We Went to the BEACH …

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It was a fabulous weekend in Ottawa. I love getting on a bus, and having someone else do the driving. I put on some tunes, or I hit a meeting in a pod cast, or I read. On the recommendation of a good friend, I had ordered a couple of books via Indigo last week. One of them, which I took to Ottawa this weekend was Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” It’s a history of the world kind of book. Very interesting, a little academic, but so far, I have enjoyed the read.

Friday night we hit the Royal Oak for dinner, after my arrival and I got a free dinner because the kitchen screwed up my order. Free Food gets my vote any day.

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Saturday we packed the car and drove into Gatineau on the other side of the river from Ottawa to a National Park, and Lac Philippe. It is a HUGE lake, park, picnic and BEACH park, with all kinds of water fun to be had. Canoes, paddle boards, and stuff like that.

This car was parked right near us, and I had to photograph it because it was cool. A Canadian Maple Leaf car …

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I haven’t been in a body of water, i.e. a beach, since I left Florida all those years ago. We have a pool in the building, but it is enclosed on the 20th floor. And I never use it. So going to the beach was a novel idea.

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The water was cool, and very welcoming for sure. We hung out in the lake all afternoon, and watched people frolicking in the water.

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After the beach we went to Carlo’s for dinner. It is a roadside retro, restaurant in an old bus, with the retro neon sign above, serving easy quick fare of poutine, burgers, hot dogs and other sandwiches. They have a picnic table area to sit and eat. It was quite good actually. Very enjoyable.

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We then drove over to Wakefield for desert. Wakefield is close to the park we were at, so we parked the car and browsed the little shops in town, and had some ice cream. They built a brand new boardwalk along the river.

It was a special occasion. Rafa crossed his six-year mark a few months ago, so we gave him his six year chip standing at the river walk. Wakefield is where they want to live in the future, so I thought it would be a good spot to mark an anniversary.

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Old train tracks run along the river walk, and there are portal signs along the way explaining the history of the village where ever an old house or building stands along the line. We found this push car on the tracks at the end of the line. The kicker had been disconnected from the push bar, so the little car would not move, but you could push it manually.

The sun had set as we hit the road. And on the highway, the “You have low fuel light came on, and we were running on fumes by the time we found a gas station, thanks to Google Maps … We came into Ottawa around 9:15, and thought we should hit Parliament Hill to see the Northern Lights, light show. So we parked the car at the lot and walked back to the Hill, and got prime seats for the show.

The Northern Lights show runs all summer. It is a multimedia light, laser and film presentation, that is illuminated right on the face of the Parliament building itself. It tells the story of Canada and all the history of our country. It was the second time we have seen this particular show.

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At the end of the presentation, they play O’ Canada.

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Everybody stands while we sing …

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

It was last summer that we first saw this show, and it was an emotional moment for me, standing on the Hill, with my best friend, both of us had become citizens, he, a year or so ago, and me, in 2003. I did not get pomp and circumstance when my papers came through, so standing on Parliament Hill, with my best friend, two new citizens of Canada, singing the National Anthem … Gets me every time.

When I get to the line .. God keep our land Glorious and Free …

My heart swells and tears fall from my eyes. It is like that whenever they play O’ Canada at the Olympics too.

It happened again on Saturday night, however, all three of us were sobbing by the end of the anthem. I think that is the most patriotic thing to do, is stand on the Hill, with your friends and family and sing the national anthem.

I get very emotional over that.

Sunday we slept in until 1 o’clock in the afternoon, had a brief but tasty brunch and I took the bus home to Montreal. Today it is miserably hot. Supposed to rain for he next 4 days. UGH.

We really need the rain.

More to come.

How Canada’s bloodiest day at Vimy defined Great War sacrifice

Nova Scotia Highlanders marching.

The Nova Scotia Highlanders, marching through Belgium in World War One 1914. (Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Canadians think of Vimy Ridge as the moment our nation came of age. It is less than that—and more, too.

by

Macleans.Ca Report

In the end it came down to a battalion of aggrieved Nova Scotians, mostly men from Cape Breton, to put the final seal on the Canadian army’s most iconic victory and the bloodiest day in the country’s military history. By 6 p.m. on April 9, 1917, Canadians and Germans had already been mowed down in their thousands across the heights of Vimy Ridge. Along the far right edge of the battlefield, Arthur Currie’s 1st Division had swept along four kilometres of Vimy’s most gentle terrain at a cost of 2,500 casualties, a dead or wounded man for every metre and a half. The casualty rates only rose as the distances grew shorter but steeper, and the 2nd and 3rd divisions successfully advanced in the centre.

