Rod Mickleburgh 46 results

Rod Mickleburgh witnessed the golden age of Canadian journalism as a reporter at several Canadian papers, including The Vancouver Sun and  The Globe and Mail, where he reported on labour — among other things.

Bidding Adieu to Dave Barrett

Tribute: Dave Barrett Funerals for public figures can often be stuffy affairs with formal speechmaking and half-hearted appeals to emotion, but the recent ceremonies for B.C.’s former premier were rife with real affection. By Rod Mickleburgh So, farewell then, Dave Barrett. A month after the remarkable NDP leader passed away, it was time for the public to bid adieu, formally and informally. The official state memorial in Victoria came first, followed the next day by what was more a gathering of the clans at Vancouver’s Croatian Cultural Centre, not that far from where Dave Barrett grew up on the city’s rough-and-tumble east side. Both events were packed, befitting the immeasurable contribution he made to the province of British Columbia during his short 39 months as its first socialist premier. (Unlike today’s New Democrats, he never shied from using the term “socialist.”) Beyond his political legacy, there was an outpouring of real affection for someone who had ...

How do you spell Canada? C.O.U.R.A.G.E.

Sports: 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang The Great White North is currently enjoying one of its best Winter Games ever, but the winning ingredient may not be money, fame, celebrity or even patriotic support. It's guts. By Rod Mickleburgh This year, I thought, my lifelong love of the Olympics, was, if not at an end, under serious challenge. PyeongChang? The site of the Games conjured up no vision at all. Nor, with newspapers and other media so reduced, was there any real build-up to these Winter Olympics to whet the appetite. Once Gary Kingston, the Vancouver Sun’s consummate chronicler of BC’s winter athletes, departed, coverage dropped to virtually zero. As for the Globe and Mail, my former paper has regularly sent a healthy contingent to the Olympics, including, on occasion, me. This year, the Globe opted for a small force of three. The late, dispiriting, get-out-of-jail-free card delivered to Russia’s organized dopers didn’t help. Given that, the lack of buzz ...

A Tribute to Dave Barrett, the Socialist Who Stormed the Gates

* In light of Dave Barrett’s recent passing, we took the opportunity to republish Rod Mickleburgh’s thoughtful look at the quiet, yet revolutionary, BC Premier. Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the “socialist hordes” stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero ...

Discovering a Finnish Beginning

Travel: Celebrating Finland's 100th anniversary Rod Mickleburgh returns to the land of his ancestors to discover an almost genetic propensity to fight for social justice and a rather bizarre predilection for odd sports By Rod Mickleburgh You may have missed it, but the land of my ancestors recently celebrated it’s centennial. On Dec. 6, 1917, small but mighty Finland officially severed itself from Russia, becoming an independent country for the first time. Russia’s new Bolshevik rulers did not protest. I remember leafing through one of my great aunt’s photo albums and seeing a grainy picture of the raising of the Finnish flag in their small community for the first time. A bit more than two and a half years after independence, my mother was born in the fishing/farming village of Sideby. When I first visited “the relatives” in the winter of 1971, I was given the very room where her birth took place. Under the mountain of blankets my two great aunts supplied, I remember ...

Baseball’s Off-Season Cues Symphony of Majors and Minors

Sports: Baseball Looking back at the year of ball that was, Rod Mickleburgh finds the big league diamonds were rough, but the minor games at the likes of Nat Bailey Stadium were small gem experiences in a priceless setting. By Rod Mickleburgh And so baseball winter has begun, made even harsher by the tragic death of Roy Halladay. The hopeful breezes of spring, the lazy hazy crazy days of summer and the beautifully slanted light of fall have all departed from the diamond, leaving us to bundle up and shiver through the bleak wintry months of no baseball. In that sweet, far-off time when I was a kid, the Series was always over by the second week of October, in time for the players to do their fall hunting. Now, with so many wildcard and playoff games piled on, the Series stretches into November, as ridiculous a month as ever was for the summer game. In November, you don’t think baseball, you think winter. There was hardly a “wow” ending. The highly-anticipated seventh game ...

There Is Power in a Union Movie

Movies: Top Ten Movies About Labour Issues In a world where the salaried worker is becoming an endangered species and the income gap is now the Grand Canyon, the only place to find solace may be on the silver screen -- where workers of the world can still win By Rod Mickleburgh (September 4, 2017) I had fun doing this a few years ago, compiling a list of my top ten films for Labour Day viewing. This was in 2014, when BC teachers, instead of heading back to school, were still on strike from the previous June. They would have several more weeks to go, before the longest province-wide teachers strike in BC history was over. And, just like in some of these movies, there was a happy ending. Last November, the teachers won a resounding victory in the Supreme Court of Canada, restoring classroom limits and other staffing measures the BC Liberals (remember them?) had illegally stripped from their contracts way back in 2002 (Jean Chretien was still Prime Minister!) The result has been the ...

Right to Left: Watching the Political Pendulum Swing

Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the "socialist hordes" stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero Stanley Cups won by the hapless Canucks, and just enough to keep politics interesting and a semblance of two-party democracy alive in BC’s polarized environment. No wonder John ...

Helena Guttridge, Mayor Gregor and Auntie Irene

People: Irene Howard, History Is Her Story Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene' By Rod Mickleburgh (May 17, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below. And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...

Cohen, Prince, Bowie and now… Comparelli

Tribute: R.I.P. Peter Comparelli A fellow scribe remembers the good old days when journalists spoke truth to power, a per diem could get you drunk and a guy named Peter Comparelli backstopped the labour beat By Rod Mickleburgh It has been a terrible year. Bowie and Prince taken far too early. Leonard Cohen leaving us to mourn and light candles against the dark. Long-time friends battling serious health issues. Fake news, the decline of newspapers and the mainstream media, more necessary than ever to hold governments and politicians to account. An antiquated electoral system, an FBI “announcement coup” against Hillary Clinton and Russian hackers delivering a sniveling, bullying, thin-skinned, shallow-thinking prima-donna with the attention span of a child to the White House, while the most adult of U.S. presidents takes his dignified leave. Terrorism in Europe. Aleppo. And now, to cap off this annus horribilis came news of the passing of Peter Comparelli, as lovely a person as ...

Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge

Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize *Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs. By Rod Mickleburgh In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn. Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was wearing a ...