(Clockwise from top left): René Descartes, Ursual K. Le Guin, J.S. Mill, Margaret Atwood, J.R.R. Tolkien, Immanuel Kant.

Distorted Mirrors: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Philosophy

March 10, 2021

As I write this month’s column, Ontario, where I live, is still in the grip of the COVID pandemic. The government issued a stay-at-home order on Boxing Day, which closed restaurants for in-person dining, university classes remain virtual, and we have been told that we should only leave the houseRead More

The Latest on the Library

The Latest on the Library

February 3, 2021

Have you read latest CBRM Central Library study? Anyone outside CBRM reading about the private developer who has been given control over the project would probably write it off as fiction, but we know better, don’t we? The study in question is the service, programs and operational plan commissioned fromRead More

Mass for Shut-Ins, CTV

Mass for Shut-Ins: Old School Virtual Services

March 24, 2021

In 1963, when Nate Nathanson, owner of CJCB radio and television, approached Rev. Frank Abbass with a plan to broadcast Mass for those unable to attend in person, I doubt either of them imagined the program would become the longest-running TV production in the country. Certainly, neither could have envisionedRead More

John Crosbie and the Promise of Oil

John Crosbie and the Promise of Oil

January 22, 2020

“You have driven my husband wild with your book!” This is how Jane Crosbie welcomed me on my first visit to Government House in Saint John’s, Newfoundland in 2012. When my book The Ocean Ranger: Remaking the Promise of Oil came out, the then-Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador roaredRead More

Mass for Shut-Ins, CTV

Mass for Shut-Ins: Old School Virtual Services

March 24, 2021

In 1963, when Nate Nathanson, owner of CJCB radio and television, approached Rev. Frank Abbass with a plan to broadcast Mass for those unable to attend in person, I doubt either of them imagined the program would become the longest-running TV production in the country. Certainly, neither could have envisionedRead More

(Clockwise from top left): René Descartes, Ursual K. Le Guin, J.S. Mill, Margaret Atwood, J.R.R. Tolkien, Immanuel Kant.

Distorted Mirrors: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Philosophy

March 10, 2021

As I write this month’s column, Ontario, where I live, is still in the grip of the COVID pandemic. The government issued a stay-at-home order on Boxing Day, which closed restaurants for in-person dining, university classes remain virtual, and we have been told that we should only leave the houseRead More

Sydney’s Casino at 25: Gambling Addiction

Sydney’s Casino at 25: Gambling Addiction

December 16, 2020

Editor’s Note: Sydney’s casino turns 25 this summer and to mark its quarter-century, Rob Csernyik has been taking an in-depth look at the promises — and realities — of casino gambling in Cape Breton. In Part III, he focuses on the question of addiction. (Read Part I here and Part IIRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

April 10, 2021

Editor’s Note: I had to make a trip to the Annapolis Valley on short notice yesterday and thought I’d simply be able to post Fast & Curious — which I’d written on Thursday — from the road. But time and circumstance worked against me, which is why you are seeingRead More

Homeless encarmpment, Northeast Portland (Photo by

Shelter from the Coming Storms

November 25, 2020

I don’t really know the situation today, but in the 1950s, working for the church especially as a secretary, I got to know those who were referred to as “stemmers.” They were the dedicated few who every so often rang the glebe house doorbell in search of a dollar orRead More

Other News

Population and the Pandemic

Population and the Pandemic

March 30, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Statistics Canada says that 309,893 Canadians died in 2020, which means annual deaths surpassed 300,000 for the first time in the country’s history. As for the contribution of COVID, Stats Canada says: The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported that 15,651 or 5.1% of deaths in 2020 were causedRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

March 26, 2021 at 10:35 am

Honey, I shrunk the groceries My mother, who pays better attention to these things than I do, has been pointing out to me for some time now how many of the products she buys have shrunk in size — although not in price. Curious, I did some reading and discoveredRead More

Ahem…Port CEO Corrects Salary Numbers

Ahem…Port CEO Corrects Salary Numbers

March 24, 2021 at 11:56 am

Since 2015, when she was “seconded” from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) by means of an “interagency agreement” to serve as CEO of the Port of Sydney, I have been reporting that Marlene Usher’s salary was $200,000, half of that paid initially by the CBRM the other half byRead More

NSCC Marconi Waterfront Campus sketch

Land Acquisition Process for Marconi ‘Still Underway’

March 24, 2021 at 11:54 am

The provincial government department responsible for moving the NSCC Maroni Campus to the Sydney waterfront says the process of acquiring land for the project is “still underway,” which is why it would answer only part of the question I asked it this week. The Department of Labour and Advanced EducationRead More

Mass for Shut-Ins, CTV

Mass for Shut-Ins: Old School Virtual Services

March 24, 2021 at 11:52 am

In 1963, when Nate Nathanson, owner of CJCB radio and television, approached Rev. Frank Abbass with a plan to broadcast Mass for those unable to attend in person, I doubt either of them imagined the program would become the longest-running TV production in the country. Certainly, neither could have envisionedRead More

Station Location Revisited

Station Location Revisited

March 24, 2021 at 11:50 am

I think this issue should have been called “The Things That Make You Go Hmmmm” edition, because that’s what all my stories seem to be about this week. Take this one, for instance. It started when a reader contacted me to ask about a parking lot that has appeared atRead...

By AnRo0002 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Gardening Tips: Tomato Time

March 24, 2021 at 11:48 am

Editor’s Note: We’re dipping into Michelle Smith’s archives to provide timely tips for gardeners.   What to do this week It is time to think about seeding lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, and other summer annuals, but we don’t plant before taking the first step of thinking about what varieties suitRead More

Letter to the Editor: Dirty Habits

Letter to the Editor: Dirty Habits

March 24, 2021 at 11:47 am

The only good thing about the snowstorm we recently experienced is that it buried the piles of coffee cups, fast-food containers, etc. that we fire out our car windows as we travel about. It wouldn’t take much effort to bring them home and place them in our house garbage orRead More

CBRM Council Chambers, 2017. (Photo by WayeMason [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

Letter to the Editor: Bravo, Council!

March 24, 2021 at 11:45 am

Something absolutely wonderful happened Tuesday night. I’ve been following CBRM council for four years now and have been highly critical many times and I’ll stick to my guns on that. Last night, I watched an absolutely beautiful form of democracy from a well-oiled machine (mayor and council), considering they wereRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

March 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

Affordable housing I came across a for-sale listing for Sadler Court, the 36-unit apartment complex on Alexandra Street in Sydney owned by New Dawn Enterprises. Sadler Court, as the New Dawn site says, “brings together the convenience of downtown living, the serenity of a natural setting, and, best of all,Read More