Even a Canadian Progressive like Tama Ward can be made a little uncomfortable with the role of Post-Colonial Parent.
At breakfast, in the glass-towered city of Vancouver, five-year-old Abigail looks glumly at her half-eaten bowl of cereal.
“What is it, honey?” I brush the bangs back from her face.
She lets out a big sigh. “I wish I wasn’t white.”
I start. Nothing in the parenting manuals has prepared me for that.
“All we’ve ever done is hurt people,” she continues. “I wish my skin was dark and that I had a culture.”
We live in a part of the city where immigrant families abound. Our neighbours are homesick, first-generation Mexicans, which means that salsas and pinatas and Aztec legends feature prominently at shared social gatherings. Our family regularly eats in Little India where we gush over the flavours of curry and dhal, and every February, we attend the Chinese New Year parade in the slanting rain. Plus, my husband and I are children of missionaries and harbour an acute guilt for the cultural imperialism of our forebears. To compensate, we’ve raised our children with a deep appreciation of non-Western cultures.
So when Abigail laments the colour of her white skin, part of me is programmed to protest. Is it not my moral obligation to tell her that her feelings of poor self-worth are nothing compared with the psychological ruin of real racism? Girl, everything about Canadian culture weighs in your advantage and you have no right to snivel!
Instead, I feel a sadness settle over me. We thought we were raising the enlightened child of the 21st century. We thought we were doing our part in setting the history record straight. Yet, in doing so, it seems we have robbed our oldest child of something primal to psychological health, something elemental to her well-being as a human being: cultural roots.
I don’t know what to say.
I consider the you-are-Canadian spiel: “part of a new society made up of the vibrancy of many cultures, etc.” Yet, “Canadian” is precisely the problem. What is Canadian? Her best friend is Canadian and Mexican. Her cousin, Canadian and Bengali. Even our Indigenous neighbours have a First Nation before they have Canada. To play the Canadian card will further neuter her culturally when what she’s looking for are deep roots that ground her to a people and place.
Seized by maternal panic I go in search of our oversized National Geographic Atlas and hoist it up onto the breakfast table. Abigail sits up and she leans in. “It was almost 200 years ago that your people came to Canada from this island.”
Abigail’s face brightens at that word: island. I know what she’s thinking. Islands are places of primal innocence and cultural distinctiveness, such as Haida Gwaii or Never Never Land.
But then when I speak the name of her island, Abigail’s full-body slump returns.
“Great Britain?!” she pouts accusingly. “Aren’t they the bad ones?”
Theunis Wessels mows his lawn at his home in Three Hills, Alta, Alberta, Canada, as a tornado is seen in the background on Friday, June 2, 2017.
The Government of Canada’s immigration website crashed on Tuesday night as the US election results were rolling in.
The site went down about 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and there was intermittent accessibility after that.
About 9 ET on Tuesday evening, CNN announced that a number of key states in the election â€” including Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida â€” could all swing in Republican nominee Donald Trump’s favor. (Virginia has since been won by Clinton and Florida by Trump.) …
Google search traffic to the Canada story began to surge.
Read the whole thing.
(“Oh, My God! says wife in car. A lot.)
Stalked by a wolf while picking mushrooms near Fort Smith in Canada’s North West Territories, Joanne Barnaby was forced to retreat farther and farther from the highway and her vehicle. She finally foiled her pursuer by enlisting the aid of a larger predator.
Canada is slightly ahead of us in providing universal, state-funded healthcare. Of course, when the state, meaning other people, are paying for your health care, attitudes and policies toward you members of the aging Baby Boomer generation may not prove to be entirely to your liking.
Hat tip to Vanderleun.
Dangerous Minds reports:
Bank of Canada is pleading with Star Trek fans to stop â€œSpockingâ€ its five dollar bills. Since Leonard Nimoyâ€™s death, Canadian folks have been â€œSpockingâ€ the hell out of the five dollar bill that features a portrait of Canadaâ€™s seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Sir Wilfrid now sports, on certain bills at least, pointy ears, the signature Vulcan haircut and eyebrows and Spockâ€™s mantra â€œLive long and prosper.â€
According to Bank of Canada itâ€™s not illegal to do this but:
â€œ…However, there are important reasons why it should not be done. Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan. Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.â€
The Montreal Gazette observes that there is no possible way that Michael Zehaf Bibeau could have legally purchased or owned a firearm in Canada.
A leading firearms expert and criminal defence lawyer says he would have been â€œshocked beyond wordsâ€ to learn that Ottawa shooting suspect Michael Zehaf Bibeau had obtained his gun legally in Canada.
Solomon Friedman, who was locked in his downtown office for much of the day Wednesday as Ottawa police attempted to secure Parliament Hill and the surrounding buildings, says several layers of safeguards are in place to ensure that a person like Zehaf Bibeau does not have legal access to firearms. The former Quebecer, who shot and killed a reservist guarding the National War Memorial before moving up to Parliamentâ€™s Centre Block and opening fire, had a criminal record that included convictions for drug possession, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
â€œAnytime youâ€™re convicted of any type of serious criminal offence â€” anything dealing with drugs or violence â€” the judge has an opportunity to impose a firearms prohibition on you,â€ Friedman explained. â€œThey exercise that regularly.â€
RCMP confirmed late Thursday that Zehaf Bibeau had indeed been banned from owning a gun.
â€œEven if you donâ€™t get a weapons prohibition, you still need to fill out a licence application (in order to purchase a gun) where thereâ€™s a rigorous background check. I can tell you from personal experience that individuals with records like that simply get denied,â€ Friedman said. â€œI would be shocked beyond words if this individual had a firearms licence.â€
In addition to his criminal record, Zehaf Bibeau had recently had his passport revoked by the federal government. Friedman said that based on a grainy photo of the 32-year-old that began circulating on Wednesday evening, the weapon in his hands was probably a lever-action 30-30 hunting rifle. RCMP have also confirmed that theory.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to the Gun Feed.
Bibeau had a record of five arrests in Ottawa dating back to 2004, three drug possession (marijuana and PCP) and two parole violations.
Witnesses said the soldier [standing guard at the Canadian National War Memorial with an unloaded rifle] was gunned down by a man dressed all in black with a scarf over his face.
“I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Tony Zobl, 35, told the Canadian Press news agency.
Zobl said he witnessed the incident from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a 70-foot, arched granite cenotaph, or tomb, with bronze sculptures commemorating World War I.
“The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle,” Zobl said.
Zobl and other witnesses said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill, and later entered the main building there, where dozens of shots rang out.
Canadian MPs barricaded the door of the House of Commons chamber with furniture and hid, while 58-year-old, retired-Mountie Kevin Vickers, who occupies the largely-ceremonial post of Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian Commons, went to his office, retrieved a 9mm pistol from his desk, and engaged and killed the gunman.
Kevin Vickers, understandably, received a hero’s welcome when Parliament opened the following day.
Bouctouche River, Ste-Marie-de–Kent, New Brunswick.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.