“O Canada, O Canada, who stands watch from sea to sea? Who for a lost democracy? Who for the true north strong and free? If not you then let it be me”

Singing the national anthem at any event – even at home during hockey games – is always a moment that stirs tremendous pride within me. I am Canadian and thank you William Shatner because every time I say that now, I think of you….

Canada is one of the best places on earth, in my opinion. I love it and could never make another country my home. Yet Canada has  indeed,changed and maybe it’s time for a pause to reflect on where we are going.

In 2012, Priscilla Judd wrote this edgy alternative anthem. I think it says more than I ever could here in words. Agree or not, take what you like and leave the rest.

Where ever you are, I hope you stand up and sing the traditional anthem and honour our country… and if you like it, sing this one too. Happy Canada Day!

“Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” ~ Round two, 2013. Nothing changed for the better in the last year, so what exactly will it take to get you off your ass, folks? Eh?

“As opposition leader, [Stephen Harper] wrote in the Montreal Gazette in the year before he came to power: ‘Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.’

When he became prime minister, his attitude appeared to undergo a shift of considerable proportions. It often took the Conservatives twice as long as previous governments to handle access requests. Sometimes it took six months to a year.”
―     Lawrence Martin,     Harperland: The Politics of Control    

No kidding, EH?

That Stephen Harper government, oh my gosh, what the PEI potatoes happened there, EH? Where did all that access to information and honesty and transparency go?  ( actually, did they ever give us that? )

Canada the land of the free, we’re different up here and all that schtick – and yet we seem to be uncovering more and more corruption, collusion and unethical behavior than ever lately.

Well we have le jambon, Mike Duffy. http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/search-warrants-issued-in-rcmp-s-probe-of-mike-duffy-s-expenses-1.1345232

We have le gros jambon, former ‘journalist’ Pamela Wallin – disclosure, I used to love her work on  The Fifth Estate and W5- what the hell happened there, I do not know, but I think she needs to go back to her roots and do a full investigation into the this senate scandal herself… :) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pamela-wallin-denied-health-coverage-in-ontario-and-saskatchewan-she-told-senate/article12818916/

Yesterday however, was not such a funny day in BC.

In case you didn’t notice, Christy Clark is still holding the role of premier hostage, since she lost her own seat as an MLA  in Vancouver, and is now trying to steal find a seat in wine country in  Kelowna.

Let’s not comment on the irony of that, ok?

Today, I watched the BC legislature live. Barring Dix – because in all honesty,he just has to go, I cant listen to him,or watch him, with any credibility because of the NDP’s performance in the last election – the rest of the NDP speakers were right on task.  ( Is this the real NDP, or was the election NDP  the real NDP? Who knows? What I do know is, you can’t fix Dix. Step aside now, and mitigate the membership loss. )

But I digress.

The BC legislative session today was revealing in many ways. Horgan called out “an unelected visitor” on the back bench who was passing notes to the MLA’s on the Liberal side. Discussion ensued after Horgan refused to back down. Reid didn’t want to deal with it and Horgan called her on it again. Clearly, Clark still does what she wants even when the rules say otherwise. She thinks she is above reproach. I am not convinced democracy will prevail even if she remains unelected and can’t enter the house as anything other than a visitor.

The BC Liberals, via Mike De Jong, revealed their budget is essentially crap, and that you can all expect cuts to come… yet kept to the Liberals claim the budget is balanced.  There was no talk about the pay raises Clark tried to give all her appointee’s, nor the PHSA scandal, but hey, it is the last day of school for many in BC, and a long weekend, summer vacation is here already for many…so Christy and crew know very well that not a lot of people are going to be watching.

Well, sorry Christy, I was watching. And it was incredibly not funny to watch the powerpoint presentation  of Mike de Jong of how the economic outlook of BC that you campaigned on, is not happening, hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.

For what it is worth, this is what I think.

I think, that in 4 years, people are going to be so upset in BC that Christy Clark will have to move to Ontario to save her behind. I think that while you can fool some of the people, some of the time, you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time. Eventually,something is going to give.

You can’t fool all the moms, Ms. Clark. You can’t fool all the workers. You can only fool yourself when you look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself you are doing this for the future of the province. We know what you are really doing this for. It’s power. Let me remind you of those raises approved right after you were elected…. and the stark reality of your budget update today, Ms. Clark.

Either you admit you knew that drastic cuts were needed and approved those raises regardless… or you admit you are a clueless leader without a seat in the house because your own riding didn’t support you enough to elect you as their representative.. and that you didn’t really care about the budget but wanted to have your cake and eat it too…

On that note, I leave you with a re-post of last years Canada Day post that garnered national attention….because quite honestly, not much has changed since then. I still love this country more than anything, and I still love this new anthem written and composed by Priscilla Judd.

