Friday 29 July 2011

 

Time coming to declare victory and get out?

 
By Gareth Porter
InterPress Service
 
28 July 2011, KABUL  — The Taliban leadership is ready to negotiate peace with the United States right now if Washington indicates its willingness to provide a timetable for complete withdrawal, according to a former Afghan prime minister who set up a secret meeting between a senior Taliban official and a U.S. general two years ago.

They also have no problem with meeting the oft-repeated U.S. demand that the Taliban cut ties completely with Al-Qaeda.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, who was acting prime minister of Afghanistan in 1995-96, told IPS in an interview that a group of Taliban officials conveyed the organisation's position on starting peace negotiations to him in a meeting in Kabul a few days ago.

"They said once the Americans say 'we are ready to withdraw', they will sit with them," said Ahmadzai.1,068 words.

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Cartoon by Sidra Mahmood, OneSeventyFive.com.

 

 

Public money, government science

Harper government silences scientist on salmon study

Paper published in January, author still not allowed to talk about her findings

By Margaret Munro
Postmedia News
 
27 July 2011, VANCOUVER — Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.

The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister's Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.

Science, one of the world's top research journals, published Miller's findings in January. The journal considered the work so significant it notified "over 7,400" journalists worldwide about Miller's "Suffering Salmon" study.1,322 words.

 
 
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
 
If you think it's too radical, please read
 
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Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
 
Editor's Notes
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 26 (285)
Friday, July 29, 2011
 
 
It sounds like a skit from a Marx Brothers movie. On the one hand, the Mayor of Canada's largest city is said to have given the finger to a six year-old girl and her mother while at the wheel of his van and while talking on his cellphone; and on the other, the Mayor's brother (and also a City Councillor) falsely claims there are more libraries than Tim Horton's coffee shops in his part of the city and tells Canada's leading novelist to butt out of municipal politics unless she gets elected to city council.
 
Yes it's farce, but it's also deadly serious politics, that reveals volumes about neo-conservative attitudes and the triumphalist agenda the radical right-wing.1,214 words.
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"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper government makes lots of noise about building more prisons and reducing the coddling of lawbreakers. It even has a hunt on for war criminals hiding out in Canada. Yet, there’s no sign it’s dealing with a much greater threat to the country’s prosperity and safety from foreign espionage.
 
Remember a year ago when Richard Fadden, the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Network, was in hot water in the media at least for raising the spectre of foreign agents influencing Canadian politicians and officials.
 
Well the spies haven’t gone away.1,171 words.
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Salutin:The most chilling words Breivik uttered
 
By Rick Salutin
The Toronto Star

28 July 2011 — The most chilling phrase in the Norwegian horror was the killer’s statement, through his lawyer, that it was “trocious,” or in another translation “gruesome,” or even just that he was sorry — but it was necessary.

I’ve never seen anything that expresses the toxic potential of ideology so eloquently. It’s especially in that note of regret. Rage and hate do terrible deeds but they may falter. An idea that you know with certainty is true can be put into action no matter what your state of mind or feelings. You might even have tears in your eyes as you shoot.

So the Nazis depended on dull-minded bureaucrats to implement their final solution for Jews. They weren’t seething with hate or emotion. It doesn’t matter whether the ideology is religious, anti-religious, left or right. The film clip from The Town that U.S. Republicans in Congress are showing each other to stiffen their resolve about killing off services that people need has the same quality. 706 words.
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(The video has hiccups but the spirit is there, so please go with the flow and enjoy)

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

It's no secret that the same words can fill hearts with either joy or anger.

Back in the 1950s the song This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land was blacklisted and banned from the airways in the United States.

Today it is a prominent selection of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and was sung by thousands, including the president of the U.S. and his wife, at an open-air rally at Washington D.C. on the night of President Barack Obama's inauguration January 18 2009.

On June 27 of this year a Canadian version was delivered with joy and characteristic sophisticated gusto by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall. Jerry Gray, a dentist, and founder of the Canadian song group, The Travellers, was asked to conduct This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land as the final encore of the concert.

Jerry Gray of Toronto, in 1954 was the co-writer of the Canadian version of the American song by Woody Guthrie. The Travellers at the time included Jerry Gray (banjo and lead singer) Sid Dolgoy (mando-cello) and singers Helen Gray, Jerry Goodis, and Oscar Ross.

