Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lesbians v. the Knights of Columbus

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption Archdiocese of Vancouver

From CTV News we learn that:
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled in favour of two lesbian women who claim they were discriminated against by a Catholic men's organization when they booked a hall for their wedding reception in the fall of 2003.

Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith allege the Knights of Columbus council in Port Coquitlam cancelled their contract when they found out it was for a same-sex couple, after they had already paid their deposit and sent out their wedding invitations.

The judgment says that the Knights of Columbus council "failed in their duty to accommodate the plaintiffs when they refused the rental of the hall to them," said their lawyer barbara findlay (who requests that her name is spelled in lowercase letters).

"While they may have been able to refuse based on their religious beliefs, they took no steps to respect the dignity of my clients," findlay told CTV.ca.

The tribunal has ruled that the women are to be awarded $1,000 each, as well as a reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.

The woman who booked the hall for the couple testified that it didn't occur to her that they were marrying each other, saying she believed they could have been friends or mother and daughter, findlay said.

Elemer Lazar, head of the Knights of Columbus council in Port Coquitlam, has said in the past that he doesn't understand why a same-sex couple would want to book a Catholic facility.

But findlay says that her clients, who had difficulty finding a hall to hold their reception, did not know the Knights of Columbus was a Catholic organization. "Actually, my clients had no idea who the Knights of Columbus were. They had never heard of them and were completely shocked that this erstwhile bingo hall was turning them down," she said.
I wrote about this affair back on January 26, 2005, in a piece called Lesbians Launch Attack on Knights of Columbus.
I know lawyers have the capacity to look you in the eye and tell the most extraordinary tales, the foundation of which is not readily comprehensible to the non-legal brain, but this is a good one. We are supposed to believe Barbara Findlay's assertion that her clients didn't know the Knights of Columbus was an organization of Catholic men dedicated to living their lives in adherence with the teachings of the Catholic faith? Sorry, this is simply not credible, Ms Findlay.

Why even make such a statement? Now that the happy couple does know of the knights' religious convictions, they are proceeding to trample them under in their pursuit of their newly-minted lesbian marriage rights. Is the statement, then, only a ploy to portray your clients as the victims in this tawdry attack dog scenario? One is compelled to wonder.

As for Grand Knight Elemer Lazar, who doesn't understand why a same-sex couple would want to book a Catholic facility, I extend my sincere sympathies. You are evidently not sensitive to the politics of the gay rights agenda. Rest assured that by the end of this affair you and your fellow knights will be. Sensitivity to "rights" is not extended in this liberal society to those who base actions on deeply held religious convictions. Accommodation on that basis is now made grudgingly, if at all.

At the risk of being accused of engaging in the un-Catholic practice of divination, let me make the following prediction. Your KofC council will be ground into hamburger by the human rights commission, the gay rights lobby and most of the mass media. Prepare to repel boarders! When things get nasty, as they most surely will, remember the psalms.

"I shall not fear the dark of night, nor the arrows that fly by day."

The rest of us? Remember this story as you consider the Liberal government's spin that religious groups will not be affected by same-sex marriage. The Liberal bill may protect clergy from having to marry same-sex couples, but human rights commissions operating under entirely separate provincial legislation, will almost certainly demand they hold the receptions for the newlyweds in their church halls. You can count on it.
That was then. I think it worth the time to read the actual ruling by the Tribunal. As I read it, the Knights were, in fact, not required to rent the hall to the complainants because to do so would violate their core religious beliefs. They were, however, held to have failed in their duty to accommodate the complainants once the true circumstances of the reception were revealed.

In other words, the Knights were obliged to have formally apologised for the misunderstanding (which the evidence seems to indicate they did informally and at length) to have reimbursed them for out of pocket expenses immediately (they offered to do so when asked) and to have sought another venue for the reception (something the complainants did themselves with little difficulty). I don't agree with the Tribunal, but that is not my real beef.

The complainants testified that they were totally unaware that the hall had anything to do with the Catholic Church. According to evidence given before the Tribunal the hall is situated on the same plot of land as a Catholic School and Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. They claim to have noticed the Catholic school but although they noticed the church building they were unaware it was a church. Now look again at the photo and tell me if that is credible. It ain't a pizzeria, that's for sure. Something about the architecture and the cross of the roof.

I've downloaded a map of the grounds in the previous post which I hope will be large enough for you to see. If you can't follow the link provided and you will be able to click on a larger version. Tell me that a reasonable person would miss the connection to the Catholic church, the rectory and the Catholic school.

Moreover the interior of the hall itself contains a large crucifix, a picture of the Pope and photos of two Catholic priests. Although the complainants scrutinized the facility in some detail, they claim to have not noticed these things. They were shocked to discover that the Knights of Columbus was the world's largest Catholic men?s organization. Shocked! They say they would not have attempted to rent the hall had they known of its connection to the Church. They say they respect other people's beliefs.

In a pig's ass they do.

A reasonable person might not be so easily moved to accept the complainants' surprise and shock at there being a Catholic dimension to the Knights of Columbus and their hall. A reasonable person might conclude the hiring of the province's leading homosexual rights litigator Barbara Findley was not coincidental to the cause. A reasonable person would conclude they need spectacles with thick lenses if they claim they didn?t see the large crucifix at the end of the hall, the picture of the Pope and the photos of the two priests on the wall.

It seems pretty clear what the agenda was in this case. The complainants and their lawyer were intending to make a hamburger paddy out of the Port Coquitlam Knights and take a hard swipe at the Catholic Church for its opposition to same-sex marriage. Oh yes, they were also after a nice handy legal precedent, which they fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, failed to get. Oh well. I'm sure Barbara Findlay is looking at a the possibility of a nice judicial review to rectify that setback.

The scene of the "crime"

This is a map of the plot of land on Port Coquitlam B.C. where the Knights of Columbus Hall is located in the midst of the Assumption of Our Lady Catholic Church, the church rectory and the Catholic School.

Use your head this time

Well, after 17 months of grotesque spending by the Liberals, we Canadians are into a federal election, with a long campaign ahead. Friends and colleagues will soon be crossing the street to avoid contact with me, if they aren't already. This fact only proves that they are intelligent and wise.

