Camera Shy

Not everyone is. Some people don’t hide in the back row of a group picture, or obsess over the fact that the camera sees everything.

Certainly not this guy…

Oh, sorry. You probably don’t recognize him—with his clothes on.

Will Amos, federal Liberal MP for Pontiac, Quebec got caught with his pants down on Zoom.

What? You don’t strip down in your office after a jog?

Doesn’t everyone?

Probably not while participating in a video meeting with colleagues.

Vive La Belle Province!

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Signs of Summer

Your shovel is back in the garage, your winter boots returned to the closet, and you’ve got an appointment to have your tires changed, but…

Is summer really on it’s way?

Spring jacket? Check.

Buds on the shrub in the front yard? Check.

Moose in the swimming pool? Uh…What?

Canada, eh?

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NO FEAR

My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I can say with absolute certainty that I wasn’t zipping down any ski hills at three years old. I’m guessing most of us weren’t at that age, but…

Adia Leidums is.

Picture taken by Eric Leidums

The three-year-old from Fernie, British Columbia started skiing in her front yard last fall, then graduated to the real slopes at Fernie Alpine Resort this past winter.

Aida’s father, wondering what his daughter was thinking as she maneuvered her way down the slopes, decided to mic her up. In the video he posted to his YouTube channel, Adia can be heard monitoring her progress out loud, and giving herself instructions as she navigates curves and bumps on her tiny toddler skis.

Amazing, isn’t it?

What we can do before the world tells us we can’t.

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Who Needs Shoes?

You show me a frozen lake and I’ll show you how fast I can curl up in a comfy chair by the fireplace, book in hand, latte by my side.

The very words, frozen lake, make me shiver. They call up images of fir trees and ice skating rinks, red cheeks and hot chocolate.

But that’s me, to Karim El Hayani, a frozen lake is the ideal place to run a half-marathon—barefoot…

CBC News

Earlier this month, on March 3, EL Hayani ran 21.1 kilometres on Lac Beauport in -15C. He set a Guinness World Record for the fastest, barefoot half-marathon on snow or ice, finishing the distance in 1 hr, 38 mins with frozen, blistered feet.

An incredible accomplishment for anyone, but considering that El Hayani is a recent transplant to Canada, and that he spent most of his 27 years running barefoot in shorts, in the heat of Spain, a truly impressive feat.

Congratulations. Respect, but…

Why?

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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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Despicable Me

No, not this guy…

metacritic.com

This guy, and his wife…

Facebook

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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Thank You

In grade school—way back in the dark ages—we were taught to write what was called a bread and butter letter. Of course, we were also taught cursive writing back then, but I digress.

A bread and butter letter is simply a thank you to a host or hostess who has been kind enough to have you at their house, or table. Written with pen and ink. Not tapped on keyboard. Not sent as a text. Definitely not a Bitmoji.

Handwritten notes expressing gratitude for hospitality are few and far between these days, and no one was more surprised to receive one than the West Shore RCMP officers in Langford, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

A woman who was arrested, and spent several days in the Langford jail, not only wrote a Thank You note, but gave her accomodation a 4.5 star rating.

As you can see, the woman’s name has been blacked out and the officers aren’t naming any names, but Const. Nancy Saggar reports that she and her colleagues appreciated the kind gesture and were stoked at the 4.5 star rating.

In Const. Saggar’s words, “The point here is that we do treat everybody with respect. Just because you’re in jail, you still have your rights and we’re going to respect that.”

If you’re going to get yourself arrested, you might consider doing it in Langford 🙂

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From the Sea

I’d love to be one of those gifted people who seduce melodies from instruments, but I’m not.

Greg Fleming, a multi-talented musician from St. John’s, Newfoundland, is one of those people. He not only plays the electric guitar, he builds them.

With his Tidebreaker guitars, Greg has created something new—from something old.

Three hundred and fifty-nine years old, in fact.

Time, and tides, and history. Atlantic storms, and sailing ships, and one group of sailors who never got home.

A sunken ship, put together with “tree nails” instead of steel. Bits and pieces dredged off the ocean floor. Timbers carbon-dated to 1661.

Under the ocean for three hundred years, the salt-water infused wood inspired Greg to craft the Tidebreaker guitars, and gives them their unique sound.

“Every time,” says Greg, “I kind of get a little bit of chills when I realize I’m playing a shipwreck that was underwater for 300 years.”

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