Monday, 21 December 2009

Letter to my MP

21 December 2009

Rick Casson,
Member of Parliament
House of Commons,
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Mr Casson:
Cut it with the partisan crap. Show up for your committee meeting; bring your Conservative colleagues with you; and urge the Prime Minister to stop playing politics with the detainee issue. Conservative MPs' confusion over allegiances may yet be the downfall this government. And they border on treason.

Here's why:

You cannot bear true allegiance to her Majesty The Queen without standing up for Canadian sovereignty and Canadian values and protecting the role of Parliament in our democracy.

Parliament (The Sovereign, House of Commons and Senate) are supreme in Canada, not the PMO or the Conservative Party. Stop insulting Canadians by treating Parliament like an impediment to democracy. It is the basis of Canadian democracy.

You are elected to represent the interests of Canadians in your riding, not to play stupid political games. Remember, it is the voters who hire and fire you, not the party brass.

The irony is this: your political games are blowing any hope of a Conservative majority. Even if you have no respect for our parliamentary system, or Canadian values; sheer self-interest must be telling you that you are acting in a self-destructive manner by treating Parliament as an impediment to democracy, In fact, Parliament is the basis of democracy.

The fact that, even the Prime Minister is 'first among equals', is the strength of our system of government. The fact that the Head of State and her representatives are partisan, protects us from the arrogance of the executive and total partisan dictatorship that, it appears, our current Head of Government would find more efficient.

I love our old-fashioned parliamentary system. It serves Canadians well, and has served us well since before Confederation.

God help us all, if Canada ever strays from our current system either combines the Head of Gov/Head of State functions or turns the Head of State into a partisan, because then Parliament will have lost supremacy. Democracy will be in even more peril than it is today.

It is plain that members of the Conservative party find the opposition an impediment to their will. (That is their job. The Opposition is there to question and hold the government accountable.)

Show up for your committee meeting. Remember that Parliament is supreme in Canada. Democracy may be inefficient when it comes to carrying out a party agenda, but it is the basis of our system.
Jane Harris Zsovan
Even Reform MP, Ray Speaker, used to send us actual reports from Parliament instead of advertising flysers. Please return to that time honoured tradition that Mr. Speaker and his predecessor, Conservative MP, Blaine Thacker followed. It is much more befitting the role of a Member of Parliament.

cc. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minster of Canada

Sunday, 22 November 2009

What Janine Krieber can teach the Liberal Party

Janine Krieber, wife of former opposition leader Stephane Dion, gave her Facebook Friends an honest and personal appraisal of her experience in the Liberal Party. Somehow the party hacks got hold of it and made her remove her blog post.(No doubt, some of those who asked her to take the post down wanted to spare her and her husband from harassment by party zealots. But Liberals who think making Krieber take her post down will contribute to rebuilding their party are mistaken.

Most Canadians probably don't agree with her contention that the Lib/NDP/Bloc coalition was the right decision for Canada. But suggesting she should not have written it smacks of the kind of 'thought policing' Conservatives have long accused the Liberal elite of. That suspicion that the Liberal elite was a social engineering machine is also the root of calls to demote or remove Human Rights Commissions and other 'progressive' institutions established by the Liberals.

It may be a shock to Liberals, but many Canadians consider the now defunct Liberal regime as the source of forced unhistorical identity.(I love our flag, but did we have to push it though despite the objections of many Canadians? Did we have to bring the Constitution home without Quebec's approval?) That arrogant re-engineering has made word liberal a profanity in parts of Canada. (To be sure, Conservative accusations that the Liberals curtail free speech are a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, but tackling Tory thought policing would take more than one blog post.)

I confess that I agree with most of Krieber's comments about the way the Liberals treat their own.

I remember the fake smiles and coercive tactics party brass used to elicit silence when I belonged to the Alberta Liberal Party and the Liberal Party of Canada. The well-being of individuals was clearly not as important as the overall goal of winning.

So many memories. So little time to write them down.

Here's one: A young woman broke out in tears after she had been treated callously by other workers in the Calgary McCall campaign office during a by-election. She was a far better worker than they were, but they thought they had better links to the brass.

I also remember calling the police after a zealot phoned my house and told me I had to leave town because I had contested a nomination against his preferred candidate. "You are finished in Lethbridge," he said and went on to assure me that if I didn't leave I would hever find work. The verbal abuse went on for about 15 minutes. (I was dumb in those days, I wouldn't hang up on crank callers.) A police constable payed him a visit I understand. Strangely, for years after that I heard the strangest stories about my personal life from all sorts of people, including the guy that's now my husband.

Oh, and then there was the witty fellow who gave me this sage advice, in front of the boards of Lethbridge West and Lethbridge East: "Jane if you want that nomination, you better get out there and start talking to people and it wouldn't hurt if you started sleeping around." Did the members of this progressive party say anything when these comments were made month after month? No. Some of them looked away. Some of them looked down. But nobody made a move to stop it. (Later I got phone calls from other women who'd been harassed by this individual.)

When I brought the issue to the attention of the party brass, they sent the wolves out (in order to protect their Liberal stronghold in Southern Alberta). I wanted them to create a Code of Ethics which would have ended discrimination at the constituency level. They were terrified I was going to 'go public' and destroy them. As one elected official told me, "This could destroy lives." He was right. It nearly destroyed mine.

About this time I was asked to work with the federal party's women's commission. Another phone call to inform me that was not going to happen. I was told, "There's a lot of concern about you being involved in the Women's Commission." Never heard from them again.

I have long since forgiven everyone involved. I did it because my faith tells me I must. And because it frees me to live in the present. Some people actually merit the forgiveness and are genuinely sorry. A few have learned that character assassination can get out of hand and destroy a person's job prospects, family life and health. As far as I'm concerned those individuals are off the hook. They are in God's hands. I believe, many of them would never react the same way again.

But if the federal and provincial Liberals want to make it up to me, do this: Clean up your act. Stop acting like a cult. Stop acting like the mob. Listen to people when they tell you want you need to hear to fix your own party.

One of the wisest comments I got from a friend during those crazy days after the nomination in Lethbridge East was this: "You didn't win because you didn't get enough votes." Sometimes the truth seems like a simpleton.

