Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

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The dictionary contains 611 entries.


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MacKay, Peter

Peter MacKay.

Peter MacKay.

Ah, Peter MacKay, we hardly knew ye (thank G-d!); after 20 years in federal politics and now you’re retirin’. Here at Dooney’s Dictionary we were truly dreading having to crank up some cynicism and bile as we marked your parliamentary passing. But, mirabile dictu, and hark!, the herald angels sing, along came the conservative (but, we always add, “intelligent and competent”) columnist, Andrew Coyne, to do the job for us. You’ve no idea how nice it is to get out of work. Reverend Coyne, over to you:

Andrew Coyne.

Andrew Coyne.

“His career at the top of Canadian politics tells us more about the state of Canadian politics than anything else. That such a palpable cipher could have remained in high office for nearly a decade is a testament to many things: the thinness of the Tory front bench, the decline of cabinet, the prime minister’s cynicism, the media’s readiness to go along with the joke. The one thing it does not signify is his importance. He had all of the titles, but little influence, and less achievement. That he has now discovered a desire to spend more time with his family rather than run for re-election (though earlier this year he had insisted he had filed his nomination papers) may be a sign he is anticipating defeat, or that he is anticipating a patronage post — as ambassador to the United States, perhaps, or as a judge — or even that he is anticipating a future leadership run. It is not much more than that.

“The notion being put about that MacKay was some sort of tempering influence on Harper, or that without him — pillar of an Atlantic caucus that is about to be wiped out, leader of the half dozen-strong Progressive Conservative wing of the party — the party’s chances in the next election are appreciably diminished, is the triumph of journalism’s relentless search for significance, even where none exists. It is Harper’s party now? It has always been Harper’s party — though in fairness it is a party that now stands for just about the same things MacKay does, so far as anyone can tell.

“It seems unlikely that history will record this as the end of ‘the MacKay era.’ It is difficult to speak of a MacKay legacy, or MacKayism, at least with a straight face. Indeed, it is difficult to recall much about him even now. Though not gone, he is forgotten. We shall look upon his like again.”

— Andrew Coyne, National Post, May 29, 2015

We couldn’t have sneered it better ourselves.

Macleans

Time/Newsweek poor cousin that demonstrates that Canadians are even more stupid than Americans, and that their writers can make even more crisply imbecilic summaries of national and world events than their American counterparts, and that cultural protections are sometimes wasted on the Canadian magazine industry.

Mad Cows

What should people expect to happen if they process diseased sheep-brains as cattle feed? That said, nothing warrants the volume of self-involved hysteria being generated amongst health Nazis over this issue, and nothing quite explains how willingly they’ve allowed themselves to play into geopolitical trade nightmare we’re in the midst of. The worst part of it–aside from the slaughter of millions of cows who did nothing wrong but eat what was put before them–is when it clobbers poor farmers who’ve just spent their life savings importing a herd of water buffalo from the EEC, because what’s really victimizing them is our own trade bureaucrats lashing back at European penalties against our moronic forestry practices. The good side is that it is going to be impossible to get a hamburger anywhere on the planet in a few years. Now, if only we would extend the hysteria to hot dogs, and get our trade bureaucrats to recognize that the true villains here are Agribusiness interests and GATT…

Magic Mushrooms

Big item in B.C.’s underground economy, it is, along with downtown marijuana growing, the only major industry left in B.C. willing to employ workers under 25. The tiny mushrooms are said to grow so well between the runways at Vancouver International that small planes occasionally crash land there merely to get at them.

Manguel, Alberto

Often called “Ubiquito” in cultural circles, this Argentine-raised anthologist and critic, despite being a one-person multicultural group who speaks most of the nation’s official and unofficial languages, was one of the first commentators to smell a rat in cultural equity policies. Manguel’s good manners, appreciative reading habits, and the fact that he’s almost always to be found on a continent other than North America gives outsiders the impression that Canada is a civilized country.

Manitoba

Flood zone and mosquito-breeding area, famous for being the geographic centre of Canada, at least within a 20 mile radius of Winnipeg city hall.

