This column, by me, first appeared in the Toronto Star. [caption id="attachment_17623" align="alignright" width="300"] [Andrew Vaughan photo/The Canadian press][/caption]The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms took a wee hit last week when a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice told a retired Dartmouth resident that he has no right to put his surname on a vanity licence plate. Thirty years ago, Lorne Grabher bought a plate that reads “GRABHER” as a gift for his father, whose Austro-German family immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. After the elder Grabher’s death, his son took the plate and used it until 2017, when a...

During a brief stopover in Ottawa yesterday, a gracious member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery took me for a sail on the Ottawa River, where I snapped this photo: In case you don’t recognize the building, it’s the posterior of 24 Sussex Drive, home of Canada’s Prime Minister. Even without Bruce Cockburn on board, I was struck by the wondrous want of any obvious standing on guard for Stephen Harper. Our small party boarded my friend’s sailboat at the Hull marina, just across the street from the Museum of Civilization. No one checked our ID, demanded we sign a register, or x-rayed...