DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 .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.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The War of 1812

The coming year will be the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. It is a much neglected war in the United States Britain and  Canada. It is largely forgotten; when it is referred to it is debated as to who really won  or lost it.

It was a war of aggression by the United States initiate by a Republican government. Since the end of the Revolutionary war the Americans has eyed the remnant of British North America as ripe for the taking. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams believed that Canada could be easily annexed to the United States. By the time of Madison's Presidency the idea of manifest destiny was growing so that many Americans came to believe it was the United States God given right to hold reign over all of North America. Anger of British interference on US and French trade was the excuse to for war.The United States declared War against Britain in 1812. It was to be a "cakewalk" (to use a current term).

 Aging Generals, from the Revolutionary War were dusted off to lead militia in their attack of the Canada's; Upper (Ontario) and Lower (Quebec). They proved to not to be very effective against the better lead British defense force, Canadian volunteers and native allies. Sir Isaac Brock ably lead the British and colonial forces while Tecumseh  lead the native allies.

British North America was successfully defended at Detroit, Niagara, Kingston and the border for Quebec.

Who won the war? The Americans claim to have won it on the basis of defeating the British Navy when it tried to take Louisiana. This battle was won after the war was officially over with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.. The British felt they won because the has successfully rebuffed the invasion of the Canadas. and the nuisance presence they had in the mid-Atlantic states including the attack on Washington where they burned down the White House.  The Canadian settlers celebrated that they successfully protected their farms and villages and remained under British parliamentary rule that they viewed as superior to American republican rule. Even the French Canadians lead by French officers, such as Charles de Salaberry, preferred the British to the Americans. They had come to accept British rule and many of their elite served in the British military. In Upper Canada there were many settlers who were United Empire Loyalists who fled to Canada as a result of being on the losing side of the Revolutionary War. They rejected being part of the United States a second time. It seem the only ones who did not win were the First Nation's people under their leader Tecumseh
They had come to believe that the British would guarantee them a territory (country of their own). The were betrayed. Not being party to the peace treaty they were not well defended by the British. Their territory was taken over by the Americans. Some relocated to Canada where generally they were better treated. As I have mentioned in a previous post Manitoulin Island was repopulated at this time by the groups which came to be known as the Three Fires Council: Potawotami, Ojibwe and Otawa. A similar migration has occurred after the Revolutionary War when the Six Nations Reserve was settled by Iroquois from all tribes in  the Iroquois Confederacy and other tribes who had supported the British side in that conflict Joseph Brant was their much admired leader. This pattern of resettlement of people from the US territory became an historic pattern (fugitive slaves, draft dodgers, discouraged American Liberals,) which persists today.

To read the background to this war I suggest historian T. Robert Fowler's essay.

I recently watched the PBS documentary on the War of 1812. It is a very interesting history lesson from the American point of view. I understand a Canadian documentary of the War is under development in Canada for the coming year. I watched the PBS documentary on my computer ( you can view it here still.) The documentary features two participants, one an American Kentucky militiaman, William Atherton, and a British soldier, Shadrach Byfield Both of these men survived the war and wrote accounts of their experience in it. I located these text on the Internet Archive and read them. Here they are: the one by Atherton and the one by Byfield. for those interested in reading original texts I recommend them.

I was particularly interested in Atherton's account. He was a fiercely proud Kentuckian and a loyal American. He was capture by the Potowatomi Indians in Michigan. He was in fact adopted by them. He came to respect them and spoke of some kindness shown him while sharing in their harsh life style. He came to leave them and surrender to the British who treated him as a prisoner of war. Such prisoners were harshly treated often with lack of sufficient food, heat or shelter. British prisons were dreadfully sparse, cold, vermin infected places where treatment was often harsh. Atherton came to recall that his treatment under the Potowatomi was so much better that under the British. After the war he was released. He was taken with others into Vermont and released with no food, adequate clothing or money to find their own way home. For him it would be a trek of 1,000 miles. He often got little or no help along the way. He particularly speaks badly of how he was treated in New York State where he says there were many Tories who were not particularly supportive of the American War against British North America. In fact, they traded goods across the border during the war. Atherton was often told the food the British got in Lower Canada was often food from the United States. One such American trader was Francis Duclos,  He had been  a hero of the Revolutionary War who now betrayed the US by passing on intelligence from Federalists (who opposed the war) to the British in Canada. It seems the border even back then was only casually respected by those who lived along it.

