Here I am, end of this weekend, just sitting alone in the bleak mid-winter staring at nothing in particular when I hear a rustling in the litter on my desk. “Hey,” I say, “if that’s you my little pest, do go away. I’m in no mood for frivolities.”

“Frivolities!” comes the answer, and there’s rage in his voice.

The anger startles me. I’ve forgotten that Newshawk can get quite riled up. “Now, now Old Friend. Simmer down. What’s bugging you?”

“Don’t use that word bug,” he snaps as he strides out from a sheaf of papers and hops onto my keyboard. “And it’s not me. It’s you. What are you doing just sitting here knitting your eyebrows as though you had any and staring into space? I thought you’d be in orbit. Aren’t you following your NDP convention? ” He sounds extremely irate, even for Newshawk. “Weren’t you listening to your leader?”

“What’s wrong with our leader?”

“Your Mr.Singh was singing the wrong song!”

“Come, come,” I said. “He listed his priorities. The party’s priorities. So?”

“And what are they?”

“Well – income disparity, extending health care, fighting racism, housing, sexual harrassment, jobs, the economy —“

“Yes, yes, and somewhere in there? Under a rock?”

“Oh,” I say. “You mean Climate Change. Well, referred to, of course.”

“Referred to! Not prioritized?”

“Well, I think there’s a resolution coming up for debate.”

“Climate Change debate, debate, always debate! Not priority.” He stomps from F1 to F12 and back again. “You’ve read the priorities and you’re not in orbit?”

“My arteries are too old for this stuff,” I protest, with restraint, “but I will admit that I’m close to lift off.”

“Then light the fuse,” he shouts, “light the goddamned fuse!”

“Newshawk, I can’t! I don’t dare!”

“Who are you afraid of?”

“Me! Myself! If I get going on this I’ll say all kinds of unkind things.”

“Good, good. Such as?”

“Such as with 99% of the world’s scientists agreeing that Climate Change is the number one global peril and that we’re about to plunge over the irremediable edge —“

“No big words, no big words.”

“ – over the flippin’ edge into climate chaos with ever higher sea levels, increasingly big storms of all kinds, mass migrations of people fleeing from floods, expanding deserts, destroyed crops, the potential for conflict and turmoil in those migrations and too many idiots with their fat thumbs on a nuclear button then I’d say we should be putting the survival of the human race pretty damned high on the priority list, certainly on the NDP list. What’s more it seems that if we move and move fast we idiot humans can actually slow it all down and even stop it but oh by god no, we’re too concerned with the so-called national interest, the economy, the employment rate, and what Big Oil tells us about how good it is at lowering emissions which I take it means lowering per barrel while increasing the number of barrels and of course hoping to ship the heavy shit out of the country to let someone else refine it into pollution while keeping our air breathable and sure as hell let’s keep our fingers crossed that no pipeline splits in the Rockies or no tanker ever spills in Burrard Inlet, both of which history and Murphy’s Law tell us will inevitably happen, and god alone knows whose livelihoods will be wiped out including of course Indigenous but who the hell cares and my NDP should be out there dancing on the podium as you are right now on the cap key demanding ACTION ACTION ACTION.”  I pause to take a deep yoga breath and sigh it out. “See what would happen if I let loose on any of this?”

“You’re doing fine. A good warm up.”

“For sure I’d really pop an artery if I got going on how I feel about the dear old NDP surrendering its principles and avoiding the primary obligatory in a wild hope to win an election in 2020 or whenever and promising to work miracles in the following five years which will be too late even if winning were a blip on the radar which it isn’t. We’re into a global crisis that everyone knows about and multitudes agree about but for Christ’s sake so far the NDP has income disparity at the top of its list! Not that it’s not important but it’s damned well outranked by survival. I hope all the old CCF crew are buried deep and secure or they’ll be out haunting us, I can tell you that. And if we’re to get timely action on Climate Change what should be absolutely next on the NDP list would be to get going with the Greens, sweep all the old batshit out of both attics, form a new Party, a real Party, and get down to the hard political work that won’t put it in power but might just happen to help save the human race from itself and from Big Fucking Fossil Fuel.”

“Hey, hey. None of that in our blog.”