Manley, Elizabeth

Thrilled everyone in the country, herself most of all, by winning the 1988 Olympic Silver medal in women’s singles and getting romantically involved with Doug Gilmour. She’s been hanging around with Muppets, Smurfs, Care Bears and a wide variety of genderless Disney figurines of various species ever since. Needs new makeup consultant and some way to keep her weight 30 pounds less than Karen Magnusson’s.

Manning, Preston

Bible-puncher, Gay community pinup boy, speech-slick and son of former Alberta Social Credit Premier Ernest Manning. Preston became a culture hero for Canadian Old Age Pensioners, disaffected Chartered Accountants and other right-of-centre WASP remnants, mainly in Western Canada mostly by speaking slowly enough for them to understand. Manning’s speech impediment makes him sound like he’s talking through a mouthful of horse manure, which is something Alberta politics provides plenty of opportunity to practice. He did provide nearly all the moments of near-reality in the 1997 federal election but even with the contact lenses and the denim shirts, he’s wasn’t a convincing cowboy. Since then, he’s become so Ottawa-friendly that real Westerners are beginning to wonder whether he still knows what to do when stopping in the woods on a snowy evening.

Margaret Atwood’s Backyard

While the world spent the week weeping over once-in-500-year floods, possible apocalypses, and the latest barbarisms of Donald Trump (in short it was a typical Book-of-Revelations end-of-August 7-Days-That-Were kind of week), Canada remained focused on author Margaret Atwood’s backyard.

Margaret Atwood, among the trees.

According to the nation’s journal of record, Toronto Life, “Margaret Atwood is really mad about some condos being built near her house.” Apparently Alterra Developments is planning to build an eight-story, 16 unit condo mid-rise (what are known in RealEstate-speak as “luxury boutique condos”) on Davenport Road, on the northern edge of a quaint Toronto downtown neighbourhood known as the Annex, uncomfortably close to where the author of The Handmaid’s Tale (which has enjoyed a major TV revival this year) and her spouse, writer Graeme Gibson, live in a little fix-er-upper Frog Hollow-type shack (which is now worth several million dollars due to international market forces and through no fault of Ms. Atwood’s own, except for her failure to join a major Marxist-Leninist political movement that would overthrow evil capitalism in the Western World).

Proposed “luxury boutique” condo.

Rather than causing the Revolution, La Atwood settled for sending a “strongly worded letter” to the city objecting to the development proposal on the grounds that it would disrupt the neighbourhood and kill a few trees.

By the way, when we note Toronto Life’s elevation to the nation’s journal-of-record, we are not entirely kidding. This week, while the nation focused its mind on Atwood’s backyard, the previous journal-of-record, the Globe and Mail, announced it was trimming down various stand-alone sections of the paper and reducing its “freelancers’ footprint” by firing columnists Tabatha Southey and Leah McLaren (but leaving in place the chief plagiarising Handmaid columnist Margaret Wente). Ah, cry us a river of obsolete ink.

Anyhoo… Atwood’s letter of complaint naturally set off a Twitter shitstorm of major proportions, accusing Atwood and her wealthy neighbours (mainly Loblaw’s CEO Galen Weston) of being evil Not-In-My-BackYard (NIMBY) activists. She was also charged with various other major offenses, such as being old. (She’s, for the record, 77, going on Old Crone.)

Her tormenters were legion. (The amount of anti-Atwood envy extant in the land is one of the under-reported stories of the year.) The most callous of them declared, “It’s sad [that] Margaret Atwood can write about inequality and oppression so well but can’t realize when she’s part of it.” Atwood demurely pointed out that she’d been living in the district for three decades.

But the Twitter pile-on was unrelenting as she was repeatedly charged with being a wealthy fat cat, out of touch, and, worst of all, and again and again, old. The TL piece detaiing all these local doings was written in the new style of a string of Tweets, punctuated by a word here and there. But why not? As one wag on Facebook pointed out, if there can be articles consisting of lists of things (known as “listicles” of course), why couldn‘t there be articles consisting of strings of tweets (known as “tweeticles” presumably). In addition to such tweets, the article also records the statistics, the number of “replies” and “retweets.” At one point in this exchange, believe it or not, there were 4040 replies and 1313 retweets. One gets the picture of an utterly bored national populace literally twiddling its thumbs on a smartphone while patiently waiting for the famous snow of the Great White North True and Strong, or Whatever.

