News Archives - Peter Sibbald's Blog About Photography and Filmmaking

Understanding “Idle No More”… Not Just an “Indian Thing”

While many are writing, reporting, broadcasting and blogging on this already the past few days, this may be the my first of many related posts on my blog about this new movement across Canada. There is something about it that has the same raw authenticity that the Occupy movement did a little over a year ago. The singular difference, I sense, is that the sentiment and knowledge that fuels it has been hundreds of years in the amassing and the pent-up anger driving it—rightly in my opinion—is generations old, residing in the hearts of four or five generations of people currently extant.

On the surface at least Idle No More is the creation of four young women, 3 Native and one non-Native, in response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s, ham-fisted Omnibus Bill C-45—with (among many travesties) its rights grab of First People’ land rights and annihilation of protections to Canada’s precious clean water. But beyond that, The PM’s apparently blithe and nakedly insulting unconcern about Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, now in it’s 10th day (tbc), merely a stone’s throw from the PMO has jabbed already raw nerves from sea to sea to shining sea.

 Idle No More’s official web site is the go-to place on matters and information related to the movement. Please beware: immitators and other’s attempting to forward discreditable agendas are already springing up.

It’s a lot to wade through though so as I begin to get up-to-date on what the movement is myself, I thought I would focus what I’m learning. Rather than attempting to interpret, here is the beginning of a compendium of what the people themselves are saying.

To begin with, and perhaps of greatest importance to the greatest number, in the words of University of Winnipeg Director of Indigenous Inclusion Wab Kinew in the Huffington Posta couple of days ago: Idle No More is “more than just an “Indian Thing””.

And even if here and there the odd Canadian might be so calous and colonially imperial in his or her way of thinking as not to give a damn about social justice, First Nations or First Nations land rights, perhaps they’ll sit up and take notice of the new threats to their treasured cottage properties and country retreats and their own now threatened rights.

For these and other reasons, I think Idle No More may grow wider and endure to become, ironically, one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s enduring legacies. But wait, there is still time for him to do something about fixing this.

Meanwhile, here is lawyer and Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam, who in 12 minutes gives us a pretty clear idea of what is at stake:

[youtube][/youtube] ©IdleNoMoreAlberta


Full Story »

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.


Full Story »

Toronto Star’s Lucas Oleniuk and Randy Risling: State of our art

Here’s a really fine piece that is firing on all four cylinders: story, technique, presentation, relevance:–william-and-the-windmill


Full Story »

CBC Ontario Today Interview with Hugh Sibbald

CBC Ontario Today Interview with Hugh Sibbald

with Rita Celli April 23, 2009 ©CBC, 2009


Full Story »

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.



Full Story » Comments (2)

The Red Barn Theatre Fire of April 18, 2009

[flashvideo file= /]

I up loaded this video to CBC Newsworld where it has been running for much of the day.


Full Story » Comments (2)

Final Act at The Red Barn

Jackson's Point, Ontario Canada. Firefighters from the Georgina Fire Department battle to keep the fire at The Red Barn Theatre from spreading to the surrounding brush and nearby senior's residence. In the end all that survives the fire is the barn's signature silo. ©Peter Sibbald, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Last night The Red Barn Theatre gave it’s final performance. To an audience of fewer than one hundred, mostly comprised of family, Briars Resort employees, friends, neighbours, Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi and over 30 fire fighters of the Georgina Fire Department, the Red Barn —my family’s barn— in its final and arguably most spectacular performance, burned to the ground.

Theatre historian David Gardner is researching the history of the Red Barn and a small synopsis of his research into The Barn’s illustrious history can be found on the Red Barn Theatre web site at . Originally erected in the early 1800s and rebuilt by my Great-Great Uncle Frank Sibbald in the 1870s to be the family barn attached to The Briars, then being run as a farm, The Barn—as it has simply come to be known—has played stage to nearly everyone who was anyone in the Canadian theatre and music scene for 59 years.  This was to have been its 60th season. Created as a theatre by Toronto-born actor Alfred Mulock in the spring of 1949, and leased from my grandfather Jack Sibbald, then Reeve of Georgina for $1.00, The Red Barn was one of the first professional summer theatres in Canada, predating even the Stratford and Shaw festivals.

Like so many Canadian cultural institutions, The Barn has always operated very close to, or below the line. From Brian Doherty in 1950, who would go on to found The Shaw Festival, Vern Chapman who would become the President of Canadian Actor’s Equity through Bill Glassco who would found Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, The Barn has run through a tumultuous history of financial struggle from the first season onward. Management was finally somewhat stabilized when it was transferred to the not-for-profit Lake Simcoe Arts Foundation, founded by my father John Sibbald in 1973. Under their auspices, and a series of professional theatre managers and artistic directors, The Barn has been the labour of love for a small army of volunteers and a grateful recipient of Town of Georgina and provincial arts funding. Throughout the theatre’s history and for all but a few years in the early 1960s, the Red Barn Theatre and surrounding 7½ -acre property has been owned and its use donated by Briars Estates Limited of the Sibbald family.

From 1986 to 2007, The Barn played home to the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf tournament gala performances when Canada’s household names gave generously of their talents to help Peter Gzowski realize his intention to “raise a few bucks” for literacy, fund-raising for Frontier College. Celebrities have included Peter Mansbridge, Loreena McKennitt, Valdy, Natalie McMaster, The Barenaked Ladies, Laura Smith, Ashley MacIsaac, Cynthia Dale, Murray McLauchlan, Pamela Wallin, John McDermott, Susan Aglukark, Ron Maclean, Tom Jackson, and Shelagh Rogers along with Poets Laureates Tim Findlay, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Dennis Lee and Sheree Fitch, to name but a very small few.

If the barn was lost, the Georgina Fire Department nonetheless successfully managed to contain the blaze, keeping it from spreading to the neighbouring field, woodlands and senior’s complex. York Regional Police have secured the site, and the Ontario Fire Marshall is on the scene and has begun his investigation. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

As neighbours and volunteers wept in the waning glow of the fire at the periphery of the property, murmurs of renewed fund-raising efforts, rebuilding and “the show must go on” could be heard in the semi-darkness. Plans for the upcoming season remain undetermined.


Other coverage:


Full Story » Comments (13)

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


Full Story »