A forum for comments on FASD, sharing, life challenges, politics and other things that bother us. By GrampaBrian, FASD Advocate (AKA Brian Philcox)

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

A Great Canadian Collaboration (Maybe)

The Great Leap Forward: A Manifesto for Canadian Survival

Nothing lasts forever: no person; no product; no system; no dogma; no nation. Only those who evolve will survive. In order to grow, we must change. It’s OK to have rituals, but as the environment evolves, they must modify too. Granted, sometimes reality sucks, but there is no point moping over things that we humans can’t change. Our success, not to mention our survival, always depends on what we can change and when we do so willingly and with enthusiasm.

Canada sometimes seems like some sort of anomaly. We have evolved differently from the US in many ways and differently from the way the nation-states of Europe evolved. However, historically, there are many parallels. European colonizer/settler groups came to this part of North America looking for a different, if not better life than they had in the old country. Through arrogance, hubris or simple ignorance, these newcomers assumed that they were natural superiors to the local inhabitants and found it relatively easy to overcome the aboriginal peoples with new diseases and superior technology. When the British took political power over the French colonizers, historians referred to this power shift as The Conquest. The attempts to obliterate the native populations – and there were many different kinds – was basically cultural genocide. Obviously, these programs (pogroms?) were botched and we now have 3100 First Nation (FN) Reserves across the land now called Canada. Although there are some language group connections among some tribal nations, there is a wide diversity of custom, style and belief systems among them.

Recently, and not for the first time, an Indigenous Reserve has used the occasion of the development of an LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia to block the main road through their reserve, to tell the RCMP (the BC contracted provincial police service) to get off their land and for the pipeline company to cease work. In sympathy with the Wet’suwet’en Nation in BC, a group of Mohawks in Ontario near Belleville at Tyendinaga Reserve blocked the main CN and VIA rail lines. More blockages popped up on rail lines around the country with many volunteers from outside the First Nations communities. For over two weeks, all cargo and passenger traffic were shut down across Canada to the disruption of the Canadian economy. Although courts had issued injunctions to cease and desist from these blockages, police and politicians have been reluctant to use forcible arrests of the blockers for fear of creating standoff crises where individuals could be wounded or killed.

The political comparison of these FN territories to recalcitrant clan chiefs in the Highlands of Scotland or barons in medieval Europe who decided to buck the authority of their kings of the day may not be accurate. However, when First Nations want to be recognized as sovereign states and will only deal with Canada on a nation to nation basis, there is a formidable dynamic at play. Some of the hereditary chiefs at Wet’suwet’en insist on dealing only with the Prime Minister on a nation-to-nation basis. Yet, there appears to be no consensus among the various chiefs at this reserve and the spokesman for the hereditary chiefs there has declared that they are the only leaders who can make decisions about land use in their territory. 

The current impasse suggests that this may be the best time for Canada to take a hiatus to resolve the panoply of issues that have been nagging the body politic since the beginning. In the most recent times this country has been coping with the tragedy of the Iranian rocket strike of a commercial flight that killed all 57 Canadians aboard, the international panic over the Covid-19 virus and the spontaneous blockage of rail traffic by sympathizers of Indigenous political and climate concerns. There have also been ongoing and unresolved issues of trade sector problems with the US, clarity of the role of our Canadian Armed Forces and an inability to collaborate effectively with the Provinces.

And what about doing something constructive to alleviate the homeless issue? Is it so hard for someone to design a pre-fab, starter studio apartment for under $1000? Is Corrections reform no longer on the agenda? Is it only prejudice that keeps our society from creating safe and supportive communities for our mentally and physically disabled.? Why not start with safe havens for veterans with PTSD? As the philosophers tell us, “If you want to make progress, stop hacking with a dull axe, pause and sharpen the blade.”