Jerry Gray was prompted to write a Canadian version by Pete Seeger. Pete said that he and Woody Guthrie had been blacklisted and that they and the song itself were no longer allowed on air.

Pete suggested a Canadian version would help keep the song alive until the clouds were blown away. It took ten years before the hysterical right wing could be crowded out of control.

Here are the Canadian lyrics that Jerry Gray and his group wrote: 1,057 words.
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The privileges of power

Even as city prepares to slash libraries and transit funding

Toronto's new mayor won't pay his $13,362 in fines

By John Lorinc
The Globe and Mail
 
24 July 2011 — City of Toronto officials earlier this spring quietly waived a $13,362.25 fine levied against Mayor Rob Ford for 483 infractions of the bylaw governing the placement of election signs, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail through an access-to-information request.

Bylaw enforcement officers recorded most of the infractions during the final week of the campaign, as well as the three-day grace period after the vote that is meant to allow candidates to collect their signs.

News of the waived fine emerges at a time when the Ford administration is considering a range of new user fees to help cover the cost of delivering city services.780 words.

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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

House Republicans may kill California bullet train

By Carolyn Lochhead
Washington Bureau
San Francisco Chronicle

24 July 2011 WASHINGTON — California's futuristic plans for 220-mph bullet trains linking the Bay Area with Los Angeles and beyond are facing a moment of truth.

Prospects for a $19 billion federal infusion — covering more than 40 percent of a $43 billion system that would be the nation's largest single investment in transportation infrastructure in decades — dim each day as Washington scrambles madly for trillions of dollars in savings to raise the national debt ceiling.

If completed, California's system would be the first truly high-speed-rail network in the United States. Bullet trains would race down the San Joaquin Valley, linking Sacramento to San Diego and tying into the Peninsula that links San Francisco and San Jose.

More than $250 million has been spent so far, but the real money will kick in with the scheduled start of construction between Bakersfield and Fresno in 2012, which is estimated to cost $5.5 billion.

House Republicans want to kill the entire venture. They zeroed out all funds for high-speed rail in their budget and voted last week to redirect rail funds, including $368 million for California, to flood-control projects in Missouri. 966 words.
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Health Watch
 
 
By Prithi Yelaja
CBC News
 
28 July 2011 — For patients like NDP Leader Jack Layton who thought they had successfully conquered cancer, a second diagnosis of the disease is just as devastating, if not more so, as the first, experts say.

"It is re-traumatizing. The trauma goes back to the shock and fear of being diagnosed again with a potentially life-threatening illness," says Dr. Andrew Matthew, a psychologist who counsels cancer patients at Princess Margaret Hospital.

"When you've gone through a first diagnosis and treatment, time has passed and you gain greater confidence in your health. So when there is a re-experience of that diagnosis, all the same feelings of fear and uncertainty race to the surface even more quickly than before. It's like you thought you had left that in your past and all of a sudden it's part of your future again."1,455 words.

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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Living untroubled in a troubled world … is it possible?

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” — Dalai Lama

True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

29 July 2011 — How do you cope with senseless tragedy? How do you react to the unexpected slaughter of innocent people? The terrible double murder committed by Guy Turcotte is still fresh on our minds and may soon be revisited if the case is reopened.
 
As a mother, I feel for Isabelle Gaston who has lost her precious babies. As a grandparent, I feel for the grandparents who will never see their grandchildren grow up. I feel for Guy Turcotte’s parents who will live with the dark clouds surrounding their son’s violent crime for the rest of their lives.952 words.
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Spirit Quest

 
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

29 July 2011 — A few days ago, on a very hot and humid day, I found myself ensconced before a microphone in my study.
 
I also had a telephone against  my ear in order to hear my interviewer in far away London, England engage me in conversation while being recorded for Outlook, a program for the BBC World Service.
 
It all began with a letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen (June 25, 011). In my epistle I congratulated the members of Kitchissippi United Church in Ottawa on their program of refugee sponsorship.903 words.
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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

 

 

 

 

Venezuela caps Bicentennial independence celebrations

with historical-cultural Indpendence Forever parade

By Juan Reardon
Venezuelananalysis.com

31 July 2011 MERIDA Veneuzuela — On Saturday Venezuela ended weeks of bicentennial independence celebrations with a massive cultural parade at the Paseo de los Proceres in Caracas. Televised live on national television, thousands of artists, musicians, and dancers joined together in a cultural display aimed at presenting the different historical moments Venezuela has lived through before, during, and after the break from Spanish colonial rule. Titled Independence Forever, Saturday’s parade marked the end of bicentennial independence celebrations that began on July 5.362 words then photos.


