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  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Canadian Historians: Come Clean About Your Relationship with Big Tobacco

    Image via Shutterstock.Later this month, Acadia University historian and former Dean of Arts Robert Perrins will testify in a Montreal courtroom on behalf of the tobacco industry. There he will discuss his 400+-page expert witness report on the Canadian government’s handling of tobacco issues since the 1950s.  The year-long trial involves two class-action suits seeking to compensate Quebec smokers for nicotine addiction and disease caused by smoking. The combined claim at $27 billion is the largest in Canadian history.

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Mark Kingwell: The Barbed Gift of Leisure

    Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. His most recent book is Unruly Voices: Essays on Democracy, Civility, and the Human Imagination (Biblioasis, 2012).A magazine ad campaign running in my hometown quotes a youngster who wants to study computer science, he says, so he can "invent a robot that will make his bed for him." I admire the focus of this future genius. I, too, remember how the enforced daily reconstruction of my bed—an order destined only for destruction later that very day—somehow combined the worst aspects of futility, drudgery, and boredom that attended all household chores. By comparison, doing the dishes or raking the yard stood out as tasks that glimmered with teleological energy, activities that, if not exactly creative, at least smacked of purpose.