If anything, it hits harder home now, than ever.

Happy Canada Day, everyone. United we stand. We must not fall.

Canada, we stand on guard for thee…

Tonight, I have two special items for you, at least special to me because of where they came from, and why.

They both concern Canada. Our country – for some like myself, a birthright, for others a choice to find a better life. There was a time, not that long ago, that I outright admit I took our liberties and freedoms here in this great, amazing land for granted. And why not? This is Canada, after all, where as Pierre Burton once said, you know you are one when you can make love in a canoe…without tipping. Beavers chomping, moose munching and kids playing hockey on frozen ponds… the clichés abound when it comes to Canadians and our country.

I love them all, I really do. But to me, what really makes us Canadian is our endless strength and our convictions. Right now, both are being tested, and sadly, by our own government – a government who many say, and I agree, is selling our country out, putting it at grave risk and forgetting the wonderful people who made this country what it is.

Our arts are being killed, our scientists muzzled and silenced, our environment mismanaged or sold to foreign interests, our personal rights and freedoms are being eroded every day. Our government seems to have forgotten what country this is, and I think I have become a nationalist(eek) – someone who advocates political independence for our country. I love, and will defend my country, and will do so using my pen and paper… or computer as modern times dictate.

We aren’t politically independent in Canada, nor are we in B.C. When you have corporate friends who have great influence over political leaders, when you have foreign governments who are paying for educational supplements here, actively lobbying and shaping policy and impacting government affairs,when you have a prime minister who openly tells his country he will overrule due process to make something wrong, right…. I am telling you we do not have political independence.

The wonderful thing is, there are thousands of others just like me, and we are finding each other, and talking and informing everyone we can.

One person at a time if need be,and you know something special is happening when a reader,( whom I also consider a new friend), stops on her road trip across Canada to send you a photo, from the Gordie Howe campground in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because she knows exactly what I will think of it. ( doesn’t get more Canadian than driving across the country in a camper..)

Here is her email from today:

 ”Hi Laila,

I just thought I would send these not so great photos to you… the one with Harper quoted re: Dief! What a total joke for Harper to even be quoted for one thing and to call himself a Tory! I grew up thinking the Conservatives knew what they were about due to Diefenbaker but those days are long past and only a few good old boys are trying to call Harper into line…

Anyway…how one man can change a nation so quickly…for the worse!

Keep writing…my husband and I are doing our first trip in a small camper across Canada …and reminiscing about Canada along the way…and hope to be in Ottawa for July 1st and I will be wearing my anti Enbridge T-shirt with my save our salmon hoodie! “

Best, Barb

Well, the photos were all great, and here is one photo that I think speaks volumes!!The irony is clear and I am sure old Dief would be turning in his grave if he saw this.

Clearly Harper didn’t learn a hell of a lot from Diefenbaker, now did he? That’s all I am going to say about that. ( I will be featuring more photos from Barb and her hubby’s trip across Canada, since I asked her to continue to send photos to me of things that really stood out for her along the way,things she felt were really Canadian)

The second special item for you comes from Priscilla Judd, whom I met while covering the No Prison for Lumby story. Her heart is good and spirit strong and talent…immense.

Priscilla writes:

 ”Life is very much better in Lumby without the fight over a prison but this Federal Government (supported by BC Liberals)  is tearing apart our country – fast. I’ve been busy working lately and writing songs. Anyway, my husband made a video to help me share one of them.I’m sending you my song URL in hopes that first: you like it and second, I’m hoping you will share it.

It’s easy to sing… I have performed it at two protests and it seems to unite people. I hope it goes around in your head and you can remember it if you feel like giving up – I know I do – times are bleak… So let me know how the song works for you – many thanks

in peace

Priscilla”

I opened the link, listened to the song and cried. Yes, it really struck me, the beauty, the truth of that song, and if I had my way this would be our new anthem because it speak to all we hold strong , true and free in Canada.  Yes Priscilla, this works for me just fine!!

Listen. Reflect. Enjoy. Will you stand beside me, and stand up for British Columbia, for Canada when they need us most? To remain, the true north, strong and FREE.

“O Canada we’ve all agreed to stand for the true north strong and free with glowing hearts from sea to sea we stand on guard for thee

O Canada on Native land we wash the oil from tar and sand from pipe to power this darkest hour from sea to shining sea

But who stands watch for the earth below? stands for the ice and the melting snow? who for the land to call our home? Oh Canada I don’t know

O Canada with fossil soil we frack the gas and mine the coal for carbon power this darkest hour from sea to shining sea

but Who looks out for the prairie sky? stands for the air so none of us die? who for wind and the birds that fly? where the planet goes there go I

O Canada from forest green we ship the logs and cut the trees and there for the river that meets the sea with mud and logging debris

O Canada O Canada who stands watch from sea to sea? who for a lost democracy? who for the true north strong and free?

if not you then let it be me”

Two precious gifts – one of hope… the other of healing.