Communities thrive when they collectively share responsibility for one another. Human dignity demands having a space that protects you from the elements, gives you privacy and allows you to protect your possessions, stay clean and prepare food. Often this is a difficult challenge in any society where there is economic inequality and a substantive part of the population that is not always capable of looking after itself without appropriate support systems.

A factor throughout the dilemma of the mental health issue is the unacknowledged number of individuals who have had their coping capacity limited by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Current studies indicate that the prevalence rate for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is at 4%. FASD is 2.5 times more prevalent than Autism and the presence of this disability throughout the land represents an issue of pandemic proportions. With over 1.5 million Canadians trying to cope with a disability they have acquired through no fault of their own, we have a brain trauma problem that is the most common, most expensive, yet most preventable of all disabilities in the industrialized world.

Silos of solitude is not a fictional concept. Competition for resources is a natural phenomenon but can effectively compromise the collaboration that would achieve positive results. The frail, the mentally challenged, the different, the homeless, are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our very own children. Why can’t we, as a mature nation, take a step back, review our options and make the decisions for our future wellbeing that will allow us to be masters of our own fate. Otherwise, we will never be able to make that great leap forward.

Our Children Must Learn about the FASD Pandemic Early

Although we have been around since 1998, FASworld Canada has campaigned specifically for education about FASD in the classroom since 2016. Bill 172, Education Statute Law Amendment Act (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), 2020 has recently received First Reading in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park and is a significant baby step forward. This private member’s bill, brought forward by former Premier Kathleen Wynne was inspired by former MPP Sophie Kiwala. If we are to believe the supportive remarks by Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith, then this bill may be on its way to Third Reading and final approval by the Provincial House.

The bill requires boards of education to develop policies and guidelines with respect to FASD. Teachers’ colleges and early childhood education programs shall be required to provide training with respect to FASD.

The volunteers at FASworld began as educators about FASD and as advocates for families and individuals affected by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure in the mid-90s. In 1999, we created FASDay to remind everyone, on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month that women should avoid alcohol when planning and during the nine months of pregnancy. Started in Toronto, FASDay is now observed in over 64 countries in every time zone around the world.

Current research advises that FASD is four times as prevalent as we thought. This pandemic affects over 1.5 million Canadians at huge cost to society and at great risk to the family fabric.If children can learn to buckle up, to recycle, to beware of tobacco, they can learn about the dangers of drinking in pregnancy. We must also educate students before they graduate from the faculties of Education, Law, Medicine, and the Social Sciences in readiness for their professional careers.

Including FASD information in existing curricula will not add to the budget burden but will build a better, stronger and more productive citizenry.

Go to http://fasworld.com and click on FASD Advocacy where you can learn how to advocate with elected officials and together, we can change the world, one baby at a time.

Remembrance Day 2019

It’s been 100 years since the first Remembrance Day and too many of us have forgotten why or how our leaders managed to screw so many things up in battle management and arbitrarily creating the geopolitical chaos that remains with us. After the “Great War”, soon followed by World War II, we have indulged in numerous regional wars. Have they all been spawned by territorial greed, the need to dominate others, or simply the capitalistic empirical that growth matters most. Historians will tell some of the reasons but leaders will continue to make decisions based on short term gains rather than long term benefits for their own people and societies at large.

The residents in my building gathered last evening to hear reminiscences of personal experiences — most of us lived through WWII — and to sing some of the songs of both World Wars. It left me sad to think of the waste of life to satisfy the call to honour that so many bad decisions were wrapped in. To a man and woman in our group, we agreed that war is not just hell, it is simply stupid.

I was asked to open the evening reciting In Flanders Fields. This is what I said:

The red poppy had long been associated with war and bloodshed but John McCrae’s poem helped establish the poppy as the symbol of remembrance.

My relatives have been warriors since the Boer Wars. John McCrae had also served in South Africa and, even though a doctor, he volunteered as a gunner and medical officer in World War One at the age of 41.

