DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

River Valley Bluegrass

Here we are in mid summer and the River Valley Bluegrass Jamboree. This has become our community's rare claim to fame. Before this there was only logging, the train going through the middle of town and some mineral exploration. Now there is less logging, no more train ( they tore up the main CN line) and lost of mineral exploration BUT still only a hope for riches in minerals.

Here is the agenda for the week.

(click on photo to enlarge)

This is a local Bluegrass group, Honeygrass, on the stage at the Bluegrass Park.

I am not a big fan of this musical event. Spending a weekend in a tent and trailer slum with beer drinkers and smokers is not my idea of a good time. I do get to hear some of the music. In the evening, I can hear it in the park a mile down river from my place.

Bluegrass lovers come from far and wide. Some seem to follow the festivals around the countryside throughout the summer. Much of the entertainment come up from the US.

People do seem to have a good time.

In a week I can once again enjoy Nature's night sounds especially the Whip-poor-Will.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Liberals Under Attack

I have two friends with connections to the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, which was the church that saw a stranger enter the sanctuary and begin firing killing two parishioners and severely wounding several others.

I was quickly contacted by one,thinking I may not have heard of this dreadful attack, here in the Northwood. Of course I had already heard about on the BBC. I sent a note off to the other one to check that he was OK, for I knew he would have been there.

While I have never met either of these e-mail friends in person I have come to know them quite well over the Internet. I feel a great fellowship with them both. The one who was present in the church I have been helping for a couple of years to send money to a family in Cuba, he is trying to help. (our small effort to get around the ridiculous American embargo of that Nation.)
He returned my note with a brief assurance he was alright. He was quite close to the gunman but out of his line of site. He was having trouble sleeping and somewhat shaken for now.

Such gun violence in the United States is not very surprising. Other gatherings and institutions have been targeted in recent years.

It has been unsettling for several years now, particularly during the Bush administration , that "liberal " and "liberalism" have become code words for the enemy in our midst and the source of much which is wrong with America. Such notions invite attack by individuals who have a twisted idea of their country and the historic trends which have shaped it. In earlier times such code words were "communist", "witch" or "enthusiast" (a term used to refer to reformers during the Reformation.) Now it is Liberal. It has been suggested this incident should be considered a hate crime.

The Unitarian and Universalist churches have proudly understood themselves as liberal religion. At one time they were two separate and now one denomination, which were and are religious denominations which came out of the American experience. They are in fact as "American as apple pie" as the expression goes. They emerged from the Calvinism of the Puritans, were transformed by the New England Enlightenment and the Dieism and Progressive thought of the American Founding Fathers. The scientific, social and political movement of the 19th and early 20th Century also played their part to shape the free enlightened non-creedal church of today . The liberal church has been call "America's Fourth Faith" along with Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism, (now a dated notion with Buddhism being the fourth faith by number in the US and Muslims now outnumbering Jews in American.) In the last fifty years, America has become much more religiously pluralistic. It is has been written that Americanism is a religious faith of which Unitarianism is the current manifestation after the fire of faith has died down. The American religious experience will continue to liberalize other faiths in much the same way it has altered American Catholicism .

Those who see Liberalism as a negative force in American culture are lacking in understanding of American history, ideas and tradition. Political liberalism and conservatism, as we know them today are in fact two poles of the same political philosophy, properly called Liberalism, with a progressive and a conservative wing. Surely, they still teach "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill!

Ironically, for a person to want to attack a Unitarian church,who had the complaints this man had in Knoxville, is to attack part of the community who would most want to resolve the grievances he had, begiining with hearing him out followed by some social activism to make things better. It is not the liberal community who promotes the idea of radical individualism where everyone must sink or swim on their own, leaving people to despair. On the contrary, they are commited to community responsibility and service.

I would hope that those who demonize liberalism would think and question whether their angry overstatements and jaded judgements are partially responsible for attacks on liberal people and institutions. They need to temper their hateful attacks on liberalism.

The Unitarian Church takes great pride on being an open and welcoming institution willing to risk difficulties from strangers and the ill. They are mostly caringly redirected from any disruptive behaviour. This day, this was not an option, tragically.

It will be a sad day when fear and distrust sees entrances to churches protected with security guards and metal detectors.

