cup.
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