Tuesday, July 31, 2012
From the front page to the back this week's Pass Herald is filled with stories, articles, letters to the editor 1, 2, 3, a newspaper ad, and Bricks critical of Mayor and Council for their cancellation of this year's Thunder in the Valley.
In addition to the above it is my understanding that the Mayor's house got egged over this weekend (with enough eggs to make an omelette big enough to feed the whole community), and that individual councillors got so many nasty phone calls and emails that at least one councillor left town to get away from it all.
The rancor displayed en mass in this one newspaper publication against our elected officials and administration is unparalleled. Both for coming from this particular newspaper, and as a reflection of our communities general feeling towards the powers that be.
Below are some notable quotes:
"Disappointed," "angry," and "frustrated," were a few of the words heard after speaking to numerous locals following Rum Runner Days...
Councillor Brian Gallant said the weekend turned out well. "It was still very busy, and still very well attended."
"The Pass he said will not suffer any loss due to one year's absence of the fireworks."
Note: Gallant, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt". (For those who don't know this is a humourous way of saying that someone refuses to see what is obvious to every one else, usually as a way of protecting himself from the pain the truth would cause.)
Bud Slapak: Editorial
... Crowsnest people are known for their friendliness, compassion and the ability to accept the cards Mother Nature has dealt us.
Note: Buddy, I got news for ya! "Mother Nature" had nothing to do with it. What transpired (the cancelling of TITV) wasn't an act of God, but man-made by council. It was a 'council decision' to cancel Thunder in the Valley. Had nothing to do with "Mother Nature"... or God.
"Those responsible should be riddled with the deepest shame."
Comment: Almost dinner time, so I'll stop here. In an upcoming post I will voice my opinion on what I think Mayor and Council should have learnt from all this. Stay tuned!
The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything - or nothing.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Comment: Like the man said, "the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one". For too many years we here in the Pass have refused to do so. Then with the passing of our former mayor and the election of our current one (who wants to change 'everything' (overnight), while bypassing the wishes of the people in the process) we have gone from one extreme to another. One did not want anything to change, to one who wants everything to change, to the people's chagrin.
To be great one must have vision, have the support of the people, and seize the moment. Changing things for the sake of change doesn't work. What does work is a common vision for the future that the majority buys into.
This mayor and council may finally get on track with the soon to be created Economic Development Committee. This committee, if made up of the right men and women and with the support of council, could very well be the catalyst in recognizing our problem(s), so that we can then go about solving it.
Let's hope so!
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Today, I submitted my letter of interest to CAO Myron Thompson in sitting on the soon to be formed Crowsnest Pass Economic Development Committee.
I encourage others, having a community minded spirit and wanting to help shape the future prosperity of our community, to do likewise.
Lord knows, with the recent debacle over Thunder in the Valley, along with councillor's publicly stating they don't know we already have a 'brand' in TITV, this municipal council can use all the help they can get!
Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Dean Ward on his blog Crowsnest Pass Home voiced his opinion by way of comment on Rum Runner Days/Thunder in the Valley and did such a good job that I'm posting it here because I believe it deserves a broader audience...
Reading the comments on my blog and from what I have heard around town this community must decide what it wants.
If it's the family orientated, quite, laid back weekend then has a lot of the people have said give each community $5-10,000. (When I was on Council Bellcrest and Coleman received $5,000 from the municipality.) Let each committee put on the weekend events that they see fit and make it has family orientated as they want.
Just realize that we don't have to bring in every available enforcement officer in Southern Alberta, run shuttle buses, have hundreds of camping spots available and bring in bands that nobody as ever heard of.
If the people here want to "brand" and market this community as Councilor Mitchell spoke about in this week's paper. Then what are we going to brand it as? Will we spend big dollars on consultants to determine that for us?
The Mayor gave a speech about a convention he went to early last year. Where he stated that when people spoke to him about the Crowsnest Pass, it was not about the mountains, the historical heritage. The one thing that came up again and again was "Thunder in the Valley" we have a brand already.
Could Thunder in the Valley have been done better? of course everything can be done better. It was getting better, biggest complaints I heard over the years was moving the traffic after the event and controlling the drunken idiots. Well for those that don't know those things were happening.
The time to get out of Blairmore had dropped by a significant amount over the last three years. Also the number of arrests dropped by a considerable amount in that same time frame. The RCMP were doing a better and better job of being visible and keeping the crowds under control.
I do not doubt for a second that some of the crap that people have talked about down around the field as happened, but how much of it as been exaggeration? I hear every year from people about the folks that had people having sex on their front yard, nobody can ever seem to name the place where it happened but everybody as heard about it.
We all know people that live by the field, one lady I know who's house is one block from the field hates the event. Another couple I know their yard backs right on to the field have never had a problem. Even the lady that hates the event says as long as the police have been visible around her area she as not really had any problems she just does not like it.
Do we want to market this community do we want to bring a lot of people here? Some people say to me we need more events like Sinister 7, I agree but how many of those are you going to do in a year?
I heard yesterday I wish we could have Thunder in the Valley, but not attracting the type of crowd it does. Well what type of crowd is that? 99% of the people that came to Thunder in the Valley never caused a problem they were good people just looking to have a bit of fun. The 1% that's why we had the RCMP, arrest them charge them with every thing you can and make them not want to come back to the Pass.
This community needs help, it needs to attract people here. Is our business sector thriving? what is our price of real estate doing? God help us if the coal market ever goes in to the toilet.
Over the years I had my issues with Thunder in the Valley and some of the problems that it brought with it. But all problems have solutions What I never questioned was the facts that Thunder put this community on the map, that it brought a lot of people here to see our community, some of them even purchased homes here. And yes it brought a lot of money in to this community. Do I think every business in this town is going to open its books to the public to prove that? No. Go talk to the business owners.
