Nonfiction

Cartoon of the MacCormack family's backyard rink by Jack McCann

Rooted in Whitney Pier

February 1, 2023 at 12:06 pm

The year before I started school in 1960, there was a field at the bottom of Matilda Street in Sydney with a path that led to the back door of an old house on the next street over, Dominion. One of my earliest memories is of escaping the backyard ofRead More

A Christmas Message from the Ghost of Labor Past

A Christmas Message from the Ghost of Labor Past

December 14, 2022 at 11:49 am

Editor’s Note: What follows is one of the earliest compositions attributed to the legendary Cape Breton labor leader of a century ago, J.B. McLachlan. Published in December 1906 as a letter to the editor in the Halifax Herald, it was sent along to the Spectator by David Frank, author ofRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

December 9, 2022 at 11:31 am

Eureka! I have been trying for some time now to articulate the problem with venture capital, especially as it was practiced in this province by Innovacorp—and now by Invest Nova Scotia, under the possibly capable but definitely expensive ($1,500 a day up to $18,000 a month) leadership of our premier’sRead More

The Darkest Hour Before Detente?

The Darkest Hour Before Detente?

December 7, 2022 at 1:49 pm

“War is not the only thing that, to occur, must be waged.” —Judith Lipton and David Barash, Strength Through Peace   It now seems like a bygone age, but it was only on December 15 last year that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a draft Treaty on ‘SecurityRead More

Politics on the Edge: Remembering Paul MacEwan

Politics on the Edge: Remembering Paul MacEwan

November 30, 2022 at 11:45 am

In early April 1974, on an unusually pleasant morning that promised to help deliver a big voter turnout, Pat and Roy and I, young volunteers all, began working Polling Station 16 in Cape Breton Nova. The poll was at the bottom of Matilda Street in Whitney Pier, where I hadRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

September 16, 2022 at 10:20 am

Coal Face “There’s no stone left unturned when it comes to safety with this company”—CBRM District 8 Councilor James Edwards on Kameron Collieries’ decision to reopen the Donkin Mine, CTV Atlantic News, 14 September 2022 The unfortunate reference to stones—the man is, after all, talking about a coal mine proneRead More

Nova Scotia’s Road to Nowhere?

Nova Scotia’s Road to Nowhere?

July 27, 2022 at 11:49 am

I just read “Sustainable Prosperity,” the provincial government’s recently dropped 2022 Progress Report on the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (EGCCRA) that, frankly,  lost me at the title. We need a new definition of “prosperity” before we can start talking about it in terms of “sustainability” because ourRead More

A (Highly Idiosyncratic) Look at the Year in Entertainment

A (Highly Idiosyncratic) Look at the Year in Entertainment

December 15, 2021 at 11:45 am

I have never had the time to focus as much as I’d like to on local arts and culture and if I make any New Year’s resolutions for 2022, this might be it. But I am, in my personal life, an enthusiastic consumer of movies and TV and podcasts andRead More

Quietly Shrinking CBRM

Quietly Shrinking CBRM

October 6, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Maxwell Hartt’s book, Quietly Shrinking Cities: Canadian Urban Population Loss in an Age of Growth really made me think. Hartt, an assistant professor in the department of geography and planning at Queen’s University, makes the case for cities accepting rather than fighting population decline and uses the Cape Breton Regional MunicipalityRead More