Category Archives: Current Events

“Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, posing with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Sadiq Khan, Lord Mayor of London.

 

I remember in 1968, my mother enrolled me in a class at the Holy Family parish in Kingston, Ontario. The class was to prepare me for my First Communion. I was seven years old, and in the class, I received my first lessons from the Roman Catholic Church in its perceived need that I learn humility. I have fleeting memories of the classes–on the whole, I think I enjoyed attending them. After our lesson, we got to play games like hide and seek. One night we got to watch That Darn Cat. The experience that lingers in my memory was delivered by the young woman who taught the course. She told us that Jesus, as a boy did not talk back to his parents and teachers; neither did he fight with other children. I think the children in the class took this lesson to heart. The experience was not unreasonable in and of itself–Christianity, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, teaches that we should try to be like Jesus. Knowing that I talked back to my parents on occasion and got into scraps with my siblings left me feeling a little abashed–so I did my best to follow the example set by the boy Jesus. I learned at that early age that I am not perfect–that despite it, I should strive to do good and avoid doing evil. At the time, I did not appreciate that it was easy for the boy, Jesus, as He was Divine, unlike the rest of the children in the class and me. Continue reading

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. ― H.L. Mencken

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Geoffrey out duck hunting.

The words “gun lobby” and “gun nut” are slurs invented by prohibitionists–people opposed to gun ownership and hunting–to besmirch the character of gun owners and hunters. I heard the term “gun nut” used on American television sitcoms like “All in the Family” as early as the 1970s. I shrugged it off at the time as inconsequential. I had no reason to believe as a boy that there was anything wrong with gun ownership and hunting. I remember how other children brought things like duck wings for show and tell in kindergarten and primary school. Wings taken from the wild ducks that their older brothers and fathers shot while out hunting. Other children proudly told the class about their fathers, who had returned from successful big game hunts. My dad and my uncle enjoyed hunting cottontail and jackrabbits when I was a boy. It was not until late in 1989, following the mass shooting at the engineering school at the University of Montreal that I first heard mention of the “gun lobby” used as a pejorative term in public parlance. It came as an unwelcome surprise. Continue reading

The personal is political. — Carol Hanisch

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Jason and Fran on their way to their deer stands on a November afternoon.

The Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau enacted the prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. It came as no surprise as I knew long before now that the Liberal Party of Canada does not care about the rights and freedoms of Canadians when it comes to gun ownership. I am a gun owner–I started handling guns in 1969 when I was eight years old. My father gave me and my siblings our first lessons in the safe handling of firearms. He bought a .22 calibre pellet rifle and taught us how to handle safely, take aim and shoot at targets in our back garden. While my siblings did not take up an interest in guns, I am a lifelong enthusiast for firearms and hunting. My dad gave me my first shotgun, a Savage hammerless single shot in 16 gauge, back in 1975 when I was fourteen. I had to wait until I was fifteen and completed the Hunter Safety Course and pass the safety test before I got my first hunting license. Once certified as a licensed hunter in 1976, I took to the field with my single shot 16 gauge shotgun and never looked back. Continue reading

Ready! Fire! … aim?

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The Liberal reign of error under the leadership of Justin Trudeau continues. On May 1st, the Liberal government announced a new round of prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. The decision to prohibit these rifles is arbitrary, and like every other policy, the Liberals imposed on Canadians are rooted in divisive identity politics. Justin Trudeau made no secret of his faith in feminism–repeatedly declaring since he became Prime Minister in 2015 with a majority in parliament. He proudly formed a gender-balanced Cabinet “because it is 2015.” He would like everyone to become feminists. Rest assured, Justin Trudeau is a true believer in feminist doctrine–or so he says. Unfortunately, the Trudeau government stumbled in its zeal to promote feminist causes when it passed Bill-C-16 into law. Bill C-16 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, added gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. Bill C-16 was passed into law by the Parliament of Canada in 2016. Continue reading

