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Guest Column: Cynical Canadians: Shame on you!

Guest Column Rant

By Curmudgy Mapleblight:

Some might suggest that it is cynical behaviour by Canada’s Conservative federal government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue parliament in the middle of the Christmas/New Years holiday week, on the eve of New Years eve, when the hearts and minds of the Canadian electorate were presumably taking a break…

Taking a break from:

  • heartbreak of first Christmases without friends and relatives lost in a war in Afghanistan that few can make sense of
  • the suffering of escalating hardship after a more than year long recession
  • the consternation, puzzlement and international embarrassment of the Canadian diplomat James Colvin’s recent Parliamentary Committee testimony over the handling of Afghan detainees
  • the deepening international embarrassment of Canada’s grotesquely obvious foot-dragging and role in the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit
  • the record numbers of starving Canadian children
  • the record numbers of northern First Peoples without access to clean drinking water and safe living conditions
  • the record number of unresolved Native land claims
  • the record low numbers of surviving family farmers
  • growing fear and escalating discomfort stemming from official reactions to that fear for the flying public
  • the struggle of families in Canada’s hinterlands struggling with the invasion of their private properties by mining companies
  • the lingering uncertainty of impending global pandemics
  • and so many other petty issues

But it would be irresponsible—undemocratic—to accuse the government of taking such cynical actions, or for that matter the opposition who has said relatively little in the wake of this latest prorogation—the second in a year—when all these well paid public servants are away from their offices, support staff and other resources they might use to defend themselves, which taxpayers pay for.

Since that damn commie outfit, the CBC began reporting on the new Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament ) late yesterday the groups numbers have increased by 25%, as updated in the past couple of hours.

This is ridiculous! You so-called “engaged Canadians” and especially those belonging to that most infernal of special interest groups—FAMILIES—who claim you care about our country, and yet who yourselves so cynically would think so badly of our government, should feel ashamed of yourselves.

You should ignore silly, childish distractions like Facebook and those few remaining ways that citizens have left of engaging in the political process, and get back to your day jobs (and second night, night jobs and off-farm jobs) so you can keep those tax dollars rolling in and keep those big stone buildings in Ottawa heated, and lights on—even if nobody’s home—so the pipes don’t freeze. That way, when the government finally is ready to come back to work, they don’t have to waste more time and our money debating a budget full of emergency building repair bills.

And one more thing: don’t waste your time trying to contact your MP to tell them to get back to work; they’re on vacation for the next Quarter, and won’t be picking up their messages until late March.

Post Script: And for that matter, that damn CBC shouldn’t be allowed to report on such matters of public interest. When the government finally does get back to work, if they ever survive the confidence vote on their budget, they should finish what they started with that despicable band of pinko intellectuals: eliminate their funding altogether: muzzle’em and then scrap’em!!



The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only. Mixed Farmin’ makes no claim to the opinions expressed by our guest columnist. Mixed Farmin’, its affiliates and content licensors assume no liability for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Royal Dot Connecting On This Epoch’s Most Inconvenient Truth

With the recent visit by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to our little colony, there was much chin-wagging on the monarchy debate in the media which left me, as it does usually, sitting on the fence.

Clearly I have misgivings concerning the monarchy’s historically imperial propensities and Great Britain’s unfortunately enduring legacies of colonialism, not only here, but throughout the global shards of that Empire. The monarchy does seem much of the time a barely living anachronism, and undoubtedly must feel a most expensive burden to the British taxpayer, a case well crafted in Canadian documentarian John Curtin’s new film, After Elizabeth II.

However, one point for the monarchy that others have made is the value of having at a country’s disposal a head of state who is relatively immune to the toxic exigencies of party politics within 4-5 year election cycles. An example of such big picture leadership can be seen precisely in The Richard Dimbleby Lecture, titled “Facing the Future” as delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales on July 7th earlier this year at the St James’s Palace State Apartments in London. I was unaware of this speech until I first heard it last night on CBC’s Ideas. It is inconceivable that it might have been written let alone delivered with such authority and passion by even the most enlightened world leader such as US President Barack Obama—tethered as he is to the art of compromise in the trenches of a daily politics dominated by transnational business—let alone by our own, more nakedly polemic and narrowly focused Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Indeed, such a lecture could only ever be written by someone who resides above such relatively small and short-sighted concerns, while at the same time possessing the economic and social capital that such global leadership would imbue, and with the time: sixty years and counting for this British monarch in waiting.