I expect that John the Baptist evoked much the same reaction when he went about crying in the wilderness, and John the Baptist was much better connected to the truth of things than John the Mad. So I won't take offence if I spot you ducking into doorways and pulling your children off the street. .... truly. I'd duck too, if it would do me any good. But it won't. So I will drag my opinions about, like the great limp albatrosses they are.

"Make straight the ways of the electorate!" is catchy, but hardly the stuff
of biblical lore.

The question I have for friends and family here in Upper Canada is simple. "Do you have any pride as a citizen?" I'm not asking why you think Stephen Harper is scary. You don't know the answer to that question and I'm tired of asking. Similarly, I'm not going to ask just what you think is the Conservative HIDDEN AGENDA is because I have learned from the last election that that question only elicits grunting and groaning from otherwise educated and intelligent folks. So relax.

All I want to know this time around is whether you have any pride as a citizen. Because if you say you do and then vote for the re-election of the incumbent corrupt Liberals I will not believe you. I may be an obsessive political ranter, but my brain is still attached to my body.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thoughts on engagement

John the Mad in his role as a plank (seen 3rd from the top)

A colleague of mine told me last week that he has largely given up reading and watching the news in the print and electronic media. He finds life less stressful that way, he says. He is no doubt correct. There are times when I feel the assault on the culture of life seems to be consistent, intense and continuous and continually observing events can lead one to despair.

But while a retreat into the private sphere of family and friends is an increasingly attractive option, (something I've blustered to do if the Grits get re-elected) it is not really something I can do and remain a Catholic and a citizen. And both those things are integral to whom I am as husband, father, son, brother and friend. So if it is desirable that I be a good husband and father et al, then I must tend to my faith and my country.

The Church, of course, insists that I remain engaged with the world because the laity are the planks from which the Barque of Peter is constructed. Yes folks, I admit it. I am as thick as a plank. As a plank, I can only work to ensure that I remain strong and true, for the seas are rough and getting rougher.

If too many of the spiritual planks give way, because of dry rot caused by a lack of proper and regular maintenance, the barque will take on water. In the end, we know the barque will make it to port, for the ship builder is a very good carpenter by trade, but I don't want to be responsible for my personal compartment flooding. We planks may be thick, but we have a certain pride.

So it is with being a citizen. I am of the school that says the latter is deeply rooted in the former. My faith informs and transfuses my role as citizen. Accordingly, I do not accept the spurious assertion held by so many that there is, or ought to be, a complete separation between church and state. If our private faith is not permitted to sustain us in our public life, our public life will certainly flounder. The ship of state requires good charts and a faithful crew as much as the Barque of Peter needs its thick oak planks.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

White males need not apply

Internal e-mail reveals hiring ban at Public Works
Tom Blackwell - National Post with Hat tip to Neale News
November 19, 2005

A major federal department has temporarily banned the hiring of able-bodied white men in an unusual move critics say could spark a backlash against the very disadvantaged groups it is meant to help.

Managers in the Public Works department must hire only visible minorities, women, aboriginals and the disabled, except with written permission from their superiors, David Marshall, the deputy minister, ordered in an e-mail circulated yesterday.

The policy, designed to address shortfalls in the department's employment-equity goals, will last at least until the end of next March and be reviewed then, the memo said.

"As executives and managers, our role includes ensuring that the public service is representative," Mr. Marshall said in the memo. "This involves providing direction and leadership by example, and demonstrating a firm commitment to an inclusive workplace."

Pierre Teotonio, a department spokesman, said last night the order was prompted in part by a precipitous drop in the number of employees hired from the designated groups this year. The proportion of female, disabled, aboriginal and non-white new hires fell from one in eight this March to only one in 20 by September, he said. The federal benchmark just for the hiring of visible minorities is one in five.

Still, a veteran labour lawyer said yesterday he had never heard of an edict actually barring the recruitment of large numbers of people. And even a federal civil service union that strongly supports employment equity questioned the wisdom of the policy.

"I think it's creating a possible backlash against equity groups and then it's not helping these people to get into government," said Nycole Turmel, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

There is, of course, a way to speed up the aforementioned affirmative action program and achieve grest results without discriminating against able-bodied white male applicants.

All senior personnel from the minister and staff down through the ministry civil servants to the level of the mangers should be asked if they really support the preferential hiring of "disadvantaged" groups. Tally the results. Then simply fire those who answer in the affirmative and replace them with people from your "target groups."

It's called leadership by example. You see, its easy to be "progressive" about these matters when its the other white fellow that has to carry the burden of your ideas of social progress. It takes a real white man to take it on the chin for the "progressive" cause.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Holy Cross Fathers betray pro-lifers

News Release
For immediate release

Saint Joseph's Oratory will no longer host the 2005 Pro-life conference organized by Compagne Quebec Vie. The administration of Saint Joseph's Oratory has made the difficult decision to withdraw permission from Compagne Quebec Vie to hold its 2005 Pro-life conference which was to be held on its premises between November 17 and 19, 2005.

"In the past three days we have been informed that protests on our grounds are being planned against the 2005 pro-life conference. We have come to the conclusion that we cannot guarantee the safety of the people on the grounds
of Saint Joseph's Oratory during this event," explained Jean-Pierre Aumont, c.s.c., rector of the Oratory.

For the past 100 years Saint Joseph's Oratory has offered an open space for spiritual and peaceful meetings, however, the administration's priority is to ensure the safety of its pilgrims, all its visitors and staff. The administration of Saint Joseph's Oratory regrets any inconvenience that this decision may cause.


What is going on here you ask?
MONTREAL, November 16, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One day prior to the opening of the Canadian National Pro-Life Conference the religious priests who are in charge of Canada's national Catholic shrine, St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, have reneged on the contracted use of their facilities for the conference due to threats received from 'pro-choice' and homosexual activists.
The decision is not based on police inability to offer adequate protection, according to police officials. Organizers of the conference are scrambling to find another location at such short notice. Despite the pleas of pro-life leaders to reverse the decision in several meetings today, Father Jean-Pierre Aumont, the rector of the Oratory, was unmoveable in his decision. The Holy Cross Fathers is the religious Order which tends to the Oratory, and Fr. Aumont is a member of the Order.

