Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

16 October, 2017


Members of welcoming committee help immigrant family get settled in their new home.
Many commendable humanitarian programs are carried out in small communities across Canada with little, or no, fanfare.  That's just the Canadian way!

A case in point is Saugeen Shores where the second newcomer family arrived this past weekend.

The two parents and four children had a long, exhausting journey from Tanzania to South Africa, and then all the way to Toronto, but they showed up at Pearson International Airport wearing big smiles and their Sunday best. Upon arriving in Port Elgin, a welcoming committe drove the family past their rental house (which they’ll move into on November 1st) and they clapped excitedly. They were also thrilled to see the school that the youngsters will attend.

For now, they will stay in temporary accommodations and begin the long process of integrating into the Lake Huron community and learning English. They speak only a few basic words, no French, only Swahili.

Many local residents have kindly expressed a desire to donate household goods and clothing to the family. Just as an example, here is a list of specific items needed at this time.

– Bathroom supply kit (toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant, sanitary pads, dental floss, washcloth, etc.)

– First aid kit

– Minor medications kit (Tylenol, Gravol, etc.)

– Grocery carrier or wagon (for making trips on foot to Walmart) – Toys for kids (baseball gloves, soccer ball, Frisbee, colouring books and craft supplies)

– Clothing & footwear (running shoes and winter boots) for specific ages: 12-year-old girl, 9-yr-old boy, 7-yr-old girl, 4-yr-old boy, 2 parents (both are slight and small). At this point, they need everything

-- Pants, skirts, shirts, undershirts, etc.

The parents will be subsequently enrolled in English classes at the ESL school in Owen Sound. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the week, Monday to Friday, and volunteer drivers will be recruited.  All volunteers of course, are required to complete a vulnerable sector background check, as is required of anyone working with refugees under Canadian law.

The family of six comes from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has been residing in Tanzania. It has been two years since The Saugeen Shores Refugee Fund began a campaign to sponsor a family from Syria. That first family arrived in January 2016. This will be the group’s second and final sponsorship, made possible by donations from the community, Bruce Power, and local service groups.

“We decided to expand our criteria for sponsorship to other parts of the world, not just the Middle East. There are so many refugee crises happening all over, and the conflict in East Africa has been ongoing for many years,” says Katherine Martinko, SSRF coordinator.

SSRF works together with Mennonite Central Committee to make the sponsorship happen. Financial support is provided to the family for one year, with half the funds coming from fund-raised money and the other half provided by the federal government.

As they say: "It takes a community...!"  Perhaps more accurately in this case -- a country.
Happy faces of welcoming committee.

10 October, 2017


For the purpose of a brief exercise, think about a time when you really wanted to change something, whether it was your lifestyle, your behavior, or to be just a bit more conscious about the world: what and where you buy, what you choose to eat, how you give back to society. Truthfully, often we hesitate, or don't act at all; sometimes, we make a good start, only to find our enthusiasm and motivation fade after a few weeks. We go back to old behaviors.
Enlightenment and evolution.

There's a lot that plays into our struggle to change, transition and transform. To start off, our brains love a good (and a bad) habit. It just has to be a habit for our brains to want to keep doing it. Secondly, we have in our DNA the struggles of the agricultural age, and the early industrial age. We thought progress was something that would free us, make life easier. We're not so willing to give any of that up, even if it really hasn't freed us at all; even if it means making a more sustainable world for future generations.

From my perspective, after decades of earnest spiritual seeking, I find myself falling into a pattern of settling for a transformation far less profound or complete than the one I aimed for when I started. Is it that—as some ancient eastern traditions tell us—enlightenment is such a lofty goal that we should not expect to experience any radical transformation in one lifetime? Should we instead see our current incarnation as but one of millions of baby steps toward that supreme goal?

Or is it, as many contemporary teachers are fond of saying, that any attempt to change ourselves is in fact misguided—that we should simply “accept what is,” “call off the search,” and realize that ordinary life in all of its neurotic frailty is enough?

With all due respect to those of differing opinion, perhaps there is another possibility.

Could it just be that the reason some of us find ourselves in a spiritual standstill is the fact that our spiritual path is just too small. In a word, it’s still about us—our own fulfillment, our own happiness, even our own enlightenment. It’s not that we’re selfish people. Indeed, most spiritual seekers are among the most selfless people on the planet.

The problem is that we’ve all been steeped in a contemporary spiritual subculture that sees the entire purpose of following a spiritual path as personal. It tells us that the reason for working on spiritual growth is so that we can live happier, more fulfilled, more peaceful lives.  And, as long as our own happiness is all we’re seeking, we’ll never awaken the depth of spiritual passion and conviction required to propel us into genuine evolution beyond ego.

That conviction only arises when we realize that the spiritual path is not about us, but rather is about participating in something far greater than ourselves. Imagine for a moment that the fate of the entire human race rested on your shoulders alone--that humanity’s evolution out of brute self-interest depended entirely on your willingness to transform your consciousness, to rise above your smallness, to evolve beyond your negative conditioning, and become an exemplar of humanity’s highest potential for the world.

Imagine too that, for you, evolving beyond ego became an evolutionary imperative.  Would you approach your path any differently? Would the energy you brought to your spiritual practice intensify? Would the quality of awareness and care with which you approached your interactions with others become more profound?

Would you find yourself reaching with inner muscles you didn’t even know you had to actually stay awake to the depth you’ve tasted in your most profound spiritual moments?...If you knew it all rested on you, would you have any choice but to change?

The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi once said that the spiritual seeker must want liberation like a drowning person wants air.  But the painful truth is that even when we recognize that we are drowning spiritually, most of us don’t care enough to struggle to keep our heads above water.

The challenges of authentic spiritual growth and transformation are so great that most of us will choose to continue suffering in our smallness, rather than feel the pain of allowing that smallness to die forever.  But how many of us would stay there if we realized that it wasn’t only our own suffering we were perpetuating, but the suffering of the entire human race?

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s a nice thought experiment. Sure, it makes me realize I could be more earnest on my path, but what does it really have to do with me? I’m no megalomaniac. I know that my growth and evolution alone isn’t enough to liberate the human race.”

Consider, however, that modern science has in recent decades been verifying what the ancient traditions intuited long ago: that, in both tangible and mysterious ways, we are all interconnected. Any one of us can have a profound effect on the whole. Add to that the reality that we are evolving beings living in an evolving universe—that we are all part of a grand, cosmic evolutionary process—and the question of our obligation to the whole starts to cut close to the bone.

To reframe my earlier question: What if we realized that the entire human endeavor, the evolution of consciousness itself, depended on our willingness to evolve our own consciousness?  Would it affect the choices we make every day if we knew that in a very real sense, those choices were either contributing to the evolution of the whole—or holding it back?

