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Ford: Cancel culture is not new, but social media has given it more fuel – Calgary Herald



Cancel culture claims another victim, this time poet George Elliott Clarke, says columnist Catherine Ford.

Bruce Deachman/Postmedia/File

“Cancel culture” isn’t new; it isn’t even inventive. This mob bullying tactic just has a new name and the power of social media.

Its latest victim is a poet — not just any poet, but Toronto’s former poet laureate and the former poet laureate of Canada’s Parliament, George Elliott Clarke. He was hounded and scarified into cancelling his lecture at the University of Regina because he committed the emotional mortal sin of giving a killer a chance. Not a second chance mind you, because Clarke didn’t know the poet he mentored and helped called Stephen Brown, who lives in Mexico, was, in fact, Steven Kummerfield. Kummerfield was one of two men who killed an Indigenous woman, Pamela George, in 1995 and served half his sentence before being paroled in 2000. Only after helping Brown edit his poetry did Clarke discover his real identity.

Let’s not confuse the issue: Clarke himself did nothing wrong but in cancel culture the mere notion he had aided and abetted (Criminal Code of Canada, look it up) a killer, particularly a murderer of a First Nations’ woman, became the lightning rod for anger. Combine that with Regina, with its more than 15,000 First Nations and Metis population, Canada’s pathetic treatment of its Aboriginals (I prefer the Greek word, the more euphonious autochthones) and it’s a recipe for high-toned moral outrage.

This would be a modern phenomenon had the whole notion of being affronted by ideas and talk and things one doesn’t like wasn’t so old and tired.

I watched it in person and was disgusted with my fellow journalists in 1986 who chose not to listen or engage with the South African ambassador, Glen Babb, during the height of apartheid. It was a moral stance according to my colleagues who chose to picket a meeting of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Vancouver. Babb had been invited to sit on a panel about censorship of the press hosted by the late Peter Gzowski. The protesters marched outside the hotel, apparently unaware of the dichotomy of their position.

Yet, as far as I could tell, none of these so-called “neutral” journalists marching in protest was reprimanded or considered infra dig by their co-workers

If you don’t like a person’s opinion, debate it; if you don’t agree with their politics, vote otherwise; if you don’t want to hear any contradictory opinions, turn off the radio or television or change the channel. Don’t attend the lecture. Write a carefully crafted letter to the editor. But to try to shut down discourse because that person’s opinion is anathema to you, you have just proven how weak your own arguments and opinions are.

More history, but curiously connected, about “sensitive” topics: how we treat those whom we keep under lock and key. See the above outrage about Kummerfield. One can argue he didn’t serve nearly enough time for his crime, but we place those decisions in the hands of our courts and eventually with parole boards.

There is a thread running through all of this anger and resentment and an attitude of revenge, which for some bizarre reason resonates with so many of our citizens. Consider the height of cancel culture: Lock them up and toss away the key. Truly, is every criminal worthless or incapable of being rehabilitated?

The recent report on lack of access to education in prison by Lisa Kerr and Paul Quick, both lawyers, showed how rebarbative our treatment of criminals has become. Yet all I could think of was the two Steves: West and Harper. I consider both to be masters of “cancel culture.”

Many of you may not remember 1992 when Alberta cabinet minister Steve West decided colour television sets in Alberta prisons were a frivolity, so he had them removed and replaced with 12-inch black-and-whites. Apparently, colour TV was “coddling” miscreants.

So, too, with Canada’s six prison farms, which employed about 300 federal inmates. Stephen Harper’s government decided the program was not essential and was too expensive ($14 million annually.) The last one was shuttered in 2009. It was rebarbative. Why? Because such programs taught inmates how to care for living things, something so many hardened inmates never did.

Want a better world? First, make it better for society’s rejected members. Change “cancel culture” to “counsel culture.”

Catherine Ford is a regular columnist for the Calgary Herald.

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Mélanie Maynard Hosts Sophie Bourgeois on Sucré Salé: A Heartfelt Conversation



This Wednesday evening, Mélanie Maynard welcomed actress Sophie Bourgeois as a guest on the popular show Sucré Salé. The conversation touched on various aspects of Bourgeois’ career, including her role in the renovation show Ma maison cassée.

Mélanie Maynard was effusive in her praise for Bourgeois and her captivating presence on Ma maison cassée, sharing her personal enthusiasm for the show. “It’s so captivating, I stayed up late… I watched the episodes one after the other,” Maynard confessed, highlighting the compelling nature of Bourgeois’ work on the show.