I am sure the Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville will recover from the shock and fear of their experience. In the end, they will reaffirm their deeply held faith in religious openness and their commitment in the fundemental goodness of mankind to once again welcome the stranger in their midst. Their faith is strong and profound, moreso than oursiders will ever appreciate.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My River

It is a beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot. It is worthy of note only because we have had a month and a half of rather rainy weather. Great growing weather but must be giving hay farmers ulcers: they need hot drying days now.

It has been a while since I posted pictures of my river , the Temagami. It crosses my property which has a mile of frontage. I feel possessive toward it although we are at best privileged to be stewarts of nature's gifts like rivers.

The Temagami drains out of the historic highlands of the Temagami Wilderness forest. It is one of the best accessable canoe tripping areas in Canada which of course has endless canoe routes.

Many of the canoe routes of rivers, lakes and portages predate European settlement when this exquisite land was the home of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the Eastern Woodlands Ojibwe people.

(click on photo to enlarge)

This is looking downstream (west) from the Bailey bridge on my property. If you enlarge the picture you can see the peek of the log cabin we built a few years ago for my son and his children can use as a summer camp, a place to build memories.

The river is vey full, witness to the rainfall we have had.

This is the view from the other end of the bridge still looking downstream. I have gone to great lengths to protect the banks of the river. When I had cattle I fenced them in so they could not reach the river. Most of the 10,000 trees I have planted were planted along the river. For thirty years, I have watched the natural regeneration of the slope across from the camp. It is now just showing dramatic improvements. If you have ever viewed the the slideshow of the cabin in the sidebar there is a picture of this stretch of river in 1922 stripped of its trees due to farm use and the log drive which passed down the river every Spring.

I only wish my neighbours were as protective of the river as I am.

This is the view of the river looking upstream (East) from the bridge. The water is very clean, cool and sparkling. I pump my drinking water from it. It is soft and wonderful for washing your hair. Throughout its course it passes over rock, sand and gravel. There are only two properties above here before the forest access road enters the Temagami Forest Preserve.

The sky today is worthy of the Friday Sky Watch Posting group, (to which I don't belong) managed by Tom of Wigger's World

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Canada's Funny Money

When my friend Veronica, the fair Floridian, lived here and shared my life for a while, she loved to go to "the store that gives you money." This is our much loved Canadian Tire Stores, perhaps, second only to Tim Horton's Donuts as our favourite retailer. Both stores are national Canadian icons, holding our our country together, "from sea, to sea, to sea." much like the railroad and Eaton's Catalogue once did.

Canadian Tire Stores, which began as automotive supply distributer is a large retailer which rivals Walmart in Canada. When the American Walmart invaded Canada, Canadian Tire took up the retailing challenge and enlarged and expanded their stores to meet the challenge of the aggressive American invader.

I think Canadian Tire Money is a unique marketing device. I am not aware of any similar programs in North America. It had its origins in the days when gas stations gave out green stamps, or premium products like mugs, or toasters, or whatever to get you to buy your gas at their station. How we miss those days! I collected a lovely set of Canadiana mugs from the Shell Station. Now we are just grateful we can afford a 1/4 fill up with no premium offered. ( We even have to pump it ourselves.)

Except at the Canadian Tire stores and gas bars. When you make a non-credit card purchase, they give you Canadian Tire Money with your change. It is valued at 4% (of the purchase).

At the retail store, they often give you another coupon that directs the gas bar to give you up to four times the value of Canadian Tire Money. Oh, it adds up fast.

Canadians love their Canadian Tire money. They accumulate it to use for a special purchase. Or the kids play with it. Or they drop it in some charities jar on the counter. It fills the glove compartment in the car or the junk drawer in the kitchen until someone decides to use it. Some even collect it as a valuable Canadian memorabilia.

I would not think of going to the Canadian Tire Store without enough cash for my purchase so I could get the "Money". I have saved it until I had enough to purchase something for free (It feels like free). I have saved it for my grandchildren to use. I have even given it as a gift.

In our town, other retailers will honour Canadian Tire money at face value. This is their way of trying to capture some of Canadian Tire patrons to their store.

All of this came to mind this morning when CNN had a piece on how to save money at the gas bar. Some stations, in the US, are now giving a discount for cash payment. And so they should. All retailers save the credit card fee on every cash sale.

The Canadian Tire Money leaves everyone a winner. The store creates a loyal customer link to their store. The store gets more cash sales and avoids the credit card fee they have to pay. While the discount is 4% there is lots of Canadian Tire money that never is redeemed so the actual percentage for the store is a lot less. The customer feels they are getting a break and something for nothing. Canadian Tire Money has branded the stores like nothing else can and made it one of our favourite Canadian retailers.

