Sunday, 22 November 2015

Saturday Photo: Fall Bikes...

Bixi is closing down for the year.  Riding conditions continue to be good, but in Montreal the bike-share service doesn't run from about the middle of November until early April.  The opening date varies a bit from year to year, depending on snow conditions, but the ending date is relatively fixed.

I presume that's because we all know that winter can swoop down on us at any moment.  The big storm which apparently has bothered Chicago this weekend is tracking to the south of us so far, it's a rare year when we don't have some accumulation before early December.  Five years ago, when the house next to us burned and we suffered a lot of smoke damage, the bad weather held off until December 6 or 7.  Two years ago when I came back from South America Dec. 1, the first snow was piled at the edge of sidewalks.

Riding bikes in weather like that is crazy, I think, and I guess the Bixi folks think so too.  Time to turn back to the buses and your feet for transport, and to hockey for exercise?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Saturday Photo: I Love Paris

The savage attacks in Paris last night are echoing around the world.  So it seems they were the result of twisted extremist thinking?

Probably, and the great question is how to counter that wicked distortion of Islam.  While I--and many, many others--reflect on that, I offer this photo taken in June 2014 in the Parc Vincennes.  Lovely day, peaceful crowds, faces from all corners of the globe.  That is the Paris I love.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Saturday Photo: The Excellent Adventure

This week I finished the revisions on Road through Time, and sent it off to the University of Regina Press which will publish it in Spring 2017.  The book, about roads as vectors of change and exchange, now has a subtitle: The Story of Humanity on the Move.   I hadn't given it one before because when I started writing I wasn't quite sure where I was going.

Now I know.

It begins with a trip my mother, my younger sister and I took in the mid-1950s from San Diego CA to Walla Walla WA. (The photo is of Laurie and me at about that time.)  It ends with the trip to South America I took two years ago, travelling a newly opened highway across the Andes from Peru to Brazil.  In between I explore where humans have wandered from the time our ancestors stood up through the Great Expansion out of Africa to the Age of the Automobile.

The book will be illustrated with some photos I've taken, some archival images and, I hope, this snapshot of two girls near the beginning of their respective journeys through life.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Last Call for Our Medicare System: Are You Listening, Justin?

An excellent piece in Thursday's Toronto Star about what is happening in Quebec to our system of supposedly universal health care. This should be a wake-up call for the entire country.  It's up to Justin and company to come to the rescue.  He said "we're back" to the world.  Now he needs to go back to the Liberal attitude toward health care that saw Liberal governments in 1957, 1966 and 1984 put in place an excellent system.

Everyone concerned about health care should write his or her MP!

From the story:

"Quebec is likely to be the first province to slip out of the Canadian medicare scheme. In fact, at present, Quebec’s health care laws and practices do not respect the principles set out in the Canada Health Act. The only hope the people of Quebec have to benefit from a universal, free and comprehensive healthcare system in the future is a strong and swift intervention by the new Trudeau government.

"During the past decade, the core principle of medicare – that medically necessary care should be universally covered and free of charge (paid for by public funds) – has gradually eroded in Quebec. The process has been a slow but steady sum of small legislative changes that have benefitted practitioners (and profits) over patients, government tolerance for grey-zone billing practices and impressive fee-charging creativity from medical entrepreneurs."

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Halloween...

Spent Wednesday afternoon making pumpkins with Jeanne.  It's very nice to have grandchildren since you have license to do all the artsy-craftsy things that you are supposedly too old to do.

Now back to work on Road through Time.  The completed manuscript is promised for the University of Regina Press on Monday.  Almost got it done!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Burning Bush, Montreal Style

Justin Trudeau started out his stint as PM by telling the world on behalf of 35 million Canadians: "We're back!"

Those were good words to hear after nearly ten years of Harperite stupidity.  Can't imagine that JT will deliver on half of his promises, but there have been moments this last week when I could dream we were headed for a promised land.

This lovely shrub, whose name I don't know, is at its height right now, and it would be nice to think it was a Sign!  Not very likely, but hope is a good thing...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

They Ran from the Left, Will They Govern from the Right?

Canadians' basic decency won yesterday, with the decisive defeat of Stephen Harper's politics of fear and hate.  Thank goodness!

Now, however, Justin Trudeau's Liberals will have to hold to their promises to invest in infrastructure, run deficits and amend the terrible C-51 anti-terrorism law.  As often happens with the Liberals, they ran from the left. It remains to be seen if they govern from there.

The NDP is going to have to do some real soul searching about where they're going and who is their leader.  This time around I, a long NDP militant,  effectively sat on my hands.  Oh, I raised several thousand bucks for various candidates, but that's it, even though Mulcair is my MP and I was chair of his riding association back in 2010-2012.  The party on his watch as moved right, espousing dubious economic policies--he doesn't seem to realize that deficit spending should often be viewed as investment in the future--and not standing up for programs that really matter.  When it comes to the cornerstone of the NDP heritage, he made some noises near the end about  protecting the Canada Health Act which guarantees universal health care with penalties for provinces who allow extra billing. but that's about it.

Mulcair is said to be going to spend the day recuperating.  Good.  So should the folks behind this crushing defeat for him and the party.  Some changes are in order.