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Peter Menzies

Peter Menzies is vice chairman and president of telecommunications for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and past publisher and editor-in-chief of one of Canada's major daily newspapers. Read More ›

Articles by Peter Menzies
  • Garden-Variety Work

    Peter Menzies

    Last weekend, finally, I began this summer's work in the garden. Winter has been long this year in Alberta—it began the third week in October and the most recent heavy snowfall of 20 cm or so was only two weeks ago.

  • First Human Beings

    Peter Menzies

    The kerfuffles here and there in the days following the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher should prove to each of us the need for civility in "civil" society. Mrs. Thatcher was, in my view, one of Britain's great figures of the 20th century. Others have a different opinion. Mine is based on the decade I spent living in a Britain that may have boasted the Beatles, Kinks, Stones, and several more of Peter Stockland's favourite poets and musicians but was an economically dis-spirited nation seemingly incapable of halting its descent from Empire to colony in the course of a couple of generations.

  • Ralph Klein and the Commonfolk

    Peter Menzies

    I remember seeing Ralph Klein a few years ago in the Maple Leaf Lounge—available as a perk to Air Canada's frequent travelers—at Ottawa's airport. The man who had won four consecutive majority governments as Premier of Alberta and reduced the size of government by 20% to eliminate the deficit, then the debt, and left the province's 3.5 million people with $35 billion in savings was standing all by himself, still near the door as if he wasn't certain he was at the right party or was welcome.

  • In Defence of Star Gazing

    Peter Menzies

    Eighty per cent of Canadians will, according to The Sustainability Report, live in urban areas within two years—the exact opposite of the nation's structure shortly after Confederation. About half of those urbanites will live in, or adjacent to, the nation's six largest cities of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

  • When the false moustaches and wigs fall off

    Peter Menzies

    Sometimes revelations just kind of quietly sneak up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and then slap you in the face. Like a couple of weeks ago when I went to Edmonton to see the University of Alberta Law students 2013 show "Charlie and the Law Factory." As you would expect, this is in the campy student tradition of a bunch of stressed-out student amateurs deciding to play music, sing, dance, act badly, and use a series of puns and jokes (some good, some bad) to string together relatively incoherent scripts involving—as best I could discover—the search for The Reasonable Man.

  • 16 Days in February

    Peter Menzies

    The furnace room and I have been foes for several years now and every January—a dreary, dark, frozen, don't-go-outside sort of month here in northwest Canada—I determine to bring it to heel. It is the place where clutter and junk and boxes full of stuff you could never quite bring yourself to throw away but which have remained completely unused for years—nay, decades—pile up and up and up.

  • Fight Some of Your Own Fights

    Peter Menzies

    It's funny how shifts in the tiniest little slivers of culture can change the world. When I was a little boy, for instance, other kids would from time to time say mean things to me or make fun of me. This would make me feel bad. One time, the notorious Robbie Campbell, who lived a couple of houses to the east of 7224 96B Avenue (see, I still remember the address like it was my own name) which in 1962 was on the outskirts of Edmonton, even conked me on the head with a chunk of 2 x 4.

  • Broken Hearts Mend

    Peter Menzies

    Almost 14 years have now passed since tragedy struck very close to my home. It was in the spring of 1999 when a reporter from the Calgary Herald, of which I was editor at the time, knocked on my door to inquire about my neighbours—the family that lived behind us across the green belt. It was then that I learned that the two young children who lived there, Brittany, 5, and Joshua, 3, had been killed at the family's condo in B.C.

  • Lance Armstrong's Increasingly Popular World

    Peter Menzies

    The recent confession of cycling icon Lance Armstrong to a life built on lies, deception, and seven doping-enabled Tour de France victories is notable both for its format and the public's response. First, Mr. Armstrong's sins were confessed to Oprah, who next to the Kennedys is pretty much the closest thing to royalty that America can find to fill the 237-year-old void it still seems to feel when it comes to monarchy.

  • Learning to Speak of Beliefs

    Peter Menzies

    Recent shifts in language use and demography make it clear that Christians will have to broaden their understanding of other faiths or risk being isolated in their own cultural catacombs. The suburban Canada I grew up in contained people from many different backgrounds—German, Ukrainian, Italian, Scottish, Irish, Greek for instance—but was almost entirely white.