Federal and Provincial Liberals: You didn't win the last election because you didn't get enough votes. Canadians don't trust you enough to vote for you. Turning it around has nothing to do with silencing critics. It has everything to do with re-evaluating and re-building something Canadians want to vote for.

Mdme Krieber, please put your post back up. This is a free country.

Just in case the people I've forgiven haven't reformed, I've got correspondence from those days. Don't even start!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Lest We Forget

The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month....

With failing hands, they threw the torch. Not just the torch of battle, but the torch of our history, our traditions, our laws, our cultural inheritance. Those who wish to erase our history, our parliamentary tradition, & our ties to the wider Commonwealth they helped to build -- drop the torch & dishonour the people who built Canada.

In Flanders Fields
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I`m Royally POd by Bored Reporters

Wow, Here's a guy that deserves to try unemployment for awhile! Don Martin,columnist for the National Post, proclaims that he and the other fat cats in Ottawa`s press core are `bored` with one of their current assignments. So out off touch with reality is Martin that he expects his readers, many of whom may be facing pay cuts or the unemployment line, to empathize with his colleague who `groaned and begged off`` her assignment to cover the Royal tour.

The fact that the Ottawa press core is so bored and biased may explain the awesomely bad reporting of the current Royal Tour. (Not only did they mix up the Duchess of Cornwell for the lady who does diet commercials, they haven`t told the public that the Crown is entrenched in the Constitution and can`t be changed without provincial support. Nor have they mentioned that their own polls show the only province where more than 50% of the public favour a republic is Quebec. Can`t let the facts get in the way of an exciting story can we?)

Perhaps boredom and bias also explain the national media`s inability to get regional stories right. Where was the reporting of the nearly 1000 protesters at the Progressive Conservative AGM in Red Deer last weekend? Why has Reboot Alberta, a group of progressives meeting in November, received no coverage while the Wildrose Alliance makes national headlines? Where`s the balance?

It doesn't really matter what your views on the royals are. (I like 'em.) Martin`s comments are an insult to every working person in Canada.

I really don't care if the Ottawa Press Core is bored, sometimes. Nor should you.

Reporters are paid to do a job -- and if they don't like that job, they are free to try another career. Frankly, I cover what my editors tell me to and thank them for the assignment. My editors know me well enough to assign stuff I`m interested in, but I`m also happy to write the odd story that doesn`t `turn my crank.` So are most journalists in the `real world.`

Like most freelancers, I try to keep myself personal viewpoints out of a news story. I save my creativity for my books & I save my opinions my blogs.

I'm sure a lot of Canadians, including freelance writers, who provide the bulk of regional and magazine coverage in Canada, would jump at an assignment like covering the royal tour.

The only thing remotely entertaining about Martin`s column is the idea of the Ottawa press gallery calling the Royals boring. Nothing is more boring than arrogance and self-satisfaction. And Don Martin, clearly is a master of both.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

What the Media and Republicans Don't Tell You About the West

A Navigator poll, released a few weeks ago, indicated that Canadians don't feel our Constitutional Monarchy is relevant anymore. (Most Canadians probably think Harper, Ignatieff, Duceppe and Layton aren't relevant either, but our disconnection from civic life is another post.)

Since the Navigator poll was leaked, national media have been trying to push the idea that Charles, Prince of Wales or his heir, William, will not be King of Canada. They neglected to cite other polls, such as one on CBC's own website that had results opposite to the Navigator poll cited on The National. (That too is another post.) And they've downplayed the crowds in Hamilton, who screamed "We want the Duchess" and "We want the Prince in favour of snide comments about attendence in towns of less than 500 people." (Another post.)

A few day later, Global News released another poll, which the claimed more than 50% of Canadians favoured a republic. They also didn't explain discrepancies in two questions, both asked whether or not Canada should keep the Crown with different results. (Canadian confusion with what a Head of State is, after years of a deceitful agenda by elites to confuse Canadians on this issue is yet another post.)

What Global failed to highlight was that no province, other than Quebec, had more than 50% of poll respondents wanting any change to the constituon. Only British Columbia approached the 50% mark. Yet another, under-reported poll last week suggested BC is pro-Crown. (I need to do a post about how a stint with a polling company led me to distrust polls. I do not believe you get accurate results on constitutional questions in a telephone poll.)

The Province most strongly supportive of the monarchy, according to the Global News poll,is Alberta, In Alberta, 60% of poll respondents rejected a Canadian republic outright. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Maritimes showed similar results. (This means that the Quebec figure, 60% support for a republic, skews the poll results.

Interesting to note that 40% support the Crown in this 81% Franco-phone province, even after decades of anti-Canada, anti-British propaganda. That result puts to lie the idea that no Quebec Francophones supporters the Crown. (Another post.)

What Canadians aren't told by Republicans:
The role of the Crown in Canada cannot be changed without the consent of the Federal Parliament and all provincial legislatures. I suspect Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories would also insist on being heard if such a major move is ever considered.

Why? The Crown plays a crucial balancing and linking role in Canada. It is the vehicle by which former independent colonies (with their own legislatures and laws) became united in the federation formally known as the Dominion of Canada (Dominion means Kingdom, not colony, by the way.) Provinces, favouring retention of the monarchy, would be well within their rights to secede from a new republic. These new nations might decide to form a new federation or they might become independent Dominions in the Commonwealth. (Although the assumption is that secession from Canada means loss of the Crown, there is absolutely nothing that says an independent Alberta could not be Dominion within the Commonwealth. And if that possiblity were presented, you might well see support for that type of arrangement surge beyond the 15% rating Separation now has in Alberta.)

Canada's place in The Commonwealth, much denigrated under CDN Liberal and ignored by UK Labour regimes, of the past 50 years, has great trade and culture potential for all Canadians. The answer to weak ties between Commonwealth countries is not to sever them, but to revive them. (Another post.)

It took the Fathers of Confederation decades to create an agreement which united British North America.

Our Federation is possible because we separate the Head of State from the Head of Government. And because that Head of State is not partisan. (Nor should her representatives be. Another post.) The Fathers of Confederation went to considerable effort to devise a federation in which one party, one region, one religion, one ethnic or language group could not trample on the rights of citizens and regions.

