Archive for the ‘Canada’ Tag

Me On Canada 150   Leave a comment

Since I live in Saint-Lazare-de-Vaudreuil, Québec, Harper sort of arm-twisted me — uh, make that “sweet-talked”; I can feel Harper staring at me as I write this, and she’s across most of a continent — into writing about Canada on its sesquicentennial birthday.  I don’t know if I’m really the right person for this; I may live in Québec, but I’m not native Canadian.  (I was born in upstate New York, and then my parents moved here some years ago.)  But I’m the closest thing to a Canadian on hand, so I suppose I’m anointed.  (I was also supposed to publish this on July 1, but Second Life must wait for the RL working schedule.)

And there’s really a lot to be proud of as a citizen of a country as great as Canada is, even if I wasn’t raised on hockey and poutine.  Harper actually said a lot of good things about us last year, when she happened to write a piece in this blog for our 149th birthday.  And she got it mostly right.  But there’s always a few exceptions to quick observations, some missed at the time, some which slip in later.  For instance, our eminent publisher didn’t really catch the ambivalence of many here in Québec toward being part of a country whose original rulers kicked out the king and government that founded us years before — specifically, France.  A separatist referendum back in 1995 was defeated — by only 1.16%.  Stresses exist to this day between Québec and the other provinces, and Québec has never approved the 1982 Constitution.

And then there are the relations with the First Nations peoples, who in the US are called Native Americans or Indians.  There have been few wars of “pacification,” along the line of the Indian Wars of the American 19th century.  Great efforts have been expended in modern days to work with tribal leaders.  But there have been many rocky moments as well, with promises broken by the white man; the British and Canadian governments of the 19th and early 20th centuries did have a history of land dispossession, Indian residential schools and forced assimilation.  A “reoccupation” tent was raised on Parliament Hill by an indigenous group in the days before the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa, as a reminder of these past blots on the Canadian copybook.  In a politically shrewd move, the tent was not ejected, but moved closer to the Centre Block Peace Tower — and the celebration stage.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited it as a gesture.

And things like this are actually a sign that gives Canadians hope for their country.  In the long run, Canadians have tried to live up to the more noble aspects of their country and culture.  The country itself (more properly, the Dominion of Canada) was confederated in 1867 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on the principles of “peace, order and good government,” and the full patriation of its Constitution from British control (in 1982) included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that codifies constitutionally Canadians’ protections — aside from one interesting “notwithstanding” section that can be invoked, but rarely is due to political costs.  Outside of, perhaps, the House of Commons and the provincial legislatures, there’s usually a real attempt to find dialogue and consensus between sides of a question.  And the old chestnut about Canadians being just plain nicer than other peoples has a lot of truth to it.  (Aside from, maybe, Stanley and Grey Cup championship games.)

So yeah, I’m glad to be a Canadian in many ways.  It’s not the perfect place to live; but what country is?  And it strives to be better than many other places are around the world.  Canadians have worked hard for 150 years now to hold their place among the other countries of the world, and we’ve made our contributions, to politics, science, medicine, economics, and entertainment.  We’re gonna keep on working hard, and we should be here in some form or another for a few more decades.  Maybe we can even help keep the rest of the world from destroying itself, if we can export a little “Canadianness” to other places around.  Our children will find that out for us.

O Canada

O Canada! 1

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

More tribute to Canada on her national day on the next page….

Help for Fort McMurray, Alberta

From the Grey Havens, looking toward the Misty Mountains, Calas Galadhon

Calas Galadhon Park is one of the popular places to visit, wander and take photos in.  With a little imagination, you can see a fragment of the landscape of Canada compressed into this photo — though it’s missing the central plains of the provinces of Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta, as well as the colder reaches of Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.  But why is the sky so red?  Is it the End of the World?

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For some in Real Life, it is.  My photo was inspired by events taking place now in northeastern Alberta, around the town of Fort McMurray.  It’s a tinder-dry wildfire season, and this area has been burning for over two weeks as of this writing, forcing evacuations of the entire town and surrounding areas.  The destruction, and the disruption of life, is massive; and a small army of firefighters is working to contain the blazes, including additional forces from Saskatchewan to keep the fire from spreading into the neighboring province.

The Courage Event - Aid For Alberta 1

Second Life’s Models Giving Back has quickly organized a benefit sale to help Albertans, with all donation funds going to the Canadian Red Cross.  Being a Michigan native, with something of an affinity for our northern neighbors, I’m glad to give the event a helping hand here.  I hope you’ll drop in and purchase some of the yummies available.  (Landmark is below)

These two outfits are among the many available for purchase.  I’d show more closeups here to give you a look at the makeup, but the WindLight I chose for the red sky doesn’t allow for a good look.  You’ll get the full list below in the credits.

The Courage Event - Aid For Alberta 2

I’m wearing this lovely sundress from AlaFolie, appropriately in the Albertan colors of blue and gold…

The Courage Event - Aid For Alberta 3

…while Jem chose an even more casual look in a top and capris (the pants again in blue and gold by HUD choice) from Prism.  Once again, the WindLight setting doesn’t help the cause on the pale pink of her top, but you’ll see better in more natural light when you’re standing in front of the actual vendor.

Please stop by and shop, or contribute via the several donation kiosks scattered about the area.  If you prefer, you may also donate by credit or debit card directly to the Canadian Red Cross.