At the far left, though, the day was ending in crisis. Maj.-Gen. David Watson’s 4th Division faced the shortest distance (800 m) and the hardest climb. They were up against Hill 145, the highest point on the ridge—where the Vimy monument now stands—and a tenacious, well-fortified enemy with all the defensive advantages of height. The continuing German hold on Hill 145—maintaining the possibility of reinforcements and the same kind of counterattack that had preserved the ridge in German hands for years—imperilled the entire enterprise, all the bloody day’s efforts and sacrifice.

MORE: Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917: ‘Like a scene out Dante’

Watson didn’t have much in the way of fresh combat troops to throw into the maelstrom; hardly any fresh troops of any kind, save for the 85th Battalion. Mocked by the other battalions as wannabe Highlanders—the Nova Scotians hadn’t yet been issued their kilts—and unhappy about it, the inexperienced 85th had mostly functioned as a non-combatant labour battalion. They moved up through the trenches to the front lines, where they anxiously awaited the only thing that would give them a fighting chance: a preliminary bombardment. Without it, bayonets versus machine guns was the definition of a massacre. The shelling never came, because senior officers determined that attackers and defenders were already too close to chance the friendly fire.

Not every front-line officer heard that news, and many were perplexed when the appointed hour came and passed without the guns opening up. After a few minutes, though, they took what military historian Tim Cook calls “the gut-wrenching” decision to attack regardless. The element of surprise—who attacks without artillery?—bought a few precious seconds, but the machine guns were scything through the attackers soon enough. The survivors, though, refused to go to ground in shell craters and kept running until they crashed into the German lines, shooting, stabbing and clubbing the enemy.

“Within 10 mad minutes,” Cook writes, Hill 145 fell to the untried Maritimers, wannabes no more, “in the most audacious Canadian bayonet charge of the war.” The 85th suffered almost 350 killed and wounded, including nearly all its officers, but it reversed imminent defeat on the 4th Division front and may well have saved the entire battle. By the time the sun set, Canada was in charge of Vimy Ridge.

It’s probably safe to guess that for every American who can talk about Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg or Briton who knows the fate of the Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo, there is—statistically speaking—no Canadian at all who has heard of the 85th Battalion. Even as royalty, government dignitaries and thousands of ordinary Canadians prepare to converge on northwest France in April to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle, vanishingly few of us know anything at all of what unfolded on Vimy that day.

Through a series of historical twists, expertly traced by Cook in his brilliant new book, Vimy: The Battle and the Legend, Vimy—and its soaring, moving, beautiful monument—have come to mean a lot to Canadians. Our concept of it tells a tale of national unity: the battle was the first time—and the last, Cook points out—that the entire Canadian Corps, men from every part of the nation, fought together. It also whispers of a quiet, almost regrettable, skill at killing. It speaks most insistently about sacrifice. But that icon of Vimy is strangely bloodless, especially in reference to a real-life Vimy soaked in it: on April 9, 1917, and in mopping-up operations the next morning, one in three front-line Canadian soldiers was killed or wounded.

MORE: Vimy: The day the earth shook

Cook’s adrenalin-fuelled account of the battle is a powerful antidote. The Great War is peculiarly poised between traditional and modern warfare, the historian notes. It featured aerial maps, enormous artillery pieces that could accurately target positions kilometres way, and machine guns that fired 500 rounds a minute. Yet soldiers threw grenades, unused since the Napoleonic wars, and wore steel helmets, not seen since the 17th century. Often enough, after all the long-range shelling and the rapid-fire machine guns, they were wielding bayonets and rifle butts when they closed with their enemies, in a denouement that would have been familiar to an Egyptian pharaoh.

At 5:28 a.m. on April 9, Canadian heavy machine guns tilted their barrels upwards and rained bullets on enemy crossroads and trenches. Two minutes later, almost 1,000 big guns opened up, providing a creeping barrage that moved forward every three minutes. And 15,000 Canadians went over the top.

The planning was intricate and months old, right down to the pits dug for the dead long before the battle. But the fate of entire battalions turned as often as not on chance. On the 1st Division front, artillery had hit most key defences facing the 15th Battalion from Toronto, which had a relatively easy time of it—at Vimy, its 20 per cent casualty rate was light. But the 14th from Montreal was caught in the open by four surviving Bavarian machine gun nests. Grenades took out two, while the third’s gunners were shot dead by the survivor of a small assault party gathered in the mud, and the three-man crew at the fourth was single-handedly charged and bayoneted by the 14th’s sergeant-major. Almost 40 per cent of the Montrealers were killed or wounded.