The highlight (and lowlight) of this digital assault came from a young whippersnapper who told Atwood, “You must realize, that to someone born recently, the condition of your now-wealthy enclave before they were born is totally irrelevant.”

Atwood replied: “Tell you what. Trade you. You get to be old + decrepit with accumulated $ put by over a lifetime, I get to be young and yell at you. Deal?

.   .   .

(Dooney’s dedicates this definition to the sainted memory of city planner Jane Jacobs who walked the very streets  now defiled in tweets.)

Marijuana

There’s now only eleven people left in the country who really believe marijuana use leads to heroin and cocaine addiction, and eight or nine more who think all that crap about it ruining short-term memory is real. Wow. Let’s see, where were we? Oh yeah. Marijuana is the most logical pulp & paper crop for our forestry clear cuts once the trees are gone.

The Maritimes

Quaint set of territories similar to New England except with icebergs, odd accents, a more or less total absence of jobs and industries and so many Celtic Revival entrepreneurs clamouring for attention that it is impossible to drive from Moncton to Halifax without running one over. Burial ground of choice for Canadian government industrial development programs since Halifax was blown up by stray armaments ship during the First World War. The only other excitement it has had was Leon Trotsky’s short internment during the 1930s. Maritimers throw the best parties in Canada, which is not an admission that the poor have more fun.

Marketing Boards

An administrative device created for a number of Canadian industries (mainly agricultural) to protect them from having their larger American counterparts dump products into the Canadian market below cost. The idea was to ensure a minimum level of Canadian production, and thus a degree of freedom from dependency on the United States. Sensible in their origins and basic purpose, marketing boards remind us that open and fair competition isn’t a simple matter of lining up the horses and letting them run as fast as they can.

Martin, Paul Jr.

As Jean Chretien’s finance minister, he was Michael Wilson with a red tie, disingenuous grin and a wife as boring as he is. For nine years he doubled as Jean Chretien’s ideas man, which was supposed to be Lloyd Axworthy’s job until it was discovered that Axworthy’s brain could be disconnected from his spine with a simple downturn in fiscal revenue estimates. Martin owns a steamship company that won’t employ Canadian workers and doesn’t pay Canadian taxes.
That this man got to be Prime Minister of Canada for almost a year demonstrates just how far to the right we’ve drifted. The best political speech he ever gave was the one announcing his resignation after being defeated at the polls in January 2006 by a right-wing robot and a herd of cats.

May 24th

Queen Victoria’s birthday, whoever she was. Last day for the suicidal to try skidooing on Canadian lakes.

Mays, John Bentley

Chronically depressed American dilettante who, despite never having met anyone who actually lived in a surburb, has gradually honed his observational skills to the point that his occasional newspaper columns on Toronto’s architecture and urban design have become a unique cultural event-unless he’s extolling Modernism or the private pleasures of the outer colonies of Toronto.

McDavid

Dooney’s Dictionary is back on the job, reporting directly from your nearest Fa(s)t Food Emporium. Time to eat your Tim-Bits.

McDavid defined.

McDavid defined.

Mcdonald, Don

Former Federal Liberal cabinet minister and Canadian architect of the FTA. At one point while a member of Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet he advocated that Canada withdraw from NATO. Then he joined the Trilateral Commission. There’s an interesting story here, if you’re into conspiracy theories or alien abductions.

Mcdonald, Sir John A.

Political genius and whiskey enthusiast who invented Canada by giving alternate sections of land across the country to capitalists on the understanding that they would build a railroad and provide rail passenger service in perpetuity. The “perpetuity” ended in the mid-1980s without anyone in the government demanding the land back.

Mcdonut, Alexis

She’s a sharper, more intelligent and funnier politician than her predecessor, and as human beings go, she’s less than normally boring when she’s able to untangle the party line from around her neck and doesn’t have a television camera focused on her. But she’s going to end up as Audrey McLaughlin II because she’s allowed herself to be overpowered by her party handlers, who are, with many of the balance of the NDP apparatus, one long intellectual aneurysm.