Should we do Thunder in the Valley? I believe so, find ways to do it better, safer, maximize revenues to off set costs. I don't think we are going to attract people here for a parade and a few family orientated events every community has one of them.
Comment: I find Dean annoying at times in that it is a rarity for him to actually voice an opinion on his blog. Usually he lays out an issue with facts and figures but then becomes cagey and non-committal as to where he actually stands, leaving it to others to voice their opinions before jumping in himself with his... if at all. Unlike moi, who most people have no problem knowing where I stand on any given subject or issue right from the get-go. :-) But this time he not only comes out taking a position but taking the time to explain his reasoning as well. I like that! And as it happens, I totally agree with most of what he says above, as well.
Good work, Dean! Job well done!!
For those who wish to voice their opinion about this past Rum Runner Days weekend here is your chance to do so. The Promoter has a poll available at the following address where you can tell the world, including Mayor and Council, what you think about what has recently transpired here in your community this past weekend.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Below is a Pass Herald article on 'branding' followed by a reader's response by way of comment on my previous post...
Lindsay Goss - Pass Herald
Talk of branding in the municipality
At the council meeting held on Tuesday, July 17th, the topic of branding in the municipality was brought to attention. Councillor Larry Mitchell said he was in favour of the idea to brand Crowsnest Pass, a decision that was not made at the council meeting.
Mitchell explained that Drumheller is famous for dinosaurs- even having the nickname “Dinosaur Valley”- and Vulcan is famous for sharing the same name as the home world for Vulcans, a fictional species featured in the film and television series Star Trek.
The town of Vulcan has also created space-themed murals and signs, and hosts an annual community-wide Star Trek convention known as VulCON: Spock Days/Galaxyfest.
“Branding is important to let tourists know what we are all about,” said Mitchell. The welcoming board outside of the municipality is a bit of branding that the Crowsnest Pass already has. The boards recognize the municipality’s mining history. “We need to let people know that we are more than just a municipality with a mining past,” said Mitchell.
Mike is my man. :)
We went to Blairmore Saturday evening to check out downtown and to pick up some groceries. When we saw how bleak and empty the town was, both of us were so disheartened. Mike got riled up enough to take pictures.
Anyways, I HAD to comment on your blog -- did you see the article in the Pass Herald regarding the talk of branding in the municipality?
OMG, I literally cannot believe the sheer stupidity of this council! From the article: "Councillor Larry Mitchell said he was in favour of the idea to brand the Crowsnest Pass...Mitchell explained that Drumheller is famous for dinosaurs - even having the nickname "Dinosaur Valley" and Vulcan is famous..." for its affiliation with Star Trek.
Drumheller has Dinosaur Valley, we HAD Thunder in the Valley. I mean, does anyone else not see the obvious parallel? How on earth do these councillors even function as normal human beings? Do they actually THINK before they speak?
Crowsnest Pass HAD a powerful, successful brand and this council threw it away. Unbelievable that now there is discussion about "letting tourists know what we are all about." What is that exactly?
A ghost-town with a council that killed a wildly successful event? An event that still had oodles of police officers handing out tickets to the dismal local/tourist turnout? A town where the local firefighters feel so alienated and angered that they actually boycott our local parade?
I am literally gobsmacked -- I cannot believe that Counciilor Mitchell has the gall to talk about branding and successful branding strategies in other communities...What does he want? A brand that is good, but not TOO good?
This council is weak and has no leadership -- this whole blame game between council members and the public would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting. There is zero dialogue between the mayor and council and the public.
I am ashamed that I voted them in. I am embarrassed that these clucks (to use a favourite expression of my Dad's) represent me and the Crownest Pass. The mayor acts like a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum -- I mean seriously, that letter that went out with the intent to inform the public of the council's decision to kill TITV was a joke.
His profligate use of quotes about people in coffee shops gossiping -- I mean really? I thought I was watching a Brittany Spears interview when she kept using air quotes.
All this council has focused on is telling us all the reasons why Thunder in the Valley can't work here. Larry talks about how Vulcan holds a "community-wide Star Trek convention." Wow -- we had a community-wide event too, Larry. We HAD it. You KILLED it. We do not need to re-invent the wheel.
Comment: Nothing pissed me off more this past weekend than to see proceeds from the 50-50 draw go to the Coleman Museum. Nothing against the museum per se but when are we going to say enough is enough with throwing good money after bad down black holes that swallow it up with nothing to show for it at the end of the day but dead entities that only old farts seem to be interested in, while ignoring the living. The Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club, the group trying to raise money to build a community centre, etc., etc. are all worth while entities that could have been supported in its place. Instead, we continue down the road of branding 'heritage' at the expense of everything else.
I think we have more than enough by far of heritage buildings, events, etc. that a line has to be drawn between catering further to a very small elite segment of our population that appeals to only a limited few of the general public (including tourists) at the expense of everything else, while ignoring opportunities to promote those things such as Thunder in the Valley that not only celebrates life and the living but by its very 'brand' appeals to a bigger, wider and more appreciative audience by far. While at the same time being a 'huge' revenue generator (rather than a bottomless money pit) that puts us on the map with a 'branding' that has successfully promoted this community not only regionally, provincially and nationally, but internationally as well. We are the 'envy' of most towns and cities, who spend vast fortunes hoping to achieve what this council has taken for granted, and thrown away haphazardly like so much rubbish? Talk about fool-hearty stupidity and incompetence!
How does this council spell SUCCESS? Are they that inept that they do not recognize 'successful branding' as it already is with Thunder in the Valley? Killing the 'golden goose' and starting from scratch or going back into a dead past nobody but them and their kind cares about is not the answer.
