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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Iran Today

Target of American Aggression, soon

Click on the hyperlink below. Iranians are not barbarians as the Bush administration would have us believe.

How Canadian is This!!!!

The Snowmobile Song

It's Wintertime and the weather's fine
The snow on the woods and fields when I reveal... my snowmobile
Thrill by thrill by golly n' hill Baby it'll make ya feel like an outdoor meal...
On a snowmobile

Listen to the sound when the belts go round '
When the winter carnival's here...
And oh what fun at the crack of the gun
When the whole gang disappears...

The race is on from the bush to the pond
And back where the judges's feel you've won their seal...
For the snowmobile
You've won their seal... for the snowmobile

Where skier's ski, and skater's pee and snowshoes lend appeal
Like a bogie wheel,... On a snowmobile
We tip the glass to the northern lass for she won't let ya kneel
She'd rather squeal -...on a snowmobile

You're off to the town where the word goes round
It's winter carnival time
In goggles, boots, and a snowproof suit
Your sweethearts on your mind
Ya win the race and you see her face and you know that she must feel
You've got a real... good snowmobile-

Now down the street U can hear the beat & the clickin of the dancer's heel
When the fiddler's peel... off a ragtime reel
You dance and tear with an "I don't care
On the way back home you'll wheel-over hill and field -
On a snowmobile

Through the golden glow on powdered snow
When the moon comes rolling along
On a homeward trail U can hear the wail of the whole gang singing a song..
If tomorrow's clear with fishin gear

We'll head for a lake trout meal With a rod and a reel-
and a snowmobile
Life can be real with a snowmobile
There ain't no deal like a snowmobile

Lyrics : Stompin Tom

Stomping Tom is a Canadian Icon He is a country singer who only sings songs he writes about country Canada. Years ago, he resisted going to the US to sing country music as his Hank Snow did. A-C-T Records Presents: The Official Stompin' Tom Connors Website

I heard to Snowmobile song for the first time today. It captures life in this north part of Ontario in Winter time.

Around here his song "Sudbury Saturday Night " TOM STOMPIN Lyrics - SUDBURY SAT NITE is among our favourites. It celebrates the mining city of Sudbury, when it was a much more rugged blue collar town than it is today. My favourite, is "Bud the Spud" TOM STOMPIN Lyrics - BUD THE SPUD , the story of Prince Edward Island potatoes being trucked across Canada. Nationally, the Hockey song is an anthem

Paulo the Peacock

My lovely peacock, which Veronica bought at the auction last year, died over the Winter.

I like to think that he has gone to Peacock heaven, The Toronto Zoo, a world class zoo. (Could that be him in the photo above.) He is impressing everyone, particularly children with his prideful strut, beautiful tail and startling call.

Hopefully, my Paulo has found his Paula there. Come Spring, I will seek to purchase a pair of peacocks to continue to delight us around the farm.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Where is the Outrage

Every morning, with my obsession with the politics of a handful of countries, USA, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Venezuala, I rise to read online articles for a couple of hours. with my morning pot of coffee. Besides my caffeine fix I get my outrage juices flowing.

The USA dominates much of my outrage, dismay and sense of disappointment in a country that has the potential to be such a wonderful force for good. It has always fallen far short of its potential but of course during the Bush years it has plummeted to become a force for evil in the World, out of fear. Fear has seem that country willing to accept things as necessary, which would not have been thought possible a decade ago.

Surely it is time for fear to be set aside and true outrage demonstrated. It is time for a red, white and blue revolution, a swarming of Washington by millions of Americans until the Bush Administration collapses, anyway possible: resignation, impeachment, or even military coup.

While the Democrats dither, Bush is about to launch another war on another country, which is not a threat to the US, Iran. He has been told he does not have Congress's approval to do so. I little thing like the law of the land has never stopped him before on countless occasions. No American has ever shown such contempt for the Constitution.