Although I had four years with the Canadian Navy, my attitudes about war have radically changed since then. I praise our warriors, the men and women who have served our country so valiantly. But I abhor the decisions of leaders who have led our brave comrades to slaughter.

That war, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, ended with the great cock-up we call the Middle East.

By 1918, the Canadian Expeditionary Force had mobilized 620,000 troops of whom 39% were casualties: 67,000 dead and 173,000 wounded.

Please share these lines of Lieutenant-Colonel McCrae in light of the futility of war.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

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 sunsets 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.

Doing Politics Differently? An Open Letter to My MP

2019-04-03

Hon. John McKay, MP
Scarborough-Guildwood

Dear John,

What has happened to my Party? I am heartsick over the mismanagement of the SNC Lavalin file and the fallout from the blind arrogance of our leadership team. I have followed these developments as well as any outsider can and have come to a series of uncomfortable conclusions.

In the early days, my cynical thoughts gave me the impression that the resignation of Treasury Board President Brison was a contrivance that would provide the excuse to have a cabinet shuffle. In spite of assurances that Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (JWR) would still be Attorney General and Minister of Justice had Brison not retired, I never had the sense that JWR needed to be shifted in that shuffle anyway.

After all the  subsequent revelations since I shared my analysis* of this communication debacle, I continue to believe what I wrote then is just as valid now. As I have reported publicly, it appears that JWR was more loyal than PMJT. Team loyalty is one thing, but lack of honest support from the leader is a non-starter. Has my Party been abducted  by a charismatic amateur? Sophistry reigns supreme in the cant of some elected Liberal members.

Blind fealty is never the best behaviour. Those who have power and privilege  must take responsibility for their decisions. Serving fellow citizens is the purpose of any political party. Winning is not the goal, winning is the result!

You may find me politically naïve, but I have been involved in the workings of politics long enough to have a sense of what is fair and what is foul. I cut my political teeth as a volunteer for Bud Drury in Montreal when he first campaigned and I was part of John Turner’s communication team in his first (and unsuccessful) leadership campaign. Later on, as a Senior Communication Consultant with Information Canada, I was seconded to the PCO during the first Liberal Priorities and Planning exercise. At the time, I was startled to discover the jock mentality among the then Prime Minister’s advisors. Today, in spite of feminist claims, it looks as though much is the same as before.

The latest excuse for driving JWR out of the Liberal caucus was the fact that she recorded her call from the Clerk of the Privy Council. The sophistry around this issue reveals that many have no idea what they are talking about. It is normal for a Minister to have a staff person listen to and record the conversation in a business call from a colleague – especially if the subject is politically sensitive. When Michael Wernick (MW) called JWR at home, after office hours when she was alone, she recorded the call to ensure that she could capture the details later. This was appropriate because  many other officials had been pestering her office to change her mind for political reasons about the SNC Lavalin affair. How is this different from having a witness on the call to take notes?

Then, if this was such serious business for the Clerk and the PM, the notion that MW wouldn’t bother to inform the PM of the essence of this conversation is the height of incompetence.

Recording a call between two people participating in the conversation is not illegal if one of the parties is aware of it. I believe that this recording would never have become public if MW and Gerald Butts had not implied in their testimonies to the Justice committee that JWR was not telling the truth. The most senior people next to the PM were badgering and threatening the Office of the Attorney General and that is the critical point here. This was truly inappropriate and unconscionable.

I understand that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not grant SNC Lavalin a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) because that company’s behaviours and unwillingness to meet the required criteria did not qualify for a DPA. Just because a DPA exists in Canadian law, does not mean that it is an automatic solution to a political problem.

Because of the high standard of performance of JWR and Dr. Philpott, I was proud to call myself a Liberal. It was less defensible to support the promise backtracking of the Prime Minister and his various gaffe-prone behaviours.

PMJT’s decision to expel these two quality Ministers from caucus was a dereliction of leadership. His rationale was unconvincing and, because he mismanaged this file, I no longer can consider myself a Liberal.

