One set of laws for all the only way to end racism in Canada

In his new book There is No Difference, Peter Best details a way to resolve Canada’s legal and social relations with its Indigenous

One set of laws for all the only way to end racism in CanadaIn his new book There Is No Difference, Ontario lawyer Peter Best begins a long-repressed national conversation about Canada’s legal and social relations with its Indigenous people. Best asks: Why can’t Nelson Mandela’s goal and vision of one set of laws for all be the goal in Canada? Why keep and even extend the demonstrably-failing separate…

Russian rap: turning rants and raves into culture

Vladimir Putin wants Russian bureaucrats to regulate the nation’s rap music. What could go wrong?

Russian rap: turning rants and raves into cultureOver the weekend, news reports circulated that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Russian bureaucrats to regulate the nation’s rap music. Without regulation, Putin says, Russian rap – obsessed as it is with “sex, drugs and protest” – could lead Russia down “a path to the degradation of the nation.” Putin showed ample wisdom by advising…

The first rock ’n’ roll Christmas

That a guy nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis had tackled sacred songs was offensive and sacrilegious to many. But it was perfect marketing

The first rock ’n’ roll ChristmasTeenagers in the 1950s couldn’t escape the music of their parents. Despite radio’s new-fangled Top 40 and the attendant infiltration of rock ’n’ roll, the sounds of the past were all around. This was particularly the case for Christmas songs. But things began to change in late October 1957, thanks to Elvis Presley announcing the…

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudge

To make shopping local the norm, we need to think less about transaction efficiency and more about enjoyment

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudgeChances are you’ve seen or heard some sort of promotion about the value of shopping local – especially with so many of us in gift-buying mode now. Business improvement areas, chambers of commerce and other organizations tell us when we buy from shops near home, we’re voting for our community. The logic is generally sound…

Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posers

Teaching Country Dance for Beginners to actual rural folk proved to be an eye-opener

Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posersBack in my not-so-halcyon days of youth and yore, when I practised the challenging social craft of ballroom dance instruction, I accepted a contract to teach 'Country Dance for Beginners' at a community centre in the small hamlet of Thorhild, Alberta. I had taught at various community centres in and around Edmonton to urban posers,…

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t like

Social and cultural change is most effective when it employs persuasion as opposed to heavy-handed tools such as censorship

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t likeThe removal from air play of the newly controversial 1940s hit Baby, It’s Cold Outside represents a noteworthy shift in the way media companies defend artistic freedom in the eight years since the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing was banned in Canada. The Dire Straits tune, a monster 1985 hit, was forbidden from broadcast…

New waterproof Kindle Paperwhite makes a splash

Fourth generation model resists liquids, has wireless audiobook support and is cheap. That all adds up to a good Christmas gift

New waterproof Kindle Paperwhite makes a splashThe newest Kindle Paperwhite looks more or less like its three-year-old predecessor. But drop old faithful into the tub and you’d be buying another one. In contrast, the fourth generation model now available has a waterproof body that can soak in up to two metres of fresh water for an hour – simply dry it off…

Christmas songs and the power of nostalgia

Bing Crosby's version of White Christmas is recognized as the best-selling single record ever

Christmas songs and the power of nostalgiaIt’s surely a personal quirk, but I must confess that the relatively modern Christmas songs, like All I Want for Christmas Is You and Fairytale of New York leave me cold. Yes, I know they’re critically acclaimed and immensely popular, not to mention enormous money-spinners. However, they don’t tickle my fancy at all. Perhaps it’s a…

Is there power in positive thinking?

The idea that you can think your way to financial success is a staple of both business books and the self-help movement

Is there power in positive thinking?If you’ve ever picked up a motivational book or attended a wealth building seminar, you’re probably already familiar with terms like “Positive Thinking” and “Create your own destiny.” Ever since Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking hit New York Times’ Bestseller List in 1952, the idea that you can think your way to financial…

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost Borders

Kate Harris’s book is a must for the travellers on your gift list; discovering Norway and Iceland; indulging in a wellness weekend

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost BordersModern explorer Kate Harris’s story may not compel you to follow in the skinny tire tracks she left on an often-gruelling bicycle trip on the ancient Silk Road trading route. But one thing is for sure: She’ll leave you breathless with her beautiful writing about her 10,000-kilometre cycling odyssey through 10 countries in her book…