It seems we have an old-fogies mentality running things here for them and their kind, at our expense. Until that changes nothing else will!
Branding a dead past with limited appeal, while ignoring a living, thriving present having untold future possibilities and potential is fool-hearty, as this past weekend has proven without a doubt.
Mayor and Council need to get with it and learn from this weekend's lessons and mistakes, or else step down as they are obviously out of touch with modern reality and good old-fashioned common-sense. In other words, if you can't do the job then get out, and let those who can, get it done for you.
The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshiped. It is our future in which we will find greatness.
Monday, July 23, 2012
A fellow resident less than enchanted with Mayor and Council's decision to arbitrarily cancel this year's Thunder in the Valley wrote the following comment on a previous post of mine that I think is worth repeating here:
I created a Blog to highlight my disappointment with our town council here in the Crowsnest Pass. Click on the link for more pics of this uneventful day. The Fire Department has run the fire works here in the valley for 18 years. Turning it into a internationally recognized event. You can not buy that kind of publicity. Well with the brow beating of a couple high ranking individuals in the RCMP and a totally inept council this event was cancelled....or should I say the fireworks portion was cancelled. This is what we got this year.
Tell us if you agree with Mike, or not? Let the world know what you think? And then send Mayor and Council a message that they can't help but hear by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking action leads to results; not taking action only leads to feelings of hopelessness – and helplessness.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
One of the highlights of yesterday's festivities at our Rum Runner Days celebration (besides the fake bear that leaped out its cage during the parade :-)) was the annual Boys and Girls Club 'duck race'.
My wife and I joined many families with untold numbers of kids at the Blairmore Centre Access bridge across from the Blairmore Legion for the dumping of the ducks into the Crowsnest River. What fun for all was had!
Afterwards, we jumped into our vehicle and rushed (turned out we didn't need to rush as the ducks took their time :-) ) down to the finish line across from Blairmore East Access bridge. A nice crowd of people were there already with more joining us as the minutes of excited anticipation went by.
In the water were a half dozen hardy souls with scooping nets.
When the rubber ducks came around the bend there was a great roar of excitement and everyone got into action. Unfortunately, there was too much action i.e. once they scooped up the winning ducks the battle was on to scoop up the remaining 1,680 ducks that somehow all seemed to float by 'at the same time'. Pandemonium set in with everyone scrabbling, trying their best to scoop them up before they got past them.
For some reason there wasn't a net placed across the river, only a handful of brave volunteers with scooping nets. Well, guess what? Untold numbers of rubber ducks got by the net'ers. People started scrabbling with some running along the edge of the bank trying to get ahead of the ducks, then jumping in doing their best to retrieve as many as they could. Even Chad Petrone, clothes and all, jumped in for the rescue. :-)
I don't know how many ducks are now on their leisurely way to Lethbridge by way of Pincher Creek but there were a few. :-)
It was a great time that still has us laughing. The great duck escape will live with us for some time to come. lol! :-)
Knowing that the best-laid plans of mice and men can often go astray... The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you...
This weekend tens upon tens of thousands of people who normally would be partying hardy here in the Pass will not be doing so this year, because of a visionless, scary cat, party pooping Mayor and Council.
Went into Blairmore last night and it saddened me to no end to see what typically would be a hive of activity with crowds and crowds of people, happily laughing, drinking, partying, celebrating and otherwise 'enjoying' themselves, reduced to vacuumless, meaningless, tiny pockets of activity.
People cutting loose in a 'celebration of life' was not to be seen. Instead, the likes of Fred Bradley and his cohorts were out selling 50-50 tickets to non-existing crowds for their 'family day' Heritage Festival of the dead, while the living were once again forgotten.
We tend to put more money and energy celebrating our dead past here than we do in celebrating the living present... and our future. This I think is wrong!
Party poppers and old timers have successfully killed this year's Thunder in the Valley (and in doing so, have killed Rum Runner Days, as well). Southern Alberta's biggest party by far at this time of the year will not be happening because we have a Mayor and Council more inclined towards promoting the dead past, than in celebrating living in the present moment... as even Christ told us to do.
As in a Greek tragedy, the Apollonians have killed the Dionysians, and in doing so have killed the human spirit, and the meaning of life itself.
The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshiped. It is our future in which we will find greatness.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Once again, Joni has captured the essence of an issue. The bottom paragraph says it all.
Thank you to all volunteers who stepped up to the plate knowing full well that you would be damned if you did and damned if you didn't, but you still did. And for that you deserve our community's greatest and sincerest appreciation and gratitude.
By Joni MacFarlane Editor - Crowsnest Promoter
With the cancellation of Thunder in the Valley, this year’s Rum Runner Days has been one big bone of contention among people in southern Alberta. Feelings and opinions run the gamut from anger to apathy, resentment to relief.
After the initial announcement from council with the decision to “defer” the fireworks, a storm of protest, anger and disappointment erupted and petitions and protests were organized.
Several of those protesting the cancellation turned up at the next Rum Runner Days committee meeting and after initially voicing their displeasure with the cancellation, vowed to work with the committee to help continue providing the remaining events.
Four months later, most of those same protestors have gone back to their lives and the work of carrying on with the festival has been left to a handful of volunteers.
There are many who believe the cancellation of the fireworks makes the entire Rum Runner Days festival pointless.
No one has a crystal ball to predict exactly how the event will unfold or how many people will show up. No doubt on Monday morning, many will be able to say it went exactly as they thought.
It will be smaller, probably, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth holding and it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth attending.
The original concept back in the 1980’s was to remember the historical legacy of the Pass, to celebrate how events shaped its people, and to provide the community with its own unique day of festivities. This is no less true today.