Electing a Head of State would make that role a partisan one. It would also lead the devaluing of Members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, and the accumulation of power in the hands of an elected President or Governor General. Undoubtedly, this person would appeal to the political whims of provinces with large populations.

Canada's federal system, so delicately balanced, would be even more prone to tensions and threats of separation from regions not represented by the new elected Head of State.

Republicans seem to think republicanism is a sign of maturity. They suggest that Canadians, who value our Constitution and Canada's traditonal friendships, are out of date and neo-colonial in their thinking.

That is an elitist view. It smacks of the elitist decisions that nearly broke up this country up in the late 20th Century. And it derides the rights of peoples in smaller provinces and the territories to be equal partners in the federation called Canada.

Remember Meech Lake? Charlottetown? Those agreements failed because people in the provinces,including Indigenous peoples who have a special role with the Crown, (Another post,) realized that the elites' agenda to change the rules of Confederation were not in Canadians interests.

Canadians learned something for those horrendous episodes: We don't have to accept what the elites are telling us. We don't have to leave provinces behind (as Quebec was left in the night of the long knives.) It is unlikely Canadians will be cowed by threats and insults telling them to 'get with the times,' when getting with the times means losing constitutional rights.

Should there ever be a real discussion of any Constitutional change regarding the role of the Crown, many Canadians (including Quebecois) who now claim a 'lukewarm' affinity to the Crown may suddenly find themselves with a deep and abiding love for the system that has protected ethnic and religious miniorities and small communities since Confederation.

Our system may look funny to outsiders, but, I believe, most Canadians have moved beyond a childish desire to impress Americans or Europeans. Canada works. Canada is a prosperous, peaceful country. Canada has international links that should be deepened, not eliminated, thanks to her place as a realm in the Commonwealth.

Even though Elites have tried to refute the role of the Crown in building Canada, the wisdom of great Canadians remains. Western Canada's most loved Liberal Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, explained our country to the French this way: "Here in France, people are surprised at the attachment French Canadians feel for the Queen. We are faithful to the great nation which has given us liberty."

God Save the Queen! God Bless Canada!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Diefenbaker Conservatism (traditionally Canadian & Communal)

We can thank Prime Minister, John George Diefenbaker, for giving Canadians their own Bill of Rights. Like our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who represents an Alberta riding, Diefenbaker was an Ontario born- Conservative. He moved west as a child and, eventually, represented a Saskatchewan in Canada's House of Commons.

Diefenbaker's training as a criminal defence lawyer strengthened his committment to Human Rights. Unlike some right wing Canadian Conservatives in 2009, Diefenbaker, opposed Capital Punishment because he believed innocent men and women were sometimes convicted in CDN courts.

He was a true old-style prairie populist: committed to Canadian independence from the US, strengthening Canada's international position internationally, and retaining Canadian institutions like the Crown. 'Dief' also championed Human Rights and public health. It was his government that created the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Royal Commission on Health Services, and the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Act.

Many so-called populists (who appear to champion big business and the erosion of rights would do well to read Canadian Bill of Rights: The rest of us would do well to get a thorough understanding of what Canada's Conservatism tradition really is.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Regretting my own cowardice

I took this post down a few days ago, simply because I was afraid of suffering professionally for stating the obvious about Canadian politics and Canada's relationship to the United States. I also thought some people might not see be able to understand that some aspects of this letter to Mr. Harper are tongue in cheek. I regret that. The day we give in to bullies is the day we give up. So I'm reposting:

I am appalled at federal government's willingness to go along with hearsay and to allow any Canadian to be tried in the American media. Further, I am appalled the government's demonstrated willingness, in several instances, to turn Canadians over to torture in other countries, simply to pursue a 'friendship' that is more wishful thinking that reality. Countries have interests that sometimes align with other national communites. They do not have friends.

Monday, 24 August, 2009

Right Honourable Stephen Harper, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Dear Right Honourable Mr. Prime Minister:

Did a little on line research that I think might help prepare you for your next trip to Washington. I wanted to know if America really is our 'best friend,' like you've told us.

If Americans like us, it just doesn't make sense that I keep hearing stories about Fox News having to apologise for threatening invasion and insulting our Armed Forces. And I wondered why the MLB forgot to find someone to sing our national anthem at a Major League Baseball game a few weeks ago. And why did Dr. Phil sneer when David Foster talked about Canada and Celine Dion. (No, I will not make a Celine joke.)

So, I decided, to take a look at American websites, like CNN and TMZ, which of course, is actually TMZed in Canada and pretty much everywhere else proper English is spoken.

Some of the 'news' sites seemed to think we aren't allowed to make an appointment with a doctor and that Canada kills its elderly and disabled people. (That must be why most of my relatives die when they reach their late 80's or early nineties? I want this practice stopped immediately. No one should be dying in Canada.)

But my favourite site was TMZed. It had the most stuff about what Americans think about Canada on it.

TMZed was following the Jenkins' manhunt. (It's the case where an unfortunate American realtor/pin-up girl was murdered when she decided to go visit her ex-current boyfirend in Las Vegas; and her Canadian boyfriend/husband realtor/reality star reported her missing then became a suspect in her killing after he escaped from the US Coast Guard and walked across a road to Canada.) I know it's enough to make your head spin. Apparently, life is real complicated in the States. No wonder they think we're boring.

Here`s what I learned on TMZed, following the Jenkin's search. Americans don't know that Canadians are their 'best friends.' More interesting stuff, I never knew about Americans:

Americans who comment on TMZed, by and large, do not believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. They believe that it is ok to harass parents of people charged with crimes at their place of work (Eg. One individual posted Mr. Jenkins' father's website and told people to email him hate mail.) Guess the 18th century 'rebellion' really was just a bunch of colonists not paying their taxes and wanting to move on to Indian Territories without treaties. Sad.

They appear to believe that a person`s right to live is determined by their looks and lifestyle and that sex trade workers deserve to die. (A lot them thought the young woman in this case deserved her fate because she was a quote: 'skank'.

They believe that is it ok to rape and torture prisoners in jails (against international law.) In fact, some commenters were hoping to have Mr. Jenkins' raped and tortured by the other inmates, even though he had not been found guilty of anything. (I'm sure the American Ambassador and Obama don't think it's ok to rape and torture prisoners, do they? And you don't either, do you? I certainly hope not. Otherwise, I will not vote for any Conservative candidate as long as you are leader.)