The news comes as a shock of monumental proportions to the pro-life movement. Even now, conference speakers and hundreds of attendees are en route to Montreal by plane, train and automobile, with hotel rooms and flights booked and paid for. Many of the hopeful participants have saved all year in order to be able to attend the conference.

The conference, sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition and Life Canada, is to be hosted by Montreal-based Campagne Quebec Vie (Campaign Life Quebec).

Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition Canada told LifeSiteNews.com, "This decision to cancel the contract at this last minute is a great capitulation on the part of the Catholic church in the face of opposition to its pro-life, pro-family teaching."

Luc Gagnon, President of Campagne Quebec Vie wondered how the already cash-strapped pro-life movement in Canada would be able to sustain the loss of tens of thousands which the last-minute cancellation of venue would incur.

While there has been a movement to oppose the pro-life conference by 'pro-choice' and homosexual activists, Montreal police Detective Sergeant Judy Poulin told LifeSiteNews.com that Montreal police did not tell the Oratory to cancel the conference. She noted that the police could offer "adequate protection" but, "it was the decision of the Oratory to cancel the conference."

I fully expect pro-abortion activists to act in an unacceptable manner and it is evident today that radical homosexual activists will show little constraint in pursuing their political agenda. The Catholic laity, however, expects its ordained priests to demonstrate a minimal amount of steadfastness and courage for the faith. Since the police indicate they can provide adequate security, it is clear that courage and steadfastness are not qualities possessed by the Holy Cross Fathers of Saint Joseph's Oratory. Their capitulation to the cult of death is shameful.

I won't be travelling to the Oratory for a pilgrimage. I prefer to pray without being surrounded by cowardly clerics unworthy of their charge.

One more thing. If I were an organizer of the conference, I'd sue the crap out of the spineless buggers.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A year of Blogging.

(First published photo of John the Mad taken on his first birthday as a blogger.)

Be gentle with me. This is my first effort at blogging. In undertaking this effort I take great comfort in the words of G.K. Chesterton who once wrote, "If something's worth doing it's worth doing badly." So it is. I am known among friends as something of a ranter.

Since I send out large numbers of Emails to friends and family, opining on events of the day, I thought it wise to try a method that does not inflict my views on the unwilling. Trust me, friends, family and colleagues have put up with much. Now they can choose to tune in, or out as they want. Since I believe we human beings are obligated to avoid inflicting unwarranted pain, this is surely a good thing.

At that time one year ago exactly, with those words, John the Mad began to publish this small blog. Since then I have written 712 posts on a lot of different topics. The number of emails rants to my friends has virtually ceased. Oddly, I have only received one complaint about that.

In my first post I wrote about my attending an Anglican church service that day and reminisced about the time a year before that when a female Anglican bishop forced an Anglican communion wafer between my unexpecting innocent Catholic lips! At the latter service I was better prepared and managed to get away with only a blessing. I mused:

So this time I received a blessing only. I must admit it was a good blessing. I sensed the Holy Spirit in that blessing. Of course, it may be that it was just God's reward for successfully avoiding the Anglican host the second time round. You never know.

A post script, if I might. In the Eucharistic prayer used in the service there was mention of Abraham and Sarah. Whatever happened to Isaac? For two thousand years Isaac, Abraham's son, has been twinned in the Christian liturgy with Abraham.

You may recall that Abraham was told by God to sacrifice Isaac, his son, and Abraham was in the process of complying when the angel of the Lord stopped
him. God's demand that Abraham's sacrifice his son was a test of faithfulness
and the
result of Abraham's obedience was the covenant with the Jewish people.

The twinning of the names of Abraham and Isaac, in the Jewish tradition goes back long before Christianity. Suddenly, today in Mississauga, I find Isaac
dropped from the program. This is not to take way from Sarah, who was araham's wife. Under current family law she is no doubt entitled to half Abraham's spiritual assets, but let's face it. It was not her neck that was on the line. I want to know. What did Isaac do to deserve this? What have the Anglicans done with him? These questions needs to be answered.

Indeed a full year has passed and Isaac is still missing from the Anglican Eucharistic prayer. No member of that Church has stepped forward to explain or apologize. The questions still need answering. We Catholics have apologized for Galileo. Can the Anglicans get away with silence on what they did with Isaac? Time will tell. Give him up you guys.

The Burning Fire of love

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
(Opening stanza to the Lewes bonfire night prayers)

Bishop Claims Lewes Bonfire is Inoffensive
Posted November 14, 2005
The Universe (Online Catholic Newspaper in UK)

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has dismissed claims the annual Lewes bonfire, which includes burning an effigy of the Pope, is "anti-Catholic." The bishop broke his silence amid fears future celebrations which attract around 40,000 visitors each year to the East Sussex town, could be abolished under the government?s proposed Religious Hatred Bill.

Organisers fear a test case brought under the legislation might brand the marches as sectarian, forcing a halt to the 150-year-old tradition. But Bishop Conry said he had never received a single complaint about the bonfires from anyone, including Catholics, adding that the effigy burning did not reflect -a manifestation of anti-Catholic feeling - in the area.

"In the four years I have been here, I have never had a single complaint about the bonfires," he said. "Just because they burn an effigy of the Pope, it does not mean people are against the Catholic Church. I have never experienced any bigotry in Lewes or the other towns."

"I do not believe the effigy-burning represents a wider manifestation of anti-Catholic feeling. It is just a traditional festival where the effigies of numerous people are burnt each year. The Pope is just one of many."
No doubt Bishop Conry is correct here. The burning of the Roman Pontiff in effigy is likely illustrative of the very, very warm feelings the people of Lewes have held towards Catholicism since the burnings began in 1853. And we're told lots of people get burned in effigy. Why just last year they burned Saddam Hussein?s effigy! They did that, no doubt, because they hold the murderous former dictator in the same degree of affection they hold the Catholic pope. So what's the big deal? Some people are so sensitive.

