Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ Category


Why can’t there be a big red button?

-War Doctor

           Like any good science fiction questions around the essence of us (humanity) should be brought forward. This is at the bedrock of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary movie (watch trailer here), Day of the Doctor.  It is the deepest plunging into the hardest thing to  comprehend for any person… ourselves.

As the regeneration who chose themselves undeserving of the name, but asks the question as in the clips above, the Warrior Doctor, “I am looking for the Doctor.” The one who is called to heal, to help to aid…or as Clara will note the thrum of the Tardis is a sound of hope. But this is about that corner of the mind of the Doctor, no, the heart where hope has gone out.

For it was in the 9th regeneration that the fabled time war happened. When Daleks and Time Lords went to war to end all wars. Where the rest of the universes saw the Time Lords just as evil as the Daleks who view anything outside their race as need to be exterminated, which this mini-episode Night of the Doctor expertly portrays as the Doctor must make a choice to not be apart of the war or to be apart of the solution?

The haunting begins.

Much like we make choices within our own lives at any given moment with the information available. Whether it is good, bad, horrible or indifferent. It is what is possible and probably for us at that moment. Much like moments in human history (very hard to bring 21st century morals onto situation 400 years old or 150 years old as we try to erase instead of critically teach history so the cycle can be fully broken. Just ask any abuse survivor, the story and triumph need to be spoken so that it will not be repeated, in all its darkness).

This literally becomes the story. As the device designed to end the Time War by the Doctor is AI with a conscience and brings the Doctor to begin interacting with his decision. The decision? At that moment and time in war as the Daleks are all gathered at Gallifrey—to end it all, Daleks and his people. The haunting ripples this will bring through time.

The decision driven by the motto burned into a wall by him “No More.” The war must end.

The journey forward form that choice showing the grief cycle. The short regeneration shortly after not even there. The true shock.

But the struggle between who are known as the Tenth (David Tenant) and Eleventh (Matt Smith) Doctor’s to forget this period in time. How it shapers personality. One who lives in pained regret and the other who lives to forget, to move forward.

The haunting question answered by 2.41 billion.

But with the Eleventh Doctor being 400 years out…is there another decision that can be seen?

What if that decision can be tried?

What if in your moment of darkness your future selves could stand with you and you would not have to be alone?

What if, you live in acceptance of the choice and find hope in spite of it to move forward in a better life for yourself and others?

This may seem like nothing more than a toss away sci-fi movie from the BBC. Apart of geek culture and nothing more.

Yet we live in a time of reconciliation.

A time when groups who have been oppressed and the former oppressors know that something needs to change.

But how do we get there?

Sometimes a science fiction story can show us the interior and exterior journey in a way that creates conversations that can create the space for critical discussion and active listening, that other venues cannot.

Just think of using this in a religious or political or classroom setting with the Time War as the metaphor for residential schools, Canadian Eugenic practices for those with disabilities, the destructive LGBTTQ2+ laws; the dying with dignity or abortion laws; slavery, the list can go on…

For what questions would haunt our journey where the answer 2.41 billion could just be as haunting.

But even more so.

What is the new life?

What is the regeneration that awaits each one of us?

Where does hope exist?

Do you hear the thrum of the TARDIS? Or are you blocking it out?

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Been awhile since I have put together one of these column styles, but I believe it is time to get some fresh thoughts out there within the Canadian Social Justice Context. Since January 20, 2017 when President Trump was sworn in as President of the USA, I have noticed a downturn in the Canadian justice workers’ ability to be reflective about the state of our own nation, province, city/town/village, community and self. We like to project to the Big Bad Wolf to the South and be able to say “well its Trump.”

When truly, we have many stones to repair in Castle Le Canada.

This is some musings from the reflective time of Purim (the Hebrew Bible story of Esther) which begun at conclusion of Sabbath yesterday and concludes at sundown tonight. For the story of Esther, click here.  For those readers of regularity of this site, I encourage a reflective Lectio Divina of the text to set your spirit in a-tune-ment to see the state of your world and how it reflects in the Holy Story. 3 questions could be (one for each hearing):

  1. When have I been silent? (sit with this memory)
  2. When have I been Haman in my world?
  3. When have I found a voice like Esther?

