Don Cherry, racism, and freedom of speech

Anyone in Canada and hockey lovers elsewhere in the world know who Don Cherry is.  By now you have probably heard that he was fired from his Coaches’ Corner role in Hockey Night in Canada by Sportsnet for his comments during last Saturday night’s NHL game.

The rant went like this…“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

don cherry

Many people found the comments discriminatory, divisive, racist and over the top.  Even though he never said the word “immigrants” that’s who it was assumed he was referring to.  To me, the people offended by the so called racist remarks are the worst racists.  If Cherry had backtracked, confessing to merely defending veterans and what they stand for, his rant might have been swallowed more smoothly.  Instead he stuck by his words.

Others (those with thicker skin who are harder to offend) feel that he was indeed just defending veterans and voicing his opinion.  We do live in a nation where freedom of speech is accepted don’t we? Don Cherry has always been (on and off the show) supportive of veterans, even visiting them overseas.  Although his cohort Ron McLean gave a thumbs up at the end of Cherry’s rant, McLean was quick to apologize when the complaints started piling in, some say throwing Cherry under the bus.

We should remember too that Don Cherry is 85 years old.  It is not unfathomable that Canadians (and others around the world) of that era might be more sensitive to the sacrifices veterans made (and current soldiers continue to make) for their country.

At almost 60 years of age I have vague memories of older relatives and heard stories of ancestors that were directly affected by war.  My children and grandchildren don’t though.  We try to explain the horrific times, especially around Remembrance Day, but I have to admit the memories are just not there and so hard to envision. That doesn’t mean we don’t wear a poppy every November or don’t respect those that have “paid the price” as Don Cherry said.  That’s because I was taught otherwise, from my parents who (like Cherry) do/did have the memories.  Some people never had that respect instilled into them.

Although speaking his mind is Cherry’s claim to fame, especially in the hockey world, it appears that these days (especially in some media, CBC in particular) you have to choose your words very carefully.  He has been reprimanded for his choice of words many times recently, although some claim that was his charm on Coach’s Corner.  Once again I think that goes with advanced age.  The older we get the less we care what others think of us and our opinions. Unless we need the paycheck. In that case we turn the thumbs up to thumbs down and apologize to those we (possibly may have) offended.

The fact that he never apologized for the wording of this rant was his (final) downfall. After all, one politician in particular has been (well) known to make insensitive, foolish, politically incorrect errors in judgement. But he gets away with it because he apologizes (charmingly and sheepishly) when called on his actions, regardless of how he really feels. Don Cherry does not have the acting skills necessary to do that. Nor does he care to or should he have to!

So much for freedom of speech!

 

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related. And my business website with the same name.

 

Alberta appeals to Ontario and Quebec

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was quite well written, explaining the importance of the energy sector in Alberta and Canada in general.