It is a mystery to me why more retailers have not adopted this retailing program. I would have thought the more aggressive American retailers would have taken up this Canadian marketing technique.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Think I Need a Good Laugh!

My blog pal Possum is away at a retreat and conference with the Dalai Lama. What a special opportunity that must be. I could use a little of what he has too offer.

This gave me a good laugh!

How about a solitary get away in Pangnirtung . near the Auyuittuq (The land that never melts)National Park Reserve., a place to loose yourself and touch the Divine. Here is how one couple found it.

If all this seem a little strange it is because I am still trying to get over the loss of my dog, Gage.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I have been Tagged

I have been tagged by blogger Daffy to try the following

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123.

3.Find the 5th sentence

4. Post the next three sentences

5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I am going to pass on tagging anyone else. But if you try it and get interesting results post on it.

The book I picked up is "Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and It's People" by Roy MacGregor.
This is my current read. It was a gift from my grandchildren for Fathers' Day

On page 123: here are the next three sentences after the fifth one.

"All this for a player who wouldn't even be dressed for the games.

Lester Pearson, appearing before a London audience in 1939, many years before he'd win the Nobel Peace Prize or become prime minister, told his baffled audience that hockey is not just a game to Canadians. "It is perhaps fitting" Pearson said, "that this fastest of all games has become almost as much a symbol as the maple leaf or the beaver. Most young Canadians, in fact, are born with skates on their feet rather than with a silver spoon in their mouths""

I thought this random passage is telling. How Canadian is it that is is about hockey. It even manages to memtion Pearson, the maple leaf and beavers.

Note: Roy MacGregor is a newspaper columnist who has written many books. I have read a couple of them and enjoyed particularly the one about his father who worked all his life in the Bush, "A Life in the Bush". He has also written a series of 20 children's books, "the Screech Owl Mystery Series" which are about a travelling childrens hockey team and the life learning adventures they have. MacGregor is a lovely story teller. He has done well for a school drop out.


Thanks for your Concern. . . .But

My Internet service has been down since Friday so I am a little late in writing this.

I appreciate everyone's kind concern and encouraging words over the loss of my lovely dog, Gage.

I did not write that he was missing but that he was gone. I had decided he was not returning.

For several days, I looked everywhere for him. . .not that there are many places to look. I live in a place where there is only one road crossing the property, most of which I own. Gage was not a dog to wander off. He occasionally, would go into the bush across the road but never for long. Mostly he stayed around the house, not even going into the barn yard for he learned the electric fence would bite him. (If only my piglets would learn that lesson. ) Often he would just lie on the verandah or give his little quiet bark which meant he wanted to come in with the people.

I seldom went anywhere without him. When I did I would put him in the house or let him sit in the truck while I was gone. He did not follow vehicles down the road.

The day he disappeared I had put him in the house as I was going with a neighbour to fix the tractor across town. Before I was picked up Dave came out with his two dogs and Gage came too. Instead of putting him in again I firgured he would not follow the truck and would stay with the other dogs and Dave. This figured to be a fatal mistake.

The best explanation as to what had happened to Gage is that a neighbour shot him. He started to follow the truck when I left but did not cross the hill in the road just after a neighbour's gate.

At the time another neighbour was there having just finished unloading some firewood. We waved as is the custom here. He left right behind us with his tractor and wagon. and Gage followed him, probably with encouragement. Certainly, he was not discouraged or send home.

Dave saw the dog follow the tractor. A short time later Dave heard a shot. (Dave does not always get things very clear.)

This neighbour who lives about a mile away has a long history of shooting dogs. I know of half a dozen he has shot near his place. I always worried about my dogs and did everything to discourage them from taking the road toward town.

Why would a person do this when he knows that the dog is a beloved pet? Because he can and can get away with it. Some people just like to exercise their ultimate control over things and see them die. I have know this person for over 30 years and never held him in high regard for a long list of reasons. He is a rural low life.

In the country there are many people that have little regard for animal life. It is one of the things about living in such a backwater rural area that does not recommend it. Particularly, for a person like myself who considers all life sacred and people having a special responsibility toward protecting animals and wild life. Whenever such life is taken, as in hunting or trapping it is best done our of necessity, skillfully and with reverence. I have found professional hunters and trappers, for the most part behave this way.

