He was born on this day in 1874. In honour of the great man, a snippet from the famous speech he gave in Ottawa, my hometown. (Incidentally, this is probably the only truly famous and/or important speech ever given in Ottawa.)
…Canada entered the Second World War.
A propos, please visit my other website.
I mention it because of the vote condemning BDS in the House of Commons last week. To no one’s surprise, Elizabeth May, renowned half-wit and terrorist-apologist, said she would vote against the motion and then, perhaps also to no one’s surprise, she skipped the vote (the Green Party would be a lot less pitiful if it got itself a leader with a 3-digit IQ. I suspect some Greens are sane and I do agree with them on rather more issues than one might expect).
The NDP voted against the motion, as well. I expected this from most of the NDP, but I was disappointed in Mulcair. Does he want to remain leader so desperately that he will sell out on the one area where he had some integrity? Sheesh. The irony is, it won’t save him. I suspect they will ditch him and get a new leader, possibly from the growing, totally-crackpot-when-it-concerns-the-Middle-East branch of the party. (Remember that lovely candidate of theirs who made jokes about Auschwitz?)
And, of course, the Bloc voted against the motion. Does it even need to be said?
As for the Liberals, I am glad for the way they voted — although it must be remembered that some of them abstained — but they are all over the map on support for Israel. I suspect it is because they have few guiding principles. On the one hand, they seem to want to go back to the “glory days” of getting invited to UN cocktail parties and hanging out with dictators. Hence, the spouting of drivel about “honest brokers” and blah blah blah. On the other, they voted in a morally sound way on BDS.
So make of that what you will. And read Terry Glavin’s great column about why BDS does not help anyone, least of all any Palestinians.
There is much I could say about this case but I will only say two things. 1) It makes me think of a favourite phrase of my sister-in-law Louise – “yet another example of the never-ending stupidity of women.” The never-ending stupidity of women. 2) It is important for Canadians to not learn about law stuff from American law shows. Case in point — I keep wondering why these terrible witnesses don’t take the Fifth.
From nearly two weeks ago — oops! I am a bit behind on stuff. Here is the article, and here is a podcast which features my radio interview with Andrew Lawton concerning the article.
Ron Hynes died recently. His song “Sonny’s Dream” is truly the great Canadian song — unfortunately, since I associate it strongly with my late brother I can barely stand to listen to it. The lyrics just kill.
In tribute (and have some kleenex handy).
…for reasons I still don’t understand.
I always say that collectively, Quebec drives me bonkers, but individually I love the Quebecois. (I also used to say the exact reverse of Alberta, but now with Rachel Notley, not so sure, though she could go some way to winning me over if she would do something about the animal torture at the Calgary Stampede.) The Quebecois – I used to say — they are so warm and they’ve got all that joie de vivre and every other cliché one could spew. But I have found those clichés to be true. Or rather, I had found them to be true until last autumn, when I met the exception who proves the rule.
I was studying for a semester in Italy and one of my classmates was a French-Canadian lady from Montreal, probably in her later sixties. When our language teacher noted that we were both from Canada, French-Canadian lady immediately said (in Italian), “Yes, but we hate each other. We’re enemies.” Oh ha ha ha. I assumed she was kidding.
From her end, she apparently wasn’t. She spent most of the next three months needling me, heckling me (literally) when I spoke in, or in front of, the class, putting me down, correcting me, taking not-so-subtle cheap shots at me, explaining things to me that I already knew (things she would never have tried to explain to anyone else) as though I were some sort of hapless dolt, excluding me from get-togethers and so forth. Very, very, super odd.
One example: I had (stupidly and trustingly) confessed to her how difficult it is for me to speak in front of groups in any language, and that I was dreading giving a certain talk in front of our class in Italian. So when the day came that I gave the talk, what did she do? I wasn’t but half-way through my first sentence when she contradicted me at the top of her lungs, causing a gaggle of our Chinese and East-European classmates to giggle uncomfortably. I ignored it and kept on and I’m glad I did. But then she got up and gave her talk, starting by pointing in my direction and reminding everyone that, as far as she was concerned, I was totally wrong in what I had said. Again, I ignored it, because, well, I was brought up properly. (FYI, I was not wrong in what I had said, of that I am sure, but that is not even the point. I sat through many talks in my three months studying in Italy last year and listened to my classmates say things that were inaccurate, even breathtakingly stupid, but in a million years I would never have publicly contradicted or embarrassed them.)
Another example: our wonderful art history professoressa (seriously, this woman was a goddess of knowledge and calm) used to take us out once a week on walks through Perugia, discussing works of art and architecture both outdoors and indoors. One day, a rainy day, we were inside an art gallery and there happened to be a modern art exhibit. (With our prof, we were studying the Renaissance.) It was, literally, stuff like irons and aspirin bottles and cloned Mao portraits in different colours and garbage like that, all meant to be meaningful, I’m sure. Our prof (who by then I had impressed in class – she made that clear with her replies to me — on several occasions, not the least of which being when we discussed the Elgin Marbles and I didn’t spew the usual drivel) asked me what I thought about it all. I started by saying (in Italian) that modern art was not really my thing and that I found this particular stuff not that great and…Well, surprise, surprise, French-Canadian lady interrupted me (seriously, I was still talking!) and said, glaring at me, “I am an expert in modern art. This is my area of knowledge and interest. I understand it.” That seemed pretty odd to me since as far as I knew she was a retired employee of Bell Canada, but ok. She then blathered on, glaring in my direction, about folks who were too dumb to get the deep meaning in modern art.