At this time when it seems that our very future depends on our willingness to evolve as a species, would you have any choice but to act in alignment with the greatest evolutionary good? The point I’m trying to make is that when we take a closer look at what spiritual work and growth is actually for, it quickly becomes clear that the path of awakening is not primarily about freeing ourselves from suffering and securing our own happiness.

Sure, that’s a nice by-product. But, as long as that’s all we’re seeking, we probably won’t get very far.

Where the spiritual path really begins to get interesting is when we recognize that transforming ourselves in the deepest possible way is in fact an evolutionary imperative, with profound consequences far beyond ourselves.  If we begin to embrace the fact that our lives are not simply our own to do with as we please—that in everything we do, we are in fact accountable to the Whole—something truly miraculous begins to happen.

Faced with the palpable responsibility to evolve for a greater good, it just may be possible to find that we suddenly have access to a seemingly infinite source of energy, intention, passion and courage to confront whatever challenges present themselves on our path. What’s more, all of the personal issues and problems—all of the fears and doubts and resistances that once seemed so insurmountable—may well begin to seem a lot less significant.

Why? Because our attention is now captivated by something much bigger than ourselves. This is the power of context. We see our individual concerns, the worries we fret over day to day, from a different vantage point. Held up against this larger picture and greater purpose, those concerns suddenly seem very small indeed.

Realizing “it’s not all about me,” and ignited by a noble calling to participate in the grand adventure of conscious evolution, there is a very real possibility that we could find that we no longer even want to waste a moment of our precious life energy on those worries. And in this freedom from self-concern, before long we actually discover that the deep inner peace and joy we were seeking all along has become the very ground we are walking on.

Stay tuned.  You will be hearing more about the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality. The younger generation should definitely be alerted to it.

05 October, 2017


I believe in "democratic" government.  I am "conservative" by nature and "liberal" with my time, energy and limited resources. Apart from politics, I think that the majority of us share similar personal virtues and no single one of those philosophical qualities completely defines us.

It is pertinent to note here that I have never aligned with a particular political party, choosing instead to vote for candidates on the basis of character and qualifications.  In the end, I accept the will of the majority and allow for the fact that there is no perfect government, just as there is no perfect politician.

The reason I mention the above is that I have increasingly heard those same terms spewed out in a political context, and not in a complimentary way.  In the United States, ‘liberal’ is often used as an epithet. To some degree, the terms ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘social conservative’ or ‘socialist’ are also used as negative descriptors in Canada.

Certain acquaintances in the USA, for instance, are extremely vocal in condemning "bleeding heart liberals" for everything that is wrong with their country.  A closer look at American politics reveals that historically liberalism has been associated with the Democratic Party while the Republican Party is influenced by conservative principles.

Part of the problem with the word ‘liberal’ is it’s used differently across time, and across countries. In Canada, the word mostly means a supporter of the Liberal Party, or someone in the political middle. In the United States, it means a strong social progressive, and in some circles can mean a socialist or a communist. In Europe it’s associated with internationalism and free migration. In Australia, in the words of Australian Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull, it means the primacy of “freedom, the individual, and the market.”  (That last one, the Australian definition, is probably closest to what political scientists consider a classical liberal view.)

The concepts of liberalism, both classical and modern, are political philosophies and ideologies not specific political affiliations, and these concepts, among others, influence parties across the Canadian spectrum.

To my mind it is not particularly helpful to use philosophical terminology as a pejorative, or to try and sum up a person’s character or values with a snippy line about liberals, conservatives, socialists, or anarchists.

I worry that sometimes we throw out terminology as weapons and rhetorical jabs when aggressively expressing political views. Understand that behind all of the different perspectives and ideologies, there’s some claim to justice there. And even if I disagree in large measure with much of what’s being said, there is some truth that is being expressed. There’s something good in it. As good as it is to be engaged in politics and to really care about what’s happening, it’s also good to step back sometimes and to understand that when we use terms like conservative, liberal, progressive, socialist, they’re all reflecting a certain claim to justice, and there’s probably something in each of those that we can agree with.

If we could only understand that behind all the terms we throw around to describe people, there is a rich intellectual history, we could have more respectful and constructive political debate.

20 September, 2017


Sad news folks...Wiarton Willie has passed on to that heavenly burrow in the sky. He was 13 in groundhog years.

Willie, an albino groundhog, came out each Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) to prognosticate whether or not spring would make an early arrival.  Last year, 2016, was the 60th anniversary of the Wiarton Willie Festival that has drawn thousands of visitors over the years and media from every corner of the province of Ontario.

"It's a sad day for Wiarton," said Mayor Janice Jackson. "Willie was a wonderful ambassador and we will be forever grateful as he put us on the map. We did give him 13 years however, as life span for a groundhog is approximately four years and less than that for an albino."

Willie lived in a 'house' designed by the Toronto Zoo and that was thermostatically controlled and where visitors could visit and see the star attraction at any time.

According to Jackson, there is an understudy, 'Wee Willie' who will assume the responsibility of his predecessor.  Wiarton will be holding a 'send-off funeral' for Willie on September 30th at Blue Water Park in Wiarton.


At the end of September, libraries and bookstores everywhere will be celebrating “Banned Books Week.” This got us thinking: why do people ban books (or, in extreme cases, burn them)? Literature is such a fundamental part of human life, and yet time and time again throughout history there have been concerted efforts to suppress or destroy certain books.
These days, when we talk about banned books, titles such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” usually come to mind. However, let’s not forget that one of the most commonly banned books worldwide is not some provocative piece of modern literature, it is the Bible. Today, owning a Bible in certain countries is downright dangerous and can lead to arrest, assault, or worse.

Closer to home, there is a move afoot in my own community of Saugeen Shores to have the Bible removed from public school classrooms.

Book Burning Throughout History

At the same time, it’s worth noting that censorship is nothing new when it comes to political and religious texts. Almost every country or religion has experienced some form of book burning. In 213 B.C, a Chinese Emperor burned philosophy and history books from states other than Qin, because the books did not comply with his dogma. Torah and Talmud scrolls have been burned since the early days of Christianity up until the Holocaust. Catholic priests burned Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
A Harry Potter book is burned.
Copies of Harry Potter books frequently targeted for burning.

Unfortunately, book burning remains in fashion even to this day. Perhaps the most well-known modern example involves the popular “Harry Potter” book. J.K. Rowling’s now-famous stories have been frequently criticized by religious figures for romanticizing the occult and promoting devil worship. Some pastors, claiming the books were harmful to children, went as far as to hold public book burnings in an attempt to rid the Earth of the “ungodly” themes of wizardry promoted within.
Then again, book burning is not nearly as common as it once was. These days books deemed too offensive to read in school are put on the “Banned Books” list. Many school libraries continue to block students from reading certain supposedly-dangerous texts.

