Forty years after the Titanic sank, newspaperman Walter Lord tracked down survivors to ask what they took as they headed for the lifeboats. Lord recited the grab bag of mementos in his 1955 bestseller A Night To Remember. One brought a Bible, another a pistol. There were pocketfuls of cigars or cookies, fur coats, a sapphire necklace and a music box that played the Portuguese tango. One Toronto passenger retrieved three oranges but left behind a tin box containing $200,000 in bonds. Author Therese Greenwood calls this “telescoping”, a phenomenon experienced by people under stress when their vision tunnels to objects literally in front of them. Greenwood’s What You Take With You explores this intriguing theme in the million-acre Fort McMurray fire, a near-disaster of Titanic proportions. READ MORE
The Department of Natural Resources in an internal audit says a billion-dollar climate change program failed to meet all targets. “Lessons learned,” wrote auditors who found subsidies were paid to companies that went bankrupt or “struggled at some point with the profitability of their operations”. READ MORE
Cabinet yesterday served notice it will eliminate Senate filibusters if re-elected October 21. The “government has withstood procedural obstruction” and proposes to ban the practice, said a report from the Government Representative in the Senate: "Limit purely procedural obstruction." READ MORE
The Canada Revenue Agency complains it must “improve the quality” of anonymous tipsters who call a federal snitch line to report tax cheats. Agency research found most taxpayers never heard of the service, and resented the program as an invitation to score-settling by nameless informants: "Don't rat people out." READ MORE
A federal labour board has overturned a suspension given a Customs officer for colourful language on the job. There is no need to “dance daintily around the actual words that were used”, ruled the Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board: "Do you think I'm an idiot?" READ MORE
The Liberal majority on the Commons ethics committee yesterday voted to block any further investigation of lobbying by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “You bet they are powerful,” said one MP: "Powerful men have powerful friends." READ MORE
Parks Canada is budgeting $100,000 to select new colours for its trademark green signs as part of a ‘brand refresh’. Replacing thousands of signs would cost another $40 million. The agency yesterday complained too many Canadians only think of parks when they hear of Parks Canada: "The full potential of the brand is not maximized." READ MORE
My dad never owned a credit card. If you didn’t have it, you didn’t spend it. I remember him in his later years going to Eaton’s with my mother to buy a new set of appliances, and taking the money from the bank first and walking in there with over a thousand dollars in cash. Though I’m a child of the modern era and have lots of credit cards and am used to dealing with banks and loans, somewhere that attitude is in the back of my consciousness. Prairie folk have that.