By macleans.ca - Friday, May 17, 2013 - 0 Comments
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
It can happen here…
People in this country are wrong to sit comfortably with
It can happen here
People in this country are wrong to sit comfortably with a false sense of security (“Hitting close to home,” Special Report, May 6). Canada is on the infamous list of al-Qaeda’s five target countries: did we forget? It would be wrong to feel smug and assume we are too good a people to have anything bad happen to us. Anyone can board a train without a security check and have no one taking a peek as to what may be inside their bags. Via Rail claims the costs would be too high and pose too great a hassle to its passengers. What will it take, a death toll of a few hundred to have the public put up with a little inconvenience? Frequent flyers got used to it quickly enough. I once saw someone at a train platform get on the train that was stopped for a short while, put a suitcase in the baggage rack, then jump off again. The train departed without the individual. That made me nervous.
Louise Chaput, Terrace, B.C.
Is the sudden putting forward of the S-7 anti-terrorism bill this week merely a coincidence with the RCMP announcement of the Via Rail terrorist plot? What better way to create an atmosphere conducive to passing of this bill that transgresses fundamental principles in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Why has the news of RCMP directives to deny interviews between senior Mounties and MPs and senators occurred this same week? These developments smack dangerously of a police state in the making.
By Julie Smyth - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
If anyone had predicted several years back how Maxime Bernier might indulge a landmark mid-life birthday, it likely wouldn’t have been training for a 100-km run.
The Quebec MP, who turned 50 this year, is halfway through eight months of preparation for a gruelling ultramarathon in September to raise funds for a local food bank, la Fondation Moisson Beauce.
Bernier’s plan is to run the length of his riding of Beauce, Que., starting in the south end at Saint-Ludger, crossing 10 municipalities, and ending at Saint-Bernard in the north. His goal is to run the entire 100 km in less than 12 hours, with no walking breaks and only slowing his running pace to eat or drink.
“People in my riding they say, ‘Maxime, it’s crazy to do that,’ ” the MP said during an interview in Ottawa.
By Julia McKinnell - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
Sisters squabbling is one thing, but real cruelty from a sibling can be scarring
For years, Nancy Kilgore shared a bedroom with an older sister who terrorized her when her parents weren’t watching. The older sister, often put in charge to babysit, insulted her, threw objects at Nancy and physically pinned her down. One time, her sister stuffed marbles up her nostrils. Then she pinched her nostrils, forced her head backward and poured water into her mouth. Another time, when Nancy was 10 and her sister was 12, the sister held a pillow over Nancy’s face to the point of near-suffocation.
Kilgore was so scarred by her years of mistreatment that she eventually sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder. Now in her 60s, Kilgore opens up about the experience in her memoir called Girl in the Water: A True Story of Sibling Abuse. “This is a taboo topic, absolutely taboo,” she said on the phone from her home in Sacramento, Calif. But Kilgore insists it’s a problem that affects millions of North Americans. Her Twitter account buzzes with comments from other victims, though convincing these people to talk publicly is difficult. Kilgore has also heard countless accounts at siblingbullies.com, the website she founded to connect victims, and where she offers advice to parents on how to prevent abuse.
Brenda Volling, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies jealousy between siblings, deﬁnes sibling abuse as one child repeatedly exerting power over the other with the intent to cause harm. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or even sexual. “Emotional and psychological abuse, this is the abuse most parents don’t recognize or see as occurring, and are most likely to confuse with normal sibling rivalry,” she says. “It includes such acts of cruelty as belittling and ridiculing, showing some kind of contempt or trying to degrade the other person.” Kilgore notes that sibling abuse typically involves an older sibling, often male, picking on a younger one, and is most common in homes where one parent is not present due to divorce or mentally absent for a variety of reasons, and extra responsibility is given to the oldest child. “The researchers say that the majority of children who abuse their siblings are not psychotic; they’re not maladapted mentally,” she says. “Basically, they’ve been overloaded with responsibility. It’s accepted in many cultures that the oldest child gets the biggest responsibility, but it’s important to look at what this does to a child.”