Censorship in Religion

Religious leaders often choose to stifle ideas that don’t align with the core teachings of their faith. For example, Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species” is rarely welcome during discussions about creation among people of faith. But isn’t there value in understanding ideas that contradict your own? Without reading the evidence behind evolution, how could a Christian successfully defend his/her belief in Creationism?
Great literature is worth reading and discussing, whether we believe with the point-of-view of the author or not. If a person is not strong enough in their own beliefs to stand against an opposing viewpoint, then censorship is the inevitable outcome. But is it the right one?

Words censored on a page.Why Ban Books?

Supporters of banning books argue that we need to protect people (and children especially) from offensive, inaccurate or obscene printed content. Critics, on the other hand, insist that all readers – even younger ones – deserve access to the written word, no matter how controversial it might be.
Now, parents may have good reasons to prevent their child from reading a particular book, but that’s hardly the point. Parents are well within their rights to make that decision. Issues arise, however, when censorship of ideas come from the top down – say, from a church or a school district.
A noted Supreme Court member once said “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.”  I believe that to be true.

19 September, 2017


The singer, songwriter who lured me into her unfamiliar Facebook web, then gave me the heave-ho when I proved to be an irritant.  How could you not instantly love that serene countenance though?
I won't go into introductory detail, but I recently became Facebook "friends" with a very musically talented woman who had impressed me for some time with her beautiful singing voice and the intriguing lyrics to the songs she writes.  I became the 610th follower of  Kate Magdalena Willens who bills herself as "singer songwriter, a mother, a Musical Chaplain, an environmentalist, and a truth teller."

As far as I was concerned, I was simply enthralled by what I felt was a Joni Mitchell clone, only possibly better.  Her "Ave Maria Prayer for Children" and rendition of "Both Sides Now" completely won me over.

The environmentalist and truth teller side of Kate was all new to me and it became abundantly clear that I had strayed into a situation that was completely foreign to me.  Her Facebook timeline is almost completely given over to her commitment to an engineered weather and conspiracy theory in addition to a disdain for the "liberal" faction.  I was not prepared for any of that.

Kate Magdalena Willens, the protest singer and social media activist, became an intriguing enigma for me with her unexpected contradiction of interests and talent.

Last week she had this to say "...about the geoengineered hurricanes that blasted through our southern states wreaking havoc, destroying lives. But what are lives to the evil oligarchs selling us the geoengineering that has already been in place for two decades? As their battle slogans go, 'at any cost' for their agenda to control the planet, with drastically reduced populations, through the external arm of the UN. The worst thing about 'Liberals' is that they just can't see any of this. It's invisible to them. And if you speak of it, they will use the term devised by the CIA to diminish those that are able to think critically, conspiracy theorists. When there are conspirators like this, you better start thinking critically."

Truthfully, I had difficulty following the train of thought.

Over the course of several weeks I attempted to rationalize and understand posts like the above and even went so far as to pose a few questions and suggest alternate views in my Devil's Advocate sort of way which, I admit, is not always appreciated.  In one of her responses to me she wrote "Please stop telling us how to live Dick. Many others are doing the hard work of dealing with the reality in which we find ourselves. You have your path, and others have theirs. Don't presume you have to teach others the way, or pontificate, please, thank you."  

I was being taken to task for my reaction to an open letter from one of Kate's staunch followers -- a poor soul by the name of Tim Boyd.  It is classic example.  Here is what Tim had to say:

"Open message to all you victims of mind control and social engineering out there. Isn't it about time you opened your eyes to the reality of it all? How can you Not see, what is being done, on a daily basis? Do you Not care? Isn't the future of your kids and grandkids, indeed, the future of Planet Earth, worth anything to you?

"It is happening on All fronts...whether or not you want to believe it. "Oh...I am Not going down that rabbit hole..." Well, I hate to be the one to inform you of this FACT...simply because you refuse to acknowledge these things, it will Not make them go away. They actually are making you ill, causing Dis Ease, Big Pharma, the AMA, all for profit, and possibly other nefarious reasons. Control perhaps...and throw the Military Industrial Complex into the mix...the CIA, and a few other corrupt ABC agencies such as the EPA, USDA, FDA and BLM...agencies that are supposed to protect us from the very crimes they are in fact perpetrating on us.

"9-11 was an inside job...geoengineering of the skies and weather modification is very real...genetically modified organisms are Not beneficial to Life...vaccines are largely Harmful, rather than helpful...I could go on, but suffice to say, we Are being attacked on many levels. The ones of us who are spreading the word, tirelessly in most cases, enduring verbal abuse from friends and relatives, will continue. Join us please. We are approaching Critical Mass. Be the Hundredth Monkey!"

I could not help myself!  In thanking Tim for his efforts in tirelessly spreading the word, I asked "...what do you propose we now do with the information you dispense...Worry ourselves sick, live in a bubble, start a rebellion, pray a lot while continuing to enjoy a fool's paradise here on earth or better yet, ignore you in the hope that you will eventually go away and take the prophet of doom and gloom with you?"  I further suggested that if Tim saw himself as part of the Critical Mass, he was going about it all wrong. "Try something tangible like unconditional happiness, peace and love to all the world instead of critical scolding of unbelievers and see how that approach works for you," I urged.

I was quick to learn that on Kate's timeline it was either her way or the highway.  You are either with "the movement" all the way or you are not.  There is no room for Mr. In Between, although she did manage tolerate me -- for  while.

This is all by means of introducing what for me was an unexplored culture and way of looking at environmental events that are happening around the world. I haven't been able to think of much else in recent days. Here is what my subsequent research has revealed:

Contrary to popular belief, a technology that is capable of intensifying a hurricane exists and has existed since before most of us were born. This technology is not even secret. Since at least as far back as the 1940s, successful scientific experiments involving weather modification have been conducted. There is no longer any secrecy about the fact that technology capable of intensifying a tropical storm is real. The technology is known as cloud-seeding. An aircraft simply drops chemicals capable of encouraging condensation into a cloud, intensifying the storm.

In spite of the fact that the existence of one form of weather modification is not even a secret, governments and other organizations may be keeping secrets about when, how, and why the technology is used. Has the technology ever been used as a weapon? It certainly could be used as a way of inflicting death and destruction on a region without the inhabitants even knowing that they had been attacked.

Hurricanes of unusually high intensity do of course occur naturally. The undetectability makes weather modification a particularly dangerous weapon. In recent times, evidence that Hurricane Harvey was artificially strengthened has surfaced. The hurricane did not seem to be particularly strong in a natural way. Instead, the hurricane seems to have repeatedly regained its strength after weakening, an unlikely event if the hurricane was a purely natural force.

The technology allegedly used to refuel Hurricane Harvey does not seem to have been cloud seeding from aircraft, but rather man-made evaporation from facilities on the ground. Like cloud seeding, the existence of this technology is publicly known and is not kept secret. Analysis of satellite footage of the storm is said to be more compatible with artificial interference than with a natural storm of unusual intensity.