The two forward companies of Saskatchewan’s 5th Battalion lost 200 of 300 men in the first 40 minutes, and arrived at the enemy front line in a ferocious emotional state: “There were smart bayonet fights,” records one terse official account, and “cases of treachery on the part of the enemy were summarily dealt with.” Battlefield surrender, writes Cook, was a “perilous” business, especially for machine gunners who fired until the last minute before raising their arms. Most times, the Canadians accepted the surrender, but not always.

A private from Toronto’s 3rd Battalion recorded a grim moment, when the Canadians encountered a lone, shell-shocked German: “Somebody said, ‘Shoot that son of a bitch,’ and somebody did. I concluded that not all sons of bitches were in the German ranks.” Yet when a corporal from the 28th Battalion—known as the Northwest because it recruited men from Saskatchewan to Thunder Bay, Ont.—found a Canadian cowering in a dugout, the corporal “kept him till dark, then advised him to go up to his battalion. He got away with it.”

RELATED: A century later, remembering the hard win at Vimy Ridge

Elsewhere on the front, the situation was similar: battalions from Kingston, Ont., British Columbia, central Ontario, Alberta, French Canada and New Brunswick all pushed forward, were pinned down by machine gun fire, and overcame it by slow attrition at a high cost. Or by acts of individual heroism—four Victoria Crosses were awarded that day, three posthumously.

But at the ridge’s high point, along the 4th Division front, the situation was far worse. An untouched section of the German defences was only 365 metres from the Canadian lines. The first wave of attackers from Montreal’s 87th Battalion were literally shot back into their own trenches. Some 60 per cent of the battalion was lost, and most of the rest hid in shell craters. Seeing this, the neighbouring 78th from Winnipeg quite reasonably refused to go over the top. When their last nine officers finally convinced the soldiers to advance, they too were mowed down. The 72nd Battalion, B.C.’s Seaforth Highlanders, lost three-quarters of their men. But collectively, the decimated 4th Division accomplished enough to set the stage for Nova Scotia’s 85th.

To read a description of the battle is to look through a glass darkly, into the enduring mystery of the Great War, when whole nations and ordinary soldiers absorbed tremendous losses and simply re-dedicated themselves to the cause. Vimy is a story of reckless bravery and fear, a minor mutiny, more than one desperate charge, compassion and brutality, industrial-scale slaughter and intimate killing, and the fortunes of war. Vimy, which in Canadian consciousness stands in for the sacrifices of all wars, is equally a microcosm of Great War combat. And its survivors were like the other combatants, both sombre and proud: he and his comrades, wrote Lt. Edward Sawell in his diary, on “this day did more to give Canada a real standing among nations than any previous act in Canadian history.”

 

Paul Lanza – Needs a Kidney in Montreal

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Paul Lanza – Face Book

I have no idea how to post this kinda stuff, so I’ll just dive right in.

Almost 3 years ago I began to reject my transplanted kidney, I spent a month in the hospital trying to save it. Almost a year later, it was no longer able to keep me healthy, so I started dialysis. In the last two years, I’ve been on dialysis waiting to be placed back on a waiting list for another transplant, but there are all kinds of things that need to go right for that. Right now, I’m waiting for a surgery to remove the rejected organ, forcing me to take some time off work, and more time not on the list.

To have a (mostly) normal life, I need another kidney transplant. The rejection was so severe, that I’ve developed a large number of antibodies, and my donor pool is incredibly small. They’ll need to place me on a nation wide donor list, which presents more complications. The wait could be decades.

I need help, I need someone to donate one of their kidneys to me. This isn’t easy to ask. I don’t expect anyone to do this, it’s a huge burden. But I want my life back. I want to travel, and eat, and not feel like shit all the time, and have free time. If you’re willing, and truly willing to donate a piece of yourself so that I can live, I can’t put into words the gratitude I’d have for you.

If you want to get tested, ideal blood type would be O+, but since I’m so tough find a kidney, there are ways around it. You need to contact the following number, and speak with Laura Gilbert. (514) 890-8000, poste 24840. She’ll give you all the information to move forward. I don’t expect anyone to do this, how do you ask someone to put themselves through this for you?

It feels so selfish. But what are my options? To wait for someone to die, and hope they’re a match? If you have any questions you can always message me as well. Thank you to anyone who even reads all this.

Sunday Sundries: Ottawa Trip

 

It was very moving to see the First People’s of Canada led the parade ahead of our Prime Minster and his guests. The Indigenous community has first place of honor in our Pride Parades this year, both here in Montreal and in Ottawa today.

 

I am home from a Whirl Wind trip to Ottawa to visit my best friend.

I took an early bus out, because I arrived at the station earlier than I had anticipated, so they let me on an early bus.