By James Cowan - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 8:56 AM - 0 Comments
James Cowan on the problem with the Mother Corp.’s digital push
Kirstine Stewart switched in April from running the CBC’s English service to leading Twitter Canada. Plenty of self-styled media critics interpreted Stewart’s move as a high-profile defection from stagnant traditional media to a shiny digital upstart. That assessment is not just wrong, it’s backward: Twitter hired Stewart specifically to court established, traditional media outlets because it wants to establish paid partnerships with content producers; meanwhile, CBC is a dominant digital player in Canada, competing hard—and successfully—against private news, music streaming, and video-on-demand providers.
The online success of the CBC should be laudable. Its website received an average of 6.2-million unique visitors last year, making it the most popular Canadian website. Around 4.3-million people visit the CBC News site each month, besting both The Globe and Mail and Huffington Post. Adding to this success is an ambitious five-year plan that will open digital-only news operations in cities like Hamilton and Kamloops and allocate 5 per cent of the overall programming budget to digital content. Once upon a time, it was only private TV and radio broadcasters who had reason to grumble about competing with the Crown corporation; in building its online empire, the CBC is taking on everyone from newspapers to Netflix.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 12:32 AM - 0 Comments
In a piece that appears in Tuesday’s New York Times, actress and human rights…
In a piece that appears in Tuesday’s New York Times, actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie explains her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy:
“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
Jolie recalls how she lost her mother to cancer at 56. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer,” she writes in a piece that describes her treatment over a series of months.
“I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be will able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”
You can read Jolie’s essay here.
By macleans.ca and The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
Video, tweets and photos of the astronaut’s return
- For all our Chris Hadfield coverage, click here.
- And check out our latest ebook on iTunes: #GoodMorningEarth: Chris Hadfield by Kate Lunau.
Safely home – back on Earth, happily readapting to the heavy pull of gravity. Wonderful to smell and feel Spring.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 14, 2013
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became a worldwide sensation thanks to his tweets, musical performances and stunning photos from the International Space Station, was back on the ground Monday night.
Hadfield touched down in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz capsule which was also carrying Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn — the same pair the Canadian astronaut blasted off with on Dec. 19, 2012.
During his five-month mission at the International Space Station, the 53-year-old space veteran became the first Canadian to command the orbiting laboratory.
The cramped Russian space capsule carrying Hadfield and his two space companions tore into the atmosphere before a parachute opened, slowing its descent until it hit the ground with a hard thud.
By Elio Iannacci - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Three Gaga tributes are under way, though a Toronto show is first, and most ambitious
Few pop stars have infiltrated as many cultural spheres as Lady Gaga. Her sound has influenced popsters such as Selena Gomez and revived dance music on the Billboard charts. Her outlandish wardrobe has inspired collections from Jean Paul Gaultier and Donatella Versace (not to mention that legion of Gaga impersonators worldwide). Her first fragrance, Fame, launched last year and sold more than six million bottles during its first week of shelf life. Universities have added courses examining her social significance and sexual persona. It’s that multi-faceted career B.C.-born playwright Alistair Newton wanted to examine, and he’s chosen to do it in the one arena Gaga has yet to invade, though she cites it as a major influence: musical theatre.
The result is Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical, a show opening May 14 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto that has already had some interest from theatres in New York. Directed and written by Newton, it explores Stefani Germanotta’s manic route from private-school pariah to digital-age pop monarch.
Newton wasn’t the only one with the idea. Two U.S. theatre companies have also been working on Gaga-centric musicals, both riffing on her album titles. The first is the New York-based Glitter: The Fame Monster project, which has reportedly been on hold since 2011. Another enigmatic production is The Fame Monster: A Musical, announced in 2009. Both projects plan to mirror schmaltzy revues such as We Will Rock You and Jersey Boys. Newton has gone in a different direction. “Those [musicals] sound like everything I didn’t want to make,” he says, noting that his work was informed by intellectuals such as Judith Butler, Bell Hooks and the legendary Michel de Montaigne, whose famous 16th-century essay about the nature of strangeness became part of the musical’s title. “I find her to be far too much of a complicated subject for that method of theatre,” he says. “I didn’t want to frame her in something that resembles Mamma Mia!”
By macleans.ca - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Hadfield set to hand over command of International Space Station
By From the editors - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Today, pizza. Tomorrow … the world.