If the hurricane was in fact deliberately strengthened, what people were involved, and what was their motivation? There are few theories about why these storms are artificially strengthened. It is difficult to believe that weaponized storms are used simply to inflict fear on the population. Evil exists, but evil people and organizations tend to have motivations that one can understand.

As Americans begin to recover from the deluge of Hurricane Harvey and start to wrap their minds around ferocious Category 5 Irma, they find themselves in a dreadful moment between two storms of mythical proportions. As answers and up-to-date information is sought, our social media timelines are consumed with dire forecasts and projected outcomes.

At a glance, you may see no reason to doubt the data --  it certainly appears to be a viable scientific prediction. But what about that handle, @weatherwarsinfo? Sounds kind of suspicious. So you Google the name “Scott Stevens,” plus “meteorologist,” and you find that, he believes so-called chemtrails are used to control weather patterns. You learn that he resigned as the meteorologist of a local TV station in 1995 after it came out that he had lied about his credentials.

More astonishingly, Stevens left a different TV station in 2005, after working there for nine years, so that he could pursue an unusual theory about Hurricane Katrina: He claimed that Japan’s Yakuza mafia had acquired an electromagnetic generator made in Russia at the height of the Cold War and used it to create the storm to “avenge” the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. And in 2012, he told conspiracist Alex Jones that Hurricane Sandy’s path had been set by the government, which possesses means of weather modification beyond all reckoning.

Kate patterns much of her online presentation off the work of Stevens and others of his ilk. She even hosts a radio podcast as a means of furthering her "mission" with guests like Patrick Roddie, the Robin Hood of the geoengineering activist movement who sees his long-term goal of totally exposing human contamination of the environment as being a spiritually-inspired calling. The envornmental issue is a theme that is also written, or rewritten, into most of Kate's protest songs. *The above video is an excellent example of one of her songs that is both alluring and disturbing at the same time.

Yes, indeed weather "truthers" are out there, and they have some pretty creative (may I suggest, far-fetched) ideas. As wildfires rage in some areas and deadly flooding exists in others, they see a confluence of natural disasters that cannot amount to coincidence, or even the effects of dramatic, accelerating climate change. For some reason, they find a nefarious plot to direct the wind and rain with secret, advanced technology more plausible than evidence that carbon emissions contribute to the destructive power of hurricanes. And they latch onto odd details to make their case. Take this woman who interpreted a graphic of Irma’s size as proof that it was engineered specifically to engulf the state of Florida, which is roughly the same length.

Where the logic behind such weather warfare is concerned, the truthers are free to cite any number of explanations. Rush Limbaugh says hurricanes are manufactured (and hyped by the media) to sell bottled water and emergency supplies. California contractor Dane Wigington, who runs a geoengineering web site, believes Irma and Harvey are efforts to keep the eastern half of the U.S. artificially cool as the rest of the globe boils — and that includes the western U.S., which he calls a “climate sacrifice zone.”

And what of the methods? Artificial weather-chasers are typically even less specific there, except to say that the military-industrial complex has been experimenting with ways to start or prevent storms for many decades, so of course they figured it out.

If there’s one device or installation the conspiracy theorists have zeroed in on, it’s the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), based in Gakona, Alaska.

High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (image via Wikipedia)
The facility was established in the early 1990s by the Navy, Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Its antennae were used to research ionospheric phenomena in the hopes of developing enhanced technology “for communications and surveillance purposes,” per the program’s description. This combination of widely misunderstood science, a remote location and government interests — it is, after all, “a gigantic, high-energy, Pentagon-funded gizmo” — has led people to believe that HAARP is a mind-control operation, a means of assassination and the culprit behind everything from the TWA Flight 800 crash to the Columbine shooting. And despite having been shut down several years ago, it continues to take the blame for recent waves of “weaponized” weather.

Lest you assume, however, that everyone in this niche agrees on HAARP’s role in all this, I’d point you to the YouTube account WeatherWar101, which takes a strong stance against the “HAARP drivel” and “Chemtrail Confusion” peddled by Wigington and Stevens. Their takes have “turned the entire community into laughing stock,” the channel’s anonymous operator writes, arguing that “In-Place Sequential Water Vapor Generation” is the cause of Irma and Harvey. (When you can’t point to ominous-looking machinery, it seems the best course of action is to cloak your writing in dense jargon.)

The fact is, weather modification does exist — and its repeated failures are the best indications that nobody has the capacity to manufacture hurricanes. Cloud seeding, a way of increasing precipitation by distributing particles (often silver iodide) into an air system, remains an unproven technique more than a century after it was first pioneered, yet California is bone-dry and desperate enough to try to force rainfall this way. Project Stormfury, an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones using similar principles, fizzled out in the 1980s. And psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich thought to manipulate the skies with his “cloudbuster” device, which he said influenced “Orgone Energy,” a cosmic life force he also happened to invent. (Widely considered a fraud, Reich later died in prison.)

The machine most emblematic of our inability to harness or repel climate events, however, would be the hail cannon, “a shock wave generator used to disrupt the formation of hailstones in their growing phase.” Although the concept supposedly dates back to before the Industrial Revolution, there’s no reason to suspect hail cannons actually work — in reality, they’re more of a loud annoyance, producing intense booming noises every few seconds when a storm is detected. Would a civilization that can create or guide massive hurricanes still be using something this silly and superstitious?

Truthers, of course, will insist that the last few generations of progress in weather control have been kept secret. Their strange conviction as to our species’ technological omnipotence harks back to ancient rituals meant to please the gods of the sun and surf, guaranteeing favorable seasons. No doubt it is more comforting to think that some undefined “they,” no matter how evil, is in control of the elements than to confront our basic helplessness — just as President Trump would rather dismiss climate change as an elaborate Chinese hoax than deal with the stark threats it poses to the planet.

In that light, the weather-control conspiracists represent a perverse new iteration of climate-change skepticism, which otherwise tends to hold that human impact on nature is grossly overstated. While many of us worry about whether Harvey, Irma, droughts and heatwaves are partly “human-made” catastrophes, worsened by melting glaciers and rising oceans, the weather truthers are at once ignoring that possibility and heightening it to a fabulist extreme: Not only are the hurricanes and wildfires human-made, but we made them on purpose, to serve a shadowy elite. The same global trends that up the frequency of “hundred-year” floods will simply reinforce this narrative, offering countless more examples of brazenly “engineered” storms.

In other words, as forecasts call for more wild weather, we can expect to hear a lot more from the
Kate Magdalena Willens of the world. Trust me, this has been a mere tip-of-the-iceberg summary. There is so much more to this controversial subject.

Oh yes, I almost forgot...Kate has since eliminated me from her Facebook timeline.  She gave me the following kiss-off:  "Dick just wanted to say i'm sorry about unfriending you, i don't have any hard feelings, but i just don't want you commenting in the same way about everything i post. my mission is given to me, and i'm following it! Thanks for your friendly attitude."