Comments like 'Canadians are stupid, are pretty common' on TMZed. Somebody commenting on the site even said that no one should ever date a Canadian man because they are, apparently, all sociopaths. (I'm married to a Canadian man and he seems ok. I'm sure there are no sociopaths sitting in the House of Commons, either. Right?)

They also think that most of us are pining away to get a green cards. I'm not. Are you?

Many Americans believe that when a suspect has died, that no other possiblities should be pursued, even though the suspect was known to have a serious gambling addiction and to be involved with loan sharks. And the parents of the suspect do not believe he committed the crime. (I guess the concept of proven 'beyond a shadow of a doubt' doesn't matter anymore to most Americans.)

They also appear to think that it's ok to council people to commit suicide.(This morning there were comments on TMZed by individuals who hoped that threats of prison rape and torture were read by Mr. Jenkins. They also hoped those comments provoked him to kill himself. This is most perplexing for a nation that claims to believe in 'innocent until proven guilty' and promises to give fair trials to everyone, including Canadians.

Neither TMZed or its bloggers seem to be aware of recent court rulings that make anonymous slander of individuals on the internet something that can be prosecuted. (You may want to mention these observations to Obama, when you next see him. Ask him about the 'friend' thing too. He needs to come clean on this.)

A couple more requests: Please pull our troops out of Afganistan immediately. We should not be helping people that think torturing inmates is ok, treat our citizens with disrespect, and can't figure out if our national police force is called 'mounty', 'mountain', or 'mountain.'

Oh yes, I know you think that this is not a U.S. war because our NATO and Commonwealth partners are participating. You think the war is protecting our own security. I used to think that, too. But I started doubting it when Afghanistan passed a law that allows men to starve their wives for having too many 'headaches' at bedtime. And, I really don't think we should be siding with people that think it's ok to rape prisoners and drive suspects to suicide before they get a fair trial.

Another thing, when you head to Washington to meet Obama this fall (assuming you are not in the middle of a general election campaign) can you please refrain from calling America our, 'best friend.' It's kind of embarassing because you, Mr. Brown and Mr. Rudd all insist your countries are America's 'best' friend. (Maybe you should take your rightful leadership role as the Prime Minister of the largest Commonwealth Realm. Just pull the Aussie and Brit PM's aside at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and demand that the three of you sort the thing out, once and for all. You cannot ALL be the Obama's best friend.)

You might also ask Brown why he hogged the Queen in the photos at last G-20 meeting. Oh, right, you probably don't want to bring up the photo shoots in London. Darned BBC, can't even respect a PM's need for a mini-break.

How about you get your speech writer to come up with something polite & positive, but more honest? Perhaps we could call the Americans our 'closest geographical neighbour whom we trade stuff with.' Or maybe this: 'The owners of that lovely White House we admire so much that we have not lit it on fire in nearly 200 years.' Awkward, I know. Work on it.

When you go to Washington, be nice, but don't act like you really need a "friend." (And try to get out of that oil clause in NAFTA. Or at least demand that they refine the stuff here. If they balk, remind them about the Softwood Lumber thing.) Stand up and make us proud. Tuck your shirt in, but don't buy a new suit. The Americans won't be watching and we already know what you look like.

Thank you for you reading my letter.


Jane Harris Zsovan
An actual Canadian who will vote in the Next General Election
I really think we owe 'real Americans' on TMZed and the other websites I visited a thank you for their honesty. It's good to know how they really feel about Canada, their largest trading partner.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Tom Wickersham: Serving Many Ways

I did this interview with Tom Wickersham, Alderman for the City of Lethbridge in December. Unfortunately, the 'Christian' publisher', who ordered the article, took down his website & left town in a hurry. Not sure what his story was, but a few of us didn't get paid.(Stuff like would turn most people cynical. Not me. I tried to find a new market.)

Well, I quickly found out interviews with municipal politicians from outside the two largest cities, especially those written by writers from outside the two Golden Circles, don't get much ink in Alberta.

That's too bad because Tom grew up on the site of Fort Kipp. That experience shaped him; and his vision for our province is worth the read. Enjoy!!

Tom Wickersham: Serving Many Ways

Fast Facts:

Born: April 1, 1944, Galt Hospital, Lethbridge, Alberta,
Spouse’s Name: Arline
Family Stats: Married 47 years (December 02, 1961). Tom and Arline Wickersham have four children: three sons and one daughter, 13 grandchildren, and 2 grandson-in-laws.
Elementary School: Coalhurst.
High School: Winston Churchill High, Lethbridge.
Church Affiliation: Victory Church
Career History: Chicken Farmer (1991-1999), Fireman (1965-2001), City of Lethbridge Fire Chief and Director of Disaster Services for the City of Lethbridge (1992-2001), Alderman (2001-PRESENT)

City of Lethbridge Alderman Tom Wickersham did what many little boys dream of doing: He grew up to be a farmer and a fireman. But for the past seven years, this former City of Lethbridge Fire Chief has devoted himself to municipal politics.

In addition to his regular city council duties, Alderman Wickersham serves as Liason to the Green Acres Foundation, Lethbridge Regional Police Commission, Airport Advisory Board, Municipal Planning Commission, Sub-division and Development Appeal Board, City Affordable Housing Committee, Community and Social Development Committee and Downtown - Heart of the City Committee. He is also a member of the Child and Family Services Authority Board for the Province of Alberta. He and his wife Arline attend Victory Church.

What do you like about City Council?
`We`re an eclectic group of diverse people,`` he says.
`We`re not running under a party banner, that`s what make municipal politics so interesting,` says Wickersham. You just have a whole mix of different opinions and & I think it works well. It about who you are, not what party you represent.`

What was it like as a kid on your parents’ ranch on site of Fort Kipp?
It was fascinating. We bordered where the half-way house going to Fort Macleod was.
Mr. Fuller, who was an English gent, had a little cottage near us. He always had tea on and he smoked a pipe. The house was always warm and had a sweet smell of pipe tobacco. He fascinated me with the history of the ranch hands and traders, and some of the history of our ranch.