He finally made it back to his beloved Kentucky and lived out the rest of his life as a Methodist minister.

Our present Conservative Canadian government has made it know they are going to celebrate, in a very public way, the bicentennial  of the War of 1812 in the coming year. I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand I think this history is interesting and important to know but on the other hand I fear the Conservatives will treat it in an shallow and exagerated patriotic way making more of its' significance than it warrants. (They already have show themselves to be such patriots) This kind of flag waving leave me uncomfortable. They will be spending money on monuments and battle sites as well as educational efforts. It will be interesting to see how they treat it. I think they will try to make of it a great Canadian War that helped shaped Canada as a Nation. I am not so sure this is the case. It was a British War to begin with. Canadians fought to defend their farms and homes as well as defending the rule under Britain. They learned, if they did not know it already,  that they were not Americans more so than they were Canadians, after all they were loyal British subjects. 

Canada has emerged as a country gradually. The war of 1812 may have had something to do with it but what welded the country together as a Nation is best understood a Canadas successful involvement in WWI, It was the heroic and successful battles fought by Canadians as a distinct Corp within the British military, symbolized in the Vimy Ridge battle, that say Canada gain a great sense of nationhood. It  would be, 1948,  before the  Canadian passport reached its final form..

It will be amusing to follow the Canadian and American's different handling of the history of the War of 1812 this coming year. One thing that I think we can both celebrate is that in this 200 years  Canada and the United States have been peacefully neighbours along a very long border. We have our differences but we always find ways to working them out without resorting to violence. There are few countries in the World who have accomplished this for this length of time.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where Credit is Due

I am often loathe to give the Conservative Party credit for anything. This time they surprised me. I would not have expected them to do this.

Recently, in the Ottawa area a young teen aged boy, Jamie Hubley, who suffered from depression committed suicide. Life had gotten to difficult for him to envision life getting to better. Among his difficulties was that he was often a victim of bullying at school. He was different. He was openly gay and had tried to form a club a school of students who were sympathetic to the issues homosexuals face in our society. For this he had been tormented and even physically abused. He was apparently one of those students that teenagers feel they can pick on. He was interested in acting and figure skating and I assume a more gentle soul that his tormentors.

Jamie was the son of a local politician so his family was well know. As a result, he became a cause célèbre .

To their credit some Conservative members of parliament as well a some staff members made the following video in support of gay youth to try to get the message out that life will get better.

Who would have expected this from the Conservatives? Apparently, not I! It is too their credit that they did it.

I Canada we often like to compare our political conservatives with the American conservatives, our Conservatives and their Republicans. While they share a lot in common, they are different, mainly because of the differences in culture. Canadian Conservatives, like Canadians in general are less strident, less religious (certainly not a requirement legitimacy) that our American conservative cousins. They also are shaped by the more liberal and progressive culture of Canada, which they in some ways hope to move to the right.

As a result of these differences, with the exception of a few arch conservative members from Western Canada, the Conservative Party is not ready to dismantle our universal health care system, or change the law to allow for capital punishment, or restrictions on abortions, or nullify same sex marriage. The prime minister, who is a member of a religiously conservative denomination that would support such initiatives has made it clear they are not on the table. He knows such meddling would be political suicide (and besides our legal system has largely been the branch of government that has changed these laws based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

When the Conservative Party was reformed several years ago they jettisoned the name of the old Progressive Conservative Party. It seems Canada is not ready for a radically conservative party yet to yet so the present Conservative Party is much like it predecessor, fiscally conservative and socially progressive, not willing to undo the the progressive institutions that Liberals and New Democrats ushered in over the years. At least not, yet.