Whether you share in the disappointment over the fireworks’ cancellation or not, a small number of people have worked very hard to continue this tradition. We would like to thank all the volunteers who stepped up to the plate and made the event happen – regardless of how it turns out.
With realization of one's own potential and self confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Just a reminder that the Ratepayers Association will be having their next meeting tomorrow, Thursday, July 19 at 7 pm in the Bellevue Legion.
This is a Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect a President and Board of Directors. Anybody that has paid the $5 to be a member can vote. Memberships are available at the door.
Everyone is Welcome!
There is power and strength in numbers.
UPDATE (July 19, 2012): Election Results
Hillcrest: Rudy Pagnucco/Larry Ruzek
Bellevue: Gail Montgomery/Troy Clark
Blairmore/Frank: Marilyn Milley/Marlene Anctil
Coleman: Sasha JaegerBaird/Ed Strembicki
Objective: To protect, promote and further the interests of the residents of Crowsnest Pass.
Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Reading this week's Pass Herald I see some really disturbing news - a Fait accompli - the closure of Atlas Road on August 13, 2012.
Reading the story (not available on-line) obvious questions and concerns come to mind because of how important this road is to our community both economically and recreationally.
The first being, where was our Mayor and Council on this issue? Does our Mayor have no clout? Would this have happened under former Mayor Irwin? I don't think so! And it definitely wouldn't have happened under my watch!! Apparently the decision was made prior to June 22 (a day after our Town Hall Meeting) yet Mayor and Council made no mention of this to us? Did Mayor and Council consult with our new MLA Pat Stier to lobby on our behalf? If not, why not? Why the rush to decommission and close this road in only a matter of 3-4 weeks (Aug. 13)? After raping and pillaging our land for decades where does Spray Lakes get off just walking away leaving us with diddly-squat in the process? So many questions and no answers?
Our community, it seems, is dying a slow death by attrition due to a lack of vision, intestinal fortitude, and leadership. Or is it by design? Like the arbitrary cancellation of Thunder in the Valley.
It seems our municipally elected representatives are doing everything possible to kill any hope of encouraging and promoting tourism as a viable economic engine for this area.
How much more can residents here take before "enough is enough"?
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
July 17th marks two milestones for me. The first milestone it marks is my 75th day living in the Crowsnest Pass. I have had the opportunity to meet a great deal of the citizens here in the Pass, from council members, to business owners. I have met fellow journalists, artists and musicians... read more here in Lindsay's Outlook.
Unfortunately Lindsay, who you haven't met yet is the greatest fiery rebel politician this community has ever had... moi! :-}
But I'm sure we'll meet soon. In the meantime, Happy 21st Birthday... Crowsnest Pass journalist extraordinaire.
Rebel - definition: A rebel is a person who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says. A true rebel stands up for what they believe is right, not against what's right. It's not about smoking crack, drinking till you're rendered unconsious, or beating the crap out of anyone that crosses your path. It's all about being an individual and refusing to follow a crowd that forces you to think the same way they do even if it means becoming an outcast to society. True rebels know who they are and do not compromise their individuality or personal opinion for anyone. They're straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.
Monday, July 16, 2012
A story to bring tears to your eyes. It did it to me... again.
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat of the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got 39 cents. Is that enough at least to take a look?”
“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little fur ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then the little pup began awkwardly wobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up. “I want that one,” the little boy said, quickly pointing to the runt.
The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
“How much?” asked the little boy. “No charge,” answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love and understanding.”
Like that special puppy, the world is full of people who need someone who understands.
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
The Crowsnest Pass by way of Sasha JaegerBaird has a new on-line Facebook business called Crowsnest Pass Barter and Trade that's worth a look, I think.
Look good and carefully, because you'll see I've already put some items up for barter and trade myself. :-) Maybe you want to do so too?
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
On this miserable rainy Saturday morning after another week of wars, disasters, human foibles, etc., etc. is there any other way to start the weekend other than with my man Marvin? I don't think so!
A man can lose everything in this world and yet lose nothing at all.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Posted on Jun 3, 2012
By Chris Hedges
I gave a talk last week at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Many in the audience had pinned small red squares of felt to their clothing. The carre rouge, or red square, has become the Canadian symbol of revolt. It comes from the French phrase carrement dans le rouge, or “squarely in the red,” referring to those crushed by debt.
The streets of Montreal are clogged nightly with as many as 100,000 protesters banging pots and pans and demanding that the old systems of power be replaced. The mass student strike in Quebec, the longest and largest student protest in Canadian history, began over the announcement of tuition hikes and has metamorphosed into what must swiftly build in the United States—a broad popular uprising. The debt obligation of Canadian university students, even with Quebec’s proposed 82 percent tuition hike over several years, is dwarfed by the huge university fees and the $1 trillion of debt faced by U.S. college students. The Canadian students have gathered widespread support because they linked their tuition protests to Quebec’s call for higher fees for health care, the firing of public sector employees, the closure of factories, the corporate exploitation of natural resources, new restrictions on union organizing, and an announced increase in the retirement age. Crowds in Montreal, now counting 110 days of protests, chant “On ne lâche pas” — “We’re not backing down.”
The Quebec government, which like the United States’ security and surveillance state is deaf to the pleas for justice and fearful of widespread unrest, has reacted by trying to stamp out the rebellion. It has arrested hundreds of protesters. The government passed Law 78, which makes demonstrations inside or near a college or university campus illegal and outlaws spontaneous demonstrations in the province. It forces those who protest to seek permission from the police and imposes fines of up to $125,000 for organizations that defy the new regulations. This, as with the international Occupy movement, has become a test of wills between a disaffected citizenry and the corporate state. The fight in Quebec is our fight. Their enemy is our enemy. And their victory is our victory.