It would be nice to think that Gage would suddenly appear after being lost in the bush but this will not happen. I have met personally with the dog catcher who has promised to call if he is turned in with the human society as a stray.

My grief will be long with me. My wonderful memory of our short life together will warm my heart and bring a smile to my lips, more so as time passes.

Sometime from now I will look for a gentle giant of a dog who needs a home and a human companion and try again.

Once again, Thanks, for you expression of concern in the comments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Beloved Dog, Gage, is Gone

Two days ago, while I was off helping a friend, Gage disappeared. I have not been able to find out anything concerning his wereabouts. I have searched everwhere and asked everyone. I even personally spoke to the dog catcher and he didn't have him.

Needless, to say I am deeply saddened.

Gage was not with me long but we readily became fast friends. I shall miss his gentle nature. His acceptance of the other animals, particulary the cats and the Runt. I will miss his exuberance outside and his quiessence inside. I particularly will miss his lying on my bed whenever I was at the commuter. I will even miss having to encourage him to move over and give me more pillow when I wanted to get into bed.

If Gage is dead, I hope he did not suffer. If someone has him I hope they return the affection he is willing to give his care giver. It has been a blessing having him share his life with me for the short time we have been together.

For year to come I will remember and speak of this wonderful dog who came into my Life.
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We All Rested on the Verandah

We all were resting on the Verandah yesterday. Here Gage is flaked out in his familiar sleeping pose. June's wee dog thought he would get to know the Runt better.

We are a pretty laid back bunch.

Gage is long suffering as the wee dog tries to get him to play by climbing on his face. Gage is very gentle. The two times I have had to drag him off the neighbour's dog as he had it in a death grip to the neck have really surprised me. Unfortunately, the dog he has tangled with is not the bull terrier which killed my last dog. Now I have the biggest dog in the area. Others will have to learn to show him some respect. Unless you are just a tiny tea cup poodle (a sad freak of Nature) then he his kind and gentle.

The little dog is not the one I showed a couple of weeks back . That one died. I think the vet made a mistake. She gave the dog oral heart worm medication which she said was the same dosage for all dogs. The dog had a seisure type reaction right away and through the day got weaker and died. The drug company is paying for the $400 vet bill to watch the dog die and the autopsy to see what happened. I can't believe the dose is the same for a 100 pound dog and a two pound dog.

June was distraught over the loss of her $1.500 dog (Yikes! too much money for a dog) The breeder gave her this replacement ( a little larger dog) It is almost full grown now. This is all a very sad tale.

I am glad Gage seems to enjoy this tiny mutt. If he didn't he could dispatch it in short order.

I am please the Runt seems to be willing to tolerate the wee mutt.

For those of you who were interested in the raised garden I built for Dave here it is with lots of plants growing. The cucumbers and squash will flow out of it. There are a few potato and tomato plants as well as cabbage and broccoli. I put some leeks in it. There are also some beets and swiss chard. With the amount of rain we have had, it has not been necessary to water this garden which I thought would readily dry out raised up as it is.
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Just Sittin' with the Runt

I took the advice and sat on the porch swing to enjoy a few relaxing moments.

Who could refuse that face. Runt wanted to join me, as Gage looked on.

Runt lay at my feet and I gave him a foot massage.

He likes to be tickled just ahead of his fore leg.

He would let you massage him all day long. These little encounters ease the stress for both of us.
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Shad Flies Galore

The Annual invasion of the Shad flies is upon us. Their brief but impressive appearance is upon us.

This is the lowly shad fly that each year rises out of Lake Nipissing. Multipy by the millions.

Shad flies cling to all surfaces in North Bay at the East end of the lake.

For their short duration shop keepers have to sweep them up each morning.

The shadfly's brief life has only one purpose . . . . .reproduction. After some vigorous reproduction activity they die. The shad fly is a source of food for fish, birds and bats. The walleye population in Lake Nipissing is nourished by them. Their appearance each year is a good sign of the health of the lake and Nature in general.

To read more about this lowly fly and its annual invasion visit.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of July :Time to Remember

I am flying my Amercan flag today as a salute to my American friends and family members.

It is no liberty bell but I will ring my farm bell fifty times today, once for each State.

It is a good day to read the Declaration of Independence. a most remarkable , inspirational, political document. Here is the beginning portion.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. . . . . . . ."

