Gaming the System

Are you on Instagram or Twitter? Do you sometimes get connection requests from completely random strangers? Why would anyone randomly want to follow you? We all want to believe that we’re fascinating people, but sadly that has nothing to do with it. They’re gaming the system. Let me tell you how that works.




I’ve been watching/reading with so much pride, the peaceful Franco-Ontarians demonstrations across the country! So many people don’t consider me French-Canadian, but look at my name for Heaven’s sake! Only a French person would give a child this name. The fact that I no longer (yes – no longer) speak French is exactly why the rights of French-Canadians MUST be protected.

I know there are many people (usually non-French speaking) who don’t understand, so I’ll explain what formed my beliefs in two ways:

  • The official languages of Canada are English and French, which “have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada,” according to Canada’s constitution.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not – this is different from a law to protect the language. Laws can be repealed. This is part of the Constitution – we are a bilingual country, French and English. No sitting government has the right to amend the constitution and we should not stand quietly by just because you didn’t agree with it anyway. Next time it may be YOUR rights; and you will have already opened the door and set precedence. When the constitutional agreement was made, there were promises to protect the language. We, as a society, should never go back on our promises. A deal is a deal, even if in the future we decide we no longer like the deal. If I sell my house for $500,000 and in ten years it’s worth $700,000, I can’t go back and say, that didn’t work out the way I expected, I want a new deal and more money. The only time a deal can be changed is if BOTH parties agree to change it.

  • There’s a benefit to being a bilingual country. Not everyone learns every official language, but those who do greatly benefit. Learning French for example, opens the door to all of the Latin based languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese.

Here are some other multilingual countries:

  • In Austria, the official languages are German, Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian and Hungarian (official in Burgenland)
  • In Finland, both Finnish and Swedish are taught
  • In Belgium, Dutch, French, and German are taught

My biological father was from Thedford Mines, Quebec. My biological mother was from Cochrane, Ontario. The Chartrand family who raised me is all throughout Northern Ontario – branching out of New Liskeard, Ontario. My foster mother was born in Hearst, Ontario.

There’s a feeling that comes over me whenever I drive north. I was born in Toronto so it isn’t a call back to my birthplace. I told a friend about it once and she said “Because it’s in your blood.” And I realized it must be so because whenever I’m driving north and I see the granite walls that line the highway, I am filled with awe. I see the landscape before me – majestic and beautiful. The mist over the treetops is more beautiful than any photograph could ever capture; the snow tipped trees – a white sparkling wonderland and the pristine, blue lakes, more breathtaking than a postcard. I drive through it all and I am filled with peace.

The people there speak French and their rights matter.

I sincerely hope that at least one person finds something in what I’ve written that compels them to stand with all French-Ontarians and all Canadians, to protect our Constitutional rights.

#franco-ontarien #solidarité

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The Rest of the Story

I pay attention to all leadership races, because I believe sometimes it’s more important to vote for the leader instead of the party.  After all, the world needs more leaders. I find myself aligned with a lot of the values of the NDP party even though I don’t traditionally vote NDP, but I consider leaders like Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent, and even Jack Layton to have made a tremendous contribution to the welfare of Canadians and our workers.

A recent “tweet” by Andrew Coyne (National Post, and formerly Macleans) brought a YouTube video to my attention. It featured a heckler (Jennifer Bush) confronting an NDP leadership hopeful, Jagmeet Singh, at a town hall meeting held in Brampton, Ontario. It was intended to show how racist Ms. Bush was and how calmly Mr. Singh handled the situation.  Watch the video here:

I admit that when I first viewed it, my impression was that was Ms. Bush was racist, and maybe not too bright because Singh is a Sikh, not a Muslim. Now, it’s not often I read the Toronto Sun these days, but a column by Sue-Ann Levy after this incident, led me to realize there’s a story behind the headlines.

Jennifer Bush confronted him about his support of Sharia law in the Legislature. Jennifer Bush IS a racist (she is a supporter of the anti-Islamic group Rise Canada) but she did have a couple of valid questions, she just lacked the polish (or panache) to ask them properly.

Did YOU know that Singh voted to support Sharia law?

Singh keeps saying it’s important to stand “united against hate”, but after doing a bit of research, I find that statement to be a bit hypocritical. After all, he recently held a press conference that was sponsored by assorted anti-Israel activists. How does that jive with his claim to stand united against hate?

I’d like to see the best person possible as the leader of the NDP party, but I’m not going to take things on face value. The media are very careful about telling us what they want us to hear. We all need to become colour blind while we scrutinize each of the leadership contenders, their history, their views, and their various stances, to determine if they are who they say they are. Don’t just rely on the headlines, tweets, or news-bytes; dig a little deeper.

To determine if they are the best person to lead a federal political party. The party of Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent and Jack Layton.

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Life politics

What’s Your Political Party?

When it comes to politics, I can be very clear in my opinions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not open to discussion or debate though, but sometimes I don’t think I make that clear enough. Let’s face it – I am not a political expert and I know I often disagree without necessarily knowing all the facts. I’d love to know the facts.

My opinions are formed through things I have learned, through historical experience (let’s face it – I’m old enough to have known a lot of different types of government in my life), from what I’ve learned from other people with different knowledge and ideas, and from reading the opinions of others for whom I have tremendous respect.

I’ve never understood the kind of people who vote for a particular party, regardless of who the leader or candidate was, simply because they’d always voted for that party, and maybe even because their families have voted for a particular party for a couple of generations.That’s so American though! As Canadians, let’s be smarter.

When my daughter was approaching voting age, she asked me how someone knows who to vote for in an election. My advice to her back then is advice that still works for everyone. I asked her to think about the kind of person she was and what she expected of her country, then to listen to each of the various party platforms and then vote for the party that was promising to provide that kind of country or those values.

Some people vote for a party because of a single issue, but I think it’s important to understand each of the issues.

Some people are afraid of change, especially in times of turmoil. Is it just a coincidence though, that we seem to be having a “time of turmoil” in one area or another before the last few elections?

If you’re waiting for the “perfect” time to change a government, economic or security wise, let me suggest there never will be a perfect time. The right time is when you really want change. As the author John E. Lewis once said “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

I know it’s easy to attack the person currently holding the office and maybe you don’t think that’s fair. Wouldn’t you agree though, that it keeps the governing party from getting too comfortable? If they KNOW that they’re going to be watched, measured and judged, don’t you think they might start coming through on some of their election promises? If you screw up in YOUR job, wouldn’t you expect to be let go eventually? Sure, the company might worry that it’s going to take a new person some time to get up to speed, but if they end up being better at the job, isn’t it worthwhile then?

Listen, I’m not suggesting who you should vote for. I’m going to continue examining my values and beliefs, and expressing my opinions, and everyone else needs to do the same thing.  Between now and October 19th, each of us needs to do three things:

  1. Figure out,
    • What kind of people are we and what do we expect of our country?
    • Which party’s platform better matches our values?
  2. Make sure:
    • We’re not voting on a single issue.
    • We’re not voting based on fear of any kind.
  3. Go out and vote. Because every vote matters.

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