The Conservatives Government has even committed itself to promote gay rights among Commonwealth Countries ( and I would hope among the Francaphonie) where homosexuality is still often considered illegal, a grounds for discrimination and even punishable by death)

In the mean time, I welcome the Conservatives willingness to be supportive of homosexual youth, in Canada, with their generous and heart felt video "It Gets Better".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grieving . . .

"If You Know What I Mean"

I shed a tear this morning when I learned of the death of a man I never met in person.

I knew him through his blog which revealed things about him through brief and cryptic conversations he had with his friend Philip. Here is a memorial account about him which appeared in this mornings' Globe and Mail.

His name is Tony. He was homeless and well known on the street in his neighbourhood on Toronto. He was befriended by a fellow named Philip who helped him publish his blog, which I have faithfully read for some time.(I invite you to visit it and read it.) It is a blog so different from mine in that his postings are brief and reveal small details of his life and thoughts, without editorial content.. Over a long time I found I came to learn about him and his life. Some of this is written about in the newspaper link above. I came to like him. He was witty. I am not sure he understood how much. He was quick to respond when someone said something he found foolish, but without malice. He accepted his life as his own terms.. He never complained or blamed others for his circumstance.. He was at home among the people in his neighbourhood.

His friend, Philip, not only recorded his postings but also was his foil in the brief conversations which so often made me smile or illicit a response from me with his hint of an emotion.

Here is a posting that touched me very much in its' pathos with his quiet acceptance of his alienation from his daughter and his understated gratitude of the brief visit.
"“You know who I saw yesterday? You won’t believe it. It was my daughter and my two grandkids with her. I didn’t even know it was them when they were standing there. Then there’s a boy, he comes up to me and hands me a $5 bill. So of course I say thank you and he says that I shouldn’t be thanking him, I should thank his Mom, you know, Tanya. So there’s Tanya standing there and we talked a bit. That was a treat"
This passage could very well have ended with the phrase he seemed to use a lot. "If you know what I mean!." I often found myself looking for it in a new posting.. It made me laugh every time he used it.

I shall miss Tony's blog , reading his efficient poignant postings. I wish I had met him. I hope he knew how much he was appreciated and how he touched peoples lives. He certainly touched mine, "If you know what I mean!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Canadian Women Declared "Persons"

"[T]heir Lordships have come to the conclusion that the word "persons" in sec. 24 includes members both of the male and female sex and that, therefore, ... women are eligible to be summoned to and become members of the Senate of Canada, and they will humbly advise His Majesty accordingly."

With this judgement in October 1929 of the Privy Council of the British government, Canadian women were declared "persons" allowing women to be appointed to the Canadian Senate which was according the the British North American Act (the British law that established Canada). Until this ruling "persons" for the purpose of this act only referred to men and excluded women.

A group of five women has taken a case to the Canadian Supreme Court to have "persons" declared to mean women as well as men. The Supreme Court in 1927 upheld the traditional view that "persons" for the purpose of the BNA Act did not refer to women. As a result, the case was appealed to the British Privy Council, who in their lordly wisdom overruled the Supreme Court of Canada and declared the reference in the Act referred to women as well as men.

Five years later a woman was appointed to the Senate for the first time. Agnes MacPhail had been the first woman elected to the House of Commons in 1921 shortly after women won the vote in Canada.

Another outcome of this case was the acceptance of the "living tree doctrine" in applying judgments of the Supreme Court by recognizing the Constitution as an organic concept that must respond and change with the times.

The five women who pursued this case were a remarkable social activist bunch. Most of them were from Alberta. In Calgary today there is an identical statue to the one outside parliament in Ottawa ( part of which is seen below.)

