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Too soon

Posted: January 27, 2017 at 8:59 am   /   Comment

Grant Howes passed away suddenly on Saturday. Without notice. At 60, he was far too young. He had too much yet to do. To know Grant at all, was to understand he was driven to build, to struggle, to fight. It makes this loss so much harder to bear. Apples have been grown and cultivated […]

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The centre cannot hold

Posted: January 20, 2017 at 9:06 am   /   Comment

If you are an Ontario government bureaucrat who travels to work each day on the subway or GO train, it is inevitable, I suspect, to see those around you as widgets, object to be processed and organized into cohesive pathways. Further, I would suggest that if you are one of those folks rising and shuffling […]

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Just play

Posted: January 13, 2017 at 8:44 am   /   Comment

Like moths to a flame, kids manage to find ice upon which to play. Perhaps it is related to the sense that migrating animals rely upon to return to the place of their birth. It is encouraging to know this instinct has not been extinguished. It is a cliché: The snow-covered pond amid the farm […]

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Mind the steaming mound

Posted: January 6, 2017 at 9:06 am   /   Comment

Across Ontario, farmland prices are rising— up about 16 per cent on average last year and about 65 per cent since 2012. Despite generally lower commodity prices and a killing drought in some regions across the province, farmland values are higher than they were four years ago. In some cases, much higher. Closer to home, […]

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Why vote?

Posted: December 23, 2016 at 9:19 am   /   Comment

2016 has been an unsettling year. It feels, in some ways, like the first act in a Shakespearean tragedy—the part where the quiet lives of peasants are about to be turned over by an invading horde. We sense that trouble is brewing, yet we are helpless to do anything but wait for the storm to […]

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Wynne’s New Year’s gift

Posted: December 15, 2016 at 9:55 am   /   Comment

It feels vaguely ill-fitting, so close to Christmas and all, to use this page to illuminate yet another ill-conceived energy scheme concocted by the provincial government and set to be inflicted on Ontario residents beginning on January 1. (If uplifting is what you’re looking for, however, may I recommend you turn to page 12, where […]

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Undoing

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 10:40 am   /   Comment

Rural Ontario wandered into a lot of bad deals in 1997 and 1998. In some cases, perhaps most, we had these arrangements thrust upon us. There can hardly be a worse deal than the one that saw our communities trade control of funding of our schools for the care and maintenance of formerly provincial roads. […]

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Unbounded Bea

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 8:50 am   /   Comment

My favourite drawing by Bea Lotz is of a lone mourning dove perched at the end of a long, thin branch. Observant and a wee bit vain, the bird calls out for attention. She can wait all day. Next month we say goodbye to Bea’s art and poems in The Times. Her much-loved contribution is […]

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Navigation aids

Posted: November 25, 2016 at 8:40 am   /   Comment

How do we know what we know? It is an important question when making a big decision. Even when all the signposts point in one direction, we can still be led astray. Not intentionally, mind you.But through poor design, lack of context and bad assumptions we can be convinced we are headed the right way, […]

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The fall

Posted: November 18, 2016 at 9:33 am   /   Comment

Winter is coming. It’s a season, particularly in Canada, that can inflict hardship and enduring suffering upon the unprepared. In another era, we knew instinctively to fill our cupboards and root cellars in the fall, to ready our lives for the coming winter. We cut and chopped wood to stay warm. Because winter can be […]

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