Incidentally, this speech can be found on the Royal Channel or on HRH’s own site both as video and in transcript. As an participant-observer in media I find it fascinating to assess my own reaction to HRH’s speech as I consume it in its different forms. Even the Prince who partakes in the fun about his odd appearance might not therefore be surprised that his speech has, to me at least, greater weight when heard or read rather than viewed in a visual medium; his physical presentation distracts significantly from his message.

But what a message! He manages to clearly and concisely spell out the connections among some of the most significant facts and difficult ideas of the day, all in well less than an hour. And he delivers this synthesis in voice and text as one of the finest examples of the Queen’s English I’ve heard in some time, which is frankly some small measure of relief given Charles’ apparent destiny to replace her as language guardian.

There is one key assumption of the Prince’s that I must take exception to. He says:

“So, I wonder, is it the case that the problem lies first and foremost not in what we do but in a fracture within us that leads to a limited view of what and where we are in the natural order – and that, therefore, we need urgently to look deeply into ourselves and at the way we perceive the world and our relationship with it? If only because, surely, we all want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren something other than the nightmare that for so many of us now looms on the horizon. But that threat will not go away just because we deny it. We are standing at a moment of substantial transition where we face the dual challenges of a world view and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis – including that of climate change – which threatens to engulf us all.”

I have met far too many individuals—often rich and powerful—expressly concerned with their own short-term greed to assume “surely, we all want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren something other than the nightmare…”. I would urge HRH to investigate this assumption and its implications.

I do agree however with  his key implications that one of the greatest threats may been our own complacency. In July 2009, when he delivered this speech, Prince Charles noted that he believed that we only had 96 months left before we passed a point of no return, a tipping point beyond which resuscitation of the environment was still possible before the accelerating momentum of global climate change spins the world into unimaginable disaster. That means we have only 92 months left.


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Eating Local in Ontario: An effective message

Not that I’m ever a great fan of food corporations, but kudos to Hellmanns for sponsoring this very effective video:


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Official Red Barn Theatre Blog Launched

To those who have contacted me through this blog concerning the events of the past few days,  thank you all for your interest, notes, comments and remembrances.

The Official Red Barn Theatre Blog went up late last night at In the coming days photos, video, audio interviews and stories will be added. As well the Official Red Barn Theatre Blog  will be the nerve centre for ongoing updates and any further news concerning plans for a rebuilding collection fund, rebuilding and plans for the 60th Diamond Jubilee season of the Red Barn Theatre for summer 2009.

The rest of the Sibbald family and I as well, I’m sure, as other local Red Barn supporters and volunteers would greatly appreciate if you could also send/re-send and post or re-post your comments and stories to the Official Blog. In particular, we are looking for your personal stories and remembrances, the livelier, the better.

Please note that your voices are extremely important to hear: the more support we can get, the easier it may make it to access public and private funding in the future to enable the possibility that the old girl may rise from the ashes.



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Following the Money in The 905

Recently the independent, non-partisan community organization Vote Toronto published a study by York University professor, Robert MacDermid, “Funding City Politics”, citing the very strong connection between elected politicians and the development industry: nearly 70% of political campaign contributions to the winning politicians come from development related corporations, their friends and families.

And what if you’re a candidate who wants to slow down development and make it more ecologically sustainable?

“You’ve got a tough row to hoe:, says MacDermid.

More from CBC Ontario Today

©CBC, 2009

Vote Toronto offers a comprehensive set of recommended Electoral Reforms


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Dewatering for The Big Pipe

Stouffville, Ontario. Dewatering
Approximately 43°56’57.22″N   79°15’7.87″W, facing East, circa October 2, 2005

From my series: Elegy for a Stolen Land

As part of the extension of York Region’s $350 million mega-project known as the “Big Pipe”,  a large sewer trunk passes through land along the 9th Line in front of this 19th century farm house. The land is dewatered so that workers can get deep into the ground, at or below the water table, to install the pipe.