On the eve of our Canadian Federal Election, I feel it is prudent to share with our fellow Canadians in the East how pivotal this election is for our Country. I recognize a strong disconnect between the regions and believe I have a responsibility to share our feelings, perceptions, and fears with the men and women of these provinces.  It is no secret that the election is decided before the first vote is counted in Manitoba. 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by your two provinces. Your votes decide our election. This is why I am appealing to you. The fate of Canada and our incredible province of Alberta rests in your hands.  We’ve had a rough couple years out here. Since 2015 unemployment has soared, the price of our most valued resource has plummeted, and our access to foreign and domestic markets has been blocked by federal Liberals. While this industry thrives south of the border in the US, Canada’s energy sector has been plunged into a ‘Legislated Recession’ thanks in part to the cancellation of 2 crucial pipelines and the poorly handled expansion of a third. These projects are crucial, allowing access to foreign and domestic markets and closing the gap between the price of Canada’s oil and the oil produced elsewhere in the world. The newly passed Bill C-69 makes new interprovincial projects nearly impossible to complete, and Bill C-48 restricts domestic tanker traffic on Canada’s West coast, while US tanker traffic navigates the same waters unimpeded. We’ve been put in a box, and the lid is slowly closing. Our Federal Liberal government is the architect of this disaster.  You may ask why this should matter to you? It is simply a matter of economics. According to the Alberta government and World Bank websites, Alberta’s economy accounts for 20% of our Nation’s GDP. In this province of 4.7 million, it means that 11% of Canada’s population produces 20% of our GDP. From 2000-2014, we contributed $200 Billion to equalization, all of it travelling East. On its own, Alberta is the 7th strongest economy on the planet. We’re the core of this country’s economic engine. We’re being told our money is OK, but the oil, our largest economic driver is not. Hell, we can’t even wear our T-shirts on Parliament Hill.  Alberta’s oil is Canada’s oil, and there are a few facts I would like to share with you about it. We are at the forefront of the sector’s clean technology and everyone in this country should be proud of this industry and the highest environmental standards in the world. During this election I’m sure you’ve heard about O&G subsidies and how everyone intends on stopping them, so I feel it is important to break that down. Last year, there were $1.4 Billion dollars given to clean tech by our government. O&G received 75% of that. Rightfully so. That money has been used to increase efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of production significantly.  A recent study showed that if every country around the world produced their resources to the same standard as Canada, the carbon intensity of production would drop 26% worldwide. Suncor, Canada’s largest producer, just announced a co-gen project that will reduce their carbon footprint by a further 30%, and we’ve championed cutting-edge carbon capture and storage technology. We would love to displace dirty foreign oil in the East, but we are told there is no social acceptability for a pipeline. We would love to know why there is social acceptability for Saudi tankers in your waters, but none for us? Last I checked, Saudi didn’t contribute to equalization.  The environment has been a big topic in this election, and there have been some strong assertions from the parties, some of which may be a little out of reach. 30% reduction in GHG, 60% reduction in GHG. The backbone of these reductions focuses on shutting Alberta’s economy down. There seems to be a huge target on Alberta’s back, and little red dots are starting to dance around the bullseye.  Canada contributes1.6% to the world’s total GHG emissions. China contributes 27.2%, US 14.6%. A 30-60% reduction in Canada equates to a 1.8-3.6% reduction in China and a 3.5-7 % reduction in the US. Al Gore once said that CO2 knows no borders, so rather than shut down the economic engine of our nation, why wouldn’t we export the clean energy and technology to the countries that need it the most, boosting our economy and helping everyone on this planet reach these targets? What we do as Canadians to reduce emissions means nothing on the grand world scale. It is these heavy emitting countries that could benefit from Canada’s LNG to replace coal, and clean tech to further drive down emissions. It’s a win-win-win for Canada, the environment, and our economy. The Conservatives have proposed this and it has been highly criticized as ‘not enough’. This is the most viable solution and environmental policy for everyone in this country, and it doesn’t include plunging the entire country into debt and recession. It is ironic that the one country (US) that pulled out of the Paris Agreement has made the most progress reaching that agreement’s targets. How? By doing exactly what the Conservatives have proposed to help us and other nations achieve: transitioning coal to significantly cleaner natural gas power generation.  -There is another sentiment out here that likely resonates with our fellow Canadians from Quebec. If you asked the average Albertan if they would support separation 2 years ago, you’d be laughed at. Today it is no laughing matter. At the time of the provincial election only a few months ago, it was estimated that 50% of Albertans were open to separation. A poll of 6000+ Albertans only a week ago yielded the same results. We’ve been beaten into submission by the federal Liberals, and we continue to get kicked. Terms like ‘Western Alienation’, ‘Republic of Alberta’ and ‘Wexit’ have become very common. All too often you see ‘Liberal on Oct 21, Separatist on Oct 22’. This movement is real. I mean, REAL. If another Liberal government is elected, even worse a Liberal minority with the Green or NDP propping it up, Alberta’s energy sector will just board up the windows and go elsewhere. It will be crippling for the entire nation. It is ALREADY crippling for Alberta. We can’t take any more of this. We are the victims of a current Legislated Recession and it will only get worse. Half of us want to leave now. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry.  Alberta separation would be a crushing blow to this country and its economy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Albertans are resilient, wholesome, hard-working people that have been happy to help our fellow Canadian citizens maintain a high standard of living. We’re only asking for reciprocation. We don’t want hand-outs, tax revenue, or power. We want the right and ability to do what we’ve been doing all along, without having fellow Canadians standing in our way. We’re a part of the solution, not the problem.  Fellow Canadians, please consider this when casting your ballot. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. There is a fragility in this nation that could be fractured with stroke of a pen, and the power rests firmly in the hands of your provinces. Vote wisely. Vote Canadian. 

Signed, Alberta

I was at a dinner party this past weekend where the topic of discussion turned (unfortunately) to the bitter and controversial political battle our country is embroiled in.  The guests and hosts of this evening are all good friends, so it was especially frustrating to see the discord amongst them when discussing our political leaders, parties and platforms.  Thank heavens our campaign only lasts 40 days!