Pictured above … The Pride Parade in Ottawa this afternoon. The Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, fellow Parliamentarians, and The Honorable Kathryn Wynne, the Premier of Ontario, led today’s parade through the streets of the Gay Village in Ottawa.

You can see the Private Security AND the POLICE. And I have to say there was one particularly HUMPY officer on a bike … WOOF !!

As the Prime Minister marched past us, a counter demonstration was coming back at us from the wrong direction, chanting “NO COPS in the PRIDE PARADE …” As many Officers on their bikes were riding with them in the opposite direction.

There were TWO Counter COP protest groups in today’s parade.

If I had the chance, several of them would have had broken limbs, had the cops not been escorting them, against the tide.

Nuff said about those asshole …

Unlike last year, the sun was out and we got quite burned standing on the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street. We took up several positions as the parade came past us.

It was much bigger, and many more groups marched this year. Last year it pissed down rain all afternoon.

All of the Political Parties had groups marching. The Canadian Military Services also marched, and one of their buses was in the parade itself. And we thought this funny that the Military Band that marched in the parade was playing … wait for it …

IT’S RAINING MEN ….

By the Weather Girls. My bestie said to me as they came past that they should have been playing “In the Navy” by the Village People. Both songs would have been appropriate.

We have some seriously good-looking men in uniform.

It was a good day, that ended in a Second Cup over coffee and conversation.

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Friday …

I arrived around 5 o’clock into Ottawa, and we had reservations to see Kontinuum.

Ontario is building a METRO system in Ottawa Proper. due to open next year.

There are two lines, A North – South Branch and an East West Branch running through downtown Ottawa, Several Stations will be servicing Parliament Hill, in the area, almost adjacent to The Hill.

Kontinuum, is a Multi Sensory, Light, Video and Sound show that was built to highlight the Metro System, under ground. The stations are not yet complete. So as we entered the System, we came in on One Side of the station, where we were greeted by a sensory overload light show that began above ground with a movie, sound and light show.

Over the next half hour we moved underground, into that station, as light, sound and video showcased the Metro System. On the Track platform, which hosted both sides of the station, like we have here, an inbound and an outbound track. Sound and light served both sides of the platform.

It was quite dynamic.

I have video of the tunnel, but this blog does not have video functions …

UGH .

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Saturday …

 

Saturday was a full plate kind of day. With my friends Parliament Hill Access, and an invitation from a Member of Parliament, we got in to see Parliament Hill, from the Inside. A beautiful day.

 

Parliament Hill is a beautiful building, with many different rooms. Every part of the building and every sculpture, column, room, carving and marble floor tile, has a specific meaning. Elements from ALL over Canada went into building the site. As Parliament Hill went up, and Canada grew into Confederation, and all the provinces and territories were at some point, all are represented in the building itself.

We saw the House of Commons, which is done in shades of green. Each seat in the room is party specific. The murals on the walls, and the wood carvings around the room as well, all have stories attached to them.

 

The Senate Chamber is Red. And also there as well, there are meanings carved in the wood, the murals in the hall, and as well, in both committee meeting rooms, that are used during the week for consultations and deliberations of House Business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Parliament Hill, we Toured the Canadian National War Museum.

The War museum is a HUGE building. And tells the story of the men who served Canada in all of the wars and conflicts, around the world, over time. I do not know, on my grandmothers side of the Canadian branch of family, if anyone in that branch, served in any military campaigns. I need to go look through my family tree. I do have one here at home.

The museum is beautiful and tragic. Sad and Sorrow filled. So many men lost their lives over the century. And the War Museum gives their stories, tells of their service, and honors their sacrifice to a grateful nation that is Canada.

At Parliament Hill, in the Memorial Hall, is listed every soul who lost his life serving our country. We saw the Peace Tower on my last trip.

Myself as well as my best friend, we are both immigrants to Canada.

Both of us Citizens of Canada.

One can get misty eyed while walking those hallowed halls of memory, and think of all those men, who took on the evil of war, many died, but also many came back. And Canada honors their service to our country.

It was an amazing experience. Last Summer when I went to Ottawa, we were both on the hill together, watching a light show on Parliament Hill, and as new citizens, together at the same time, ON the HILL, as they played Oh Canada … I wept.

That was the most important night of my Canadian Life.

I did not get a citizenship meetings, nor a hand shake, nor the anthem, when I got my papers in the mail, just a Welcome to Canada letter, from our Now Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who was serving as Immigration Minister when I became a citizen.

As we exited the Museum, I said to my friend that, unlike many Canadians, we did not have any blood connection to anyone represented in that museum. But nonetheless, we were moved to tears in the halls, and we honored their memories, by sharing in this tour together.

