Of cod and men: Newfoundland way of life deserves every chance to survive

Of cod and men: Newfoundland way of life deserves every chance to survive
A stinging, light rain is in the air in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. A white fishing trawler edges up to the dock and immediately there is a bustle of activity. One man is below deck organizing the day’s catch while another man, above, eases up a basket of cod from the belly of the boat, out onto the dock. There it is swiftly dragged a few feet to an outbuilding, where the fish are set up for filleting and preparing. Two other men are on the dock, of

Hank, the starfish, and Stompin’ Tom

Hank, the starfish, and Stompin’ Tom
One day, a man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir.” The man chuckled. “But there must be tens of thousands

Crepes, learning French, and the connections we make

Crepes, learning French, and the connections we make
It was a mixture of amusement and delight in the old woman’s eye as I struggled for the words in French. At our bed and breakfast in rural Quebec, there were six homemade jams before me and a breakfast plate with hot crepes which had my name on them. They just needed me to choose their fruit dressing.e At the table, the cast was a motley crew. There were two English unilinguals (read my wife and me), our 11-year-old daughter who has been at, or near, th

The Nahanni, the PM, and the idea that shouldn’t die

The Nahanni, the PM, and the idea that shouldn’t die
The South Nahanni River is one of the world’s great waterways. At 563 km long it snakes through the Selwyn Mountains and part of the Mackenzie Mountains in Canada’s vast Northwest Territories. Along its storied water path you’ll find all manner of hot springs, glaciers, marshes, desert-like landscapes, incredible hoodoos, and bottomless lakes. Very few of us have seen it, your friendly neighbourhood blogger included. There’s one Canadian prime minister,

Canada at not-so-150: Let’s follow the example of David Thompson

Canada at not-so-150: Let’s follow the example of  David Thompson
David Thompson was one of the greatest men you may have never learned about. We should be honouring his memory with a full-scale CBC re-enactment of his life so more Canadians know exactly who he was. Thompson was born in England into poverty in 1770 and was forced into a school for disadvantaged young people. In his study of mathematics he was introduced to basic navigation skills, forming the foundation for his entire future. He was sent to Canada

Trump wants a new trade deal? Good – let’s give him one

Trump wants a new trade deal? Good – let’s give him one
U.S. President Donald Trump hasn’t been shy about wanting a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. That’s great – because we should give him one. Canada needs to fix two chapters in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) immediately. If we don’t get changes to these two chapters, Canada should walk away from this poorly negotiated deal altogether. First, consider Chapter 6 of NAFTA. It dictates that the U.S. gets to have access to Canadian o

Are you just a taxpayer, or are you a citizen?

One of my biggest irritations is reading or hearing the term ‘taxpayer.’ We have become quite accustomed now to hearing and understanding everything through the lens of the economy, haven’t we? Successive neo-liberal governments (and that’s all governments since the 1980s onward, in varying degrees) have been effective in teaching us to use this language. It has trickled down to provincial and municipal levels. It’s the dominant way we speak to one anot

All my changes were there: The teacher and Canadian nationalism

All my changes were there: The teacher and Canadian nationalism
My friend, John Boyko, says Canada is a conversation. In his blog he was referring to how we tend to hash things out with words here, not guns, whether in Parliament, in a political leadership race, or at Tim Horton’s. He’s right of course – and we are a decidedly fortunate nation because of this. Not all nations can claim this civility. If Canada is a conversation, then I’d like to start a new-old one. It’s one that began for me back in high school, in
Roderick Benns

Roderick Benns