Mclaughlin, Sarah

She’s already written some very good songs – on her own according to the courts, she’s young, gifted enough to get even better, she’s a brilliant organizer with a throat-slashing sense of how to do business. But she’s New Age, she’s from Vancouver, and she’s way too impressed by her own talent.

Mclean, Ron

Sports journalist, straight man for Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada, amateur referee and maybe the nicest person in Canadian media. He has intelligence, civility and he can see outside and beyond the tunnel vision of sports. If Canada survives-and we’re assuming that McLean can continue to survive working with Don Cherry–it will be because quietly intelligent people like Ron McLean help us to define ourselves as meaningfully not-American. His interview-or attempted interview-with Donovan Bailey after the Olympic 100 metres race in 1996 was an unintentional lesson in Canadian forebearance, and as revealing as (and infinitely more charming than) the blowhard national self-aggrandizement that has scarred nearly ever American telecast of the last two Olympics.

Mcluhan, Marshall

1960s communications speed-freak and corporate raconteur who was hounded by packs of wild academic and media dogs into total incomprehensibility. The grandfather of today’s SuperMinds, McLuhan was primarily a gifted intellectual thief and an assembler of ideas. His weakness was his devout Roman Catholicism, which made him imagine that there was a Godly order within communications trends that subsequent events and developments have not revealed.

Mcquaig, Linda

Generally reliable leftist journalist and always creative researcher–except when she’s talking about the Left or leftish alternatives to right wing programs. She is arguably the only social democratic analyst around who understands the monetary and banking systems.

Meat Inspectors

It’s now becoming clear that among the most damaging casualties of deregulation and government cutbacks is the regulatory apparatus of inspectors who are supposed to make sure our still-multiplying food regulations are being adhered to. Suddenly, The Toronto Star tells us that 58,000 people are getting ill each year from tainted meat, and that we can save $172 million by spending $28 million on meat inspection. The math here smells as bad as the meat has lately, but neither are as high as the stink coming from the post-Walkerton Ontario government, which doesn’t seem to understand that laws without enforcement are worse than having no laws at all.

Meech Lake

Bloodsucker-loaded recreational lake in the Gatineau Hills east of Ottawa that inspired Brian Mulroney’s first organized attempt to dismantle Canada. The Meech Lake deal, which was agreed to by nine drugged or drunk Premiers, was foiled only because a native Indian MPP from Manitoba objected and the premier of Newfoundland woke up at the last minute. Birthplace of the political oxymoron “distinct society”.

Mercredi, Ovide

Lighten up, Ned. You’re not a philosopher nor an international statesmen. Phone your wife and kids more often. And go fishing once in a while. And then lighten up some more.

Metis

Western Canadian term for Mohawks: Some Native blood, a lot of attitude and the same lust for Casinos and cross-border trade that characterizes treaty Indians.

Metrotown, Burnaby, B.C.

The set of Bladerunner with a life-size toy electric train running through the middle of it. And next to Toronto’s City Hall, it has Canada’s most lethal underground parking maze.

Mexico

We got into bed with this country in 1993 by signing NAFTA and being told that sending our industries southward to be attended by workers forced to labour without security, safety or a livable minimum wage would somehow help us and raise the Mexican worker’s quality of life. Mexico’s monetary system quickly collapsed, its soldiers began shooting its citizens, the president who negotiated NAFTA turned out to be gangster and the already disgusting gulf between its rich and poor grew wider. But crawling into bed with Mexico was inevitable, right? Part of progress and evolution. A natural partner.

Michael Ignatieff

Late, constantly grimacing leader of the Federal Liberals who presided over the 2010 election defeat by the Harper Conservatives and the party’s replacement as official opposition by the late Jack Layton and his herd of not necessarily French-speaking Quebecois cats, most of whom were recruited while dead drunk in the Student Union building at Carleton University a few days before the election was called. Ignatieff is a world class intellectual with a first-rate brain, but like many intellectuals, has a tendency to freeze when asked stupid-but-loaded questions, and possesses all the personal warmth of a ten year old refrigerator. One suspects he wanted to be Canada’s next Trudeau, but a philosopher-king needs to have wit and charm along with intelligence, and can’t afford to listen to what his media handlers tell him about staying on message. Ignatieff’s inability to connect with Canadian voters led the party to its worst defeat in parliamentary history, and three days after the election he accepted a job doing what he should have been doing all along: lecturing in a university.

