Archives for: March 2008, 13


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Categories: Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen (#37) on the Thirteenth! - Thirteen Thoughts on Canada...

Of recent, nothing has made me more sad than the realisation, thanks to the blogsphere, that there is a horrible and awful undercurrent of intolerance and isolationism that is smouldering within the ranks of some of our society that is now bubbling to the surface in the guise of Just My Opinion or Exorcising My Right to Free Speech and the last domain of the desperate, It's Just a Joke.

Thankfully, I know that those bloggers who propagate this nonsense are in the minority... and have used recent world events to justify their own intolerance, racism, and even sexism. This is true across the spectrum, but in Canada, I always had higher hopes for our population... that we had somehow outgrown the need to differentiate on a negative basis and that by the nature of this country, we understood that a person is a person regardless of any cultural or philosophical situation.

I was wrong.

There are those who, in a desperate attempt to prove themselves akin to a political stripe that isn't even native to Canada, regularly exorcise their right to ignorance, intolerance, and injustice. They "preach" hate and they do so proudly with the usual "excuses" of why they are what they are... and the problem is there is a huge difference between an "excuse" and a "reason"... and reason doesn't seem to be a forte amongst this vocal minority.

I can only imagine that they heard the marvellous utterings of people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Tucker Carlson and assumed these were "wise words"... or "funny and true"... not realising the hate that tends to accompany these people's utterances. Most of the actual "Right Wing" of America know that these people are cartoons who are bordering lampoons of conservatism... and many in the Right Wing of America are embarrassed by these pundits. Far from winning people to "their side", they polarized the populace and made debating colleagues into blood enemies.

None-the-less, to the intolerant and ignorant, they become demigods and their words are like warmed honey... and in Canada, some people ape the words back not realising that these "pundits" are more than a little ambiguous to these bloggers home and native land.

I have really never considered myself either "right" or "left" politically. I have stayed with what I thought was best for myself and those around me... in fact, many of my friends have labelled me "Conservative" because of some of my stances... and now, lately, apparently I'm a moonbat and a lefty... or at least, so I'm told... I find it odd that my "left-leaning" friends who feel I'm too right are still my friends... whereas some of this blogging "right" seem to wish to see me hung, drawn, and quartered.

Now, I promised to stay away from politics on this blog... and obviously, I'm breaching this promise... but I just wanted to list...

Thirteen Personal Views of Canada

#1: I keep being told how "things have changed" and "things are different"... but are they... or have people allowed events to manipulate them into believing things are worse here than they really are? This country was invaded in 1812 by the Americans... and yet, today and yesterday, they are our neighbours, partners, and friends... somehow, we managed to work together... are we so sure it's impossible now... or are we so lazy we're not willing to try... or so scared that we will forget our own heritage and origins, we must fight back against trying?

#2: We are not Americans... most of us revel in the distinction that we aren't only because we feel very much like a mouse trying to slumber next to an elephant. We aren't a melting pot, we're a proud mosaic. We aren't only about industry, exploitation, and capitalization although they do factor in with modern life, but we're also about natural resources and conservation as we are a country founded on the bounty that nature provided. We became a nation unto ourselves with very few bloody noses compared to most... but really, our nation was born through shrewd political moves and agreements. We were not built on the blood and fire of revolution. We are, as a people, aware of our colonial heritage and our native roots without the taint of needing to say one is "better" than the other... and at one point, revelled in our reputation as a moderate, gentle but firm, even-handed, polite society.

#3: I care as deeply for the people of The North West Territories as I do for the people in Toronto's beaches. When you consider the state of Texas fits nicely several-times over into my province alone and it is a longer trip to Victoria, British Colombia than it is to London, England for me... I'm happy that British Colombia is still my home... because it's Canada... and I'm proud of that.

#4: My Canada includes things like tolerance... tolerance between all races, religions, and philosophies... but no tolerance of those who preach hate OF ANY STRIPE. No petty jealousies mixed with ego-driven spirituality, and worst of all, no fear-based xenophobia. Most of us are pretty glad to be here... and the ones that aren't... well... they exist, but I refuse to believe they are even close to the majority... after all, hate and intolerance is taught, you're not born with it.

#5: I wish that every kid in Canada between the ages of thirteen and seventeen could experience a full-fledged canoe-driven camping trip... to paddle the lakes and rivers of the country... to experience nature as unspoiled as possible... to work hard at portaging and setting up a camp site in the rough... to swim in pristine waters from a rocky outcrop amongst the trees. Perhaps then they would understand that no matter what the pundits or media tells them, this is what their country is really all about. This is what life is... and it's not as dirty, smoggy, and isolated/insulated as one might believe. It's vast, beautiful, and awe inspiring. It's difficult to stand on the observation deck of the CN Tower in Toronto and feel impressed when you've negotiated a tricky river and paddled the length of a lake in Algonquin Park.

#6: Is there any feeling better than letting a slap-shot or hard wrist-shot go into a board with that satisfying "thud" in ice hockey? I know American kids feel the same about whacking a baseball out of the park and European kids feel the same about kicking a ball into the net of a goal... but to be gliding and flying on skates and give a cold puck a good smack... nothing beats that in my eyes. That's a quintessential Canadian experience... and it doesn't matter what God you worship, what country your grandparents came from... if you're Canadian, you understand this.

