Coach passed away last Friday, having fought the good fight against cancer, the scourge of our times. You may not know Coach, but I hope you know someone like him -- a person who pours water on you when you are about to flame out, who picks you up by the scruff of your neck and puts you back on track, who shows you that there is indeed a big, wide world out there.
Jacques Parizeau was a passionate and principled man who believed in Quebec's independence, but he was at times a divisive politician. Judging by the many hateful comments I saw last night, his "money and the ethnic vote" speech after the razor-thin Quebec independence referendum loss in 1995 will continue to haunt his legacy. The over-the-top indignation I'm seeing from some is getting on my nerves. Is that one sentence from 20 years ago the only thing some of you can remember from his entire political legacy? Parizeau was so much more than just a rant, more than just one ugly moment in time.
Jacques Parizeau was Quebec Premier for merely 16 months, but he was a great servant of the state and, above all, one of the foremost builders of modern Quebec. He was one of the founding members of Parti québécois in 1968-1969, alongside Mr. Lévesque who had just stormed out of the Quebec Liberal Party. "Monsieur," as everyone called him, was a statesman; he truly had the interest of the public at heart in the noblest sense of the expression. The interest of the state came before his own. That is something that is becoming extremely rare in politics nowadays.
Here I must trespass on the impolite, and I'll begin by restoring to the record the excised bits in which Jim Flaherty was a soldier of Mike Harris's "Common Sense Revolution." The idea that he was a non-ideological moderate would have been laughed out of the room, even by the man himself. Moderate was an insult he applied to his leadership rival, that pink and pale McGuinty imitation Ernie Eves. As Ontario's Attorney General and Finance Minister, Flaherty was one of Harris's most consistent and reliable true believers, mocked (like Harris himself) for applying his tough-on-crime universal restorative elixir to homelessness and poverty.
It is difficult to overstate Sharon's shaping of the state of Israel. He fought in every war of the quarter-century from 1948 onwards, and played leading roles in both the military and political spheres for over a half-century. Whether as a criminal or hero (and each assessment is amply represented), his every move reorganized the chessboard. Sharon's political ambitions and calculations contributed to the rise of Likud, and when his tactics had changed, another grand reorganization occurred culminating in Kadima and the eventual return of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister.
On June 7, 2005, Peter Lewin, a little known doctor and scientist, died all-too-young.Though a pediatrician by trade, he was a pioneer in the field of paleopathology, a field that employs modern medical investigative techniques to unlock secrets within human remains. A pediatrician trusted by his patients, few knew that this kind and genteel man with an old world charm hid an Indiana Jones persona...