How far the beloved Republic has fallen under the tenure of George W. Bush. (199 days to go. . . .but who is counting!)

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

-Mark Twain

Here is a celebration of America by Walt Whitman, at a time when the people lived close to the land, working and playing hard to fashion their lives and a Nation.

Our Old Feuillage

ALWAYS our old feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula — always the priceless delta
of Louisiana —always the cotton-fields of Alabama and
Always California's golden hills and hollows, and the silver
mountains of New Mexico — always soft-breath'd Cuba,
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern sea, inseparable
with the slopes drain'd by the Eastern and Western seas,
The area the eighty-third year of these States, the three and a half
millions of square miles,
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the
main, the thirty thousand miles of river navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families and the same number of
dwellings — always these, and more, branching forth
into numberless branches,
Always the free range and diversity — always the continent
of Democracy;
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada,
the snows;
Always these compact lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing
the huge oval lakes;
Always the West with strong native persons, the increasing density
there, the habitans, friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East — all deeds promiscuously done at
all times,
All characters, movements, growths, a few noticed, myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things gathering,
On interior rivers by night in the glare of pine knots, steam-boats
wooding up,
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the
valleys of the Potomac and Rappahannock, and the valleys of
the Roanoke and Delaware,
In their northerly wilds beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks

the hills, or lapping the Saginaw waters to drink,
In a lonesome inlet a sheldrake lost from the flock, sitting on
the water rocking silently,
In farmers' barns oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done,
they rest standing, they are too tired,
Afar on arctic ice the she-walrus lying drowsily while her cubs
play around,
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail'd, the farthest polar
sea, ripply, crystalline, open, beyond the floes,
White drift spooning ahead where the ship in the tempest dashes,
On solid land what is done in cities as the bells strike midnight
In primitive woods the sounds there also sounding, the howl of the
wolf, the scream of the panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk,
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead lake, in summer
visible through the clear waters, the great trout swimming,
In lower latitudes in warmer air in the Carolinas the large black
buzzard floating slowly high beyond the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar festoon'd with tylandria, the pines and
cypresses growing out of the white sand that spreads far and flat,
Rude boats descending the big Pedee, climbing plants, parasites with
color'd flowers and berries enveloping huge trees,
The waving drapery on the live-oak trailing long and low, noiselessly
waved by the wind,
The camp of Georgia wagoners just after dark, the supperfires and
the cooking and eating by whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons, the mules, cattle, horses, feeding
from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees,
the flames with the black smoke from the pitch-pine curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing, the sounds and inlets of North Carolina's
coast, the shad-fishery and the herring-fishery, the large
sweep-seines, the windlasses on shore work'd by horses, the
clearing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest in piney woods turpentine dropping from the
incisions in the trees, there are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work in good health, the ground in all
directions is cover'd with pine straw;
In Tennessee and Kentucky slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge,
by the furnace-blaze, or at the corn-shucking,
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long absence, joyfully
welcom'd and kiss'd by the aged mulatto nurse,
On rivers boatmen safely moor'd at nightfall in their boats under
shelter of high banks,Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle, others sit on the gunwale smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing
in the Great Dismal Swamp,
There are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss,
the cypress-tree, and the juniper-tree;
Northward, young men of Mannahatta, the target company from
an excursion returning home at evening, the musket-muzzles
all bear bunches of flowers presented by women;Children at play, or on his father's lap a young boy fallen asleep,
(how his lips move! how he smiles in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi,
he ascends a knoll and sweeps his eyes around;California life, the miner, bearded, dress'd in his rude costume,
the stanch California friendship, the sweet air, the graves one
in passing meets solitary just aside the horse-path;
Down in Texas the cotton-field, the negro-cabins, drivers driving
mules or oxen before rude carts, cotton bales piled on banks
and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting up and wide, the American Soul,
with equal hemispheres, one Love, one Dilation or Pride;
In arriere the peace- talk with the Iroquois the aborigines, the
calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbitration, and indorsement,

I trust everyone enjoys this day of celebration with family, friends and neighbours.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

400th Anniversary of Quebec City

It was 400 years ago today that Samuel de Champlain established Quebec City as the first settlement of New France.

Quebec City is a unique city in North America. It is a historic city which is North America's most European type city. It is the urban centre of French culture in Canada. As well there
is an historic English community here. Also, interestingly, there is a strong Irish connection here as well. It is a fascinating history.

