Never shirk responsibility for honest, forthright observation

The rules of writing opinion pieces haven't changed through the generations in the Robinson family

Never shirk responsibility for honest, forthright observationOne day in 2004, Doug Firby, then the editorial page editor of the Calgary Herald, took me to lunch. I was the CEO of the Glenbow Museum and I had no idea what we were going to discuss. It turned out that he invited me to write occasional “op-eds” for the paper, on culture and…

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevant

The world of arts and culture offers lots of examples of gross expense and imported notions of what’s important. But there are alternatives

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevantHow are the National Post and the Globe and Mail doing in your neighbourhood? In Powell River, the big Toronto newspapers are on their last boomer gasp at the newsstands. In their place, piles of the weekly Powell River Peak and monthly Powell River Living fly off the counters and adjacent distribution boxes. The local…

Albertans can’t hide from climate change as election debate rages

Many politicians would rather look to the past than mobilize to fight our greatest challenge

Albertans can’t hide from climate change as election debate ragesThe Alberta provincial election is a case study of the collective Canadian avoidance of climate change. Albertans are told to focus on either cutting various government programs or making deficit expenditures on new social programs, arguing about the pros and cons of taxes (especially carbon taxes), and a generalized hope for a return of high…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry

The Canadian response to being stranded for 11 hours on a BC ferry? Free food, cheers and applause!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry“Please be advised that the next sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay has been delayed by at least four hours. Those passengers wishing instead to return to Powell River, please pull over to the right-hand side as you exit the ferry, and you will be guaranteed a return trip. …” “Hmmmmm. What’s that all about?”…

A ray of hope after a brutal week

A multicultural student haka in New Zealand radiates something positive in a world that seems all too sick

A ray of hope after a brutal weekWhen you write a weekly column in the relatively unrelated realms of culture and politics, you rely on independent stimuli for the idea that eventually becomes the piece. Frankly, the idea that becomes the column doesn’t often strike until just after the previous week’s work appears online each Sunday morning. Then, as if ordained by…

Finding the middle ground between Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau

It is possible to mediate between identity politics and old school democracy

Finding the middle ground between Wilson-Raybould and TrudeauFor the past few weeks, the Canadian public – and increasingly the world – have witnessed the quintessential Canadian scandal. So far, no one has proven any law has been broken, no one has been physically injured, and the core issue is whether 9,000 (or 3,500 or 6,000 or any) jobs are at risk because…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

Looking at the natural world through Indigenous eyes

The impact of climate change on the West Coast, in the Arctic and on the Prairies

Looking at the natural world through Indigenous eyesLifelong friendships with Indigenous pals bring incredible benefits, including nuanced wisdom on the environment, and climate change in particular. You get to watch people who grew up in oral cultures – accustomed to learning from elders and spending long periods with the land and the water – become elders themselves. And because talking is the…

The nomadic life of retirement tourism

Among the many fascinating people found in San Miguel de Allende was a couple who sold everything to travel the world

The nomadic life of retirement tourismI’ve just returned from San Miguel de Allende full of interesting new experiences gathered in a 475-year-old Mexican central highlands town renowned worldwide for its hospitality to culturally creative folk. Those visitors like to rent 300-year-old casas, practise speaking Spanish and participate in a nuanced cosmopolitan life. The local media refer to this phenomenon as…