I truly regret this outcome and I fully respect the position you have maintained in these circumstances. I have cherished your kindness and support over the years you have been my MP and I wish you continued success in your exemplary work for the citizens of Scarborough Guildwood.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be at peace.

Yours truly,

Brian Philcox

 

*Earlier analysis: https://fasdance.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/truth-straddling-galore/

Truth Straddling Galore

A tragedy in too many parts: The SNC Lavalin Fiasco

The Players:

  • JWR – Jody Wilson-Raybould; former Minister of Justice & AG – Attorney General of Canada
  • JP – Jane Philpott, former President of the Treasury Board
  • GB – Gerry Butts, former Principal Secretary to PM
  • KT – Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to PM
  • PMJT – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • PET – Pierre Elliot Trudeau, former Prime Minister & father of Justin

It was such a short time ago that, reflecting the ideals of Laurier, we were embarking on a new wave of transparency, honesty and policies of fairness for everyone. I even suppressed my normal political cynicism as I looked at a new and refreshing style of governing. The Trudeau cabinet was replete with bright and energetic MPs, half of them women, most of whom were not tainted with old guard attitudes about politics. It wasn’t long before I started to wonder about my own naivety.

The first major disappointment was the abrupt abandonment of the promise to address the unfairness of the First Past the Post electoral system. And there have been more since. As a staunch Liberal since the days when I canvassed for Bud Drury and was a member of the John Turner leadership team (he didn’t win that time), I truly care about the party I belong to. Politicians are human and they can make mistakes. I’m not concerned about mistakes, they happen with the best of us. Rather, I’m appalled by the ineptitude of the senior team to manage this SNC Lavalin crisis.

Here’s my viewpoint:

  • When AG JWR reviewed the decision of the Parliamentary Public Prosecutor and decided to let her decision stand, that should have been the end of the matter.
  • PMJT has acknowledged that he learned of the AG’s decision in September, shortly after she had made it.
  • PMJT claims that the AG was agreeable to review her decision upon receiving additional, pertinent information on this file. GB claims that a case is never closed until the court renders a decision of guilt or innocence.
  • Perhaps the PM and GB are not familiar with the definition of ‘independent’.
  • In view of the fact that no new evidence bearing on the criminality of the case has been forthcoming, it is obvious that there was no reason to badger the AG to change her mind.
  • There has been talk in the media that politics is a team activity and that, by resigning from the Cabinet, the AG has let the team down. In fact, when it is a matter of principle and choosing to do the wrong thing is the same as, “I was just following orders.” Since when is blind loyalty the noblest attitude? Team players or trained seals!
  • Although PMJT and GB say they never gave the AG direct orders on this issue, that was truly a specious misdirection of reality. Any experienced businessperson or politician would know that repeated recommendations from a superior (or representatives of superiors) are tantamount to an order. To claim that multiple demands to change her mind based on economic or political reasons without providing any new evidence is pressure plain and simple. This claim was a level of sophistry not seen since the days of PET.
  • Let’s remember that the Public Prosecutor is an independent officer of Parliament and is not subject to or answerable to the whims or desires of the current Government or any MP.
  • While it is not the first time that non-lawyers have been seen telling lawyers their business, the bogus argument that 9000 jobs were at stake was basically a lie. As they say in Quebec, c’est un gros canard!
  • A more clever, albeit devious practitioner of the political arts might have foreseen that the case against SNC Lavalin could probably have spun out the court action for years, carrying on business as usual with no job loss issues at all.
  • GB’s contrived testimony was simply a pattern of Liberal stonewalling – there was no justice there! There never was a “minimum” of 9000 jobs to be lost.
  • Regarding KT’s promise of PR coverage from tame columnists should JWB override the Public Prosecutor, GB assured the Justice Committee that they (KT, GB & PMJT) would support the AG in whatever decision she made. In fact, they fired her from her dream job and tried to fit her into another cabinet post that was obviously a non-starter for someone who had been fighting against the Indian Act all of her adult, professional life.
  • The Liberal Party has a distinguished record of accomplishments, so why do they appear to be eating their own? As we are all aware, it’s a difficult job to keep people of quality in public life. JWB and JP are people of quality.
  • Currently, the leadership of my party appears to be in a state of chronically stupid and ignorant thinking. I’m still looking for that moment of reflection where the leadership team realizes just how poorly their power trip is working.
  • The Roshomon defence is indefensible.