After school, I`d visit him. He always had a peppermint for me.
He grew up in this area and he would spin stories about wildfires and what it was like in the early days. He told me about Fort Kipp. At that time you could still see the outline of the foundations.

He had jars of arrowheads that he had picked up when the fields were broken. He had two gunbelts. One had a notch He bought it from a fellow who claimed he had killed a man.) I tried to get my dad to by those gunbelts.

The wagon ruts of the whiskey traders were still visible then. It was a great time. Mr. Fuller made it come alive.

How did you become a fireman?
I had a desire to serve and make a difference. As a young person grassfires fascinated me. I loved fighting grassfires.

I knew I didn`t want to be a police officer because, when people call them, they don`t really want to see them. As a fireman, people want to see you come right away.

I got married at seventeen. So, I was hitting the ground running, raising the family

I had a good job at Horton Steel, but we got laid off. During the two months that I received EI, I played a lot of chess with a firefighter. He said that I should apply to get on the fire department. At that time, it was very hard to get hired. 150 to200 people would apply for one job.So I became a member of the Lethbridge Auxiliary Police.

After that, I would go in about once a month to talk to the Personnel Manager at the City of Lethbridge to ask about openings. When a position came open, I made application and was one of two people hired.

How did you become Fire Chief?
I didn`t really aspire to become fire chief. I enjoyed learning things and trying to make a difference.

I have always been interested in continuous learning – I took college courses and I made myself available for any kind of education. I still try to take every advantage of seminars, education, and personal development life is continuous improvement, we never stop learning.

When the position came open, I was encouraged by co-workers and others that I should apply. (I had already been promoted to captain, union president, and vice president for the Canadian Association of Firefighters.)

How long were you a member of the Fire Department?
36 years.

You became an alderman a month after retiring as Fire Chief. Why?
I still wanted to contribute to our community.

When I became fire chief, I took on the role of Director of Disaster Services for the City of Lethbridge. It`s a very challenging role and I was in that role for nine years, 1992-2001.

Retirement is doing what you enjoy doing. I thought it would be an honour to serve as an alderman. In serving, I believe you should strive to make a difference and leave an organization better than when you started.

I retired and ran for council.

Does Your Faith Impact Your Work on City Council?

I believe it is the values in our beliefs that govern all decision making. I firmly believe that we should treat people with dignity and respect and that we should be honest and have integrity in our decision making; being true to our values and beliefs while representing the community.

We must respect the most vulnerable in society. If we start to elevate ourselves above those people then we get disrespectful. That applies to our parents as they get older and become more vulnerable and to people who are homeless.

What Challenges do you see for Lethbridge’s City Council?

Challenges ahead include homelessness and affordable living; Being able to maintain our infrastructure for our community. The next few years will be a challenge as far as the economy is concerned. We as a city council, giving the times have passed a responsible budget that will maintain services and infrastructure. We’re committed to downtown revitalization. That`s going to be a challenge.

One of the main initiatives of council is moving forward with the West Lethbridge Centre. That is going to be a very exciting development that will take us to the future as far as development for Lethbridge.

How did you operate a chicken farm while serving as our city’s fire chief?

For a number of years Arline farmed by day and I farmed by night. Without a question Arline has made a lot of sacrifices for my career and my family. Fire fighters work shifts, they miss many family events because they are working. Family support is crucial. Arline still makes sacrifices for me now that I am on council.

Do you still own the chicken farm?

No we sold that in 1999.

What is your vision for council?

I believe that if we, as council, walk together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect we will succeed. My goal in doing that is creating a viable healthy attractive city.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sick of Politicians Using Religion to Acquire Power

4MyCanada, a non-profit organization that helps Christian youth become engaged in politics, wants its members to attend a Campaign School organized by the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with this. But 4MyCanada claims to be non-partisan and the Campaign School is for social and fiscal conservatives. The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, says it`s not associated with the Conservative Party of Canada. Maybe not officially, but in truth it`s a Conservative, not conservative, think tank, run by one of Prime Minister Harper`s long-time organizers.

Joseph C.Ben-Ami is President of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. Mr. Ben-Ami`s resume credits include the following: Policy Aid to Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day; National Director of Operations in Stockwell Day`s 2002 Leadership Campaign.

Also speaking at the Campaign School: Rod Bruinooge, Conservative Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South; Activist Tristan Emmanuel who recently headed up Conservative MPP, Randy Hillier`s Campaign to lead the Ontario Tories, and Faytene Kryskow, founder and director of 4MyCanada (While Kryskow may not be officially tied to the Tory party, her session focuses on turning youth into socially conservative activists.)

Most Campaign School sessions reflect the right of the Conservative Party of Canada. Sessions include Running Right: Lessons from the Hillier Campaign; Winning as a Pro-Life Candidate; Campaign Essentials for Social Conservatives:In Search of Unity: Fiscal Conservatives & Social Conservatives - Myths & Facts; Communication Essentials for Social Conservatives (aka.Spin Doctoring)

No Red Tories, Liberals, New Democrats, or Greens will speak at the Campaign School. The sessions reflect only the right of the Conservative party. So, this Campaign School is obviously designed to recruit staff and volunteers for candidates in a narrow spectrum within the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies isn't encouraging the vast majority of Canadian Christians, who do not suscribe to its ideology, to become activists. (Christians in Canada span the political spectrum.) Since this Campaign school will train only Christians who are fiscal and social conservatives, it is not about turning the faithful into voters. It`s about political ideologues using religion to gain political power.

As a Christian, I want to point out something to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Ben-Ami, and Ms. Faytene Krystow: Cynical attempts by church `leaders` and their allied political cronies to manipulate people into giving political power to ideological elites have a long history of destroying churches, worldwide. In Canada, we need only to look to Quebec, where manipulation by priests and their political allies played a key role in the complete secularization of that province.

Duplessis`s Quebec was faith based and ideologically conservative. It was also repressive and corrupt. Both Duplessis era religion and politics have been totally rejected by modern Quebecois. The `Quiet Revolution` nearly destroyed Confederation. And it's something 21st century preachers and political recruiters should think about when they are tempted confuse political affiliation with Judeo-Christian faith.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Fourth of July from Canada

I hope Americans have a wonderful holiday, celebrating their achievements, their families and their country. But I wish Canadians, in their quest to be friends or do business with Americans, would drop the neo-colonial mindset and stand up for themselves.