The third is where you find the resonating with the love of the Holy Mystery to take forward. Another spiritual practice would be to rewrite the story from the hardest point of view you have: King, Esther, Mortdecai, Ex-Queen, Haman? What truths are revealed for your life?

But I digress as this is not a theology lesson, but rather a time to be eclectic and percolate some thoughts in our souls as Canadians where next steps lay for our Just Society.

Aboriginal Health Care– due to treaty and the colonial-patriarchy of reserves this falls under Federal auspices, yet any Constitutional Act 1982 student (BNA Act 1867) know that this means literal limbo for our First Nations family members as the true provider of health care is provincial. So how do we truly reconcile, move forward in the new and bury to old?  Full signing on of each specific nation as a province under the Constitution Act 1982 and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with one step forward each nation dependent on population getting 4-8 seats in the House of Commons (not added extra, existing redistributed); and a set 10 block for all First Nations (+2 for Metis, +2 for Inuit) specifically in the senate, again redistribution, not adding.

This then can allow for both the HoC and Senate to be re-worked Constitutionally and perhaps a social charter can be designed that includes housing, health care, education, right of choice in life, death and income guarantees for every Canadian.

Which also flows into the next as #TRC has happened for our First Nations family, yet we have continued to ostracize/demonize another population whose story needs to be told- The Metis (Half-breeds).

The children of colonialism and the fur trade. The Roman Catholic Church forged a cultural community within those of mixed from Aboriginal-French. Which gave our nation Louis Riel and Garbiel Dumont, brought Manitoba into Confederation, first human rights writing in Canada, and a battle for equality. One that as a nation we never saw for this group until the 1930’s when they were finally recognized as human beings. The story of the Half-breeds on the book is much more destructive, as the British (Scottish-Irish) did not have collectivist good, and belief in conquering through inter-marriage but rather through absorbing. Which created the choice the child was either Aboriginal or white, so one culture lost completely. That is just what our history books will tell us, what is the story on the ground? That which has been silenced? We already know of the land tracts and speculators swindling them out of the land for a low price. But what other harm/trauma lies underneath that needs to be told? Held as truth? And then as a true community choosing to move forward as one?

This is why the TRC records with First Nations need to be kept in the national archive, need to be published and shared far and wide, so the story is known. It is part of us. But also part of the story is the choice to move forward as one and write a new story. This is the reconciliation piece of Truth and Reconciliation.

But this also brings down to the microcosm.

Where I have been struggling with my own Truth and Reconciliation within the United Church of Canada.The family pilgrimage for sacred community as has been written about, has brought us into a Northeast congregation of the UCC, where yes our son who is differently abled has found embrace. He is quite empathetic and a good reader of a person’s true energy, so when he goes on his own volition to join other kids you know the authenticity well.

But aiding him to walk as the weather change is making his muscles sore into the Wonderkids, and seeing the mish mash of kids: other cultures, typically and differently abled just together being kids it hit in my heart.

For it was seeing lived out today in church,  what almost 10 years ago got me fired from the United Church Congregation that I surrendered any hope of ordination to choose inclusion.

Just one of those aha moments, that when you start to unpack the day, and realizing the connections of everything…people…nature…energy…the Holy Mystery permeates all, and all is interconnected within it.

So as with the differently abled community coming into full inclusion in the microcosm, I look to the TRC at the more macro level for inclusion at the national level… and to the two national party’s choosing leaders-Conservative and NDP I ask members to look to the core of the beautiful mosaic Canada is, and to vote your conscience for a leader, and for policy that shapes your party in that unity within our diversity to move forward from troubled waters of the past both recent and historic.

Make the choice as Esther did, to find our voice, step out of the silence, and into the resounding thunder of justice, equality and belonging that resonates from the centre that is love. Out of this love, live our lives for a true difference, for a truly better world.