This sustained resistance is far more effective than a May Day strike. If Canadians can continue to boycott university classrooms, continue to get crowds into the streets and continue to keep the mainstream behind the movement, the government will become weak and isolated. It is worth attempting in the United States. College graduates in Canada, the U.S., Spain, Greece, Ireland and Egypt, among other countries, cannot find jobs commensurate with their education. They are crippled by debt. Solidarity means joining forces with all those who are fighting to destroy global, corporate capitalism. It is the same struggle. A blow outside our borders weakens the corporate foe at home. And a boycott of our own would empower the boycott across the border.
The din of citizens beating pots and pans reverberates nightly in cities in Quebec. The protesters are part of what has been nicknamed the army of the cacerolazo, or the casseroles. I heard the same clanging of pots and pans when I covered the protests against Manuel Noriega in Panama and the street protests against Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who despite Law 78 has been unable to thwart the street demonstrations, is the latest victim. I hope the next is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney; they, and Charest, are puppets manipulated by corporate power.
The importance of the Occupy movement, and the reason I suspect its encampments were so brutally dismantled by the Obama administration, is that the corporate state understood and feared its potential to spark a popular rebellion. I do not think the state has won. All the injustices and grievances that drove people into the Occupy encampments and onto the streets have been ignored by the state and are getting worse. And we will see eruptions of discontent in the weeks and months ahead.
If these mass protests fail, opposition will inevitably take a frightening turn. The longer we endure political paralysis, the longer the formal mechanisms of power fail to respond, the more the extremists on the left and the right—those who venerate violence and are intolerant of ideological deviations—will be empowered. Under the steady breakdown of globalization, the political environment has become a mound of tinder waiting for a light.
The Golden Dawn party in Greece uses the Nazi salute, has as its symbol a variation of the Nazi swastika and has proposed setting up internment camps for foreigners who refuse to leave the country. It took 21 seats, or 7 percent of the vote, in the May parliamentary elections. France’s far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, pulled 18 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election. The right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands is the third largest in the parliament and brought down the minority government. The Freedom Party in Austria is now the second most popular in the country and holds 34 seats in the 183-seat lower house of the parliament. The Progress Party in Norway is the largest element of the opposition. The Danish People’s Party is Denmark’s third largest. And the Hungarian fascist party Jobbik, or the Movement for a Better Hungary, captured 17 percent of the vote in the last election. Jobbik is allied with uniformed thugs known as the Hungarian Guard, which has set up patrols in the impoverished countryside to “protect” Hungarians from Gypsies. And that intolerance is almost matched by Israel’s ruling Kadima party, which spews ethnic chauvinism and racism toward Arabs and has mounted a campaign against dissenters within the Jewish state.
The left in times of turmoil always coughs up its own version of the goons on the far right. Black Bloc anarchists within the Occupy movement in the United States, although they remain marginal, replicate the hyper-masculinity, lust for violence and quest for ideological purity of the right while using the language of the left. And they, or a similar configuration, will grow if the center disintegrates.
These radical groups, right and left, give to their followers a sense of comradeship and empowerment that alleviates the insecurity, helplessness and alienation that plague the disenfranchised. Adherents surrender the anxiety of moral choice for the euphoria of collective emotions. The individual’s conscience, a word that evolved from the Latin con (with) and scientia (knowledge), is nullified by personal sublimation into the collective of the crowd. Knowledge is banished for emotion. I saw this in Yugoslavia. And this is what happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic. The Nazis, who knew whom they could trust, forbade recruitment from the Social Democrats. They understood that the bourgeoisie liberals of that political stripe lacked the desired ideological rigidity. But the Nazis embraced recruits who defected from the Communist Party. Communists easily grasped the simplistic, binary view of the world that split human relations into us and them, the good and the evil, the friend and the enemy. They made good comrades.
“Comradeship always sets the cultural tone at the lowest possible level, accessible to everyone,” Sebastian Haffner wrote in his book “Defying Hitler,” which more and more looks like a primer on the disintegration of the early 21st century. “It cannot tolerate discussion; in the chemical solution of comradeship, discussion immediately takes on the color of whining and grumbling. It becomes a mortal sin. Comradeship admits no thoughts, just mass feelings of the most primitive sort—these, on the other hand, are inescapable; to try and evade them is to put oneself beyond the pale.”
William Butler Yeats, although he saw his salvation in fascism, understood the deadly process of disintegration:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Those of us who care about a civil society, and who abhor violence, should begin to replicate what is happening in Quebec. There is not much time left. The volcano is about to erupt. I know what it looks and feels like. Yet there is a maddening futility in naming what is happening. The noise and cant of the crowd, the seduction of ideologies of hate and violence, the blindness of those who foolishly continue to place their faith in a dead political process, the sea of propaganda that confuses and entertains, the apathy of the good and the industry and dedication of the bad, conspire to drown out reason and civility. Instinct replaces thought. Toughness replaces empathy. “Authenticity” replaces rationality. And the dictates of individual conscience are surrendered to the herd.
There still is time to act. There still are mass movements to join. If the street protests in Quebec, the most important resistance movement in the industrialized world, spread to all of Canada and reach the United States, there remains the possibility of hope.
When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
Below is an article by my man Chris Hedges that is a bit dated but still relevant. Give it a read...
Corporations Have No Use for Borders
Posted on Jan 30, 2012
By Chris Hedges
What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.
But that was the old Canada. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.
The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.
“I want to tell you that I was arrested because I am seen as a threat,” Canadian activist Leah Henderson wrote to fellow dissidents before being sent to Vanier prison in Milton, Ontario, to serve a 10-month sentence. “I want to tell you that you might be too. I want to tell you that this is something we need to prepare for. I want to tell you that the risk of incarceration alone should not determine our organizing.”