We Honored all the men and women who served our Country.

Because War is not just a male oriented duty. Because we know that when a man went to war, his wife, girlfriend, family, and community did their fair share of service, IN service of the war and the men fighting over seas.

We all played a part in the success of the men who served, by doing what we could to serve the greater good, when it mattered. And in death, there are MANY memorials scattered all over Ottawa, for us to visit and REMEMBER …

Right across the street from the War Museum a monument to the Holocaust is going up. It will be another beautiful monument to the survivors and all of those who died in the worst genocide the world has ever seen.

The unspoken genocide that took place right here in our Country was the eradication of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Government, and we as citizens, are on the road to mending those very valuable relationships, and the people who survived that very hushed genocide of those who were here First. Which is why they are front and center of Pride Parades in Canada this year.

Every time I go to Ottawa, my visits are always educational oriented.

With every step in Ottawa you take, you walk on hallowed ground. Every stone in the ground, every building that is restored or maintained, every monument that goes up, every park you sit in, and every street you walk down, has a connection to the history of the men, women, and indigenous Peoples who inhabited this land, well before the white man came to this area of Ontario.

There are thousands of stories to learn, and to be heard. There are many, MANY lessons to be learned about the history of Canada and her people’s.

Ottawa is a city of Remembrance.

And we are making slow but serious strides to heal the rift that exists between its First People’s and what we took from them, and returning what is rightly theirs to begin with by honoring their stories and their people, from yesterday and today.

And tonight, I am a lot more grateful to the country I call home.

Because of the sacrifice of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this nation and the world at large from the evils and horrors of war.

We also must commend all the men and women and their service to build this wonderful city of Ottawa, and its myriad of museums, so that no story goes untold, nor forgotten.

We Remember …

Canada 150 … We Are Not United

International Aborigines Festival in Malaysia

I’ve lived in Canada now 15 years. And I work in a community that suffers greatly.

First world folks who come from the First World, seem not to care about those who do not come from First World communities. Canada is a nation of many.

Many people, from many walks of life.

Before the white man came to Canada, Indigenous populations owned the land that was taken from them. Reserves were set up, and as land went to Canada, Indigenous populations were sequestered on reserves.

Many of those reserves today, are Third World Communities.

  • Many homes are condemned, because of lack of utilities and basic working ability.
  • Many Communities cannot be reached by road, either by plane, boat, ferry, or ice Roads. They are not connected to infrastructure and they should be.
  • Many homes have no running water.
  • Many homes have no heat.
  • Reserves scattered all over Canada, are far-flung, and are not connected to First World facilities or infrastructure.

The farther North you travel, the more remote the community, as far as the Arctic in the North, to the Up Coast in the West, to the farthest islands in the far North of B.C.

I have advocated for my people. I’ve written the government over the years. I work with the less fortunate in our community here. I have indigenous friends, who got sober with me and now they work within their communities, in ways that the white community does not.

Our sober communities are diverse, and our Primary Purpose tells us that we must serve every single human who walks through our doors equally. Thankfully, we do this well. We try to make a difference in our own communities.

This is not always a shared commitment across Canada.

There are too many poor Indigenous people across our land. They cannot get by alone. They cannot afford creature comforts that we take for granted. If you went to buy groceries in an Indigenous grocery store, you would pay hand over fist, huge amounts for simple food, that we pay a pittance for ourselves. They do not have access to humane health care and have to travel to larger cities to access care.

  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not economic equality.
  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not housing equality.
  • Our Indigenous populations go without all those comforts, White, Anglo, and Francophone communities expect and take for granted and feel entitled to because of their heritage and birthright as Canadians.
  • Yet, we consign our Indigenous Peoples to lives of Less Than.
  • That is ABOMINABLE !!!

Change must come to Canada across the land.

Truth and Reconciliation has begun, but has fallen short of itself. The Inquiry into Indigenous Missing and Murdered Women has fallen short of expectations. We have not served our Indigenous populations accordingly.

The Residential School program that killed the dreams of millions of children, taken from their homes, into religious communities for assimilation. Entire communities were destroyed. Languages were eradicated. Children were abused beyond what was conceived by those who thought they were doing Canada a favor by turning indigenous children into white religious Canadians.

Respect and Dignity were ignored. Our Indigenous populations demand respect, and we owe them that and so much more.

I don’t think the world knows just how much our Indigenous people suffer. They live within the borders of a country that is First Rate – First World. Yet, Our Indigenous people’s are not respected or dignified the same way we dignify each other as Canadians.

