Let’s not forget we’re choosing our politicians while the world burns down around us

“To be clear: It is the responsibility of high-office holders to put policies in place that will facilitate positive systemic change; it’s also their responsibility to hold large polluting companies to account. If Canada were anywhere close to meeting its own climate targets, Wilkinson’s support of Shell’s advertising ploy might have been forgivable. But we’re not. And until we are, the only message we should be hearing from politicians like Wilkinson or companies like Shell is what they are doing to decarbonize. That being said, let’s not forget who’s been choosing our politicians while the world burns down around us.”

Arno Kopecky – The Narwhal – August 2021


Teaching Indigenous Star Stories

When some Cree people look at the sky during summer months, they see Ochekatchakosuk, a group of stars in the shape of a fisher, a weasel-like animal related to the wolverine. According to Cree teaching, a long time ago (likely during the Ice Age), there was no summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The animals of the region wanted to find summer and bring it back, and the fisher, Ochek, was selected for the task. After he succeeded, he escaped into the sky, and the Creator stamped his shape into the stars. In spring and summer evenings, Ochek is located high in the sky, inviting celebrations of warmer weather; in autumn and winter, he appears closer to the horizon—a reminder to be grateful of the passing seasons.”

Kelly Boutsalis – The Walrus – August 2020


‘When You Come Close to Dying, It’s Transformative’

“When Robert Billyard asked a doctor for a beer just before 9 a.m., no one in his hospital room was shocked. They were too relieved. It was the first coherent sentence the 77-year-old had spoken since being placed in an induced coma while his body fought COVID-19 for more than a month at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.”

Moira Wyton – The Tyee – August 2020

And Hot Pink All Over

“The screen embedded in the front of the box digitally flips through old issues of a publication you can’t hold in your hands anymore, its name emblazoned on the top with an exclamation mark: Xtra! The headlines slide by: ‘Pumped for Pride,’ ‘Dyke March Intervention!’ and ‘Hot Attack: Miss Conception Sets Pride Ablaze!’ The newsbox sits in the lobby of the Pink Triangle Press (PTP)—publisher of Xtra—offices at the corner of Carlton and Yonge Streets in Toronto. The tagline on top reads: Toronto’s Gay & Lesbian News. But changes in the industry, and the LGBTQ2IA+ community at large, have forced a reexamination of just who Xtra’s audience is now. In 2015, the print edition closed.”

Sean Young – Ryerson Review of Journalism – July 2020

He said, they said: inside the trial of Matthew McKnight

“By the morning of the third day, Juliette was starting to worry. It was the middle of January, 2020, a viciously cold week in Edmonton. She’d been so sure the jury believed her, believed them. But after 26 hours of deliberation, she wasn’t as certain as she had been, and now the question hung on her like a stone: What was taking so long? The others were waiting, too.”

Jana G. Pruden – The Globe and Mail – July 2020

Prison Unionism

“When the Conservative provincial government announced the closure of the Dauphin jail in early 2020, which employs about 80 people in the small city about three-and-a-half hours northwest of Winnipeg, the union doubled down on incarceration, mobilizing fears of job loss and rural divestment to gather thousands of petition signatures and stage rallies in both Winnipeg and Dauphin opposing the proposed closure.”

Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, James Wilt – Briarpatch – July 2020

The Passport

“The document is elegant. No one can dispute that. The deep navy blue of its slightly pebbled cover, the understated gilt imprint of the royal arms of Canada, which somehow looks faded even when new — the passport is a classic. Its cover may be harder, more durable, the pages inside more decorated than when I was a boy, but, in the hand, its familiarity is heavy, anchoring. A passport is a little book printed for a single situation, the condition of being between countries. To hold it is to be going from home to elsewhere or from elsewhere to home. Over time, the booklet assumes the association of distance and belonging, of leaving and returning. This year that association, often subtle, like a half-remembered smell from childhood, clarified itself in the atmosphere of trauma that overtook the world. This was the year when we remembered what it means to hold a Canadian passport.”

Stephen Marche – Literary Review of Canada – July 2020

I donated my kidney to help a stranger. But what about the person I couldn’t help?

“Piecing together the reasons I chose to give someone I’ve never met a kidney has led me to examine my many privileges and failures – all the times I could have been generous, but wasn’t, all the times I gave, but could have given more. It has also forced me to reckon with a deep well of regret over the one life I wish I had saved but did not.”

Wency Leung – The Globe and Mail – June 2020

Serenity: A life cut short

“While at the detachment, records say, the young mother, her left eye purple and swollen, told victims’ services staff she couldn’t afford diapers or formula for her seven-month-old daughter, and was afraid to go home. The report she filed triggered a chain reaction, and soon a social worker from Child and Family Services (CFS) set up a meeting to go see the Indigenous mother and baby. The notes from that meeting on Jan. 10, 2011, show that the conversation between social worker and mother was a negotiation.”

Paige Parsons – CBC Edmonton – June 2020

Hitchhiker, hero, celebrity, killer

“It was late in the morning on Feb. 1, 2013, when Caleb Lawrence McGillivary met Jesus Christ on a highway outside Bakersfield. McGillivary had been on the road a good while by then, having left his home in Alberta as a teenager to find his own way in the world. He’d gone back at times, back to his family, back to school or work, but that kind of routine never suited him for long, and by the early months of 2013, he was drifting once again. Not homeless, he would tell people. Home free.”

Jana G. Pruden – The Globe and Mail – June 2020