After a six-year absence, Toronto DIY-electro-rockers Holy Fuck return with a new album, Congrats. The video for the lead single, "Tom Tom," directed by Michael Leblanc, was filmed and cast on location in the Romanian village of Zarnesti. Congrats (released yesterday) can be streamed in its entirety on the band's Bandcamp page. [more inside]
The Tragically Hip are the most Canadian rock band. They have a new album coming out next month. They're going on tour. And today they announced lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.
On July 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru and its passsengers were turned back from Canada and returned to India. Nineteen passengers would be killed as they disembarked there. On May 18, 2016, Canada's Prime Minister will rise in the House of Commons to deliver an apology, over 100 years in the making, for the Komagata Maru incident. [more inside]
"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 ... that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate, because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in Ottawa. [more inside]
Criticism leveled at Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of prime minister Justin Trudeau, dismissed as ‘sexist and spiteful’ after she says she needs more staff. [The Guardian] The wife of Canada’s prime minister has sparked a fierce national debate after saying she needs more help to expand her official role and take on more public duties. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau last week told a French-language newspaper that she wanted to do more, but struggled with just one staff member. [more inside]
After nine years of censorship, Canadian scientists can speak about their work. Although it may take time for the policy changes to make their way through the bureaucracy. [more inside]
Alberta's Syrian refugees jump at the chance to help Fort McMurray evacuees. Despite barely having a foothold in their new country, Syrian refugees in Calgary are contributing what little they have after seeing footage of the terrifying wildfire in Northern Alberta. Somebody tell Trump.
Fort McMurray, a city of more than 80,000, has been ordered to evacuate after a massive wildfire breached the city limits today. The city wide evacuation order advised remaining residents to evacuate north to Noralta Lodge with the work camps that service the oil sands being pressed into service to house the evacuees. Earlier evacuations to the south producing some harrowing footage. Highway 63 has been closed south of the city, cutting off the main road connection between Ft. McMurray and the rest of Alberta.
Canada's census has returned after a 10 year hiatus. And when the number-crunchers at Stats Can link this event to the Battle of Hogwarts [Stats Can Facebook], you've gotta know it feels like a new era to those who dwell in the world of evidence based policy. Canadians seem to agree with the statisticians' enthusiasm, crashing the census site with their nerdy rush to participate and end the data drought. Meanwhile the Beaverton covers the Tory response to this egregious end of privacy. Meanwhile, gender analysis has evolved since the last census, so here is your guide to answering binary gender questions in the census (stop gap until this can be reviewed).
Atlantic Canada is still getting some winter this "spring". Here's what a guy from Saskatchewan thinks about winter, just in general; some Manitobans' responses, previously.
Phillip Kives, the founder of K-Tel International, has passed away at age 87. (previously) [more inside]
The roof of video game developer BioWare's Edmonton studio has been chosen by a pair of Canada geese as their nesting site for the spring. For the next few weeks, you can watch Ganders (female), Arishonk (male) and hopefully some eventual goslings on the BioWare Goose Cam. [more inside]
Giving free booze to homeless alcoholics sounds crazy. But it may be the key to helping them live a stable life.
At this week's UN General Assembly Special Session on drug policy - scheduled after lobbying by Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, whose leaders are calling for a more “humane solution” to the drugs problem that goes beyond a focus on enforcement and criminalization - Canada's Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that Canada will begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana in spring 2017.
Over the weekend, the federal NDP voted to oust leader Tom Mulcair. But this dramatic turn of events was nearly overshadowed by another event at the NDP convention: The delivery of one of the most powerful political speeches in recent Canadian memory by former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis. CBC's Neil MacDonald calls Lewis "probably Canada's greatest living orator."