I have only been to Quebec city once but I would love to go again. Today would be a wonderful day to be there.

I hope you enjoy the video tour below.

I love the lyrical Quebecois tune "Mon Pays" . It has been appropriated by les seperatistes as their anthem. (sigh). Hence the two portraits of Rene Levesque and Jacques Pariseau, on the opening panel. I chose this video as the words are on it and you can sing along.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Only in Canada, You Say!

Watching the Canadian News last night it dawned on me the items could never be mistaken for American news.

Here are some of the item types you would not find on American News broadcasts.

1. A carbon tax on fossil fuels was implemented in British Columbia. The Liberal Party would like to impliment a similar scheme federally when they come to power. The purpose of this tax is to encourage lower carbon emission options to protect the environment. It is recommended by some of the best scientific advice as a way of curbing CO2 emisions.There was no great anti-tax protest, just begrudging acceptance. This put gas over the $1.50 a litre.

2. Dr Henry Morgentaler was awared Canada's highest honour, The Order of Canada, for his lifetime of extending women's medical options. Beginning in the 60's he defied the law and went to jail many times for assuring women the right of choice in having an abortion. Largely, through his high profile struggle to run his abortion clinics, abortion came to be accepted in Canada as a medical decision which a women had a right to consider as a very personal option.

There has been some public comment (no politician has said much). A Catholic priest expressed his opinion of dissent on TV but there was not public outcry and the news media did not run around generating contraversy where none exists by interviewing every anti-abortion crazy they could find as American media so often does in the name of "balanced reporting". This morning there is some chatter that people should try to get the award withdrawn. This will die a-borning.

3,On the Canadian Military Base in Kandahar, Afghanistan Maureen Eykelenboom, the mother of deceased solder Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom, donated $80,000 as "Boomers legacy" to make medical emergency attention to local Afghans, particularly children. Apparently, her son was very interested in helping the local people. Her words are touching and telling,

"We in Canada, in our safety, in our beautiful country, in our land of opportunity, we have so much. And we need to learn in this world that (from) those to whom much is given, much is expected," . . .
Eykelenboom said people who put on a uniform, whether soldier, police officer or firefighter, and willingly risk their lives to protect strangers deserve Canadians' gratitude.
. . . . It doesn't take being killed to be a hero -- it takes being willing," she said.
Eykelenboom, who created "Boomer's Legacy" to remember her son's personalized efforts to help individual Afghans after the misery he witnessed in the field, handed Task Force Afghanistan a cheque Tuesday for $80,000.

I think her comment reflect Canada's years of expecting Canadian soldiers to be peacekeepers for "stranger" rather than warriors to defend "our freedom and way of life". Her act of selfless love and generosity of others, for which her son came to care . I found particularly touching.

4. A hockey story, in the middle of Summer, was one of the lead stories rivaling the Canada Day celebrations. The Stanley Cup was taken to Newfoundland by Dan Cleary, one of the Detroit Red Wing players ,so the people in his home down could enjoy it and celebrate the fact that one of their own was on the winning Detroit team. (This is a custom that every player can take the cup home during the years. It has even lovingly been taken to Russia). One can only guess at how important this occasion was to some when you hear a little lad in his best Newfoundand accent, with reverence, say "I's touch the Stanley Cup." Whereever it goes Canadians flock to see and touch this icon of hockey supremacy.

4. The televised celebration of Canada Day in the Ottawa was so typically Canadian. For the most part it was a musical celebration by Canadian groups where modest love of country was celebrated. There was little overstated patriot talk. People talked of what Canada meant to them as a multicultural country where the enjoy security and freedom. A recent survey indicated native born and immigrant Canadians readily share the same values. Those who worry that Canada's large immigrant population will change Canadian values or clash with them have nothing to fear.

What is always most striking both the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and Governor General , Her Excellency Right Honourable Michaelle Jean casually moved among the crowd and greeted people. There were no men in black surrounding them. (I do believe each has a single RCMP officer who accompanies them for security.) Even General Rick Hillier was there greeting people. It was his last day as Canada's top soldier. All in all it was a relaxed enjoyable day in the sun.

The diferences between Canadian and American culture is occasionally quite stark but most often they are subtle, a difference in attitude by degree rather than contrast.

We as a people still seem to reflect our mandate of our country and our community to seek "peace, order and good government."