Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has become notorious for the way his government treats science. The latest news concerns the shutting of 7 of 9 regional DFO libraries across the country. Despite claims that the collections have been digitized, alarming reports are emerging that a lot of the materials, some dating back to the 19th century, were simply junked.
On a wooded hillside outside Vladivostok, Russia, fourteen Canadians found their final resting place in 1919. Five others died at sea. They were ordinary folk who had enlisted in the closing days of the Great War for service in an unlikely theatre — Siberia. Consisting of 4,209 men and one woman, Canada's Siberian Expedition mobilized alongside a dozen Allied armies in a bid to defeat Lenin’s Bolsheviks. The mission failed — in the face of a robust partisan insurgency, divided Allied strategies, and heated domestic opposition.This is their story, including over 2,000 photographs and images. Also available in French and Russian.
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down Canada's prostitution laws saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution are arbitrary and create severe dangers for vulnerable women. [more inside]
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
Declassified Spy Outpost Lurks on the Dark Side of the Earth Canadian Forces Station Alert is "the most northerly, permanently inhabited location in the world, located only 817 kilometres from the geographic North Pole." On Assignment At CFS Alert. CFS Alert (Part 1). [more inside]
In a deal worth $5.2-billion, Canadian media conglomerate Rogers has obtained broadcasting rights to NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years. While the NHL and its players appear to come out winners, the deal is a blow to Canada's other media conglomerate Bell, whose sports network TSN has lost all national NHL programming just five years after winning the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song from public broadcaster CBC, home to HNIC for over 60 years. As for the CBC, they will retain rights to broadcast games for four years in what president Hubert Lacroix described as a "partnership" where they will pay nothing, make nothing, and have no control over content. Considering HNIC is the only CBC English-language programming that consistently places in Canada's top 25 English TV shows and allegedly brings in up to 50% of its ad revenue and 30% of its audience, speculation regarding the future of a hockey-free CBC, last brought up during last year's NHL lock-up, abounds, with many characterizing it as a crisitunity for a clueless and complacent corporation.
The Canadian Press has released minutes from the Cabinet's discussions of abortion. The conversations began after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unconstitutional the restrictions on abortion (wiki). [more inside]
The Nextraterrestrials are a little-known group of underground rappers, producers, and DJs originally centred around Ottawa and Toronto in the 1990s with a sci-fi/conspiracy-theory/metaphysics/outer-space bent. [more inside]
A Rob Ford video has been found by Toronto cops. Toronto police chief Bill Blair says the video cannot be released or described, and will be placed before the courts because some unnamed person will be charged with extortion. While he never mentions the word "crack", he does say that the video is congruent with what has been described in the media and does not appear to have been doctored. [more inside]
Astronaut Chris Hadfield (previously) reflects on his career, life on the International Space Station, and the challenges of returning home (as well as commercial spaceflight and the film Gravity) in an interview with the Guardian.
Got a minute for Canadian history and some CanCon (prev: 1, 2, 3)? Great! Because Heritage Minutes are just that - 60 seconds of history from Canada's past. To date, there have been over 70 short segments produced, and you can watch them online at Historica Canada, and read about people and events below the videos. If you don't know where to start, here are the top 5 minutes according to a poll from 2012, and the top 10 from Macleans. But if that's all too serious for you, there are also parodies, plus more in this YouTube playlist.
isoHunt shuts down, Vancouver operator ordered to pay $110 million US fine A Vancouver resident has agreed to shut down his popular downloading website and pay a $110-million fine after settling a long legal fight with the Motion Picture Association of America. Gary Fung ran isohunt.com, a search engine for BitTorrent files, which helped users find virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software, ebooks and pornography. As of Friday, the site stated it linked to 13.7 million active BitTorrent files with 51 million users either uploading or download them. According to Alexa.com, it ranked as the 423rd top site on the web for global traffic and 167th in Canada. On his blog, Fung said he was "sad to see my baby go." [more inside]
CBC host Peter Oldring discusses customer services at Canadian border crossings with Officer Murray Swift. Five minutes of unbelievable audio.
There's a deep, dark lake here, and the cabin is perched next to the rocky shore. Old, and made of peeling, stained logs, it belongs to my grandfather, Antonio 'Pit' Allard. He's had it for as long as I can remember.
What is the case for Canada merging with the USA? With the heady 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 still fresh in our memories, Dual Citizen and Editor at Large of leading Canadian newspaper The National Post, Diane Francis, has written a book proposing "the merger of the century" describing five models for how these two great nations could join as one, and estimating Canada's resource value to the US at about C$17 trillion (US$16.5 trillion). Reactions have been mixed.
This fall, why not kayak down a drainage ditch at speeds of 35 mph?
Canadian Meredith Fitzmaurice did not expect to win last weekend's Run for Heroes Marathon, mostly because she was aiming for a 1:28 half. [more inside]
The most Irish island in the world. Booker Prize winning author Anne Enright travels to the edge of Newfoundland. (single page version, may trigger printer).
Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
For several months, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground near Cold Lake, Alberta, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess." While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied.
Today the government of the Canadian province of Quebec released its proposed charter of Quebec values. “The minister in charge of the charter, Bernard Drainville, announced … that if the charter were adopted by the legislature, the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and "large" crosses would be banned for civil servants while they are on the job.” (Images of acceptable and unacceptable religious symbols) The Canadian federal government indicated that it would “challenge any law that [it] deem[s] unconstitutional.”
"Life is so difficult," reads one reply. "It breaks us down, challenges us, pushes us to the very depths of desperation and darkness. These are the times when we need each other the most." Via. [more inside]
How the Conservative Party in Canada got in bed with Gay Rights in two decades or less: The move allowed the Conservative government to poke a stick in Iran’s eye, and help a genuinely in-need refugee constituency, all at one blow. As a bonus, such steps help create a bulwark against radicalism in our immigrant population. “When you’re dealing with a country like Iran, gay asylum seekers are exactly the ones you want,” says Mr. Raphael. “In general, these are precisely the people who you can guarantee don’t support the Iranian regime back home. They’re going to bring in a more secular, moderate perspective.”
Webcomics artist Sarah Becan and her partner traveled to Montreal in June. She illustrated the culinary highlights of their trip for Saveur magazine.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Of the many available documentaries about the pianist Glenn Gould, "Genius within - The inner life of Glenn Gould" is one of the more thoughtful ones. [more inside]
John Morillo of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, will apparently not turn down a dare, even if it causes an international incident and racks up fines in the five figures. For instance, if you tell him he can't swim from Windsor to Detroit across a busy shipping lane, he'll do it (with the assistance of eight beers). And he'll swim back, too, as evidenced by the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard found him on the Canadian side. As Morillo said, "If I’m going to be in the paper, I’d at least like them to say I actually made it, even though I got in trouble and everything." [more inside]
The Sardine Museum with host Tony Nunziata (part two, part three, part four, part five). Bonus: Tony tells a short story. [more inside]
Before the 1980 Act of Parliament which made O Canada the national anthem of Canada, the anthem was functionally God Save the Queen, but there was another patriotic song which served as the unofficial anthem: The Maple Leaf Forever. The song was written by poet Alexander Muir in October of 1867 to celebrate the confederation of Canada in July of that year and was famously inspired by a silver maple which stood in his front yard on Laing St in Toronto. Last night's storms brought the tree down, after a century and a half. [more inside]
Last Saturday morning, a town in Quebec exploded. A runaway train carrying roughly 100,000 liters of crude oil derailed and subsequently exploded in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic in the early hours of Saturday morning. A significant amount of the downtown is burnt or leveled, and as the search for survivors continues, residents are beginning to realize the scope of the destruction [more inside]
Canada has lost its famous politeness. With oil and gas now accounting for approximately a quarter of its export revenue, over the last decade Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate.
Truck carrying fireworks hits moose on Trans-Canada Highway, shuts down road for 5.5 hours and lights up the sky. (pictures and video, driver and passenger unharmed.)
Glenn Gould on and off the record. The Russian Journey. Extasis. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The Goldberg Variations (1955), (1981). The Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven Sonatas. The Idea of North. TL;DW: Gould plays Bach
A pattern seems to have emerged in which the ostensibly-independent Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS) has been ordered to investigate journalists at the behest of Canadian Conservative Defence Minister Peter MacKay. In at least two instances, the NIS, the Canadian Armed Forces special investigative unit, conducted detailed investigations into the source of media reports, despite the reported information already being publicly available. [more inside]
Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who opened the first abortion clinic in Canada and broke the law in doing so - which resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that criminal laws against abortion were unconstitutional - and who was subsequently made a member of the Order of Canada, has passed away at the age of 90.
You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas. [more inside]
"Rob Ford, Toronto's conservative mayor, is a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements and randomly slapping refrigerator magnets on cars. One reason for this is that he smokes crack cocaine. I know this because I watched him do it, on a videotape. He was fucking hiiiiigh. It's for sale if you've got six figures." [single link Gawker]
If you fancy diversity in cheeses, you might have come across queso Chihuahua, or Chihuahua cheese, a Mexican semi-soft cow milk cheese. But if you're in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the cheese is called Queso Menonita or Campresino Menonita, for the Mennonites who first made the cheese in this region. The Mennonites in Mexico are a small but growing socio-religious pocket of that has retained much of their traditional Dutch and German heritage, despite a series of moves, from Russia to Canada, and finally Mexico. Mexican photographer Eunice Adorno spent time with Mennonites in Durango, capturing moments in their lives. [more inside]
"Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value" The Canadian scientific research and development agency has announced a major policy change. Going forward, they will only perform research that has "social or economic gain".
How about dancing Canadian skeletons? Avec les sous-titres et sonnaille. Introducing mounties, a new Canadian supergroup formed by Hawksley Workman with Hot Hot Heat frontman Steve Bays and Limblifter/Age of Electric member Ryan Dahle. [more inside]