New Shoes

Canadian traditions?

You’re thinking maple syrup, poutine, maybe beaver tails—I’m thinking shoes.

Back in 1955, Finance Minister Walter Harris wore new shoes to present the budget and a Canadian parliamentary tradition was born. What started as a coincidence has become a quirky comment on the economy and what the government intends to do about it.

In 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver wore New Balance running shoes to brag on the fact that his government was presenting a balanced budget.

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews presented his 2021 budget wearing made-in-Alberta boots because “economic recovery is key to digging ourselves out of the hole we’re in.” 

In 2020, Northwest Territories Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek tabled her first budget wearing seal fur shoes made by ENB artisan from Iqaliut, Nunavut.

In 2006, British Columbia’s Finance Minister Carole Taylor got a lot of flak for presenting her budget in Gucci shoes.

Some finance ministers have elected to present their budgets in something other…

Finance Minister John Crosbie walked a different path, presenting his budget in mukluks.

Finance Minister Paul Martin laced up work boots in 1994.

In Alberta, Stockwell Day presented budgets in 1999 wearing inline skates and a helmet “to represent the speed at which Alberta could adapt to a changing economy.”

Apparently, finance ministers across Canada have adopted the adage If the shoe fits, wear it.

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Snow White

History gets buried, but not erased. With a little effort and a lot of research, truths long forgotten find their way to the sunlight.

Clyde Wray, a Saint John, New Brunswick poet and playwright did a little digging. Unearthed the stories of Black Canadians who never made it into the history books I read in high school.

In his play, We Were Here—livestreamed by the Saint John Theatre Company Feb. 25-27—Wray gives voice to eight Saint John residents most of us have never heard of.

One of the eight, Cornelius Sparrow escaped from slavery in the U.S. and arrived in Saint John in 1851. He opened a barber shop and then became the owner of the Victoria Dining Saloon, the largest saloon in the city. A local newspaper claimed Sparrow’s saloon was the nicest in Saint John, rivalled by only a few saloons in the whole country.

In the same year that Sparrow arrived in Saint John, Abraham Beverley Walker was born near Belleisle. He became the first Canadian-born Black lawyer in the Commonwealth and the first person of any colour to enroll in the Saint John Law School.

Race issues being what they were, and still are, Walker struggled to build a law practice. While working for a time as a court stenographer, his colleagues ridiculed him in open court. In later years, when Walker was recommended for the designation of Queen’s Counsel, white lawyers who had received the same honour vowed to renounce it.

In Michael Moore’s 1995 comedy, Canadian Bacon starring John Candy and Alan Alda, Canada is portrayed as a “White” country with no minorities. Not true then and not true now.

Our snow may be white, but we aren’t, and never have been.

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Small, Smaller, Smallest

Humans are fascinated by the rare, the strange, and the extreme. The tallest man, the oldest woman, the largest pumpkin. Add the suffix est and you can sell tickets.

Personally, and probably because I’m knee high to a grasshopper myself, I like small. Miniature shoes, tea cups, Disney’s Tinker Bell. Shrink anything down small enough and it’s adorable.

Almost anything.

A German-Madagascan expedition team has discovered what they believe to be the smallest reptile on earth. The Brookesia Nana or nano-chameleon’s total length, from nose to tail, is just under 22 mm (0.87 “).

Tiny, yes, but cute? Not so much.

Frank Glaw

Nothing like this guy…

geico.com

Now, that’s adorable. For a lizard.

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Despicable Me

No, not this guy…

metacritic.com

This guy, and his wife…

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Recent inductees to Canada’s Hall of Shame, Rodney and Ekaterina Baker. Honoured for chartering a private plane, sneaking into Beaver Creek—a White River First Nation community of 125 people—and claiming to be motel employees in order to get the Moderna vaccine.

Baker has since been fired from his position as president and CEO of The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Both he and his wife have been fined for breaking Yukon’s quarantine regulations, and face a possible six months in prison. A court date has been set for May, 4, 2021 at 2 pm in Whitehorse.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan called jumping the line “unCanadian.” I call it unconscionable.

Someone, please, take their maple leafs away. They don’t deserve them.

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