Mills, Dennis

Four-term Toronto-Danforth Liberal MP and part-time promotional impresario. He is a bizarre combination of the personalities of PT Barnum and Pierre Trudeau, a man at once solidly committed to political realities like elections and committees and also, when bored, to grandiose yet often successful schemes that other elected officials wouldn’t even think of. His latest rock and roll venture, the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto featuring the Rolling Stones, was a masterpiece of private-public partnership and
logistical execution. It helped turn the city’s economy around, possibly made it impossible for Paul Martin Jr. not to give him a cabinet post and clearly cemented his place as the Liberal’s big kahuna in Toronto politics. It was also another example of why Mills is among the half-dozen federal politicians it would be interesting to be stranded on a desert island with: the conversations wouldn’t ever be boring, and he’d probably find a way to get you home.

Eric Blair

Minor Hockey

It’s hard to say how this came about, but between the homophobes, the media’s Reptile Machine and the caring professionals who want to make us afraid of everybody and everything, we’ve managed to make minor hockey and day-care centres the two leading public stewpots of child molesters. Well, everybody is for apprehending and punishing molesters, but all this publicity shouldn’t be taken to mean that parents no longer need to teach their kids not to go into dark, enclosed spaces with members of certain occupational groups we’ve all known since about 1497 were prone to molest.

Mirabel Airport

Federal line department fuckup-extraordinaire from the late 1960s. The federal government expropriated 95,000 acres of Quebec farmland for this never-used white elephant, pushed Quebecois families from farms they’d worked since the 17th Century, and provided convincing evidence that Canada is too insensitive an instrument to govern Quebec.

Mirvish, Ed

Toronto businessman who has put his money wherever his mouth and ego has uncovered public value. You can question Mervish’s taste if you want, but not his commitment or his generosity. If Canada had a hundred people like him, this would be a truly entertaining and maybe great country. It wouldn’t have good restaurants or an indigenous theatre community, but it would be cheap to live in, the poor would get enough to eat, and there would be more laughter and merriment than we’ve got right now.

Mitchell, Joni

Saskatchewan Folksinger who lost her grasp of the major keys in the 1980s but remains one of Canada’s few decent poets and among the few Canadian entertainers who never loses her dignity or violates her own privacy for commercial purposes. Perhaps the best measure of Mitchell’s personal dignity is the way she was able to publicize the existence of a daughter given up for adoption thirty years ago, find the daughter and integrate her into her life without it being turned into a nightmare of soap opera sentimentalities.

Monetary System

Until the early 1980s Canada enjoyed a relatively independent monetary system, along with a highly centralized and secure banking system and a high level of local investment and moderately high personal savings. In less than 15 years American-style deregulation, foreign takeovers and chicken-shit government policies have made us a capital and profit flight zone with a dependent and volatile currency, preyed on by a criminally profitable banking sector wholly divorced from responsibility to local and national well-being.

Monetary Union

Right wing fiscal intellectuals have been campaigning for a Canada/U.S. monetary union, knowing that the lefties will whine loudly about how it will cost us the last shreds of national autonomy. The righties know damned well that the U.S. has no interest in a monetary union with Canada, and will reject the idea as soon as the trap has been set. And the left will have been had yet again…

Monopolies

Twenty-five years ago both Canada and the U.S. had strong legislation to safeguard citizens against the formation of unfair monopolies that reduce the commercial competition which is the source of capitalism’s vitality. A very large portion of Canada’s anti-combines energy went into worrying about the effects increasing multinational corporate agglomeration could have on the country’s fragile cultural integrity. But at almost exactly the point in our history where two decades of enlightened policies and programs for culture were beginning to produce decent products and even one or two artists able to stand with the world’s best, a cycle of radical agglomeration and mergers, took over and Canada fell into the grip of an open conspiracy no legislator will acknowledge but which reduces competition, standardizes markets, and applies a cybernetic choke-hold on the flow of dissident views.

