Sooner or later, we will turn away from oil

Part 2: Albertans can lead the next economic revolution by pioneering new energy enterprises

Sooner or later, we will turn away from oilShould Alberta be allowed to move its unrefined diluted bitumen to British Coumbia’s tidewater in Burnaby via pipeline and then quadruple tanker traffic through Vancouver harbour, the city that bills itself as the world’s greenest? And does the pipeline proponent, Kinder Morgan, have the permission of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, the unceded…

How do we close the widening gap between Alberta and B.C.?

Part 1: The wine versus oil showdown in the West has exposed some fundamental differences – but it's nothing other generations haven't seen

How do we close the widening gap between Alberta and B.C.?There was only one other car at the Earls Cove ferry terminal last week as I headed home to Powell River. It was a brand new Jeep with a white-and-red Alberta licence plate grinning from the rear bumper. I say grinning because on my part of the Sunshine Coast, you rarely see an old beater…

Is Trump’s economic train gaining momentum?

As the midterm U.S. elections in November loom, the battle ramps up between positive financial numbers and fairness in a true democracy

Is Trump’s economic train gaining momentum?Does a spate of positive economic news mean that America is really going to be great again? Will President Donald Trump’s fortunes and polling numbers rise as a result of the economic good news? The Dow Jones industrial average regularly trades over 26,000 and our retirement investments are up significantly over the first year of…

A New Year’s reading list for the 99.09 per cent

Four authors who lay bare a depressing world of plutocrats, oligarchs and the international kakistocracy

A New Year’s reading list for the 99.09 per centJanuary is book month in our house. It’s when we finally come to grips with reading all the titles that accumulated over Christmas and, in my case, a January birthday. I’ve read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats: The Rise of the Rise of the New Global…

Lessons from a contemplative life

At 67, I'm focusing on the things that are most important: family, friends, and challenging physical and mental pursuits

Lessons from a contemplative lifeI turned 67 today. It's kind of an odd birthday. You’re not yet 70 and certifiably old (according to some of my 69-year-old pals), but you’re creeping up the ladder and are two rungs above 65. So what does it all mean? It seems kind of like a rest-stop. A space between retirement and more…

A new wave of B.C. small-town cultural renaissance

Let's be honest, most of B.C.’s artistic community has always lived on the Gulf Islands, on Vancouver Island, up the Sunshine Coast, in Haida Gwaii rather than in Vancouver

A new wave of B.C. small-town cultural renaissanceMy grandfather arrived in Vancouver from England, via the Empress of Canada and the fledgling Canadian Pacific Railway in September 1909. At a goodbye dinner in London, he had been advised by a family friend to “Stay out of the towns – find your fortune in the countryside.” He took that advice literally and found…

The American dream is moving north to Canada

Great uncertainty faces Canada and the United States, but Canada seems better equipped to adapt and flourish

The American dream is moving north to CanadaSo how did you like last year? Did it advance your favourite causes? Did it fatten your assets? Did it leave you feeling like the world travelled a few metres forward on the roads that counted? Would it be enough if the 2017 trajectory simply continues for the next 12 months? Not from the perspective…

Roots that run deep, nurturing a family over generations

Reconnecting with our Highland heritage, its resourceful and egalitarian values, and the natural legacy that flows to all of us

Roots that run deep, nurturing a family over generationsWhat a gift it is to learn something new about your family roots relatively late in life. Looking back, this process seems more and more infrequent. But not 2017 – it was a banner year for old family intelligence. It was the year we reconnected with our Highland roots. Our teachers in this process were…

’Twas the night before Christmas …

The lights will be artfully strung, the family heirloom decorations will be carefully hung, and the boys will murmur appropriate and truthful praise

’Twas the night before Christmas …It’s the week before Christmas and all through the forest it’s cold, wet and dark at 5 a.m. when I awaken. We’re going to bed at 9 p.m. in this part of the world because the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. and it’s pitch dark at 5:30. The leaves have definitively fallen from all of…

A spirit gone, but enduring through lessons well taught

Bruce Webster defined how best to live life: with respect, humour, physical and intellectual rigour, and a willingness to take risks

A spirit gone, but enduring through lessons well taughtI packed my suitcase and dashed to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal to join my wife and her family at the palliative care ward of the Nanaimo hospital. Four adult children and their mother were already around a bed in a private room with their dad and husband, Bruce Webster. By the time I arrived,…

Learning life’s lessons from the best – and worst – of leaders

What we learned from Winston Churchill and Pierre Trudeau won't be taught to our children by Donald Trump

Learning life’s lessons from the best – and worst – of leadersWinston Churchill was the first political leader I noticed. My school, St. George’s School for Boys, was staffed with many First and Second World War veterans, men and women who revered Churchill. He was constantly held up as the epitome of global politicians: erudite, opinionated, brave, loyal au mort, sportsmanlike, impeccably groomed and dressed for…

Civic renewal that drains the soul – and people – from communities

When investor neighbourhoods replace residential ones, civic sustainability is the big loser

Civic renewal that drains the soul – and people – from communities“We are basically not a self-sustaining society. There is no other way to provide amenities we need … currently land and development is one of Canada’s biggest exports,” Ian Egloff of Creekside Architects is quoted as saying in Kerry Gold’s real estate column in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 25. What a great oxymoron.…

Angry times require rational argument

But in the time of Trump, there is too little reasoned articulation of viewpoints and too much posturing and pouting. It puts us all at risk

Angry times require rational argumentWe live in angry times. So much of the volume is directed over the Internet, by individuals tethered by coaxial cable to a universe of other individuals. Millions of people sit in rooms by themselves venting into screen space what they never would find courage to vent if they went out into the public sphere.…

On board but not bored: why committee work makes a difference

The best boards reflect Canada’s diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, language, regionality, background and enthusiasm for the cause

On board but not bored: why committee work makes a differenceMany of us volunteer to sit on boards of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some of us also sit on for-profit boards that govern businesses. In both cases, we know the experience (and consequences) of good and bad board encounters. Consequently I increasingly ask myself, after board meetings, how did it really go? Was the time…

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes in

On the Pacific coast, the fascinating fall movements of whales, salmon and sea ducks have begun

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes inOne evening recently at about 6 p.m., I heard a familiar sound from the sheltered bay just in front of our house at Skelhp. If you’ve never heard it, it can be bewildering, even frightening. It’s very loud blasts of air – sometimes two or three in succession, sometimes with about a minute’s silence before…