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Brooke Henderson Feels her Game is Really Close



RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — It seems like Brooke Henderson can’t win.

That’s in the figurative sense because the 19-year-old from Smiths Falls has proven she is one of the world’s best. She’s won three times on the LPGA Tour. She beat world No. 1 Lydia Ko in a playoff with one of the best pressure shots in Canadian golf history to win her first major last season, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

But despite her success last year in a demanding schedule that included the Olympics — her 31 events last season and 121 rounds were the most on Tour — critics said she was playing too much and was going to burn herself out.

For sure, it was a demanding year. After her win at the KPMG and a successful defence of her title at the Cambia Portland Classic, Henderson was one of the favourites going into the Olympics. One only had to spend a little time around her to see how many demands on her time there were heading into Rio.

She was always there to do another interview or sign another autograph or take a selfie with a young fan, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that, after pushing so hard in 2016, her results to start 2017 haven’t been up to Henderson’s or her fans’ expectations.

Now the narrative is, “What’s up with Brooke Henderson?”

Probably nothing other than the ebbs and flows of golf, and easing into a fresh season after an incredibly demanding 2016. She’s 18th on the money list in 2017 and her best finish is a T4 earlier this month in Singapore. Her world ranking has gone from a high of second to the depths of 13th.

She’s pushed her official career earnings to $1.9 million and is one of the hottest commodities in the sports marketing world.

What a disaster.

When she missed the cut last week at the Kia Classic (as did Ko), commentator Judy Rankin said Henderson needed “to go back to being the bubbly Brooke on the course we saw last year.”

I haven’t seen Henderson play as much golf as some, but more than most, and I’ve seen her steaming on the course at times in the past. Bubbly? Like Dion Phaneuf is bubbly in front of the net. She’s as competitive as anybody. I would argue it’s tough to be bubbly when you’re grinding to try to avoid slamming your trunk on Friday.

She has no regrets about pushing as hard as she did last year and she’s not accepting the idea it’s human nature to have a bit of a letdown after such consistently strong performances last year.

“That wasn’t my plan (to ease into 2017), but last year was a really busy year and I met all of my goals,” said Henderson. “It was kind of like the perfect year, 17 top 10s, winning two events including a major, representing Canada in the Olympics. It was kind of a highlight year.

“This far into the 2017, I haven’t necessarily performed or gotten the results I want, but I feel like my game is really close. Hopefully I can just tune up a little bit mentally and get focused on what I have to do,” she said.

As has been the case for as long as she has been playing golf, her dad, Dave, is her coach (Canadian national women’s team coach Tristan Mullally was part of the Henderson camp heading into the Olympics last year, but that arrangement ended with the conclusion of the Olympics), and he likes what he’s seen lately.

“Brooke’s game is right there,” said Dave, brushing off the missed cut last week. “We got on the wrong side of the draw and it was cold, wet and raining in San Diego, and we least expected that. The course played very tough the first eight, nine holes and Brooke went one-under after the first five holes (in which she was four-over). Her game was right there. The second day (she shot 74), you can’t even look at that because now we’re pressing, now we’re doing things to try and get it back.”

As she heads into the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the golf season, and as the LPGA Tour starts to hit prime time, Henderson is optimistic.

“I think my game is right there that I can win a few more times and I think that starts this week,” she said. “Having played the golf course the last few days, I think it suits my game really well, so if I can get my mental attitude the way it should be, I think I’ll be right there on Sunday.”

And maybe she’ll even be bubbly.

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How Canadian churches are helping their communities cope with the wildfires



As wildfires burn across Canada, churches are finding ways to support their members and the broader community directly impacted by the crisis.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, as of June 13, there are 462 active fires across Canada – and 236 of them classified as out of control fires.

Whether it’s through phone calls or donations to community members, here’s how a few churches across Canada are handling active wildfires and the aftermath in their regions.

Westwood Hills, N.S.: St. Nicholas Anglican Church

In Nova Scotia, St. Nicholas Anglican Church and other churches in the area are collecting money for grocery cards to give to families impacted by the Tantallon wildfire. 

Right outside of Halifax, N.S., the Tantallon wildfire destroyed 151 homes. More than 16,000 people evacuated the area due to the fire.

The fire is now considered contained, but Tanya Moxley, the treasurer at St. Nicholas is organizing efforts to get grocery gift cards into the hands of impacted families.

As of June 12, four churches in the area – St. Nicholas, Parish of French Village, St Margaret of Scotland and St John the Evangelist – raised nearly $3,500. The money will be split for families’ groceries between five schools in the area impacted by the wildfire.