 

The Arrogance of Ignorance

While the Pros and the Cons are having a mother of a time with the SNC Lavalin affaire, the Ontario “Government for the People” is just as happy that the media has forgotten about the Autism furor here. It appears that a new approach to the backlog for Autism services in Ontario has been resolved by eliminating waitlists by throwing a few thousand bucks at the families concerned and telling them to fend for themselves. Lisa McLeod, the Minister for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services says parents who work together in unpaid support of their children affected by a neurological disorder are nothing more than professional protesters.

We parents are appalled by the ignorance of politicians who denigrate the genuine efforts of those families who fight for the survival of their affected children.

We need inspiration, not put-downs.

What this government and much of the media have missed in this dust-up, is the fact that there is a much bigger health issue that has been ignored. Yes, it’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD is well over twice as prevalent as Autism with more than half a million Ontarians struggling with the effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE). Our families coping with the issues of FASD receive no services dedicated to their children’s disabilities. Unless there is some kind of co-morbidity diagnosis for their children, there is no official acknowledgement that this condition exists. Our Special Ed classrooms are burdened with this issue; our justice system is clogged with those whose inability to make the right choices gets them in trouble with the law; and those who do find a diagnosis or get some kind of assistance are aged out at 18 as if they are suddenly cured.

FASD is a lifelong disability for which there is no cure but the appropriate support systems can help those affected to lead socially acceptable lives. We have been advised that our lack of diagnostic services in Ontario means we have a waitlist of over 125 years! Unlike Autism, we know the cause of FASD: it is Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Do we teach our school children the dangers of drinking alcohol in pregnancy? No. Do we train professionals about FASD before they graduate in the faculties of Education, Law, Medicine and Social Services? No. We have no alcohol policy in Ontario and, in spite of the billions from booze sales by the world’s largest distributor of beverage alcohol, none of it is helping our families.

Go to http://www.fasworld.com and click on Advocacy where you will find the guidelines for educating our politicians about the most common, most expensive, yet most preventable of all mental disorders in the industrialized world. Alcohol is part of our culture but the industry isn’t taking responsibility for its misuse. The costs in dollars is in the billions but the loss in productivity as well as the grief and anguish of parents and other caregivers is even greater.

We need reform and we need it now. Tell your MPP what needs to be done.

The Gathering Place

 

This work in progress would form a new country that includes Toronto but has a new name: possibly something that means “Safe Haven” or “Gathering Place” in consideration of the welcoming diversity of this community. I would also suggest an Oji-Cree or similar Indigenous word that would reflect that sentiment.

As a Torontonian, I cringe at the gutlessness of our current set of municipal politicians. Once upon a time, some ancestors were prepared to set themselves on fire to protest dictators. After the mini-rally at Queen’s Park a while ago, that group appears to be unable to sustain its anger for more than 5 minutes. My Toronto is under siege by the whiniest and dumbest Premier who says the most stupid things. He is an honours graduate of MSU* and our fourth estate doesn’t seem to want to bother challenging his outrageous falsehoods. Perhaps all politicians are capable of misleading voters but this demagogue, on the basis of a House majority from 23% of the eligible voters in Ontario, has carved out an autocratic niche that stuns the mind. He could be a plutocrat but even lacks the finesse of a Donald Trump.

There is no better time than the present to take responsibility for our destiny and shake off the yoke of paternalistic and archaic rules from the 19thcentury.

