‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’

While it might be silly to argue the Berlin Wall came down because of Ronald Reagan, he demonstrated unusual prescience about the Soviet Union’s fragility

‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’The relationship between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev has been described as “among the most remarkable forged by any two world leaders in modern history.” And one of its most famous public moments occurred just 30 years ago. Speaking in front of the infamous Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, Reagan issued a challenge: “Mr.…

The Road to Camelot offers fresh insights into JFK mythology

2017 is John F. Kennedy’s centenary year and a new book offers a deep dive into the details of his successful 1960 U.S. presidential campaign

The Road to Camelot offers fresh insights into JFK mythologyThis is John F. Kennedy’s centenary year – he was born on May 29, 1917. And the books keep coming, the latest being Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie’s The Road to Camelot. For those who fancy a deep dive into the details of Kennedy’s successful 1960 presidential campaign, the book fits the bill quite nicely.…

Area performers ready to celebrate Canada 150

Concert on Sunday afternoon at St. Paul’s United Church to include fiddle music, jazz and classical music, among other genres

Area performers ready to celebrate Canada 150By Kenneth Brown The Clarion A wide range of singers and musicians from the area are coming together in Kindersley this Sunday to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by throwing a concert. The West Central Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association is presenting a Canada 150 Concert on May 28 at St. Paul’s United Church in…

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapot

For the CBC and others, a joke about cultural appropriation is more important than, you know, things like real racism

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapotAll novelists are liars. Thieves, too. So said the late Mordecai Richler. My friend and I were in the dark at the back at the Bovine Sex Club on Queen West, waiting to see the Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads. My friend had just told me the story of how, years ago, he…

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book each

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book eachBorn 25 or so years apart, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee were each defined by a single book. Mitchell’s was Gone With the Wind, while Lee’s was To Kill a Mockingbird. Both women – daughters of the 20th century American South – situated their work in their native regions. Mitchell chose Civil War Georgia for her…

Learning from the resolve of zero-gravity spiders

Rejected in love? Lost a job? Experienced a serious medical condition? Gone through a financial crisis? Spiders In Space offers comfort

Learning from the resolve of zero-gravity spidersSpiders In Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change By Todd Hirsch and Rob Roach P&P Publishing C$20 For those of you who had any doubt, this book confirms that misery really does love company. It tells the story of 15 very different people from a variety of backgrounds across Canada who have but one thing…

Why public spaces are so important

Lisa Benton-Short's great book about the National Mall in Washington, D.C., helps us understand why we need areas devoted to honouring society's best

Why public spaces are so importantParks and public spaces are often more than meets the eye. For example, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is no ordinary public space. That’s true – and it's also the title of a great book by Lisa Benton-Short (The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space). We all can learn a little about our less monumental…

King, Lapointe friendship bridged the two solitudes

The friendship between King and Lapointe formed the lynch pin of national unity during a key period of Canadian political history

Harry S. Truman is reputed to have said if you want a friend in Washington, D.C., then get a dog. Mackenzie King, Canada’s prime minister through most of the 1920s-1940s, seems to have enjoyed both human and canine friends. In January 1941, his dog, Pat, died at the age of 17. Conrad Black explains how, on…

Macdonald and Cartier’s bond helped form Canada

The friendship of John A. Macdonald and George-Etienne Cartier was the crucible of Canadian Confederation

Macdonald and Cartier’s bond helped form CanadaThe friendship of John A. Macdonald and George-Etienne Cartier was the crucible of Canadian Confederation. They were political partners from when Cartier joined the cabinet of the Liberal-Conservative coalition in 1855 to Cartier’s death in 1873. With George Brown’s Canada West Reformers, they led the “Great Coalition” toward constitutional reform. Macdonald and Cartier worked from a foundation of responsible government…

Shared principles can overcome even profound political differences

Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontain' friendship allowed them to approach politics with moderation and principled prudence

In an era of hyper-partisanship, it is worthwhile to examine a friendship that helped form Canadian politics. Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine were the fathers of responsible government in Canada. They believed that such government must be neither English nor French, but Canadian. And the friendship of Baldwin, the Upper Canadian Anglican, and Lafontaine, the Lower Canadian Roman Catholic, transcended the ethnic, linguistic,…