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Writer & Historian

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True Crime in Northern Saskatchewan – A Book Review

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April 26, 2021
True Crime in Northern Saskatchewan – A Book Review

Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell, Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkett(Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020), 311 pages (illustrated), $24.95. Author Michael Nest The online streaming networks are filled with true crime dramas these days, all claiming to be based on true facts. But it’s never clear...
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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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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 Tunes for the Times – A Musical Comment

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January 10, 2021
Three Tunes for the Times – A Musical Comment

Three songs that re-resonated for me through 2020 are part of  “Readers’ Choice,” an annual roundup of favourite songs posted at kuratedmusic.com. Kris Klaasen, my long-time music-listening companion, adviser and old friend, launched the site last year and has been using it to explore the broad reaches of the music world then sharing his findings....
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Farewell Ed Finn – An Appreciation

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December 29, 2020
Farewell Ed Finn – An Appreciation

My friend and former union colleague Ed Finn died on December 27, 2020, at 94. Those of us who knew him and worked with him, as well as the millions who read his prolific outpouring of thoughts and ideas, lament his passing. He was a truly principled man. He was honest, direct and candid....
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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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Halloween Visitors – A Photo Memory

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November 2, 2020
Halloween Visitors – A Photo Memory

Halloween is usually a quiet affair in our suburban neighborhood. Last year we had a dozen kids. This year we had four, but two of them were Batman and Robin. It was great granddaughter Calliope and her mother Mickel. We were thrilled to see them in such great costumes. Here they are now.
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Books