Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posers

Teaching Country Dance for Beginners to actual rural folk proved to be an eye-opener

Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posersBack in my not-so-halcyon days of youth and yore, when I practised the challenging social craft of ballroom dance instruction, I accepted a contract to teach 'Country Dance for Beginners' at a community centre in the small hamlet of Thorhild, Alberta. I had taught at various community centres in and around Edmonton to urban posers,…

Staying when the government tells you to move

How a decision to remain in an ancestral village helped ensure a family maintained strong ties to a culture

Staying when the government tells you to moveIn 1968, my father took me to Yuquot on Nootka Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, because he wanted me to see where Capt. James Cook first stepped ashore in 1778. Little did he know that because of this visit, our family was about to begin a lifelong friendship with Ray and Terry…

Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?

Protecting cultural industries from competition and propping them up with public money is just wasteful

Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?Many advocates for cultural diversity have a sudden change of heart when the topic turns to Canada's ‘cultural industries.’ As they say in Argentina, for money, the monkey will dance. What constitutes Canadian heritage, given its complex milieu, tends to be in the eye of the beholder. However, the heritage is so weak that, supposedly,…

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warrior

Under his leadership, Marvel directly challenged societal norms on race, religion, war, gender and sexuality

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warriorStan Lee passed away on Nov. 12. The larger-than-life personality of Marvel Comics for seven decades, he helped create some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Black Panther. The 95-year-old son of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, Lee was a genius and great innovator in the comic book industry –…

Rhodes cultural policy is a template for Canada

The Greeks believe that supporting the arts and culture is not a luxury but an investment in human progress

Rhodes cultural policy is a template for CanadaThroughout the ages, Greece has created a significant footprint and an inspiring legacy in the arts and culture. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t recognize the foundational endowments to the modern arts and culture made by ancient Greece. Renowned Greek philosophers, architects, sculptors, poets and playwrights have left their mark for future generations.…

Canada’s identity forged by struggle that created shared values

Trudeau is wrong – it's not just diversity that makes us strong, it’s how our diverse parts find so much in common

Canada’s identity forged by struggle that created shared values“Be proud of your heritage – be passionate about your country,” was the motto of The Ukrainian Voice, a Winnipeg-based newspaper that recently ceased operations. First published in 1910, it was the leading advocate for Ukrainians in Canada. In this digital age, it couldn’t survive. Read by many in its day, it will be missed.…

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dine

The CRTC has backed away from a 21st-century funding model for the creation of Canadian content. We'll all be poorer as a result

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dineThe leaders of Canada’s creative rebellion have emerged victorious after two years of struggle. That means consumers will almost certainly pay more for years to come for their much-loved Canadian television content. The news came just prior to the Labour Day weekend. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision confirming that it…

Why has WestJet lost its fun (and competitive advantage)?

When we value minimization over people, morale begins to suffer because nothing is rewarded except saving money

Why has WestJet lost its fun (and competitive advantage)?There was a time when you could take a WestJet flight and walk away from the experience wanting more. Ticketing staff, flight attendants and even pilots seemed like they really enjoyed working there. There were jokes on the flights, gags and laughter. That sense of fun made you want to fly with them. It was…

Getting to the heart of medical error and malpractice

Securing a meaningful and enduring reduction in medical error requires a cultural transformation

Getting to the heart of medical error and malpracticeIn a 2003 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) survey, “about a quarter [of adults] said that an adverse event had occurred in their own care, or that of a family member.” Half claimed that the adverse event had produced “serious health consequences.” Three-quarters claimed that it had “led to a hospital visit or longer…

Is western civilization worth defending?

The science, culture and philosophy of the West have been embraced around the world. And millions still flock to our shores

Is western civilization worth defending?“An anthropologist is someone who respects the distinctive values of every culture but his own. We in the West are all anthropologists now.” – Roger Kimball, The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of America Soon after arriving at McGill University in 1968 from a year of ethnographic field research in Iran,…

Rock, paper scissors: creating a successful workplace culture

If you want to work in a place that’s fun, start making it fun. If you want to work in a place that’s excellent, start making it excellent

Rock, paper scissors: creating a successful workplace cultureRock, paper, scissors is a game we all played as children in the playground. And in a company department nearby, they hold a weekly Rock, Paper Scissors Championship. On Thursday of every week, the people in the department gather on their lunch break for a few minutes to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who…

Giverny and Monet’s Gardens

Stop in Giverny at least for a few hours to wander among Monet's gardens and you'll feel like you've entered one of his paintings

Giverny and Monet’s GardensIf you love Impressionist paintings, why not plan a visit to Giverny, in France, and see Monet’s garden, flowers, pond and bridges for yourself? It’s been said the Impressionist art movement acquired its name from one of Monet’s paintings called “Impression, Sunrise.” Giverny was Monet's home during the last half of his life. He painted…

There’s no taboo to social lying

Too often, the truth can set you free – from jobs, relationships, money and social opportunities

There’s no taboo to social lyingThe first thing to remember in this day of mass media saturation is that there are no great lies – if something is repeated often enough it becomes the truth. That being said, the ultimate great lie is that it is always better to tell the truth. There are needful lies; lies of omission, white…

Victim culture marks a return to a culture of revenge

Where perceived slights are personally avenged, and the law is supplanted as the final arbiter of justice

Victim culture marks a return to a culture of revengeIt’s truly astonishing that no other national political figure beat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to an apology to the LGBTQ2+ community. In 2008, his predecessor Stephen Harper was first to offer an apology for Indian residential schools. And Canadians have hardly been spared from endless variations on the theme over the past decade. Similarly, the British…

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…