Here is an article that set forth the strong case, necessity, to have Bush removed from office

US Redemption Mandates Impeachment of Bush

A second reason for outrage which should bring people into the streets is the treatment of prisoners of the War on Terror. (The language fable "enemy combatant" is an excuse to flaunt the law and legal tradition of justice in the US.) We are about to hear of the nature of the depth of deprivation by agents of the State of Torture (USA), as evidence will be give in the trial of the American prisoner of war Padilla. For the first time the details of the treatment of a prisoner will be examined in a court. Padilla has been deliberately driven insane by his treatment. He, who is now about to be tried for lesser charges than he was originally accused, is in the position of not being able to understand and participate in his defense. Under the legal tradition of civilized counties he should be set free and given medical treatment. One has to wonder, to what end was he tortured????? The only conclusion is that torture was a sadistic end in itself.
A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial

I urge all to read this article by Naomi Klein, who set out the basis of the Padilla situation

A third area of outrage is the destruction of domestic social program. Perhaps , sadness should be the correct emotion. In almost any study of social program standards among the wealthy countries. the US is low down on the list. The only categories they are number one in is the percentage of citizens in prison (In this they lead the World) and the number of executions.
The US has increasingly become a country divided among those who have and have not.
A record number of American have joined the ranks of the poor during the Bush administration.

US Economy Leaving Record Numbers in Severe Poverty

Surely it is time for the Great Republic to redeem itself in the eyes of the World as a peace loving country, a country of Laws and a country of social justice and opportunity. The first order of business should be holding the usurpers of American to account for their crimes, corruption and contempt for the Constitution.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Afghanistan, A Land of Mystery

Thanks to the American Invasion of Afghanistan I have become very interested in this ancient central Asian country, with its many ethnic communities.

An Afghan beauty! This exquisite child fascinates me. She could be a child in my small town dressing up in play. She contrasts so much of what we think of as Afghanistan: poverty, suffering, dust, cold, fear and violence. The innocence and clarity in her face and eye fills one with joy, playfulness and hope, which young children so often bring to difficult times.

This could be a scene from Biblical times; yet, it is Afghanistan today.

Here are a couple of collections of Afghanistan photo collections:

In the present day, My Kabul Press Gallery :: Afghanistan Today

Before the current violence which began in 1979 Luke Powell - Photographs Fine Art Landscapes Afghanistan pictures Pakistan La

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Noble Patriotism

Prince Harry

One can fault the British ( Canadian) Royal family for many things but not doing their duty to the Nation in time a war is not one of them. It is reported that Prince Harry, the third in line for the throne and recent graduate of Royal Military Academy Sandhurst will ship out with his unit to Iraq when they are called to go.

This fun loving wild child of the Royal family stands in the family tradition of serving the Nation in the military. It is a duty to lead by example. His grandfather Prince Philip distinquished himself in the Navy. His father Prince Charles was a pilot in the Air Force and the Navy and his uncle Prince Andrew was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War with Argentina.

Most admirable ,of course, is that during the WWII, the British royal family all stayed in Britain and risked all with their countrymen. At the same time. Canada gave the Dutch Royal Family , and many British children, safe haven in Canada, an option open to the British Royals. They saw their duty otherwise and served at home, with the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret helping out where they could to relieve the suffering. King George and Queen Elizabeth, (the beloved Queen Mom) stood firm as a symbol of national unity with there British resolve . The British noble class, not just the Royals, who once held sway over a vast empire have a long dutiful tradition of military service.

How this contrasts with the American "Noble class", who failed to step up to serve when the "Nation was in peril". The Bush administration is notorious for the number of those who avoided military service in the Vietnam War. None of their offspring answered the call this time in Iraq. It should be seen as a national disgrace that President Bush's two daughters did not immediately step up and serve, if not actually in the military in some way on the home front, perhaps, comforting the badly injured soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital.

The American tradition is to send the sons and daughters of the poor, immigrant and working class to fight and die for the Nation. In this war, we also see highly paid mercenaries carry the ball for the Nation, (perhaps, the future is privatized militaries. You can buy almost anything with enough money) . At the same time, the ruling elite does it duty (to wealth) by counting their money made from the exorbitant profits from the war made by the military industrial corporations.

I salute young Prince Harry. If he goes to Iraq he will no doubt distinquish himself. He will not go as window dressing behind the lines. He will command a unit of 11 men and 4 scimitar tanks. On the issue of Royal duty, I share my mother's life long devotion to the Royal family.

God Save the Queen! and baby faced Prince Harry. "Give 'em Hell, Harry!"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Child Well Being Study

UNICEF just released a report of "Child Well- Being in Rich Countries" It studied the circumstances of child poverty in the weathiest 21 countries.

This is a very interesting read for anyone interested in child welfare and how our country compares with others. There is a chart near the beginning of the report which summarizes the countries in rank order and gives their ranking in each dimension studied:

Material well-being
Health and safety
Educational well-being
Family and peer relationship
Behaviour and risks
Subjective well-being

Canada ranks in about the middle of the group in most things. It is not a record to be proud of.
It the government had followed through on its promise over a decade ago to elliminate child poverty and bring in universal child day care our ranking could be much higher.