We do not even bother to stand up for those who were here long before any of us were here. Our nation spent millions upon millions of dollars to have a party of all parties to celebrate Canada’s 150th Nation wide, and here in Montreal, our 375th.

In the background, in green spaces, and in small communities and surely in all the homeless shelters, our Indigenous people reside.

Alone, Forgotten, Ignored.

We cannot justify a party for our country, when millions of our own people live Third World existences in a First World country.

That inequality is glaring and openly evident.

That Tee Pee on Parliament Hill needs to be there. Canadians need to open their eyes, their hearts and their lives to the people we ignore and disrespect on a daily national basis. We cannot claim pride for country, when members of our communities have nothing to speak of but the land we ceded them on their reserves.

The Many Indigenous people’s of Canada deserve so much more than the lip service we pay them today. We speak of how good we are trying to make towards reconciliation, and missing and murdered Indigenous women, but simply, we have failed our people who need justice, truth and peace of mind.

The heavens will rain on tomorrows party we are told.

The Great Spirit weeps for those who go without.

It is a shame that today, we do nothing more than what we think is right and just.

It is NOT Right and Just.

We owe our Indigenous Populations Respect, Dignity and Equality.

I know what my people need in my community.

It falls upon YOU to know what is needed in your communities.

We cannot claim Unity, and not be Unified for ALL Equally.

It is a shame. And it is shameful indeed.

How fully we receive – yet so many do not.

How entitled and expectant and taken for granted we live in this Country we call HOME.

In our First World lives, we ignore and commit indignities to those who came before us. We cannot continue this progression without loosing our souls and our dignity, while ignoring those who need more than we give them.

Not everyone will party with you. Because we have failed our most vulnerable.

It is the children who suffer. We have failed them time and time again.

We owe their parents dignity and hope. A job we have failed at time and time again.

Remember them as you celebrate Canada.

Monday: Thoughts

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What does one say, after another senseless killing of innocents ? How many times can you say “I’m sorry, or I feel your pain, or I stand with you ?” If the world does not stand together every day and every hour and every minute, we aren’t doing our jobs.

This utter disrespect of life, needs to be eradicated from the face of the earth.

The governments who support terrorism, need to be stopped. The Radical Teachings of a religion that is based in peace, need to be eradicated from teaching institutions. Weeds like this need serious weed killers. The world is in a position that extreme measures need to be taken.

We need to stop the killing at any cost.

I’ve been hearing people talk about where the Islamic Order for killing came from, it came from Mohamed himself. Sadly, there are those who have taken his words quite literally, and this order of Jihad has brought us to he point where, the world needs to act decisively.

I am not a scholar of Islam. I studied Islam in University, and was the only branch of my studies that I failed. I just was not able write a paper worthy of respect and recognition.

Bastardized religion is a scourge on our world, and this problem is not confined to one single faith practice. This problem is well-known, and wide-spread, however some would never admit that they speak a creed, and follow a faith, that is not true faith.

This evening I had a discussion with a friend about what needs to be done. I’m not sure a radical idea would gain traction and work. We are just not in a place to radically change the face of our world.

Canada is a country that has had its share of religious violence. Canada has its issues with people from other places, and the length this nation stooped and did irreparable damage to entire populations of men, women and children.

We have irreparably tarnished our relationships with Indigenous people’s who were here well before we were all here. And even today, recognition and reparations are long in coming.

Radical Islam has found its way into our country. And terror has been visited on both Canadians and Muslim’s alike. This is just fact.

We are not a nation that is immune to terror related violence. Then again, we are not Europe or the Middle East. We are removed from those theatres by an ocean and we lie much distant from the center of ignition.

Our citizens far and wide worry that with the Canada 150 Celebrations and here in Montreal, for our 375th, are we really safe and insulated from terror, that which we have seen happen world-wide ?

The Answer is NO.

Millions of people will be gathering over the summer months to celebrate, and we wonder, are we next ? How will our governments and our authorities, provincially and locally, provide protection when we have seen the lengths some will go to wreak havoc on unsuspecting innocents ?

We hear the words, “Canada is safe …” “But we cannot guarantee you 100% that you will be safe in public spaces.” But life must go on. Our nation has spent some serious money, preparing the ground for celebrations.

Underneath, how can you openly celebrate your country and your life and your good fortune to live here, when in other big cities around the world, people are dying in the streets.

I just don’t know what to tell my friends, who live in other cities, when they speak their questions to me. They beg the questions, and they know the answers, but still, we live with uncertainty.

Tragedy has become commonplace around the world. The perpetrators of Islamic Terrorism, have infected our national conscience. Too many people have been killed in too many places, for us to be able to ignore this taint in our common lives.