Part of the Statue to the five women who won the "persons" case

Here seated are Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir sharing a cuppa tea

The other remarkable women of the "Famous Five", involved in this suit were Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby and Nellie Mooney McClung. All Canadians owe these accomplished women a great honour for advancing the state of our parliament democracy.

Whenever I think of or read about this historic decision I remind myself that this did not make our democracy complete. Chinese were denied the vote until 1947 and prison inmates did not get the vote until 2002 . I think it is important that a democracy seek to expand the right to vote. There has been a history of expanding the franchise.

This differs from the United States where is a long history of efforts to expand the franchise while at the same time there are those who creatively try to limit it. ( eg, fewer polling booths in poor districts and more in wealthy districts, attempts to deny citizenship to children born in the US whose parents are illegal immigrants, gerrymandering, literacy tests, untrustworth voting machines, etc.) I look forward to the day when the voting age in Canada is lowered to 16.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Remember Hazel

I was 11 years old and it was beginning to rain when I got my newspapers together to deliver along my route, a day to remember October 15, 1954. It was the beginning of Hurricane Hazel. (cbc video) I was aware that it was going to be a rain storm but I don't think I really understood the implications of a hurricane. A neighbour lady, Mrs Weakley, saw me struggling to get to the place where my route began. She must have understood more than I did for she offered to drive me around my route so I could get home earlier. It was not until the next day that I realized how bad it was as I heard tales of how they were travelling by boat up #10 highway, Hurontario Street. The creek that passed in front of Lynne's house on Old River Road had overflowed it banks and flooded this major roadway.

The news was bad in the Toronto area as the rivers and stream that drained through the city overflowed and swept away bridges, rail beds and houses including one side of a whole street. In the end, 82 people died.

We lived in a wooded area that had little damage. I do not remember any trees coming down. We were one of the few houses that had no sump pump in the basement. luckily we had no flooding in the house.

I cannot remember if we had a TV by then. I do not remember watching any TV programs about the storm. My mother would have been listening to the news on the CBC and telling me all about it.

Hurricane Hazel is well remembered in Toronto. It was a rare event. For some reason the storm turned inland rather than take it's usual path up the US coast to the Maritime Provinces or turned east out into the North Atlantic. I have since learned it was a category 4 Hurricane when it came ashore in the Carolina (a US audio broadcast) It was expected to weaken over the land which it did for a while and then picked up strength as it went northwest straight over the Toronto area with winds of 110 miles an hour dropping 7 inches of rain. It left a lasting impression on Toronto, as the first community disaster broadcast on TV.

Hurricane Hazel shaped Toronto for the better as it saw the city develop an elaborate flood control scheme along the water ways through the city, which prevented people from building on the river's edges so that the city now has well developed parkland and green belts along the water ways. They have never been test since.

My home town, which is now the city of Mississauga, refers to its mayor as "Hurricane Hazel" McCallion. She has been the mayor for forty years and has seen my home community of Toronto Township plus several small communities, be developed into the 6th largest city in Canada. At 90 years old, she is still a force in municipal politics. .

I have learned that Hurricane Hazel was the worst hurricane to come ashore that year on the east coast and caused a lot of damage in the United States.

In North Carolina, a popular dance club Sonny's Ocean Drive Pavillion was destroyed and never rebuilt.This is where it got interesting for me. It was a place to go shagging (I only knew that as meaning sexual intercourse) which got my attention. I have never heard of Shag dancing, a style of swing dancing popular in the Carolinas even to this day. I believe it is the state dance of North Carolina. It looks like fun and "cool". I wish we had learned it when I was 13-15 when I took ballroom and round dancing with the rest of the young people in our community. Ever since I have wanted to find a partner to take more ballroom dancing lessons with me but to no avail. This looks like a dance I could do.

I shall always remember Hurricane Hazel, her honour the Mayor, who destroyed the place of my youth, and now a new meaning to shagging on the boulevard.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Protests at Last!