The top country is the Netherlands followed by the Nordic nations with their social democracies.

It is truly shocking that Britain and the United States are at the very bottom. The citizens of these countries ought to be ashamed. No doubt the British class system has something to do with its low standing.

I guess one could write a book on why the US has failed it's children so badly. For a country that declares its belief in family values and the "no children left behind"; it is lying to itself. Poverty, racism, conservative economics, family breakdown, the class based health system, free enterprise, even the religous notions that worldly material well-being is a sign of God's grace, the poor will will always be with us and the poor deserve to be poor, have their roll to play in the neglect of child well-being in the US. One can hope the issues raised in this report are part of the debate in the next election in that country.

I encourge all to read this report, if not in detail at least enough to look at the graphs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Y'all

I hope everyone had a delightful day. I am so glad my rabbits are in the basement as it is promising to be the coldest night of the year tonight -38C here and just north of here it is -42C. For those who are metric handicapped -40 is the same on both scales. Dangerously cold!

I feel badly for my pigs which are out in the cold. They do have a nest of hay to burrow into so they should be OK. If I had a pen in the basement I would bring them in the house. The cows will be OK. They create their own heat in their first stomach which is a big cooker. Their body heat is 103F. The young pigs like to lie alongside the cows.

On this day, I wish I had "my love to keep me warm". It was not to be, she flew South last fall never to return.

A seat by the fire, some interesting reading an a "nice hot cuppa tea" will have to suffice. I have learned the hard life lesson that I am not all that loveable, for reasons I do not understand. Being a kind, gentle thoughful person is not enough. I have learned to appreciate my aloneness, cherish my memories of loves lived and lost. I do manage to love a couple of people from afar who do not know it. They are wonderful people, easy to care about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Madmen are in Charge

“If a mad man throws a stone in a well, 40 wise men would find difficulty in getting this stone out of the well”. a Turkish proverb

It has been apparent for some time that the US has been determined to attack Iran. Three years ago I was telling an Iranian Canadian woman that I believed the US would attack Iran. She did not share my view. We were discussing the wonderful historic Iranian city of Isfahan.(a World heritage city) I feared for its destruction in an American attack as there is an underground nuclear facility near it. I may have been right.

Since the end of last year the US have been moving troops, ships and planes within stiking distance of that country. Israel (the tail that wags the dog) has been pressuring the US to attack Iran or they might. Now, instead of making the case of Iran developing nuclear weapons (which does not seem to be true) the US administration is blaming Iran for supplying weapons to Iraqi militia. This case is not easily made. (Echoes of the false case of WMD in Iraq) In fact, most American casualties have been at the hands of Sunni insurgents and Iran, which supports the Shia Muslims , would not support the Sunni's, with whom historically they have been at odds.

The Iraq/Iran war in the 1980's was a Sunni/Shia clash as is evident in this quote,

"When Iran was attacked by Saddam Hussein in 1980, it is estimated that only 35% of Iran's armed forces remained intact as a result of a violent revolution. Virtually the whole Arab world and the West supported Iraq. Millions of volounteers, as young as 9 years old and as old as 90 and every age inbetween, signed up for the defense of the Iranian mother land called "Sacred Defense". These were later to be referred to as the Iranian "human waves" as they wave after wave knowingly and willingly met their deaths marching forwards on the battle front. This way they managed to push out the invadors and to penetrate deep into Iraqi territory - That's when certain Western powers supplied Saddam Hussein with the chemical ingrediences he needed for his chemical weapons which he used against the Iranians"

Another point to note is that the US as well as all the Arab Sunni States supported Saddam Hussein in this war.

The most important point in this quotation is that Iran defended themselve fiercely, even putting children and old men into the battle and taking large losses, reminiscent of the Russians fighting the Nazis in WWII. Iran now has a well armed million man/woman military.

An attack by the US will unleash a fierce response from Iran putting American soldiers in Iraq at greater risk. Also, the Shia majority in Iraq, who are the allies of the US will turn their militias loose on the US military. At that point all sides in Iraq will be attacking the US troops.

American supply lines and way of retreat is through the Persian Gulf. In a second war with Iran they will be very vulnerable to attack from all sides even in retreat, which is inevitable, for the Iraqi war is lost. Americain losses in men and material will be disasterous just to get out of Iraq.

The ultimate fear is that the US in desperation will use the only truly "Weapon of Mass Destruction," a nuclear bomb on the people of Iran.

Bush is truly mad and needs to be reigned in at this moment in history!