“My skills and experience—as a facilitator, as a trainer, as a legal professional and as someone linking different communities and movements—were all targeted in this case, with the state trying to depict me as a ‘brainwasher’ and as a mastermind of mayhem, violence and destruction,” she went on. “During the week of the G8 & G20 summits, the police targeted legal observers, street medics and independent media. It is clear that the skills that make us strong, the alternatives that reduce our reliance on their systems and prefigure a new world, are the very things that they are most afraid of.”
The decay of Canada illustrates two things. Corporate power is global, and resistance to it cannot be restricted by national boundaries. Corporations have no regard for nation-states. They assert their power to exploit the land and the people everywhere. They play worker off of worker and nation off of nation. They control the political elites in Ottawa as they do in London, Paris and Washington. This, I suspect, is why the tactics to crush the Occupy movement around the globe have an eerie similarity—infiltrations, surveillance, the denial of public assembly, physical attempts to eradicate encampments, the use of propaganda and the press to demonize the movement, new draconian laws stripping citizens of basic rights, and increasingly harsh terms of incarceration.
Our solidarity should be with activists who march on Tahrir Square in Cairo or set up encampamentos in Madrid. These are our true compatriots. The more we shed ourselves of national identity in this fight, the more we grasp that our true allies may not speak our language or embrace our religious and cultural traditions, the more powerful we will become.
Those who seek to discredit this movement employ the language of nationalism and attempt to make us fearful of the other. Wave the flag. Sing the national anthem. Swell with national hubris. Be vigilant of the hidden terrorist. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, responding to the growing opposition to the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipelines, wrote in an open letter that “environmental and other radical groups” were trying to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.” He accused pipeline opponents of receiving funding from foreign special interest groups and said that “if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further.”
No matter that in both Canada and the United States suing the government to seek redress is the right of every citizen. No matter that the opposition to the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines has its roots in Canada. No matter that the effort by citizens in the U.S. and in Canada to fight climate change is about self-preservation. The minister, in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry like the energy czars in most of the other industrialized nations, seeks to pit “loyal” Canadians against “disloyal” Canadians. Those with whom we will build this movement of resistance will not in some cases be our own. They may speak Arabic, pray five times a day toward Mecca and be holding off the police thugs in the center of Cairo. Or they may be generously pierced and tattooed and speak Danish or they may be Mandarin-speaking workers battling China’s totalitarian capitalism. These are differences that make no difference.
“My country right or wrong,” G.K. Chesterton once wrote, is on the same level as “My mother, drunk or sober.”
Our most dangerous opponents, in fact, look and speak like us. They hijack familiar and comforting iconography and slogans to paint themselves as true patriots. They claim to love Jesus. But they cynically serve the function a native bureaucracy serves for any foreign colonizer. The British and the French, and earlier the Romans, were masters of this game. They recruited local quislings to carry out policies and repression that were determined in London or Paris or Rome. Popular anger was vented against these personages, and native group vied with native group in battles for scraps of influence. And when one native ruler was overthrown or, more rarely, voted out of power, these imperial machines recruited a new face. The actual centers of power did not change. The pillage continued. Global financiers are the new colonizers. They make the rules. They pull the strings. They offer the illusion of choice in our carnivals of political theater. But corporate power remains constant and unimpeded. Barack Obama serves the same role Herod did in imperial Rome.
This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement is important. It targets the center of power—global financial institutions. It deflects attention from the empty posturing in the legislative and executive offices in Washington or London or Paris. The Occupy movement reminds us that until the corporate superstructure is dismantled it does not matter which member of the native elite is elected or anointed to rule. The Canadian prime minister is as much a servant of corporate power as the American president. And replacing either will not alter corporate domination. As the corporate mechanisms of control become apparent to wider segments of the population, discontent will grow further. So will the force employed by our corporate overlords. It will be a long road for us. But we are not alone. There are struggles and brush fires everywhere. Leah Henderson is not only right. She is my compatriot.
Northern Light (June 3, 2012)
Achilles heel of these massive companies is in their articles of incorporation. Under the law, a company's articles can be revoked and it has to cease doing business. Should 'three strikes' be applied to corporations as well? Some corporations do damage. Some are persistent violators of the public trust. Perhaps three convictions (or three public interest law suits lost) should be the limit, and their corporate articles revoked.
Monday, July 9, 2012
For a really totally biased and slanted story, using known supporters of certain municipal councillors, that tries to justify and legitimatize the cancellation of this year's Thunder in the Valley (TITV), read this. Even the print media, it seems, behind saddling this community with our currently despised Mayor and Council, are in on the act.
Maybe, if this year, we do actually have 'serious' issues of vandalism, or even a riot, council will use this as an excuse to cancel TITV for good (they will have killed the "golden goose"), even though they themselves would be directly responsible for any such actions happening in the first place? Will provocateurs be used? Who knows? In a sense, we might have some fireworks after all? The unwanted kind.
What we do know is print media 'propaganda' will not whitewash or remove the sour taste we all have in our mouths because of a callous and gutless council who have knowingly and consistently lied to and mislead those they are suppose to be serving with respect to this matter, and continue to do so using their 'hacks' in the media for this purpose.
Personally, from what I have been able to gather from talking with a wide-range of people throughout our community, I think this year's Rum Runner Days is going to be a 'flop'. Financially and otherwise. A total disaster in more ways than one. And it will be as a direct result of this council's interference, arrogance and mismanagement.
When the shit hits the fan, we'll know whose door to lay the blame. Council better hope and pray that it doesn't get piled up to high that when they finally dig themselves out they aren't blinded by the light. After all, "what is leadership but the blind choice of one route over another and the confident pretence that the decision was based on reason?".
