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RP - Sharing the Land

Repost from Oct 3, on

Sharing the Land

When is a Treaty Not a Treaty? 

Conference-with-First-Nations-Chiefs-during-Manitoba-Indian-Treaty-1871-Glenbow-Archives-UMTodayYes, it’s been a while, but I’m back.

Last Friday (Oct 30) we observed the National Day for Peace and Reconciliation. We also observed Putin signing treaties with several provinces of Eastern Ukraine.
A treaty is a legally binding agreement, usually done between sovereign nations, governing such things as trade, land use, or security. In Canada, several treaties were drawn up between the monarchs of Europe, and the First Nations leaders of Canada. When Canada was first ‘discovered’ by Europeans, they found a rich country, ready to be explored and exploited. There already were people living here, but thanks to the Doctrine of Discovery from the Church, they weren’t a concern. They were not Christians, so the land was terra nullius, territory without a master, and thus up for grabs. At some point, the various European rulers must have decided that rather than using brute force, treaties to share the land would lead to better trade and a safer place for settlers. And I suppose the various native rulers, seeing a market for their goods (mainly furs) and a new supply of beads and blankets and knives and axes - maybe firearms, maybe whiskey - and the chance for a peaceful co-existence, signed up. Agreeing to share their land with their new guests/invaders. I wonder if they assumed these treaties were the same as the ones they had signed amongst themselves, with people who tended to act in good faith, people who valued and respected the land? As opposed to a growing capitalist nation, fuelled by corporate greed, willing to bend morals as needed, all justified by religion? A religion hell-bent on converting a number of the inhabitants to Christianity, stemming from the belief that they were all basically without any religion. A conversion that would help to assimilate the converts into European culture and consumerism.

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RP - Royalty in Canada

Repost from Sept 21, on

Royalty in Canada

To Be or Not to Be

Photo-1611831221903-d5cc46c19396I started thinking about this a few days ago, browsing news stories and blogs, but I decided to wait until after the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.

We need to talk about Canada and the monarchy. Some may think this is not an appropriate time, that we need to be focusing on respecting the memory of the late Queen. I think we can do both at once. If we wait several months, then the whole idea will fade back into our collective consciousness as something most don’t even worry about. Until something brings it to the forefront and reignites the same old debate.

So why not deal with it? I’ll look at some ideas/opinions on why we do or don’t need it, and then how we might change it. 

In Canada, while the monarchy has little more than a ceremonial function, it still helps us define our identity, and adds a sense of continuity. Queen Elizabeth II saw 12 Prime Ministers in Canada during her reign, from Louise St. Laurent to Justin Trudeau. Her presence was a unifying thread over the years, the challenge will be for King Charles to define what his relationship with the world will be.

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RP - Freedom, and Frustration

Repost from Sept 15,

Freedom, and Frustration


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” -Charles Dickens

So much anger, so much frustration. The recent protests, in particular last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” here in Ottawa, brought a lot of that to the forefront, but it’s been on the boil for a while. There is anger amongst protestors worldwide at being mistreated by the system, and they are frustrated that they seem to keep being ignored. In some ways they are right, they are being misused and mistreated and ignored by the current system. Face it, many (most?) politicians are in it mainly for the power and the glory. And once in power they then ensure their efforts are focused on the issues and demographics needed to stay there, on those people best situated to contribute to the economy, while fitting in smoothly and quietly. And of course, people that will pay back with their vote. It is ironic too, that sometimes the protesters are misused, mistreated, and ignored by the leaders of their movement - power is tempting.

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