When Iran was attacked by Saddam Hussein in 1980, it is estimated that only 35% of Iran's armed forces remained intact as a result of a violent revolution. Virtually the whole Arab world and the West supported Iraq. Millions of volounteers, as young as 9 years old and as old as 90 and every age inbetween, signed up for the defense of the Iranian mother land called "Sacred Defense". These were later to be referred to as the Iranian "human waves" as they wave after wave knowingly and willingly met their deaths marching forwards on the battle front. This way they managed to push out the invadors and to penetrate deep into Iraqi territory - That's when certain Western powers supplied Saddam Hussein with the chemical ingrediences he needed for his chemical weapons which he used against the Iranians

Monday, February 12, 2007

Culture Clash. . .Gently

Not long ago, I had an exchange of e-mails with a Muslim woman who is studying in Canada. In the light of the fact that Muslims in the United States and Canada are here in significant numbers (larger than Jews) due to recent immigration, we discussed what I believed would be changes they would bring to Canadian society and how Canadian society would change Islam.

She seemed reluctant, even as a sophisticated, well educated, well travelled Muslim woman, to admit that Islam would be changed by its presence in Canada. The fact is the dominant culture always brings changed in the new cultures as they accomadate them and are, in turn, modified by them.

I told her that some day soon a Muslim women will become a newsreader on TV and in so doing will wear her head scarf, hajab. This will become accepted just as we now have Asian and South Asian news people on TV who we now accept as just typically Canadian.

Australia, like Canada and the US has seen an increased number of Muslims emmigrate there. It has not always been easy as they have had social conficts with the Muslim community. Australia's experience with multi-culturalism is relatively new. I now believe they have come to see themselves as an multi-cultural Asian nation rather than an outport of British and European culture.

A small change in Australian culture and Islam is illustrated in the pictures below of a young Muslim woman who had become a lifeguard. Lifeguards that patrol the ocean beaches in Australia are heroic icons, in their culture. They have been white male bastions of the heroic Aussie. Well, that is changing.

Mecca Laa Laa has qualified as a Muslim woman to be lifeguard. To accomadate her they have designed a swimming costume which meets Muslim standards of modesty covering the body and the head. It is also quite cute and fashionable. lgf: The Debut of Mecca Laa Laa

Meet Mecca Laa Laa, Aussie Lifeguard.

Here she is in her burkini

The burkini has been found acceptable of meeting the Islamic tradition of women dressing modestly with their heads and their bodies appropriately covered. it is also very functional for a lifeguard. (for more pictures, Getty Images - Search Mecca Laa Laa)

Change and adjustment in a society need not be a dramatic thing. It can come in small increments, painlessly acceptable to all.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Frankie Laine died the other day. he was 93. Frankie Laine, 93

As a singer he had many hits including "Rawhide"
and "Blazing Saddles". To hear a medley of some of his most popular tune visit
Frankie Laine: It Ain't Over 'til It's Over

My favourite Frankie Laine song is: I BELIEVE

I believe for every drop of rain that falls,
A flower grows,
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night,
A candle glows.
I believe for everyone who goes astray,
Someone will come to show the way.
I believe,I believe.

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer,
Will still be heard.
I believe that someone in the great somewhere,
Hears every word.
Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky.
Then I know why,
I believe.

Evert time I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky.
Then i know why,
I believe.

Lyrics delivered by


When the weather turned so cold I moved my three remaining does indoors. The will be the basis of me rebuilding my rabbitry. I lost my buck and a doe, a few weeks ago, to some kind of predator who managed to open their cage in the shed. I suspect a coyote. I sold one, one died mysteriously and another succumbed to the cold. The three remaining does, a mother and her two offspring are what are left. They seem really happy and content to be inside, even if it is in the cold room. They are more vigorous and friendly and I don't have to contend with frozen water all the time.

I am looking for another buck, a Flemish or New Zealand Giant to cross breed with the does.
When I get one I can move the mating cage indoors (Peggy no doubt would call it the "honeymoon suite". I don't like to anthropromorphize animals, particularly if I might be considering eating them.)

These are the two young does. The tawny one is my favourite and somewhat friendlier. Rabbits do bite and it hurts. I try to give them each a pat when I feed them so they are comfortable with me.

This is the mother rabbit, Veronica and I purchased at the auction in New Liskherd. She is a littel shy and for two days sat very still in the back of the cage such that I thought she was ill. Finally, she warmed (maybe literally) and became as vigorous and the other two.