The most disturbing comment (for me) was someone defending the SNC Lavalin issue as “that’s the way business is done.  To be competitive globally, Canadian companies have to do anything they can to get contracts.  Everyone does it”   Yet, conversely, when it was pointed out (as does the letter writer above) that Canada contributes very little to the world’s carbon emissions this same person said “well, we have to set an example to the rest of the world”

I am all about setting a good example, but think we should be consistent.  Ethical business practices, effective climate change solutions and compassion for our fellow Canadians.  The reason this country is so wonderful is because of its diversity, not just in the people, but the assets and resources each province contributes to the nation.

As I said before, get out and vote, but do your research first and vote responsibly!

Post Debate Discussion and Opinions

I had an interesting (and very telling) post debate discussion with my youngest son (22 years old) this morning.  He asked me whether the federal debate changed my opinion of the political leaders we have to choose a prime minister from.

My own post debate opinion?  If you are interested in personality, I thought Singh (NDP) was the “winner” last night. He was charming, funny and an eloquent speaker (no ums or aws), but weak (sometimes even evasive) on the primary issues.  Unfortunately (for Singh) nice and charming does not necessarily make a good leader, at least not a leader of a country as diverse and large as Canada.

Scheer (Conservative) had to repeat himself often as was often talked over by either Trudeau (Liberal and current PM) or May (Green), although he did a fair share of it himself.  Not a good look for any of them.  The other two, Bernier (People’s Party) and Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois), were/are only interested in Quebec.  Their presence was distracting in my opinion for a federal election debate. I don’t think they should be included in these circumstances.

My son’s opinion?  “The debt our country is faced with is not really a problem.”  I believe (with a sick feeling in my stomach) this is a typical response from his age group.  They are more interested in the “perks” that might be promised or taken away.  This opinion was spoken like an uninformed youngster who does not (yet) pay for his own:

  • mortgage
  • taxes
  • car loan
  • groceries
  • insurance (except for his own car)
  • expenses for children
  • education
  • etc, etc, etc

Maybe that’s why I was so impressed with a youngster the same age as this son.  Chris Kitchen’s wrote an article at Queen’s University on why Canada’s oil and gas reserves would and should be beneficial to our economy.

We (my husband and I) have tried, over and over (in many heated discussions) to get this youngest son to acknowledge that living in growing debt is never a good thing, especially a staggering debt like the one our nation is faced with.  We feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.  Are we bad parents because he does not understand this concept?  I keep telling him he will understand in ten years (hopefully less), but he refuses to think that far ahead, let alone plan for it.  In our defence, this son does pay for his own cell phone and clothes as well as car insurance, gas and repairs .  Oh, and LCBO and Uber tabs.

Thankfully, our two older sons, both with mortgages, car payments, and children of their own, get it.  There is only five years difference between our second and third son, so it appears (to me) that it’s not a full generation, but just a demographic, that don’t get it.  At least this theory is apparent in my family.  I have heard from many others that their much older children have the same myopic outlook.

Did you watch the debate?  What are your post debate conclusions, thoughts, opinions?

 

 

 

Canadian oil reserves a solution to climate change

This article was (very well) written by Queen’s University engineering student Chris Kitchen. He makes an interesting argument for why Canadian oil reserves play an important role in climate change and other issues in our current political debate.

I am impressed by the insight of this young, fourth year university student.  Too bad (most of) our political leaders vying for the job of prime minister don’t have similar insightful convictions. I wonder if any of them have read this.  Judging by the same mudslinging rhetoric in the news every night, I doubt it.

We could definitely use more of this proactive, scientific thinking and reasoning to pull Canada’s sinking economy out of the mess we find ourselves in.

Canadian oil reserves
Chris Kitchen

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related. And my business website with the same name.

Political battle in Canada

There is yet another political battle going on in Canada.  Four years ago I warned you to be careful what you wish for when Canadians hoping for a change gave Justin Trudeau a Liberal majority.  Many of us were skeptical that the majority of his election promises would/could never happen and those that did would cost us dearly.

One (huge) example is the federal budget.  An election promise in 2015 claimed the budget would be balanced by 2019, with Trudeau assuring voters it would balance itself.  Although many of us saw that simplistic prediction as an enormous red flag,  (the majority of) others were willing to play along, blindly.  Perhaps blinded by the handsome smile and fashionable clothing although they are worn by someone that has never balanced let alone lived on a budget in his life.

Fast forward to the present: not only is the budget nowhere near balanced, our national debt is through the roof by BILLIONS of dollars and growing by the second.  Why that does not scare more Canadians I am not sure.  I worry most about my sons’ and grandchildren’s futures as the cost of living skyrockets out of control.