A month ago, it dawned on me that there have not been large scale protests about the depressing North American economic situation. I had been reading about the Arab Spring all summer but that had a dimension beyond the economic situation in those countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain, Jordon, Yemen, and others. In many of these countries the protests were often lead by students and young adults for whom the economy was most cruel where the cost of living was high and in spite of good educations there was not enough work for the young.
There has also been protests in Europe that were less political and focused more as a protest to the economic trouble. The most notable were Iceland, Ireland, France (all earlier) and Greece, Italy, Spain, (most prominently) recently.

Two protest movements against right wing governments that got little publicity in the mainstream media caught my attention was the student protest in Chile, where students wanted less expensive (free) and more class equal education, and in Israel, where middle class people protested against the neo-liberal policies of their right wing government which had made housing, food, education etc too expensive even for the middle class.

So where were the American protests. Certainly Canada and the United States has see students, the poor and many of the middle class in dire economic straits. Americans in particular have a long history of being willing to protest. Surely by now there should have been a million man march against the dire economic conditions wrought upon the country by the actions of greedy, uncontrolled and criminal banking institutions.

I had thought for a while that eventually there would be mass protests in the light of the economic difficulty, the realization that the action of banks and the inaction of government for several decades has resulted in a few people becoming very very rich and an increasingly larger group, with the demise of the middle class, getting poorer.

Immediately after the banking credit crisis in 2008 the protests were not that great and faded away. I think the election of Barack Obama left the progressive people with hope and a willingness to wait and give him a chance to solve some of the economic crisis. Well the time of waiting is over. People have come to realize that Obama and the Congress cannot get the job done. Obama has tried but most of his efforts have been frustrated by a Republican opposition which is determined to not let him succeed at anything. They, like their Canadian cousins, the Conservative Party, (which is in power in Canada) make all their decisions on an ideological basis. For example, President Obama must be made to be an only one term President. Any program of the government trying to do something of a social nature for people is deemed "socialist". That of course is a code word for "Un-American" for some. It seems besides a lack of statesmanship there is also a lack of pragmatism, which I used to think was an American way and virtue, to analyse the problem and come up with a rational solution. The corruption of the American political system through control of government by very wealthy interest seem to have made this impossible.

Finally, there are now protests, Occupy Wall Street, in the US with promises that they will spread to Canada. They are focused on the Banking and Financial Institutions. What began as a small youthful protest by camping our on Wall Street, which one might expect to be short lived, has grown and spread across the country. The models seem to be what happened is Israel where the protests began in Tel Aviv with students camping out in a park in an upscale neighbourhood spread to other towns and cities in the country with massive street protests of largely middle class people. This went on for over a month at least. It was so large and represented an important segment of the population, not ever the government lead by the right wing Likud Party could dismiss them and had to respond with some concessions.

Israeli protest.

The youth of Israel have been protesting since the middle of July. Tent camp cities in many cities have sustained the protests against the right wing government has developed an economy that has made education, housing, and food of even the middle class youth unbearably high. These protest have grown so that now 90 % of the populations supports the protesters.

Chilean Protests.

These protests are student lead with labour groups supporting them. Students want cheaper and less class divided education.

Greek Protest.

Spanish Protest

Spain has an unemployment rate of more than 20%. These are numbers that were last seen in the Great Depression.

The Occupy Wall Street Protests are very interesting.  It turned out they are not a one night stand of a few students.  They have expanded across the US and are planning to come to Canada in a week or so. WARNING:  Toronto has some very badly behaved police!. The protests have expanded their base from students and the usual left wing protesters to include labour unions and  people who would not normally be involved in such actions.  The protests are peaceful . While they are angry at the Wall Street Banking community they have not attacked the building or interfered with  the workers in those banks. The only violence has come from the thuggery of the police, which has only gained the protesters more support.  When will the police learn to be there not to attack the protesters but to protect them as the exercise their constitutional rights.  (I long ago, gave up the wisdom I was taught in school a child. "Our Friend, the Policeman,". At best they are a necessary evil. I have read about and seen too many policemen rioting or using excessive force against citizens to ever consider them a friend.  On the occasions they have had to come to my door ( a was a foster parent to troubled teen), I refused them entrance to my house unless they left their guns outside.. Many a cold winter day, I stood on the front porch to speak with them. (Sorry, for the aside. I have a personal dislike of the police) I trust the Wall Street Protests will remain peaceful unless provoked.

