Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nov. 11: Judy Dallaire's column..

My farourite columns are the ones that make me think. Jody Dallaire is frequently in that categorty, and she does it well.  This one is about the red poppy - and the white poppy.

Though I as very young, I still remember the days when boys  from my father's scout troop would come to the house to say goodboye aa rhey left for the first contingent to go overseas in 1939. I remember Jack, showing off his neat and shiny penknife the navy had given him, Paul who lay on the floor to help me with a drawing.  Later, my father would go, too.

Then there was Bertie. He was my friend because - well, because he was severely retarded, and he had no friends his own age. As soon as he was sizteen, he quit grade four, stole his brother's draft papers, and joined the Black Watch. Sic months later, and still sixteen, he was cut in half by a German machine gun in his first action.

My uncle joined to get away from his wife and two children, and have a good time. The boys from scouts joined because they had no jobs, and no hope of getting them. Many fathers joined because they couldn't feed their families on the jobs available.

Now, a government that had ignored their suffering for ten years generously offered them an ocean cruise to Britain, regular mreals, free flights over Germany, and regular money for their families back at home....

I never heard one of them say he was going to defend freedom. Few of them even understood the word. (The avereage school completion of a Canadian soldier ini World War Two was grade 6. In any case, Canadian freedom was never threatened. There was never the slightest possibility that Germany, Japan, and Italy, even if they had won the war. could have invaded North America.

Many joined for sheer economic survival in a Canada that had done almost nothinig for them through the dirty thirties. That became pretty obvious as defence jobs became available, and the supply of recruits dried up.

We owe a great deal to those who went over.  We haven't ever paid it back. (We couldn't, anyway, but we could at least have tried by making this a country for the Canadian people, and not must for the benefit of the very rich.) All we do is to give pompous and misleading speeches (clergy are the worst) every November 11 about glory and honour.

Jody Dallaire reminds us of the huge number of civilians who are slaughtered in modern war - far more than those who die fighting deaths. She reminds us what we should remember on Novement 11, along with the sacrifice of 40,000 Canadians. We should be in the lead of those working for peace. Instead, we're the buddies of those who are now carrying out the longest and most savage wars in history. And they aren't doing it to preserve freedom.

Thus, the white poppy. Wear both. Remember the sacrifices. And remember the better world they were supposed to make possible.

A nice, balanced essay by Alex Bruce about pipelines.

The editorial is, in a perverse way, a sort of delight. It shills for shale gas, of course.

It mentions we have had two reports on shale gas development. What he doesn't mention is that one of the reports was written by an expert who said shale gas was dangerous - and it was promptly buried by the government and the Irving press.  The second report was written by a fraud artist who was praised to the skies by the government and the Irving press.

The editorial writer says it's good because Frank McKenna said so. Well, yes. Frank McKenna knows far more about thiese things than the chief medical officer does.

Oh, yeah. And the government will have the most rigid rules in the world.

Gee! But if it's so harmless, why do we need rigid rules?

And exactly what are there rigid rules? Shale gas exploration seems to have been going on for a decade with no rules or enforcement that anybody knows of.                   

Norbert Cunningham just delivers a vague rant. Lots of name-calling.

Rod Allen refers to kids and brats (again). Rod, calling kids brats was mildly funny the first ime. Alas, "brats" and "wife number 1" are really quite worn out as displays of wit.

Oh, and if our wars were fought to bring freedom, how come so many of the countries we control don't have freedom? I'm thinking here os Central America, and much of Africa. How come the US destroyed democracies in Iran, Guatemala, Haiti and so many other countries? How come one of our two, biggest allies in the Middle East is one of the most rigid dictatorships in the world - Saudi Arabia?

And how come we have a document called Project for the New American Century? It's on the web. and it's a plan for world domination by one country. And we're involved in it.  We can talk about it. But that's for another day.

Sorry, I forgot a gem on p.3 "Premier sees no point in visiting longhouse".

Premier Alward has refused to visit the chief of the Maliseet in a longhouse her people have erected in Fredericton. Alward says there's no point in talking with her because he is opposed to shale gas, and will not change her mind.

Oh, my, how very unlike our premier. He has always been willing to change his mind and to put a halt to shale gas development. I mean, I'm sure he showed that in his famous seventeen discussions with native leaders.


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