As I wrote last weekend, in the annual re-post of ” A gift from the heart “ – the story of how an anonymous Christmas gift provided me with something far more precious than soap – the most valuable gifts are always ones given from the heart.

Little did I know, when I posted that story, that it would lead to another precious gift, this one of healing – and not just my own.

I met Priscilla Judd last year after she emailed to ask if I would cover the Lumby prison story. I did – yet another  story of politicians behaving badly – and forged a friendship with this feisty piano-tuner/songwriter/artist/ activist. And talented she is, composing and recording the alternative Canadian anthem that shook many Canadians to the core across the nation this year, when she released the video that was shared by thousands, from sea to shining sea.

When Priscilla messaged me on facebook last weekend, telling me how much the story moved her and asking if she might use it as the theme for a new song, I was quite surprised. Of course, I agreed,noting a certain… feeling in her statement  “…your words are unforgettable.”

I woke early this morning, as I usually do, grabbed my morning cup of coffee and sat down to do my morning rounds on the net. I was checking emails, when I saw an email from Priscilla with the simple subject line:  ‘song lyrics’.

I clicked on it, began to read… and the tears began to flow so unexpectedly, absolutely uncontrollably, that I doubled over, hands over my mouth. Taking a breath and clicking through my tears, I opened the MP3 file of her recording, and the tears began again,hearing her tears as she sang the story of my past… and more.

5:30 am, on 12-12-12,  more than decade and a lifetime since ” the gift” of fragrant soaps carried me through darkness – there I was sobbing at my desk, this time a gift of healing, a gift from one friends heart to another, my story to hers… and soon.. hers to mine.

It was as if her lyrics had unleashed thousands of pounds of baggage and pain, neither of which I was aware I even carried until that moment, this morning.

Over many emails we shared our tears, our gratitude.. and finally, Priscilla shared the reason my story struck her so very hard…

“… the bars all close on Christmas day… So ‘santa’ drops in to sleep… but before that day…

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas – I was attending alanon by then, it was a couple of weeks before my third child was born.

I had no coat that fit – I zipped it from the top down belly outside and I had Dr Scholls sandals cuz my feet were so swollen. I wore bare feet in the sandals even in the snow (I hated wet socks). I was standing in front of the shoe store looking at the boots. A stranger came up to me and asked if I was Priscilla (Roe at that time) I said yes and she handed me an envelope and said that someone wanted me to have this Christmas card.

I was happy – I thanked her – I looked around – I knew no one – she walked off and I started opening the card… $50

Tears came down so hard and my two baby girls just looked at me – they were about 2 and 8 months. Anyway – I bought food for Christmas including oranges for the girls.

I was barefoot when I went to the hospital to have the baby… ‘He’ had a job!

I wore my old shoes after my baby son was born and my feet were smaller.  Oh Laila it’s heartbreaking how women can be so strong.

Sorry I’m crying at the end of the song. Gord says we can record it again if it disturbs you.  There now, I’ve shared my story with you. I sing for you and me and all the women – all of us – I love you so much – thank you for making our world brighter.”

And damn if I’m not crying again as I write this but I can’t help it. It’s just wrong, so damn wrong that this happens, that this happened to Priscilla.

It’s easy to sit and judge and say:  “Well, you could have left, no one made you stay.” – which, by the way, people have said to myself, and other women. But unless you’ve been there, unless you know what it’s like firsthand, you don’t, can’t really know… and here she’s thanking me, when it is I who is so thankful, grateful to have her and others like her in my life, for their strength and courage.. and… well, there aren’t enough words to describe my gratitude.

That’s why this song Priscilla wrote, born of my Christmas story, is about more than her, or I – it’s about all women, she sings, the souls of those we cannot see…. and love,hope and acts of kindness so random yet so vital to our humanity. Sometimes our angels walk among us. They are us, each of us, and we can be something more to another, if only we reach out and forget what everything we’ve been taught about minding our own business.

I considered myself so lucky to get one precious gift in this life from another, it is a miracle to have had another come my way at such a different, happier, point in my life.

Thank you Priscilla. Thank you.

http://www.gordonandpriscillajudd.ca/blog/?page_id=499

Canada, we stand on guard for thee…

Tonight, I have two special items for you, at least special to me because of where they came from, and why.