Living with having to have eyes in the back of ones head, or living with the need to always be looking over ones shoulder is terrible. yet, this is where we stand today.

We are wary of our neighbors. We do not love each other as ourselves. We are suspicious of those who are different. We hate too easily. Hatred is such an easy out for us, as the “Go To” way to live… Just Hate Everybody.

Hatred is easier than knowing yourselves, or your neighbors. Hatred is too easy, when we need to understand and have compassion.

You cannot point your finger and your fist towards everyone at the same time. It is far too easy, to judge everyone and everything. But what other choices do we have, when the world seems to be complicit in the blind, financial, and religious support of those whose only goal in their religious observance, is to kill the Infidel Indiscriminately.

Is this what God would want ? Is this what the Greater Power wants of us, to hate, and to persecute and to kill each other ?

That answer is categorically NO.

We must go on living, but not accept what it seems to me, a world that has allowed this unconscionable killing to go on for as long as it has been going on.

This centuries long episode of Conquer, Convert and Kill has to end.

We must find the resolve to call on our governments and our leaders to do Something, Anything. Everything.

Living a life in constant fear is not a life at all.

THE WORLD NEEDS TO ACT. DECISIVELY. NOW

Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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On my trip to see Alexander, we engaged in serious debate about the state of the world. I am not the best at politics, world issues, and everything in between. Our lives at home consist of one cable news channel, and at 11 p.m. we turn to CTV for our nightly news fix.

I cannot go to bed without the last word coming from Lisa LaFlamme.

I’ve never been totally political, as in, devoted to politics or politicians of any stripe. I’ve always known where I sit on issues of the day. But expanding my brain to other news outlets only began when I moved to Canada in 2002. And over the time I have lived here, I’ve explored other points of view.

Alexander encourages that I step out of my bubble and echo chamber to see the world from other points of view. And this is one reason I love my best friend, because he is from somewhere else, (read:Brazil) and he has world knowledge that I do not. He has a smarts about him that no one I know have themselves.

So I read, I watch, and I listen to other points of view. If you polled me online, I rank in the NDP sphere of thought. But I voted for Justin. And he is proving to be a challenge to me.

Alexander sits on the Conservative side of life. And that is NOT a bad thing at all. Because he forces me to see the world, like he sees the world. He challenges me to spread my vision and take in others words, and not just accept words by people I am accustomed to listening to.

Politics and world events are two different spheres for me. I care very little for U.S. politics. And I do not consume politics like I used to because I cannot be bothered on a daily basis to know or listen to repetitive redundant news about a mad man in the Oval Office.

Cannot Be Bothered.

I spend a good amount of my sober life, buried in books. I learned long ago, while in University, that reading “other literature” that situate itself “around” a topic I was studying, as it went along, was very useful.

Reading side literature around a specific topic whether that literature be fiction or non-fiction, built a world for me to engage with on a wider basis, rather than on a single note in time.

I read, Every night.

There are places in the world that interest me. There are social issues that I am passionate about as well. Issues in the world, and issues right here at home are on my dashboard, quite often. I worry about our less fortunate, our homeless, and our indigenous population.

Because I am in the rooms, I’ve seen so much suffering. Friends of mine, in the program have gone on to work in those specific areas of helping the less fortunate. So I am engaged in their work.

Studying Religion and Pastoral Ministry opened my eyes to World Religions, as well, taking care of those people I am engaged with on a daily basis. I have stayed away from posting anything incendiary on this blog, certain world issues, that I am not clearly well-rounded or well versed on, to write coherently or knowledgeably.

I’ve always been interested in Israel and Palestine. Our Jewish Community here in Montreal served my early sobriety solely. The Chabad organization does work all over the city for many people, I just happened to be one of those people.

During my studies I spent time at the Ghetto Shul at McGill during my Judaism studies. And I often said that if I would become anything other than a Christian, I would certainly be a Jew. Palestine is a new subject for me, since being introduced to that area by a friend who wrote a book on the subject, from a point of view we don’t hear about ever.

When I finished the book, all I could write about was what was in Ben’s book, by the words he wrote. Which began my reading slant into books that were written, on the ground, within the Palestinian community. There are not many in circulation, that don’t begin with a premise situated in Israel, and merely spits on Palestine.

I need to figure out what I know, what I need to know, and where I sit on the spectrum of politics and on the ground situations. I know where I would like to be, but that point needs to be plotted on a map so that I can see it clearly.

Israel and Palestine is such a deep topic with some serious history, people, and problems, that I am unable to touch because of the complexity of the state of that area of the world. But while in Ottawa, I picked up another tome that I am reading at the moment.

