Is the pursuit of policy actually the absence of action?

Academic author Michael Howlett's book Canadian Public Policy: Selected Studies in Process and Style leaves too many questions unanswered

Is the pursuit of policy actually the absence of action?I’m thinking of writing a book called Public Policy Isn’t. What’s a policy? Is it the policy of a government to pass a law to achieve a goal? Or does a law require those implementing the law to adhere to certain policies? It’s perhaps both. How about the members of the public in public policy?…

The lasting – and troubling – legacy of Martin Luther

It’s now 500 years since Luther threw down the gauntlet, taking on the power of the papacy in an era predating the separation of church and state

The lasting – and troubling – legacy of Martin LutherWhen I was a child in 1950s Catholic Ireland, Martin Luther had a nasty reputation. If not viewed as the devil incarnate, he was certainly seen as a deeply dodgy fellow. And it wasn’t uncommon to hear the tale of his alleged “bad death” put forward as proof of his iniquity. The whole story, of…

How compassion makes businesses money

Companies organized around values such as love, generosity and endearment have significantly greater stock market returns

How compassion makes businesses moneyMichael was my mentor when it comes to compassion. His heart always went out to anyone who was in a tough spot. As a roommate of Michael’s, I saw him reach out to people in the community who were down on their luck and in pain. He would help to mend hearts even after his…

Democratic angst and independence turmoil

In Hillary Clinton’s mind, it’s everyone else’s fault. So she’ll continue to hog centre stage and suck up the political oxygen

Democratic angst and independence turmoilTwo topics jump out from the current news. One is the continuing Democratic Party angst over the 2016 U.S. election. The other is the recurrent propensity for independence movements to stir things up. On the Democratic front, Hillary Clinton’s promotion of her new book What Happened is Exhibit A. There’s nothing wrong with authors promoting…

John F. Kennedy: an anglophile for all seasons

The storied president was more English than Irish, despite being seen as the ultimate symbol of Irish-American success and social acceptance

John F. Kennedy: an anglophile for all seasonsJohn F. Kennedy is often seen as the ultimate symbol of Irish-American success and social acceptance. And there’s much truth to that. Irish by ancestry and Roman Catholic by religion, Kennedy’s election to the U.S. presidency represented a breakthrough in status and prestige for an ethnic group that had once been viewed with suspicion. But…

No clowning around: It fails Stephen King’s original

The gulf between facade and fact in the horror novel is wholly ignored in the film version that opened across North America on Friday

No clowning around: It fails Stephen King’s originalIt New Line Cinema 2017 Rated: 14A (No spoilers) It’s been more than 30 years since Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT first terrified an unsuspecting public and ushered in decades of prejudice against clowns of all shapes and sizes – many of them wholly innocent of mayhem and murder. It’s been nearly as long since the…

Was the Ukrainian Red Famine genocide or incompetence?

Historians are divided on Josef Stalin’s intent in the Ukraine that resulted in millions of deaths. Anne Applebaum’s new book has revived the dispute

Was the Ukrainian Red Famine genocide or incompetence?Chances are Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine will set the cat among the pigeons with respect to the horrendous Ukrainian hunger of 1932-33. It’s already touched off a rhetorical skirmish between the author and an early reviewer. Applebaum is an American journalist-historian whose Gulag: A History won a 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Russia is a particular specialty of…

Hasty conclusions about the past can result in lost opportunities

Monuments often reveal important stories, but can gloss over details. Unless we examine the facts closely, we can end up with a sanitized view of history

Hasty conclusions about the past can result in lost opportunities“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said. We study history in part to understand the mistakes made in the past so we don’t repeat them. If we can truly learn…

Dunkirk and the maligned Belgians

When disaster comes calling, shifting the blame is generally not too far behind, and war is the perfect setting for laying blame

Dunkirk and the maligned BelgiansThree things happened at Dunkirk, France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940, during the early days of the Second World War. First, the evacuation of more than 300,000 British and Allied troops made it possible to believe that Germany might be denied ultimate triumph. And that was an unambiguously good thing. Second, the British…

The political ties that bind: Lougheed and Blakeney

How a deep trust and enduring friendship helped craft Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and ensure lasting provincial autonomy

The political ties that bind: Lougheed and BlakeneyBy John von Heyking and Thomas Kazakoff University of Lethbridge The relationship between Peter Lougheed and Allen Blakeney demonstrated how consistent trust for one another over a decade’s political enterprise became the foundation for a political friendship, and helped forge Canada as we know it. In his essay Reflections on the Kitchen Accord (2012), former…