We are thankful for these and all the good things of life. We recognize that they are a part of our common heritage and come to us through the efforts of our brothers and sisters the world over. What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world’s work and the world’s struggles.

An end note aside: To Bernie Van De Walle (my theology professor at Canadian Theological Seminary)-I finally fully get your comment about reading my theolgoy through the lens of Woodsworth.


It is funny as both the former Official Opposition, NDP, try to secure candidates for leadership, and the current Official Opposition, Conservative Party of Canada have a robustness of anglophones running to lead a bi-lingual mosaic of a nation…both decry the Liberals who are currently forming the government.

Yet…

How did Trudeau and his team win the government?

It was by changing the tone of rhetoric. Finally moving away from mudraking and playground bully sounds– to positivism. They chose a term that caught on as most Canadians, regardless of actual socio-economics latched onto as their truth “Middle Class”. It was the sound of something new, and yes there has been movement on some things, back tracking on others as what happens when new Governments begin within their first term, and their first quarter.

But this is not about whether or not I agree with Trudeau’s leadership. It is about what is missing from the public discourse in my country. We have given up expecting vision and excellence in leadership. If you have time, find the archives to listen to past leaders federal and provincial like Tommy Douglas, J.S. Woodshworth, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, Robert Stanford, John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson, William Aberhart to name but a few. Leaders that did not need soundbites. They had conviction, dreams and visions that were cast, worked on and fulfilled that created the Canada that became a benchmark for the world at large.

Then as a populace we began to accept less from our prospective leaders. And they met where we set the bar.

We have finally pushed it to a level of civility, let’s push it higher. Let’s expect our leaders to leave the sandbox and enter the podium of vision casters once more. CPC/NDP/Greens and the other 13ish available parties federally, are you listening?

Don’t choose the blusteriest person or settle– choose the one that sees the greatness that is the mosaic of Canada, the land of the Just Society, a home for all. Find the one that speaks from the heart, with conviction, and vision that excites to build forward from the foundation laid.

Your party in waiting wants to form the next government, it has to offer those steps beyond just positive politics…. so show us your vision. Show us your heart. Show us your conviction.

For the parties. Know who you are as a gathered community, and find the leader that resonates that outwards brightly, not the other way around.

So politically it is not what is your tweet or sound bite…but truly—

What is your heart for your nation?


I will admit I was part of the Marchin’ Marvel Army as a kid, with a lot of DC thrown in for fun, yet as I aged what I found wonder in with Marvel became event and funky cover driven dreck (this was about the time sealed with Zero Hour, and James’ Robinson’s Starman at DC, matched with amazing stories of Green Arrow, Flash and a returned Superman, but I digress).

I have dabbled back in to Marvel with Disassembled,  Superior Spider-Man and Daredevil, but when something good is happening the next “re-start” event hits and yeah it grows tiresome to need to buy 20 kajillion titles to know what is happening with your character. But thanks to the joy of the Calgary Public Library discovered the Hawkeye series via collected editions. What Fracton and company were doing with Hawkeye (s) was great, getting a real street level of the people hero.

Fast forward a bit an in the comic shop picking up Hellblazer #5 (yeah Suicide Squad ya lost me with this early going cross over with Justice League that stretched an already tight budget). And my eyes fall on a title with Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye on the cover, called Occupy Avengers. Okay it sounds like a marketing gimmick tying to the occupy movement of a few years back where the 99% called out the 1%, and besides it was a #2, and in Canada, Marvel titles are like $2 more than DC. Say to myself silently, if they have #1 I will splurge and pick up…dang universe there was #1, so follow through.

Well Walker and Pacheco you created joy I haven’t really had since Starman, and then discovering O’Neill’s Hard Travelling Heroes stories of Green Lantern and Green Arrow. The partnership of Barton and (Red) Wolf—renamed simply Wolf by Barton with the throw away line that speaks volumes of a needed change in the world–Red sounds too racist for this aboriginal hero. To each issue having a different character’s P.O.V., the everyman becoming part of the team…and please–Hydro-Man—woot woot.

