Suicide and Hillary Clinton’s private yogi

How I came to live with Hillary Clinton’s private yoga instructor, Nateshvar, started with a gunshot. My father. He walked into the bedroom that he shared with his two children and wife in East Vancouver, retrieved his prized hunting rifle from under the bed, and ended his decades long battle with mental illness.

I wasn’t surprised when I got the call from my stepmother. In a way, I felt relieved for the whole family, who’d been living under the dark cloud of my father’s paranoid schizophrenia since the late 70s. My brother Daniel and I repainted the bedroom and filled the bullet hole in the ceiling. Continue reading “Suicide and Hillary Clinton’s private yogi”

Teck Resources streamlining water treatment

Teck Resources Ltd. has four operating steelmaking coal mines in the Fernie area, producing approximately 26 million tonnes of steelmaking coal a year. Most of the product is shipped to the Asia-Pacific region via ports on the West Coast.

Standing on the edge of the Natal West pit is like staring into an abyss of other-world-like technical amazement. The hole is 1.5 kilometres across and 500 metres deep. A three-story drill, which looks the size of an insect from above, works at the bottom of the pit, drilling 12-inch diameter holes that’ll be packed with nitrate-based explosives. In a few hours, technicians will blast a large slab of sedimentary rock. Roughly ninety per cent of the rubble will be hauled away as backfill. The rest is varying grades of steelmaking coal. Continue reading “Teck Resources streamlining water treatment”

Butterfly patrol

For six weeks during my first year of journalism school, I was with my mother in Kamloops Hospice. Strange things and beautiful things happened. She was given three weeks to three months to live. Hospice was a large single-level home with gardens and brick patios. From the front yard, you could look west towards Cache Creek ranch country, and east towards the forested Shuswap region.

My mom’s bedroom windows had panoramic views of downtown Kamloops. There were two kitchens and five living room areas at hospice. The place smelled of home-cooked food and lemon essential oil. Over the weeks, I came to associate those smells with death. Continue reading “Butterfly patrol”

The Canadian Church of Intersectionality has its Reformation moment

Thirty years ago, Pierre Elliott Trudeau said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” His comment referred to an omnibus bill that changed the Criminal Code of Canada to decriminalize homosexual acts. Trudeau’s declaration and legislation vindicated generations of gay Canadians. It also symbolized, along with his pirouette behind Queen Elizabeth, an absolute end to the unification of church and state in Canada.

Pierre Elliott died in 2000. As the nation drifted under postmodernism, a new religion arose and reunified church and state. Despite the church’s origin being unclear, we do know that Pierre Elliott’s son, Justin, simultaneously became its high priest, and the prime minister in 2015. The movement, initially called political correctness, is now branded as intersectionality.

Pierre Elliot, who sowed the seeds of grandiosity in his son, is rolling over in his grave. More blackface pictures of Trudeau have emerged, threatening to topple the nascent church, and its Ottawa affiliate, the Liberal Party of Canada. Continue reading “The Canadian Church of Intersectionality has its Reformation moment”

Canadians asleep as economy manipulated

The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX) is probably the most polarizing issue heading into October’s federal election. One side of the argument wants to shut-in Alberta oil to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The other side wants a robust Canadian energy sector while green technology advances to the point of displacing hydrocarbons. Tough call, as good arguments are held in both camps.

I worked on the rigs as a geologist prior to entering journalism. In a small way, I’m one of the foot-soldiers of wealth generation in Canada. I follow the pipeline issue. What I’m hearing right now scares me…and we’d better get ourselves sorted-out before it’s too late. Continue reading “Canadians asleep as economy manipulated”

British Columbia’s Great Highway turns 70

Highway 3 which undulates along the B.C., Washington State, Idaho, Montana border from Hope to the prairies, is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. The iconic stretch of blacktop sutures together some of Canada’s most scenic and hostile terrain – from the goldfields of the Fraser River, to the beaches of Osoyoos, to the jagged peaks of Fort Steele, to the devastation of Frank’s Slide.

In summer, the highway is packed with RVs, transport trucks, and thousands of tourists eager for adventure. In winter, the route is less populated. The fruit stands of Creston and Keremeos are shuttered. Residents head for the mountains in search of firewood. The leaves turn colour and fall onto the stubble of empty backyards and harvested alfalfa fields.

There are ghosts along Highway 3 – Chinese miners, Montana gun fighters, local farmers, and construction workers. They pace the blacktop and back alleys of places like Rock Creek and Anaconda – all wanting to be more than just a footnote in a dusty old textbook. Continue reading “British Columbia’s Great Highway turns 70”

Stuck in the sweet spot between youth and old age

Seventy-year-old Dave O’Haire, capped in a felt hat with feathers, walks down a side-street in downtown Fernie B.C. He looks up through a tangle of electric cables and transformers to the mountains on the west side of Elk Valley.

“The great thing about Fernie is, whether you walk down a street or an avenue, or an alley, there’s always a view,” he says. “If you go to resort towns, you don’t see anything. In Whistler, you’ve gotta take a chairlift to see the mountains.”

O’Haire shares his story from a desk in the public library – his blue fishing vest illuminated by the afternoon sun. He has the eyes of a young man, even though he almost lost one while forking manure with his brother on the family homestead. O’Haire seems stuck in the sweet spot, somewhere between youth and old age. Continue reading “Stuck in the sweet spot between youth and old age”

The Financial Post: ‘We’re in uncharted waters’: Canola ban, swine flu in China adding up to volatile year for Canadian farmers

China’s ban on Canadian canola may be capturing most of the attention, but it’s not the only factor sowing seeds of uncertainty in Canadian agriculture this year.

In a report issued this week, Al Mussell, research lead at Agri-Food Economic Systems in Guelph, Ont., noted that an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China is also disrupting the global meat supply.

Continue reading “The Financial Post: ‘We’re in uncharted waters’: Canola ban, swine flu in China adding up to volatile year for Canadian farmers”

The Financial Post: North America’s first cobalt refinery inches closer to production — but obstacles remain

First Cobalt Corp., the $50-million company, is inching closer to becoming the first producer of battery-grade cobalt to feed the nascent North American electric vehicle market, but there are still plenty of roadblocks in its way.

The Toronto-based company achieved a breakthrough when it announced earlier this month that it successfully produced battery-grade cobalt sulfate using its refinery’s own processes, or flowsheet, — but the problem is, it was done in a lab using a small sample. Continue reading “The Financial Post: North America’s first cobalt refinery inches closer to production — but obstacles remain”

The Western Producer: First Nations horseman communes with his horses

Jordan Camille shoots from the hip. Photo by Candice Camille

Jordan Camille lives at the northwestern tip of the great western desert, which stretches from Durango, Mexico, to the Deadman Valley west of Kamloops, B.C.

Cactus- and sagebrush-covered hills reach up to burned-out, pine-covered mountains. Mile-high limestone and basalt cliffs preside over alfalfa crops in summer. In winter, brown grass and snow mix with cattle on the open range. Continue reading “The Western Producer: First Nations horseman communes with his horses”