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March-April 2009

Progressive Detective: What’s the greenest diaper choice?

Melissa WilsonWebsite

Dear Progressive Detective: I want to raise an environmentally friendly child right from the start. What’s the best diaper choice for my baby? The diaper issue is a messy one, especially since your baby will demand 5,000 to 7,000 changes before his second birthday. Currently, 85 percent of Canadian parents use disposable diapers, making them […]

Postcard from Tokyo: Rise of the (vending) machines

David Hayes

In North America, we barely notice vending machines. They dispense soft drinks, water, sometimes coffee (or laundry soap in laundromats). In Japan, however, vending machines have been elevated to a fine art. To an outsider, these machines, called jidoohanbaiki, are ubiquitous — incredibly, there is one vending machine for every 23 Japanese citizens. In Tokyo, […]

Fiction: Five Pounds Short and Apologies to Nelson Algren

Mike Spry

No one ever tells you not to fuck the monkey. Fuck with the monkey. Get fucked by the monkey. The monkey is filled with a selfish wrath, a vengeful will, a self-loathing so encompassing it eats at the fabric of others. And the preaching and questionable advice. The late nights and empty rooms. Bent over […]

The Message is the Medium

Dorothy Woodend

Are emerging cut-and-paste art forms ruining narrative storytelling? Before my son Louis could walk, he could surf. He took to the internet like an aquatic creature, swimming easily and confidently. It was cute to see him perched at the computer, his big baby head topped off by a pair of giant headphones. But his avidity […]

Found in translation

Navneet AlangWebsite

The web allows immigrants to straddle two worlds like never before As in so many immigrant families, weekend mornings in my house always meant one thing: “our shows” on TV. We are of Indian descent, and the sounds of the latest Bollywood hits were a staple of our Saturdays and Sundays, as much a part […]

Let’s Get It On

Darryl WhetterWebsite

Canadian fiction prefers the joinery of farmhouses — not farmhands The preference among Canadian literary awards for historical fiction has created a national literature devoted to burlap sacking instead of life in the sack. The repeat shortlisting of historical fiction, in which a rural or foreign yesterday is somehow more important than today, contributes to […]

Woodpigeon: Please Feed the Birds

Tabassum Siddiqui

Calgary band is big in Europe, but home is where their hearts are Woodpigeon may very well be the biggest Canadian band you’ve never heard of — literally and figuratively. The eight-member Calgary collective’s wistful, lyrical alt-folk has been drawing capacity crowds and garnering deafening buzz in the U.K. and Europe over the past year, […]

Worth a Thousand Words?

Drew NellesWebsite

Jillian Tamaki found that literary juries are still learning how to read graphic novels Last year, on October 21, Jillian Tamaki got a phone call from her cousin, the Toronto-based writer-performer Mariko Tamaki. Their muchloved co-creation Skim had made history by becoming the first graphic novel nominated for a Governor General’s Award, in the Children’s […]

Baffled at the Ballot Box

Bruce M. Hicks

In 1864, Thomas Hare argued at the Association Internationale pour le Progrès des Sciences Sociales meeting in Amsterdam that proportional representation — in which parliamentary seats are awarded based on political parties’ share of the popular vote — was a much fairer system than the “single member plurality” system being used in his home country […]

Employment Insurance: Help Wanted

Jenn Hardy

Consumer confidence and stock values might be dropping, but there’s one number that’s on the rise: Canada’s unemployment rate. As more Canadians start turning to Employment Insurance, we got to wondering about the specifics. EI schemes vary widely across the country, it turns out. Just how extreme are the differences? Well, here’s what we found: […]

Your Money or Your Life

Carolyn Morris

In a country with supposedly universal coverage, some of the most vulnerable must pay cash for health care. It costs them their livelihoods — and sometimes their lives Dr. Paul Caulford will never forget what happened to Patricia. An 18-year-old girl from Grenada, she had an athletic build, black skin, and black hair cropped at […]