Moxley said she felt driven to raise this money after she heard the principal of her child’s school was using his own money to buy groceries for impacted families in their area.

“[For] most of those people who were evacuated, the power was off in their subdivision for three, four or five days,” she said. “Even though they went home and their house was still standing, the power was off and they lost all their groceries.”

Moxley said many people in the area are still “reeling” from the fires. She said the church has an important role to help community members during this time.

“We’re called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless and all that stuff, right? So this is it. This is like where the rubber hits the road.”

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Is it ever OK to steal from a grocery store?



Mythologized in the legend of Robin Hood and lyricized in Les Misérables, it’s a debate as old as time: is it ever permissible to steal food? And if so, under what conditions? Now, amid Canada’s affordability crisis, the dilemma has extended beyond theatrical debate and into grocery stores.

Although the idea that theft is wrong is both a legally enshrined and socially accepted norm, the price of groceries can also feel criminally high to some — industry data shows that grocery stores can lose between $2,000 and $5,000 a week on average from theft. According to Statistics Canada, most grocery item price increases surged by double digits between 2021 and 2022. To no one’s surprise, grocery store theft is reportedly on the rise as a result. And if recent coverage of the issue rings true, some Canadians don’t feel bad about shoplifting. But should they?

Kieran Oberman, an associate professor of philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, coined the term “re-distributive theft” in his 2012 paper “Is Theft Wrong?” In simplest terms, redistributive theft is based on the idea that people with too little could ethically take from those who have too much.

“Everybody, when they think about it, accepts that theft is sometimes permissible if you make the case extreme enough,” Oberman tells me over Zoom. “The question is, when exactly is it permissible?”

Almost no one, Oberman argues, believes the current distribution of wealth across the world is just. We have an inkling that theft is bad, but that inequality is too. As more and more Canadians feel the pinch of inflation, grocery store heirs accumulate riches — Loblaw chair and president Galen Weston, for instance, received a 55 percent boost in compensation in 2022, taking in around $8.4 million for the year. Should someone struggling with rising prices feel guilty when they, say, “forget” to scan a bundle of zucchini?
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The homeless refugee crisis in Toronto illustrates Canada’s broken promises



UPDATE 07/18/2023: A coalition of groups arranged a bus to relocate refugees to temporarily stay at a North York church on Monday evening, according to CBC, CP24 and Toronto Star reports.

Canadians live in a time of threadbare morality. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Toronto’s entertainment district, where partygoers delight in spending disposable income while skirting refugees sleeping on sidewalks. The growing pile of luggage at the downtown corner of Peter and Richmond streets resembles the lost baggage section at Pearson airport but is the broken-hearted terminus at the centre of a cruel city.

At the crux of a refugee funding war between the municipal and federal governments are those who have fled persecution for the promise of Canada’s protection. Until June 1, asylum seekers used to arrive at the airport and be sent to Toronto’s Streets to Homes Referral Assessment Centre at 129 Peter St. in search of shelter beds. Now, Toronto’s overcrowded shelter system is closed to these newcomers, so they sleep on the street.

New mayor Olivia Chow pushed the federal government Wednesday for at least $160 million to cope with the surge of refugees in the shelter system. She rightly highlights that refugees are a federal responsibility. In response, the department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada points to hundreds of millions in dollars already allocated to cities across Canada through the Interim Housing Assistance Program, while Ontario says it has given nearly $100 million to organizations that support refugees. But these efforts are simply not enough to deliver on Canada’s benevolent promise to the world’s most vulnerable.

The lack of federal generosity and finger-pointing by the city has orchestrated a moral crisis. It’s reminiscent of the crisis south of the border, where Texas governor Greg Abbott keeps bussing migrants to cities located in northern Democratic states. Without the necessary resources, information, and sometimes the language skills needed to navigate the bureaucratic mazes, those who fled turbulent homelands for Canada have become political pawns.

But Torontonians haven’t always been this callous.

In Ireland Park, at Lake Ontario’s edge, five statues of gaunt and grateful refugees gaze at their new home: Toronto circa 1847. These statues honour a time when Toronto, with a population of only 20,000 people, welcomed 38,500 famine-stricken migrants from Ireland. It paralleled the “Come From Away” event of 9/11 in Gander, N.L., where the population doubled overnight, and the people discovered there was indeed more than enough for all. It was a time when the city lived up to its moniker as “Toronto, The Good.”

Now, as a wealthy city of three million people, the city’s residents are tasked with supporting far fewer newcomers. Can we not recognize the absurdity in claiming scarcity?

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