Attawapiskat Declares State of Emergency Over Spate of Suicide Attempts [CBC.ca] The chief and council for the Attawapiskat First Nation on remote James Bay have declared a state of emergency, saying they're overwhelmed by the number of attempted suicides in the community. On Saturday night alone, 11 people attempted to take their own lives, Chief Bruce Shisheesh said. Including Saturday's spate of suicide attempts, a total of 101 people of all ages have tried to kill themselves since September, Shisheesh said, with one person dying. The youngest was 11, the oldest 71. The Cree community — home to about 2,000 residents — saw 28 attempts in March alone. Last September, a group of five girls overdosed and had to be medevaced out of the community, Shisheesh said. [more inside]
If you experienced children’s pop culture in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the nostalgia cycle has caught up with you, and the entertainment industry has accelerated the process of harvesting even your faintest memories. The sheer volume of revivals means that at some point a story small and forgotten enough to feel like a personal memory will be unearthed and dragged into the sunlight. The sudden reappearance of a once-loved TV show/book/slice of intellectual property forces you, the viewer, into an existential anxiety. To merely be the target of this deluge of content is a weird sensation. To be one of the creators—dusting off past work, bringing old versions of yourself into a new world and hoping to find the public’s affection—must be infinitely more bewildering.
Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) is a new mixtape of Akira-themed remixes from Toronto, CANADAAAAA!-based producer Bwana that has just been released by Glasgow-based LuckyMe Records. If you don’t want to stream it on Youtube while watching minimal music videos derived from the manga’s art, why not download it here (scroll down) and listen while browsing through the Otomblr.
Liz Plank sits down to talk with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in NYC during his recent visit, and asks him (among many other things) what he thinks about 28% of 2000 Americans polled saying they'd try to move to Canada if Trump won the 2016 election, about multiculturalism and diversity, about gender equality, and about balancing fatherhood and politics.
And it’s even easier with a bit of international cooperation: Time lapse video of USCGC Bristol Bay and CCGS Samuel Risley working together to break ice from Sarnia to Windsor, Ontario, in one day. Further inland, Amphibex icebreaking machines are used to break ice on the Red River in Manitoba to prevent flooding from ice jamming ahead of spring. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to icebreaking... [more inside]
Privatization and demutualization. A concise explanation of the efficiency gains of health insurance and public pensions, from Canadian philosopher Joseph Heath. Heath points out that the "social safety net" provides tremendous gains from risk-pooling, completely separate from redistribution or reduced inequality. [more inside]
Every year for the last 50+ years the BC Ministry of Transportation has had a instrumented truck drive every mile of every highway in the province to record highway conditions. Part of the instrumentation is millions of pictures (one every 10-30 metres). The Ministry has compiled selected sets of those pictures from 1966 into video photolog trips of selected highways. Highway 1 from Lytton to Revelstoke; The Island's Malahat; Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish; [more inside]
The current crop of 28-34 year old Canadians is the wealthiest ever, according to an internal Finance Canada study obtained by the CBC. This group averaged a net worth of $93k, compared to previous 28-34 year olds' more typical $60K. Most of this wealth is concentrated in the top 10%, whose net worth doubled to $500k, while most others saw a gain of only $1500 (CBC video). But efforts to narrow the gap are underway, in some corners: Ontario announced that students with family incomes under $50K will be getting free tuition for college or university.
"Until last year, I was considered something of a champion of social conservatism in Canada and was well known among politically active Christians. I hosted a nightly show on Crossroads Television for twelve years, was a syndicated Sun columnist, and wrote briskly selling books with such titles as Why Catholics Are Right. Today, as a decade of same-sex marriage waves its arms at Pride parades, I am working away at a new book, Coming Out: A Christian’s Change of Heart and Mind over Gay Marriage. Oh, dear. How and why did it go so terribly wrong?" Michael Coren discusses how he changed his mind about same-sex marriage.
In Canada, the Indigenous incarceration rate is 10 times higher than the non-Indigenous population—higher even than South Africa at the height of apartheid. 75 years after First Nations were given permission to travel freely, 50 years after being given the right to vote, and just 20 years since the closing of the last residential school, our history of colonization has been quietly forgotten. [more inside]
Do you long to be the next big thing in CanLit but suffer from writer's block? Or maybe your ideas are insufficiently Canadian. Never fear, the CanLit premise generator is here to help you, but only after multiple scenes of ice skating.
