Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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5

Sep

2018

Change is the only constant

Author: Jim Taylor

I had my 82ndbirthday last weekend. I’m headed for 100! Wooo-hooo!

            Anticipation makes me think back to how things have changed over the last century, or two. My wife Joan’s grandfather arrived from Sweden a century ago with an axe-head, a plane blade, and a handsaw. With those, he made all the rest of his carpenter’s tools.

            I wonder what he would think of modern chainsaws. 

            A century before that, my ancestors arrived from Scotland, to farm 40 acres in southern Ontario. I wonder what they would think of tractors with air-conditioned cabs. Of hay-balers and combines and automatic milking machines.

            Nothing stands still. Ever. And it shouldn’t.

            Not even religion.


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5

Nov

2017

Institutional inertia changes slowly

Author: Jim Taylor

A throwaway line in a newscast caught my ear. Guy Ouellette, a member of Quebec’s National Assembly, had been briefly arrested by the province’s anti-corruption unit. Apparently they suspected him of leaking information on the unit’s investigations.

            Of course, Ouellette, for about 30 years a member of the provincial police force, defended himself. He accused the anti-corruption unit of being corrupted by its own policies and powers.

            He said, if I heard him correctly, “The culture itself needs to be changed.”

            Ouellette’s charge about the culture itself needing to change sounded remarkably like what I’ve heard recently from other sources.

            Former RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, for example, apologizing for ongoing bullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment in his forces.

            Or a series of high-ranking officers in the Canadian Armed Forces, talking about entrenched sexual harassment of its female members, and humiliation of new recruits.

            Or David Vigneault, Director of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service responding to a $35 million lawsuit by former CSIS members, alleging endemic racism, sexism, and homophobia.


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