Woke Up, Kitchener!

I had hoped that all this Woke Society/Cancel Culture, delusional fad-du-jour would remain in the Excited States.  Alas, t’was not to be.  This is the Information Age, which means that it’s on the internet, and spreading faster than COVID.  It has wafted North across the border, and settled on Canada like wildfire smoke, including in my usually staid, sane-thinking Kitchener.

The first symptom developed a couple of years ago, when a local artist donated a bronze statue of Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and the one in charge of the beginning of Indian residential schools, where thousands of unmarked graves are only now being found.

A huge fuss was raised to prevent the statue from being put in the big, down-town park.  It eventually was shipped to a small town, ten miles west, where there is an historic mini-mansion.  It was doused with red paint twice, and finally knocked off its pedestal.

More recently, the statue of Queen Victoria in her namesake park has been painted red twice.  While she was mostly a figurehead monarch, apparently she’s being blamed for British colonialism.  A brown-skinned immigrant from India has started a petition to rename the city.  Beginning as ‘Sand Hills,’ it became ‘Ebytown,’ and then Berlin, Ontario.

105 years ago, the woke generation of English-speakers demanded that the town change its name, to show loyalty to Britain during WW I.  The local German burghers didn’t really care.  Victoria, the ‘English’ queen, was actually German nobility, from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Anhalt.

British Lord Kitchener’s name was a last-minute addition to a referendum with six names.  The outstanding feature of the plebiscite was the absolute indifference displayed by the ratepayers.  With about 10,000 voters, (All of them men  😯 ) only 892 bothered to cast a ballot, and the name Kitchener got a plurality of 346.

Kitchener (the man) was not excessively colonialist, or racist.  He was just steeped in the unthinking beliefs of the time and place.  White, British males held a Manifest Destiny to own and control the world.  It is a huge mistake to try to retroactively apply 21st Century morals.

In 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University went public, and adopted the name Wilfrid Laurier University, partly to honor the subject of my Where’s Willy post, and partly so that they could retain the same initials – WLU.

Now there is another petition being circulated to have that name also changed.  True, Willy helped administrate the residential Indian school system which damaged so many Indigenous, but, like Lord Kitchener, he did what he did out of an honest belief that it was in their best interests.

I think that we are taking this name change of streets, cities, schools, etc. way too far.  The past is the past, which we cannot, nor ever will be able to, change.  Really people, this needs to stop.  Move on.  We need to learn from it, not bury it.

I ask the woke folk to take a good look in the mirror, and ask themselves two questions.  “Looking back at your very short existence and past behaviors, is there anything that you now regret doing and would do differently if you had the chance?”  Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.  “Second, how did Canada become one of the best counties in the world in which to live?  Could it be because of the leaders of the past – the ones whose contributions and reputations you so eagerly want to tarnish?”

Name changes are not only inconvenient, but are also very costly.  Anything that’s associated with a data-base which contains addresses will be affected.  Passports, drivers’ licences, health cards, property and automobile ownerships, Federal, Provincial and municipal taxes, utilities accounts, postal services, road signs, mapping, GPS – the list goes on and on.

Come on, Snowflakes!  Nowhere in the American or Canadian Constitution are you guaranteed the right not to be offended.  😳

Typical Politician

Bardish

I recently met an atypical politician, or at least that’s what she claimed. She was pleased that she was introduced, not as a local politician, but rather as ‘our elected representative.’ She claims that she and her government want to do things a little differently.

Bardish Chagger PC MP is a Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo. She is the current Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the former Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

While she may want to change things, it was evident early that she has many of the earmarks of the ‘Typical Politician.’ She attended a recent brunch meeting of the local Free Thinkers group. She was to talk to them about the separation of Church and State.

She was born here in Ontario. I have heard her disparaged as a (Muslim) Paki. I thought that she was a (Hindu) Indian, until she showed up with a male Sikh aide. A member videotaped the meeting for posterity. Used to many media scrums, she quickly clipped on the mic-pack herself.

When she arrived, she went around two large tables, shaking hands and speaking to about 25 members individually. Before beginning her talk, she slyly mentioned that she would take any questions and answer any concerns that anyone had. An hour and a half later, we’d talked about everything except Church and State. The moderator had to butt in, and present her with two specific concerns, and let her get back to him about them later.

While not a ‘prepared speech,’ she probably had a good mental picture of what she wished to present. She’s quite intelligent, and well-spoken, with no hesitations in speech, or ‘ums’ or ‘ahs’. She and her aide made a good team. She stood up front, and dealt with the crowd, and their concerns. He hovered, almost unnoticed in the background with his Smart phone, making sure he noted each question, and getting people’s names, and contact information, and assuring that they had hers.

She told us that young Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was trying to decentralize the office. She said that no-one entered his chamber, only to be told, “This is the way we’re going to do it.” Rather, she said, he was grooming people like her to be assistant PMs or perhaps the next Prime Minister. She was encouraged to approach him with a proposed plan of action. I gave her a line that a company President once gave me, “Don’t come to me with a problem. Come to me with a solution.” She said that she liked the sentiment, would use it herself, and probably pass it on the Prime Minister.

Before she began her little speech at 10:30 AM, she told us that an aunt had died, and she would have to leave by 11:30 – 11:40 at the latest – to pay her respects. At 12:10, she was still going back around the tables, shaking hands and currying favor like a typical politician. She had a dead body to deal with, but she was still glad-handing her way out of this room full of intelligent, knowledgeable, influential voters.

Niagara bridge

The problem with wanting to do things differently, is that there are some jobs that just have to be done ‘that way’. If you promise people that you will walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls, it is quicker, easier and safer to get in a car, and drive across the bridge. You have to change people’s expectations.

The makeup of Trudeau’s cabinet is 50% female, a figure which he is proud of. I was amazed that so many women would be fool enough to want to play, what is still, essentially, an Old (White) Boys game. I can only hope that the inclusion of women and minorities in Government can make Canada a kinder, gentler, fairer place to live, and we can send all our fence-builders down to the States, to work for Trump, but I cynically wait for proof. 😳

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Shortly after I composed this, she put her shapely foot in her mouth. A member of the Opposition ambushed her as she left the Chamber, and demanded to know what she and her Government were doing about the spate of opioid deaths. His riding had had 38 such fatalities in the last year.

Apparently without thinking, she said, “Oh, that’s not bad.” Now, any deaths are to be mourned or prevented. What she meant was that, the average per riding is between 60 and 70. The Waterloo Region riding had 73 in that same period, but she had to backpedal quickly, as the political-points game was played.

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Canada also has a too big to fail transportation company which does considerable sales overseas. Canada has laws against bribes and kickbacks, but this company operates in places where that’s the expected way to do business.

Our handsome young, trust-fund Prime Minister’s female Attorney General caught wind of these nefarious dealings, and started an investigation. He, and several of his senior staff, urged her to quietly sweep it under the rug, but she persisted. The PM had her removed from her post, and slapped with a non-disclosure writ, but it reached the media,

Rats immediately began deserting the sinking ship. Another woman resigned her post as Finance Minister in a fit of ethics, further damaging the PM’s vaunted 50% female Cabinet makeup. The PM’s senior secretary, supposedly the brains behind the throne, has also resigned. It appears that he, like the women, wants to be out of the range of shrapnel, when this thing explodes.

It seems that, the more they promise to do new things, in new ways, the more we get stuck with the same old post turtles. Typical!   😯