Sing if you’re glad to be gay, sing if you’re happy that way. — the Tom Robinson Band

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An accusation was levelled at me last year when I publicly rejected the notion that gay became “queer.” The charge, in short, is that I am a selfish gay man. Now that gay rights are secured–the removal of the stigma of being gay, the freedom to live openly, to participate fully in society, the right to marry among them–I am content to “pull the ladder up after me.” That I reject “queer theory” is true; I made no secret of that. In particular, I object to the conflation of the transgender ideology with male homosexuality–notably gay rights advocacy. In a recent essay, I discussed the emergence of a movement called the LGB Alliance–an initiative to separate the T from the LGB. The problem I found with the LGB Alliance is that it is part of a struggle among feminists–a quarrel over whether transgender women are women or not and if there is a place for transgender women in the feminist movement. I stand by what I wrote in my earlier essay: feminist causes have no bearing on gay men’s issues, no more than does the transgender ideology. The gay rights movement and transgender ideology are unrelated and neither the twain should meet. Continue reading

The wolf is always at the door, reprise.

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The wheel of fortune has turned, and as the Covid 19 pandemic spreads, Mika and I watch the chaos unfold around us. The pandemic is bad enough in its own right–just as the flu takes a terrible toll every year–the Covid 19 virus will take a dreadful toll before it runs its course. So far, we are making the best of staying home–we are naturally reclusive, we keep to ourselves at the best of times. It is unlikely that we will be exposed to the deadly virus. We are working from home–Mika works for the federal government at Statistics Canada, and I work in the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. For the time being, we are drawing our salary and benefits–we accept that we are fortunate. Beyond that, our house is paid for, and we are out of debt and Mika informed me that we have enough in savings to sustain us for a while should one or both of us get laid off.

What concerns us the most is the economic upheaval that will result from the quarantine currently in place. We are among those fortunate enough to have our jobs and full salaries still–for the time being. We are in a comfortable position because of a blend of our efforts and good fortune. Both Mika and I experienced hardship in our lives. I did not land my full-time job at Carleton University until I turned thirty-nine. In the years before I started working at Carleton, I went through tough times. I struggled to get by on temp work and contract jobs–often in return for bum’s wages. I experienced long bouts of unemployment and went on social assistance when I was between jobs. I underwent personal bankruptcy over the Canada Student Loans I had no hope of repaying. Trust me, I tried to repay them, but given my spotted employment record in my thirties, the situation was hopeless. I never gave up. I applied myself during bouts of unemployment, working voluntarily in libraries to keep up my skills as a librarian.

Mika is hearing impaired. He has partial hearing only in his right ear. He was born this way and grew up with this disability. It did not stop him from excelling in school. He went to Queen’s University on an academic scholarship, where he studied mathematics and computer science. He works for Statistics Canada as a programmer. Yes, he applied himself to overcome his disability and had the good fortune to land a full-time job with the federal government shortly after he graduated from Queen’s in 1996. Mika is savvy at financial management too. It is his skill at managing money that ensured our prosperity as a couple. It is his skill and discipline in financial management–he is no spendthrift–that will get us through the crisis.

In our isolation, we have not lost track of the gravity of the situation. On a personal level, we have friends who fear that the loss of employment could lead to the loss of their home. Mika and I increased the wages for an acquaintance we employ to clean our house. We offered him a hand up, and he happily accepted. He was laid off from his day job and is waiting for his Employment Insurance benefits to kick in. Yes, the federal government instituted a guaranteed income for workers–seventy-five percent of their wages and salaries–and bailouts for small business owners who are forced to close for the duration of the crisis. It is like we are passengers on the RMS Titanic. The ship is sinking, and though there are not enough boats for all the passengers, the federal government has at least thrown out a lifeline to offer as many people as possible a chance to survive.