I myself have a hankering every once in a while to burn in effigy Ian Paisley, the North Irish Protestant preacher who spews hatred towards papists for a living. Don't misunderstand me. My flaming Paisley fantasy should not be taken in any way, shape, or form, for a personal dislike of Paisley, or his party. It is merely a sign of the burning love I have for him and his ilk.

Hat tip to Kathy Shaidle.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"He is every soldier in all our wars."

Canada's Unknown Soldier being carried from Vimy Ridge, France by a Canadian Forces and French Guard of Honour on his way to interment in Ottawa.

Eulogy for Canada's Unknown Soldier

Ottawa, Ontario
Sunday, May 28, 2000.

Wars are as old as history. Over two thousand years ago, Herodotus, wrote, "In peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons." Today, we are gathered together as one, to bury someone's son. The only certainty about him is that he was young. If death is a debt we all must pay, he paid before he owed it.

We do not know whose son he was. We do not know his name. We do not know if he was a MacPherson or a Chartrand. He could have been a Kaminski or a Swiftarrow. We do not know if he was a father himself. We do not know if his mother or wife received that telegram with the words "Missing In Action" typed with electrifying clarity on the anonymous piece of paper. We do not know whether he had begun truly to live his life as a truck driver or a scientist, a miner or a teacher, a farmer or a student. We do not know where he came from.

    Was it the Prairies whose rolling sinuous curves recall a certain kind of eternity?

    Was he someone who loved our lakes and knew them from a canoe?

    Was he someone who saw the whales at the mouth of the Saguenay?

    Was he someone who hiked in the Rockies or went sailing in the Atlantic or in the Gulf Islands?

    Did he have brown eyes?

    Did he know what it was to love someone and be loved back?

    Was he a father who had not seen his child?

    Did he love hockey? Did he play defence?

    Did he play football? Could he kick a field goal?

    Did he like to fix cars? Did he dream of owning a Buick?

    Did he read poetry?

    Did he get into fights?

    Did he have freckles?

    Did he think nobody understood him?

    Did he just want to go out and have a good time with the boys?

We will never know the answers to these questions. We will never know him. But we come today to do him honour as someone who could have been all these things and now is no more. We who are left have all kinds of questions that only he could answer. And we, by this act today, are admitting with terrible finality that we will never know those answers.

We cannot know him. And no honour we do him can give him the future that was destroyed when he was killed. Whatever life he could have led, whatever choices he could have made are all shuttered. They are over. We are honouring that unacceptable thing ? a life stopped by doing one's duty. The end of a future, the death of dreams.

Yet we give thanks for those who were willing to sacrifice themselves and who gave their youth and their future so that we could live in peace. With their lives they ransomed our future.

We have a wealth of witnesses in Canada to describe to us the unspeakable horror and frightening maelstrom that war brings. What that first World War was like has been described in our poetry, novels and paintings. Some of our greatest artists came out of that conflict, able to create beauty out of the hell that they had seen. The renowned member of the Group of Seven, F.H. Varley, was one of those artists. Writing in April 1918 he said,

"You in Canada ... cannot realize at all what war is like. You must see it and live it. You must see the barren deserts war has made of once fertile country ... see the turned-up graves, see the dead on the field, freakishly mutilated - headless, legless, stomachless, a perfect body and a passive face and a broken empty skull - see your own countrymen, unidentified, thrown into a cart, their coats over them, boys digging a grave in a land of yellow slimy mud and green pools of water under a weeping sky. You must have heard the screeching shells and have the shrapnel fall around you, whistling by you - seen the results of it, seen scores of horses, bits of horses lying around in the open - in the street and soldiers marching by these scenes as if they never knew of their presence. Until you've lived this ... you cannot know."

It is a frightening thing for human beings to think that we could die and that no one would know to mark our grave, to say where we had come from, to say when we had been born and when exactly we died. In honouring this unknown soldier today, through this funeral and this burial, we are embracing the fact of the anonymity and saying that because we do not know him and we do not know what he could have become, he has become more than one body, more than one grave. He is an ideal. He is a symbol of all sacrifice. He is every soldier in all our wars.

Our veterans, who are here with us today, know what it is to have been in battle and to have seen their friends cut down in their youth. That is why remembrance is so necessary and yet so difficult. It is necessary because we must not forget and it is difficult because the pain is never forgotten.

And the sense of loss, what this soldier's family must have felt is captured in a poem by Jacques Brault, the Quebec poet who lost his brother in Sicily in the Second World War, and wrote Suite Fraternelle,

    I remember you my brother Gilles lying forgotten in the earth of Sicily ...
    I know now that you are dead, a cold, hard lump in your throat fear lying heavy in your belly I still hear your twenty years swaying in the blasted July weeds ...
    There is only one name on my lips, and it is yours Gilles
    You did not die in vain Gilles and you carry on through our changing seasons
    And we, we carry on as well, like the laughter of waves that sweep across each tearful cove ...
    Your death gives off light Gilles and illuminates a brother's memories ...
    The grass grows on your tomb Gilles and the sand creeps up
    And the nearby sea feels the pull of your death
    You live on in us as you never could in yourself
    You are where we will be you open the road for us.

[interpretation of original French poem]

When a word like Sicily is heard, it reverberates with all the far countries where our youth died. When we hear Normandy, Vimy, Hong Kong, we know that what happened so far away, paradoxically, made our country and the future of our society. These young people and soldiers bought our future for us. And for that, we are eternally grateful.

Whatever dreams we have, they were shared in some measure by this man who is only unknown by name but who is known in the hearts of all Canadians by all the virtues that we respect - selflessness, honour, courage and commitment.

We are now able to understand what was written in 1916 by the grandson of Louis Joseph Papineau, Major Talbot Papineau, who was killed two years later: "Is their sacrifice to go for nothing or will it not cement a foundation for a true Canadian nation, a Canadian nation independent in thought, independent in action, independent even in its political organization - but in spirit united for high international and humane purposes ...".

The wars fought by Canadians in the 20th century were not fought for the purpose of uniting Canada, but the country that emerged was forged in the smithy of sacrifice. We will not forget that.