They both concern Canada. Our country – for some like myself, a birthright, for others a choice to find a better life. There was a time, not that long ago, that I outright admit I took our liberties and freedoms here in this great, amazing land for granted. And why not? This is Canada, after all, where as Pierre Burton once said, you know you are one when you can make love in a canoe…without tipping. Beavers chomping, moose munching and kids playing hockey on frozen ponds… the clichés abound when it comes to Canadians and our country.

I love them all, I really do. But to me, what really makes us Canadian is our endless strength and our convictions. Right now, both are being tested, and sadly, by our own government – a government who many say, and I agree, is selling our country out, putting it at grave risk and forgetting the wonderful people who made this country what it is.

 Our arts are being killed, our scientists muzzled and silenced, our environment mismanaged or sold to foreign interests, our personal rights and freedoms are being eroded every day. Our government seems to have forgotten what country this is, and I think I have become a nationalist(eek) – someone who advocates political independence for our country. I love, and will defend my country, and will do so using my pen and paper… or computer as modern times dictate. 

 We aren’t politically independent in Canada, nor are we in B.C. When you have corporate friends who have great influence over political leaders, when you have foreign governments who are paying for educational supplements here, actively lobbying and shaping policy and impacting government affairs,when you have a prime minister who openly tells his country he will overrule due process to make something wrong, right…. I am telling you we do not have political independence.

The wonderful thing is, there are thousands of others just like me, and we are finding each other, and talking and informing everyone we can.

 One person at a time if need be,and you know something special is happening when a reader,( whom I also consider a new friend), stops on her road trip across Canada to send you a photo, from the Gordie Howe campground in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because she knows exactly what I will think of it. ( doesn’t get more Canadian than driving across the country in a camper..)

Here is her email from today:

 “Hi Laila,

I just thought I would send these not so great photos to you… the one with Harper quoted re: Dief! What a total joke for Harper to even be quoted for one thing and to call himself a Tory! I grew up thinking the Conservatives knew what they were about due to Diefenbaker but those days are long past and only a few good old boys are trying to call Harper into line…

Anyway…how one man can change a nation so quickly…for the worse!

Keep writing…my husband and I are doing our first trip in a small camper across Canada …and reminiscing about Canada along the way…and hope to be in Ottawa for July 1st and I will be wearing my anti Enbridge T-shirt with my save our salmon hoodie! ”

Best, Barb

Well, the photos were all great, and here is one photo that I think speaks volumes!!The irony is clear and I am sure old Dief would be turning in his grave if he saw this.

 Clearly Harper didn’t learn a hell of a lot from Diefenbaker, now did he? That’s all I am going to say about that. ( I will be featuring more photos from Barb and her hubby’s trip across Canada, since I asked her to continue to send photos to me of things that really stood out for her along the way,things she felt were really Canadian)

The second special item for you comes from Priscilla Judd, whom I met while covering the No Prison for Lumby story. Her heart is good and spirit strong and talent…immense.

Priscilla writes:

 “Life is very much better in Lumby without the fight over a prison but this Federal Government (supported by BC Liberals)  is tearing apart our country – fast. I’ve been busy working lately and writing songs. Anyway, my husband made a video to help me share one of them.I’m sending you my song URL in hopes that first: you like it and second, I’m hoping you will share it.

It’s easy to sing… I have performed it at two protests and it seems to unite people. I hope it goes around in your head and you can remember it if you feel like giving up – I know I do – times are bleak… So let me know how the song works for you – many thanks

in peace

Priscilla”

I opened the link, listened to the song and cried. Yes, it really struck me, the beauty, the truth of that song, and if I had my way this would be our new anthem because it speak to all we hold strong , true and free in Canada.  Yes Priscilla, this works for me just fine!!

 Listen. Reflect. Enjoy. Will you stand beside me, and stand up for British Columbia, for Canada when they need us most? To remain, the true north, strong and FREE.

“O Canada we’ve all agreed to
stand for the true north strong and free
with glowing hearts from sea to sea
we stand on guard for thee

O Canada on Native land
we wash the oil from tar and sand
from pipe to power this darkest hour
from sea to shining sea

But who stands watch for the earth below?
stands for the ice and the melting snow?
who for the land to call our home?
Oh Canada I don’t know

O Canada with fossil soil
we frack the gas and mine the coal
for carbon power this darkest hour
from sea to shining sea

but Who looks out for the prairie sky?
stands for the air so none of us die?
who for wind and the birds that fly?
where the planet goes there go I

O Canada from forest green
we ship the logs and cut the trees
and there for the river that meets the sea
with mud and logging debris

O Canada O Canada
who stands watch from sea to sea?
who for a lost democracy?
who for the true north strong and free?

if not you then let it be me”