 

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.


Posted by Lauren McKeon

How we got the story: Shelters in Haiti, Part II

27 July 2011

ShareThis

After the earthquake in Haiti last year, plenty of organizations rushed in to help. One of those was former U.S. president Bill Clinton's foundation, which promised to build several "hurricane-proof" shelter/school duos. However, in a recent investigation published by the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting two journalists discovered promises that look good on paper don't always look great on the ground. This week, we talk to reporters Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet on how they got the story, what it was like reporting in Haiti, and sharing a byline.

J-Source: The fact that the shelters/schools were being built seems to be well-known, and indeed well-publicized, but when did you start to think an investigation was needed? What tipped you off?

Isabel Macdonald: We originally began discussing our idea for this shelters story as one part of a broader investigation (which we are still working on) into the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is the commission co-chaired by Bill Clinton that was set up to coordinate and ensure transparency in Haiti's post-earthquake rebuilding. There has been very little oversight or monitoring of the projects approved by the commission, and several Haitian board members had complained about lack of transparency.

Isabeau had first reported on the shelters before they were even built, as part of an Al Jazeera team, and it was from her that I first heard about the project. Before we began the investigation, both of us had visited the schools where the trailers were installed, and had spoken to the school directors, some of whom were quite disappointed with the project. So we had some sense already that there might be a story.

And given that this was one of the few IHRC-approved projects to have been completed, it seemed a good place to begin our broader investigation. But when we first began, we really didn't realize the scale of the problems our investigation would unearth--such as the formaldhyde, and the headaches. 2,356 words.
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Third Ways

Taking advantage of 2010's disastrous flood,

Pakistan rebuilds with Green homes

By Zofeen Ebrahim
InterPress Service

28 July 2011, KARACHI — Subhan Khatoon’s brand new home is nothing like the one that got washed away, along with all her worldly goods, in the 2010 monsoon floods that submerged a fifth of Pakistan and left 2,000 people dead.

Before that deluge, Khatoon, 45, could not have dreamed of owning a well-ventilated house with such luxuries as an attached toilet and a clean kitchen.

Khatun was lucky that the district administration of Khairpur identified her village Darya Khan Sheikh, on the banks of the Indus in Sindh province, as one of the worst affected, and her house as one that had been completely destroyed and, therefore, merited replacement.944 words.

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Reality Check

War and the real Tragedy of the Commons

'In the early 1980's, the Center for Disarmament estimated that global military operations used more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum than the entire Third World did for development'
By H. Patricia Hynes
Truthout
 
28 July 2011 — The "Tragedy of the Commons," Garrett Hardin's 1968 controversial essay published in Science, essentially targeted overpopulation (read: poor women) as the prime threat to sustainable life on our finite earth. Hardin, and many who consumed this thesis, failed to single out the very small, but politically powerful, population responsible for a mammoth environmental impact - the military. Per capita, the military complex (read: powerful men) is the most polluting human population.
 
A well-glued solidarity between the military, national security advisors, civilian defense contractors, and elites of government has cloaked the extraordinary debt of pollution, destruction of land, and use of finite resources in the paternalistic mantle of national security.1,290 words.
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Money and Markets

When economies collide!

Shaking the three pillars of McWorld

The U.S., Europe and even China ignore the rocks ready to gouge the hulls of their economic ships. What happens if they all crash at once?

By Mike Davis
TomDispatch
 
26 July 2011 — When it comes to the Murdoch scandal, where everyone’s having such a rollicking good time, it hasn't been particularly hard for reporters, pundits, and commentators to connect a few dots, even across an ocean.
 
When it comes to something larger and far less enjoyable though, like the global economy, you would be hard-pressed to find a similar connecting of the dots.  China’s economy soars on one side of the planet (though with a multitude of half-hidden problems), while that country continues to outpace all others when it comes to holding U.S. debt. On the other side of the same planet, from Greece and Ireland to Spain and Italy, Europe shudders and fears run wild.  Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the president and Congress have headed the economy merrily for the nearest cliff, while money is lacking even to keep court systems running in some parts of the country.
 
