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]
What Does D-Day, MLK JR and Tennessee Williams have in common? NO, not that D-Day. The other D-Day. [more inside]
In the archives of Cinema Canada (1962-1989), articles about the relationship of Canadian cinema to American genre films, the Canadianization of popular comedy, and "what is 'Canadian film'?" stand out as typical--even commonplace, given their context. They also happen to suggest an interesting mix of obscure and popular films to watch. [more inside]
Should viewer discretion be advised for pictures of children with congenital deformities? One Ontario woman doesn't think so: "I am 'deformed' and reading that viewer discretion warning ahead of the article (amounted) to telling me that every time I left the house I should wear a similar warning." [more inside]
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
In January, braving -40C weather, 18-year old David Kawapit and half a dozen other young Cree supporters set out wearing snowshoes and pulling sleds laden with supplies from the isolated community of Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec, to trudge the 1,500 kilometres from the edge of Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of better conditions for aboriginal people. Yesterday, their numbers swelled to about 270 they arrived in Ottawa, where they were met with cheering and wild applause. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt agreed to speak with some of the young people who completed the trek, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper had more important matters to attend to.
PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
The Manitoba government's Bill C-18 compels all publicly-funded schools to accommodate students who want to form gay-straigt alliances. This bill has been met with resistance by religious schools, federal ministers and local clergy. Despite the furor, Education Minister Nancy Allan is not backing down, nor is sixteen-year old activist Evan Wiens.
Les érections de Stephen Harper. (SL video) (SFW). Speaking in French, Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks the hard questions about Canadian "érections". (Via MontrealMemes)
The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is a unique research facility in northern Ontario comprised of 58 lakes set aside by the Government of Canada in which entire lakes are used for experimental manipulation. ELA has effectively solved the problems of nutrient loading and acid rain in freshwater ecosystems. As well, it has produced top research on the effects of estrogen, climate change and methylmercury in freshwater. Current research includes the impacts of nanosilver, climate change, transgenic fish and flame retardants on aquatic ecosystems aquatic ecosystems. On March 31, 2013, The Harper Government will close the Experimental Lakes Area. [more inside]
The reporter, his foreign-minister father and the war that consumed them Ten years ago, Canada made a bold decision to stay out of the Iraq War. Many of us may forget how agonizing the process was. Patrick Graham was a reporter in Baghdad in 2003. His father Bill Graham was Canada’s foreign minister. Today, in an intimate conversation, they remember the months that changed the world, the nation and their own lives
Famous writer Anne Carson on ice bats: "I made up ice bats, there is no such thing." (SLNYT) [more inside]
Hahaha, that worm looks like a penis! Oh, wait, that's the headline. Well, for the most part: 'Missing link' connects two weird, wormy sea creatures [more inside]
Happy belated birthday to Jesus Murphy, Haslam, DJ Critical, Uncle Climax (NSFW audio), Stinkin' Rich (NSFW audio), Dirk Thornton, Buck 65, or as his mom called him, Richard Terfry. Born in the year of the rat, and he's a Pisces, which makes him a rat fish, but by trade, he's a turntablist/ MC/ producer/ broadcaster. Generally he makes some form of hip-hop (some NSFW lyrics), though as of late, he's been broadening his style, as heard in his cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire (previously) and Paper Airplane (official "lyric" video). In tribute to his 41st birthday, there's a lot more music inside. [more inside]
Funnyman Jon Stewart is taking a 12 week hiatus to direct a film adaptation of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari's book Then They Came For Me. John Oliver will take over hosting duties in his absence. Daily Show clip of Jason Jones interview before Bahari's arrest. Post - arrest Daily Show interviews. Previously
Canada's Harper government has introduced an ACTA compliance bill at the behest of the USTR, despite the treaty being dead elsewhere. [more inside]
What will your last ten years look like? A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch. Another health-related PSA that will make you cry.
Chris Stokel-Walker of BuzzFeed explains the motivation and technology behind last year's “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” viral video sensation. [Previously]
Four Canadian film students were assigned a project: Create a YouTube hoax video that gets 100,000 views. They got nearly 42 million instead. Here’s the definitive behind-the-meme look at how—and why—their homework snowballed into one of the most popular and rapidly spread videos ever.
Hazel McCallion, one of history's longest serving elected leaders, turns 92 years old today. McCallion is current mayor of Missisauga, Canada's 6th largest city, where she has served for 34 years, winning 12 consecutive elections. Her political clout and public persona show no sign of slowing.
The comment period for the DRAFT Wireless code [PDF] to address some cellular provider abuses is expiring soon (February 15th). Comments can be made here. Highlights of the draft code include:
- A $50 (or less) monthly cap on incurred fees.
- A limitation of cancellation fees equal to the remaining amount of the prorated incentive amount
- Mandatory unlocking at no cost for non subsidy phones with no waiting period.
- Limits on deposits and non payment cancellations.
- No termination fee, 15 day cooling off period
- Mandatory listing of limits on "unlimited" plans.
"The stubby (or steinie) in many ways embodied all that was solid and stoic in the Canadian character. Think of the two adjectives most appropriately applied to it - "tough" and "squat" - and what it also brings to mind are the great goalies of that era, those stalwart unbreakable warriors who worked between the pipes." - Ian Coutts Brew North. [more inside]
Get your CanCon on! Buck 65 covers Leonard Cohen in a new video directed and choreographed by Jacob Niedzwiecki. The video for 'Who By Fire', inspired by the motion of a pendulum, just had its world premiere at New York's Lincoln Center as part of the 2013 Dance on Camera Festival.