This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


July-August 2009

Canadian justice for Desiré Munyaneza, but what about Afghan prisoners?

Graham F. Scott

Quebec Superior Court judge André Denis made history on May 22, 2009, when he convicted Desiré Munyaneza of seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Munyaneza, he said, had “intentionally killed dozens” during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and “raped several women and pillaged homes and businesses.” For the first time ever, a […]

Ottawa’s Gay Guerilla Takeover turns any club into a D.I.Y. gay bar

Veronica Islas

Guests at Ottawa’s Heaven dance club expect to have a good time and dance the night away. What the mostly heterosexual crowd was not expecting this spring Saturday night was for the club to be overrun by the Gay Guerrilla Takeover. The Gay Guerrilla Takeover is an organization that does what its name says: once […]

Progressive Detective: Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?

Rosemary Counter

Dear Progressive Detective: I’ve been hearing a lot about e-cigarettes. What are these things, and can they really help me kick my habit? E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that detect the user’s pull and vaporize a nicotine solution that recreates the smoking experience without carcinogens, odour, ashes, stubs, or even litter. Without the 4,000 chemicals added […]

Fiction: “Accidental Ponds” by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Graham F. Scott

I met you in a hostel in Rennes. The weather was humid and this made the door stick: I threw my weight against it and fell into the room. Your pink sandals and your pack were lying in a corner and you were there, too: asleep. Eyes turned toward the window. I had to walk […]

“Conceptual comedy” duo turn jokes into art as “Life of a Craphead”

Sean Michaels

For Toronto’s “Making Room” art show in 2006, Amy Lam and Jon McCurley—the duo who call themselves Life of a Craphead— erected a bed sitting on a couch. The couch was large and blue and the bed sat as a human would, folded at the waist, with two wooden legs on the ground. It looked […]

Deadly dealings surround Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Dawn Paley

“You know that here in Colombia, there are many human-rights violations,” says José Oney Valencia Llanos, who earns his living cutting sugar cane in Colombia’s fertile Cauca Valley. “Business people, through multinational and transnational corporations, have violated human rights and attacked workers, directly and indirectly.” Oney told me this on a humid afternoon in El […]

How the Green Party is skewing Canadian elections

Bruce M. Hicks

Another B.C. election has passed, and the Liberals under Premier Gordon Campbell were able to hold on to power, but it was hard to tell at times which party stood where on the issues and the political spectrum. The environment was a central issue in this election, but it played out in a way that […]

Review: Nicole Brossard’s latest novel throbs with linguistic menace

Terese SaplysWebsite

Quebec writer Nicole Brossard’s latest novel, Fences in Breathing (translated by Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood), confronts a subject favoured by a cadre of contemporary literary darlings, Roberto Bolaño, David Foster Wallace, and John Wray among them: namely, a profound distrust in the magic of fiction. A woman of letters herself, Brossard’s Québécoise protagonist, Anne, labours to […]

Is a 60-storey skyscraper the farm of the future?

Paul McLaughlinWebsite

Canadian architecture student Gordon Graff attracted worldwide interest when he designed SkyFarm, a 59-storey farm for downtown Toronto. What inspired you to design a vertical farm? Sometime in 2006, when I was first working on my masters at the University of Waterloo, I knew I wanted to focus on how to turn a city like […]

Are Environment Canada gatekeepers gagging their own scientists?

Craig SaundersWebsite

Toronto journalist Janet Pelley got a shock last February while attending a symposium in Burlington, Ont., on water quality research. After a session on Bisphenol-A, she approached two of the researchers who had presented for follow-up information. The researchers “laughed nervously,” says Pelley, then pointed her to an Environment Canada press officer in the corner. […]

Gimme Shelter: refugees who found sanctuary in Canadian churches

Morgan Dunlop

Three Canadian church congregations stood up to Immigration Canada and the police to save the lives of refugees in peril. Some say they should butt out. In 1990, Felicia Abimbola Akinwalere (“Ola” to her friends) arrived in Toronto from Nigeria on a temporary visa to visit family. During that vacation, her husband took part in […]