The barriers to travelling for personal reasons certainly appear daunting. They range from shifting government restrictions to the moral pressure from risk-averse peers to the slight but real probability of contracting the virus. Plus the prospect of getting stranded overseas. Daunting they are. But insurmountable? Or merely not worth the benefits in pleasure, renewed personal connections, emotional wellbeing and horizon-broadening? C2C Editor-in Chief George Koch decided to find out for himself, venturing to Europe in mid-September for three weeks. He returns with a take that we hope helps demystify the process and encourages people to keep an open mind.
We are living in an “unprecedented reality” according to the recent Speech from the Throne. Certainly the effects of Covid-19 have been serious and far-reaching. But unprecedented? Hardly. As difficult as our current situation may seem, it doesn’t hold a candle to the situation 100 years ago when a vastly more terrifying global epidemic struck a far less prepared world. With a second wave of Covid-19 on the horizon, Lynne Cohen takes a close look at the Spanish flu of 1918-20 and finds many stark and revealing differences – as well as some unsettling echoes that suggest while times may change, our fundamental fears do not.
Talk, as they say, is cheap. But the right kind of talk can be priceless. Higher education began as a conversation between a tutor and a single student or a small group. It has been this way from the time of Plato onwards. Only in our era has higher education become a mass-market phenomenon. And while some regard online or remote learning as education’s apotheosis − bringing access to advanced degrees within anyone’s reach − others worry it’s accelerating the decline of thoughtful pedagogy. Drawing on his own professional background, deep love of the Western Canon and cheerful optimism, Patrick Keeney reflects on the timeless value of a real, in-depth conversation.
It will remain forever unknowable how Canada would have fared had our country not largely aped the “lockdown” model adopted by most of the advanced countries. But there is meaningful evidence for those who care and dare to look – and the implications aren’t pretty for our public health officials and their political acolytes. Brian Giesbrecht examined an obscure, far-off country run by an eccentric old man who decided to do the pandemic his own way – and may well have saved not only his nation’s economy but hundreds of his compatriots as well.
The debt-fuelled buildout of Canada’s airports, predicated on the dubious though common premise of unending growth in air travel, has stalled badly. While there’s been virtually zero news media attention, it seems the entire Canadian airport operating model could be about to crash and burn – at a time when governments are themselves wildly over-committed through their own borrowing binges. In this thoroughly reported original, Peter Shawn Taylor dissects Canada’s uniquely strange and problematic approach to owning and running airports, explains how we got into this mess and, looking to Europe and Australia for guidance, charts a way back out.
Whatever we might think of marriage and divorce, few of us would claim they are unimportant. The topic has occupied not only the hearts of billions but the minds of great thinkers through the ages. Why, John Milton wrote a whole book on divorce way back in the 1600s. So why have the great thinkers at Canada’s top statistical agency – who spend their days ferreting out the most trivial of trends – closed their minds to the entire subject? Might the numbers point in some politically incorrect directions? Peter Shawn Taylor dives into the subject with gusto and reports on the modern-day benefits of one of humankind’s oldest institutions.
To suggest something ought to be done about unrestricted online pornography is likely to be thought of as out-of-touch, heavy-handed, hopelessly idealistic or, paradoxically, sexist. Yet the damage wrought upon innocent young lives by ruthless elements in the porn sector is all-too real; the academic and legal evidence about the phenomenon’s global toll is there for anyone who cares to look. While recognizing that simply banning all porn will never happen in today’s cultural and legal environment, Devin Drover lays out a carefully researched and soberly argued case that protecting the innocent against the industry’s vilest excesses lies well within the reach of our politicians.
Care for some “snuggling”? Such appears to be among the deepest thoughts and most memorable expressions of our current generation of poets. The best-known, “instant” kind, anyway. The real kind still exist, poet David Solway notes in this essay, although they’ve been pushed to the cultural margins. And while understanding and appreciating real poetry – a learned and often challenging practise – has fallen into disfavour, it remains vital to our civilization, if there is to be one. That millions of people are buying Instagram poetry, Solway argues, does not change the fact that it is self-indulgent rubbish.
Over the past four months Canadians have been taught to heed and obey their public health officials. And we have dutifully complied, often hailing them as celebrities for their efforts. But as the lockdowns are lifted, what might happen to this habit of control? Peter Shawn Taylor charts the evolution of public health from its early origins to the modern, activist version that eagerly promotes soda taxes and demands an end to income inequality. With public health having become a political movement, are its practitioners prepared to give up their newly-acquired powers of command once the crisis ends?
While Canada has been spared the violence, looting and anarchy that overwhelmed sincere protests over racial issues in multiple American cities, the question of racial prejudice and the accusation of systemic racism have been pushed to the fore in our country as well. In a sensitive discussion informed by a personal and family history that led to many years of study and introspection, Roland Mascarenhas shares a vision based on his belief in individual agency, one opening an alternative path towards well-being for individuals scarred by racism.