What do the protesters want, seem to be the question the media can't figure out.  They want many things since they represent many groups. The more they stay together the sharper their point of view will become.
What brought them together was the economic unfairness within American society. While their seem to be unlimited money for the banks, the wealthy (in tax breaks), the military and security organizations in government, their is little money to meet the needs of ordinary people who are poor, unemployed, homeless etc.

"Their cause is the same as the one boiling in the guts of America's workaday majority: Stop the gross greed of financial and corporate elites, and expel a political class that's so corrupted by the money of those wealthy elites that it has turned its back on the middle class and the poor."

Here is a program broadcast a couple of weeks ago that discuss this.

There are lots of solutions being written about to the problems the the Occupy Wall Street Groups speak about.  I invite you to research some of this for yourself. You could start with Bernie Saunders.article.

It is interesting that this Occupy Wall Street was an idea that came from Canada, when a Vancouver group called Adbusters thought of it a created a poster to encourage people to take up the challenge beginning on September 17.  It caught fire. The time was right.

I will end this suggesting you read a copy of Naomi Klein's speech  before the group on Wall Street.  She is another meddlesome Canadian (I am surprised they still let her in the US) a writer and  social activist with great family credentials.

I hope this protest movement get a positive response from the US government. If not the next thing that may happen is a call for general strikes in the US, which will be a worst disruption.  I trust we will all be watching the developments closely.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Polio Awareness Month

I just got my newsletter from The March of Dimes, "Polio' Canada". It reminded me that October is Polio Awareness Month.

I had polio when I was 5. It has been a memory I have carried with me all my life. Memories around getting polio are some of my earliest memories. I can remember the day my mother decided there was something wrong with me and called the doctor. I had been irritable (not my usual pleasant self :) ) I was generally aching all over and had a temperature. I am not sure why she called the doctor but those where the days that parents worried about polio every summer. It was an incurable disease that was life altering for many, either through death or crippled limbs. It was the AIDS of it's day occasionally coming as an epidemic.

The doctor came, our country/small town doctor, Dr. Fletcher, who years later I came to hold in low regard. This time he got it right. With a brief examination of me and some simple tests (I remember being asked to touch my chest with my chin) while I lay on my parents bed. "You need to take this boy to the hospital right away", he informed my mother.

We had no car and lived outside of Toronto. It was a neighbour I believe drove me and my mother to the Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto. It was a bewildering time for a 5 year old. I can still recall the feeling of dread and abandonment when my mother told me to go along with the nurse. She would come and see me before she left. Well she did not come. They would not let her. It was a week before I would see her. A week is an eternity for a five year old in a strange environment. All I remember of the hospital routine was being served porridge with prune juice on it. How I hated it.

As a parent myself, I can only imagine the dismay of my parents. My mother told me of my father's reaction to me getting polio. My father was not a very emotional man having had a very difficult childhood so my mother's recall a few years later of his reaction has always stayed with me. He apparently cried and declared, "My son will never be able to play sports." This is about as emotionally communicative he was I can know about. As life worked out, I spend my whole live waiting for my father to say he loved me and to tell me he was proud of some accomplishment I had. It never came. I always had to depend on my mother to tell me what my father thought and felt. Perhaps, if I had done more in sports (I was the top athlete in my junior high school.) he might have expressed his pride and pleasure with me. This is how the fragments of memory of childhood gets all mixed up together.