There are many more examples I could give, but you get the picture.
So I finally let on that I was a bit bothered by her bullying, when on one occasion our language professor was asking for an English translation of a certain word, and I said what I thought the translation was (and I was right). French-Canadian lady, who was seated in front of me, turned around and said in the most smug, dismissive tone (with a little laugh and hand gesture included), “No, that isn’t even close.” Now, this incident happened after nearly three months of being picked on by her, and I had pretty much had it. I responded to her in an, er, emphatic tone, emphatic enough that the prof noticed and asked if there was a problem. “No,” I said, before getting up and leaving, though class was not quite over (did not want to scream in front of everyone).
Well, French-Canadian lady came to find me later and offered some non-apology apology and I accepted it, though I didn’t buy it for a second. Later, I vented to a classmate who offered his sympathies to me (he had noticed French-Canadian lady’s nastiness), and I mentioned that it was pretty rich for her to be correcting my English when she didn’t even speak English. He laughed and agreed and then I added that she didn’t speak French either, when you got right down to it, but rather Quebecois (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I am not usually mean, but I was ticked.
So the whole experience was very strange. I am old enough that I just use these things for my writing and also to try and learn from the wonderful tapestry that is our life on this planet with our fellow deeply-disappointing humans. But occasionally, when French-Canadian lady was really full-throttle picking on me, I wondered why. Maybe she just hated English-Canadians; perhaps politics played a role. She friended me on Facebook early on in the semester (after saying we were enemies) and then abruptly said to me one day, “I see we don’t have the same political views.” Um, ok. I was all like, so what? Maybe to her it was a big deal.
It isn’t like I am young and cute anymore or anything, and there were plenty of young, cute chicks in our class that she was perfectly nice to, so it wasn’t that. Sometimes I asked myself if she were just insecure, but she seemed the opposite, rather an egomaniac. Although not a good singer, she never passed up on an opportunity to get up in front of the class and sing. Once she did a painful rendition of Les Gens de Mon Pays, for example, and though it was lousy, she clearly felt she deserved applause and thanks from the rest of us and overall, I kind of admired her obliviousness.
So how do things stand now? I mentioned she friended me on Facebook. Well, she has now unfriended me. I have no idea when she did that, because I don’t make a habit of checking people’s pages to see if we’re still “friends”. I noticed it recently because we were both tagged by a mutual friend.
So that is my tale of the French-Canadian lady who was mean to me for reasons I never quite “got”.
Happy Canada Day!
So far, the only sane columns on the matter of the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations (at least that I have seen, and I have been looking) have come from Conrad Black. This should not surprise anyone.
I was sorry to see Sun TV go under, though I had pretty much stopped watching it over a year ago. The more voices out there, the better, and, of course, nearly 200 journalists out of work is never a good thing. And yes, a number of those journalists were/are friends of mine. In fact, when it first started, I remember a friend and I were joking about how it felt like our friends had started a news network in their garage. I knew so many people in the original lineup, both people in front of and behind the camera.
That aside, the amount of glee certain people are getting out of Sun’s demise is unseemly, especially when the gleeful folks tend to be fans of the CBC and tend to say things like, “Canadians don’t want Sun TV! Sun wanted a free market, and the free market has spoken!”
Um, well yes. It has spoken for Sun, because Sun didn’t get a billion dollar hand-out from the feds every year, the way the CBC does. If the CBC ever had to answer to the free market, it would go under, and probably much more quickly than Sun. The CBC’s ratings are dismal, but their ratings don’t matter, because they are guaranteed funding. In all probability, if Canadians had the choice of whether to pay for the CBC or not, they wouldn’t want our public broadcaster anymore than they want Sun.
At any rate, there were some talented folks at Sun, not the least of whom is Ezra — I wish him luck with this venture.
One of the things many people outside Israel don’t understand about it is that none of the mainstream political parties are going to be anything but tough on matters pertaining to Israel’s security (thankfully). While Likud members might have different ideas about the economy or social issues than more left-of-centre parties, that is pretty much where significant differences end. It was, after all, Ariel Sharon — hardliner of all hardliners — who made the decision to have Israel disengage from Gaza. In other words, labels like “right” and “left” can be inadequate. As long as the party the Israelis elect protects Israel, I’ll be happy. That said, it would be fun to see Netanyahu win again for one reason: it would make Obama’s head explode.
On that note, enjoy this Likud campaign ad, which I find very fun. It could actually be adapted to Canada — I would trust Harper with my kids, but I would never leave them with Justin. And while I think Mulcair would probably be a responsible babysitter, I also think he would frighten the children.