  • Window Taps

    Peter Menzies

    Sometimes when it's quiet the sounds from the outdoor rink over by the Catholic school carry across the snow after dark and tap on the window outside my bedroom. This is especially so later in the evenings around Christmas when the white noise of the city softens and the temperature falls. Then, the smack of sticks on ice and the ricochet of frozen rubber discs zipping off the boards rattle around my brain like flash card memories of high school girlfriends that—unsolicited and about which we may not speak—refuse to disappear from the subconscious.

  • Means Something to Me

    Peter Menzies

    It has been a bit of a habit lately to grumble and mumble about the "war on Christmas," as some commentators have labelled it. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not feeling the tension this year. Yes, yes, the bulk of my corporate e-cards still just happily pronounce season's greetings and something about being happy over the holidays but dare not speak their name.

  • Talking Points

    Peter Menzies

    Over the past few years there has been an interesting and, particularly for old-schoolers, troubling trend in journalism commentary. Back in the day, the ideal for most of us in the newspaper business was that we should provide a platform with a diversity of views that fairly represented opinion within our communities.

  • Twitter's Blissful Chaos

    Peter Menzies

    A couple of years ago, my Senior Fellows paper focused on trends in media and the declining role of mainstream media as "gatekeepers" who got to decide what is and is not news. The broad point was that the Internet and its various tools were creating radically democratic platforms for public participation in the dissemination and creation of "news" and that "the barbarians" once held back by editors were now fully inside the gates and running wild.

  • Grade Eight Debate

    Peter Menzies

    Perhaps the great disappointment of my life has been the realization, at the age of 40 or so, that adulthood did not bring with it an abandonment of childish default behaviours. By which I mean that I began to notice the baser tribal instincts that emerge within people in junior high school and articulate themselves in various forms of bullying and denigration of others in order to enhance one's own position and status within the clan do not disappear or, for that matter, even dissipate.

  • Real People, Real History

    Peter Menzies

    Given the rise, at least within the once-popular press, of the mantra of neo-atheism and secular fundamentalism, the Mediterranean remains a refreshing option for those of us who, to use the terminology of the newly fashionable, still believe in "fairy tales."

  • Under 30

    Peter Menzies

    The temperature a week ago Monday was 26C. The next day, it was 6C and the day after, the overnight temperature plunged to -5C. The evening before the killer frost and knowing it was imminent I spent some quiet moments with my garden. The vines in particular seemed anxious. I reassured the garden that everything would be OK: it would, come the spring, live again.

  • What People Forget About Freedoms

    Peter Menzies

    Given recent events, a friend inquired last week whether when I was at the helm of the Calgary Herald we published the Danish cartoons which so inflamed parts of the Islamic world in 2005 and 2006. When I explained that we did not, he challenged that position.

  • The Pathetic Family

    Peter Menzies

    One of the great capacities of the modern age is its ability to deny and, more alarming, refuse to address the negative outcomes of its progress. The most recent example comes in the approach to last week's release by Statistics Canada on the shape of modern living arrangements. In summary, the 2011 Census report showed that the modern Canadian family structure is as follows:

  • Peter Lougheed: The Candle for His Generation

    Peter Menzies

    The first time I heard of Peter Lougheed was just before the last time Alberta changed its government. I was 16. It was the summer of 1971. My oilpatch family was on vacation in Calgary from England, where we were living. Peter Lougheed was in the midst of his second election campaign—one that would see his Progressive Conservative party capture control of the legislature.

  • The Man the Hour Demands

    Peter Menzies

    "Events, dear boy, events." —Harold Macmillan when asked what, as Britain's Prime Minister, he feared most Forgive the cliché, but when it comes to American politics and Canada's idolatrous fascination with them, a dreadfully overused quote from an Englishman proved irresistible this week.

  • What's left to be progressive about?

    Peter Menzies

    There is much to be said for the command of language and how it can translate into a language of command over the public square. Words such as "moderate," which in their dictionary meaning imply a sense of temperance and conservatism, are now popularly used by people who have sought and continue to seek institutional change that in historical terms can only be considered radical in nature.

  • Hats & Higher Powers

    Peter Menzies

    Of primary concern to theists and monarchists alike was the news last month that the Girl Guides of Australia have decided to doff their chapeaus and adorn themselves instead with the tin foil hats of 21st century thinking.

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