I wish Canadians would insist events, like the American Revolution, are portrayed in popular media and books accurately and, at least occasionally, from our perspective. I wish Americans would stop revelling in the fact that they don't know what a Governor General or a Member of Parliament does.

Most of all I wish Canadians would stop excusing this and allowing it to happen.

It's time Canadian actors and writers told publishers and producers that our words, our spelling, our accents, our places, and our perspective are too important to exchange for money. It's time Canadians backed them up and refused to watch, read or listen to media that does not portray Canadian perspectives accurately.

Let's be honest: The United States of America is not the only freedom loving country birthed in that bloody war between brothers now called the American Revolution. The Americans did not teach the United Empire Loyalists about freedom or hardwork or fighting for what they believed.

Those who opposed American rebels had to found another country to find freedom. There was little dissent allowed during the rebellion in the thirteen colonies.

Here's what loyalists -- mostly tradesmen and farmers with diverse ethnic backgrounds, not wealthy landowners, endured: jail, hanging, confiscation of property, forced renunciation of their beliefs, tar and feathering, and eventually exile to the wilderness.

That's our history. We have no reason to hide it, but we do for fear of offense and something we call a 'friendship.' But is, what Father of Confederation Sir Alexander Galt called 'a servile fear' of American anger really a friendship?

Friends treat each other with respect. Friends are equal. Friends aren't afraid of telling their own story, using their own accent, saying their own words. Friends don't hide who they are from each other. Friends want to learn about each other.

When Canadians can talk to the Americans honestly about our shared history, then we might be able to call each other friends.

When Canadian actors are no long asked to change their accent in order to get a job in their own country; when Canadian authors, screen-writers, and producers are no longer asked to use American spelling or turn Canadian stories into American ones (as Paul Gross was when he made Passchendaele and when Americans and Canadians can see movies and read books about the United Empire Loyalists, Canadian regiments in WW I, or the colonists battles in the War of 1812, made from a Canadian perspective, we'll be getting somewhere close to friendship.

Until then, we are merely polite acquaintances condemned to repeat our mistakes. Pity.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Seal Meat and the Crown

I can't resist a quick comment on the controversy over the Governor General's participation in an Inuit Seal Feast (given in her honour.) The controversy has overshadowed the good work Mdme. Jean is doing this week -- meeting with the Inuit, advocating for a Northern University, and building understanding. Why Canada's viceroy hasn't gotten much international media attention for this is sad comment on the International Media's understanding of Canadian issues. It is sad that the American media has insulted the Governor General's Constitutional Role and the British media appears more concerned with what the EU thinks than the rights of an indigenous people within the Commonwealth.

Most Brits, Europeans, and Americans do not understand that those Inuit hunters are the Queen's subjects. Nor do they understand that the role of the Canadian Crown is quite different than the British Crown. And they are completely blind to the fact thatit does not matter what the Queen's former British Press Secretary thinks of the issue. He is neither Canadian, nor a spokesman for the Canadian Crown. If they want an authority on protocol of Canada's Crown, they should be contacting a Canadian source.

The Canadian Crown is not purely Ceremonial. It has full power to dismiss a government not acting in the interests of the Canadian people. It has full rights to dissallow legislation which violates rights of Canadians or violates the Constitution. The Governor General can also dismiss (fire) the Prime Minister.

The Canadian Crown is not only separate from The British Crown, it works quite differently. The British Crown buttresses a State Church and a class system. The Canadian Crown has evolved to protect religous and ethnic minorities from political interests and to protect the weak from the powerful. Among its most sacred trusts is ensuring that Indigenous peoples are protected from political interests. The Crown controls the Armed Forces.

As the Queen's stand-in, the Governor General protects the rights of all people from the excesses of political and economic power. (No matter what language, religion, ethnicity, economic state, or class they are in.) It is also her job to increase understanding between these groups.

The Crown is pledged to look out for the interests of the Queen's subjects -- not the sensibilities of European Politicians and Animal Welfare groups. Madame Jean's only obligation at the feast was to honour the people honouring her. She did so. And nearly 80% of Canadians support her actions.

The opinions of non-Canadians (even the Queen's British subjects) have no bearing on what is appropriate for the Canadian Crown.

But it may be a good idea for British politicians who claim loyalty to the Queen to get to know the issues and people of Canada. After all, by siding with Europeans against the Queen's Canadian subjects, they may be putting Her Majesty in an awkward position.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Pat Mestern Review

Fergus,Ontario based author, Pat Mestern, has reviewed: Stars Appearing: The Galts Vision of Canada. The review appears in two publications: The Guelph Mercury and The Record

Quotes From Pat Mestern's Review:
"I've always been a fan of John Galt's novels and poetry, written more than 180 years ago. I'm referring to the same John Galt who founded Guelph and gave his name to Galt, now part of Cambridge.

"Alberta author Jane Harris focuses not only on John, but on his sons John Jr., Thomas and Alexander. Their contribution to Canada's early history, especially the development of southwestern Alberta and Lethbridge was extensive. In particular, the dedication to Canada by John Galt's youngest son, Sir Alexander Galt, a father of Confederation, was brought to life in an easy-to-read, well researched format."

Saturday, 16 May 2009

CBC Tars and Feathers Loyalists

A few minutes ago, Brent Bambury, host of CBC Radio's Go, made the dumbest statement I've heard in a long time. In a dubious attempt at humour, he smeared the United Empire Loyalists by claiming they arrived in Canada with all their goods and slaves in tow. Has he never heard of Black Loyalists?

Does he realize that most United Empire Loyalists were actually tradesmen and farmers, many of whom lost everything they owned? Does he realise Loyalists were branded as traitors, tarred and feathered, jailed, and hounded before they fled? Some never escaped the hangman.

Very few Loyalists were wealthy. And in 1793, Lord Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada passed the Act Against Slavery,, making the colony the first place in the British Empire to pass legislation designed to end slavery. The act has been critiqued as too timid, but in 1793, Simcoe's measure was an heroic attempt at social reform that went against the advice of wealthy business types.

