Rick Salutin

Rick SalutinSyndicate content

Rick Salutin is a Canadian novelist, playwright and critic. He is a strong advocate of left wing causes and writes a regular column in the Globe and Mail.
Columnists

Nature is not benign, it's responsive

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When I got home from the cottage Monday, there were signs of struggle in the kitchen, like scratched, torn packaging on rice cakes. Mice? But why didn't the cat disperse them as he always does? Rats? Later I heard scuffling and went back in: a squirrel!

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The time is right for the NDP to return to its socialist roots

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There's been a strange summer-long silence from the NDP. Last week, after the near terror event in Strathroy, they should have been vocal on Bill C-51, the terror bill. The Liberals looked paralyzed and the Tories had their hard line. The NDP should own this, it was their only winner last election. But they went quiet. Then there's the strange case of their leadership race. What leadership race?

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If climate change is our defining issue, where's the public debate on it?

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I've been reading about the great public debate on the theory of relativity. It happened 100 years ago, mostly in Europe, but it's refreshing to look back at it in view of how today's major science issue, climate change, has been treated -- when it's been treated -- during the U.S. election.

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Columnists

Rio may be end games for high-performance capitalism

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Ozymandias in Rio. In Copenhagen in 2009, when Brazil's successful bid for this year's Olympics was announced, Lula, then the country's president, leapt in the air and danced. So did most Brazilians back home. He said, extraordinarily, "I confess to you if I die right now my life would have been worth it."

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Columnists

Aversion to Hillary is part of a self-perpetuating cycle

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So why do they all hate Hillary? I'd like to opine on this week's pervasive puzzler, raised here and elsewhere. To begin, I don't think it's because she's a woman. There are too many strong-minded women in public life to make that plausible. If you say, "Yes, but not in the U.S.," I'd reply that Hillary evokes all-encompassing hostility far more widely, and offer myself as an example.

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We may be living in a non-leadership moment

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It's tempting to say Donald Trump is all leader and no ship: no party inclinations in any recognizable forms, nor typical policies, organization, strategy or scripts. It centres on him alone. Except for a literal ship, labelled Trump, that he flies in on and speaks in front of. He likes it so much, he flies it home to New York each night to sleep in his bed -- which is kind of touching -- then drops in again next day.

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Elie Wiesel: A moral pillar who lost his way

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I happened to be at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam this week, a low (formerly) business building fronting a canal. In the "secret annex" there, Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years till being informed on. She died in 1945, at 15, in Bergen-Belsen just before its liberation. A family friend and employee rescued Anne's diary and gave it to her father, who alone survived Auschwitz.

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Lesser evil voting: A new political term hitting a raw nerve

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There's this to be said for Trump v. Clinton, now upon us: it's contributed a new political acronym, LEV, for Lesser Evil Voting. I think Noam Chomsky coined it, with collaborator John Halle. I can't find other sources.

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Canada needs to find a left-wing alternative to right-wing populism

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This is a populist moment, no doubt of that, and the right has seized it. How? By stoking fears, among those like the former industrial working class and telling them the source of all their troubles is immigrants and racial "others." It worked in the Brexit vote, throughout Europe and for Trump in the U.S. Why mess with success? The question is: will there be a left populist alternative?

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Brexit may be what happens when economic considerations overtake us

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As I write this column, the results of the Brexit vote aren't known, though the voting is on. That suits me fine. I have no idea what I hope will happen.

The Leavers were led by former London mayor Boris Johnson, who's like Trump, starting from the hair, but with a sense of self-clownishness: more Rob Ford than Donald. He likened the EU to Nazi Germany, simplifying the choice.

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