What It's Like Experiencing Canada as a Refugee [video] “Amidst ongoing attacks from public figures such as Donald Trump, it's easy to forget that Syrians and other desperate refugees are, in fact, people. One person is pushing back and rolling out the red carpet: Kourosh Houshmand. [more inside]
Norm Kelly, 74, has been Councillor of Ward 40, the Scarborough—Agincourt neighbourhoods in Toronto, for over 20 years. So how has he gained the adoration of thousands of adolescents and young adults in the Toronto area and afar who affectionately call him 'dad'? [more inside]
If you're tired of the status quo, there is a third path forwards — Canada for President [more inside]
"Heritage Factor (how much does it feel like a Heritage Moment?): 9.1. We’ve got period costumes, some clunky exposition/dramatic devices to ensure everything is explained in a minute, and a dramatic ending. Most importantly, we’ve got lots of historical half-truths in order to service television drama....I’m not saying we have a national fetish for comparing ourselves favourably to America. I’m just noting a full 10% of Heritage Minutes are based around that theme." Vancouver journalist Justin McElroy presents The 10 Best Canadian Heritage Minutes of All Time. [more inside]
On This Spot is a history blog that focusses on then and now photography, comparing historical and contemporary photographs of the same locations. Locations include cities and battlefields in the UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.
Members voted to dissolve the Association at a Special General Meeting on January 27. Their intent is to form a new "Federation of Library Associations" to create a "strong national voice" for libraries. The full proposal for the creation of the Federation is here. This is, obviously a hot topic at the Ontario Library Association OLA Superconference happening now in Toronto.
Drone Art: Arctic Wildlife & Landscapes is a two and a half minute drone video from the far north of Canada starring beluga whales, polar bears and some of the most amazing scenery.
The Last Days of Target: The untold tale of Target Canada’s difficult birth, tough life and brutal death. [more inside]
A Syrian Refugee's first month in Canada Vanig Garabedian, 47, was on board the first government-organized flight of Syrian refugees to Canada on Dec. 10. He came with his wife Anjilik Jaghlassian and their daughters Sylvie and Lucie, 12, and Anna-Maria, 10. The very first people to leave the plane, the family’s arrival in Toronto was widely photographed, as was their meeting with the prime minister. One month later, Garabedian, an obstetrician/gynecologist for 15 years in Aleppo, has settled into an apartment in the suburbs of Toronto.
For the past six years, cartoonist Dakota McFadzean (Twitter, Tumblr) has been drawing a comic strip a day. On January 10, he finally completed his required minimum of six years of daily comic strips as outlined by the Government of Canada’s Cartooning Standards Act of 1967 and recognized by the Canadian Ministry of Comics, Cartooning and Clock Repair. The previous sentence sounds almost plausible to me, but then, I've been attempting to read his mindbending comic from the beginning.
The Trans-Canada Highway spans the length of Canada with a route over 8000 kilometers long. This weekend, a new bridge crosssing the Nipigon buckled, severing the only road link between Eastern and Western Canada.
On an American road trip, Stephen Marche enters the fray with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in Iowa and gets a view of the campaign trail from the perspective of his whiteness. (SLGuardian)
Canada: A nation of winter wusses. by Aaron Hutchins [Maclean's Magazine] Canada used to pride itself on being the land of ice and snow. Now we avoid the outdoors—even when it’s not all that cold. [more inside]
Garth Turner, current real estate curmudgeon and former politician, makes his predictions for 2016. Some are genuine predictions, others not so much. Dear old Garth does this every year, with mixed results. (2014, 2013, 2012)
Spheres is a short 1969 animation by René Jodoin and Norman McLaren, soundtrack by Glenn Gould, published by the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
If one year during the Toronto International Film Festival you’re engaging a Hollywood producer in conversation and have only a few seconds to pitch your action script before the bouncers drag you out from under the door of her bathroom stall, just fire off a three-word description of the two unlikely antagonists. Hollywood loves oddball enemies even more than unlikely buddy cops: cowboys versus aliens, mercenaries versus dinosaurs, Predators versus future governors of American states. Yet, inexplicably, no movie has been made of Toronto’s contribution to the genre: clowns versus firefighters.
In death, Millar unleashed his biggest prank ever — a last will and testament that was basically a giant social experiment. By promising a vast sum of money to the Toronto family that could have the most babies in a 10-year period, Millar set off a race to give birth the moment he died.
The first official Canadian government flight carrying Syrian refugees touched down at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late last night. [more inside]