In light of recent announcements that the current government plans to sell off the CBC buildings across this land -- the very art of cultural commentary might not be long for this nation. As Harper slowly dismantles every political and cultural institution intrinsic to the Canadian way of life I wonder -- will the future Joni Mitchells, Leonard Cohens and Neil Youngs be left to fend for themselves?
There are a range of reasons people have asked me about my background and reasons I'm curious about yours. Maybe I've traveled to your country of heritage and would like to share my experience; I'd like to visit one day and would welcome your insights. We shouldn't have to pretend not to see skin colour, hear accents, or recognize features. No, we're not all the same -- but why is that the goal?
You simply cannot live in Canada and ignore the past. It's a pretty strong statement but reading the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Aboriginal residential schools, that's the conclusion I've come to. The truth may be out but the reconciliation is going to take a while. So just as all Canadians share accountability for what is past, we also share a responsibility for making things better.
I attended a conference on Canadian culture to which several dozen undergraduate students came by bus from cities several hours away. They had learned about Canada from teachers who themselves had benefited from the tiny grants which once allowed them to visit Canada or order the books and other materials on which their teaching depended.
As a chef, culture is an inspiration. Food is such a huge part of what is known as "culture" and I feel blessed to have learned about and experienced so many impressive cultures through their food. From Jamaican jerk spice to traditional Korean kimchi, whenever you think of culture, food is intrinsically tied to its experience -- and these experiences have inspired my cooking, which has had an incredible impact on my career and my life.
Jacques Bensimon, former head of the National Film Board, passed away on Sunday. Jacques had astonishing generosity of spirit. No matter if you were an executive, a junior producer, the editor on the night shift, or a new international contact or a Board Member, Jacques spent his lifetime leading and guiding creatives and broadcast executives alike towards one goal: the preservation of Canadian culture.
So I'm standing outside "The Barn" restaurant ("It's called The Barn because all the animals go there" I was once told), having a smoke, and some hapless soul walks up and asks me for a cigarette. That'll teach me to open up a full pack on Queen Street. As I hand this guy his smoke, he looks at me, and in all sincerity asks "Do you know Tony?".