Melissa Martin

  • Doing the dirty work good for one's soul

    For most of my life, the inheritance left by a Manitoba summer was counted in rising collars and in sandals that overstayed their welcome by the front door. These, more than weather, became the surest signs of fall. These, along with crumpled fringe festival ticket stubs, winter coats that slowly make their way from closet to car trunk to cleaners, and the lingering sense you ought to have done more and lived more while it was warm.
  • Political back burner wrong place for 'women's issues'

    Somehow, 31 years after Canadians watched the nation's first televised leaders' debate on women's issues, Monday brought us back to a familiar place. The venue was different, that plaintive feeling the same. There we were, women shouldering our burdens, talking -- but mostly to each other, again.
  • All aboard a not-yet broken bus

    Ninety-four minutes on a Winnipeg Transit bus allows a lot of time to think, at least until the numbness born in your buttocks begins creeping down your legs. That part, the inevitable result of shiftless, jolting minutes on a perfunctorily padded seat, kicked in at about the 35th minute for me. Otherwise, my long and looping ride on the No. 18, cutting the city half-lengthwise from Osborne Village down Main Street and back again, was fine.
  • Sports heroes go beyond win and lose

    It was a stunning interview, one Clara Hughes said on Twitter was the "most difficult" of the hundreds, likely thousands, she has ever done. For those 10 minutes that aired on CBC last weekend, the Olympic legend looked vulnerable, but at peace with that fact. She talked about living with an eating disorder. She recounted the abuse a former coach hurled at her, and his words tumbling from her lips were like a punch to the gut. She deserved better. Everyone does.
  • Haunted by the spirit of Winnipeg's 'Hobo Queen'

    In campfire stories, ghosts always linger in solitary spaces, their voices hissing unsettling whispers in attics or dampsmelling basements. This sort of ghost is fiction. But if we understand them as an essence or the ripples of a person, then there is another kind. These ones float through old newspaper pages instead of old buildings. They are apparitions waiting to be found and remembered.

    Those archives are where, in black ink on tea-coloured paper, you find the only traces of the woman they called Winnipeg’s hobo queen.

  • Social media puts tragedy on autoplay

    Maybe you woke up slowly on Wednesday.

    Maybe you made coffee. Maybe you glanced out the window and thought the breeze looked gentle and the sky reassuringly sunny. These are the graces of innocent minutes. They get ruined quickly.

  • Raise a glass to all those nights at the Zoo

    Shauna was a hairdresser, but at night she grubbed up extra cash by slinging tequila shots and cheap draught in the back of the Osborne Village Motor Inn. You know the bar. The Zoo. The dark, sticky room that all of Winnipeg's loudest nights seemed to spill out of -- or into.
  • O say can you see my American Pavilion?

    The bus tours are loaded. The steam tables are gleaming. It's the turn of August in Winnipeg, which means that, for the 46th time, Folklorama rhythms are beating. After nearly a half-century, the world's largest and longest-running multicultural festival is comfortably settled. The paths into its gymnasiums are well-travelled, and the delights they yield more reliable than prairie weather: slices of life from Brazil to Britain, explored year after year and mostly consistent.
  • Fish must sizzle, hope foes fizzle

    Sugarcoating this pill won't make it any easier to swallow: it's August, the Goldeyes are still in a hole, and the playoff window looks awfully narrow. If the Fish are to have any chance of making the post-season, a whole lot of things will have to go right. They'll need some luck on their side, and they'll have to hope teams above them in the wild-card race fizzle. Then, they'll have to rally to set a hotter pace than they have all summer.
  • Street theatre can get a little too real

    Among the strongest lures of life in the heart of Osborne Village is the theatre, not Gas Station but human, a series of unwitting plays laid out on the street. Many things get smashed in these performances. Beer bottles. Gin bottles. Noses, though rarely. Hearts.
  • Idiotic sideshows Too often Trump real news

    By now, you've probably heard about the latest Thing Donald Trump Said, or possibly tweeted, because demagogues care deeply about all of America's great media. Regardless of how Trump emitted his most-recent thought sluice, it sure was a doozy. It was shocking to see a U.S. presidential candidate say something so inflammatory about an (ethnic group/opponent/survivor of medium-sized natural disaster). To do it so brazenly raises deep questions about where we are as a people. It also raised a lot of back-and-forth yelling on CNN, as pundits expounded what to make of it all.
  • Telling tales

    When the air hangs this hot and this heavy, the mind (or is it just mine?) goes a little to mush, concerning itself more with cool beverages and such. So, what to write for this space? Well, I've been thinking about stories a lot. So on that theme, three thoughts about who tells stories, and how they are told.
  • How can we contain explosive rage?