This unknown soldier was not able to live out his allotted span of life to contribute to his country. But in giving himself totally through duty, commitment, love and honour he has become part of us forever. As we are part of him.

Address given by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, as our Unknown Soldier was laid to rest at Canada's National War Memorial in Ottawa.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thank You

From Yahoo News

JOHN WARD Thu Nov 10, 4:40 PM ET
OTTAWA (CP) - Pipers, flags, posters, cheers and applause greeted about 200 veterans as they arrived by train on Thursday for the Remembrance Day memorial.

A crowd of about 300 people - teens, toddlers, school kids and ordinary folk - was on hand as the vets, almost all in their 80s, pulled in after a 24-hour trip from Halifax. Some found the greeting overwhelming.
"I can't believe it, to see all the people," said Stuart Macdonald of Cape Breton as he shook hands with well-wishers.
He said the train had been cheered along all the way from Halifax.
"You wouldn't believe all the people along the route, hundreds and hundreds."
"It's wonderful," said Bill Arnold of Halifax. "It couldn't have been better. It's far better than we expected."
Macdonald said it was nothing like the lonesome train trip that brought him home after his return from overseas in 1945. "I came back off the ship in the evening, got on the train to my home in Cape Breton and I never saw nobody. This is fantastic. After sixty years, it's unreal."
Arnold said the modern train was a far cry from the creaky carriages which hauled him and his comrades from the Lorne Scots Regiment from their Ontario homes to a troopship more than six decades ago.
"You wouldn't believe the troop train I came down to Halifax in," he chuckled. "It was from the turn of the century; wood burning stoves, kerosene lamps.
"And the damn thing, you could walk faster. It took three days and two nights to get to Halifax."
Poppies and flags were everywhere as the vets shuffled through the clapping crowd. There were posters saying, "Thank you vets" and "We love you."
The old soldiers, some in the faded wool khaki uniforms they wore 60 years ago, paused here and there to shake hands with embarrassed teens or to exchange words with a puzzled toddler.
Veterans Affairs Minister Albina Gaurnieri greeted the vets and the 200 family members and supporters who accompanied them on the trip.
The welcome included Mounties, local police, firemen, paramedics and serving soldiers.
Harold Henshaw, a veteran of New Brunswick's North Shore Regiment, was awed by the reception.
"It makes us feel wonderful," he said. "Now, we've had our 15 minutes of fame."
Henshaw said he and his wartime pal Norm Kirby have much to celebrate. The two were riding together on a tank when it was hit by a German shell.
"The Germans blew it all to hell, but we both are here," he said. "We lost a bit of skin on the deal but we're still here. We're both 80, but we're here."
The crowd included three-year-old Aidan Murray and his grandfather, Arnie Murray.
The little boy watched with a serious face as the veterans passed.
"I don't know if he understands, but we tell him about the soldiers," said his grandfather, who spent 35 years in the military himself.
Sheila Castledine of Ottawa said she had to be part of the welcome.
"I couldn't imagine not being here," she said. "These people are heroes and everyone who can be here, should be here."
She said she was glad to see so many young people.
"You can read about it in a book but to come to something like this speaks volumes."
The 33-car train was the idea of two Via Rail employees looking for a way to mark the Year of the Veteran.
It was originally supposed to be for Halifax-area vets, but it mushroomed and ended up picking up vets in New Brunswick as well.
Via offered a deep discount, charging the vets $225 with tax - less than half the usual fare.
For many of those aboard, it marked their first opportunity to take part in the national Remembrance Day ceremony at the War Memorial.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said Cliff Johnston of Woodstock, N.B.

Shame on York and Guelph Universities

(photo courtesy of Google)

From Ian Denomme of the University of Western Ontario Gazette. Hat tip to Neale News.

With Remembrance Day on Friday, this is generally a time to honour Canadian war veterans, and take pride in the Canadian military. But two Ontario universities appear to be doing the opposite.

Last week at York University, a group of students confronted the Canadian Armed Forces (there to recruit students for jobs), driving them off campus. Meanwhile, the University of Guelph?s student council, the Central Student Association, is drafting a policy that would ban military recruiters from campus, as well as oppose any research done on campus that would benefit military organizations.

"We don't think a university campus is the right venue for the military to be recruiting," said CSA communications commissioner Hannah Draper. "We have a code of conduct around suppliers and which employers and recruiters we want on

The CSA's "Policy Against the Militarization of Research" also says, "The CSA opposes military research and research on behalf of military organizations at Canadian universities. Research that benefits military-related organizations involved in, or closely tied to, war crimes will be opposed by and campaigned around by the CSA."

However, Draper said there has not been any objection to Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the CSA will be participating in events on Friday.

So Ms Draper says the Central Student's Association has no objection to, and will participate in, the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Guelph. In what organization does she think those veterans served? Hello. Is there a functioning brain in that cranium? Connect the dots please.

Those deceased veterans served in the same military that your snotty-nosed student association kicked off campus. You have dishonoured their memory and you should be banned from the Remembrance service tomorrow. You won't be, thanks to those guys that gave their lives for your freedom to be a jerk. Time to grow up Ms Draper.

Kudos, however, to the students' council at the University of Western Ontario.
Here at Western, University Students' Council president Ryan Dunn said the USC has no such policy and does not intend to implement one any time soon.

"We know that students are grown up enough to decide what they want to do with their futures," he said. "Military recruitment just adds another life choice. It's the same as any other corporation."

That's close, and well intentioned, but not quite on the bulls eye. Serving in Canada's military is not quite the same as having a job in a corporation. Juno Beach and Vimy Ridge were not littered with the bodies of clerks and the personnel department of Magna employees. The guys who died in Canada's wars and other military actions may have worked in corporations before they signed up, but they died as sailors, soldiers and airmen/airwomen. If you ever serve in uniform, you'll soon learn the difference.

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another day another bomb

(photo courtesy of Google photos)

I understand that the Muslims youth in France have slowed their efforts somewhat to burn all the cars, daycares and schools in France. We are told they are angry because they are not accepted by the French as being as being French. Did I say the Muslims youth? I should have said all the Muslim male youth.

