Category Archives: ESSAYS

Can a retiree take a vacation? Why not?

 

By JIM WITHERS

Just wrapping up two weeks on P.E.I. where I’ve been pondering this philosophical question: Can retired people ever be said to be “on vacation”?

It’s been a relaxing sojourn at the North Rustico summer home of a couple of Montreal friends, much of it spent stretched out on Muskoka chairs on the deck, reading, and watching the herons patiently fishing and the little lobster boats chugging by.

Winnie and I make it a habit to vacation after Labour Day to avoid the heat, humidity, high-season prices and tourist hordes of summer. Continue reading Can a retiree take a vacation? Why not?

CBC – Enough is enough, a first-person account

Retired Radio-Canada journalist Pierre-Léon Lafrance published the following article, in French, in the Lambert Express, a local community newspaper in the Montréal. region. (Translated by Gérard Malo, national vice-chair of CWA/ Canada Retirees Council.)

 

After enduring countless painful stomach cramps while doing long and hard thinking, I will do here what I’ve never done during a 40-year-long career in journalism. I will speak in the first person

Pierre-Léon Lafrance
Pierre-Léon Lafrance

to publicly discuss the situation at Radio-Canada/CBC. I have spent 37 years at Radio-Canada as a local journalist, parliamentary and international correspondent, columnist, and with Radio-Canada International, as Chief Editor.

As we know, our national public broadcaster is now in the eye of the storm, and will come out of it seriously disfigured and wounded to the core. Many things have been said in the last few months about the long series of budgetary cutbacks at Radio-Canada/CBC. It all began, let’s not forget in the 1980s under the Brian Mulroney government. But I will focus on  three points : Public service, the shift to digital media, and what happens next. Continue reading CBC – Enough is enough, a first-person account

Keep your spies out of my computer

All the talk recently about Canadians being spied on by our own government agencies got me thinking about my days as a so-called spy when I eavesdropped on the Russians during  the Cold War back in the 1960s.  I was a  Radioman Special with the Royal Canadian Navy with a top-level security clearance.  With the integration of the Canadian Forces in 1996 the name was changed to Communicator Research Operator, the same name used today for military personnel with Communications Security Establishment Canada, which has been in the news a lot over the past year or so. Continue reading Keep your spies out of my computer

Shut the phone up

I’m a curious kind of guy, so sometimes I’ll eavesdrop on conversations (it’s the reporter in me). But listening in on your cellphone conversation? That’s not eavesdropping — unless you don’t knowsmartphones cartoon I’m listening. And if you’re on a so-called smartphone in a public place, you know strangers are listening, but you obviously don’t care. And, frankly, I don’t care either. I don’t care what you said or she said in that fight with your girlfriend. I don’t care what’s for dinner, or that Billy needs braces, or that your boss is a jerk. But what I really care about is that I’m held hostage by your bombarding prattle. Continue reading Shut the phone up