Patrick Watson was a true giant of Canadian broadcasting

A brilliant mind with a critical eye. Intelligent, engaging, curious, humorous and innovative

Patrick Watson was a true giant of Canadian broadcastingOn Monday, a true giant of Canadian broadcasting left us. Patrick Watson passed away at age 92. Steve Paikin, host of TVO’s The Agenda, circulated the sad news. “A broadcasting legend has died. … His Witness to Yesterday in which he interviewed figures from our history got me hooked both on journalism and history,” he…

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and support

James Dempsey played a key role in the U of A’s early ethics discussions around Indigenous engagement

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and supportAs a first-year student at the University of Alberta years ago, Melanie Dene was understandably nervous. But when she got to James Dempsey’s class, she instantly felt better. “To see him I would never have guessed that he was a professor. He had long bushy hair and he wore a Native Pride hat, dark glasses,…

Ted Byfield played an influential role in Canadian conservatism

In all parts of the country

Ted Byfield played an influential role in Canadian conservatismTed Byfield passed away at his home on Dec. 23 at age 93. Many Canadian conservatives mourn the loss of a great man. Byfield was a giant in Canadian conservatism. He consistently challenged existing orthodoxies and societal norms within modern liberalism and helped create an intellectual blueprint for a political movement that had often struggled…

Celebrating the life of David Schindler

The U of A community mourns the loss of the world-renowned ecologist and environmentalist, and honours his achievements

Celebrating the life of David SchindlerThe University of Alberta is mourning the loss of ecology professor emeritus David Schindler, a devoted family man, friend and mentor, and one of the world’s strongest and most respected voices addressing one of the planet’s most pressing issues – ensuring water safety and sustainability. Schindler was 80. Born August 3, 1940, in Fargo, N.D.,…

Charley Pride knocked down country music’s racial barriers

Audiences took a while to warm up to a black country musician. He wasn’t promoted in this fashion and photos didn’t accompany his early singles

Charley Pride knocked down country music’s racial barriersI didn’t grow up listening to country music. Nevertheless, there were country musicians I always liked. Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Roy Clark (who was also a bluegrass legend), Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys and Alabama come to mind. Then there was Charley Pride. He was in a class of his…

John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politics

Politicians like the late prime minister are sources of inspiration for public service, intelligent discourse and common decency

John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politicsJohn Turner, Canada’s 17th prime minister, passed away on Sept. 19 at the age of 91. A lawyer by trade, he had a serious relationship with Princess Margaret and was an Olympic-calibre athlete in track and field. He served as a Liberal MP from 1962 to 1976 in two ridings, St. Lawrence-St. George and Ottawa-Carleton,…

John Turner’s poisoned chalice

Succeeding Pierre Trudeau came with own baggage. As a result, Turner, a former golden boy of the Liberals who died Saturday, never fulfilled his promise

John Turner’s poisoned chaliceSeveral years ago, I found myself standing beside John Turner outside a Toronto church after a Christmas concert. He was alone and nobody was paying attention to him. It seemed strangely anonymous for a man who’d been prime minister, not to mention a one-time golden boy of Liberal politics. Then again, Turner was a guy…

John Turner had an unflagging faith in the people

John Turner had an unflagging faith in the peopleBack then, I worked for John Turner’s Liberal government and my then-girlfriend worked for Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives. On the afternoon of Sept. 4, 1984, I was heading home to Calgary and law school. So I went to the Ottawa polling station where she was volunteering. She was sad to see me go (I guess) but…

Aline Chretien was fierce, beautiful and much loved

Aline Chretien was fierce, beautiful and much lovedImagine you’re in an Ottawa hotel suite with a former prime minister of Canada and a former president of the United States. Secret Service members watch the door and a photographer is getting ready to take some shots. Imagine that. But then imagine the door opens and in walks Aline Chretien, looking as beautiful and elegant…

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actress

She played two off-screen roles that took courage and independence. She was, to put it simply, a woman of genuine substance.

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actressOlivia de Havilland died last weekend at the age of 104. She was often described as the last survivor of Hollywood’s golden age. Making theatrical movies from the mid-1930s to the late-1970s and continuing in television until 1988, de Havilland earned five Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress twice. Not bad going by anyone’s…

An economist who put the accent on compassion

Nallai showed us there are no differences that we cannot overcome if we show the desire and ability to approach them with an open mind

An economist who put the accent on compassionThe quiet passing a couple of weeks ago of a retired economics professor from Calgary’s Mount Royal University is a footnote in Alberta history worth noting. As an immigrant from Sri Lanka more than three decades ago, Vettivelu Nallainayagam not only helped shape the economics program at that school, but also became an influential fixture…

Kobe Bryant’s complicated legacy

The late basketball legend became a model husband, father, citizen and businessman. But a dark incident in Colorado can't be forgotten

Kobe Bryant’s complicated legacyI was walking off the tennis court last Sunday when I saw several texts saying Kobe Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash. My first reaction was disbelief, then shock, then sadness. As I got in my car, I wasn’t sure why I was so sad. While I definitely respected his athletic ability and…

Rest in peace, Sloan Ranger

Mike Sloan accepted his fate with an eloquence and bravery that many would hope to achieve – but few will ever attain

Rest in peace, Sloan RangerMike Sloan passed peacefully at 1:25 pm EST via MAID. He asked me (@bobsmith55) to let you know. I was with him at the end, holding his hand. He thanks you all for your support on this journey. His last words were, “Tell Chub I love him.” – 1:29 PM · Jan 20, 2020 Mike…

The man who brought down Alan Eagleson

Russ Conway was an old-school journalist: principled, detail-driven and thorough to a fault. His tenacity paid huge dividends and taught great lessons

The man who brought down Alan EaglesonThe first time I spoke to Russ Conway, he wanted nothing to do with me. “I’m tired of reporters trying to steal my stuff,” he said in his chowderhead accent. “I don’t need any help.” I’d been recommended to Russ by National Hockey League legend Carl Brewer and his partner Susan Foster, who’d been pursuing…

Jim Bouton’s impact reached far beyond the baseball diamond

The Ball Four author was a significant social activist, speaking out about apartheid, and exposing small-town government and media corruption

Jim Bouton’s impact reached far beyond the baseball diamondJim Bouton died this month at age 80. The plethora of Bouton obituaries and tributes since have focused on his pitching career, which included winning a couple World Series games with the New York Yankees, and the blockbuster book Ball Four he wrote about his 1969 season. But Jim Bouton was also an influential sports…