Canadian Politics

Saskatchewan Legislative Buildings

I do not discuss politics often.  In this day and age, it seems as if it is not so much a discussion as a drag down/knock out fight.  However, today I will make an exception.

In Canada, there are three main parties – the Conservatives on the right, the NDP (New Democrat Party) on the Left and the Liberals in the middle.  Although Canada is far from being as politically intense as our southern neighbours, there are Canadians who are to the extreme right of the Conservatives and the extreme left of the NDP. These two demographics seem to be growing – or at least growing increasingly vocal.

I am not a card carrying member of any party but, since I prefer compromise to battle, I tend to favour the Liberals – who happen to be currently in power.

I voted Liberal in the past two elections because I am comfortable supporting them and their leader. I like Justin Trudeau for three reasons. (1) He consistently displays affection, kindness, respect and appreciation for his parents. (2) He consistently displays affection, kindness, respect and appreciation for his wife. (3) He consistently displays affection, kindness respect and appreciation for his children.

I do not have a major issue with the left or far left. I just do not believe that all of their ideals, although important and well meaning, are practical as a be all and end solution for maintaining a strong country. In Canada, the left – even the extreme far left, tend to fight for their beliefs with protests and the like – mainly peaceful demonstrations. They take issue with the Liberal government and Justin Trudeau for not doing enough to support their causes and I can respect that.

I have a harder time finding respect for the right, specifically the far right. They tend to flat out oppose anything the Liberal Government does. They flat out oppose anything Justin Trudeau does. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals can be doing exactly what the majority of countries and their leaders are doing and it is all wrong – and all Trudeau’s fault. (He caused the pandemic, caused the many repercussions of the pandemic, caused the fall in oil prices, caused the increasing frequency and devastation of natural disasters around the globe, caused the ramping up of racial tensions, etc. … ๐Ÿ™„). Those on the far right seldom show any respect in their opposition and quite frequently spread questionable ‘facts’, use righteous indignation, or use questionable humor in their quest to destroy the credibility of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. This is politics as it is today and politicians know what they are getting into when they run for public office. I generally roll my eyes ๐Ÿ‘€ at such nonsense and move on.

Then there are those, from the far right, who attack and taunt anyone who supports Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. These people are not just small pockets of strangers. Some of these people are relatives and friends. To these people I am a libtard and a snowflake, unworthy of using my vote as I see fit, and too lazy to take care of myself and my family (hence my support for social programs, justice and the like). These are people who know that I am worthy of respect. These are people who know that I not only have the right to my vote, but who deserves that right. These are people who know that I have worked all of my adult life to provide for myself and my family, who has helped others in need and who has paid my share of taxes regardless of who was in government. None of this matters, to those on the far right (specifically people on the far right who know me) because I chose to vote for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau. ๐Ÿ™„

I do not fight often but I will fight for my right to vote as I see fit. AND I will fight for every other Canadian’s right to vote for whoever they see fit. (Even those who know me but choose to mock, attack and insult me for how I vote.) ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

White Privilege

When I was growing up, a privilege was something that was earned.ย  It was also something that could be revoked if it was misused.ย ย 

I am not quite sure what ‘white privilege’ is supposed to mean now days but I do not agree with it.   I do not believe that it should be a ‘privilege’ to have access to education,  healthcare, employment, justice, respect or kindness simply because of the color of one’s skin – or their age, sex, sexual orientation, weight, physical or mental abilities or any other  superficial reason by which they are judged. These things should be human rights.

I have known many people who have felt ‘entitled’ to special treatment for any number of reasons (being white, being male, being wealthy….).ย  As more people realize how wrong prejudice and discrimination are, the moreย  dangerous and delusional these people areย  becoming.ย  They are angry and afraid that they are losing their position of entitlement. They feel threatened and people who feel threatened becomeย  defensive to the point of being aggressive.

Different movements have been created and have grown to protect and support those who do not have the same rights that all humans should have. Personally, I believe their success will always be limited. I believe this because those who are the focus of these movements are not the problem.

As a white (privileged?) person, I believe for real changes to happen in our society, we must focus on ourselves. We are the problem or we are at the heart of the problem. We must look at ourselves. We must look at our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our friends and our neighbours. We must question and change our own dangerous entitled beliefs and challenge the dangerous entitled attitudes of those around us. We must hold ourselves and those around us accountable for mistreating or misrepresenting those who want nothing more than the human rights that we already have.

There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by accepting and encouraging those who are being deprived of the rights and benefits that many of us take for granted. It is not them against us, nor should it be us against them. As they thrive, we all thrive. We are one humanity.

