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DISPATCHES

Daniel Gawthrop’s latest thoughts on sex, politics, religion, media, literature and publishing, art, hockey, dining—well, life, really. Opinions are his own.

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With the corpses piling up in Rakhine State and the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing into Bangladesh eclipsing the 400,000 mark, international good will toward Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be hemorrhaging by the minute. The whole world, it seems, is piling on Myanmar’s former beacon of democracy, blaming her for a crisis the UN describes as […]

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You can tell a lot about Canadians from how we talk about Omar Khadr. Right now, there’s a lot being said about Khadr that isn’t exactly flattering to those who are saying it. It has been been two years since the former child soldier, accused terrorist and youngest Guantanamo Bay detainee was released from a medium security prison […]

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[NOTE: As I write, I am supposed to be in Vancouver at the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC)’s annual general meeting. Having flown to previous ones in Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Toronto, I had every expectation of finally attending an AGM in my home province. Instead, thanks to a careless mistake involving my passport, a trip […]

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Westray memorial

Hell’s History: The USW’s fight to prevent workplace deaths and injuries from the 1992 Westray Mine disaster through 2016 By Tom Sandborn (United Steelworkers, 76 pp, 2016) Each year on April 28, unions and other labour organizations across Canada observe the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. A solemn […]

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Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Oscar Romero and The Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice By Matt Eisenbrandt University of California Press (226 pp, $37.95) For those old enough to remember it, the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero on March 24, 1980 still resonates as one of the late twentieth century’s […]

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Fifteen Minutes of Shame

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Predictably, it’s over before most of us knew it had even begun. The meteoric career of a cartoonish right-wing troll and social media shockmeister who happens to be gay—a sad human being who didn’t deserve a moment of serious attention—has come crashing down with all the sordid sensationalism that gave rise to it. Like most […]

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A Letter to Justin Trudeau

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Dear Prime Minister, As a native-born, Canadian male who happens to be married to an immigrant male who once fled a military dictatorship, I was heartened by your initial response to the U.S. ban on our Muslim neighbours. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war,” you Tweeted, “Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity […]

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2016: A Year of Good Reads

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According to some of my fellow writers, novelists should never read fiction while their own work is in progress. In the midst of writing a magnum opus, the argument goes, one should not be unduly influenced or distracted by another novelist’s style or method; to do so would risk derailing one’s own creative process by […]

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Donald Trump: Not a Reader

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Dear Donald Trump, They say you’re not a reader; that you don’t have time for books. “I never have,” you told the Washington Post this summer. “I’m always busy doing a lot.” Wow. I can’t imagine walking out the door every morning without having read some part of a book to start my day. (Imagine, actually […]

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Nanaimo Pride: The Resistance of Memory

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During the summer of 1993, as I was settling into a short-lived stint as the first publisher and editor of Xtra! West, Vancouver’s brand-new gay and lesbian biweekly, I received an overstuffed legal-size envelope in the mail from Don Hann. Best known as Vancouver’s first openly gay city hall daycare worker, Don Hann was a […]

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