Knowing as I do that people in power are generally better persuaded by the reasons they discover themselves than by those given to them by others, I think council will soon learn their actions were wrong with respect to this matter. Council's refusal to listen to the wishes and demands of tens of thousands versus instead catering to a tiny, select few, of their friends and cronies having businesses or residences in Blairmore who growing tired of the inconveniences to them associated with this event selfishly sacrificed the well-being and future prosperity of a whole community, never mind a whole region.
To not listen to the majority and instead arbitrarily choosing to do the bidding of a tiny minority in the mistaken believe that their actions were right and reasonable, was a stupid idea. This, I believe, council will soon be discovering for themselves due in large measure to the failings of certain print media who would rather create and distort the news, than report it.
The Wizard of Oz had a cowardly lion, and so do we, in both our council and certain media.
If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
(click on image to enlarge)
Forget all those virtuous words they taught you in school about our system of government. The real words to describe American power are “plunder,” “fraud,” “criminality,” “deceit,” “murder” and “repression.”
Thursday, July 5, 2012
The Human Face of 'The Man'...
by Pincher Voice
Local RCMP Constable Douglas Sokoloski has been dubbed "The Coolest Cop Ever" by campers who thought they were in trouble when he pulled up to their rock 'n roll encampment. "We all assumed that we were in trouble, but really he just wanted to shred on the guitar and play the drums a bit. What a nice fella," says the individual posting it in the video description. At last count the video had more than 210,000 views, and is still rapidly climbing. Kudos to our Top of the Pops Cop with the chops.
Here then, a video we dearly wished we had taken of the shredding officer on guitar and drums:
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
Pass Herald - Letter to the Editor
After the Town Hall meeting on June 21, I spoke to many others who were there. We all have thoughts and feelings that cover a wide range, from agreement with some of the answers provided by the Mayor and Council members, to guarded satisfaction, to outright disagreement and anger. For certain, many are feeling powerless.
As I said at the meeting, I was insulted, as were other letter writers, to have our letters referred to in the "Mayor's Corner" as "uninformed ramblings of unhappy people." The Mayor's reply to my comments after I spoke, I felt were equally belittling and offensive when he referred to my letters as "bilge". I commented about being uninformed because it is very difficult to get answers from anyone at the Municipal Office. This was blatantly denied by the Mayor, but later substantiated by some audience members who had not been able to get phone calls returned, or letters answered either.
I wish to clear up the misconception that the Mayor and I are "very good friends". This is absolutely not the case. We were acquaintances at best while we were in high school together about fifty years ago, and I have spoken to him once on the phone and twice in person since then. And also, he stated at the meeting that we had met for over an hour, and talked about the new motorcyle shop in Blairmore. That is also blatantly untrue. The subject of our meeting was about the new bylaw banning all large trucks from the townsites, which incidentally resulted in a trucking operation based here being moved to Sparwood. Yet more lost revenue for the area.
With regard to two respected taxpaying citizens being ejected from the Town Hall meeting by a fully armed, uniformed police officer, many of us were shocked. Their "crime" was in neglecting to go to the microphone to speak, but rather speaking from their seats, albeit rather emotionally. It could have been handled with some tact. The Mayor is not a judge, and that was not a courtroom. Nor was he a teacher in front of a class of recalcitrant students.
To my way of thinking, communities in general are much happier when the citizens feel that they are actively involved in decision-making, and they respect those they have elected. Council has felt the need to bring in out-of-town consultants. many are questioning the high cost involved, especially when there has been minimal communication with the public before recommendations are put in place. We are being asked to simply accept these decisions with little to no involvement. A case in point is the hiring of two peace officers, and purchase of two vehicles. Many are questioning the need for so much police presence in this community. Generating fear does not go hand in hand with generating respect and trust.
This community is in trouble, and it saddens me to see it. Many of us feel that Council could definitely better fulfill their campaign promises of openness, transparency, communication, and particularly the prudent spending of tax dollars. Something needs to change to help this community thrive.
And, Mr. Mayor, despite your rather derogatory comments, I will continue to write letters ( and I would encourage others as well) to express my concerns publicly.
Comment: It appears, once again, our Mayor has been caught stretching the truth, if not outright lying to those of us he is suppose to be serving.
During the last municipal election this Mayor was quoted as saying he wanted to serve one term only. The way he is going about things that is all he will get... whether he wants it or not.
They must find it difficult.... Those who have taken authority as the truth. Rather than truth as the authority.
The following anonymous comment was made on my previous post that had nothing to do with the subject matter at hand but has a lot to do with River Run. In this regard, I feel it deserves mention here on its own:
I know this is way off topic, but this is what is going to happen to your River Run Lands...Did your mayor not say at the town hall that the legal matters are being sorted out with the investors?? seems he may be misinformed.
see below.. a letter from the Trust Company that River Run deals with...
I spoke with Jon Mintoft today and it appears that a judicial listing of the Lands is inevitable. They continue to search for partners and financing but there’s nothing concrete on the horizon.
We’ll be sending out a notice to holders in the coming days advising that we will be engaging Colliers to prepare an appraisal and will then make application to have the lands listed for sale. Mr. Mintoft has advised that Vistas will consent to our court application in an effort to reduce costs. I understand some of the other lands in the development are getting listed as well so it may make sense to have all the lands listed at or around the same time in an effort to maximize value.
As for the RRSP account fees, I understand the RRSP department will be sending out a notice advising that the 2012 RRSP account fees and the go-forward RRSP account fees will be waived for those individuals that only hold RR Vistas in their account (the RRSP account fees will still be payable if our client holds other investments in their account as will account fees prior to 2012).
In any event, we will be sending out additional correspondence on this matter next week to provide all holders with an update. Please feel free to give me a call if you wish to discuss the matter in more detail.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive???
