Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh Canada!

All I can say is what a game! Congratulations to both the Men and Women's Olympic hockey teams for delivering such stellar performances. By no means was it a cakewalk. The competition just keeps getting better year after year. Nice to see the teams rise to the occasion. It really doesn't get any better than Sidney Crosby scoring in overtime.


Monday, February 15, 2010


I randomly picked up a paper off a restaurant table last night after a meal. The paper caught my attention since its one that I used to see in Fort Smith, where I began my career 10 years ago. A couple pages in and I see news that as a teacher you hate to see. A student from my first school had passed away just a few days ago due to complications from pneumonia. It's really quite distressing. I never taught Shantha but I knew her for her hard work on the student council that year, her friendly, outgoing personality, and her sharp mind. Her fellow students thought so too. She was voted valedictorian of her graduating class at Paul W Kaeser High School in 2001. She was only 26 and had just recently moved to St. Albert with her husband to take up a new job as a crime analyst/social planner for the local Family and Community Support Services.

I recall the grad night vividly in my mind. The grads lined up and a big line of people walked by to congratulate them, parents, staff and community members alike. I remember shaking Shantha's hand and telling her how proud I was to hear that she was on her way to study for a criminology degree at university. I knew a few criminology majors when I was doing my undergrads - not an easy program by any means.

I've worked in a number of isolated communities so I know first-hand how tough it can be for a kid to break out and make something of themselves. While Fort Smith certainly had more going for it than most places I've worked in, it still suffered (unfairly I should add) from a bad rap. Shantha was making a life for herself which makes the news of her passing a particularly bitter pill to swallow. To me, Shantha is a shining example of what you can accomplish with drive, determination, good humour and the support of a loving family behind her.

You were a great person Shantha. I never taught you but considered it a great privilege to have worked with you and experienced your smiling personality!

My sincere condolences go out to the Rasiah family.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just Let The Guy Compete Already!

It never ceases to amaze me the little amount of respect that PETA and other anti-activists hold for their fellow human beings. Witness the tale of American figure skater Johnny Weir. He originally planned to stay in a Vancouver hotel during the Olympics but elected instead to stay in the athlete's village due to fears of threats from animal rights' activist groups like PETA and Friends of Animals. Weir's sin is that his flamboyant costumes involve animal fur, typically fox fur.

To PETA, and all the other protest groups, I say grow a brain! Keep your anti-establishment, anti-poverty, anti-RCMP, anti-fur, anti-colonial, anti-IMF, anti-World Bank, anti-G8, anti-conservative, anti-liberal garbage out of OUR Olympics. Funny how these activists make the case that nothing would ever get accomplished if you always listened to the naysayers. How pathetic that they don't extend this to a figure skater who simply choses to have his own unique style.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

When You Get Out And See The World You Might Learn A Few Things

Having read this little CBC news item on the wrap up of the G7 meeting in Iqaluit, the following little excerpt caught my attention --

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling [could the man's name be any more British?], said while everyone felt privileged to come to a part of the world they may not have seen otherwise, the important thing was to discuss the world economy.

Sure, but if you stepped out from behind your desk in you little office and experienced the real world beyond that of suburbia, perhaps you'd have a better understanding of the gravity the decisions you make have on people in a far off corner of the world.

But that's just me.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


When I was a kid I was taught that when someone offers you something, particularly food, it's only good manners to accept it. It's a lesson I've taken with me for the past 35 years and its served me well no matter where I've traveled be it North Rustico, PEI, Fort Smith, NT, Gyor, Hungary or Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic (pick any strudel in any restaurant.....I promise you won't be disappointed.) Unfortunately, a few European finance ministers left their manners at home and boycotted the feast ending the G7 ministers meeting in Iqaluit. Apparently, the feast featured many traditional foods, including seal. I guess for these ministers, politics trumps politeness. Very sad.

I wonder what went through some of their heads when the reporter mentioned in the CBC story asked them if they had learned anything about the importance of seals to Inuit culture during their stay. I wonder if the French Minister thought for a second about all the force fed geese back in his country. I wonder if the German Minister thought for a second about the boar hunt in his country. I wonder if the British Minister thought for even a second about all sheep in his country, turned into delicious mutton steaks every year. Given the tendency for Italian politicians to become entwined in sexual scandal, I don't even WANT to think what was going through the Italian Minister's mind. (Hopefully nothing to do with animals.)

Ok, guys. I get it. I really do. You cling to this silly self-righteous attitude. But don't pretend that some sort of silly exemption when it comes to your EU ban is going to make any difference. You can be ignorant all you want. But don't lie.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Northern Exposure

While I haven't really commented on it yet, I have been following with interest the upcoming G7 meeting in Iqaluit. My feelings on the EU and their views of the Canadian seal hunt aside, it's nice to see the city of Iqaluit, Nunavut and Inuit culture get some international media exposure.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Elephant Pie

Since I seem to be on a bit of a roll lately....

I read this story after work this afternoon about Lucy the Elephant and started thinking......banana cream pie....seal flipper pie.....elephant pie perhaps? Don't get me wrong. I don't want to see this pachyderm in distress if indeed that is the case. I just question PETA's timing on this. Heck, perhaps it was just a slow news day on the part of the CBC. (If PETA succeeds in getting Lucy moved and she dies in transit, would we hear about that in the news, I wonder?) Still, the thought of a nice big, steamy elephant pie flung right in the face of some PETA protester (or even an entire mouthy, misguided group of them for that matter) would be a nice touch.