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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 ›

Bio last modified June 14th, 2013.
Articles by Peter Menzies
  • After the Flood

    Peter Menzies

    The floods that plagued Calgary might be a distant memory for some but they remind one Alberta writer about the stark boundary between government and love of neighbour.

  • Garden-Variety Work

    Peter Menzies

    I raked the lawn out, fertilized it, cleared the remnant leaves from the flower beds, put up new netting for my beloved vines, fixed the fence next to the roses and made arrangements with the arborist to clean up the ash tree. One of the fences has to be replaced this summer and I need to speak with the neighbour about that. Before I head off to Montreal next weekend, I hope to mow the lawn. So it begins.

  • First Human Beings

    Peter Menzies

    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

    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

    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. Now, there is much to be said in favour of urban life. It is in a great many ways a softer life, filled with bright lights and entertainment and other people. “Buzz” is everywhere. Jobs are more commonly found without the disruption of relocation and usually there is a plethora of coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, and gathering places. Cities are filled with surprises and delights.

  • When the false moustaches and wigs fall off

    Peter Menzies

    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

    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. The trunk into which 40 years ago I could pack all my earthly possessions lives there. As do a couple dozen stuffed toys that once belonged to children who once were children and once lived here. Their dolls and bears and bunnies have apparently vowed to live a life of silent prayer and contemplation in the dark, awaiting reincarnation in the warm embrace of grandchildren (or so says my wife). The Christmas tree stand and decorations live there, as do odds and sods of Halloween decorations and costumes. There are skates and old goalie pads, two trappers, a lacrosse stick, and a girl's riding helmet. And an entire chest full of "video tapes" that once were inserted into something called a VCR.

  • Fight Some of Your Own Fights

    Peter Menzies

    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. As per the taunting, Mom's instructions were to just remember to reply—repetitively—"sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." Regarding young master Campbell and the 2 x 4, Dad's instructions were: "Next time he tries that, punch him in the nose." These were quite straightforward. The mantra that mother repeated was, I expect, inherited from her mother etc. and I found it useful. In late 20th-century terms it translates simply into "I am too tough and secure psychologically to succumb to your nasty little attempts to enhance your social position at my emotional expense. Give it up you loser—your words cannot hurt me and I won't be your victim." I thought of this the other day when I was reading about how hurt some people feel when reading online comments made in response to news stories or blogs. We are all courageous, of course, when we can wear a mask, ring someone's emotional doorbell, and run away. Many cyber comments are well beyond the pale and certainly wouldn't have been made back in the day when you had to look the object of your critique in the eye human-to human-like and, in the case of Robbie Campbell (whose dad was from Flin Flon), run the risk of getting clobbered by a 2 x 4 in response.

  • Broken Hearts Mend

    Peter Menzies

    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

    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. But there's more: Oprah is now a quasi-religious cultural construct, having assumed the roles of She To Whom One's Sins Are Confessed and She From Whom Forgiveness and Absolution are Sought.

  • Learning to Speak of Beliefs

    Peter Menzies

    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. In terms of belief, we were all either Roman Catholics (Habs fans) or Protestants (Leafs fans) although I was aware of a few Jewish kids here and there and couple of Chinese heritage families. Regardless, almost all of us came from a Judeo-Christian, European cultural context. The only major fracture in our country was that elsewhere in it, people spoke another language, which made Canada into an officially bilingual country founded by English-speaking people whose origins were in Britain and French-speaking people whose origins were in France.

  • Window Taps

    Peter Menzies

    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

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm not feeling the tension this year. But I am inspired this year mostly by Fazil, who is Muslim and from Pakistan and has given me a lift to the airport once every couple of weeks for the past three years. Last week, when he dropped me off, he didn't just wish me a Merry Christmas, he made sure I would pass his greetings along to my entire family.

  • Talking Points

    Peter Menzies

    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. At the highest moral end, this meant service to the people of one's community who could see themselves and their views (within reason) reflected in the newspaper as if it were a mirror.

  • Twitter's Blissful Chaos

    Peter Menzies

    This is an update. Newspapers are essentially dead. Some are managing the transition to becoming online media platforms with, if not great success, at least the hope that the strength of their brand will get them through. Others lack the intellectual adaptation capacities to survive and the difference is primarily due to ownership structures, some being more inclined to short-termism and the maximization of profit from the declining but still significant revenue generated in legacy print titles.

  • Grade Eight Debate

    Peter Menzies

    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

    It is easy enough, after all, to dismiss the Christian story in such vulgar and casual terms from the comfort of a fashionable latte salon in Toronto or the newly pretentious cappuccino corridors of Calgary. It is quite another to stand just outside the forum in Rome and view the prison in which the likes of the apostles Paul and Peter were imprisoned. Or to gaze from the Acropolis in Athens at Mars Hill, where Paul evangelized or the grand theatre where his message to the Ephesians was proving so persuasive the silversmiths ran him out. The list goes on; real people, real history.

  • Under 30

    Peter Menzies

    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. More recycling took place on the weekend. As recently as two years ago Thanksgiving dinner was restricted to my mother, my wife, and I. Everyone else was gone. But this year, there we were—the three incumbents—with my son and his wife, my daughter and a young man who wished to make our acquaintance, another young man whom we had housed during his transition to Calgary and his girlfriend—nine of us, in all. But it wasn't the numbers I noticed so much as it was the composition of the table—two-thirds of which was under 30 and in the majority, I think, for the first time.

  • What People Forget About Freedoms

    Peter Menzies

    All journalists, he said, had an obligation to stand up for freedom of the press and expression: the decision to not publish them diminished those freedoms, imperiled as they were. This is what I thought and still think about that.

  • The Pathetic Family

    Peter Menzies

    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: "The fact is, marriages and common-law (partnerships) are very unstable and very likely to separate," Evelyne Lapierre-Adamcyk, professor emeritus of demography at the University of Montreal told Postmedia.

  • Peter Lougheed: The Candle for His Generation

    Peter Menzies

    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. This was the end of four decades of Social Credit rule as the incumbents.

  • The Man the Hour Demands

    Peter Menzies

    I thought of Macmillan as most of my friends in eastern Canada were commenting upon the election of a separatist government in Quebec and most in western Canada (albeit with jaded glances and yawns to the east) watched instead the U.S. Democratic National Convention.

  • What's left to be progressive about?

    Peter Menzies

    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. Similarly, the term "progressive" has become fashionable, particularly in terms of politics.

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