Tag Archives: friendship

Happy Canada Day?

First of all, I am going to take a leaf from my blog friend Melanie (http://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com) and warn you, dear reader, that controversial opinions follow. I don’t wish to offend, but just so that you know, there are religious and political speed bumps in this post.

Let me start by saying that I am a fiercely proud Canadian. I served in the military. I have done lots of volunteering. I like the values that have developed here and I grew to appreciate them even more by living in other countries.

But I have been very upset and troubled by what has been unfolding with respect to our indigenous peoples.

If you’re Canadian, you will know what I’m referring to: all the children’s bodies that have been discovered in unmarked graves at three former residential schools.

If you’re not Canadian, here’s a quick history: from the 1870s to the 1980s, the federal government decided that in order to destroy indigenous peoples’ languages and culture and force them to assimilate, all children between ages 4-16 should be taken from their families and required to attend residential schools. About 150,000 indigenous children were literally stolen from their families and compelled to attend; sometimes these schools were hundreds of kilometres away from their homes and the children were rarely allowed back home to visit.

In this tragic tale, what’s the most tragic is that many, many of these children never survived the schools to return home at all, and their families were never given any kind of explanation. The federal government contracted with several Christian churches to run these schools: Anglican, United, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic. The vast majority of these schools – 75% – were run by the Roman Catholic Church. These Catholic residential schools were also operated the longest and were the last to close.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission detailed the mistreatment at these schools, including the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that occurred. It also found that the crowded living conditions, poor nutrition and substandard medical care made the children more likely to die of disease and infection.

When this barbaric practice was finally fully stopped (this torture continued in some places longer than in others) the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches apologised, turned over their records, and tried to make amends. The federal government apologised. The Roman Catholic Church? Nothing. Nada. Zero. No apologies. No records. No acknowledgment of any kind of responsibility.

It was long believed that there were the unmarked graves of children on many of the schools’ grounds, and now explicit proof is being found with the use of ground-penetrating radar. In the last month, more than 1000 graves in three different locations have been found. I am not surprised; I expect that now the search has begun, many, many more will be found.

I have very strong feelings about this: anger, embarrassment, guilt, sadness, and outrage.

I am mad at my government and I’m mad at the Roman Catholic Church. I was raised in that church.

But its actions have been despicable, it hasn’t apologised or taken any responsibility, and if it were any other organisation, it would be disbanded and its assets seized. At the very least, our government should immediately remove its tax-free status.

Meanwhile across the country, more and more Catholic Churches are being burned to the ground in the dead of night.

But instead of taking action, our PM stands around, shuffling his feet and spouting platitudes about how we need to behave ourselves. He’s a Catholic, and he hasn’t said or done anything about this horrible institution.

Some people are saying that Canada Day should be cancelled in favour of a day of mourning, reflection and amendment, and in many locations, it has been. Others say that this is nothing more than “cancel culture” and that we can’t blame historical figures for behaving in the context of their time.

I disagree. Human behaviour is human behaviour. Sir John A MacDonald, our first PM, knew exactly what he was doing when he helped to design the residential school system, and so did all the others who were also a part of this. His greed, his need for control and his sense of entitlement and superiority drove him and the many others who participated, including the Roman Catholic Church.

I work with many indigenous people, and I know first-hand how awful they have had it. As a result, I frequently experience white guilt when I really consider the fact that although I, personally, don’t bear any direct responsibility for what the colonialists did, every day I reap the “rewards” of what they stole. So does anyone who chooses to make this country their home.

But I’m not ashamed, and I’m not ashamed of my country. Shame won’t solve anything – it’s just a revolving door.

What will help is for us to face our past, squarely and honestly, without trying to sugar-coat or side-step, and without allowing a religious institution to escape taking responsibility because it’s religious. It’s the only way we can support our indigenous peoples. It’s the only way we can show our respect. And maybe, it’s how we can finally turn to them and say, “yes, I get it now. I understand.”

This Canada Day, I won’t be having a party while my friends are in mourning.

Jill, this One Is for You

Jill Weatherholt and I have been following each other for about seven years now. She’s strong and kind and lovely and a published author. You can visit her site at https://jillweatherholt.wordpress.com/

She’s also an orchid whisperer. She keeps orchids in her office and they love her as much as she loves them. There’s lots of growing and blooming.