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Local boy, Jim Prentice, tells Harper his way or the highway, is no way to run a country...
By Charlie Smith,
Sometimes, you stumble across an intriguing article where you least expect to find it.
This weekend as I was perusing a Vancouver Sun special section on energy, I spotted the byline of Jim Prentice. He's the senior executive vice-president and vice-chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Prentice also happens to be the former Conservative environment minister who announced his resignation from the Stephen Harper government in 2010 because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Coincidentally (or not), this came shortly after he visited Haida Gwaii with environmentalist David Suzuki.
Prentice was a Progressive Conservative before his party was taken over by the more right-wing Canadian Alliance. Its roots were in the old Reform Party of Canada.
Harper, a former policy director of the Reformers, likely went a bit berserk at the sight of his environment minister hobnobbing on The Nature of Things with Suzuki.
Now in his role with the bank, Prentice writes that the objective of developing and exporting Canada's hydrocarbon deposits is a "defining moment” for the country. He used the same language in a speech last month to the Business Council of B.C.
In the article, Prentice never mentions the proposed Enbridge or Kinder Morgan pipelines by name. However, he acknowledges that “the constitutional and legal issues surrounding west coast energy corridors, terminals and shipping are extraordinarily complex”.
One section of Prentice's piece is worth repeating verbatim:
To begin, however, the constitutional obligation to consult with first nations is not a corporate obligation. It is the federal government's responsibility.
Second, the obligation to define an ocean management regime for terminals and shipping on the west coast is not a corporate responsibility. It is the federal government's responsibility.
Finally, these issues cannot be resolved by regulatory fiat—they require negotiation. The real risk is not regulatory rejection but regulatory approval, undermined by subsequent legal challenges and the absence of 'social licence' to operate.
There are billions of dollars at stake for Corporate Canada in the efforts to export raw bitumen through Kitimat and the Port of Vancouver and ship this product via supertankers to Asia.
In the article, Prentice is, in fact, appealing to the Harper government to modify its approach of not seriously negotiating with First Nations.
Prentice also questions the wisdom of ramming the approval of pipelines through the regulatory process by shortening timelines. He appears to believe that this creates a greater risk of pipeline projects being thwarted by legal challenges.
Keep in mind that CIBC has a huge vested interest. First Nations youths have already warned CIBC not to finance Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project.
"CIBC should catch up with Royal Bank and TD Bank, which have already committed to recognize our right to consent," Jasmine Thomas, a 24-year-old member of the Yinka Dene Alliance, said in a news release last year. In other words, CIBC is in the sights of First Nations activists to a greater degree than other banks.
If Prentice's views on the Harper government's duty to negotiate are widely shared within the head offices of other Canadian banks and energy companies—not to mention the Conservative caucus—then the prime minister might not be as secure in his job as most people believe he is.
Prentice is well-regarded within Conservative and corporate circles. He's received lavish press over the years from the country's biggest newspapers. I wouldn't be surprised if Prentice eventually plays a role if there's a palace revolt within Conservative ranks—primarily because Harper's bellicose take-no-prisoners approach may not be achieving all of Bay Street's objectives in the tar sands.
Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.
Just a reminder that the Ratepayers Association will be having their next meeting tomorrow, Thursday, July 05 at 7 pm in the Coleman Legion.
This is a general meeting and membership drive.
Everyone is Welcome!
There is power and strength in numbers.
Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Me thinks, this week's Pass Herald editorial by Buddy Slapak deserves the light of day, here on my blog.
Now, if only council could communicate to us, as well as Buddy has just communicated to them:
Our Town Hall Meeting
The Crowsnest Pass Town Hall Meeting held on Thursday, June 21st is now history and according to Mayor Bruce Decoux (26th issue of the Herald), council is considering having two town hall meetings in the spring and two meetings in the fall.
Our Herald reporter, Lindsay attended the meeting and commented that some of those attending expressed a lot of passion when addressing the mayor and council members.
It was her opinion the mayor and council were very professional in their responses to most of the questions directed their way.
In my opinion, I believe that there has been a lack of open communication between this council and the general public, as demonstrated by the numerous rumours that have been floating around in the Crowsnest Pass. (my emphasis)
Some members of the former council, when in office, targeted the news media in the Crowsnest Pass, convinced that the municipality was spending far too much money on advertising.
Even in todays world, a former councillor is attempting to keep the issue of advertising alive, with inflated versions of the actual costs to taxpayers.
The town hall meeting proved, in my opinion, that there is a break-down in communications between council and the general public. (my emphasis)
Perhaps the rebirth of the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Association, with responsible leadership, can close the gap that now appears evident between the public and council.
If the association is responsible and diligent, controversial rumors could be addressed and put to rest once and for all.
At least that's the way I see it.
Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Yesterday, I participated in my 18th annual Canada Day Celebrations in Coleman. The crowds on the streets for the parade were dismal. Sparse would be an understatement. The worst attendance I have ever seen. Was it the threatening storm clouds, long-weekend, Canada Day falling on a Sunday, who knows?
Some people who I know and respect as pillars in our community, couldn't help voicing their displeasure with our current mayor and council, and the direction they have been taking us, blaming them for the sudden lack of community spirit.
I couldn't help noticing the municipal float the mayor recently referred to as a "death trap" was in the parade? Someone commented on my blog that the driver should be given the 'Order of Crowsnest Pass'. :-)
All in all, it was disappointing and distressing for some that apathy and antipathy seemed to have taken over this year's celebrations.
But a brave face was put on by all who attended and for a brief period we shared with friends and strangers alike what it means to be 'proud' Canadians, who love our land and appreciate who we are and what we have and are blessed with.
I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.