Current State of Confusion

I have forgotten a lot of things that I was taught in school. There were some concepts (algebra) that I never did fully grasp. However, there was one thing that I was taught that did make total sense to me, one thing that I took to heart and will always remember. When I was in Grade Two, our teacher read us the story of the north wind and the sun. I remember our teacher, Mrs. Clark (who was just the sweetest teacher ever). I remember the pictures in the book. I remember the story. I remember the lesson.

For anyone who never happened to hear the story, the north wind was bragging about how strong he was – that he was the strongest power in the universe. The sun respectfully disagreed. The two decided to have a contest to determine which of them was the stronger. They chose a man walking down the street. They decided whichever one of them could get the man’s coat off of him in the shortest amount of time, would be the winner. The north wind went first. He howled and blustered and directed his cold fierce power directly at the man. The man grasped his coat and wrapped himself in it. The harder the north wind blew, the tighter the man clung to the coat. Finally the north wind had blown himself out. He gave up and dared the sun to do his best. The sun smiled warmly onto the man. In no time at all, the man removed his coat making the sun the winner of their contest. I get that. It makes sense.

In the past few days, the news has been filled with more and ever more hate and violence. I do not get it. I do not understand anyone who is driven to hate and contempt and murder based solely on the color of one’s skin. I do not understand those who take to the streets in anger, determined to cause destruction and chaos and pain to guilty and innocent alike. I do not understand the cruelty or arrogance that drives one to walk into a street or classroom, mowing down countless innocent victims with weapons of mass destruction. I do not understand the fear and insecurity that drives people to resent and hate refugees fleeing war-torn countries to find peace and security for themselves and their families. I really do not understand movements like the ‘incels’ who slaughter women because they are ‘involuntarily celibate’. (Like that will drive women into their beds?)

I do not understand any of these destructive people or the mayhem they cause. I do not understand their motivation. Do they expect to win? If so, what the hell is the prize?

Covid 19 Statistics

Front Page of the Regina Leader Post May 16th

Countries, provinces, states, and the like have been announcing cases of Covid 19 on a daily basis for months now. The cases have varied substantially from one country or area to another. The severity and contagion of Covid 19 has varied substantially. Why is that?

Personally, I do not put a lot of faith in the numbers. Regardless of how many tests are being done, what do the results mean if we have no idea what criteria is being used to decide who gets tested and for what purpose?

In Saskatchewan, the numbers would lead people to believe that Covid 19 has basically bypassed our province. With the exception of a few reported outbreaks, we have supposedly had little transmission of the virus. This begs the question – why? Why would a number of people be infected at one snowmobile race, one hospital, one sporting event, but in Regina (a city of 200,000) there have been 76 official cases, with virtually zero transmission? People spontaneously being infected by the virus through no known source and not passing it on to anyone else? A few of these could be explained by people returning from other areas and self isolating once they are home. Even those are questionable as many flew home and mingled shoulder to shoulder with others in a crowded airport on arrival. The rest? Two nursing home care workers? A resident from an assisted living home who was in hospital for five days before testing positive?

It does not surprise me that Covid 19 is just a numbers game in Saskatchewan but if you are just playing a game, why? People are being lulled into a false sense of security. Many people believe there is little cause for caution as our official numbers are so low. People are not taking this seriously.

I believe people should take Covid 19 seriously. I believe they should be cautious. Regardless of the ‘official’ numbers, Covid 19 is a serious disease. It is contagious. It poses an immediate life threatening danger to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. It is being found that even for younger, healthier individuals Covid 19 can be a serious life threatening disease. Medical professionals are only beginning to see the potential for longterm health issues for those who have suffered even milder cases of this virus. There is much more to be learned and every reason to be cautious.

It doesn’t matter where you are, or what the numbers say. Covid 19 is here and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Take care out there. Protect yourself and those around you.

Senior Care

Mom with Genie & Rory

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my Mother’s passing. I remember her reminding me of the passing anniversaries of her parents. She always said how incredible it seemed that so much time had passed. I understand now because I feel the same way about her.

It would not surprise me at all to see my mother walk into the room, see her delighting in her grandchildren, see her loading the table with her amazing cooking and baking. I would recognize her voice in a heartbeat.

My relationship with my Mother was hardly perfect. She would argue over anything and she could nag the hair off a dog. Even during, maybe especially during, her last few years when she was residing in care, my Mother could be difficult. But, she was my Mother. She worked hard to care for us and to provide decent clothes, nourishing meals and memorable holidays through the years. She sacrificed a lot of her own wants and needs to raise us and she cared for us all to the end.