Montreal

A once great city reduced to a hodge-podge of language obsessed commissars and lunatics. Yet Montreal remains a remarkable city. There are those innumerable casual moments where Montrealers will from English to French in the middle of sentences without finding it unusual, there is the ironwork staircases, the grandiose modernist architecture, the charm of the cathedrals and the scent not quite of Paris but of a cosmopolitanism unlike anything anywhere. It makes you wistful about how great Canada might have been. Particularly when you realize there is a possibility that Montreal could end up being to Canada what Berlin was to Germany during the Cold War.

Moores, Frank

Former Newfoundland premier and lobbyist rumoured to have lobbied for the highest bidder willing to open secret Swiss bank accounts for his employers and pals. Canadians are willing to believe that their public officials are stupid, but corrupt? No way, eh?

Morgentaler, Henry

Abortion pro-choice culture hero undeterred by death threats and exploding clinics. He motors on, unsmiling, unrelentingly logical in his commitment to women’s choice. Now that we live in a country where the governing powers don’t even pretend to care about the nation’s children, why does this stupid debate over whether or not women should bring more unwanted children into the world continue? To distract us from the real problem we face?

Morissette, Alanis

She talked about giving head in a rock and roll song. She’s 200 times smarter than Debbie Boone and Britney Spears. She makes rock videos that make you interested in the lyrics of her songs. But really. Whoever’s in charge please take their foot off the cat’s tail before we all go mad.

Mother Canada

If we weren’t such devoted and devout followers of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his beloved Conservative government, we might have to admit that not only is he depressingly anti-democratic, and a fetishist or fascist about terror and crime, but a dolt without a drop of cultural taste. His aesthetic appreciation seldom rises above the level of a family Selfie.

Harper family selfie.

Harper family selfie.

Having slashed cultural and communications budgets over his decade (it feels like a century) in office, when he does make an artsy proposal, it turns out to be “offensively tasteless,” “Stalinist” and the mother of all ugliness. We’re referring, of course, to the proposed Mother Canada 10-storey-high statue slated to be placed on the shore of Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. The cloaked and nun-like female figure with its arms stretched out towards the Atlantic Ocean is meant to honour Canada’s soldiers who died overseas.

Mother Canada

Mother Canada

The project, a $30-million private venture, fast-tracked by Harper, is the brainchild of a well-meaning Toronto businessman, Tony Trigiani, who was inspired by a visit to a Canadian war cemetary in Italy to set up the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation. The foundation hopes to raise $25 million to complete the scheme by selling corporate sponsorships that will be acknowledged on the site. In addition to the statue, the memorial will include the Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love, the True North Square and the With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary. (Excuse us for a sec, gotta upchuck.)

Local opponents of the plan, the Friends of Green Cove, call the Mother Canada proposal a “kitsch glorification of war.” Cape Breton resident, 93-year-old Valerie Bird, a World War II veteran, says, “It is vulgar and ostentatious. It certainly doesn’t belong in a national park and I don’t think it’s going to do a darn thing for veterans… This is a monstrosity.”

A Globe and Mail editorial said the giant statue was “a hubristically arrogant act of unoriginality. The bigger is better approach is best left to Stalinist tyrants, theme park entrepreneurs, and insecure municipalities hoping to waylay bored drive-by tourists.” The latest argument against the scheme, reported in the Sydney, Nova Scotia Cape Breton Post (July 9, 2015), is that the Green Cove location is a significant Mi’Kmaq aboriginal cultural and spiritual site. Even cartoonists have been lampooning Mother Canada.

Cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon weighs in.

Cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon weighs in.

Gee, maybe beauty isn’t in the eye of the political beholder.

Motion Picture Industry

A euphemism for U.S.-based Japanese-owned open conspiracy to prevent people from seeing accurate depictions of their lives. The Motion Picture Industry builds movies to formulas too tight for creativity, spends astronomical amounts of money on special effects that addict the weak-minded and prevent poorer outsiders from competing with movies about human beings.

