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    Guarding Canada’s treasury from greedy hordes

    December 7th, 2013

    The early years of Confederation both appalled and titillated Canadians with perhaps the country’s most sensational—or sensationalized—political corruption and scandals. Read the rest of this entry »


    Marriage prospects killed by free trade

    December 3rd, 2013

    Free trade is a bit like religion: economists now agree that it would be a good thing, if it were practiced as much as it is preached. In the nineteenth century, there was as much preaching against free trade as for it. Read the rest of this entry »


    An Irish catholic bishop blesses the victory of a protestant Scottish politician

    October 22nd, 2013

    Catholic and protestant friction was often raw in nineteenth century Canada, and perhaps no more so than in St. John’s, Newfoundland. So it was a rare incident of political ecumenism when the city’s predominantly Irish Catholics elected a Scottish Presbyterian to the colony’s Legislative Council. Read the rest of this entry »


    How you going to keep ‘em down on the farm?

    October 12th, 2013

    Schools were accused of contributing to the exodus of young men from the farm to the cities a century ago, Read the rest of this entry »


    Foreign titles laughed to death in Parliament

    September 25th, 2013

    “A proposal for a return to titles for Canadians appeared laughed to a permanent death” during two days of heated debate in the House of Commons, according to the Toronto Globe, February 15, 1929. Read the rest of this entry »


    Canada’s father of human rights. An excerpt from About Canada

    September 21st, 2013

    Three-and-a-half years after the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco, the nations of the world met in General Assembly in Paris to lay a foundation stone, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is “the international Magna Carta of all mankind,” in the words of U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Read the rest of this entry »


    Nova Scotia’s illiterate, lazy vagabond teachers

    September 18th, 2013

    Nova Scotia needs “a general system of education,” financed by direct taxation, with teachers who are better than half-educated “lazy vagabonds,” Read the rest of this entry »


    Conscription law triggers riots and attempted murder

    August 28th, 2013

    First World War military conscription became law on August 29, 1917, and protesting rioters in Montreal smashed store windows. Read the rest of this entry »


    Loyal Orange Order threatens Canada’s peace

    August 13th, 2013

    When the Orange Order rode into Upper Canada in 1822 with a parade through the streets of York, it was very much an establishment occasion, but eight months later a petition was moved in the House of Assembly to have the outfit outlawed. Read the rest of this entry »


    Fatal cannon blast dampens Family Compact meeting

    August 8th, 2013

    A reform newspaper unleashes its most vitriolic prose in a report of a meeting by supporters of Upper Canada’s Family Compact. The meeting ended with a canon blast, Read the rest of this entry »


    Social Darwinism

    August 6th, 2013

    “The growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest. The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance, which can bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds, which grow up around it. Read the rest of this entry »


    Sober Macdonald and drunk reporter?

    July 9th, 2013

    Newspapers still provided the only published reports of debates in the House of Commons when the Toronto Globe opposed a proposed Hansard, in which the words of members of Parliament would be published after officially recorded in shorthand by Parliamentary reporters. Read the rest of this entry »


    In Ottawa, it’s all talk, talk, talk

    July 7th, 2013

    The Ottawa Journal notes the political penchant for prolixity, in this item published October 23, 1899.

    Sir Charles Tupper’s speech the other day contained about 25,000 words. Mr. Foster’s three-hour effort held about 17,000, or about as many as the gospel of St. John, which revolutionized the world. It will be observed that some of our political leaders talk many dozens of times as much matter every year as there is not merely in St. John, but in the whole New Testament, yet don’t revolutionize anything.

    TAGS: Politicians, Parliament, Talk, Prolxity, Loquacity, Bible


    Victoria’s secret: new capital for Canada

    July 5th, 2013

    On the last day of 1857, Queen Victoria, in London, chose a new capital for Canada. Five cities had fought fiercely for the honour and economic benefits. Four—Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Quebec City—had at one time or another served as the capital in what was then called Canada East (Quebec) and Canada West (Ontario). Only forest-shrouded Ottawa, the newest, smallest and most remote, had never been a capital city. Read the rest of this entry »


    First Canada Day: cheering and wailing in 1867

    June 28th, 2013

    All Canada celebrates its 146 birthday on Monday, July 1. But on that date in 1867,there was both cheering and wailing. Toronto celebrated with a roasted ox, while in Nova Scotia, a Father of Confederation was burned in effigy, with a live rat. Read the rest of this entry »


    When fanatic Christians massacred while Islam was tolerant

    March 23rd, 2013

    For a period of hundreds of years the vast world of Islam was more advanced and tolerant of religious faiths while intolerant Christian fanatics massacred millions and committed atrocities whose horror has never been exceeded. Read the rest of this entry »


    Oil sands collapse will kill XL Pipeline

    March 14th, 2013

    The United States has no need for more oil from Alberta’s vast oil sands. A forecast 250% increase in oil sands production won’t happen. The controversial XL Pipeline won’t be built. A collapse of the oil sands boom will mean the loss of billions of dollars in new investment and government revenues, and the loss of thousands of jobs. These are among my forecasts in an article published in the Toronto Star March 13. Here is the entire article, as published in the Star. Read the rest of this entry »


    Canada’s F-35 jet fighter purchase debacle

    November 28th, 2012

    A test version of the F-35 jet fighter aircraft. First operational model was delivered to the U.S. Marines in  mid-November, 2012, following 16 years and several billion dollars in trouble-plagued development. Final cost and start of full-scale production were still unknown.

    Excerpt from About Canada. Toronto: Civil Sector Press. ©Earle Gray.

    Trillions of long-term dollars, including billions of Canadian taxpayer money, are at issue in a multinational effort to develop the world’s most costly piece of military equipment, while the effort teetered on the edge of collapse. In Canada, the planned fighter jets produced a scandal of bureaucratic bungling and political cover-up, misinformation, and contempt of Parliamentary democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


    Harper government abuse of power

    November 25th, 2012

    Excerpt from About Canada. Toronto: Civil Sector Press, 2012. ©Copyright Earle Gray.

    Charges leveled against the Harper government have been limited to abuse of power, rather than financial gain for party, politicians, or supporters. The list of abuses, alleged and established, is daunting: waging war on the civil service; covering up allegations of complicity in the torture (and possibly extrajudicial killings and disappearances) of Afghan war prisoners; contempt of Parliament; silencing critics by coercion, intimidation, firings and character assassination; illegally disclosing private, personal information; illegally withholding public information; promoting export sales of cacogenic Canadian asbestos, in the face of universal condemnation; policies that curb news media reporting of government activity; sponsoring crime legislation for political advantage in the knowledge of evidence that such policies do not work. Read the rest of this entry »


    Democracy’s challenge is inclusiveness

    June 12th, 2012

    The democracy envisioned by the towering figures of the Enlightenment, who were our Founding Fathers, was one of limited participation in the right to vote, but a society meant to serve the interests of all the people. Read the rest of this entry »