Early in the interview, Mélanie Maynard posed a poignant question to Sophie Bourgeois: “We don’t see you much on television anymore, is that by choice?” Bourgeois responded candidly, “Absolutely not, and that makes me sad,” expressing her disappointment over her reduced visibility on television.

The heartfelt exchange between Maynard and Bourgeois provided a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs faced by actors in the ever-evolving television industry.

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Ryan Reynolds Jokes About Taylor Swift’s Astronomical Babysitting Rates



Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are a Hollywood power couple with four adorable children. But juggling busy careers and a growing family can be a challenge, even for A-listers. Enter their close friend, pop icon Taylor Swift, who, according to Reynolds, might be their go-to babysitter. However, her services come with a hefty price tag (at least according to Reynolds‘ playful exaggeration).

During a recent E! News interview promoting their upcoming movie “Deadpool & Wolverine,” Hugh Jackman playfully suggested that Swift was the real nanny for Reynolds and Lively’s four children. This lighthearted jab sparked a humorous response from Reynolds.

Known for his sharp wit, Reynolds responded to Jackman’s comment with a hilarious quip. He stated that the cost of having Taylor Swift babysit would be “cost-prohibitive,” implying that her rates would be astronomically high. He even playfully added, “But I think what he meant was, ‘Cost-insane-what-are-you-doing-I’m-no-longer-you’re-accountant.'”

Reynolds and Lively, who tied the knot in 2012, share four children: James (9), Inez (7), Betty (4), and a one-year-old whose name and gender remain private. The couple has maintained a close friendship with Swift over the years. This strong bond is evident in their recent attendance at a stop of her Eras Tour in Spain, along with their three eldest children.

Swift’s friendship with the Reynolds family extends beyond casual hangouts. During the concert in Spain, she gave a heartwarming shout-out to the couple’s daughters. While introducing her album “Folklore,” she mentioned the names James, Inez, and Betty, sending the audience into a frenzy. This sweet gesture further highlights the special bond between the singer and the Reynolds children.

This isn’t the first time Swift has incorporated the girls’ names into her music.  Her 2020 album “Folklore” features a song titled “Betty” that tells a story of a love triangle involving characters named James, Inez, and Betty. Additionally, her 2017 album “Reputation” included a voice recording of James on the song “Gorgeous.”

Whether Swift truly babysits for the Reynolds family or not remains a playful mystery. However, one thing is certain: the singer holds a special place in the hearts of the Reynolds children and their parents.

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The Simmering Feud Between Eva Mendes and Rachel McAdams



The 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook” continues to be a pop culture phenomenon, captivating audiences with its passionate love story between Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. But beyond the on-screen romance, rumours of tension between the actors and Gosling’s current partner, Eva Mendes, have added a layer of intrigue to the film’s legacy.


From Clashing Personalities to Real-Life Romance

While their undeniable on-screen chemistry led to a blockbuster performance, Gosling and McAdams reportedly had a tumultuous time during filming. “We inspired the worst in each other,” Gosling admitted to The Guardian. However, their initial animosity blossomed into a real-life romance in 2005, sending shivers down the spines of fans who had rooted for Noah and Allie.


Love Found, Love Lost

Their off-screen love story, however, wasn’t a fairytale. After two years, the couple went their separate ways. McAdams found happiness and a family with screenwriter Jamie Linden, while Gosling met his current partner, Eva Mendes, on the set of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in 2011. Together, they have built a life and share two daughters.


A Post-Breakup Conundrum: Maintaining a Friendship

While McAdams and Gosling’s romantic flame fizzled out, reports suggest they remained amicable post-breakup.  This friendly dynamic, however, is said to have shifted when Mendes entered the picture.


A Shadow of Jealousy? Unconfirmed Rumors of Tension

Unverified reports claim that Mendes is allegedly uncomfortable with McAdams being around Gosling.  Unnamed sources allege that Mendes discourages any interaction between the former co-stars, fearing it might upset her. This has reportedly limited Gosling’s ability to maintain a casual friendship with McAdams.

The validity of these claims remains shrouded in mystery.  Mendes and Gosling are known for their privacy, making it difficult to separate truth from speculation.



Beyond the Rumors: The Power of “The Notebook” Endures

While the rumors of off-screen tension add another chapter to the “The Notebook” narrative, the film’s enduring power lies in its timeless portrayal of love and loss. Whether Gosling and McAdams remained friends or not doesn’t diminish the on-screen magic they created. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences continues, reminding us of the intensity of first love, the pain of heartbreak, and the enduring power of memories.

The Notebook’s legacy is a complex one, weaving together a captivating on-screen love story, rumored off-screen tension, and a reminder of the film’s lasting impact on pop culture.

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