Let’s not forget about the scandals that have plagued the Liberal party these past four years.  Topping the never ending list is the SNC-Lavalin (an engineering and construction company) fiasco where our Minister of Justice and Attorney General left the Liberal party because she felt bullied and pressured into intervening in an ongoing criminal case against the company. An investigation proved she had reason to feel pressured.

Then there are the recent black and brown-face pictures as well as the outlandish garments Trudeau wore representing Canada abroad. Our incredibly immature, shallow and inappropriate Prime Minister apparently likes to play dress-up, fitting I suppose for a (former) drama teacher craving the spotlight.  Hardly the image we (most I hope) Canadians want to represent us on the global stage.  Trudeau may be a charismatic and friendly man but he has also proven to be foolish, naïve, a liar, a bully and a cheater, not to mention an elitist, without a clue how most of us live.  Any of us “average citizens” with those characteristics would be fired from our jobs!

So, what’s the purpose of this rant? Not to convince you to vote for a specific political party.  To warn you to think long and hard about how you want this wonderful country of ours to move forward.  No one political party will (now or ever) tick off all the right boxes for the issues at stake.  Individual voters have to decide which party ticks off the most and the most important (to us) of these boxes, then vote accordingly.

I have not even touched on the other important issues that divide the political parties.  In addition to the budget and financial deficits, each party has their own stance on climate change, oil pipelines, abortion, gun control, health care, same sex marriage, child care, education, immigration, indigenous rights and more.  The list goes on and on, be sure to read up on these crucial issues before you vote.

Of course there are the outrageous campaign promises flying around too.  Are reduced cell phone rates really a life necessity or just another calculated attempt to grab votes from the younger, phone-obsessed generation.  Just like legalizing marijuana was last election.  After all, most of the voters thinking cell phones and marijuana are important issues don’t yet pay the exorbitant taxes or hydro and electricity rates the rest of us are mandated to.

There is so much desperate political garbage and yes, fake news, on every form of social media these days.  I am sick of it, yet it’s only going to get worse within the next few weeks, building up to a frenzied pitch until the election is over.  Instead of getting caught up in social media’s mudslinging, do your own research to see where each party stands on the issues. Here are a few sites to peruse, but remember, all of them have the potential to be biased!

The last one compares the platforms for each political party, sorted by specific issues.  I found it very informative.  Do your homework before you vote blindly. Please!

 

Proud Canadians cheer on Bianca Andreescu

Arthur Ashe Stadium in NYC may have been filled with fans cheering every point American tennis powerhouse Serena Williams won this weekend, but proud Canadians were cheering just as loudly from their homes north of the border.  Not for Williams of course, but for their new sweetheart, tennis upstart Bianca Andreescu.  This teenager first captured our attention last January when she defeated some big talent in New Zealand’s ASB Challenge and then qualified for the Australian Open a few days later.

Yesterday, we proud Canadians were riveted to our TVs as Bianca Andreescu dethroned Williams with an incredible show of steely determination, perseverance and youthful charm.  What a matchup; David and Goliath revisited.  Andreescu as the inexperienced underdog, playing in her very first (but I’m betting not her last) US Open, against the seasoned veteran Williams playing in her 24th.

Andreescu’s composure was incredible with the fans roaring their approval of Williams’ every move.  When it appeared that Williams was mounting a comeback in the second set, Andreescu dug deep, rebounding from a change in momentum with fierce and impressive passion, winning two straight sets for the victory.

After winning the Canadian open just last month, Andreescu moved up to a ranking of 14th, from 152nd at the beginning of the year.  By the way, she was the first Canadian woman to win that title since 1969, gathering fans across our country.  With her remarkable win in the US Open yesterday, at just 19 years of age, she became the first Canadian to win a grand slam event.  Not to mention, the first woman ever to win the US Open in her first attempt.

What a year!  35 million proud Canadians are very impressed!

Proud Canadians
Bianca Andreescu
proud Canadians
Andreescu dethrones Williams

Buzzer beaters create Raptors’ bandwagon

I realize buzzer beaters are a common occurrence in basketball, but boy, do they ever cause a rise in my blood pressure when the outcome of the game rides on one.

The buzzer beater that Kawhi Leonard bounced (four times) off the rim and in, as all of Canada held their breath, sending the Toronto Raptors to the NBA finals, was mesmerizing. I’m sure it has been watched around the world by seasoned basketball lovers as well as those new to the sport, now perched on the Raptors’ bandwagon.

