Provincial grievances, Indigenous rights loom large in fragile national unity4 minute read Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Donald J. Savoie suggests Canada’s national anthem should be B.J. Thomas’s Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. His latest polemic argues Canada is unique among nations in that every province, region and identifiable group loudly claims victimhood in one way or another yet, at the same time (with one glaring exception), Canada has resolved or mitigated their grievances to the point where it is internationally recognized as one of the best countries in the world.
Savoie, who holds the Canada Research Chair at the University of Moncton, is the author of several award-winning books about the failures of Canadian governance and what should be done about it.
Savoie blames this all-encompassing victimhood on Ontario and Quebec manipulating the creation of the Canadian federation to suit their own interests. In 1867, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia agreed to unite as one federal state. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland remained aloof. The inhabitants of the vast expanse of the Northwestern Territory and Rupert’s Land (“owned” by the Hudson’s Bay Company) were not consulted. Apart from the Red River Valley, it was populated almost exclusively by Indigenous nations.
Decades of failed attempts to create viable governments for Ontario and Quebec, the threat of American military expansion and the British government’s fear of being drawn into an economically disastrous war pushed John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier into seeking an arrangement that would provide a form of independence and allow for westward expansion.
23°C, A few clouds
Manitoba mags nab national nominations4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Three Manitoba magazines are celebrating nominations in Canada’s National Magazine Awards.
Prairie Fire has two nominations in this year’s awards, one for Willy Blomme’s short story The Museum of Winter, in the fiction category, and one for former Winnipeg poet laureate Duncan Mercredi in the poetry category, for his poem Misipawistik. Also nominated in the poetry category is Yilin Wang’s poem Moving, Again, published in Winnipeg-based CV2.
Canada’s History Magazine has been nominated in the personal journalism category for A National Crime, a personalized story by Manitoba Métis journalist Miles Morrisseau about the long afterlife of residential schools, and specifically Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce’s 1922 report on the poor health conditions of children in the schools. The nomination cites a team of editors and the art director as well.
Winners will be announced Saturday, June 3.
Susan Musgrave on what happens after the worst6 minute read Preview Updated: Yesterday at 1:46 PM CDT
Author explores trauma of shattered home life5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
The first memory Arthur Boers has of his father was when, in a rage, his father threw a potted plant at his wife — Boers’ mother.
Only three, Boers saw his mother duck. The potted plant sailed past her, hitting the living room window and shattering it into hundreds of pieces.
When thinking about that experience, “What could I understand?” asked Boers, 66, in his book Shattered Glass: A Son Picks Up the Pieces of his Father’s Rage. (Eerdmans.) “No one told me that smashing windows is outlandish — a troubling, dangerous infraction of civility, family life, simple good sense, thrift, safety.”
In the book, called a “poignant, compelling, redemptive cry of the heart,” Boers describes growing up in a severe, strict and theologically conservative Christian Reformed home in southern Ontario.
Winslow’s gangsters back for more mayhem in scorching sequel4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Narrator’s quest for purpose, identity at core of deft debut5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Canada’s role in U.S. Civil War, Lincoln’s death examined in engaging account5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
Climate, politics pondered in verse4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
The two long poems that make up ryan fitzpatrick’s Sunny Ways (Invisible Publishing, 104 pages, $22), Hibernia Mon Amour and Field Guide, sift through ordinary people’s everyday complicities in the climate crisis. From the title, which is taken from a speech given by Justin Trudeau, to his use of citation and mis-citation, fitzpatrick’s deft use of syntax and rhythm expose the glib emptiness and internal contradictions of political speech.
These poems circle the logics and structures of the Alberta oil industry and interrogate the ways in which the nation-state and those who publicly oppose the oil industry are complicit in the destruction it causes. “How do you live in the twenty-first century/you ask/ taking a sip of San Pellegrino/ through a straw you just banned/ because a straw is a kind of pipeline/ you can ban without letting go of something.”
While Field Guide is a propulsive rant, Hibernia Mon Amour is structured using a repeated semantic hesitation: “[N]o these protesters should better index their/ anger to the price per barrel but.” Through its repetition, the “no… but” creates its own momentum that overcomes the equivocation of the syntax to become increasingly breathless.
To write explicitly political poetry that resists pieties and platitudes and to explore responsibility for harm without giving over entirely to denial or becoming mired in shame is a difficult project, and fitzpatrick manages the challenge with dexterity and wit.
Texas parents fret over Winnie the Pooh being used to teach kids about school shootings4 minute read Preview Friday, May. 26, 2023
Modern-day addiction to ultra-processed food poses range of health risks4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Bovey’s survey of Western Canadian art a clear and passionate account4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Forensic accountant in over his head in Doctorow’s techno-thriller4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Family’s grieving of 9/11 death offers valuable lessons3 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Short-fiction finalists include Hage, Friedman4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Two of the finalists for last fall’s Scotiabank Giller Prize are in the running for the Danuta Gleed Award for the best first short story collection.
The winner of the $10,000 prize, administered by the Writers’ Union of Canada, will be announced Thursday.
Authors Kim Fu, for Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, and Rawi Hage, for Stray Dogs, were shortlisted for last fall’s Giller. They’re joined by Nada Alic, for Bad Thoughts, Kathy Friedman, for All the Shining People, and Saeed Teebi, who was shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Atwood Gibson Prize for Her First Palestinian.
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Pioneer novel brings suspense, romance4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Alberta author Martine Leavitt (previously published as Martine Bates) won the Governor General’s award for Calvin in 2015 and has written over a dozen young adult books. In her newest release, Buffalo Flats (Groundwood, 256 pages, hardcover, $20) she tells tales of an earlier age, the 19th century, in an area of the North-West Territories close to the Montana border.
Based on stories of her husband’s family, she focuses on the life of Rebecca Leavitt, an early feminist who longs for her own piece of land in a time when women were not able to own property. Outspoken and independent, she frequently defies the codes of her strict Mormon community but is blessed with parents who recognize her worth and forgive her shortcomings. A pioneer story full of accounts of inclement weather, endless labour, floods and plagues, it also shows the self-sacrifice and solidarity that held these communities together.
There is suspense, as Rebecca must act as midwife before she is properly trained, and faces an enraged neighbour threatening her with a horse whip. And there’s romance, as Rebecca weighs the worth of the charismatic Levi against those of the stolid but loyal and hard-working Cody.
For lovers of historical fiction ages 12-18.