Agriculture Canada has announced that restaurants will soon pay less for their mozzarella cheese: a move that’s designed to cut the cost of pizzeria pizza and bring joy to hungry undergrads across the country. It certainly sounds like good news. But it’s really just a small step toward unwinding Canada’s antiquated supply management system that keeps prices high at home and discourages farmers from selling abroad. The best plan? Canadian cheese should follow Canadian wine into the bracing world of free trade.
Canada’s Byzantine supply management system uses quotas, tariffs and price controls to restrict imports and boost farmers’ incomes. As a result, mozzarella cheese, the dominant ingredient in most pizza, is signiﬁcantly cheaper in the United States. To help make them competitive, makers of frozen pizzas have enjoyed a discount on mozzarella tied to U.S. prices since 1995. But not restaurants. This new rule addresses the discrepancy between frozen and fresh pizzas. According to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, which has been lobbying for decades for the change, mozzarella costs should drop five to 10 per cent. This could cut the price of a large takeout pizza by a dollar or so.
As pleasing as cheaper pizza sounds, however, Ottawa’s new policy doesn’t go nearly far enough. And, bizarrely, it creates a new federal pizza bureaucracy.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM - 0 Comments
‘His skills, style and passion were legend,’ PM says
Senator Doug Finley has died.
“Doug fought a hard and very public battle with cancer,” his wife, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. “His death is a loss to our family, our friends – and to the entire country.”
The Conservative senator had served as campaign director for the party and Stephen Harper’s leadership campaign. He was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Harper in August 2009.
During a 2011 interview with John Geddes, the party boss described the key role he played in the party:
“I’m not the world’s greatest strategist, or the world’s greatest pollster, or the world’s greatest advertising man, but somebody has to pull these bits together.”
The 66-year-old Senator had fought a public battle colorectal cancer.
In an interview with iPolitics published in November 2012, he talked about what it was like to be facing death.
“It’s not going to be pretty and I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t make any bones about that. Like a lot of people I’m not scared of dying, I’m more concerned about the process of dying. And if I want to dig that hole for myself by thinking about that, then the process of dying will be even worse and longer. So look, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’ll deal with it when it happens.
There’s really not much else to say. I’ve got a great family, my wife has been brilliant.”
In his 2011 feature, Geddes noted that Finley only sounded like a lifelong conservative:
“He grew up in Scotland, where as a young man he backed the Scottish Nationalists. Arriving in Montreal in 1968 as a manager in the aerospace industry, he was soon volunteering on Liberal campaigns. In the early 1980s, Finley moved to Winnipeg, and shifted to the right in politics, first to the Progressive Conservatives, then to Reform. By the 1990s, he was a Canadian Alliance organizer in southwestern Ontario, his wife’s home territory. When Harper merged the Alliance with the PCs in 2003, Finley became the united right’s linchpin organizer.”
Late last year, politicians of all stripes honoured Finley at the Canadian War Museum.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister said he’d lost a dear and valued friend.
“Senator Finley came to Canada as an immigrant and in a long and remarkable career he helped build a better country. In the business world, he rose to prominence in several important enterprises, notably Rolls-Royce Canada. He also expressed the love he felt for his adopted country through his work in the democratic process. Here his skills, style and passion were legend.”
Here is how Finley was being remembered on Twitter:
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM - 0 Comments
Mother’s Day edition
Welcome back to the Maclean’s Quiz, a weekly diversion designed to test your trivia skills. Good luck, and remember: no Internet assistance allowed.
Click “Take Our Quiz!” below to begin:
Questions about the questions? You can reach Balazo here:
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 5:13 AM - 0 Comments
- What’s happening with the Backbench Spring?
- Why is the opposition looking so upbeat these days?
- Is Canada cracking down on international tax cheats?
John Geddes, Nick Taylor-Vaisey and Aaron Wherry take on the issues of the day. Hear them out, then have your say in the comments below.
By macleans.ca - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:33 PM - 0 Comments
Are you satisfied with the results of the audit on Senate housing allowance claims?…
By Leah McLaren - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Critics slam the 133rd official portrait of Elizabeth II, but Her Majesty is not an easy subject to capture
Last week, the 133rd official portrait of the Queen was unveiled in a ceremony at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Painted by the Welsh artist Dan Llywelyn Hall, the impressionistic, larger-than-life image depicts the monarch looking bosomy in a stiff red dress, fingering her wedding ring, with a facial expression that could either be described as “quietly serene” or “utterly blank”—depending on your point of view.