It is an ill wind...

My beautiful songstress ends up singing a different tune and I now hear it with less naive ears, sadly not as much to my liking.  Too bad!

I'll weather the disappointment, a little heart-broken, slightly insulted but a little more informed on one of the most controversial subjects of the century!  I suppose it could well end up being the death of me...In truth, I really don't know.

11 September, 2017


I was terrible at math in school and looking back, I think it may have impeded my approach to most of the other subjects on the curriculum at the time.  Certainly, my high school math teacher Frank Brown would think that I would be the last of his students to ever write on the subject.  With all due credit, Frank seemed to understand that I was a math write off but he did not hold that against me. He instead encouraged me in other subjects that were more to my liking, along with extra curricular activities such as sports and high school cadets.  I have always appreciated and respected him for that.

Strangely enough though, mathematics has always intrigued me, mainly I guess because of the difficulty I had in mastering the course of study.  It was with a degree of understanding then that I read a newspaper report to the effect that only half of Ontario's students met minimum the Grade Six standard for mathematics.  It was a form of consolation to learn that even today I would not be alone in my frustration over math, misery enjoying company such as it does.  No surprise that while reading and writing skills seem to respond to educational teaching method changes, mathematics remains a stubborn foe of literacy.

A lot of modern teaching methods have been used over the years but the connection between method and improvement do not seem to have the desired effect.

Math and technology wizard Mike Sterling of Southampton knows full well that anyone who has taught anything at any level understands that teaching is hard work.  When proficiency comes up in conversations, Sterling has noted that there is a lot of over simplification. "To teach 6th Graders for just an hour on any subject takes a lot of 'mental elbow grease'. I've taught mathematics at the university level and I know teaching 6th Grade minds is a whole other story. It is far more difficult," he states.

"Some help has been given school systems in terms of special education for teachers but it is very difficult to measure the cause and effect of change in mathematical education...It is certainly a stubborn problem."

"Are we expecting too much?  Sterling asks.  "Would we expect more than 50% of 6th Graders in Ontario to be able to sight read a musical piece and play it on the piano without error?  Would we expect 6th Graders to be proficient in drawing so that they could do a life-like portrait of a person or scene?"

In all due respect for teachers, we should be careful in trashing the education system as a whole. Education is an evolving process -- changing (as it should) from generation to generation and keeping pace with world advances. The education system we (well some of us) graduated from was quite different from the one in our parents' day and it will be the same for our children and their children's children.

These days, for instance, conceptual knowledge is emphasized in math classes. Students don’t just memorize times tables. They’re expected to understand and explain their mathematical reasoning. In fact, new standards have removed memorization requirements. Thriving in today’s fast changing world requires breadth of skills rooted in academic competencies such as literacy, numeracy and science, but also including such things as teamwork, critical thinking, communication, persistence, and creativity. These skills are in fact interconnected. 

As young people are better able to manage their emotions, for example, their ability to focus helps them learn to read and by working on science projects together they learn how to collaboratively solve problems. This interplay of skills is central to both the concept of breadth of skills as well as to the educational strategies needed to help young people cultivate them. Ultimately, young people today must be agile learners, able to adapt and learn new things quickly in a new fast-changing environment.

Personally, from what I can determine, I think that I would have been a better student in the intellectually challenging classroom of today.  Of course, I couldn't be much worse either!  So that's not saying much.

10 September, 2017


I grew up in a large close-knit family in the 1940s where it was inevitable that during special gatherings my dad and uncles would go off by themselves and "talk politics."  There would always be a lot of loud vocalization, punctuated by roaring good-natured laughter, all of which was tolerated by the women exclaiming "they're at it again!"  I kind of got a kick out listening and marvelled at how seemingly informed -- and opinionated -- they all were.  I never once heard foul language or anything resembling an argument, just good-natured jousting that would end with slaps on the back and a toast of some description as the dinner table was being set.  In truth, that was my first realization that views can differ when it comes to politics but they do not have to lead to hostility, and that no one ever really wins an argument when taking sides. To this day I prefer a rational presentation or discussion of the sides, if in fact there is one.  

It is now clear to me that in North America we are increasingly stuck in a cycle of political hostility bordering on outright hatred. Political parties encourage citizens to “take a side,” and taking a side too often entails becoming irrationally defensive over that side, while ruthlessly bashing the other.

This aggression has ultimately resulted in a range of violence, from citizens being assaulted at political conventions for supporting a candidate of their choice, to students being ostracized in classrooms if they dare to share a political view that opposes the majority. Day after day, Facebook and Twitter news feeds are filled with one-sided political messages (generally of a chain variety) which fuel anger and polarization, while leaving no trace of collaborative solutions to pertinent issues.  I am also increasingly offended by ignorant and uncivilized name-calling and personal insults levelled on upholders of one particular political persuasion or another.

How will defending a political party, mainly because it is “your side,” and hating on the other side, make our country a better place to live? Bashing others, whether it be a person or a political party, does not lead to solutions.  This vicious cycle of aggression is serving as a barrier to collaborative solutions and rational compromise. So what can we do?

The answer: Stop being a hater! Every citizen has the power to break this cycle of aggression, and to fuel a new cycle of collaboration. Here is how to start, as I see it:

1) Recognize Defensiveness
We are all guilty. If we have chosen a political party, we have unfortunately become accustomed to being defensive of that party, even before we know the facts (not to mention that the “facts” are often difficult to come by). The first step to ending the cycle of aggression is to recognize our own defensiveness. Ask yourself these questions:

• Do I understand the wants and needs of both sides?

• Do I have all of the facts?

• Can I be sure that my “facts” are viable?

• Will being defensive of “my side” make this country a better place to live?

2) Stop Reacting, Start Listening
Once we recognize that we are being defensive, it is essential that we stop defending and start listening to what others have to say. Ask yourself these questions:

• What is the underlying want or need that is being argued for?

• Do I understand the want or need of all parties?

• Is that want or need a human right?

• Will that want or need cause harm?

• What might be a logical and fair compromise?

3) Recognize Flaws of every Political Party
Every political party is flawed, including our own. Every political party is guilty of repeatedly committing acts of hate and aggression. And every political party is failing at collaborating with one another in order to reach compromises and create positive change. It is essential that we choose to see and acknowledge these flaws, so that positive progression can be achieved.  Ask yourself these questions:

• Is my political party collaborating across political parties to reach rational compromise and create positive change?

• Is my political party causing harm to anyone or anything?

• Is my political party discriminating against anyone or anything?

• Is my political party respecting human rights of all people?

4) Post Mindfully
What are you posting on social media? We are responsible for fueling the cycle of aggression. One-sided political posts often fuel anger and hate without providing opportunities for collaborative solutions. Instead of posting or sharing one-sided comments, problems or solutions, focus on the need and eliminate the bashing on others.