Toronto, the largest city in Canada and a hub for the GTA, is the 6th largest population group in North America. Therefore, the citizenry of this community shall resolve to withdraw from the whims and maladroit pettiness of the Provincial government and become a nation unto itself.

* MSU: Makes Stuff Up

The plan for a new nation shall require a number of facets:

  • As a dominion, this new nation shall have sovereignty over its governance.
  • A new name for the nation is required as the concept does include: Toronto (Scarborough, North York, York, East York, Etobicoke & Old Toronto); Durham Region; Halton Region; Peel Region; and York Region.
  • The combined population of this new nation is over 6.4 million and growing.
  • This country would become the 109thlargest in the world, larger than each of Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Ireland and Latvia/Estonia/Lithuania combined.
  • It shall be a unitary state without provinces.
  • As an ecumenopolis, city-states only, rural regions become part of the local city-state
  • Every voter will count: each representative shall have voting power according to the number of constituents.
  • All citizens shall be required to complete a minimum of 4 years of civic duty in community service, as an elected or appointed official or other role as determined by Parliament.
  • The Parliament shall have an elected President with a Prime Minister, chosen by party members who form a majority of the seats in the House
  • Members of the House shall be elected on the basis of Proportional Representation rather than by the traditional First Past the Post System.
  • Elected members, belonging to party blocs, may form alliances with other parties on formal or informal bases, according to the wishes of their constituents.
  • All citizens must have access to electronic communications, so that updates on political decisions may be shared and opinions sought in a timely fashion.
  • International alliances shall be formed for purposes of mutual trade, defense and other national needs.
  • Each city-state shall have taxing powers according to their needs and the compliance of the voters.
  • Although a national military force would be redundant, there shall be policing resources for community safety.
  • Each city-state shall have its own, single school board.
  • All religious communities shall be private and voluntary.
  • The courts, within the justice system, shall function on federal and municipal levels to meet criminal, civil and local needs.
  • Each city-state shall have its own municipal government for tax levies and city management with the ability to collaborate with other cities for various municipal services such as utilities, transit, policing and other services.
  • Federal ministries should include: Health & Welfare; Housing; Community Safety & Corrections; Corporate Development & Responsibility; Culture & Communication; Travel, Transit & Transport; Revenue; Intercity Relations; Machinery of Government.

Remember, this is a work in progress!

NAFTA Tactics

On January 16/18, I wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland with a suggestion that I thought might change some attitudes in the US White House. The theory was, if the Trump base had a better understanding of the reality of the Canada-USA trade relationship, then President Trump wouldn’t have the need to make up so much baloney about how trade between our two countries really works. My sense is that rational relationships among business leaders and state officials can’t hurt but Trump will always pander to his base that has been fed inaccuracies by White House staff and the President himself. If we have such a strong case to make, then we must go to the media that Trump watches and refute the lies.

Here’s what I wrote then (no acknowledgement from Freeland’s office so far):

Dear Minister,

Your approach to today’s international issues is commendable and does credit to all Canadians. Your leadership in Canada’s NAFTA negotiation is critical to our self-awareness as well as the economic well being of the nation.

Current media pundits suggest that we are at the mercy of an out-of-touch US head of state. In fact, initiatives by provincial and federal leaders have done important work at the US state and federal levels. Could this educational process be extended into the Trump base? Would there be equally rewarding results from a tactical intervention among the media followed by this base?

Discussion of the merits of an improved NAFTA among those “thought leaders” who pander to the Trump base could have a beneficial effect on local GOP politicians. The validity of our case could convince voting Americans of the importance of a healthy trade agreement.

Changing the attitudes of this voting bloc may be the change element that turns around the belligerent attitudes towards NAFTA in the White House. Let’s help Canadians understand our objectives too. Be resolute.