I just cannot read a handful of books and expect to be able to write anything that is worthy of print on this blog, because that would be stupid and green of me.

The entire Middle East is a quagmire of instability, political strife and religious intolerance. And we just cannot say, incendiary things about people we know little about or those points of views or lives that we don’t even care about informing ourselves about, because it is easier to hate outright, then find a point of agreement or understanding.

How many people do you know who really care about the Middle East beyond blanket hatred of those we don’t even know, or care to know ?

Because they are not “Christian?” or “Jewish?”

If we don’t read, or listen to other points of view and study areas of the world that interest us, and take the time to get informed, how can we relate what we are reading/studying?

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

Any Star Trek fan knows the line from Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, where Kirk and Spock are on a bus, and Spock relates his confusion of people’s use of “Colorful Metaphors.”

I don’t know if it is age, or my sensibilities to certain colorful metaphors and words, used by people I listen to, or something else, but I’ve grown weary of people using certain language.

Since the dawn of the Pod Cast, when I got my I Phone for Christmas, my nightly bed time schedule was shifted when I started listening to Pod Casts. They competed with my traditional book reading time before bed.

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a number of Pod Cast presenters. And I’ve come to the point that the Ardent Screaming Host, or the host who litters his show with the word FUCK, every other word, I just delete their shows from my phone.

I love me some Bill Maher. But he is incessantly insane. And over the last month, I’ve also grown weary of him as well, because his devolution into insane screaming by the end of the hour podcast.

People who talk on the Pod Cast, are not bound by ethical language rules. Although many men and women, do take listeners into consideration when it comes to words. Others, not so much. I just don’t have the mental energy to listen to people swear and use foul language. It is just no longer appealing.

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Social Media

Over the last year, I have had to unfriend many people from my Face Book Profile. Certain friends litter my time line with shit I am not interested in, and they persist. Others, all they can do is post POST after POST of political bullshit, incessantly.

I went as far as to neuter my feed from showing me anything related to topics I have no interest in. That meant turning certain people off, for my own well being and sanity.

Aside from news online, that I do consume, Face Book and Twitter are two sources of news and current events that I utilize on a daily basis. But I don’t do either on my phone, so I deleted the apps from my phone.

  • I make phone calls on my phone.
  • I listen to music on my phone.
  • And I Pod Cast on my phone.

That’s it.

I am trying to set some news boundaries for myself. I have built a wall around me on social media that is useful, because I have a life, and I am not connected to social media 24/7. That is insane.

I turn on my computer when I wake up, I run my set. All those sites I look at and participate in and when I am done, I just shut off the computer until I need it again, and I go read, or better yet, I nap …

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

I no longer have the desire to engage most people who believe so strongly what they do, contrary to any evidence of acceptance and respect of humanity in others. Religion, like politics, are two areas I intentionally stay away from, because I know who I am, and what I know, and that is good for me. Sobriety teaches me that I don’t always have to argue when it is not necessary to do so.

He replied that this portion of my comment is a post in itself.

I spend my days working with others. I spend a few nights a week in meetings. Only three meetings a week now, instead of my prior, six meetings a week, spread over two fellowships.

I love what I do. Because the men and women I work with are accountable. We are all moving forwards. And that is a really good thing. Because I am not a born leader, however I think I “could” lead. I’ve had time in the past where what I did and what I said meant something to those I spent time with.

You never know WHO you are going to meet or what conversation you are going to have with them, until the meeting happens, and conversations take place either before or after.

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

God has made that something that I work on daily. Recently, certain friends have gone dark, for one reason or another, that I am not understanding at the moment, but it is what it is.

I have a routine that works. I have a life that is fulfilling. I have friends whom I love and adore. And a best friend, second to none.

Discussion was brought up the other night, by someone I trust, when he asked me why I just did not adopt the baby, and give her a father, who wants to be in her life, and someone she can rely on, because I am reliable and accountable to her and Mama.

And my reply was this … I want the biological father to pay his dues like the law states. Because he is a dead beat and a looser. And I want him to pay up.

I don’t want to step in and absolve him of any responsibility towards the baby.

I need to research this before I head to New Foundland in April.

I think I know what I want of life and of myself. But that is subject to change because sobriety is not a one trick pony.

Shit happens. Life happens. And you never know what to expect when you walk into a room full of your friends and fellows.

You might just learn something you did not know, or realize something you had not before, and it wasn’t until that particular moment that God opened up your eyes and spirit. And you heard something you realized you really needed.

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

This is the filler that happened between the lines over the last little while.

Sobriety is Magic. Sobriety is Miracles. Sobriety is God, it is Us and it is We.

I love the “We” that I am part of today.