Bringing animals in the house is not new to me, particularly if it is cold and they are ill. I have had a mother goat and her two kids, in the basement, numerous sick piglets and calves in my kitchen, not to mention starting young chickens; starting with the 100 I had take over an upstairs bedroom. (It is vewry pleasant to wake up to the chirping of your chicks, in the next room. But the dust. . . . .) There have also been numerous dogs and cats and my pot bellied pig for a while.

There are some advantages to living alone. One is you can have your animal friends in without worrying about complains for the "lady of the house". I must say Veronica, for the short time she was here was a gamer and seemed to not mind. We had a couple of occasions while she was here to turn my house into a "barnhof" of sorts.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


This week at Fort Lewis First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is being court martialed for refusing to go to Iraq to serve in the military. This is an act of conscience for he is not a concientious objector for he is willing to serve elsewhere. including Afghanistan. Until this decision he was considered and exemplary soldier. He tried to accomadate the military by offering to resign. This was refused. He even offered to serve six months in jail for refusing to go to Iraq. This was turned down. Apparently, the military want to make an example of him. He is facing, if convicted, four years in jail.

Watada is refusing on the grounds that the war is illegal and for him to serve would be to participate in war crimes. "Citing international law and the U.S. Constitution, he points out that the Iraq war is "manifestly illegal." . . . .: "As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order. It is my duty not to follow unlawful orders and not to participate in things I find morally reprehensible." . . . .
: "My participation would make me party to war crimes." Watada Lawyer Frustrated as Judge Narrows Defense
This decision was come to after long study of Iraq and the circumstances of the waging of war as he thoroughly prepared himself to deploy.

There is no doubt the military will convict him. This is not meant to be a fair trial. The judge is not allowing evidence about the legality of the war, which prevents Watada to put forward his best defense. While a soldier can have a conscience and refuse an illegal order (in fact he is morally obliged to) in practice the military discourageous such moral stands.Making an Example of Ehren Watada

Watada is unique. No other officer has publically refused to go to Iraq. One wonders where the other men of conscience are. The war in Iraq is a preemptive war of aggression. It is a Crime Against Peace, by definition. There should have been more officers refusing to go particularly those of higher rank who presumably are well versed in the American constitution and US international agreements. which are part of American law. It seem those generals who disagreed with this war, quietly resigned ( with their pensions secure, as civilians many have spoken out ) or were professionally passed over by those who were willing to set their conscience aside and answer the call to serve by a President who is now guilty of Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. Under the principle of "command responsibility " the officers who conducted this war are also guilty. it is on the principle of command responsibility that First Lieutenant Watada has felt it necessary to refuse an "illegal" order.

He will courageously pay a price for his act of conscience. One can only hope some of those responsible to prosecuting the war will some day be held accountable for their crimes which must leave them with guilty consciences. It is unlikely the American people will hold them accountable but on the principle of "universal juristiction" those in other countries may arrest them and bring them before the International Criminal Court. They will be at risk of arrest any time they leave the United States. Perhaps, this fear of arrest is all the punishment we can reasonably expect. In contrast, Lt. Watada after serving his sentence will still be a free man of conscience continuing to carry himself with the dignity he has shown during this ordeal.
Instead of Iraq, a battle all his own - Los Angeles Times

(Just before I posted this I read a mistrial was declared in his trial over a technicality and a new court martial be held later)

We Are In The Grip of a Deep Freeze

For the last week we have been "enjoying" very cold weather. The temperature has been below - 15C during the day and below -30C at night. With a little wind chill you can add 15 degrees Celcius. Even here in "southern" Northern Ontario we have had at least one day where it felt like -40C. In the real North, and more westerly part of Ontario, it has been even colder.

I used to like this kind of weather, in small doses. I think my age is showing for I no longer relish going outside in it. It is hard on a person and even harder on some of my animals. Unfortunately, I do not have enough animals to have their body heat keep the barn warm. I remember, fondly, when I did have my barn full, on days like today I could join the animals in the barn and enjoy the soft sounds there of their movement and beathing and the lovely smell of animals, hay and manure. . .yes, manure. There is something invigorating about "farm fresh". You would think some perfumer would have bottled it by now. I comes to cling to your clothes so that when you go to town people give you sideway glances and sometime your own space.

This picture does not do it justice but the trees have frost frozen on the branches. When I look toward the river in the morning there is fog rising off the river and covering the trees with ice lace that glistens in the rising sun.