Yours truly,

Brian Philcox

Ontario Leaders’ Debate Update

 

 

Every so often we have to make choices. Day-to-day, the choices are relatively easy and mistakes are soon forgotten. Choosing a life partner is more delicate and consequential. In my case, I was so concerned, so intimidated that I might make a bad choice, I could not think about marriage until I was 33. Now, after 52 years with Bonnie, I realize that my cautious reluctance was the wisest move I ever made.

When it comes to politics, however, we don’t always have all the time we’d like. Political junkies can immerse themselves in the morass of minutiae that is partisan politics. I, like many of us, can only skim the media reports that cover the skirmishes of the day. By the time shopping, meal planning, work assignments, family events and what little is left over for leisure activities, who has time for the political ramifications of every election cycle? Whenever I manage to explore partisan issues just before an impending election, I am usually confronted with conflicting information that doesn’t conform to reality.

I have always believed in the power of my vote and have voted in every election I was eligible for. My candidates didn’t always win but I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had made my concerns paramount. So much for moral victories! Elections mean you must make your choice by a deadline, not in your own sweet time. Opting out is not an option!

After fifteen years in government, the Ontario Liberal Party appears to have worn out its welcome. Some pundits say that Kathleen Wynne’s mandate is tired and doomed. They say that Andrea Horwath’s NDP may not make it because her numbers don’t add up and the aura of Rae Days keeps seeping in. Do we have no other choice than to hold our noses and vote for the oxymoronic Progressive Conservatives? Is awful Mike Harris so easy to forget? Can vainglorious Doug Ford convince us that he has all the answers to this province’s issues? His background of drug dealing and a half-hearted period in Toronto City Council where he propped up his addled buffoon of a brother doesn’t inspire confidence.

Obviously Wynne is not perfect but…?

If we cut taxes we must cut services. What do you pick?

  • Longer waits in Emerge?
  • More potholes in our roads?
  • More pollution in our cities?
  • More developer-driven communities?
  • Fewer special education classes?
  • More teenage pregnancies for lack of sex-ed?
  • More accused released for lack of court capacity?
  • More delays everywhere for everything?

The final Leaders’ Debate on May 27/18 consolidated everything for me: Horwath wanted to yammer all the time, her turn or not; Ford, bewildered by the enormity of it all, had nothing but bombast and bumper stickers; Wynne appeared to be the only one with a handle on reality.

Currently, the opposition at Queen’s Park complains that Liberal campaign promises are too little, too late. Why didn’t this government promise these initiatives long ago? In other words, why didn’t the government do everything all at once? Why didn’t this government make everyone well off?

Guess I’m still looking for the Ontario parliament that will make everyone happy.

Meanwhile, beware of Doug!

 

O Canada: Best New Version!

Since we downsized from our house to the beautiful environs of Masaryk Park here in Scarborough Village, Bonnie has been going through the boxes filled with tearsheets and journals of items published or simply written about her thoughts and adventures over the last six decades. Rereading many of these items myself, I’ve been reminded of the fact that she is a very smooth, fluid and dynamic writer. Because she edits everything I write, whatever I produce is much the better for her skilled guidance. Then, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on hand to welcome the Syrian refugees with their children to our country, she was inspired to take a serious look at the lyrics to our national anthem. While I recognize that not everyone wants to move on from the traditional words in O Canada, there are many reasons why the anthem should become more contemporary. After all, even the current wording is not the original version. And this is the 21st Century.

Here’s what I proudly think is the definitive version that all of us should adopt:

O Canada (2018)

O Canada,

Our home and wondrous land,

True patriot love,

In all of us command.

With glowing hearts,

We see Thee rise,

The true North strong and free

And welcome those

Who dream of us,

Wherever they may be.

We’ll keep our land,

Glorious and free,

Like our bright-red Maple Leaf,

Which waves for Thee!

O Canada,

We stand on guard for Thee!

 

Copyright: Bonnie Buxton, Toronto. Canada 2018