If Mr. Bambury was an American radio shock jock or pseudo-news comedy host, I'd wouldn't be surprised by his error. But I expect much much more from my taxpayer funded Public Broadcaster. Agree? Disagree?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Don't Let them Dance on Your Dreams

Yesterday, I packed away a little New Testament my mother gave me. It's now on the mantle at the new house we'll move into as you read this. (Anyone who knows me, knows I despaired of God giving me back my own house. I also thought I would never remarry, get a book published or make a living from writing. In turn, each gloomy prediction has proven wrong.)

One of my forebears, probably Granddad or Great-Granddad Boyle, turned down two pages in that little testament that came to us from the Bible Society of Upper Canada in 1896. One page is turned down to Revelation. Another is turned to a chapter in the book of Hebrews. The chapter promises God will never foresake the children of a good man (or woman).

Despite the fact that several of my great-great-great grandparents are buried in Canada, I watched Susan Boyle's Britain's Got Talent performance on YouTube, with a sort of clanish pride. So did my cousins. I doubt Susan is related to us. (We come from a long line of Protestants.) But, somewhere along the line, my Loyal British forebears picked up the same ability to defy convention and dream audacious dreams.

Susan's cheeky optimism and self assurance protected her from the caustic assessments of judges and bad mannered audience members. Without them, she may have walked of the stage without proving them wrong. Without them her life would be far less joyful.

That silly dance, irrepressible grin and quick wit mimic my mother's antics. (Not to mention those of her siblings.) Many times her goofy jokes made the teenage me cringe. These days, she wants to grow up to be 'The Old Woman who Wears Purple."

Then there was Susan's very direct comment when her age, 47, was brought up: "And that is just one side of me," she said, wagging her head for emphasis. That isn't a far cry from what my mother told provincial bureaucrats who interviewed her for a job after she graduated from university at age 50.

Can't remember if it was her age or her gender that was brought up. Her reply though is clear. "Is that a problem for you?" Apparently it was: She didn't get that job; she got a better one.

God guides us to our dreams. Don't let anyone trounce on yours.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Twitters on Canada

Been experminenting with Twitter. Haven't spent too much time trying to attract followers or even posting while I learn the ropes. Here are a few of my recent posts:
On Canadian Media:
No more money for programmes meant to reach a foreign audience first.
8 minutes ago from web

Let's all say 'chocolate bar', 'toque', 'chesterfield', 'constable', 'police detachment', 'riding' and 'running shoe' together.
9 minutes ago from web

Seems to me that when you over package yourself to reach a 'global' audience --aka Sirius or PBS -- you wind up reaching nobody.
10 minutes ago from web

Will we see the end of the bland (North American style) programmes and return to scripts that honestly reflect our own culture.
11 minutes ago from web

Susan Boyle continues to turn entertainment on its head. Wondering if any Canadian television networks are taking note.
12 minutes ago from web

On Today's Hijacking:
Apparently pretty good:
about 2 hours ago from web
So what are the changes of the Canadian Prime Minister actually being in Jamaica when the Jamaicans rescue passengers on a CDN charter jet?
about 2 hours ago from web

On Canada's Public Image (Or our obsession with it)
We don't need to sell foreigners on our story. We need to educate Canadians about their own strengths: not worry what others think.
4:51 PM Apr 16th from web
Waste of money:
4:48 PM Apr 16th from web

On the economy:
According to this, Canadians feel postive enough to buy houses: http://www.lethbridgeherald...
9:17 AM Apr 15th from web

On the Reserve Power of the Crown( AKA, why our 'anachronist' political system works better than 'progressives' think:
Bowen's use of the Reserve power of the Crown is way more interesting than that story of Lord Byng and Mackenzie King. And more important.
9:31 AM Apr 14th from web
Why doesn't anyone know the story of John Bowen saving Alberta from dictatorship in the 1930's? Oh right, I haven't written it yet.
9:30 AM Apr 14th from web

Frankly, I think that's what is wrong with the RCMP, too. Maybe it's time go back to own way of doing things and dump the American advisors.
9:29 AM Apr 14th from web
The Americanization of our Constitutional Monarchy along with control of power by the Prime Minister is skewing parliament.
9:28 AM Apr 14th from web

Thursday, 5 March 2009

There are no Solutions without Hope

There is a thin line between realism and pessimism. Pessimism is as big a lie as manic optimism. Neither help you manage your daily life.
Lately we've been getting nothing but bad news from pundits, politicians, and economic types. Yes, people are losing jobs. Yes, people are losing money in the markets (my husband looks glum when he talks about his investments these days), but the fact is we can get so bogged to down in the 'economic crisis' and injustices (too many and too real), that we become paralysed.

Fellow author, Marcia Laycock has come up with a great idea. Create your own list of seven positive things in your life, or the world in general. Post them. Tell others about them. That way, we can start to fix problems instead of getting bogged down in them. And chances are, you will come up with more than seven.

Here are my first eight:
1. My university aged daughter took the time to send me a postcard from Montreal. (I am blessed by my three healthy, bright children.)
2. Dropping House prices mean more people can buy houses. (Good news for realtors and buyers)
3. Many, in fact most people, still have jobs. I still see posting for jobs on the net and in the paper.
4. The Canadian banking system, though mocked as old fashioned and too conservative for years by foreigners and some Canadian business types, is the only G-7 banking system not to have to be bailed out by the Government.
5. People are rethinking their credit hungry, overly materialistic lifestyles, and making more thoughtful buying decisions.
6. Waste is no longer fashionable.
7. We can walk on city parks and walking trails for free. We are blessed in Canada, especially Alberta, that our cities include natural settings and wildlife within walking distance.
8. Spring is coming. That means more sunshine, more chances to enjoy the world around us, and less use of electricity and fossil fuels.

Now you try it. What do you think we have to be positive about today?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Just who is Culturally Irrelevant: YOU or the CBC?

Straight from "The public broadcaster says it's in talks with the Heritage Department about the dire effects of a sinking economy, which it says will plunge the corporation into a deep deficit in 2009-2010."

Really? That doesn't surprise me much.

