"I'd like to make the post of Poet Laureate as common an idea in Toronto as that of ambulance paramedic, fireman, police officer, or sanitation worker. The Poet Laureate is not as directly present in citizens' lives as perhaps are those whose sirens announce their presence. But I would like to think that the poet -- in general -- is about enhancing citizen's lives as thinking beings."
February 16 marks the anniversary of the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent by the U.S. Senate, officially ending the War of 1812. Looking back, it seems that the year 2012 managed to pass by without any significant reference to it having been the bicentennial anniversary of that conflict with Great Britain.
When I worked at IBM and when things seemed stuck -- we reorganized! Why can't North America do the same? Take the United States and Canada, combine the various provinces, states and territories, shake vigorously, and then pour them off into three distinct vessels: one Red, one Blue, and one White. The new Red nation would correspond to the U.S. Republican states of America's heartland and Deep South, combined with the oil, gas and grain-rich provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Let's call it "Heartlandia." The Queen would be Head of State and Newt Gingrich would be the prime minister
Once upon a time, a popular opposition firebrand named Christy Clark stood up in the B.C. Legislature to rip the NDP government for spending tax dollars on shameless, self-promoting advertising. Fast forward 13 years and there was Clark, now B.C. Liberal premier, last week holding court for 90 seconds of taxpayer-funded TV ad time to laud her B.C. Jobs Plan -- even promising that four more weekly installments are on the way.
At a moment when cultural trend-watchers are predicting the imminent demise of the traditional book in lieu of digitization, the American Antiquarian Society is honoring the strength of print as it celebrates its 200th anniversary.
Canada's most-visited museum, the Museum of Civilization, is a staple in the National Capital Region. It has garnered sustained interest from locals and foreigners alike with its exhibits showcasing the splendour of cultures and civilizations worldwide. In an abstruse move, the Harper government is announcing today that the beloved museum's mandate is being rebranded to focus solely on domestic history, while the overarching themes of military and monarchy -- sweetheart conservative subjects -- have been touted as guiding principles.
If Pauline Marois' government decides it wants to lead Quebec out of Canada, to my mind she's simply following the logical path that has been laid down (intentionally or not) by our Federal leaders over the past 145 years. If it turns out Quebec wants a divorce we should grant it and move on. It seems evident there wasn't much of a family to begin with, and we don't seem to want to start building one now.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a trip to New York this week, but it isn't to attend a United Nations meeting to which Canada was extended an invitation. The Prime Minister will instead be in the glitzy hotel, where he is due to receive an award from the little-known Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and religious leaders. Between the successive fossil awards for environmental savagery and the unfortunate de-funding of reproductive health in foreign aid, the Harper government continues to slide Canada's international influence down to the gutter.
As of this writing, Canada is 12th, with one gold, five silver and 12 bronze medals. Let us all bow our heads and listen up to what Jerry Seinfeld says: "You win the gold -- you feel good, you win the bronze -- you think, "Well, at least I got something". But when you win that silver it's like, "Congratulations, you almost won. Of all the losers you came in first of that group. You're the number one loser." So at least we have something. A lot of something.
I see the opposition parties have finally taken issue with the government for their heavy promotion of the War of 1812 during Olympic television coverage. The question is not the ad itself; the real issue is whether or not the Olympics are an appropriate venue for this type of saturation advertising? A simple ad highlighting the accomplishments of former Canadian Olympic greats would have been more appropriate.
Would the federal government please cut it out with their War of 1812 ads? One minute, I'll be watching some riveting event of sportsmanship at the Olympics, and then suddenly CTV cuts to commercial, and I'm treated to an array of cartoonishly noble characters attired in soldierly red coat and womanly bonnet, circa Regency England, with platoons aiming bayonets at the American frenemy, and I'm like: WTF, federal government?
Francis Scott Key, the Washington lawyer and poet who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner," is the most unknown famous person in American history. What does Key's forgotten story mean as the 200th anniversary of his most famous work approaches?
This year marks the bicentennial of the outbreak of the War of 1812, and it is right that Canadians recognize and celebrate its significance. To celebrate and commemorate only those parts -- indeed, those parts of parts -- of Canadian history that fit the talking points and policy direction of a particular government is to diminish the true greatness of the Canadian story.
It's been 1812-o-rama in the Canadian press this week: Experts agree that the main reason we should care about the War of 1812 is because without that "seminal battle" our beloved country would have suffered some other monstrous fate. And when you're done reading that stuff, check out the myriad articles on an email Minister Jason Kenney wrote wherein he inadvertently told the world what he really thinks of Alberta deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk. Gripping stuff.
The road to the duel was long and circumstantial. There was, for instance, the matter of professional honor.
The battle of 1812 was supposedly lost by the U.S. and therefore won by Great Britain. Apparently, it is true. But rebels in Upper and Lower Canada would continue to challenge the Anglo-Anglican Monarchists by waging a secret uprising in both parts of Canada that would end in 1838. It is remembered as the Caroline Affair.