Mika and I are fortunate. We have each other and lots for which to be thankful. We kept the wolf from the door throughout our lives through a combination of our efforts and good fortune. It is distressing to think that the Covid 19 pandemic and the economic crisis it spawned could spell a drastic reversal of fortune for us. However, as I wrote in an essay I published last year: “The wolf is always at the door and you never know what fortune will bring but rather than despairing I accept I am still among the living and intend to live my life to the fullest.” Mika and I will keep our friends and families in our thoughts as we weather the storm. We hope that the current crisis is resolved with as little hardship as possible to everyone across the world.

Posted by Geoffrey and Mika

 

 

Get the L out — Angela Wild (Lesbian feminist activist and researcher)

 

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Kimberly Nixon.

 

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Morgane Oger.

I remember an incident from many years ago that took place as I stood in line at a fish market. I stopped by the fish market to buy some fish, sole if I remember, for my supper. As I stood in the line, an older woman walked up and tried to cut into the line. She said to the woman standing behind me that she had left the line to quickly pick up an item she forgot–that she intended to take her place back in the queue. The woman turned to me, the one who wanted to cut into the line and said, “tell her.” I said nothing as I stood there quietly, waiting to pay for the sole. I thought to myself, “leave me out of this–the dispute is between you and the other woman.” What made recall this memory is the growing controversy over transgender rights. A recent development in the debate is the emergence of a movement and groups of activists called the LGB Alliance. The LGB Alliance is a response to the ascendency of the transgender rights movement. The LGB Alliance, purportedly, is an initiative of gay, lesbian and bisexual rights activists who want to separate the movement from the transgender rights movement. I welcomed this development–the gay rights movement breaking off from the transgender movement as transgenderism has nothing to do with being gay. However, it quickly dawned on me that just as the transgender movement has nothing to do with being gay, neither does the LGB Alliance concern itself with the interests of gay men. Continue reading

What matters most is not ‘what’ you are, but ‘who’ you are. ― DaShanne Stokes

 

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The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

 

A general election is scheduled for Canadians on October 21st. The governing Liberal Party with Justin Trudeau as its frontman seeks re-election. I think it likely the Trudeau Liberals will win re-election, and if so, this is bad news for Canadians. Since taking office in 2015, the Liberal government with the prancing popinjay that is Justin Trudeau consistently sowed division among Canadians. The Liberal government promoted its globalist agenda in pitting Canadians against one another via the imposition of identity politics on Canadians. Yes, the Liberals, with Justin Trudeau as their spokesman, pushed the belief that group identity matters more than individuality and the content of character in each of us as individuals. In doing so, the Liberal government instilled division rather than unity among Canadians since taking office in 2015. In 2019, Canadians are set against each other according to superficial differences such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation and the like. Not only that but the Liberal government set a standard of political correctness to which not even the sanctimonious Justin Trudeau can adhere. Continue reading

I am a Canadian. — John Diefenbaker

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“I am a Canadian,” is the opening phrase in a notable quotation from the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker (1895-1979) 13th Prime Minister of Canada serving from June 21, 1957, to April 22, 1963. The entire quote reads as follows:

“I am Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” (John Diefenbaker, House of Commons Debates, 1 July 1960)

Yes, John Diefenbaker was a proud Canadian–not only that he was a proud Canadian nationalist. As Prime Minister, Diefenbaker advanced the cause of Canadian nationalism. He envisioned:

One Canada, one Canada, where Canadians will have preserved to them the control of their own economic and political destiny. Sir John A. Macdonald gave his life to this party [Conservative]. He opened the West. He saw Canada from east to west. I see a new Canada – a Canada of the North! (John Diefenbaker, Winnipeg Manitoba, 12 February 1958)

Diefenbaker lived during the first century of Canada’s existence. He witnessed the development by which Canada gained independence from Britain. Until 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the British government managed Canada’s international affairs. Diefenbaker saw Canada fight in two world wars and Canadians suffer through the Great Depression. He proudly saw the passage of the Canadian Citizenship Act in 1947. Canadians have much to be proud of in their history.