I was never crippled with polio; although, in spite of being left-handed I always felt my right side was stronger than my left. Always I felt I was so very lucky to not have been crippled. There where crippled kids you would see in those days struggling with braces on their legs to remind me what I avoided.. The daughter of the public health doctor who came and put a quarantine sign on our house later that summer got polio and was crippled. There was a time I felt guilty of this as if she contracted it from me. Another year, one of the Bond boys, (only a year apart in age), got polio and died. How horrible it was. I think that was the first death I ever spent time thinking about.

I was sent to the Thistletown Hospital outside of Toronto for a couple of months convalescence Without a car my parents could only visit once a week. It would have been a day long journey: the bus and streetcar into the bus station in Toronto, then a bus ride to Thistletown. My bother and sister, when they were allowed to come, could only see me through the window. I lived from one weekly visit to the next when I would get to see my family. On one occasion, my Uncle Ross sent me a fringed leather vest and Eskimo doll which he brought back from Alaska. I cherished these two items for many years.

As a result of my hospitalization I began school two months late. I was in Madam Bedard's first grade class, (there was no kindergarten back then). It was a little confusing at first. The first day of school I walked, 1 1/2 miles home at noon thinking that was the end of the day. (There were no school buses in those days). I guess I was not very impressed with school or I needed my mother. She sent me back the next day.

Several years later, the polio vaccine was developed. Having had polio I probably did not need the injections, but I always got them along with the other children at school several times in the 50's. Here is a CBC video about polio in Canada and the last year of its great threat 1953

This little girl is the age I was when I got polio. How fortunate I was to never have to wear braces and use crutches. I remember seeing a picture of a boy in was in the Thistletown Hospital, in the newspaper many years after I was home. He was just being released from the hospital. His name was Morgan French. I often wonder how life worked out for him.

It is hard to believe now that so many had to spend time in "iron lungs" to help them breathe.
Do you remember them.?

These days former polio victim are having recurring symptoms. This is post-polio syndrome. I have followed this for many years and even contacted a local group of post-polio syndrome support group. While I have thought I was suffering some effects of having had polio I was always reluctant to join this group. On the phone a very cheerful woman told me of all the wonderful new prosthetic devices to help you get around. I just could not bring myself to me an "able bodied" participant in the group. I never had to wear braces, use crutches or use a wheel chair.

I have since learned that Toronto scientists played a big part in the development of the Salk Vaccine. At the world famous Connaught Laboratory the medium to allow the commercial development of the vaccine was developed so they could produce enough vaccine so all the child population could be vaccinated. Here is an historical essay of the Canadian contribution.

Dr . John Gerald FitzGerald founded the Connaught Laboratories and made it a World Class facility in the rather provincial city of Toronto. Here is his story in the video below.

The Connaught Labratories were first formed to create diphtheria anti-toxin in expensively so that it could be freely distributed rather than use the American vaccine which cost twice the weekly wage of worker's back them. a prohibitive cost. Fitzgerald had also developed the first vaccine against rabies. Connaught was up and running in time to create anti-toxins to use on the troops of WW! and to help fight the 1918 pandemic. When Connaught came to manufacture Insulin developed by MacLeod, Banting , Best and Collip (which my latin teacher, his sister, Miss Collip never failed to remind us), it reputation as a World Class Laboratory was assured. Dr Best went to to develop Heparin, a blood thiner that made open heart surgery possible. Connaught went to develop vaccines and blood products for years. And. it played it important role in producing the Salk vaccine to combat polio. It continues today as part of Sanofi-Pasteur Limited, which is the World's largest vaccine producer in the World. Sadly, it has moved away for being a great Canadian institution, an integral part of the University of Toronto.

Now that polio is eradicated in most countries in the World and they continue to eradicate it in where it still persists, we can look forward to the day when children everywhere will not be strickened to become crippled or even die. For those few who resist vaccines of all kinds for various reasons I just have to wonder if they know the history of vaccine development and the million, possibly billions of lives that have been protected and saved by science of developing vaccines.

The current generation of post polio syndrome sufferers will be gone in a couple of decades and then knowledge of polio and it's much feared results will be relegated to the history books. It is good to remember the defeat of this disease.