It seems that contrary to the spirit of true French egalite their sisters are not permitted to riot. They must dress modestly in accordance with Islamic custom, limit their educational and career ambitions, stay out of pools where males swim and stay home while their brothers riot and burn their communities to the ground. French youths, it seems, insist on this, ..... uh ..... French Muslim youths insist on this (as do their male elders). It gets so confusing.

But let us leave the smoky ruins of superior French culture for other climes. Jordan is burning too, or at least three hotels that serve westerners are burning. It appears that Muslim suicide bombers blew themselves up killing at least 57 people and wounding hundreds. Word is not yet in on whether female Muslim youths were allowed to blow up the hotels, or whether the detonators were issued only to young Muslim men. One can only hope that Jordanian Muslims are less sexist than their French co-religious and that girls are given a chance to create murder and mayhem on an equal basis with their brother Muslims.

Mind you, it may be that no Jordanians blew themselves up. This honour may have been reserved for Al Qaida Muslims of other nationalities. Given the scattering of the suicide bombers' remains it may take police time to piece things together.

What else? Oh yes. Australia is not burning. The authorities in Australia broke up two separate Muslim terrorist cells that were competing to be first to carry out what security officials called "a catastrophic terrorist attack" blowing up Australians in Australia. There's nothing like competition to spur the lads on, in my view. Keeps the group motivated.

According to the British News Telegraph:
Ken Moroney, the head of the state's police force, said: "I'm satisfied that we have disrupted what I would regard as the final stages of a large-scale terrorist attack."

The nine members of the alleged Melbourne terror cell appeared in court, where prosecutors said they had carried out military training in the bush and had stockpiled chemicals capable of making bombs. Police disclosed that they had 240 hours of secretly taped recordings in which the suspects allegedly discussed jihad and martyrdom.
Yes it is a banner year for Muslims blowing up innocent people. This from CTV News.
"2005 has been a year where there has been quite high numbers of successful attacks in all corners of the world," former CSIS Intelligence Officer Michel Juneau-Katsuya told CTV Newsnet. "We've seen it in Egypt, we just saw it now in Amman, we saw it in Bali, and we saw it Europe ... Unfortunately there's sort of a momentum that is playing in favour of al Qaeda. I think the militants are feeling quite strong and empowered with the success of those attacks."
The attack in Egypt is old news, of course. It was so end of Julyish. You may recall this story from BBC News, though:
The blasts came within minutes of each other, shortly after 0100 local time (2200 GMT), when the bars and markets were busy. In the most devastating attack, a bomber rammed his car into Ghazala Gardens Hotel, according to an eyewitness.

"A suicide car bomber forced the barrier at the entrance of the hotel. A member of the security staff tried to stop him but he sped towards the reception and there was a huge explosion," an unnamed hotel employee told AFP news agency. Parts of the front walls of the hotel collapsed, trapping people under the rubble.

A few hundred metres away, a bomb went off in a car park near the Moevenpick Hotel and popular nightlife spots, causing widespread damage and casualties.
In the Old Market area blast, about 4km (2.5 miles) away, 17 people - believed to be Egyptian workers - were killed as they gathered at a street cafe, rescue officials said.

"This flaming mass flew over my head, faster than a torpedo and plunged into the water," Mursi Gaber, who was working on a nearby beach when the blast happened, told AP. "There were body parts all over the steps down to the beach."
You don't recall the attack on Egypt. Hmm. No doubt you were concentrating on the end of July Muslim attack on the London transit system where Muslim suicide bombers blew up themselves and 52 innocent people.

Now let's look at India. Apparently, since 9/11 there have been over 40 attempts, or successful attempts by Muslims to blow up themselves and others.

Did I mention Spain? The March 2004 Madrid Muslim bombing killed 190 innocent people, which was much lower than the original estimate of 202. It seems:
Police and forensics experts discovered that body parts in 13 bags originally thought to belong to unidentified corpses were later determined to be those of people already included in the death toll or of survivors ....
Mistakes are made. They no doubt got confused with the death toll from the Muslim bombing in Bali in October 2002 where the murder toll was 202. .

I know how hard it is to keep all this Muslim blowing up of people straight. But we must make the effort to keep count. Lots of Muslims certainly are.

Monday, November 07, 2005


It seems that Pierre Bourque of Bourque Newswatch posted a poppy on his web site as a sign of respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom (hat tip to Kathy Shaidle of Relapsed Catholic). Naughty Pierre Bourque. He subsequently received this piece of bureaucratic bullsh**t from the appropriately named Bob Butt of the Royal Canadian Legion.

...the poppy is a trademark of the Legion and anyone who wants to use
it has to apply. Otherwise it would be all over the place. There are numeorus
[sic] examples where it has been used for sales and other purposes. As it is not
in the public domain and because it is a registered trademark of the Legion the
organization is taking every step it can to protect it (and I do mean every
step). All this can be avoided in the future if you ask to use it on your site
and you get the proper approval. Sorry, I know your heart and many others are in the right place.

Unfortunately we have to protect this image or lose its use as a symbol
of Remembrance. -Bob Butt, Director of Communications for the Canadian Legion

Pierre Bourque's heart was indeed in the right place. The same cannot be said for brains of the executive of the Royal Canadian Legion.

This son of an RCAF air gunner and grandson of WWI Canadian army veterans says phooey to you. (Never thought I'd ever say that about the Legion.) Note to Legion HQ. Your guns are pointed in the wrong bloody direction . It is considered tacky and is generally fatal to the advance to fire at your friends and allies.

An old mililtary adage applies here. "Regulations are for the guidance of the wise and the direction of the stupid."

John the Mad CD Major (Ret'd)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Riots in France

The French take great delight in anything that casts Americans in a bad light. When the levies of New Orleans collapsed after hurricane Katrina devastated the region and the city was inundated with flood waters from Lake Pontchartrain, most French likely had some sympathy.

