{mosimage}In the bad old days, Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants in Toronto did not get along. Catholics kept to themselves, Anglicans fussed over what popish dash was allowable in church and old-style Protestants hosted Belfast-style Orange Day parades. Now Catholics marry anyone who will take them, Anglicans scooped our pretty things in the post-Vatican II sales, and there are hardly any old-style Protestants left to speak of. The Orange Day parade, strangely, remains.

{mosimage}The Toronto Star’s Web Forum was neatly categorical. The online results to the question “Should the province fund faith-based schools as John Tory has suggested?” were a staggering 71 per cent No and 28 per cent Yes. What happened to the remaining one per cent is anyone’s guess.

{mosimage}Complaining about Sunday shopping might seem the epitome of flogging a dead horse. But in Nova Scotia, the horse has not been long dead and, as the good people of that fair province have discovered, the corpse is still twitching. So let’s flog away.

{mosimage}It’s time to prepare the inevitable back to school budget and the list includes books, toys, clothes and a bullet-proof backpack.

{mosimage}The death on July 31 of Margaret Avison — arguably Canada’s pre-eminent poet writing in English — didn’t actually dominate the national media.  In fact, it took a few days for the obituaries and tributes to make their appearance, and I couldn’t help but reflect that if Avison were not regularly defined as a religious poet and publicly identified as a Christian, her passing might have commanded greater attention.

{mosimage}A profound experiment in the relationship between religion and politics is unfolding in Turkey, an officially secular state but fundamentally Muslim society. If all goes well, as appears likely, it could teach Western societies a useful lesson about the place of faith in a pluralistic society.

{mosimage} An old joke says that when God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He gave him a rake. Then, He added, “I made the Garden perfect. Now take care of it.”

{mosimage}Judging from the torrent of abuse poured on Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory in recent weeks, it is clear that his proposal to fund religious-based education with tax dollars has touched one of those latent nerves in the provincial populace. His is a brave stand indeed, one that deserves better than the dismissal it has received in many quarters.

One of the many surprises New Brunswick had for this native Torontonian and staunch Upper Canadian is the solid Irish fact — as strong as the Acadian — that defines so much of the history and culture of the province.  Some 38 per cent of the population is of Irish ancestry and the port city of Saint John is as Irish as Cork.

{mosimage}On Sunday July 8, Nova Scotia went one step further down the road to making Sunday just like any other day of the week. It was inevitable. After years of attempting to control Sunday shopping, and a plebiscite in 2004 where 55 per cent of voters cast their ballots in support of a Sunday ban on shopping, the pressure became unbeatable.
The year I turned 13, my parents booked a week at a lakefront resort, a departure from our family’s usual summer plans. This afforded us a wealth of recreational opportunities. Little did we know, though, how big a role the activities director would play in our enjoyment of them.