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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Vacuous Defined – Justin Trudeau and The Liberal Leadership Race

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
-Lewis Caroll

The word vacuous, which means “mindless” and “empty”, comes from the word vacuum which besides being something Maggie makes me use to help with the housework, means “a space entirely devoid of matter.” I doubt you will find more vacuity anywhere, including deep space, than you will in the current race for the leadership of The Liberal Party of Canada.

Quite frankly, this leadership campaign is so boring I would almost rather watch Peter Van Lone mud wrestle with Thomas Mulcair.

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Bonjour y’all. Je m’apelle Tex Trudeau
(photo: jim Wells-Calgary Sun)

The front runner is Canada’s Peter Pan, Justin Trudeau; a man who has gone further with a mouthful of bright white teeth and a head topped with silken tresses than most Hollywood celebrities and with less talent than most of them. He has been travelling the country, campaigning for the job of party leader with great enthusiasm. He has given countless speeches, attended untold events and had his beautiful smile all over the media.

So what is his campaign platform? Do you know? Perhaps a better question would be – does he know?

But I digress. Continue reading

Some First Nations’ Financial Statements Generate More Questions Than Answers

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Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence (Photo: Sun Media)

Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike is now in week three and it has garnered far more attention than it deserves. This is not India in the 1940s and she is not Gandhi.

She is one of three chiefs of Attawapiskat, a small community 500 kms north of Timmins that came to the attention of the public last year when the deplorable living conditions in that community became public. The poverty was, and continues to be, horrific.

Part of the problem is simply the community’s location. It is isolated and remote. Food must be shipped in which makes even simple things like a pepper or bananas significantly more expensive than in the rest of Canada. Employment opportunities are limited which creates a sense of hopelessness and undermines any real motivation to get an education for future career opportunities.

There is a strong sense of family and community on the reserve and like many First Nations people, the residents of Attawapiskat are attached to the land – their land. It is where they feel safe and comfortable. The tragedy is that without dynamic leadership with vision, it is that same attachment that partly chains them to the poverty they endure. Continue reading

Where Is The Money Going On First Nations Reserves?

 

Attawapiskat-chief-Theresa-Spence-speaksTheresa Spence, one of three chiefs of the Attawapiskat First Nation is on a hunger strike. She is demanding a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister and is using this action as a means to try and force that meeting. She is also demanding that the meeting be at least one to two weeks in length. She claims it is to draw attention to and to force changes to the Indian Act.

Simultaneously, a new aboriginal activist group called Idle No More has taken up the cause by falling back on the same tired old self-indulgent actions that have never worked for them in the past. Once again Canadians are being subjected to the usual demonstrations including blockades of roadways and protests in malls and other public facilities.

I have a considerable amount of sympathy for the plight of aboriginal people living on many reserves in Canada today. There arephoto_2243852_resize_article deplorable levels of poverty, high unemployment, degrading living conditions, poor water sanitation, inadequate educational facilities and higher than the national average substance abuse.

While I recognize that the Indian Act is an anachronistic piece of legislation that prevents First Nations from fully realizing their potential, it is only part of the problem and the fact that it is still in effect is as much the fault of the First Nations’ leadership as it is the federal government. While there are definitely things in the act that are paternalistic, there are also benefits that the leadership is reluctant to toss away any time soon.

What are those benefits? Continue reading

Everybody Knows That’s How It Goes

And so another Christmas has come and gone.

boxing day1People have exchanged gifts and then rushed off to the mall to exchange them for something else; grand Christmas dinners have degenerated into left-over status and preparations are in full gear for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

We are in the Dead Zone; surrounded by the remnants of Christmas and waiting for the celebration of the New Year; a short grey time when we don’t really know what to do with ourselves.

All that rushing about before Christmas is behind us and the parties and family dinners of New Year’s celebrations are still in front of us. Fortunately, preparing for New Year Eve doesn’t take quite as much effort as getting ready for Christmas.

I don’t mind admitting that I was somewhat zoned out leading up to Christmas. I had promised myself that I would only write about Christmas in the days leading up to it and wasn’t paying a great deal of attention to what was happening in the big world – and a lot has been happening. Continue reading

Guest Contributor Cory Morgan – How To Achieve Greater Accountability From Those We Elect

Cory Morgan has been writing about politics and social issues on his Blog – Ravings and Rantings since April 2008. He He first came to my attention last year when I stumbled on his writings about the Occupy Calgary Movement, a somewhat pathetic and half-hearted attempt by a small but annoying group of wanna-be protesters in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

Cory was fed up with the City’s lack of courage in dealing with the vandalism and disruption caused by this ragtag group so he decided to do a little ‘occupying’ of his own and drove his truck down to the city park and ‘occupied’. The city eventually harassed and ticketed his truck but in the end, he won. The media attention he brought to the  hypocrisy of the City’s actions against one protester  compared to its cowardice in dealing with Occupy, eventually forced the City’s hand and Occupy was booted out of the park.

Like Cory, I wrote extensively about the Occupy Movement but unlike him, my words never got translated into the kind of creative action he brought to his city and I admired that. I have been following his blog ever since.

Before Christmas, I invited him to write a guest-post on any topic that suited his fancy and he accepted the invitation. What follows is a thoughtful look at why transparency in any organization but especially in government is so necessary.

To read more of Cory Morgan’s thoughts on the brave new world in which we are now living, check out Cory’s blog at  Ravings and Rantings Continue reading

At Christmas – They Sing Hallelujah

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas Day and on this day people around the world will celebrate in many different ways but almost everywhere Christmas is celebrated there will be music. Each culture has its own unique music and traditions, some religious, some secular but the spirit of Christmas remains the same wherever it is celebrated.

Of all of the music sung to celebrate Christmas, perhaps no piece is as universal as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. It is sung in countries around the world by choirs and small groups in a variety of styles and languages that make each distinct and yet at the same time connects us to this great celebration of the birth of a child and the promise this day brings to the world.

Rather  than write a Christmas Day post, I thought to share some of the joy expressed by people from different parts of the world as they celebrate Christmas singing Hallelujah. Continue reading