The snow recedes at Thorsby in step with the increased hours of sunshine much enjoyed by those earlier bound in seasonal darkness as I write this.
A man notes the caterwaul of his fellows grow with the passing cold of winter's silent judgement, arisen on the promise of a warmer tomorrow. This in spite of centuries spent in prideful carriage through atmospheric travails beyond the pale of mortals living by terms of geography less challenging.
This country, lately known as Canada to the neighbors, seems undeniably to have lost sight of the character necessary to its origins.
In written form, either published or broadcast to the nation from coast-to-coast-to-coast, an identity crisis of epic proportion does unfold. The population struggles either as result or in its place, unsure it seems of either whom they claim to be or why they came here in the first place.
From the windswept beauty of the Alberta foothills meanwhile, this son of the pioneers looks on with an uneven mix of bitter disappointment and stunned surprise.
Were my father alive today, I fear his response might more closely resemble the resolute commitment that once formed this nation. While most times either swift or brutal in its application, neither from whence they came nor what they intended at any time was left to question.
For only brute strength or absolute commitment would prove sufficient to wrest survival from a wilderness now traversed from coast-to-coast in ignorant comfort by their offspring.
Memory of a struggle, epic in proportion whose tragedy yet echoes loudly through the ages following, it seems was lost by their children. The iron grit necessary to their conception, that fearless optimism without which they would not be here today, now is either willfully ignored or ignorantly resisted.
In its place is offered the cowardice of fear or the recalcitrance of bigotry by applicants to public positions of political power.
I state for the record here, those who traffic in such divisive filth are cowards all, with nary the intestinal fortitude to defend or stand for such despicable ignorance between the lot of them if individually confronted. For only false-courage granted by the faceless mob emboldens such tiny people as these to promote the mean-spirited hatred of deplorable right-wing or populist rhetoric.
Like the feckless trash they most closely resemble, opportunistic political sociopaths lacking the true courage of conviction instead offer racist fear-mongering or religious division in place of strategies or progress.
I speak here as an authentic son of the pioneers responsible for the existence of this nation, a direct descendent of those who made Canada. Being of Metis descent, my people are that of which Canada is most elementally composed, and for the record I offer a short review of my heritage.
My mother was a middle daughter of the Cree clan named Mason living on what is known currently as the Fisher River First Nation, not only a survivor of the residential schools but the mother of eight children. A woman raised in wilderness, circumstances would later necessitate her living as one of the country's early single mother's.
While the color of her skin was used as a weapon against her each day of her life, with stubborn dignity she would celebrate the arrival of great-grandchildren.
My father was a WWII veteran, the elder son of a distant branch of the Pruden clan long ago founded by a one-time indentured pauper who rose to the position of HBC Factor in this new world. A man born to colonize the new country, his life would shape a world view founded in respect for the right to freedom of all men.
Known among men of his time for conservative values most strongly influenced by respect for king or country, he volunteered to fight or die if necessary to ensure the world would be free of the evil spread by Nazi's or the tragedy of the Holocaust.
To my parents I owe all I have, will or ever know.
I thank them for making me, as I thank them for the country in which I live, each day.
To be Canadian is to respect heritage.
Once upon a time ago, the first peoples welcomed the first visitors to these shores with the means to survive the harshest of circumstance found in their home. Some not extended time later, when pursuit of fame or fortune had divided the surrounding geography into stolen domains claimed by these white visitors, a country eventually named Canada came to be.
While time has since cast doubt on the wisdom of that initial welcome, the nation existing it its place is best served remembering the source of its founding.
To be Canadian after all, is also to be an immigrant.
As much as it means being fearless.
To survive in this place, to build this country, not only took, but takes, the courage of conviction.
That's also a value necessary to immigrants.
In the course of my life, I've listened to more people than I can count try to define what it means to 'be Canadian'. So far, I've heard none that have done my parents the justice they so deservedly earned.
To be a Canadian, first, last and always, means to be a pioneer.
To be a pioneer requires being open-minded to unknown possibilities.
This country of Canada, neither now nor then, has ever provided comfort to cowards.
We share what we have with others here; that is our tradition. As we fight to the death whenever or wherever our values might be assaulted.
We do these things because, in the words of my parents, that's what it means to be Canadian.
In the wilderness of early Canada ~ a place I was fortunate enough to experience in my long ago youth ~ a door was never left locked when a homesteader should be away. This was because at any time, a lost traveler, a neighbor, or any other fellow pioneer might need food or shelter to survive it.
In those times, a Canadian left his door unlocked for the safety of an unknown fellow pioneer.
That as much as anything else is what it means to be Canadian.
To be Canadian means holding the values of a pioneer as sacrosanct to survival.
For we are the children of pioneers.
Above all else, it's that we must not forget if honor is what we would reflect upon our shared heritage.
To be Canadian is to be fearless.
Just as being Canadian makes sharing what we have a natural urge.
However, I would advise not taking anything from a Canadian without first asking permission to do so.
For being a pioneer also means defending oneself or one's home against any or all threats, to the death if necessary, with cheerful but resolute conviction.
If you doubt those words, you're welcome to try it for yourself somewhere within the nation's borders.
I wish you much luck, but you will certainly need more of it.
Thus a man finds himself with many good reasons to feel particularly disgusted by the political climate now being fomented in Canada. In surprising numbers political cowards currently promote fear-mongering or outright hatred ~ a common practice among the right-wing in Canada since the rise of a popular fascist in our southern neighbor ~ towards either immigrant populations or refugees seeking respite from this war-torn planet.
These bigoted fools with their ignorant supporters now wave the nation's flag while engaging in the most absurdly UN-Canadian behavior for all to see. While receiving neither the shame nor the condemnation they so richly deserve from either the media or the apparently somnambulant Canadian population.
As children of the pioneers we must stop this despicable activity before it becomes further ensconced in the trappings of respectability. These bigoted racists must be stopped, with their agendas identified as dangerous, if Canada is to avoid a similar fate as has befallen earlier populist or fascist political movements elsewhere around the world.
Like it or not, Canada is under assault by a group of penny ante fascists in league with a loose conglomeration of self-identified bigots or avowed racists.
Fortunately, being Canadian means facing any battle with the resolute conviction required to achieve either victory or death in pursuit of it.
The scourge of bigotry has doubtless secured a beachhead upon the shores of our political landscape, supported by the racism undermining the institutions of our society. As children of Canada, a nation founded upon the principals of shared freedom with justice for all, we must now stand together to defeat it.
The reasons we must are plain, but I will again state them for the sake of either those Canadian's who have forgotten or the historical record.
To be Canadian is to be an immigrant.
To be Canadian is to be a refugee.
To be Canadian is to be fearless.
To be Canadian is to stand up for what we believe in when others sit.
To be Canadian is to keep a light on in a dark place that others may find their way.
To be Canadian is to do the right thing.
To be Canadian is to be a pioneer.
Thanks for sharing the blog.
- TFPMarch 23, 2017