The strategy of waiting until the buzzer is about to sound before shooting for the winning basket is nerve wracking to say the least. As long as the ball is released before the buzzer sounds, the score counts. Only if the shot is successful of course. The strategy is that the opposing team does not get a chance to respond to a score. The game is over, while the ball is still in the air, the final score yet to be determined. Until the ball goes in or misses the net.

In game five of the NBA finals between the Raptors and The Golden State Warriors, the Raptors found themselves behind by one measly point with mere seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, this particular buzzer beater by Raptors’ super star Kyle Lowry failed to hit the basket. Instead of jubilant elation, the crowds in the Toronto stadium and pop-up Jurassic Parks across Canada were stunned quiet and sat dejected, as TVs in homes across the country were clicked off to escape the misery.

What a difference in emotion! The first of these buzzer beaters I could of watched over and over again, as many fans did. The joy and disbelief on the fans’ faces and the ensuing celebrations were heartwarming to watch. Especially in these times of political division within our country. From coast to coast, Canada was united in their joy and pride for their team. We still are; it’s not over yet!

The series will resume Thursday night in California where game six will unfold. The Toronto Raptors have a 3-2 lead in this final series, and hope to wrap it up as the NBA champs, the first time ever for a Canadian franchise.

I just hope we don’t have to wait for a buzzer beater to seal the deal! My heart can’t take it!

buzzer beaters
Toronto Raptors logo

St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program

Have you heard of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program? This sticker to promote the program was designed by my talented niece Jillian Sliter, just one of many artistic accomplishments displayed in her expanding graphic design portfolio.

St. John Amburlance Therapy Dogs new logo
St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs sticker

The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program was initiated over twenty years ago to help bring immeasurable happiness, joy, comfort and even stress relief to the sick, elderly and/or lonely. With the first pilot project a success in Peterborough, Ontario the program has grown tremendously since then, now in operation within Canadian communities from coast to coast.

The sweet faces and antics of these well-trained therapy dogs are popular in seniors’ homes, schools, community centers, hospitals and more. The dogs can be cuddled, petted and played with, all low impact activities that can offer a healthy distraction from sadness, pain and loneliness.

Police officers, social workers and firemen alike recognize the contributions to communities that these dogs can also offer in times of crisis. These four legged, friendly volunteers are unique. If you think your dog might qualify to meet the needs of designated patients in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs program, check out the website and apply. My brother’s dog Jackson loves his new job, and his new friends cannot resist his adorable personality and face.

Jackson, a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog
Jackson, a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog

If you or someone you know might benefit from the services of a therapy dog, contact your local branch of St. John Ambulance to submit your request.

Tennis upsets feature Canadian Bianca Andreescu

After (painfully) witnessing the upset of our mens junior hockey team in the quarter finals we Canadians have moved on to a thrilling and unexpected (maybe not to her) surprise in world tennis action. Eighteen year old Bianca Andreescu has been on the pro tennis circuit since 2017, but suddenly bounced into focus last weekend when she defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in New Zealand’s ASB classic.

Despite the fact that she was defeated in the final of that event, Andreescu went on to qualify for the Australian Open a few days later. Young, talented, ambitious and resilient, Bianca is earning respect on the tennis courts as well as pride and admiration from Canadians.

With a shining future ahead, all of our eyes and hearts are on and with her!

tennis
Bianca Andreescu photo by Rogers Media

Drug Checking Technology Challenge

Health Canada is putting their money where their mouth is, asking for help with a drug checking technology challenge. Most of us are aware of the opioid crisis here in Canada and around the world. For more information, please check out the detailed article in the link above. It describes the challenge to discover or modify the technology involved in detecting lethal, potent drugs like Fentanyl as well as other toxic substances. The article also contains additional links for those wishing to increase their knowledge of the crisis we are facing as well as one for substance abusers too.

Drug checking technology is out there, it just needs to be improved for increased reliability, accuracy, adaptability, ease of use as well as affordability. Any innovative (for or not-for-profit) Canadian post secondary institution, company, research or industry association is eligible to apply, although only the selected semi-finalists will be able to compete for the pilot phase and grand prize.

This challenge was launched on October 2nd, 2018 and the deadline for application is February 1, 2019. That means there is no time to waste! Semi-finalists will be announced February, finalists in June and grand prize winner in January 2020. Oh, and the prize is a cool million dollars.

It must be my thirty years of laboratory work; this challenge certainly piqued my interest. Do you have an innovative, ambitious personality with the resources to create a design ? Where can you apply? At the bottom of the webpage linked to above. Or right here!