But when the news services began to circulate stories about widespread looting in New Orleans, the delays in providing assistance, and tales of murder and rapine at the Superdome, one could almost hear from this side of the Atlantic the French chattering classes, smoke rising from galoises, tut tutting about the failure that is America. There is no greater source of Gallic smugness than that engendered by American misfortune. And there is no greater smugness than French smugness.

The French are not alone in this. Educated affluent Europeans (and many Canadians) exude this anti-American sentiment from their pores. The sentiment gives off the odour of social and intellectual decay, from which it derives and which finds its apotheosis in the refusal to procreate and in the elevation of abortion to a political secular sacrament.

Tonight Paris, the City of Lights, is alight from the glow of burned out automobiles and buildings. For more than a week much of France has been experiencing nightly riots as their Muslim underclass loots, burns and pillages the villages. Unlike the intelligentsia I find no joy or smugness in these sorts of events; just a sickening sense of peril (although I must admit that if I were to engage in Schadenfreude, it would be at the expense of the French). The unrest shows no sign of abating. From CBC News:

Rioters have fired at police in a Paris suburb, injuring 10 officers hours after the French president vowed to arrest and jail people taking part in violence that is rocking the country for an eleventh night.

Young men armed with guns fired on the police Sunday night in the suburb of Grigny and seriously hurt two of them, the Interior Ministry said.

A young boy looks at torched cars parked in a street of Paris, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

One officer was treated for throat wounds while another was hit in the leg, Reuters news agency said.

The range was too great to kill the officers, a police spokesman said.

However, it marked an escalation in the riots that have seen more than 1,500 vehicles torched, dozens of businesses and schools burned and more than 800 people arrested since the violence began on Oct. 27.

If you think that the European worship of the cult of death and the French riots are not connected then you are naive, or a fool. For it is in the decay of the West that we find the wellspring of a virulent Islamic resurgence. The CBC, and most main stream media, would have us believe otherwise.
Many people view the violence as the expression of pent-up anger by the country's unemployed and underemployed youth, particularly in Muslim immigrant communities, and as a sign of the difficulty North Africans have experienced in trying to integrate into French society.
There is, no doubt, truth in that statement, but it is not the whole truth or even the relevant truth. For I fear that the relevant truth is that Islam is not compatible with modernity or with the idea that different cultures and religions can live together as equals.

For a Muslim, France must be part of Dar al-harb (house of war) until it is part of Dar al-Islam (house of Islam). It is not that French society (or the West) insults Islam, but that French society (or the West) is an insult to Islam. Our very unwillingness to submit to Sharia Law makes us the target of anger, unrest and bitter enmity. Co-existence is not consistent with the Koran. To be uneducated, unemployed and scorned is very difficult for any normal person, but for a Muslim, taught that they are to rule over all others by merit of their religion alone, it is particularly unendurable.

Mark Steyn, writing in the Chicago Sun Times today has an article entitled Wake Up, Europe, You've a War on Your Hands. In it he states:

A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark." But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.

If Chirac isn't exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.

While I pray that that Steyn and Dalrymple are not correct, I fear they are. Can it be that a new dark age is being inaugurated in the City of Lights?

Baby Samuel makes contact

(photo by Michael Clancy)

The photograph to the left is of Baby Samuel in 2002, when he was at 21 weeks gestation. Except for his left arm and hand, he is in his mother's womb. You can see his tiny hand squeezing the surgeon's finger.

The amazing photo was taken a few years ago by USA Today photojournalist Michael Clancy, who became a pro-life supporter after taking this photograph.

The surgeon above was performing a modern medical miracle by operating on a baby in his mother's womb to correct spinda bifida. The story can be found at www.michaelclancy.com

Funny how a dose of reality can cut through the miasmic obfuscations of the cult of death. One doctor heals a baby in the womb. Another makes a living by killing them. Personally, I cannot fathom how anyone can cut such innocents into pieces for a living, let alone medical practitioners who are dedicated by oath to the healing art.

But some do. And they are lionized for it by those who worship death without, in many cases, even knowing the name of their twisted god, or that they are acolytes of the great evil.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Confession is good for the stomach

(from cartoonstock.com)

So for lunch today I was cooking bacon and eggs. Master Brendan approached me and asked for a piece of bacon.

I suggested he wait until breakfast was served and he left the kitchen. Apparently, he went to Lady Mad and asked if she could steal a piece of bacon for him because he was "starving."

Now Master Brendan is in Grade 2 and will be receiving the Catholic sacraments of Reconciliation (confession) and the Eucharist (communion) this year.

Accordingly, we had just returned from our parish where our associate pastor, Father Boniface, spoke about "first confessions." Lady Mad is not a Catholic, but is very supportive of our boys being raised in the Church. With his new found knowledge about confessions, Brendan told her it was okay for her to steal some bacon because she could just go to Fr. Boniface later and tell him about her theft.

Lady Mad thought she could use this moment as a teaching moment. She noted that stealing is wrong and why. She also told him that as a Protestant she does not go to confession and has to live with her sins all her life, although she can ask God to forgive her and he will. For a moment Brendan solemnly absorbed the notion of God answering her requests and retorted that maybe they should ask God to steal some bacon for him.

She came into the kitchen laughing about it. When I heard the tale I cracked up and gave Brendan the Famished two pieces of bacon and some cheese to hold him over. I'm not sure theology is his strong suit.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The one-way street to Death

Picture of the CEO of Dignitas (courtesy of Google Pictures)

According to the Washington Post Foreign Service, a Swiss organization called Dignatas, has opened a branch operation in Hanover, Germany. Dignitas is a dignified non-profit organization dedicated to the dignified purpose of assisting people to kill themselves, with dignity.

Apparently, Switzerland has the most liberal and dignified assisted suicide laws in the world, something which may be related to their obsession with accurate timepieces. Recognizing an unfulfilled market niche, Dignitas has opened an office in Europe's most populated country in order to offer its dignified counselling services. Depending on the success of the Dignitas operation Germany may, or may not, retain its population edge over its neighbours.