Before posting something to social media, ask yourself these questions:

• Will this post fuel anger, hate or defensiveness? Will it offend (even some of my friends)?

• Will this post provide or deter an opportunity for collaborative solutions or rational compromise?

• Does this post bash anyone (a political party or a person)?

• Does this post focus on the need, or focus on the hate?

5) Choose Collaboration
The paradigm of “us versus them” serves as the greatest barrier to progress and solutions. Instead of focusing on the best interest of our political party, we need to focus on the best interest of all citizens, and the nation as a whole. We all have the power to choose collaboration by working to understand all sides of the want or need at hand, and by exploring and inviting compromises and solutions.

As a Facebook participant, just for once I would like to see someone post original thoughts on a political issue that contain a balanced presentation of facts leading to the basis of a reasoned opinion. What would be wrong with actually altering someone's political thinking in a positive way, as opposed to offending it with insulting innuendo. That should be the objective of all political pronouncements in the public arena.

Political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, are failing to work together to understand all angles of issues in order to produce progressive solutions. Instead of commending the bashing between political leaders or candidates, ask for collaboration. Recognize that every time a political leader attacks another, they are perpetuating the cycle of aggression, and creating a barrier to collaboration.

Good Lord...What is the world coming to?

I should not have felt compelled to publish any of this.  

The sad part of it is, I predict that 98 per cent of those reading my comments will continue to demonstrate hate for political opposition, resort to unsavory language when other words fail and persist in circulating (copying and/or sharing) unoriginal third and fourth-party material in support of their views on social media.  Something about politics in general that feeds a need for aggressiveness in human nature that can be so damaging and unhealthy in a society today that is already taxed with more than its share of unpleasantness and man's inhumanity to man.

Please tell me that I'm not asking too much!

08 September, 2017


My girl Lucy is blind...She cannot "see" me but "hears" me and thereby knows where I am coming from.  Would that could be the case with many of my fellow human beings...! 

06 September, 2017


Regardless of their religious beliefs, people are worshiping more and more – just not in the manner you might think. They don’t worship by going to church, praying to God, or reading a religious text. They do it by religiously opening Facebook, and I do not think this to be all that much of a stretch.
The Visionary, an epistle of the Universal Life Church Mission, reveals that as of this summer, the number of active users on Facebook has surpassed two billion, making it more popular than Islam (1.8 billion followers) and puts it hot on the heels of Christianity (2.3 billion followers). Going by the numbers, one might conclude that Facebook is now the second-largest "religion" in the world.

Facebook is the new religion
Modern Worship

Although traditional religion remains important in the lives of many people, membership in organized faith groups is on the decline. All across Canada and the United States (as well as in other countries) churches are struggling to keep bodies in the pews on Sundays. Studies show that more people than ever now claim no religious affiliation whatsoever. So, what’s filling the void? Where are these Godless people turning? Well, they’re on Facebook.  You have only to check the time of Facebook activity on the Sabbath for proof of the foregoing.
The social media giant has seen membership skyrocket over the past few years at a rate that would make any religion envious. Consider this, too: Facebook owns three of the five largest social media networks in the world (WhatsApp and Instagram, in addition to the Facebook platform). All told, their combined users total a quarter of the world’s population.
The rampant growth of this new “congregation” has taken many people by surprise, and it’s making traditional religious institutions a little worried.
What are the larger implications of this “new religion”? Well for one, people suddenly have an alternative way to engage with their community. For many, church is as much a social event as a spiritual one. But why drag yourself to church on Sunday morning when you can chat with those same people online, all from the comfort of your home?

But that’s not all. There are countless religious Facebook pages which serve as 24-hour faith discussion forums. Plus, with the advent of Facebook Live and other video applications, some worship services are now live-streamed – allowing people to watch at home on their devices. How can brick-and-mortar churches possibly compete with that kind of convenience?

The Church of the Future

Think about it: apart from those who delight in often unsavory and militant posts on politics and other controversial societal issues, people use Facebook to gather and offer comfort in the wake of a tragedy. They extend encouragement and well wishes to those in need. They wish each other happy birthday. All of this used to happen in person, in houses of worship. Increasingly, it’s happening online. 
Don’t think for a second that any of this is accidental, either. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recognizes the social media giant’s potential to create successful virtual communities, and is actively pushing the company in that direction. Just look at their newest mission statement: “Bringing the world closer together.” The goal couldn’t be clearer.
So what will the consequences be? Could Facebook’s rise result in the slow deterioration of physical faith communities around the globe? Is it possible that the church of the future will exist entirely online?
As the public – millennials especially – live more interconnected, technology-focused lives, it’s a real possibility that the need for human interaction once served by churches and religion at large will be supplanted by social media.

A Changing World

Maybe you still attend church regularly and scoff at the notion of this ever changing. Just think for a second, though – technology is only going to get better. Perhaps a live-streamed service doesn’t interest you, but what will the next few years bring? What if you could put on a Virtual Reality (VR) headset in your living room and experience the church service as if you were in the front row?
That’s not just a possibility, it’s an inevitability. The technology is not far off. But here’s the most interesting part: What company has the resources and incentive to develop, produce, and market such technology?
Facebook, of course.
The church of the future may be coming faster than you think...and streamed directly to your home PC, or where ever you might be on Sunday morning.  Providing you are not too preoccupied to spare 60 minutes of your precious weekend time.

03 September, 2017


Last week on Wrights Lane I wrote about the human tendency to identify oneself with the question "Who am I?"

Something I ran across in my ongoing study recently has prompted me to elaborate just little further. 

Everyone has something they're naturally good at, something they're passionate about. But somewhere along the way of our busy lives, we may have lost track of our sense of direction and purpose. Our priorities and interests may have shifted over time, and we feel stuck with the uncomfortable feeling that things are "out of control". We are left wondering who we really are, where we are going, and what we might be missing out on.

It doesn't have to be that way. We always have a choice. The choice to see a situation from a different perspective. And more often than not, we have the capability to actually influence and shape our reality. It all starts with self-awareness, determination, and a courageous first step.

Not to stray from my topic, but almost daily were hear and read quotations in the form of pronouncements by the sages and philosophers of ancient times as if they continue to have the corner on all wisdom and things spiritual, leading me to ask what made those thinkers of 2,000 years ago more knowledgable and insightful than the creative and articulate thinkers of today?  Answer: That's a difficult one to answer since we don't have any points of reference which we can use to compare IQ across millennia. Having said that, the predominant theory is that intelligence, as opposed to IQ, hasn't changed greatly over the last few thousand years. This is not to be confused with the application of intelligence, which has of course been increasing exponentially, as evidence -- the following.