While Diefenbaker saw all that is good in Canada and being Canadian, he did not overlook the problematic moments in Canadian history. Canadian society was not without issues of unjust discrimination and prejudice. Diefenbaker observed:

From my earliest days, I knew the meaning of discrimination. Many Canadians were virtually second-hand citizens because of their names and racial origin. Indeed, it seemed until the end of World War II that the only first-class Canadians were either of English or French descent. As a youth, l determined to devote myself to assuring that all Canadians, whatever their racial origin, were equal and declared myself to be a sworn enemy of discrimination. (John Diefenbaker, Nowlan Lecture, 6)

Diefenbaker knew of the head tax charged on Chinese immigrants. The head tax, enacted in 1885, remained in effect until 1923. Chinese immigrants to Canada were charged (at its worst) $500 for admission to Canada as landed immigrants. From 1923 to 1947 Chinese immigration to Canada was banned. He knew of the internment of Japanese-Canadians in World War II. He was well aware of the Catholic-Protestant divide in Christendom that existed well into the 20th-century in Canada. I remember my mother telling me that my father had to convert to Roman Catholicism to marry her in 1960. My father’s family is Anglican. It is hard to believe such tribal divisions existed in Canada historically, but it is the reality.

Diefenbaker envisioned Canada as a nation organized according to the values of liberalism and pluralism. In shaping his vision of Canadian society, Diefenbaker was inspired, in part, by the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a Canadian-led effort. John Humphrey, a professor of law at McGill University, became director of the United Nations Division on Human Rights in 1946. Humphrey produced the first draft of the declaration. When Diefenbaker became Prime Minister in 1957, he set out to enact a piece of legislation–following up the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human rights–called the Canadian Bill of Rights. In addressing the historical issues of unjust discrimination and prejudice in Canada’s history, the Canadian Bill of Rights asserts in part:

 It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

  • (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

  • (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

  • (c) freedom of religion;

  • (d) freedom of speech;

  • (e) freedom of assembly and association; and

  • (f) freedom of the press.

The Canadian Bill of Rights was superseded by the passage of the Constitution Act in 1982 with the entrenched Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To his credit, John Diefenbaker laid the groundwork for our national identity as Canadians. Despite what so many people think currently, nationalism is not a dirty word. As I grew up the values of liberalism and pluralism–the proposition on which Canadian identity is built–that John Diefenbaker advocated were instilled in me. I remember the Centennial celebrations in 1967 fondly; the swell of national pride Canadians felt in celebrating Canada’s first 100 years as a nation. I am proudly Canadian. I am not ashamed of my European heritage–my ancestry goes back to the British Isles. In keeping with Diefenbaker’s vision, I view the people with whom I interact as individuals and judge them according to the content of their character. I reject the notion that expressing Canadian nationalism is racist, that it is a declaration of white supremacy. No, Canada is not a “post-national state.” Canadians are well within their rights to stand up for their national interest, and Canadian law guarantees them their right to speak up and do so.

I hope Canadians will not lose sight of the fact that Canada is a great place to live and Canadian citizenship is worth fighting for. Yes, John Diefenbaker got it right when he advanced the cause of Canadian nationalism and Canadians would do well to remember as they face the challenges of life in the 21st-century.

Posted by Geoffrey

 

The wolf is always at the door. — Don Henley

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Keeping the wolf from the door is a fact of life. You never know what fortune will bring. I am reminded of this by the horror unleashed in Christchurch, New Zealand when a maniac went on a killing spree at two mosques where people gathered for prayers. The suspect in this atrocity live-streamed his attack on worshippers at the mosques as he gunned them down. The video is available online for those who want to view it. I listened to the description given by someone who saw the video, and that is more than enough for me; I will not watch the video. What came through in the description of what happened in the video is the sad reality in this horror is the people who perished were utterly defenceless. The likelihood of finding yourself caught in a terror attack at the mercy of someone intent on mayhem is remote but a possibility; just one of the vagaries of fortune. Continue reading