Regrettably, Dignitas is prohibited from actually helping dignified Germans to poison themselves with dignity on German soil. Der dignified Deutch folk must travel to Zurich to be poisoned. It seems that a series of unfortunate not-so-dignified political events from 1932 to 1945 has made doctor assisted killing a rather delicate subject for conversation in the gasthouses of the German nation. Descendents of the Huns may drink themselves to death in a pub without stirring much dignified comment, but one must not request the active participation of physicians in the process.
"In a country like Germany, where we have a problematic past, it's not such an easy situation. That is the danger of an organization like this," said Elisabeth Heister-Neumann, the justice minister for Lower Saxony, the German state that includes Hanover. "We see such a group as a one-way street to death."
Such historical squeamishness aside, I think this Dignitas marketing initiative has legs. As the article points out:
Dignitas already draws most of its members from Germany. As of last month, 253 Germans who made the trip to Zurich either swallowed or injected themselves with fatal doses of barbiturates, with Dignitas's help. The organization takes care of the legal and logistical arrangements, from obtaining the drugs to disposing of the body. If all goes smoothly, members can die the same day they arrive in Switzerland.

Ludwig Minelli, a lawyer and the founder of Dignitas, said the opening of the Hanover field office was a response to strong demand for the group's services. But he said Dignitas had a larger goal in mind: to pressure Germany, the most populous country in Europe, to bow to popular demand and legalize assisted suicide.

"We should break the taboo of discussing suicide," Minelli said in a telephone interview. "For the sake of efficiency, you should be able to offer assisted suicide when this is the best possible solution. We've got to take this problem
out from under the carpet and put it right on the table."

Sehr gut, mein Herr. "Efficiency." The first of the Teutonic virtues. One can see the marketing possibilities in marketing an efficient death to Germans. In my view, there is a great future in death.

It is obvious that when an efficient German (Is there any other kind?) wants to depart this mortal coil, he will insist on arrangements running smoothly and the expiry taking place exactly as scheduled. To have it happen according to the ticking of a fine Swiss watch is enough to make the heart of any good German beat faster, until it doesn't. The fascists made the trains run on time. The Swiss now timetable the arrival of the Grim Reaper with astonishing competence. And how about that same day service!

If there was ever a case to be made for private medical care, this is it. Can you imagine such a program being run under Canada's medicare system? We can't even get hip replacements onto the hips of former hippies within a century. How would we manage same-day deaths? We couldn't. There'd be people dying of undignified natural causes before their turn came to be killed with dignity. Let that happen too many times and there'll be a stink I tell you.

The Globe and Mail would be filled with outraged letters to the editor from frustrated almost heirs who were denied that timely Mediterranean cruise on old Uncle Jeremy's bequest. Good vacation planning requires strict deadlines for booking trips and the uncertainty involved in having Uncle Jeremy passing in the old fashioned way could make it very difficult to reserve preferred cruise boats.

I say that if we leave it to the government to kill us, we will live to regret it. Think about it. It would be bureaucratic chaos. After 25 years of effort and billions of tax dollars spent, government can't supply clean water to First Nations' communities. After spending hundreds of million on new military rescue helicopters, the rotors are falling off the choppers. Only by straining resources to the maximum can governments ensure timely delivery of spanking new hypodermic needles filled with free drugs to addicts on the streets of Vancouver.

I can't even contemplate the number of federal-provincial conferences that would be needed needed to come up with common acceptable waiting time standards for poison injections. Given the nursing shortage resulting from billions of dollars being pumped into resuscitating medicare, we don't have enough trained medical people to inject the anticipated suicides. Sure we can alleviate some of the resulting shortage by asking Vancouver drug addicts to help out, but we can't fly all the suicides to the west coast. Our military Hercules transport planes are grounded due to cracked wing spars and it'd take a long time to taxi from Trenton Ontario to Vancouver BC, even if we could afford the tolls on Ontario's expressways.

Not convinced yet? We have spent billion upgrading our security since 9/11. Yet there are more than 200 roads crossing our border that have no customs posts and if they did, the customs officers aren't armed. The customs officers have to depend on defunct RCMP detachments for assistance and for some reason no one answers the phone at these vacant former police buildings.

After spending two billion dollars on the long gun registry, the government can't register all the squirrel rifles in Saskatchewan, while dozens are being mowed down by handguns in Toronto every day, it seems. Okay, I admit there are good public policy reasons for the gun registry. It provides massive employment for the population of Nova Scotia from whence the program is administered. That's good. I'm not against people working for a living. I'm just leery of them working for a dying.

Unfortunately, we won't see Dignitas private clinics operating in Canada any time soon. Jack Layton said so just last night and what Jack says should be the policy of the Government of Canada, is the policy of the Government of Canada. Jack, you see, is the "defacto" Prime Minister of Canada , much like Governor General Michaelle Jean is the "defacto" head of state. They're the real, as opposed to the figurative, thing.

Jack is there to protect us from the consequences of our democratic choice in electing Liberals to office. Someone has to do it for God's sake. Better to have a dignified man of principle, like Jack Layton pull the levers of power than an expedient man like Paul Martin. Expedient men have no dignity.

No, Jack Layton is not like those other grubby politicians who are expedient by nature. Not him. He is a socialist. The proof that he is a man of socialist principle is the fact that he is prepared to maintain the corrupt Liberals in power forever, despite the findings of Mr. Justice Gomery, if the Grits take steps to stop all private medical clinics from operating in the Dominion.

It's not that Jack and his party are opposed to assisted suicide. On the contrary, when the Liberals are re-elected to office and everyone in Alberta is clamouring to kill themselves but need help to fill out the maze of federal paperwork to get a gun permit, Jack and the New Democrats will be there with encouragement and help in filling out the forms. He and his party believe that any Albertan who wants to commit suicide is entitled to the finest medical care the Canadian system can muster.

But Jack wouldn't allow Dignitas, a private company, to set up shop in the true north strung out and freeze. Medical care, he says over and over again, is too important to leave to private companies, - unless it's a private for-profit clinic owned by the socialist saint Henry Morgentaler, who is dedicated to dismembering babies in a mother's womb. That's not just alright. That public funding is as goddam sacred as it gets for socialists.

Hat tip to Lifesite News.