September 14, 2015

Society

SLIPPING AWAY

Economy

Awash in oil

ELECTION 2015

Lessons from the front

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Society

SLIPPING AWAY

Robin Giles felt like she was missing a joke. It was Christmas morning in 2012, and she and her husband, Joël, were going through familiar traditions in their apartment in London, Ont. Later they’d go out to visit friends and family, but for now, it was just the two of them and their cats.

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Economy

Awash in oil

The waters off Isla Mujeres, near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, are an unlikely place to find the latest potential threat to Canada’s resource-based economy, one that wears a dry suit and snorkel. And yet, when Sumitra Rajagopalan recently tumbled off a boat in search of cuttlefish—shapeshifting sea creatures that the former biomechanics professor at McGill University credits as a muse for her lab work—she indirectly played a role in contributing to the oil glut that’s pushed prices to lows not seen since the Great Recession.

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ELECTION 2015

Lessons from the front

On Aug. 27 I caught up with Thomas Mulcair’s NDP campaign bus, for the second time in this odd election season, in what threatens to become our regular meeting spot: a desolate stretch of Eglinton Avenue in Toronto, where a former Saskatchewan finance minister, Andrew Thomson, is running for Parliament.

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International

A weekend with Bernie

A weekend at president Bernie’s begins in the sweltering gymnasium of a small-town New England junior high school, where the socialist son of an immigrant paint salesman is tossing up rainbows and earning high Marx from the crowd. Fervent, flushed and fanatic on the topics of corporate wealth and public health, the orator hoarsely roars for 90 solid minutes to a whooping crowd of about a thousand white people wearing “Let’s start a political revolution today!” buttons (plus a single young African-American man who is seated as a cynosure in the front row of the stage).

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MACLEAN'S BACK PAGES

MYSTERIES OF THE MALLAND OTHER ESSAYS

Midway through Rybczynski’s new collection, the Canadian/ American architect visits the Opéra Bastille in Paris, which, he writes, “resembles a beached supertanker.” Its design, by Toronto’s Carlos Ott, was the only entry to an architecture competition that met each of its crushingly detailed specifications.

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This Week

LETTERS

It’s too bad the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to political campaigns (“The new campaign that never ends (or even begins),” Election 2015, Aug. 24). Three months of foolish election stunts and diatribes are cruel and unusual punishment for all of us.
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ELECTION 2015

WHEN LEFT IS RIGHT, AND THE MIDDLE IS LEFT

Campaign backdrops don’t often mean much. Coffee shops are where party leaders pretend to be ordinary folks. Suburban backyards are where they signal their solidarity with the coveted middle-class voter. But it was worth taking note of exactly where Justin Trudeau chose to make the most surprising pledge of the 2015 race to date, his announcement last week that a Liberal government would post three years of deficits to pay for a doubling of federal spending on infrastructure such as transit, seniors’ centres and water treatment plants.

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This Week

THE INTERVIEW

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University, has written extensively about inequality in America, including his latest book, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them. He’ll be a visiting scholar in the new Lind Initiative in U.S. Studies at the University of British Columbia this fall.

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MACLEAN'S BACK PAGES

When even the dirt is hostile

A road runs through the Horn of Panjwai district, Afghanistan, linking the impoverished residents of its western region with the farm markets and government services in Kandahar province. It is about 20 km long and five metres wide and was built during the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011 along the route of a dirt track seeded with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), through a region of uncertain loyalties, only partly wrenched from control of the Taliban.

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Society

MASTERS OF THE BODY POLITIC

In the eternal historians’ dispute over whether vast impersonal forces or individuals matter most in human affairs, Margaret MacMillan has always held firmly to the “individuals to the front” camp. Narrative history and what can be termed observers’ history—what curious, intelligent onlookers made of the events that unfolded before them—have always been MacMillan’s forte in bestselling books on topics ranging from the statesmen who set the template for the century that followed the Great War (Paris 1919) to the sharp-eyed British women of Imperial India in Women of the Raj.

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