But I digress, I may need to check the library for the Civil War II collection to truly read the catalyst for this wandering, where Barton reports he followed through on his friend Banner’s wishes and killed him. Thus making him a pariah with Super Heroes, and a hero to every person who had ever been caught in the Green Goliath’s rampage.

The fact that the first two issue story arc centered on clean water on Rez land speaks volumes not just to an American audience, but to this Canadian reader knowing what our Northern Reserves are struggling with our Federal government over right now.

So yes, keep it up, keep it relevant, so far this is worth the extra money per month and will be my 1 of 2 titles I have budgetted myself to afford. So please no wonky cross-overs or events to scuttle the story that is emerging on the bi-ways and side roads of Marvel’s America.


This week politico’s acted shocked that MLA Sandra Jansen left the PC Party of Alberta after documented harassment and bullying at the hands of the social conservative sect within the leadership race. Now why would it come as a shock? The party leadership did not contact, or step up right away to correct or expel the aggressors, but like many institutions just left the victim to twist in the wind.

The fact she crossed the floor should not come as a shock. It is allowed in our parliamentary system, the ethics of it can be argued until all sides are blue in the face. Yes technically the voter voted for Jansen under one party colour, but this is the gift of the parliamentary system, there are three choices to be taken into account when you cast the ballot: the local candidate; the party platform and then the party leader. Yet the system is designed that it comes down to the choice of the local candidate. In our province’s history this was never more truly highlighted than with the United Farmers Governments, that did not have party leaders. Each local candidate was elected, then those elected chose who would be premier (actually much how the constitution lays out this functionality not how the practice has emerged).

So is it shocking one who has no defense, no support, being abused has chosen to leave? No. Is it surprising that in my province, there are those who are victim blaming? Sadly no, I wish that answer could be different. We are working to create a new culture.

The shock could be that she left a big tent party, to go to an on paper socialist party, yet she was a Red Tory. So by crossing the floor, she has brought her constituents voice into the government caucus which is a win.

Yet it leaves us pondering the other two big ten party’s on Alberta’s political map, that may have tried and failed to woo, or never wooed. But the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberals were unable to secure her.

Of those two, this weekend’s Alberta Party Conference #CentreTogether is showing the best practice for uniting Albertans of all political stripes under a best practice banner driven by bringing all voices to the table. Hopefully it works, because what the PC Leadership race, the Wildrose responses on twitter by MLA’s such as Fildebrandt, and even the myopic ideology within the current government (New taxes not necessarily bad, carbon tax where 90% of Albertans will need to receive a subsidy to pay or exemption is simply bad policy) …something new needs to emerge.

This floor crossing opens up the conversation from zero based budgeting, pragmatic management at the political level, to truly what we need from our leaders: Vision casting.

What is the Alberta that will emerge through all this? What vision will these parties cast heading into an election in 3 years? Will we still be bickering over this tax or that tax? Will we be bickering about where to cut?

OR will a citizens voice come forward that speaks of equality, justice, support, and a provincial home that allows all to thrive through their given aspirations and talents? A home that is affordable for all?

Can this be the voice that emerges from #CentreTogether?

Are we going to continue to allow ideologies to separate us from our Albertan and Canadian narrative of different pieces of the puzzle together to create the full picture of our just society?

Can this be the lesson learned from one MLA willing to take a stand against old boy backroom B.S. and show where the bridges exist instead of the walls?

Only time will tell…but as an Albertan, I have hope.


Okay up first is a disclaimer: I am over joyed with the passing of the dying with dignity law of the current Canadian Government. I do believe all living things should have the right to transition into the next life with dignity. But even though I am happy we have reached this ethical milestone, we shalt not plateau.

This brings up the next question, the  idea of an advance directive that the government shied away from, but the Supreme  Court of Canada laid out was necessary.

See, for the physiological entrapping diseases (Multiple Sclerosis; Parkinsons and the ilk) it is apparent that the brain is trapped within a body that does not function anymore and at some point when of sound mind the individual now has a route to maintaining their life with dignity.

