A Sunday Poem: “Greta”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, writes for Blacklock's tradition each and every Sunday: "She is the Swedish teenager who crossed the Atlantic in a zero-emission voyage. Making a statement about the carbon footprint of planes..." READ MORE

Review: When The River Caught Fire

Canadians of a certain vintage can still recall when DDT was found in every kitchen cupboard and it was considered eccentric not to throw candy wrappings out the car window. The Ontario Department of Highways used to spend $1 million a year clearing roadside litter. This did not change by osmosis. It took years of litigation and dramatic protest by a comparatively few people. “It was a burn-out job but you loved it,” one organizer tells author Ryan O’Connor. “It was what needed to be done so you did it.” O’Connor’s First Green Wave chronicles the birth of environmental activism in Canada. It is a fresh account of Pollution Probe, a citizens’ committee that grew from the University of Toronto to include chapters from Halifax to Regina. Pollution Probe was never a mass movement; its membership peaked at some 1,500. The Kinsmen Club had 16,000. Yet its impact was far-reaching. READ MORE

Federal App Tracking 715,000

The Department of Environment is tracking the location of more than 715,000 Canadians who downloaded what ex-Minister Catherine McKenna once called a “super cool” weather app, records show. Staff said they also collected users’ email addresses but insisted the data scoop complied with privacy law: "Oh yes!!" READ MORE

Senators Want The Fine Print

Members of the Senate communications committee are demanding cabinet spell out regulations under a YouTube bill that passed the Commons Tuesday by a 208 to 117 vote. Senators balked at demands they first pass the bill and see details later: "It will affect potentially every single Canadian who uses the internet." READ MORE

Passed Crime Bill In A Week

Parliament yesterday gave speedy passage to a cabinet bill to close the “extreme intoxication” defence. The cabinet bill was prompted by a Supreme Court decision six weeks ago: "It is our duty as parliamentarians to move quickly to solve problems." READ MORE

Housing Plan Is Short: CMHC

Cabinet’s proposal to boost new housing construction by 20,000 homes a year is a fraction of the number needed, according to CMHC figures released yesterday. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said current building trends are short by 400,000 a year: "Housing is one of the most difficult issues." READ MORE

Dead Mouse Was A Warning

Former employees including a retired director general allege widespread sexual harassment in the federal prison service. One woman said coworkers left a dead mouse in her mailbox after she filed a complaint, according to Federal Court records: "She understood this to mean she was perceived as a ‘rat’ for reporting misconduct." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Arch MacKenzie

Canada’s Worst MP

There were personalities in those days and reporters were close to them. The Press Gallery today is huge by comparison to what it used to be. We had about 75 members. It was on better terms with politicians. I don’t think publishers who ran the newspapers expected to see blood on the floor. Anti-Semitism was not uncommon. They would not put a Jewish minister in cabinet. The worst MP I ever saw? People couldn’t understand how he kept getting elected. He was a kook, just out of control, and a blatherskite. He became a figure of fun in the Press Gallery because of the silly things he did, but with a dark, racist tone.