In its quest to become culturally relevant, the CBC has stopped doing its job: bringing news, culture, and information, with a Canadian perspective, to Canadians. Instead, it's opted to buy foreign game shows and hire trendy radio hosts who are only able to relate to people living in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. In fact, sometimes, I get the idea the CBC's new media stars: George and Jian couldn't tell a maple from an oak and wouldn't know a beaver from a rat. And in their quest to reach 'youth', they ignore Canadian history and institutions they think are 'politically incorrect', 'out of date', or God forbid, 'small townish and stereotypically Canadian'. (Sometimes, I think they are making tapes for auditions in New York.) As a result, they reach practically nobody.

Why? Because, a lot of Canadians do, at least partially, fit Canuck stereotypes -- polite, conservative (in lifestyle, but not necessarily politics), nature loving, and oh yes, just a bit 'small townish'. We sometimes wear toques, parkas, and ugly winter boots. A lot of us have eaten oatmeal for breakfast, tuna sandwiches for lunch, and meat loaf for dinner.(Not everyday, of course.) We might even take offence at a guy hosting a national arts and culture show who claims he can't understand Lent. (It's kind of a Christian version of Ramadan with fasting flexibilty, Jian. Does that help?)

I believe that we are enriched by the many cultures that have come, and continue to come, to Canada. But, face it, most guys and gals that get off a plane at Pearson and get a job, any job, in 21st Century Canada don't know much about staking a homestead or turning colonial wilderness in homes. To listen to the CBC, you think that the majority of Canadians landed here yesterday. In fact, most Canadians are not immigrants -- not even the West.

(The demographic gurus trying to sell advertising would be surprised at how many potential viewers, even in Western Canada, have pre-Confederation French, Metis, or British roots. And, because we all have at least two parents, it's impossible to fully determine ethnicity by somebody's colour, social status, or last name.)

Our colonial past is almost totally ignored by our public broadcaster. (Big mistake, because we WERE the Empire and if there are injustices still to fix in the Commonwealth, we have no business leaving the UK to do the job.) And God help you if you are are descended from colonials and pioneers, especially if they were British. In that case, you are expected to be ashamed of the political, social and cultural institutions your ancestors' helped build: You are nobody's target audience: no matter how much you have to spend.

It's clear our national broadcaster isn't very good with demographics. Exactly who were they trying to lure with the acquisition of two American game shows that spout nary a question about Canada? Last time I checked most game show viewers weren't part of the demographics the CBC seems to value above all others: the young, trendy, the urban, and the immigrant.

But CBC is not alone: most mass media, public institutions, and large corporations in Canada, have been too busy marketing themselves to some imaginary demographic that they have lost touch with Canadians outside Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

That's really too bad, because some of the most interesting people I know aren't young, trendy, beautiful, urban or obviously ethnic. In fact, I've made a career writing about them. And I wouldn't have changed that for all the CBC contracts in the world. 'Cause I love the boonies and the people that never make the front page or the top story.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

so who's responsible for negative attitude

I don't use this blog to comment on American politics. The U.S. is not my country and, frankly, I think it's rude to interfere in our neighbours' democracy. Of course, we wish Americans well and support their choices.

However, I will comment on the Canadian media's reporting of the Obama Inauguration. Firstly, I'm really happy they've all had a really good,really long vacation from looking for any news stories in Canada or around the world. Party's over guys. Now it's time to get back to work and dig for some stories.

Secondly,several times this week I've heard one national news anchor, who really should know better, say no one does pageantry as well as Americans. Seriously. Has he ever heard of the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill? Oh and wasn't that the network that cut pageantry from their broadcasts at the opening of Parliament? Don't Canadian media usually make fun of Canadian pageantry? And didn't that particular network forget to play the Governor General's New Year's greeting?

And how is it they keep asking if a black can hold power in Canada after they have seen pictures of Mdme. Jean? Why is it that they are trying to bring the 'race' card to Canadian politics? I'm proud of the fact that the amount of pigment in Mdme. Jean's skin is irrelevent to Canadians.

Another common comment from Canadian viewers watching these broadcasts: "We would like someone to inspire us, too." Good point. I have to agree. So, let's start with the politicians and pundits who spend most of their time picking apart our system and making negative comparisons like, "Of course, we can't expect to have this in Canada. We're just a small country."

First, we're not that small a country, economically, geographically or even in population, and if we'd stop navel gazing and whining about how weak we are, we could impact the world greatly. Of course, we can expect to do and accomplish greatt things.

Secondly, it's time for Canadian media to drop the negative attitude toward our history, our culture, and Canadians. They might even point out that the Canadians, who opposed George Washington's vision, also built a country based on their own view of what democracy is -- and that it didn't come easy. That it is a different, but equally, valid view.

And it's our job to hold the media accountable.

Monday, 19 January 2009

walls/bridges/ and Canadian regionalism

In 1877, my great-great grandfather built a new house -- a beautiful stone house for his large blended family. I almost thought this house, along with tales of my great-grandfather's squandered inheritance, were fairytales. But this week I saw the house -- or at least a picture of it. Still standing. Still occupied.

The house still stands, but the family that once lived in it has scattered. The walls could not hold them. In fact,'walls' may have scattered them.

The lady who made time to tromp through snow covered rural Ontario to find my great-great-parents' land also sent me a picture of a bridge her grandfather built. A beautiful curved wooden bridge. It, too, stills stands after 100 years. Apparently, her grandfather built bridges in Western Canada too. I'm keeping my eyes open for them.

Aren't bridges beautiful things? Not only do they get you from one side of a deep ravine or a raging river to the other, they are beautiful architecture. Useable art.

I live in a city where more joggers, getting fit along the coulee top trails, turn east to look at the huge viaduct spanning the river valley than west to look at the outline of the Rocky Mountains and Porcupine Hills. Canada Post put our bridge on a stamp once.

Groups, like TWG are bridges too, linking people of diverse backgrounds in many regions of the country -- even beyond. Too often we talk of walls: rights and regional competition. What 'they' did and how we carry more than our fair share of the load. Too often we hold onto to our grudges and prejudices. Too often we take pride in building thicker and thicker walls and hurling insults at our kin -- and we are all kin if we go back far enough.

We love our walls, but we need more bridges,especially in Canada.