David Gilmour, novelist and former broadcaster, and currently teacher at the University of Toronto:
I teach modern short fiction to third and first-year students. So I teach mostly Russian and American authors. Not much on the Canadian front. But I can only teach stuff I love. I can’t teach stuff that I don’t, and I haven’t encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach.I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I tried to teach Virginia Woolf, she’s too sophisticated, even for a third-year class. Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.
The country’s librarians and archivists never had a good feeling from the start about Daniel Caron, the economist appointed in 2009 by Heritage Minister James Moore to be Canada’s Librarian and Archivist of Canada, partly because, they felt, his professional training and pedigree was as an economist. (He did a postgraduate degree in economics at Laval and then a doctorate in “applied human sciences” at the Université de Montréal.) Caron, in 2009, was also taking over what was described as a newly “unified” institution. Rather than have separate two separate positions — a national Librarian and a Chief Archivist — both jobs were going to “unified” in one office and Caron was picked to make it a success.
Not only did the French- and English-speaking Caron bill taxpayers more than $4,000 in 2011-12 so he could take one-on-one Spanish lessons, he signed a $10,000 contract last year for another year’s worth of lessons though a spokesman said no charges were ever actually incurred on that second contract.
Still, Caron appeared to enjoy the taxpayer-funded perks of the job.
Caron enjoyed dining, for example, at the swanky Rideau Club in downtown Ottawa, billing taxpayers more than $2,100 for his 31 visits to the members-only club over the last two years. And if he wasn’t eating at the Rideau Club, taxpayers still paid: He expensed more than $8,700 for 35 business lunches elsewhere over the last two years.
Researchers with the opposition NDP calculated that Caron’s total bill to taxpayers for his travel and hospitality was more than $87,000 last year alone, including six trips to Europe so he could meet with international archivists. By comparison, his boss, the heritage minister, spent about only half that – $47,755 – on travel and hospitality.
TORONTO – Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot in performance in November, 2012 at Toronto’s Massey Hall, a venue he’s been playing every year in the fall for 45 years. The federal government, in its budget last week, promised $8 million to fix the place up. (Jack Boland / Toronto Sun)
Stompin’ Tom Connors has passed away at the age of 77 in Peterborough, Ont. I just got off the phoen with Brian Edwards, Tom’s promoter of 25 years. Brian says Tom passed on at about 5 pm ET today, surrounded by family and friends. There was no precipitating illness at the end. “He just wore out,” said Edwards. On March 13, a memorial is scheduled at the Peterborough Memorial Centre, the same place where the Peterborough Petes play “that good ol’ hockey game”, but Edwards says it’ll be more of a celebration of life than anything else. “It’s very rare you can work with someone who’s got fans from 4 to 104,” Edwards said. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Lena, his 2 sons, 2 daughters and his grandchildren. God bless.
You can read Stompin’ Tom’s dying letter to his fans and to Canada right here:
The posts on this blog are, by and large, created and maintained by me, David Akin, the national bureau chief for Sun Media.
I receive no fees, considerations, etc. for the posts on this blog nor do I have any plans to accept any beyond the salary paid to me by Sun Media and Sun News Network. Both those companies are owned by Quebecor Inc. As a publicly traded Canadian company, Quebecor must disclose financial and other information. You can monitor those disclosures at Quebecor's Web site.
You may see advertisements at this blog. I have no control over the placement or selection of that advertising. Both Sun Media and Sun News Network earn the money to pay my salary and the costs of hosting this blog by selling advertising.
I am not, nor have I ever been during my 25 years as a professional journalist, a member of any political party. I own no shares or equity in any corporation or business, my employer's included. Any investments I have are in widely-held mutual funds.
If you think other disclosures are appropriate in this space, I'd like to hear from you. All of my contact details are always at www.davidakin.com.