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Harper wears:

  • Skin: Glam Affair Cleo (America – Clean B)
  • Eyes: Poetic Colors gold flakes eyes (sapphire)
  • Hair: NO.MATCH NO.JOY
  • Attachments: SLink Avatar Enhancement Hands (Casual) and Feet (Deluxe)
  • Dress: AlaFolie Baba Dress
  • Shoes: KC Shoes Sharon wedges
  • Jewelry: Kunglers Sile earrings (Fucsia)
  • Makeup (application order): Musa Glitter eyeliner (Dark Red); MUA All the Ways eyeliner (Pack 1 – 1); MUA Counturing Blush (Normal – Full); Oceane Body Design Jade Lips (Copper); Oceane Body Design Absulala mesh lashes

Jem wears:

  • Skin: Amacci Skin Tyne (Cream – 01 Natural)
  • Eyes: Avi-Glam Ada Eyes (Green – S)
  • Hair: rezology Mezzaluna
  • Attachments: SLink Avatar Enhancement Hands (Casual) and Feet (Deluxe)
  • Outfit: Prism Eloise top and capris (HUD controlled)
  • Shoes: Emporium Mabelly heels
  • Jewelry: Modern.Couture Tokyo Earrings (Gold)
  • Makeup (application order): Arte Glamorous Eyebrows (ash blonde); Sascha’s Designs Smokey Eyes (No. 3); Zibska Arca (07); MUA All the Ways eyeliner (Pack 1 – 1); Amacci Tattoo Eyelashes (3); Senzafine Color Theory: Shift Lipstick (Red to Green 01 (Vibrant))

Photographed at Calas Galadhon Park’s Grey Havens, looking toward Misty Mountains

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Veterans / Remembrance Day 2014

Final

On this 11th of November, let’s leave my usual talks about American veterans, and visit another country for a while — and reflect on recent history.

Canada, until this past month, has been largely ignored by terrorists.  Now, as a CBC writer has suggested, some of that innocence has been lost.  “Radical” Islamists have learned how to use the tools of the modern information age to gain adherents, and these converts are found around the world.  On October 20, a driver deliberately ran his car into two members of the Canadian Army, one of whom, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent (left) from the province of Québec, later died of his injuries.  WO Vincent was planning on retiring in the near future, having served his country for nearly 30 years.

Two days later, another man, with his face wrapped in a keffiyeh to hide it, carried a loaded hunting rifle up to Canada’s National War Memorial, and there shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo (center), standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier twice before being chased off and pursued by another member of the Ceremonial Guard.  Cirillo, a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, was standing his honor post as normal, with an unloaded rifle.  Bystanders attempted to revive the corporal and administer first aid, but he died en route to the hospital.

The gunman was not over.  He managed to elude pursuit all the way up Parliament Hill and made his way into Centre Block, the location of the House of Commons and the Senate.  Neither chamber was in session, but party leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, were meeting with members in caucuses in several rooms nearby.  Shots were fired, including one that wounded a security guard who tried to wrestle the rifle away from the gunman as he entered.  The shooter eventually holed up in an alcove…near the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Commons.  The Sergeant-at-Arms isn’t just a ceremonial post; he is also responsible for security in the building, and Kevin Vickers (right, carrying the Mace of the House of Commons at the next House session following the shooting), emerged from his office with a loaded automatic.  Vickers, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer with nearly 30 years of experience, did a dive-and-roll from behind a column and wounded the man, who was killed moments later by others in the security team.  A few days later, when Commons resumed, Vickers was given a standing ovation as he led the Speaker’s Parade into the chamber in the normal course of his more ceremonial duties.

It’s people like this that Veterans Day is for, to honor all the living who have placed themselves in harm’s way for the safety and security of our countries, and to remember those who, placing themselves in harm’s way, have paid the last full measure of duty.  I hope you’ll join me in saluting all military today on this day of remembrance.

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Jack Layton, 1950-2011

(CC) Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

A moment of stepping into Real Life to offer sympathies to my Canadian readers, if any.  I learned a few minutes ago from the BBC that Jack Layton, the long-time leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, lost his fight against a recurrence of cancer yesterday.  He was aged 61.  The leader of the left-most of the major Canadian parties, Layton worked for social programs and reforms similar to some program goals of the American Democratic Party.  Though perhaps too liberal for my own more centrist brand of politics (at my age here), I still salute him as a man who believed in his causes and tried to do what he saw as right.

The CBC has in-depth coverage of the event, and of Layton’s life.  Condolences may be extended to his widow and family through a link at the party site above.

Hey, Rocky!

(c) 2010 by Jenica Landar

Jenica Landar posted this photo of herself on Plurk yesterday, wearing an attached moose doll on top of her head.  Before you start thinking she’s plain strange, please take note that Jenica also added as the message part of the plurk, “Happy Canada Day!”  July 1 was the 143rd anniversary of Canadian confederation, the union of the then current provinces into the political entity I’m proud to call an international neighbor.  Normally, you’d see people sporting maple leaves; but Jenica chose another (perhaps clichéd, but…!) symbol of Canada; and so she was going around for a time yesterday with a moose on her head.

Of course, we can see the moose.  But where is Squirrel…???

The Holy Flame Burns in Vancouver

The Olympic Games are always an important thing to me, but most especially the Winter Olympics.  I watched the last parts of the Opening Ceremony last night live after I returned home from work, including the double lighting of the cauldron — once in BC Place, and the second time the actual outdoor urn on the waterfront, done solo this time by Wayne Gretzky.

The Olympic Flag will fly over my store, Harper’s fine Art and Photographs, in Desire region until the games close in about 16 days, and this replica of the Vancouver torch will burn inside the store.  May its holy flame, symbol of aspiration, peace and the striving for excellence, inspire us all both in world and beyond the Grid.

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