My Mother spent the last five years of her life in longterm care. It was a relatively small facility. She had a private room with a private bath. It was a relatively sizeable room and was always kept clean and well maintained. The staff were competent and caring. She was well cared for and we were in all treated well when we went to see her.

It is difficult to think of my Mother and realize that I cannot pick up a phone to hear her voice or take a drive to her town to see her.

As difficult as it can be to remember the loss of my parents, this year I have to be grateful that they are not here. My heart goes out to families of the vulnerable elders who are currently in care. I cannot imagine the devastation that is going through many nursing homes right now. I cannot imagine what seniors, their families and their caretakers are going through.

It is always difficult to lose loved ones. We were fortunate that my Mother was relatively comfortable in her final days. We were fortunate that my siblings and I (and our spouses) could take turns spending her last days with her. My heart goes out to those who will not have our comforting memories of their loved ones final days.

Regardless of where we live, this Covid-19 still poses a huge risk – especially to vulnerable seniors living in longterm facilities. Until there is a vaccine to protect them, it is our duty to do everything in our power to protect them. If we are out and about or living with someone who has to go out, we must assume that we could potentially be infected. We must assume that anyone we cross paths with, may work in a care home or may live with someone who works in a care home. We cannot be complacent in believing that we are relatively safe. It is not just about us.

Money & Power

There is always one common denominator in a global crisis, be it financial, enviornmental, or pandemic. The rich and the powerful are above doing their, or any, part.

These days, our news is full of warnings to isolate, quarantine and use social distancing to stop the spread of the potentially fatal COVID 19. We are told to wash our hands at every opportunity and to clean all surfaces and clothing regularly . We are told how to cough and how to sneeze. We are told to close all non-essential businesses – restaurants, bars, clothing stores, hairdressers and the like. We are told to keep this virus from spreading beyond the capabilities of our health system. It is in our best interests and those of our families, friends and neighbours to control the spread of this virus as it has already proven capable of devastating results if it is not controlled.

The problem is not with what is being done. It is with what is not being done. For every list of non-essential services that are to be closed down, there is a list of essential services. That list should be a no brainer. Medical facilities, grocery stores, veterinarian services, gasoline stations, utility companies, the trucking industry, railroads and the like. Essential services.

However,  there are businesses and  services that get carte blanche because they straddle the line of essential and non essensial service – like manufacturing plants. If they are producing essential items – food, medicine and the like, then yes, they must be allowed to operate under strict regulations. They must do everything in their power to protect their employees – and in turn, their employees’ families and communities. What about construction? If it is an emergency repair or securing a jobsite, yes do it, responsibly – otherwise SHUT IT DOWN.  Oilfields, potash mines and the like. There are stockpiles of their products around the globe right now. SHUT THEM DOWN.

The thing is – if we shut down all non-essential work in Canada for a month, this virus would be contained and we would all be able to get back to a virtually normal life within weeks.

The problem is, that will not happen. The rich and the powerful will not allow it. Therefore, our politicians will not allow it – until it is too late. There is an old saying “Doing the same thing, in the same way, and expecting different results, is insanity.” We watched this virus, get out of control in one country after another while politicians dragged their feet. Let’s try that Canada! (Because that’s not the definition of insanity.)

Injustice

Today our local paper carried another article highlighting the obscene injustice in our courts.

In 2015, a forty-two year old (caucasian) man picked up a twenty-one year old prostitute and took her to the outskirts of our city. When he could not perform the sexual service he had contracted with her, he pushed her out of his truck, naked from the waist down and locked the door. In an effort to stop the man from driving away with her clothes, purse and cell phone, the woman ran around to the front of his truck. The man drove forward, knocking her down and drove over her legs, leaving her injured and unable to summon help. The woman managed to walk two blocks to the highway, where a good Samaritan picked her up and drove her to the hospital.

Last year, this man was found guilty of assault with a vehicle.  This week he returned to court for sentencing. 

The judge sentenced the man to ninety days in jail, to remind him and others that a vehicle cannot be used as a weapon, although he did note that he did not feel the man intended any harm but he was ‘wilfully blind’ to the harm his actions would cause. He also sentenced the man to a three year probation order, personal grief and trauma counselling as well as addiction treatment. Finally, to ensure this man did not feel too hard done by, the judge ordered that his jail time could be served on weekends so he could keep his job. It was noted that this poor deluded SOB had a record involving a number of serious offences but this was the first time he had ever been given a jail sentence.