We have great thinkers today...We do not have to delve into the past for sage advice and wisdom. I quote the wonderfully profound words of Marianne Willimson who I would rank among the greatest minds of our time, particularly as it applies to how we think about ourselves:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are Powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are ALL meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make Manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our Own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own FEAR, our presence automatically Liberates Others." 

How powerful are those words!

Marianne Deborah Williamson (born July 8, 1952) is a modern-day spiritual teacher, author and lecturer. She has published 11 books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area, and the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a grassroots campaign supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace. She serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, which works to end poverty in the United States and around the world. Williamson also produces the Sister Giant Conferences, highlighting the intersection of spirituality and politics.

She has been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity." Williamson bases her teaching and writing on a set of books called A Course in Miracles, a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy, based on universal spiritual themes.
Books.  Labelled recently as a "self-help guru", she has sold more than three million books.

The above-mentioned quote from her book A Return to Love, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure," is one of the most oft-quoted passages of our time.

As an aside, it is also curious that newly-elected South African President Nelson Mandela used Williamson's full quote without due acknowledgement in his inaugural address two decades ago.  It goes without saying that we'll be hearing more from this remarkable woman, in fact she will still be quoted centuries from now, I'm sure.

I totally accept Williamson's philosophy. The outer world is a reflection of the consciousness that we hold. It is all the situations, circumstances, relationships, experiences, and what we have and what we do not have in our lives.

And the good news is that when you shift into oneness with your inner self, the Divine within you, the more the outer world will reflect the shift. It will be easier to move forward, and to know your path.

There is a lot of negative energy and craziness in this world, but we can all learn to live with inner peace. If your intention is strong and comes from the deepest part of you, it will happen. Outwardly, nothing changes; peace comes from making changes inside you.

Is inner peace within reach in my 80th year?  Trust me, I'm working hard on it because I believe deep within me that it is possible. I'm almost there...If only circumstances of life would stop interrupting me as the clock continues to click away and the days dwindle down........

26 August, 2017


Who am I?  I've asked myself that rhetorical question more times than I can count and invariably the resultant mind picture is not a pretty one.  Could it be that I am too honest with myself?...Too honest, or realistic, for my own good.

Many of us are guilty of  the old defeatist rationalization: "I don't know who I am, but I do know that I was the same yesterday as I am today and undoubtedly will be tomorrow.  The more I think I've changed, the more I stay the same...warts, wrinkles and all."

Really, in retrospect, why do we put ourselves through the futility of such an exercise?  Lets take a closer look.

The question of "who am I" suggests that there is actually a plausible answer, almost as if one's being was a fixed thing. The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more fragile you are likely to feel about yourself. There may be an inverse correlation between the question being asked and the ease with which you experience your life. A wise individual may suggest that the emphasis should not be on discovering who you are (what is buried beneath) but on facilitating the emergence of what you'd like to experience.

Rationally, our identity should be seen as an ongoing process. Rather than a static snapshot, we should embrace a flowing sense of self, whereby we are perpetually re-framing, re-organizing, re-thinking and re-considering ourselves. How different would life be if rather than asking who am I?, we contemplated how we'd like to engage life?

Common sense tells me that as we engage the deepening complexity of understanding ourselves, we fare much better if we devote thinking to the unfolding process of life. Witnessing our thoughts, not reacting out of old habit, and becoming present enables us to better craft our lives, or what is left of it. As such, the identity that we seek fires the wave of life, enriched by the flow.

At the other end of the identity continuum are those who claim to know themselves very well. This other extreme also signifies a fragility about one's identity. To know yourself so well leaves no room for growth. Even more, it suggests a deep vulnerability that is being defended against, as if it were too dangerous to take a closer look.

It is perfectly reasonable to seek a deeper sense of self. To become intimately aware of your thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears is obviously advisable. The key, it seems to me, is to engage your sense of self as malleable, more like a willow tree than a sturdy oak. The willow is flexible and survives the storm as it bends with the wind, whereas the more rigid oak is the more likely it is to crack.

The universe purportedly exists in a state of flowing potential. And it is essential to understand that we are indeed part of that universe. The goal then is to access that potential, keeping the parts of our identity that continue to serve us well and shedding the old, habitual pieces that constrain us. This process is known as positive disintegration which permits us to find balance between the extremes previously discussed and enter into a relationship with self that commits to our personal evolution.

Positive disintegration was the brainchild of Kazimierz Dabrowski who emphasized the role of individuality and how important awareness and personality development are. Therefore, it is okay for everyone to be themselves; to have their own weirdness, to have made mistakes, to be unique, to enjoy the intensity of their experience and ability to be sensitive to the most subtle stimuli. The key is to follow what feels right.

From a personal standpoint, I don't think that I will ever truly have an answer to the complex question "who am I?"  I just know that "I am", so why waist time dwelling on the "who" of it.

The me that I am is made up of many things, some of which are unique.  No one else on God's green earth is like me and Dr. Seuss aside, that could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. However, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." - Reinhold Niebuhr.

Come to think about it, not knowing who you are is like living in the body of a stranger who you keep meeting for the first time and, more often than not, being somewhat pleasantly surprised. I rather like that concept!

Working with each evolving "me" will be an on-going life-enhancing challenge, as long as it is met in a way that is in keeping with the me I want to be.  Maybe you see it the same way too!

20 August, 2017



OTTAWA—Haitian-Canadian MP Emmanuel Dubourg travelled to Miami on Wednesday to try and counter misinformation which has driven thousands of Haitian asylum seekers to Canada in recent months. His trip comes as both the prime minister and Liberal cabinet ministers have sought in recent days to more forcefully address the major spike in illegal border crossings this summer, which has strained public resources and tested traditionally widespread support for Canada's immigration system.

Dubourg, a Liberal MP for a Montreal-area riding, was appointed last week to a newly established federal-provincial task force focusing on how to handle upwards of 7,000 people who've been stopped illegally crossing into Canada since June, the vast majority intent on seeking asylum.

In the last two months, many have been Haitian and Dubourg sees himself cast in the role of ambassador. He's already used his extensive connections with the Haitian diaspora and fluency in Creole for outreach there, he said.  The next step is to take it on the road.  “We have to go to the source,” Dubourg said Monday.

So he's going to Florida, to do Creole-language interviews and meet community leaders among Miami's Haitian diaspora. Not all those coming to Canada are from there, Dubourg said, but the city has more than 200,000 Haitians and a slew of influential media outlets.

The cold truth of Canadian policy, however, is that only about 50 per cent of Haitians who file for asylum in Canada receive it and the Canadian government has resumed deportations to that country.
“It's important to tell them that before they sell their things, before they take any kind of decision (to come),” Dubourg said.  “They have to know full well what can happen.”