And speaking of viewpoints, the British critical press did not waste time voicing theirs; a towering wave of acid disapproval washed over the commission within hours of its presentation. Almost instantly, the press had cruelly dubbed it the “Spitting Image puppet” portrait, for its cartoonish, exaggerated look. The Telegraph’s Harry Wallop was particularly sharp, declaring the painting “makes Her Majesty looks as if she is Mammy Two Shoes from Tom & Jerry. Her fingers are as fat and spongy as Wall’s sausages and her expression is as vibrant as a stale pork pie.” Hall, for his part, sniffed that he “wouldn’t change a thing.”
As official unveilings go, it was no surprise. Since the Queen’s ascension to the throne 61 years ago, the portraits that have met with critical approval have been few and far between. Whether it was Lucian Freud’s famous 2001 close-up, produced over 18 two-hour sittings and hammered by the press (the Times famously described the face as having “six-o’clock shadow and the neck that would not disgrace a rugby prop forward”), Justin Mortimer’s 1998 controversial Warholian apparition, or John Napper’s 1953 “long neck” portrait, which received such a critical drubbing, it was locked away in the bowels of Liverpool town hall for nearly half a century afterward, the Queen—for all her openness and availability to painters—has proved a very difficult subject.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 8:52 AM - 0 Comments
In an exclusive with L’actualité, Ghyslain Raza talks for the first time about the infamous video and the dangers of cyberbullying
Almost a billion viewers across the planet know him as the Star Wars Kid, but they’ve never heard him speak, until now.
Ghyslain Raza was a normal high-school student in small-town Quebec back in 2002, a shy 14-year-old who liked to make videos. In 2003, classmates posted one of those videos on the Internet without his knowledge–in it, Raza wields a makeshift light saber, clumsily imitating a Star Wars Jedi knight.
The video went viral, and the Trois-Rivières teen became one of the earliest and highest-profile victims of a massive cyberbullying attack, one that played out among classmates and strangers online.
“What I saw was mean. It was violent. People were telling me to commit suicide,” the now-25-year-old recalls.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM - 0 Comments
North Korea does something rational and getting through George W. Bush’s email may take 250 years
Stepping back from the brink
After months of bellicose and irrational behaviour, it appears the North Korean government has finally done something sane: pulling two long-range missiles it planned to test fire off their launching pads. The Kim Jong Un regime has also softened its tone, replacing daily threats of war with preconditions for resuming negotiations. Tensions remain high with U.S. and South Korean forces on standby, but it’s a start—and an indication that the combination of harsh sanctions and tough talk might finally be getting through to Pyongyang.
Search and rescued
The auditor general’s recent report identified big shortfalls in Canada’s search-and-rescue program: there are too few planes and helicopters, and they’re too old. So credit Defence Minister Peter MacKay for looking at a quick stopgap fix—pressing some of the nine ex-U.S. presidential helicopters that Canada bought for spare parts back into service. The move may prove cheaper and faster than the traditionally painful process of purchasing new search-and-rescue Cormorants. And anything that might save lives is worth a try.
By Martin Patriquin, Nicholas Kohler, Emily Senger and Michael Barclay - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM - 0 Comments
Top stories from the week
Free at last
Long ago given up for dead, three Cleveland women—Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus—escaped from the house where they had allegedly been held captive for 10 years; nine in DeJesus’s case. All had been teenagers when they went missing. Berry’s six-year-old daughter was also discovered in the house, which is owned by one of three brothers now in custody. “If you don’t believe in miracles, think again,” said Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus’s aunt. The hero of the day is neighbour Charles Ramsey, who heard a woman struggling in the house, where he thought a man lived alone. He found Berry trying to push through a door and assumed it was a domestic dispute. When he went to help her break free, she told him to call 911. When one reporter asked if he knew there were women in the home, Ramsey answered: “No, because I woulda pulled this heroic stuff last year!”