Other than a few words noting that the victim had entered a victim impact statement in which she mentioned that she still suffers from nerve injury, there was no mention of the victim. There was certainly no indication of compassion or consideration towards her, as far as the judge was concerned.

There is so much wrong with this picture that I cannot even begin. Why are there so many of these entitled losers causing so much grief and harm to women? Why are the powers that be so reluctant to hold them accountable? This is disgusting, already.

The Care Bears are Coming to Our Town

Genie at the Wheel

Fifteen years ago we bought our granddaughter a pink ride on car that played an annoying little Care Bear song. Genie loved that car and rode it non-stop for two summers. She obviously had her mother’s love for being at the wheel – and her questionable taste in music ๐Ÿ˜‚. Six months ago, at fifteen and a half, Genie got her learners license and bought her mother’s mini van. Yesterday, less than a week after her sixteenth birthday, Genie went through her driver’s test and passed on her first try. ๐Ÿ‘

Having her license, and her own vehicle, will be a good thing in a lot of ways. Genie will be able to drive herself and her younger brother, Rory, to highschool. She will be able to drive herself to work. She will be able to run errands and take her little sisters places they need to go. She will have the freedom to take herself places that may not otherwise be accessible to her. It will be an asset on future resumes. There are a lot of positives.

Of course, this independence comes with a lot of responsibility and concern for those of us who love her. When Genie gets upset, she walks or rides her bike – for miles. She can go so much farther, so much faster, with real wheels beneath her. Will she drive when she is upset? There are other less responsible and less kind teenagers that do not have a vehicle or their license yet. Will they take advantage of our sweet little girl who has worked so hard for what she has? Then of course, we live in Saskatchewan. For the better part of each year, our roads are covered with ice and snow and our dark of night extends long into what should be daylight hours. Driving is challenging for experienced drivers, how dangerous will it be for our newbie? Finally, Genie will be sharing the road with a host of other drivers, some who should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle. Will she have the skill to avoid them?

There are some steps to independence and adulthood that are more notable and daunting for teenagers and those of us who love them. This is a big one. Fortunately, we know Genie is responsible. We know she will not abuse this privilege or take this responsibility lightly. Still, we hear echoes of the Care Bear song and suddenly she is our innocent, vulnerable, baby girl again. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Then๐Ÿ’–
And Now๐Ÿ’–

Deadly

On Thursday, the news broke. Another murder suicide. A middle aged couple on the verge of divorce. Husband took his wife’s life and then took his own. Shock and sadness. How can this happen? Why does this keep happening? I have a few thoughts on the subject.

Every time the subject of domestic violence, or any violence for that matter, comes up in Saskatchewan the same comments follow. It is natives, it is poverty, it is refugees. No, it is not. All too often, it is us. It is one of ours. The couple who died last week – white, middle class, nice home in a nice neighbourhood. Robert Picton, the pig farmers who butchered countless native women in British Columbia, one of us. Russell Williams, commander of the Trenton Airforce Base in Ontario, who raped and murdered young women, one of us. Robert Leeming, murdered his room mate/part time girlfriend and her little daughter, one of us. I could go on for pages.

The fact is violence and murder is not confined to any race, socio-economic group,sex or age. We have to quit looking over there and start looking across the board for the actual root causes and red flags. Until then, there is no realistic way we can prevent it, it will keep happening.

Marriage and Divorce

Today is a double anniversary for me. 43 years ago, I got married. Weddings and marriages are supposed to be rated on the positive scale of life. That one wasn’t. By the time I got to my wedding day, I knew I should run. I didn’t.

Today is the 24th anniversary of my divorce. That should be a negative, but it wasn’t. I am proud that I got out. I am proud that I took myself and my three teenagers, my dog and my plant out of a really bad situation. I am proud that I worked my butt off, kept a roof over our heads and food in the cupboards, and decent clothes in our closets. I am proud that I worked my way up from a worn out sedan to a cool reliable, turbo-charged convertible. I am proud that I took my kids on memorable holidays, spent time with them, and gave them the home they deserved – even if it was only for a few years.

Today my kids are on their own, living their own lives and raising their own beautiful families. I am happily married to a good man. He is caring and kind and funny. We have a good life, a new dog and lots of plants.

My divorce was a good thing. The best thing I ever did. There really isn’t a good way to celebrate a divorce. People think you are bitter or angry or awful, if you ever mention it, no matter how good it was. So I don’t.

I do celebrate my first marriage and my divorce every year on October 8th. I don’t make a big deal out of it, no party or anything. I just go for a walk, stomp the hell out of a few flowers, feel good about myself and grateful for the life I have. ๐Ÿ˜Š