So when I saw this delicate light green orchid, I immediately thought of Jill. I don’t know what it’s called, but to me it’s Jill’s Orchid.

🙂

Night Garden with Moon

My wonderful friend C has an equally wonderful yard. It took her many years to bring it around.

She has many beautiful, mature trees, a small pond, and a vegetable patch.

Loads of flowers, ornamental plants and a gurgling stream complete this garden oasis.

It is truly stunning but also relaxing. My friend has built a remarkably calming haven in the middle of a dense and busy neighbourhood.

On a recent night, we sat on her large comfortable deck, ate good food, listened to sleepily twittering birds, and watched the sun go down and the bats flit in search of dinner. We talked and spent time together.

Thank you, C.

Trumpian Pee Soup and Other Political Delights

Trump has insulted our prime minister. Badly. He called PM Trudeau “weak,” “meek and mild” and “dishonest.” One of Trump’s advisers even went so far as to proclaim that there is a “special place in hell” for Trudeau.

Now, no matter what your political stripe, that kind of unregulated and moronic loudmouthery is something that will unite this country faster than you can say Jacques Robinson. That’s because, love him or hate him, Trudeau is ours. In other words, we can criticise him, but American political hypocrites who project their personality issues onto others can’t. That’s not allowed.

And then to tell us that we’ll pay??? Gall darnit, now you’ve really done it.

A riled Canadian is not a pretty sight. And although that whole “polite and nice” bit is mostly a stereotype, angry and pissed is not our natural setpoint either.

Just wait and see.

How Canadian is this?

So, right now there’s a movement to boycott all American products and services.

Buy Canadian!!

Or, buy anyone else’s products but theirs.

I was thinking about this. We could do it. It would require some pretzelling, but we could.

And we’d probably be healthier and smarter.

Just think, no more Coke, Twinkies, or Doritos.

No more desperate housewives from? Hmmm. Not sure what city they’re from. But they’re desperate, they’re from the States, and watching them will make you want to lick your own eyeballs.

No more smarmy bachelors and bachelorettes who look like they have been built from a kit.

No more cross-border hockey.

Really?

Well, if all the Canadians left, many of the teams would collapse. But at least the season would be over before May. May hockey is just wrong.

No more internet.

Wha???

Actually, we can calm down about that one. It was the result of a rather large, world-wide collaboration that was constructed, layer by layer, on the work and ideas of many, including Nicola Tesla. At various stages, American interests put money into it, but so did a number of other nationalities. However, what we think of as today’s internet was invented by a British guy named Tim Berners-Lee.

There. It’s okay. The internet is not “owned” by the US.

So yes. We could probably live without US products.

But the problem is, I don’t think we want to and that sentiment is about an awful lot more than just stuff.

We’re pissed because a good friend has done the equivalent of announce to the world that one of us farted a big one during dinner and that the bed we offered had bugs. Except these would be total lies. Actually, it was Donnie who peed in the soup – figuratively, that is.

We’re pissed because our veterans have been slighted.

We’re pissed because we’ve been deemed a security risk over the War of 1812.

Really??? Donnie, you baby brain, are you seriously serious?

We want things to go back to how they were. Yes, there was the occasional squabble, but there was never anything serious.

We got along, visited each other, intermarried, tried each other’s food and culture and books and watched each other’s sports, and yes, ridiculous tv shows.

For the most part, we’ve always been pretty chummy.

But now, everyone feels awkward and embarrassed. People are taking it upon themselves to apologise for a leader they probably never voted for and of whom they are ashamed.

A pretty great relationship has become an uncomfortable side hug.

But for as pissed as Canadians might be at the moment, please remember that we’re pissed at Trump and his entourage of peckerwoods. We’re not pissed at you.

We know that the majority of Americans didn’t vote for him. We know that many of those who did felt that they were doing the right thing.

I just hope that underneath the orange glow that’s emanating from your direction, we’re really still friends, and will continue to be friends, long after the Trumpian morass has been consigned to the past.

Now it’s your turn. How do you see it?