On all of this there is much reporting, much opining, many fears expressed, numerous teeth gnashed.  Yet even when such pieces sit near each other on the same page or follow each other on the TV news, they are, with rare exceptions, treated as if they were remarkably separate problems, remarkably separate crises.1,057 words.
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Science

 
CBC News
 
27 July 2011 — New evidence shows that Atlantic cod off Nova Scotia are recovering from their dramatic collapse two decades ago — and that the ecosystem is recovering with them.

That suggests major changes to marine ecosystems can be reversed with time, says a Canadian study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

It also "bodes well" for other cod populations further north along the East Coast that have yet to recover, says the study, led by researcher Kenneth Frank at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S.816 words.

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By Jenny Marder and Travis Daub
The Australian
 
26 July 2011 — America's space shuttles are grounded, but Russia is forging ahead with plans for future spaceflight missions.
 
In addition to launching Soyuz rockets from the usual spaceports in Kazakhstan and Russia, the country will soon add a brand new working launch pad to its arsenal — located in a jungle in French Guiana, along South America's northern coast.
 
As soon as this fall, Russian Soyuz rockets are expected to begin launching from the European Space Agency's French Guiana spaceport, where France's Ariane satellite-launching rocket program is headquartered.317 words.
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The Glass Teat

Torchwood: Miracle Day, part 3: Dead of Night

First (gay) bar to the right or,

The inconstant audacity of Russell T Davies

Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

An unabashed (if often critical) fan of all things Doctor Who, Geoffrey Dow is writing about Torchwood: Miracle Day each week. Click here to for an overview and links to all the postings.

July 24, 2011 — Miracle Day's third episode marks another step on the road towards a fully-engaging story, but still with some mis-steps, awkward steps and hints of dumbing-down for the new (yes, American) audience along the way.

Despite those cavils, a lot more seemed to happen in "Dead of Night" than in both of its predecessors put together, an important thing for a program that is trying to do triple duty as a mystery, a science fiction thriller and a social satire.

Unfortunately, too much of what happens feels as if it was inserted according to Russell T Davies initial plans, rather than growing organically out of the characters and the action.874 words.


 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the County or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.


   

You can count on the True North Team

While publishers are cutting back and that includes in-house editors

Outside editors of the True North Team are rescuing writers from oblivion.

We handle fiction and memoirs and full-length books

Manuscript editing to ghost writing

Everything to put the best face on your work to publishers and the reading public

For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact

carl.dow@truenorthperspective.com

or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225

Always looking forward ...

Note from the heart of the empire

 
   

You can count on the True North Team

While publishers are cutting back and that includes in-house editors

Outside editors of the True North Team are rescuing writers from oblivion.

We handle fiction and memoirs and full-length books

Manuscript editing to ghost writing

Everything to put the best face on your work to publishers and the reading public

For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact

carl.dow@truenorthperspective.com

or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225

Always looking forward ...

Note from the heart of the empire

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

 

Ottawa writers hit their stride producing quality

and bestsellers in books, short stories and poetry

(Be sure to read the award winning short story below, Ball Hockey and Other Blood Sports, by Mel Massey. International Commercial lawyer who retired recently to nurture his enthusiasm for creative writing among other projects.)

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

There is a joyful creative spirit generating in Ottawa, Canada's capital, as hard-working writers reveal intelligence, imagination, humour, and wisdom.

Leading the sales pack so far is Randy Ray, journalist and publicist, whose books provide, in a light but insightful way, facts and figures as to how Canada became a country and how it works. His books, in collaberation with Mark Kearney of London, Ontario, have sold more than 50,000 copies. Not bad when one considers that in Canada a bestseller mark is 5,000 copies. — 324 words.

Ottawa writers hit their stride producing quality

and bestsellers in books, short stories and poetry

(Be sure to read the award winning short story below, Ball Hockey and Other Blood Sports, by Mel Massey. International Commercial lawyer who retired recently to nurture his enthusiasm for creative writing among other projects.)

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

There is a joyful creative spirit generating in Ottawa, Canada's capital, as hard-working writers reveal intelligence, imagination, humour, and wisdom.

Leading the sales pack so far is Randy Ray, journalist and publicist, whose books provide, in a light but insightful way, facts and figures as to how Canada became a country and how it works. His books, in collaberation with Mark Kearney of London, Ontario, have sold more than 50,000 copies. Not bad when one considers that in Canada a bestseller mark is 5,000 copies. — 324 words

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