Beaverbrook: A Canadian who liked to win

Relentless and focused, Max Aitken wasn’t squeamish about cutting corners to get what he wanted in business and politics

Beaverbrook: A Canadian who liked to winMax Aitken – widely known as Lord Beaverbrook – is the subject of a new biography by English author Charles Williams. Max Beaverbrook is a readable book on an interesting and controversial character, one whose balance of attributes is ambivalently encapsulated in the subtitle Not Quite a Gentleman. Aitken was born in Maple, Ont., in…

Embracing the unfamiliar down home

The East Coast isn’t quaint, slow, lazy or anything else others in the rest of Canada might assume. But it does tend to defy expectations

Embracing the unfamiliar down homeIf you live in one of Canada’s muscular metropolises, you might think about the Atlantic provinces once, maybe twice, a year. And when you do, you might be tempted to dismiss them as welfare states – unlike, say, Calgary. After all, most people “down home” draw unemployment at least half the year. They’re just as…

A political matchup made in heaven

What if voters had to choose between candidates with proven track records, like McKenna and Stanfield, rather than Trudeau and Scheer?

A political matchup made in heavenLet us, for a moment, imagine an alternate universe in which the leading candidates for the office of prime minister enjoy unalloyed respect across Canada. Here, on the centre-left, is Frank McKenna – a Liberal. Over there, on the centre-right, is Robert Stanfield – a Progressive Conservative. Yes, I hear you. The former, who spent…

Creating an unnecessary barrier between doctors and patients

A convoluted – and doomed – communication portal in Nova Scotia has failed the health care system and its users on both sides

Creating an unnecessary barrier between doctors and patientsMost businesses encourage clients to electronically access their own information because consumers value the efficiency and convenience of electronic access. Unfortunately, the Nova Scotia Department of Health (DOH) has a different idea. It has been a successful barrier preventing most Nova Scotians from retrieving and using their own health information. Few Nova Scotians have access…

Have island, will rusticate

Interest in owning islands is on the rise. Are people seeking the quiet life or simply trying to escape societal woes?

Have island, will rusticateBorn and raised to the age of eight in the largest, noisiest, sharpest-elbowed city in Canada, I gave no thought to the pastoral life of country folk I’d occasionally see on CBC television during the supper hour. All that began to change in 1971 when my father managed to acquire a 10-acre piece of land…

Towing the party line in the Internet age

It’s worthwhile remembering that before the Internet, instant messaging, social media and meme merchandising, depending on where you lived, almost nothing was private

Towing the party line in the Internet ageOne morning in the late 1980s in the middle of Nowheresville, a young woman, prompted by a profound sense of neighbourliness, impressed a couple of city girls by introducing them to her new pony, all of 12 hands tall. At the sight of the hoofed beast loping down the stone path towards our family homestead,…

One patient, one record: the folly of Nova Scotia’s latest health plan

The plan seems to depend on methods developed in part in other countries that rank poorly for health services delivery

One patient, one record: the folly of Nova Scotia’s latest health planIs anyone surprised to learn that credit reporting agencies, Facebook and retail stores scan many sources and gather your personal information? Although many people have several credit cards, several loans and deal with many retail merchants, the credit reporting agencies have no difficulty aggregating your information, from all sources, to learn all about you. They…

Gigging it in the free world

The gig economy is gaining traction, for better or worse. Who needs benefits or job security when you can work on a high wire?

Gigging it in the free worldAre you weary of your reliable job? Do your paid vacation, company pension plan and full medical coverage leave you cold? Are you pining for the sort of precarious work that only self-employment can promise? Well, friend, you’ve come to the right place. Here, at GigsRUs, we won’t bore you with bromides about workplace security,…

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downs

Despite government hyperbole, small businesses know that innovation is difficult, costly and sometimes reveals unfortunate truths

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downsA handy term that invokes sweet dreams of big scores for small businesses everywhere is ‘innovation.’ Government officials, burdened with the otherwise boring work of economic development, are obsessed with it. Its mere mention, they think, virtually guarantees a contact high. Hey folks, their websites screech, roll up and read all about our “Superclusters Initiative,”…

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitions

A planned spaceport on the East Coast would launch eight satellite-carrying rockets annually by 2022

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitionsOn some glittering summer’s day, this decade or maybe next, you might find me rusticating on the back deck of my ancestral home overlooking Nova Scotia’s great, grumbling Chedabucto Bay – as deep and dangerous as the firmament itself. There, I will hoist a late-afternoon drink, cast my eyes toward the town of Canso and…

Greenhouse gas emissions on the decline in Canada’s electricity sector

Electricity sector is playing in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions on the decline in Canada’s electricity sectorGreenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Canada’s electricity sector have declined by 34 per cent since 2005 and further reductions are expected, says the Conference Board of Canada in a new report released on Tuesday. “Canada-wide, the electricity sector is undergoing fundamental transformation. In each province, electricity generators are playing a leadership role in the move…

Pieridae Energy ramps up LNG project on East Coast

CEO Alfred Sorensen talks about moving the Canadian industry from its infancy and servicing a growing international market

Pieridae Energy ramps up LNG project on East CoastAlfred Sorensen is CEO of Pieridae Energy. What is Pieridae Energy and what does it do? Sorensen: Pieridae Energy is Canada’s only fully-integrated LNG company. We are looking to build the US$8 billion, 10-million-tonne-per-year Goldboro LNG liquefaction facility off the East Coast near Halifax to supply much-needed natural gas to Europe. In a nutshell, our…

Equalization inequalities must be addressed

Encouraging short-term stability at the expense of economic performance and fairness is folly when alternatives are available

Equalization inequalities must be addressedIn recent years, equalization and other regional subsidies have captured the attention of many Albertans. Much useful research has been done at the University of Calgary and by the former Wildrose Party. There has been extensive comment in Alberta’s media on Canada’s fiscal arrangements, including equalization. Issues connected with regional subsidies are important to all…

New coalition seeks to create a compelling LNG narrative for Canada

The group is hosting a session on Jan. 15 in Calgary to gauge interest. So far, nearly two dozen organizations plan to attend

New coalition seeks to create a compelling LNG narrative for CanadaCanada's oil and gas industry long ago lost control over the narratives that shaped the worldview of its oil sands sector. Sadly, that perspective includes much of Canada. The sector is constantly reacting to competing narratives expertly controlled by outside forces much more proficient at storytelling than we’ve been. As a result, Canada's global reputation as…

Bad public policy chokes out economic growth

Nova Scotia's continued ban on fracking isn't supported by evidence. And it has severely curtailed spending and job creation

Bad public policy chokes out economic growthWith an estimated 1.6-plus-trillion cubic feet of natural gas under foot, Nova Scotian policy-makers are choking out economic growth potential with bad public policy. Their hasty decisions regarding the not-so-new technology of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking, which has been around since the 1950s) were justified by claiming to have been based on incomplete, unavailable or…