Mowat, Farley

Writer and bon vivant who devolved into a children’s writer-possibly under the strain of serious research. During the height of the cold war in the 1960s he was permitted inside Russia, but merely asked where the best bars were. The credibility of his research has been questioned by Saturday Night magazine, which may or may not be worrisome in light of that magazine’s willingness to excerpt anything written by Elspeth Cameron, including her recent half-cooked lesbian revelations, as gospel truth. Even if Mowat spent only 30 minutes dancing with wolves and living with aboriginals, Never Cry Wolf, and People of the Deer are perfectly readable books for young adults almost a half-century after they were written.

Mulroney, Brian

Canadian Prime Minister 1984-92. He carries the distinction of having a smaller percentage of voters support his government than the segment of the population who believed that Elvis is still alive. He also has a lifelong fetish about singing Irish folk songs while sitting on the knees of American corporate captains. Any other country in the world would have impeached, assassinated or splattered him with noxious-smelling substances after his first two years in office. Canadians reelected him. Whether or not Mulroney had Swiss bank accounts, as the RCMP bumblingly tried to allege, doesn’t matter. When he was allowed to spend eight years shoveling our national assets across negotiating tables to anyone willing to grab them, does.

Multiculturalism

Originally an offshoot of unofficial federal government programs to ensure that Canada’s drive-in restaurants would have enough dishwashers, multiculturalism eventually evolved into a two-pronged immigration strategy aimed at securing workers willing to labour at or below minimum wage jobs and for securing offshore investment capital. The strategy didn’t include telling incoming immigrants (capital-intensive or otherwise) that Canada had customs, laws and a culture they ought to learn, a climate they’re not supposed to whine about, and that Canadian citizenship involves duties more extensive than working long enough hours to buy a Camaro.
Multiculturalism is rare outside the major cities in Canada and is in the process of being exterminated within Quebec. Outside of Toronto or Vancouver it is practiced at a limited scale under the disguise of common sense and basic decency– provided that new participants can afford the $900 entry head tax.
In spite of the government’s crappy intentions and inconsistent policies, multiculturalism has evolved into a phenomenon that, due to the tenacity, imagination and aggression of
its intended exploitees is rapidly replacing Canada’s dowdy Euro-WASP cultural fabric with a slightly shredded but more colourful and vibrant weave. Criticizing multiculturalism is a little like shooting fish in a barrel, but everyone should remember this before pulling the trigger: if Canada doesn’t self-destruct as a nation state before the globalist/New Conservative revolution burns itself out, an experiment of large-scale immigration into a hybrid-nation with a weak national identity will be one of the crucial political experiments of the 21st Century.

Munro, Alice

Famous writer of tiny, perfect stories about the bitterness of incapacity, the richness of WASP stoicisms and other subjects suitable for conversation at a quilting bee. Had she chosen another trade, she’d have been a jeweler who crafted exquisitely complex broaches for elderly women. Some folks think she needs to hang out with more interesting people, but so long as the New Yorker keeps publishing her depictions of how rural woodchucks manage their sewing machines and their neuroses as if that’s an interest subject matter, no one will notice.

Murkans

A species of Americans who are the ones Canadians ought to be worrying about. Murkans own massive quantities of household automatic weapons and model themselves politically and intellectually on Richard Nixon and G. Gordon Liddy. Today, Newt Gingrich, Christine Whitman, George Bush the Younger and about 100,000 large, repressed and angry males of various backgrounds hanging out around bars and taverns across the U.S. are the primary Murkan threats to Canada. Unlike Americans, who are perpetually wet behind the ears when it comes to the real politik, Murkans understand the nuances of invasion tactics and the infinitely repeatable ways in which invasion, blockade and subversion can be masked as international trade equalization, capitalist progress and other incontrovertible inevitabilities of the 1990s.

Murphy, Rex

CBC Mediafave, almost as overexposed as Peter Mansbridge. Judging from Murphy’s permanent grimace and garbled Newfie delivery style, he’s there to represent that small but vocal minority of Canadians with screwdrivers stuck in sensitive zones of their bodies. But at least he’s not Brian Stewart and 99 percent of the other CBC on-air blocks of wood.

Murray, Anne

Nova Scotia physical education instructor and erotomania target famed for being able to sing alto and dance the on-stage foxtrot at the same time. She’s a small price to pay for the CRTC’s CanCon regulations, but please, please, no more television specials.