Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


June 6, 2014

The federal government appears to want to take a bad situation and make it worse.

The proposed revamp of the prostitution laws announced this week in Ottawa conforms to Stephen Harper's tough-on-crime agenda. Instead of decriminalizing activities surrounding prostitution, it proposes to criminalize even more of them. Under the new legislation it would be illegal to buy sexual services -- but not to provide them --...

June 5, 2014


Bronwyn Drainie, editor of the Literary Review of Canada, was in town yesterday and hosted some of her West Coast contributors (of which I am pleased to number myself) at a small drinks party where she spoke of her mag's struggles to survive and contribute to literary culture...

June 4, 2014

Since I'm not as plugged into Toronto media as I might be I was unaware of a series of articles the Toronto Star has been running since mid-April.

Reporter Katie Daubs and photographer Richard Lautens have been walking across western Europe tracing the front lines to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.

The few articles I read before I came up against the paywall were a wonderful...

May 30, 2014


Last February I wrote here about James Daschuk's compelling book Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (U of Regina Press).

I note that the Canadian Historical Association has just awarded the book this year's Sir John A...

May 21, 2014

Long ago (late 1970s) in a galaxy far, far away (Ontario) I worked for three years as a contract historian for Parks Canada. My assignment was to prepare an oral history of the Trent-Severn Waterway which winds across southern Ontario from Trenton on Lake Ontario to Port Severn on Lake Huron. During the summer I would record interviews with people who worked, or had worked, along the waterway; in the winter I wrote up my research.

In those days Parks Canada would publish some of its...