Former Philippine ﬁrst lady Imelda Marcos—known for her extravagant lifestyle and thousands of shoes—is campaigning to hold onto her congressional seat in the May 13 elections. Marcos, who represents a district in the family’s home province of Ilocos Norte, fled the Philippines with her husband, Ferdinand, after he was ousted from power, leaving a horrific record of human rights abuses and corruption. The so-called Steel Butterﬂy, who returned from exile in Hawaii after her husband’s death in 1989, first ran for office in 2010, and heads up an unlikely political dynasty: her daughter governs a province and her son is a national senator.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Xavier Dolan continues to push buttons. The 24-year-old director, acclaimed for his 2009 debut…
Xavier Dolan continues to push buttons. The 24-year-old director, acclaimed for his 2009 debut I Killed My Mother, recently shot a video for French new wave act Indochine’s single College Boy in which the lead character, a gay teen, is bullied, beaten, harassed, crucified and shot multiple times.
Filmed in the playground of a downtown Montreal school, the black-and-white video was almost instantly banned on Quebec’s MusiquePlus channel, and censored on YouTube shortly after.
Dolan says the video has an anti-bullying message, and should be seen. “Preventing the young generation from seeing the clip is to prevent them from understanding this message at the most crucial age,” he told France 24.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM - 0 Comments
There’s only one thing missing from Martha Stewart ’s empire: someone to share it…
There’s only one thing missing from Martha Stewart ’s empire: someone to share it with.
The domestic doyenne, who joined Match.com, looking for love, announced this week that she’s narrowed her search to two men. The 71-year-old had been looking for someone she could “have coffee with” and “go to bed with.”
She was looking for a non-smoker, at least one inch taller than her five-foot-nine frame, who earned more than $150,000 per year.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
In journalism, “man bites dog” is a litmus test for what constitutes news—a quotidian,…
In journalism, “man bites dog” is a litmus test for what constitutes news—a quotidian, non-newsworthy event (“dog bites man”) that becomes a subject of fascination when events reverse those terms.
Last week, the Des Moines Register reported that Laine Henry, of Madrid, Iowa, bit a 50-lb. Lab-retriever mix named Buddy on the snout after the animal clamped onto his wife Caren’s face, tearing off her nose. The man-on-dog action proved the only way to persuade Buddy to let go of her.
Doctors hope to replace Caren’s lost nose with a reconstruction using cartilage from her ear.
Meanwhile, Buddy is in detention, but will likely be returned to his owner because Dallas County, where the attack occurred, has no vicious dog ordinance on the books.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 9:18 AM - 0 Comments
Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos—known for her extravagant lifestyle and thousands of shoes—is…
Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos—known for her extravagant lifestyle and thousands of shoes—is campaigning to hold onto her congressional seat in the May 13 elections.
Marcos, who represents a district in the family’s home province of Ilocos Norte, fl ed the Philippines with her husband, Ferdinand, after he was ousted from power, leaving a horrific record of human rights abuses and corruption.
The so-called Steel Butterfly, who returned from exile in Hawaii after her husband’s death in 1989, first ran for office in 2010, and heads up an unlikely political dynasty: her daughter governs a province and her son is a national senator.
By David Agren - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 8:07 PM - 0 Comments
Mexico City introduces controversial parking meters
Parking is at a premium in Mexico City, leaving an army of informal attendants known as viene-vienes to assign spots on the street. The rag-waving viene-vienes draw their name from their call to customers, “Come here! Come here!” They also evoke disdain for their work of watching cars for tips—effectively collecting payments for allowing people to park in public places.
Mexico City has moved against the viene-vienes by putting parking meters in popular neighbourhoods. It’s an attempt at establishing order in a city where car ownership has exploded: people often park on the sidewalks and spots are so scarce that stores like Starbucks offer valet parking. It’s also an attempt to claim the proceeds of “an incredibly lucrative activity,” says David Lozano, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Lozano estimates the city’s 4,500 viene-vienes, who mark their spaces in the street with water bottles and concrete blocks, collect a total of $50,000 daily and says they are often organized by “mafias” that share the take with corrupt politicians.
The new parking meters, charging 65 cents per hour, have been controversial but effective. Installing parking meters last year in the posh Polanco district resulted in a 40 per cent increase in the number of available spots, according to one study. But some residents in the chic Condesa neighbourhood voted “no” in a consultation, arguing that poor planning and the out-of-control opening of bars and restaurants—which lack parking lots—brought in too many cars.