This trunk of the pipe, to accommodate growth in Stouffville’s secondary plan, is to move sewage to the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant near Lake Ontario. Rates of dewatering range from 5,000 – 30,000 litres per minute, and the project stretches well up into the Oak Ridge’s Moraine, the natural aquatic battery for all lands southward to Lake Ontario.

On January 3, 2004 The Toronto Star’s Leslie Ferenc reported in an article entitled Close -up: The Big Pipe, that opponents, from the province’s environment commissioner right on down to farmers and individual farm owners, argue—and officials readily admit—that dewatering process has proven to empty aquifers, parch resident’s wells, bleed streams and fields dry, destroy fish and wildlife habitats, and draw effluent away from failing septic tanks into the wider water table. Proponents argue that they will be able to set things right later by implementing mitigating measures.

Such mitigating measures are planned on the assumption that such measures may yet be invented and successfully implemented.

This and other of The Star’s stories about the Big Pipe are no longer freely available on the internet, but you can find a copy of this one here. Environmental Defence and Lake Ontario WaterKeeper have archived some of that coverage. Otherwise they can be sourced through The Star’s paid archive service.

… Comin up next, “Following the money…”


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Sensational Singles



Markham, Ontario. Real Estate Billboards.
Approx.  43°54’7.53″N  79°14’27.90″W, Facing south, circa May 5, 2005

From my series: Elegy for a Stolen Land

Before Europeans arrived, these lands were rich in freshwater and wildlife, and home to successive waves of first peoples who saw themselves and the land as one.

Later, due to a combination of soil quality, water availability and growing season—determined by latitude and proximity to the moderating influence of Lake Ontario—settlers turned these lands into productive class 1 farmland that would feed the city it surrounded for more than a century.

On the former pioneer family farm of John Raymer, real estate billboards promote the sale of roughly 2,500 homes on the lands of such former pioneer farmer neighbours as James and Adam Clendenen, and John Reesor. According to official documents filed in 2005: “the GTA/905 Regions of York, Halton, Peel and Durham have been and will continue to be the fastest growing regions in Ontario, collectively growing at twice the provincial rate of growth by adding more than 90,000 new residents each year.”

In a time of increasing global economic uncertainty and wildly unstable fuel prices, those and the other new residents of the past half century inhabit a new land crop of bricks and mortar, and are meanwhile ever more dependent on food imports from the USA, Latin America and Asia.


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Hoder Update as 2009/02/05… Worrisome: not much to report

  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Despite Iran’s official statement over a month ago that they are holding, Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan, there has still been no official comment from Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This raises questions about the sincerity of the Ministry’s earlier rationale that the lack of such an official statement from Iran was Canada’s reason for not commenting.
  • The Canadian Press has not yet investigated this international story about the disappearance of a Canadian citizen, or at least if they have, they have not yet found it newsworthy enough to report on.
  • The Guardian (UK) has published seven stories concerning Hossein Derakhshan’s disappearance and arrest. Derakhshan is a Guardian contributor.
  • January 15/09: PEN International has expressed their alarm
  • December 30, 2008 Reuters reported that Iran has admitted to holding Hoder: “”His case is in a preliminary investigative stage at a revolutionary court and he is currently in incarceration in a jail in Tehran,” judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference when asked about Derakhshan’s case.”
  • December 22/0,, the online magazine, has published a well-researched plea by former Miss World Canada, who despite having been a victim of written attacks by Hoder, is calling for his release chapter and verse under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHD state that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” and “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
  • December 15,/08 Reuters reported Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has called for the liberation of Hoder: All I can say is that I very much hope that he will be released soon, because prison is not the place for journalists and for bloggers 
  • There is a large and growing Facebook group here: Free Hossein Derakhshan but even there, there has been new news since December
  • There is dedicated Free Hoder blog here
  • Globe & Mail December 8: Hoder Really arrested in Iran
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), November 25, 2008, expresses concern
  • Amnesty International Report: Blogger Hossein Derakhshan was arrested at his family home in Tehran on 1 November 2008. Denied access to his family and to legal representation, no one knows where Hossein Derakhshan is held…
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