Finding Hope for Canada

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The hopeful, early-morning sun breaking through the clouds over the Hope Bay Forest

There was just a hint of spring in the air, or so I imagined hopefully, as my canine friends and I took our usual early-morning walk down Cathedral Drive here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay.

But there were clouds overhead, actually and figuratively, as we headed north on the road. My head was full of troubling, pessimistic thoughts in the wake of the Feb. 9, not-guilty verdict in the trial of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley. Continue reading

Community involvement guiding local tourism

 

 

 

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The view from Lion’s Head Harbour

I left a well-attended public meeting this week in nearby Lion’s Head confident the future of sustainable tourism on the Bruce Peninsula is in good hands, and that the challenges it is currently facing as a result of booming numbers in the last few years will be dealt with wisely.

My reason for feeling that way is largely because of the continuing strong involvement of the local community in that effort. Continue reading

“I’ve come for the boy”

(Note: This story is mostly based on actual events, to the extent that they are known. The rest is speculative.)

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Toronto, 1935, looking north on downtown Yonge Street. A City of Toronto Archives photo

The boy was 12 years old in the summer of 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression when a big, black car with unusual licence plates pulled up in front of a rooming house on Brock Avenue in the west-end of Toronto.

It was one of the city’s poorest streets, dubbed “bedbug row” at the time, in the midst of the Great Depression. A tall, slender, impeccably-dressed man slowly emerged from the driver’s door. With one hand resting on the roof of the car he paused for a few moments to stretch his neck, before opening another door to reach in for a briefcase, of the fine, leather style a barrister might carry or, as in his case, a special kind of private secretary. He locked the car carefully and, with the briefcase in his right hand, walked the few steps onto the sidewalk, and then turned up a concrete walkway leading to the rooming house. He walked rather slowly, seeming to put each foot down with an odd tentativeness, as if a visitor from another world. There was some kind of emblem on his jacket, over his heart. A coat of arms, perhaps? Hard to tell from a distance. Continue reading

Never trust anyone who cheats at golf

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Phil, your’s truly, “teeing off” in the driveway on Groundhog Day morning, in the spirit of an early spring.

I’m not a groundhog, so I guess it doesn’t count, according to the rules of Groundhog Day, if I saw my shadow or not a few mornings ago.

I could cheat though. I could say I did not see my shadow on my usual, early-morning walk in hopes of catching some precious vitamin D light from the rising sun breaking through the mid-winter clouds. A shadow is a shadow, after all, so what difference does it make?

Not a good habit to get into, cheating, in big and little things. Like its brother, lying, cheating is a disease that will corrupt the mind and soul completely, ultimately leaving no internal sense at all of moral rightness or truth. The victim is left floundering and sinking in his self-destructive morass of chaos and ignorance with no guiding principle of self-awareness and salvation. Instead, there is an increasingly desperate delusion of quasi-sanity that depends on yet more lies and more cheating to maintain a semblance of control and believability. This is the liar/cheater’s most dangerous, destructive period because many foolish and vulnerable people – perhaps millions – will be taken in by the final and worst, potentially world-ending, big lie.

If that reminds you of anyone, congratulations on your insight.

Continue reading

The “inequality crisis” got Trumped in Davos

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There was much talk just before and during the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland about the “inequality crisis.” The expression underlines a new level of urgency about the huge and ever-increasing gap between the relatively few, very rich people in the world who possess an inordinate share of its wealth, compared with the much greater mass of people who live and work in extreme and often dangerous poverty. Among them are an estimated 40 million people who live and work in slavery, according to an Oxfam International report released as the world’s economic and political elite began arriving for the Davos gathering in the Swiss, mountain-resort town.

High-profile speakers stood on a stage with a gentle, blue and white backdrop on which these words were writ large many times over: “COMMITTED TO IMPROVING THE STATE OF THE WORLD” Continue reading

Finding Hope in “interesting times”

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“May you live in interesting times” is an ancient Chinese curse, made all the more effective, one imagines, by being so nicely understated. The full extent of the catastrophe that might befall the victim is left to their imagination.

Some, perhaps even many, might say we are currently living in the sort of “interesting times” that would meet the requirements of the curse, with real or potential, world-changing catastrophe shaping up or already running amok on several fronts.