As you can see from this picture we still do not have much snow here. The bank of snow by the side of the road would normally be waist high. The fields would have at least 2 feet of snow cover. All around us they are getting more snow. In the snow belt in Southern Ontario they have had a lot and north of us they get snow that comes off Lake Superior. Perhaps, we will get a deep snowfall yet.

I went to my unheated attic and took this picture of Jack Frost's handy work. The North facing windows and the skylights are frosted over while the south facing Window's are clear.

A couple of days ago there was a light snow fall. The Dogs seemed to like it. My neighbour's dog Blackie has taken to showing up to play with Ben while his master is off trucking. He is a lovely gentle obedient dog, unlike my Ben. I have brought him in the house at night due to the cold. He quietly tolerates the cats and sleeps in the upstairs hall while Ben takes up his place under my bed.

I fear if Blackie doesn't stay home his master will evenually shoot him, which is the usual fate of a disobedient dog in the country. Only softies, like myself, tolerate, work with, and around, dog behaviour. If my neighbour offered me his dog I would be tempted to take it in.

I used to always have two dogs. Blackie does seem to know where he belongs. Early this morning, I heard my neighbours truck go by as he returned from a night shift. . . . so did Blackie! I opened the door and off he went after the truck.

It is hard to imagine that come March we will be enjoying the first signs of Spring. In the meantime, I have lots to do in the house and I am thinking of starting some plants, indoors to set out in the garden come the end of May. Anything to fight off the cloud of depression that hangs over me this time of year!

Monday, February 05, 2007

An Anniversary for Canadian Bilingualism

Perhaps, the most lasting legacy of the era of Pierre Trudeau, is the transformation of Canada through official bilingualism and multiculturalism. These foci of our cultural life have slow seen Canada become richer and a more open culturally diverse society.

When I was young, Canada was really "two solutudes". French was the language spoken largely among citizens of French heritage in Quebec, New Brunswick and smaller regions in other Provinces. It was the language of daily useage while English remained the language of government and business. The relationship culturally was symbolized for me in the designation of Toronto "the Good" and Montreal "the Bad. Toronto was a stuffy ProtestantBritish city in those years and a cultural wasteland. Montreal, on the other hand, was a Catholic French city, culturally richer and diverse. We in English Canada knew little of the cultural life among Francophones and visa versa. Both Societies were dominated by powerful social elites, the Family Compact in English Canada and the Catholic Church in Quebec.

Forty years ago, the proposal to make Canada officially bilingual, was up for discussion. This meant that government federal services would be delivered in French or English, across the country. This was the beginning of a transformation of Canada. These has been much discussion and struggle over this policy and its implementation and inspiration for other aspects of our society within provincial and municipal governments and even within social institutions and business. Many English speaking Canadians embraced this with French education for their children and themselves.

The success of this program can be seen in the recent report that 80% of Canadians support bilingualism and the number of people who speak both official language has doubled to 16%.
Not yet a large percentage but a growing one.

In my own family, my sister's children became bilingual through French emersion education so that today; one lives in Montreal and daily functions in French and another has studied in a French university. My grandchildren attend a public school that teaches in French. They are thoroughly bilingual. By the time they are ready for high school they will be able to choose to continue in French or English. For their mother's Franco-Ontario family they represent the continuation of their French heritage for another generation.

The multicultural aspect of Trudeau's vision developed along side of bilingualism. The influx of immigrants whose mother tongue was neither English or French have embraced the English or French cultures, and often both. At the same time. they have made great cultural contributions to Canadian culture. Toronto has become a culturally rich with very large immigrant communities. Toronto, the Good, has been transformed into a very cosmopolitan city. Similar transformations have happened in other Canadian cities.

Canada has become a more culturally tolerant Society than our southern neighbour as we have come to celebrate the richness of our differences rather than demanding acculturation means "a melting pot". As an example, of this we saw a a young Cree girl, Akina Shirt, for the Saddle Lake First Nation, sing the national anthem in Cree at a National Hockey League game. There have been no negative comments about this and the general impression in the media is that it was a wonderful cultural expression we all enjoyed.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ground Hog Day

Today is the day that delightful little rodent will be looking for his shadow. In this part of the country he is known as Wiarton Willie, from the small town of Wiarton, Ontario. It is still early here so I am not sure of his verdict. I suspect there will be six more weeks of Winter.

For those who want to know more than they need to about this non event you can read about it at CBC News In Depth: Groundhog Day The most interesting thing I learned was that Ground Hogs hibernate and their body temperature drops to 3C and loses 30 percent of his body weight over Winter. Why is Wiarton Willie so plump each February 2. Is someone cheating ........................???