ARTICLES BY Lyle Stewart

Independence? Not for us!

Canada has celebrated its founding as a country since July 1, 1867, but it wasn’t until 1927, almost 60 years later, that it was first recognized as an independent state. That’s because our colonial overlord in London still controlled our foreign policy over that period. Canadians, through their elected representatives, ... read more ››

Agreement forecasts Waswanipi gold rush

Waswanipi residents are set to benefit from job creation, skills training and millions in investments following the signing of a socio-economic participation agreement (SEPA) with Metanor Resources, which is redeveloping the nearby Bachelor Lake gold mine. Cree Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, Waswanipi Chief Paul Gull, Metanor President Serge Roy and ... read more ››

A dramatic debut

  Moments of crisis inevitably provide a revealing glimpse of a person’s true strength of character. Whatever else one may think of newly elected Quebec Premier Pauline Marois (and I’ve never been a fan of her personality, politics or leadership style), most people watching the live coverage of her victory speech ... read more ››

Taking a long shot

Is there a form of Quebec nationalism that can truly embrace all Quebecers, of whatever origin or mother tongue? Could there be a movement that could actually convince large numbers of les autres – the other “nous” – to actually vote to make Quebec an independent country? It’s a tall order ... read more ››

Public lands, private gains

I said goodbye to a close friend last week. No, no one died. This friend is a piece of land about nine acres large on the flank of a small mountain running down to a tiny lake, centred around a Swiss-chalet house built by Czech immigrants in the late 1960s. It ... read more ››

The Cree role in the coming election

  Quebec will soon be facing a crucial provincial election, likely sooner than later, and probably early this autumn. As in any election campaign, a well-organized party will deploy a two-fold strategy of negative attacks against its opponents combined with a positive message of optimism that it hopes to sell on ... read more ››

The clanging of change

Throughout my neighbourhood in east-end Montreal this evening at exactly 8 pm, people stepped out onto their doorsteps or walked around the block banging pots and pans. This activity carried on for about 15 to 20 minutes all over the city (as I could read in the immediate Facebook updates) ... read more ››

Sh*t my sister says

  I’ve threatened my big sister that I am going to rename this column with the title above. (My editor – hi W*ll! – warned me I would have to use an asterisk for the “i” if I were to make good on my threat, however. Family publication, he muttered, etcetera, ... read more ››

Deconstructing the contradictions

The contradictions are what make us interesting. The person who sends a yearly cheque to PETA, the purist animal-rights group, but who still loves to dig into a thick, juicy steak. The business owner who supports higher taxes and encourages their employees to form a union. The skinny antiwar pacifist ... read more ››

Our printemps érable

I must be a bad parent. A couple weeks ago, on March 22, I let my son skip school and then encouraged him to get into a fight. A real battle royale it was, in fact, in which we fought alongside at least 200,000 allies in downtown Montreal in an ... read more ››

Romeo, Romeo, where art thou

There are many who saluted Romeo Saganash’s candidacy for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party as historic. That it was, as we can say now in the past tense: Saganash ended his leadership bid February 9 after political and financial realities caught up to a campaign that won ... read more ››

Making a choice

  If the practice of politics is famously known as the art of the possible, the historic success of the New Democratic Party in last year’s federal election was a masterpiece of the oeuvre: the perennially minor parliamentary player smashed conventional wisdom with an astonishing breakthrough that the smart money had ... read more ››

Laugh at Pierre Poutine, but the joke’s on us

The only game in Ottawa right now is a variation on the popular children’s book series, Where’s Waldo? This week, it’s been updated for the nation’s chattering classes as Where, Who and WTF is Pierre Poutine? There’s no better symbol than this pusillanimous pseudonym for Canada’s graceless slide into a corrupt ... read more ››

Dust in the wind

  There’s nothing to put one’s daily concerns into perspective like reading about a black hole at the centre of the universe that’s about the size of four million suns and in the process of swallowing an enormous gas cloud with three times the mass of our planet.   As reported by Nature ... read more ››

Ethnic cleansing, Canadian style

There’s one thing that Canada’s First Nations chiefs can say in Stephen Harper’s favour in his approach to the housing crisis at Attawapiskat; and that’s that he achieved the unlikely feat of uniting the fractious and faction-ridden group of Native leaders across the country. They are coming together in solidarity ... read more ››

Drunk driver at the wheel

  “You won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it” – Stephen Harper, 2005 Never did a politician utter truer words. Indeed, we soon won’t even be able to find ourselves on Google maps. But no matter: the road to Stephen Harper’s Canada of the not-so-distant future is wide open and his ... read more ››

Occupy the media

I had the privilege today of giving a media workshop to an august and vitally important group: a couple dozen members of a welfare-and-housing-rights group in Montreal called Project Genesis. Now, members of this “elite” don’t belong to the economic elite, of course. Many probably eke out a survival on an ... read more ››

Time to name names

As I write this evening, September 14, Radio-Canada and La Presse are reporting that a secret report by Quebec’s so-called Anti-Collusion Unit has confirmed a system of rampant corruption, political kickbacks and cost inflation in public road construction in the province. Like most folks here, I’m quite ready to believe this. ... read more ››

We still have Jack’s map

Even in death, Jack Layton is still on the job, fighting the good fight. Viewed from a narrowly political angle, the outpouring of collective grief, mourning and love that followed Layton’s passing last month certainly hasn’t hurt the federal New Democratic Party he led for eight years. New polling shows the ... read more ››

A royal farce

You may have heard that the federal government is changing the names of the three main branches of our armed forces back to what they were 50 years ago: the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army (which apparently never warranted the connection to the ... read more ››

Digging for the truth

The lesson was brutal. “Do you know,” I was asked, “what a gold mine listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange actually is?” Er, I guess not. “A hole in the ground with a liar standing over it.” Twenty-five years later, that only slightly exaggerated observation often comes back to me when I hear ... read more ››

The silly season

Quebecers are a goofy bunch. At a time when the deadly evidence of global warming is drowning big parts of the province (when it’s not chewing up cities in monster tornados and spitting them out as so much building debris and body parts elsewhere in North America), what do we ... read more ››

The gold pan du Nord

For Quebec Premier Jean Charest, it’s the political equivalent of a Hail Mary. It’s late in the fourth quarter in his lifelong game of political football, and his team is trailing. After 26 years of elected politics and eight years in power, one long pass for a legendary touchdown might ... read more ››

Hour time

Looking back, to late 1995, it might not have been the best moment to take a job as news editor at the Montreal alternative newsweekly, Hour. It was a week after the referendum on sovereignty, and the small but feisty gang of anglo writers and editors at Hour were feeling ... read more ››

The home movie on a global scale

So many home videos of the multiple disasters to strike Japan over the past week have been posted online that, even while sitting in the comfort and safety of our homes, it’s almost as if you can suffer post-traumatic stress repeatedly reliving the tsunami horror that came roaring ashore in ... read more ››

Raging in the age of light and darkness

I’m currently reading a great novel by Henry Porter about the temptations of totalitarianism in the birthplace of constitutional limits on state power. Porter’s book The Dying Light recounts an all-too-credible attempt by the British government to use a fake emergency to suspend citizen rights that have their origins in ... read more ››