“Sorry. But now you see? That’s why I can’t let you light my fuse. No telling where I’d go.”

“Yeah, and you don’t even know the half of it.” He performs a berserk dance on my keyboard, stamps on “Enter” and behold, a web appears on my screen. *

“What’s this? I ask.

“A report of a speech by a Canadian pipeline big wig. Read it, read it.”

I do, out loud, and I read lines reporting that, “In recent months, the White House has taken steps to reduce regulatory hurdles for industry, including a proposal to eliminate some safety regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling. It has also rolled back nearly 40 environmental regulations, many of which imposed pollution and wildlife protection measures on fossil fuel projects… [T]he head of Canada’s largest pipeline lobby group says Canada would do well to follow suit.” As I read on I find that the spokesman for Canada’s big pipe companies calls pipelines “the industry of the future.”

At which point I do explode. “Holy smokes, Newshawk. Pipelines, not Fossil Fuel – Pipelines the industry of the future! Good grief, you know what that means?”

“Of course I do! It means Water. Water north to south. Water from the Great Lakes, Water from the Shield, Water from Great Slave Lake, from the Mackenzie, Water from anywhere Big Pipe can get it. The industry of the future.”

I sigh. “All, I assume, for the good of the nation. And as yet not even my NDP seems determined to call a halt. Oh my dear old friend, I’m sorry to sound selfish but I really am glad that I’m in my nineties.”


* Newshawk’s web is from The National Observer. A truly outstanding Canadian online journal, originating in B.C.


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A Drama Simplified

Whooeee— we’ve got a living drama going on right before our eyes! I don’t mean the classical Tragedy unfolding south of us as the American government destroys the environment while undermining the rule of law.  No, no. Not that.  There’s a Canadian version. Continue reading

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Well, well, well. So our beloved national anthem is receiving another tweak.  Instead of singing “in all thy sons command” we can cheerfully belt forth “in all of us command”.  Personally, I’ve been mouthing the latter phrase for some time.  Apparently “mouthing” but not singing was a good idea Continue reading

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Warning. Introducing a 40 minute fictional dialogue having to do with religion.

Some months ago I posted an original play, in several installments.  Some of you struggled through it and a few even helpfully commented! But don’t go looking for it now. I have removed it. Continue reading

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Vulgarity vs Blasphemy

As an antidote to our gloriously joyful sesquicentennial celebrations  I was about to bring myself back to earth with a cynical blog on the erosion of Promises,  Health Care, the Environment,  World Peace, and so on and so forth when I thought, even more cynically, “For Christ’s sake, who the hell cares anymore?” Continue reading

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Between Friends

Two days ago I sent a very brief e-mail to a friend in the States giving a link to a Trump spoof available on U-tube. It sparked a brief exchange of letters that strike me as being rather interesting. For one thing, my own Canadian naiveté got readjusted. Continue reading

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Formula for Soft Revolution

As I watched the Trump of Trump Towers ascend the Star Spangled Throne I found myself pondering something I had written a quarter of a century ago about the ideas of two very insightful men and then I remembered why I had begun this blog in the first place. Continue reading

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Aw shucks, ’tis the season to be both jolly and nostalgic so let’s go back to 1944 and attend a good old fashioned carol service in which my father, the minister, managed to burn the Christmas cross.  I present this (with my own permission) as an extract from my own memoirs,   Always an Updraft   Penumbra Press, 2005).  Continue reading

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Hey Justin! C’mon Man!

Sub-title: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister that he Will Never Read.

Dear Prime Minister,

Your recent interview with Le Devoir and subsequent comments from the punditry seem to imply that you’re actually thinking of side-stepping electoral reform in this first term.  Obama recently said derisively to a multitude of Trump ideas, “C’mon Man!”.  I find myself wanting to shout the same at you. Continue reading

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The United Church of Canute ?


Legend has it that more than a thousand years ago King Canute of England sat on the seashore ordering the incoming tide to recede. His intention was to demonstrate to the courtiers that the relentless progress of the tide could not be stopped.  The legend has often been interpreted in reverse to suggest Canute really thought he had the power to stem the tide.  Using this reverse interpretation I dub Canada’s largest Protestant denomination “The United Church of Canute”. Continue reading

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