Conservative politicians in Canada are playing a dangerous game pushing the populist anti-migrant hot button

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To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.

-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s twitter message, January, 2017

There it is. That’s what the fuss is all about, the entire reason why, according to Conservative politicians in Toronto and Ottawa, Canada is in the midst of a “migrant crisis,” or more succinctly, in a “mess.”

Words are important, especially hyperactive words like that, with hateful, anti-migrant, populist/political movements coming to power in the U.S. and Europe while millions of displaced people are risking their lives to find a safe haven, or barely surviving in squalid refugee camps. Continue reading

On drought, and the reign of what’s best about being human

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An RCMP officer with a big heart welcomes a migrant/refugee child to Canada last winter at an unofficial border crossing. Who can say this is wrong?

A few days of occasional, light showers, amounting to a scant 2.2 millimetres of rain is not yet enough to end the extended drought the Bruce Peninsula has been experiencing through the most critical period of the current growing season. But it’s better than nothing when your field crops and vegetables are in dire need of any amount of moisture they can get.  Continue reading

A Toronto tragedy put to rest

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Canadian soldiers destined for war march past Casa Loma in 1914

We took Mom’s ashes back to Toronto a few days ago, to Westminster Cemetery, to be buried with her birth mother Clara, her beloved aunts/sisters Bella and Lila, and her grandparents/adoptive parents, Thomas and Eliza, in the Thompson family burial site.

Our hope was they would all be put to rest and joined together in spirit at last. And if that finally is the purpose of my life, to facilitate a final spiritual resolution to the turmoil and unhappiness of their lives, to give them closure, then I am content. Continue reading

Elephants in the room, Trump, Trans Mountain, and the future of Canada

Trump welcomes Canada's Trudeau before their about the NAFTA trade agreement at the White House in Washington

October, 11, 2017 U.S. Donald Trump meets Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House. Interesting hand gesture, in retrospect. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

There’s an “elephant in the room” regarding the Government of Canada’s controversial decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipelines, existing and planned, from Kinder Morgan Canada, a subsidiary of a much bigger company based in Texas, for $4.5 Billion.

And its name is Donald Trump.

Continue reading

Canada’s public transportation necessity

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The Last Spike for the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1885

There is no better example in the world of the importance of a well-functioning public transportation infrastructure than Canada. It is a country that was knit together by that very thing. Indeed, it’s fair to say Canada might not exist as coast-to-coast nation it now is – or at all, perhaps – if the Canadian Pacific Railway hadn’t been built 133 years ago.

It was a remarkable achievement for a brand, new country of a few million people in the face of a huge geographic challenge. In 1867, the year Canada was formed, British Columbia, Britain’s west-coast colony north of the 45th parallel international boundary with the U.S., was not included. But Canada promised to build a transcontinental railroad, if B.C. joined the Confederation, which it did in 1871.

Construction was delayed by political controversy and a change in government. But the return of a Conservative government with John A. MacDonald as Prime Minister got things moving, with the eventual help of millions of public dollars.

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Thousands of Chinese labourers were brought to Canada to help build the CPR, and, therefore, the country.

Thousands of Chinese labourers were hired to help build the most difficult, Rocky Mountain section, and hundreds died in dreadful working conditions. The last spike was finally driven in 1885.

In the decades that followed an extensive network of rail services connected the towns and cities of the fast-growing country. At one time Canada had more miles of freight and passenger, railroad track than any country in the world.

However, as the end of the 20th century approached, much of that track was abandoned as economically unviable. For a while, highway bus transit took up the passenger slack, in southern Ontario, for example. But that too suffered the same fate. Meanwhile, fiscal conservative political thinking made government investment in public transportation less likely. By the second decade of this century public transportation to and from parts of rural Ontario was in big trouble.

I doubt any other place in rural Canada is a worse example of that than the Owen Sound, Grey-Bruce area of southwestern Ontario. Continue reading

Heart and Brain health walk hand-in-hand

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A couple of old guys staying young at heart

A news item caught my eye earlier this week. It should have been big news more than a month ago wherever an aging population and the onset of dementia is a growing socio-economic problem; like Canada, for example. But it wasn’t.

Later on-line searches revealed there was a sprinkling of mainstream news coverage. But I follow the daily news pretty closely, and it never was among the top stories. Too bad. If you’re a senior, as I am, or middle-aged – or any age, for that matter — the results of a lengthy on-line study in Sweden are something you should know.

And take to heart, literally. Continue reading