The challenge is for the neurological diseases that do not fit the parameters of the law: Alzheimer’s; Dementia; and their kind.

First two statements as an ethicist and holistic psychologist:

1) I am not going to entertain the fallacy of the slippery slope argument around this.

2) There shalt be no reference to “holocaust” or “Nazi” or Murderer whether you support or not the position.

Read, process, sit with and craft a belief in yourself for what you believe around it and more importantly why you believe it. For myself, this understanding has come from the lived journey of chaplain, caregiver and family member.

I have walked with those in long-term/lock down care who have had these diseases slowly eating away their memories.

Some would say that is not a bad thing and how can we say they are not enjoying life. Simple, what we know is the person in the beginning is aware of the loss, and the confusion. We do not know as the journey progresses if the awareness stays, or not, or if shame drives the silence, but what is experienced:

  1. I have walked into lock down with adults in their 50-90’s crying and feeling that their families have abandoned them, or they have been kidnapped because they have regressed into their childhood.
  2. I have been in shelter’s with those who have been lost within the system or under a bridge or rough camp because they no longer know who they are, but paranoia has gripped them in the piece of their history they are living in and will not accept help.
  3. I have witnessed the self harm to break out as they try to compute why they are alone.
  4. I have slowly watched as a grandparent has lost the idea that their grandchildren exist and slowly enter into the reality that their children begin to fade.
  5. The conversations when you are not aware of which decade you are in with them, or which relative they believe you are.
  6. The most peaceful human being switching into a homicidal rage addict.
  7. The neurological regression that can cause physiological impediments as their muscle memories regress to younger years—even toddler years, then think of a senior falling like a toddler would learning to walk, or not knowing their own physical limitations and refusing to use the assist technology of cane, wheel chair or walker. Sadly with this regression, or a blessing the fall can lead to transition…and end to the psychological/emotional pain they are walking through.

So while we debate, and enter into the hard questions of life. Especially a life that can be unnaturally extended due to medical science keeping the physical life alive.

What happens when the very identity of you ceases to be? We are not independent entities whose self is crafted in a vacuum.

We are interdependent, communal beings with holistic life histories that are shared with others…so when you no longer have that connection/memory with the other are you still you?

That is, when the neurological illness has destroyed the identity, much like when the physical has left you only on life support; are you still a person? Are you still you?

Do you deserve the write to pre-state at what point you are no longer a you?

Dying with Dignity Canada Voice Your Choice click here.

I do not look for all to share my view, this has come through personal tears, pain and loss even before the medically signed off transition…in my mind the soul transitioned long ago within my family and friends that walked this path.

But the question is—what is your choice? Where will your voice be heard?


It is actually quite funny that I would write a post on Preston Manning’s old Reform Party. But before the shenanigans that began with the merger, there was a lot of positive things within the party. It grew out of discontent in provinces, was member driven from the grass roots, knew that the Senate of Canada needed to be redone to be useful (Or abolished if you are a CCF’er)…

Then it began to veer of track, the first chink was when the MP’s backtracked on a party policy and opted into the platinum MP pension plan hand shake. Then the Stockwell Day days of the Canadian Alliance. The ascent of Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay’s platform of no merger/backroom coffee merger that did lead to the Conservative Party and a 10 years in power that did not help the masses within Canada, but did help corporate Canada and the wealthy…I mean just look as the MP for Calgary Forestlawn Deepak Obhrai pointed out recently that it is a party moving away from grassroots and chasing the wealthy.

In a time where the governing Liberals are talking abolishing membership fees, the Cons are increasing from $15 to $25, and you need a credit card to buy it to boot. They are out pricing themselves from the multi-cultural communities, and the new leadership race fee is locking out all but the Upper Class from running (at $100K)…yes Obhrai is right the party is becoming for rich white folks.

Trust me, it is a shocking day when I agree with a Conservative, but for once I am happy this guy is my MP for he is breaking party line and speaking up for his members.