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Writer & Historian

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Dragonville – A Children’s Story

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February 21, 2021
Dragonville – A Children’s Story

My sister Niki has written a delightful children’s story called Dragonville. Here is the video version. Enjoy.
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Doukhobor Diaspora – A Book Review

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February 18, 2021
Doukhobor Diaspora – A Book Review

Vera Maloff, Our Backs Warmed By the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life (Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press, 2020), 264 pages with numerous photographs (paper), $24.95. When I was in my teens, a terrible explosion rocked my West Kootenay neighbourhood. A 16-year-old boy had accidentally blown himself up while on a mission for the radical Sons...
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Superheroes in Our Midst – A Book Review

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February 5, 2021

The Rise of Real-Life Superheroes — And the Fall of Everything Elseby Peter Nowak (Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2020) $24.95.  The slogan “Defund the Police” became popular in 2020 as thousands of people protested the killings of George Floyd, Briona Taylor and other African Americans. The outrage included a call for community policing...
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Riding the Rails into Canada’s History – A Book Review

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January 21, 2021
Riding the Rails into Canada’s History – A Book Review

David Laurence Jones, Railway Nation: Tales of Canadian Pacific, the World’s Greatest Travel System (Victoria: Heritage House, 2020) 304 pages, $34.95 (paper). We can still hear the distant call of a diesel engine’s whistle today in most regions of Canada and for many of us it is a sound that transports us to an earlier time,...
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Slanted Right – Media Analysis

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January 12, 2021
Slanted Right – Media Analysis

The mainstream news media gets blamed for a lot of things. Some of it is deserved, some not. The problem in today’s multiple viewing platform world is that right-wing propaganda slips silently into what you might assume is an accurate, unbiased source of information. Take one example: Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure.
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Three Bad Bills Revisited – A Book Review

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January 10, 2021

Gary Steeves, Tranquility Lost: The Occupation of  Tranquille & the Battle for Community Care in BC (Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 2020), 226 pages, $24.95 (paper). Being on a picket line, protesting in the street or participating in an occupation are all moments that create life-long comradeship. One event proves the point better than many. It is...
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Co-Pay Conundrum – A Social Commentary

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December 22, 2020
Co-Pay Conundrum – A Social Commentary

The insurance vultures are everywhere. A month before Christmas 2020, I paid several hundred dollars in “co-pays” for medical services. Canadians, I realize that “co-pay” is a foreign term to you, but for millions of Americans it is part of everyday life, death and possible bankruptcy. To be fair, insurers usually pay the lion’s...
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All Grandfathers are Created Equal – A Book Review

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December 21, 2020
All Grandfathers are Created Equal – A Book Review

Ian Haysom, Grandfathered: Dispatches from the Trenches of Modern Grandparenthood (Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2020), 200 pages, $22.95 (paper). I skipped the grandfather stage of life and went straight to great grandfathering, but that didn’t mean I missed the charms of grandparenting so humourously described in Ian Haysom’s memoir, Grandfathered. Most of all, I have not missed...
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Seeing Past the Mushroom Cloud – A Book Review

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December 1, 2020
Seeing Past the Mushroom Cloud – A Book Review

John O’Brian, The Bomb in the Wilderness: Photography and the Nuclear Era in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020), 244 pages, 124 illustrations, $32.95 (paper). Years ago on a visit to China, an old man taught me that I needed to look more deeply into the water below if I wanted to see the fish. Now John...
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You Forgot Canada – A Commentary

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November 26, 2020
You Forgot Canada – A Commentary

The last straw came following the 2020 Emmys. When a Canadian TV comedy called Schitt’s Creek swept the annual American TV awards, the PBS NewsHour didn’t even mention it. They covered the awards, but only the American winners were named. Okay, before you tuck into your private corner to ask what a Canadian has to complain...
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