    On Hecla Island last week, we watched the sun set at a place called Sunset Beach, with no witnesses but the deer flies to agree that the sunset seemed to be missing. Instead of a dome of dying light, the smoke-veiled sun hung small and round and red. You could stare at it. It didn't burn your eyes.
  • Amid Canada Day fireworks, pause to reflect

    If you travel Canada by car in summer, with the windows cracked a little and something jangly on the stereo, the land greets you by the nose. Scent, the scientists who study these things tell us, holds a special key to memory and feeling. Even if we don't consciously name the smells that we're breathing in, their balm or bite leaves a mark upon our minds. "This is what we call Canada," they whisper. "And this is what it smells like."
  • Women's World Cup full of lessons learned

    The flaming-red banners began to come down even faster than they were raised, as the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Winnipeg closed its final day. The week before the soccer tournament was a whirlwind. The matches were the same: a churning storm of media, press conferences and games.
  • 'The Beautiful Game' truly rocks

    Even on the wrong side of matches that saw Germany and China take what they needed to move ahead, the fire in some defeated players' eyes remained undimmed. If anything, judging from the scenes around Investors Group Field Monday night, many of those sparks only grew brighter.
  • History flows through today... and tomorrow

    When we were children, maybe we spent summer days kicking sticks on the banks of the river, wondering where the water was flowing and what it had already seen. Even when we're grown, it's difficult for us to grasp how far the current rushes, and how every point along its path is just another in-between.
  • Stop whitewashing religious extremism for ratings

    Imagine you knew about a faith in which women are stopped from seeking true education, which (in this view) sullies them for their true purpose: total submission. That means submission in everything, from what they wear to how they speak. Some of this sect's most influential voices will write that women must submit, even if their husbands hit them. They submit, even -- and in some ways, especially -- when it hurts.
  • Bridging city's divide takes talking... and listening

    Winnipeg is a divided city, a fact that most everyone who lives here knows already, in their gut if not in a way they’re prepared to explain or even say out loud. We are divided, and data (or a thoughtful look around) bears it out. Split by the railyard that slices through the city, by the facts of income and ethnicity, and perhaps by urban design that does little to encourage people from divergent neighbourhoods to mingle, we have grown (and are slowly growing) apart.
  • Going off-script — when audience turns on public 'performers'

    There's no real mystery to why a guy was fired after last week's ugly "FHRITP" fiasco, no moral crisis worth wringing hands over -- that part's just math. The calculation goes like this: It's a fact of business that anyone will get fired as soon as they become more of a liability than the investment in them is worth. If the cost of shrugging is greater than the benefit of keeping the employee around, well, guess which way smart companies break.
  • Helping the hurting

    Heavy headlines march, that's just how they move. They roll past us loaded with bad news, an endless parade of other people's pain to blur before our eyes. It never really stops. But sometimes, we crash into a story so viscerally wrong, it forces us to pause: for instance, when a child takes their own life.
  • Police engagement can foster hope

    The week placed a cruel burden on Winnipeg’s most vulnerable shoulders, suddenly loaded with the pall of two more men slain and a thorny wreath of fear. So Tuesday afternoon was heavy, when Winnipeg police announced they’d arrested John Paul Ostamas for killing Miles Monias, Donald Collins and Stony Bushie.
  • We don't need hockey to make us a team

    We all know how it ended now, not with a bang but with a Kesler and a five-pack of goals that put Winnipeg’s Stanley Cup dreams back on the flight to next year. Or rather, that’s how it is recorded in the box score, which has the excuse of being quantifiably objective: the balloon-popping pins of Ryan Kesler’s two strikes for Anaheim and, finally, an empty-netter that didn’t really matter. Time runs out, game over.
  • The underdog won't back down

    For as long as many around Osborne Village can remember, Eric Pyle has been there, the consummate streetwise entertainer strumming classic tunes for coins. This month, the picture shifted. Suddenly, Pyle is a guitar-slinger on a mission, battling for his right to sing on public streets.
  • Truth amid all those dots

    There is a certain clarity insomnia can bring, as if the nighttime solitude beams a spotlight on the facts that stream past throbbing, sticky eyes. So in the streetlit blue of Wednesday morning, wide awake, insomnia holds me fixated on three speckled maps of Winnipeg.


Should public servants be allowed to wear a niqab?

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