#7: The supposed "right-wing" pundits (I know, not all of them... just the most vocal idiots,) often make comments about immigrants and new comers... blaming them for the ills of this country... and they seem to forget that the vast majority of these new comers CHOSE Canada. They came here to be Canadian... and that USED to mean they could still claim their original heritage and even spirituality provided as they were tolerated, so would they tolerate the next person and we would share our world views and culture. I went to school with their kids... I played games, sports, and studied with them... I still work with them. My family traces back to Canada in the 1700's... and one side to New Amsterdam before that... and yet, I don't feel that my friends, schoolmates, and colleagues were or are any less or more "Canadian" than I was... after all, it may be a couple of hundred years before their parents and grand-parents came here, but my family also chose Canada. The only people that didn't were the first-nations or natives... and they don't want to leave. What does that tell you?

#8: I have to admit, it still astounds me that anyone for the reason of wishing to be seen as "politically" to one side would promote pollution that lives in Canada. It seems to me that they must have neglected some of the Canadian experience of being in Canada's natural areas... paddling it's rivers and lakes... walking through it's woods... spotting wildlife legitimately in the wild... this is Canada. Not some town or city... they were built on that natural scene... it is us at our heart and legitimately, regardless of where you hang your hat, it's our foundation... and shouldn't we strive to help preserve it at least in some way?

#9: Anyone who is Canadian may still thrill when the country of their ancestry does well in sports or on the world stage. I know I get a kick when England, Ireland, Scotland, France, or Holland do well... and considering part of my family is truly "original American settlers", I get a small glee when our neighbours to the South do something wonderful... but nothing, Nothing, NOTHING tops the feeling when I see the Snowbirds jets fly by... or see a picture of the Canadian monument at Vimy... or see a dress-uniform (scarlet) coated Mounty... or hear "O Canada" played at the Olympics or any sporting event... or simply see three stripes... red - white - red with a red maple leaf in the centre where I wasn't expecting to see it. I may say I'm of "English and French" origin... but my pride and my heart are Canadian. To my abilities to understand this, these feelings have nothing to do with my skin colour, spirituality, gender preference, or abilities of any sort... The only mitigating factor into this is that I am Canadian.

#10: I did a post series that won much acclaim and was very popular (and still is) on one dozen "hand picked" Canadian heroes. For the most part, the dozen I picked are virtually unknown in this country... and my suspicion is that if we, as a nation, held these people to the same candle as other nations held their heroes, you might see a big difference in the people of this land... but as long as we still have a small amount of voices fighting without the education of what they think Canada truly means and has meant, it will never come to pass. These people can't educate, they can only infuriate and use rage and anger to try and "win over" their cause... that has never worked in the past and will not work in the future... it simply keeps people ignorant and bitter and divides us as a nation and as a people.

#11: I think, despite being born and raised in Toronto (an urban environment) that I keep harking back to the history of this country and it's natural heritage is that "back in the day", you needed to rely on your neighbour for survival... hospitality wasn't a "formality" or "nicety", but a necessity... and if your neighbour didn't have the same background or the same philosophies as your own, you still had to work together to get through life. The concept of helping everyone regardless of their situation was considered something that "should be done"... somewhere, this has been lost to isolationists who literally do not see value in certain "types" of people... and begrudge any "helping hand" as "meddling from the nanny state"... and are rather open about their intolerance... and then they wonder why their neighbours don't like them very much.

#12: I do "the ghost thing". You can mock that if you want... or be interested... or be indifferent. It's what I do and I don't force it down anyone's throat. Reporting and collecting cases of reported "ghostly" sightings ends up with some serious questions about ethics... like "How long is too soon" to cover a person who's died turning back up in some form or another? One of the more interesting things is how we decided, from the get-go, that we needed to be prudent in this and take into account people's feelings... for example, what about Grosse Île? This was the terminus for most European immigrants coming to Canada in the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth century. There were many outbreaks of disease in it's operating time and many died on the island literally in sight of Montreal and their dreams of coming to Canada. I asked my group, if we heard of any, should "we" cover ghost stories there? Interestingly enough, the response was negative... it was still "too soon" and there were still people who saw the island as a memorial to those immigrants who breathed their last, dying in a bid to become Canadian. That said, apparently it has become "fashionable" for (sorry to say again,) certain "right-wing" bloggers in Canada to mock the holocaust... which means, in my reckoning, that a small band of paranormal investigators and researchers have better ethics and morals than those who purport to be the "moral compass" of their own nation.

#13: Love him or hate him... I was a fan... and I appreciated him... and of all the things I have said in this Thursday Thirteen, the late Peter Gzowski, a CBC radio personality, journalist, and writer sums it up nicely...

This is what prompted this list... although this mitigated my venom a touch.

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October 28th, 2009

See the "latest post" on the left here... I've decided to concentrate on other work so this blog is kinda done for me... THANKS kindly to my friends and regular readers... and as you'll note, I am still loitering in the blogsphere... and I'm still online... and I honestly haven't given up hope that we will get our dream bus one day! (We've just gotten REALLY quiet about it...)

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