The Sunday Edition for December 8, 2019

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Why Trump will survive impeachment

David Frum, senior editor for The Atlantic and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, on why he thinks the fight for impeachment could be a road to ruin for the Democratic Party and the health of American politics.

How students are making hospital intensive care units less intense for patients and their families

ICUs can be terrifying places, where patients are desperately ill, the medical staff is under pressure and families feel overwhelmed. In Montreal, a group of university students won an award for a new initiative that is designed to help.

We have to give up capitalism to save the planet, says George Monbiot

One of the most influential columnists at The Guardian, George Monbiot says we have to find a new economic system because our survival depends on it.

A mystery writer follows her dream, then wonders whether it was the right one

From a young age, when she picked up her first Nancy Drew book, Deryn Collier of Nelson, B.C., knew she wanted to be a mystery writer. She stepped into that role — saw both success and failure — and, in this essay, muses about the wisdom of the path she chose.
Point of View

Why essayist June Grant never got married

For years, June Grant was a regular voice on The Sunday Edition, contributing her utterly original take on the cosmos, poetry, solitude and the human condition. She died in June 2014 at 88.​​​​​​​ We revisit her 2001 essay on why she never got married.

Why a Nobel Peace Prize winner is defending her country in court, against a charge of genocide

She received many honours around the world for standing up for human rights and democracy. Now, Myanmar’s foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi is defending her country against a charge of genocide in the International Court of Justice in The Hague — the genocide of the Rohingya people. Bob Rae, Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar talks about this apparent paradox and about Canada's role in making Myanmar accountable for its treatment of the Rohingya.

Out of Thin Air - In praise of the theremin

The sound it produces is beautiful, unsettling, haunting, unmistakable, resembling as one critic famously said, "A cello lost in a dense fog, crying because it does not know how to get home." He was talking about the theremin, that mysterious electronic instrument, whose Bolshevik and Cold War history is as fascinating as the music it makes.

The Sunday Edition for December 1, 2019

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A former crown prosecutor makes the case for Indigenous justice

Harold Johnson is a Cree man from Saskatchewan. He's a Harvard law graduate, and he's a former crown prosecutor. He walked away from his career in law because he became convinced the justice system is only doing harm to Indigenous people. Michael Enright speaks with him about his life, how the killing of Colten Boushie and the Gerald Stanley case shook him to the core, and his new book: Peace and Good Order: the Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada.
Point of View

30 years since the Montreal massacre, we still see a deadly hatred of women

On December 6, 1989, an angry young man with a semi-automatic rifle walked into an office at the University of Montréal's engineering school. He killed 14 women. He had compiled a hit list of 19 other women he wanted to murder - journalist and prominent feminist Francine Pelletier learned that she was one of them.

The promise of egg freezing is 'very real.' So are the pitfalls, say experts

Young women are increasingly freezing their eggs and storing them for a chance to become pregnant later in life. But experts say it's not an airtight solution.

This forester says it's better to cut down a real tree at Christmas than to assemble one from a box

This forester says it’s better to cut down a real tree at Christmas than to assemble one from a box: people tend to believe artificial Christmas trees are environmentally friendlier because, after all, we are not supposed to cut down real trees. However, Marie-Paule Godin, a forester with the non-profit group Tree Canada, says that needs a rethink.

Celebrating George Eliot on her 200th birthday. Did she write the greatest English novel of all time?

Many eminent literary critics say yes. Rohan Maitzen, who teaches English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, readily agrees. She talks to Michael about Eliot’s legacy, and how there are new treasures to be found in Middlemarch with each reading. Professor Maitzen has read it dozens of times.

Remembering Clive James and Sir Jonathan Miller, two intellectual polymaths

Clive James and Sir Jonathan Miller can best be described as true polymaths. Among their many achievements, they were writers, humorists, scholars and cultural commentators. We remember two intellectual giants.

The Sunday Edition for November 24, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Michael's Essay on two Canadians held in Chinese prison

"In less than four weeks it will be a full year since Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians and threw them in jail. On December 18 last year, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested on charges of ‘endangering state security.’ A full year, and it is as though they have ceased to exist. Or have been transported to some remote island beyond the reach of humans.”

Canadian labour legend Leo Gerard on the past, present and future of unions

The veteran labour leader talks about his life in the labour movement and the future of unions in an age of globalized trade, a collapsing manufacturing sector and precarious employment.
Point of View

How poetry helped me navigate the turbulence of teen angst

Who among us didn't try their hand at a little poetry? Make the stab at stringing words together, aiming to say something deep, reveal a truth, capture a moment — a dark one, of course. It's almost a rite of passage. It certainly was for Sarah Prospero.

What makes a musical prodigy? Brain researchers look to demystify genius

Montreal’s BRAMS lab explores biological basis for what most believe is ‘gift of God, magic’

These veteran editors say it's perception, not reality, that more errors are being published

Even though newspapers, magazines and publishers have laid off editors, veteran freelance book editor Greg Ioannou says this is a “golden age” for his craft. And long-time newspaper editor Patti Tasko maintains that the way stories get to print is vastly different now, but editors are trained and experienced as never before. They talk about the changing landscape in the world of editing.

Exploring the soundtracks of political dissent

Political protests have seized the streets of major cities around the world. Hong Kong, Beirut, Baghdad, Tehran and Santiago, Chile, to name just a few. And these political movements have soundtracks. Music scholar Katia Chornik -- a classically trained violinist whose parents did time as political prisoners in Chile, discusses the songs that have inspired Chileans from the days of the Pinochet dictatorship to the protests roiling the country today.

Canada's piano superstar on her main man — J. S. Bach

Ottawa’s Angela Hewitt on becoming the first woman to win the Bach Medal and the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Sunday Edition for November 17, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

The war between hostile architecture and homelessness - Michael's essay

“Take the lowly park bench. Most now come equipped with a useless third armrest in the middle. Its only purpose is to make sure a homeless person doesn't lie down to sleep. Defenders of this kind of architecture say it is designed to cut down on crime. In fact, these designs are directly targeted at the poor and the homeless.”