Some of it gets plenty of news coverage, more than enough, you might say. The whole world has the proverbial ringside seat to the decline and fall of a great democracy, and the real threat that poses for every living soul on earth, and future generations. Vast news resources, traditional and new, are focussed on one madman’s every troubling word, tweeted or otherwise.

Meanwhile, other urgently important news gets nowhere near the attention it needs and deserves. It appears somewhere below the actual and virtual fold in the headlines for a day or so, before being relegated to the archival back pages, out of mass-public sight, and mind.

That appears to be the routine fate of news reports about the latest studies into the unfolding effects of global warming and climate change. Such studies invariably express an urgent need for the world to take action to stop it from happening, or else “interesting times” shall be the inevitable consequence.

Such was the case again with coverage of the results of an “analysis” of declining oxygen levels in vast areas of the open oceans, as well as coastal areas. It was co-authored by 22 scientists and published early this month in the journal Science. Continue reading

Stunt driving on the way to paradise

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The popularity of the Bruce Peninsula National Park has taken off in recent years, as this Parks Canada photo taken at one location shows

It was another busy day at Grey County Provincial Offences Court, which also acts as the court for such offences for Bruce County. Most of the dozens of people waiting for their turn in court that day in early December were charged with Highway Traffic Act offenses and had decided to plead “not guilty.” A brief consultation with the Prosecutor before court might lead to a resolution; otherwise they were heading for a trial, time permitting, or adjournment to a later date if not.

Several people in the crowded waiting area were charged with excessive speeding, also referred to as “stunt driving,” on Provincial Highway 6. Those charges involved a long stretch of that highway on the Bruce Peninsula leading to Tobermory that has suddenly become especially infamous after five people died in collisions last year.

Only in recent years has traffic on that section of highway become such an urgent problem. It coincides with a tremendous increase in tourist traffic heading to the two national parks in the Tobermory area. Continue reading

You winsome and you lose some

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“Lake effect snow squalls will affect the Bruce Peninsula today. Local accumulations of 15 centimetres are possible before the snow squalls weaken this evening.”

So said the Canadian Weather – Environment Canada alert on the Google search page Wednesday morning on the way to the actual website where the red-bannered “SNOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT” appeared over the six-day forecast.

There was also an EXTREME COLD warning.

One look out the kitchen window was enough to tell the likely story of the day: The prospect of needing to spend several hours blowing the long driveway twice. Best to keep on top of it. Continue reading

Looking for the bright side in 2018

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Let’s try to look on the bright side for 2018.

That’s easier said than done though, isn’t it?

Like, for example, I just looked at the weather forecast for our area here in greater Hope Ness, and there’s no relief in sight for an end to the current deep freeze, and a lot more lake-effect snow. I ventured out onto the wind-swept Eastnor Flats to get some diesel fuel for the tractor, and I might as well have been at the North Pole. I understand it was almost as cold there.

(Note to Donald Trump who just tweeted sarcastically about the need for a little of that good, ol’ global warming: It IS about global warming, and climate change, throwing the longstanding stability of the jet stream out of wack. This is why parts of Alaska are warmer than Hope Ness, and maybe even Washington, D.C. for that matter. The science-based facts about it are just a few keys over from twitter, Dear Donald. Give it a read some time before tweeting the first ill-informed thing that comes to mind – and that’s putting it nicely.)

But getting back to why it’s no so easy to look on the bright side about the New Year: Continue reading

Let your light shine, you are the hope of the world

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I subscribe to the theory that we nine billion-plus human beings are all descended from a small group of ancestors who, millions of years ago, faced with an environmental crisis of world-changing proportions, learned fast the value of cooperation and making the best use of everyone’s particular skills.

Some were creative and innovative, some had a gift for organization, others had extraordinary intuitive powers, still others knew how to raise spirits when things looked dark, and finally there were those who were especially fleet of foot and physically strong. Everyone’s effort was valued and appreciated as they desperately searched for a place that offered the hope of life. They found it: at the shore of a life-giving, great river, or of a sea, or of an ocean teeming with food. There’s a reason, after all, why we humans are so drawn to waterfront homes. It’s in our formative genes.

But more to the point, I also believe there’s an essential goodness in what we are as human beings. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here now; we wouldn’t have survived that critical moment millions of years ago. But we did, because we learned the value of working together, of a diverse and broad collection of skills, and of intelligence. Continue reading