The startling spike in arrivals and how the government is handling them has prompted anti-immigration groups to start mobilizing across the country. A protest — and counter-protest — were held in Quebec City over the weekend and other rallies are being scheduled in Canada in the coming weeks amidst criticism being levied against the Liberal government that they are losing control of the border.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered some of his strongest remarks on the subject in response to the weekend's events, when he said “entering Canada irregularly is not an advantage. There are rigorous immigration and customs rules that will be followed. Make no mistake.”

Earlier last week I commented on the sudden increase of asylum seekers from the U.S. taking the illegal entry route into Canada at crucial points along the border, particularly in Quebec (see item below).  At the conclusion of the post I sought explanations from readers on the sudden exodus into Canada, going so far as to request rational, unbiased and factual responses.

I cannot speak for Facebook, but I know for a fact that more than 90 individuals have viewed the item on my Wrights Lane blog, yet I have not heard from a single one.  This suggests at least one of three possible scenarios: 1) People cannot, or are reluctant, to comment on political issues if they are unable to call on biased opinion; 2) while the populace is divided down the middle on the acceptance of illegal immigrants, there is a general confusion on the matter and the implications for Canada, or 3) nobody takes me serious and there is little merit in responding to anything I write or feedback I solicit.

The answer to my original question, of course, lies in U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration that has forced many undocumented immigrants to live in the American shadows and, subsequently, to seek illegal asylum in Canada.  The problem is, our Canadian government is doing nothing concrete to deter the practice of people entering Canada illegally. In fact, their silence on the matter — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tweet in January welcoming all asylum seekers into Canada — has had the effect of encouraging the practice. And that’s most unfortunate

If only Justin had added the words "...providing they go through proper legal immigration channels open to them" and continued to stress that point. Entering Canada through unofficial border crossings is illegal, period. And the federal government should announce and reinforce that Canada does not condone such action. Otherwise, it undermines the very laws that we demand new Canadians follow when they settle here.

We either have secure borders or we don’t.

Of course once border jumpers have crossed into Canada illegally, it’s not a simple matter of arresting them and sending them back (at taxpayer expense) to the U.S. Under Canadian law, based on Supreme Court of Canada rulings, everyone in Canada has protection under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the right to seek a refugee hearing.

No matter what action is taken by the federal government to crack down on illegal border crossing, there will always be some leakage. But that’s not the point. The point is, there is a growing number of people crossing the border illegally and the federal government, apart from setting up temporary living accommodations and bringing in more immigration staff to process the thousands of entries, has done little to discourage the practice, nor are they trying to find solutions with U.S. officials.

There are many options, including revisiting the Safe Third Country Agreement, that Ottawa could be looking at to discourage illegal crossing.

Under the STCA, asylum seekers must make refugee claims in the first safe country they arrive at. Under the agreement, Canada heretofore has considered the U.S. a safe country. As a result, asylum seekers fearing deportation in the U.S. who attempt to enter Canada at controlled border crossings are turned away. That’s why they enter illegally. Perhaps it’s time to change that to promote a more orderly system that encourages people to seek entry at controlled border crossings while discouraging illegal crossing. The Canadian (I hesitate to say Trudeau because he does not make decisions in isolation) government has so far refused to even discuss revisiting that agreement.

Canada has a long-standing reputation for its welcoming immigration policies...Asylum seekers are nothing new to Canadian soil.  But a disregard for the rule of law currently on file is undermining our border security as we speak.

I am all for the humanitarianism that our welcoming Prime Minister is advocating, but as a country we can't have it all ways.

Nice guys uphold the law!...Even federal governments.  Canadians ask for nothing else!

18 August, 2017


Three families that claimed to be from Burundi walk across into Quebec at the U.S.-Canada border in Champlain, N.Y., on Thursday.
I read in the Toronto Star today that the tide of migrants crossing into Quebec in search of asylum has grown into a rolling wave, as the federal and provincial governments face pressure to deal with thousands of newcomers who have arrived in just the past six weeks.  Newly released figures show the number of people crossing into the province has skyrocketed this summer. The RCMP intercepted nearly 3,000 people as they walked across the border in Quebec last month. A further 3,800 have come in the first half of August, the RCMP said.

That's a big jump from June, when there were 781 RCMP interceptions in the province. It's also more than 10 times the 245 people intercepted by police there in January.  And that's not taking into consideration countless other illegal entry points across Canada.

Speaking to reporters Thursday in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the government will open a new shelter for migrants in Cornwall, a city of 46,000 in eastern Ontario near the Quebec border. Hundreds of asylum seekers crossing from the U.S. have already been housed in Montreal's Olympic Stadium, as well as in emergency tents set up at the border by the Canadian military.

Garneau also said there would be 20 new staffers in Montreal to help process asylum applications and that there will be a ministerial task force, which includes Quebec's immigration minister, Kathleen Weill, her federal counterpart, Ahmed Hussen, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, to help manage the situation.  "There's no crisis, but it's a situation that is extraordinary," Garneau stated.

How can this borderline exodus be explained?  What is happening south of the border to warrant such an unusual phenomenom? I ask, knowing full well the disturbing answer.  But maybe I'm missing something.

Rational, unbiased, first-person fact-supported responses to the above mentioned questions are most welcome...And don't implicate the media for reporting fake news because that is a dead giveaway from whence you come.

16 August, 2017


Oh boy...or Oh girl! the case may be":

A sign placed outside a café in Australia has created quite the stir. The “Handsome Her” coffee shop had only just opened when it was thrust into the limelight – but not necessarily in a positive sense. The female-owned and operated café put out a sign listing three “house rules”:
  1. Women have priority seating.
  2. Men will be charged an 18% premium to reflect the gender pay gap (2016) which is donated to a women’s service.
  3. Respect goes both ways.
As is often the case these days, it didn’t take long for the backlash to begin. A picture of the sign went viral and generated a storm of criticism online. Detractors jumped on the 18% tax, calling it discriminatory against men and totally antithetical to the feminist movement.

Why Tax Men?

The café’s slogan is “a space for women, by women.” And they’re serious about it, says manager Belle Ngien. The tax, she explains, is intended to spread awareness about the wage gap between men and women. Why 18%? Well, an official study found that men earn an average of 17.7% more than women in Australia. Ngien and her coworkers simply want to even the playing field a bit by charging men more for coffee.
Ngien has reported that as of yet, no one has declined to pay the tax. Many patrons have even offered more. “18% is actually not a lot. Our coffee is $4, so 18% of that is 72 cents,” she explains. And that does not really surprise me...There will always be poor fool, patronizing men who will pay a "man tax" just to show that they are good guys and in the process win favor with the opposite fairer sex that is so necessary in meeting their macho needs.

Not Everyone Is Buying It
However, this explanation proved less than satisfactory for many online critics. They argue that it’s a classic case of reverse discrimination. Instituting a “gender tax” is not a step toward progress, they insist. If anything, it might actually make things worse.

I laugh to think about how Donald Trump would react if he ever found himself walking into Ngien's coffee shop.