Jason Kenney has long been Stephen Harper's secret political weapon.

When Kenney was the prime minister's parliamentary secretary and later as citizenship and immigration minister, he relentlessly wooed new Canadians into the Conservative tent.

Kenney has probably eaten more Asian dinners outside of Ottawa than the rest of the Harper's cabinet put together.

And he's continuing this tradition as the minister of employment, social development, and multiculturalism.

You can see in the photos above that it was Kenney, and not Harper, who met with the Dalai Lama during his trip to Canada.

It will help the Conservatives among some expat Tibetans as well as among apolitical types who admire the Dalai Lama's Buddhist worldview.

On July 1, Ned Bell set out on an ambitious journey. The avid cyclist and executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and its restaurant YEW seafood + bar rode his bike from St. John’s, Newfoundland, all the way home to the West Coast.

The 72-day trip, which included 8,700 kilometres of cycling, rallied other Canadian chefs to support the Chefs for Oceans campaign and raised awareness about the importance of sustainable seafood.

Cory Doctorow just taught me more about copyright issues than I've probably learned over much of my lifetime.

It came during a Vancouver Writers Fest talk that he gave today at the Improv Centre on Granville Island.

I was moderating the presentation by Doctorow, the Toronto-born author of science fiction and nonfiction, including the recently released Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age.

Mandala Arts and Culture presents the fifth annual Gait to the Spirit Festival. This three-day celebration of classical Indian dance takes place October 31 to November 2 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie Street).

The festival features three mainstage performances. Meenakshi Srinivasan will perform on opening night at 8 p.m. Known for her grace and elegance, Srinivasan is one of India’s new bharata natayam sensations.

On Saturday (November 1), Janaki Rangarajan will bring her refreshing approach to bharata natyam to the Vancouver stage at 8 p.m. The following day, Toronto’s Nivedha Ramalingam and Vancouver’s Sujit Vaidya Nivedha will perform in a pay-what-you-can matinée.

The Santa Fe apartment building at 2975 Oak Street has now made the transition from being affordable housing to being a relic—an object surviving from an earlier time—with only historical and sentimental value.

When the market, i.e., a developer, decides a building’s productive life is over, it is demolished and replaced. In all important respects that is what will happen to this 86-year-old building.

The owner, Aquilini Developments, will be tearing down the 14-unit, three-storey walk-up to build a 40-unit, 11-storey tower.

Every weekday, the Straight highlights a great local shot as the Photo of the Day. Interested in submitting your photos for consideration? Check out our Flickr group.

Couldn't make it out last night? You missed Canadian folk-rock band the Rural Alberta Advantage at the Commodore. Nick Tubes was there and caught a moment of the show on Instagram. Here’s your concert pic of the morning. The Rural Alberta Advantage at the Commodore Ballroom on October 23, 2014. Thanks Nick.

The Metro Vancouver municipality of Surrey says, for the second year running, that it can’t find anywhere to put a winter homeless shelter—besides in Vancouver, that is.

I suspect the municipalities around Vancouver skimp on providing their own homeless support services in the hopes their homeless populations will move to the big city.

Burnaby, which, as far as I know, has never had homeless shelters, is definitively trying to dump their problem on Vancouver.

At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver last night (October 22), urbanist Richard Florida and technologist and inventor Ray Kurzweil talked about the future.

Florida came up with the concept of the “creative class”, a term he used to describe how the modern workforce is more creative and knowledge-based than in past generations.

If you're still experiencing withdrawal symptoms and existential distress due to the Vancouver International Film Festival wrapping up on October 10 (what—we're just supposed to carry on with our lives?), here's a little bit of post–VIFF chatter to keep you afloat.