God and ‘O Canada’

I recently came across someone lamenting that perhaps Canada’s immigrants might take God out of the national anthem, “O Canada”.

I was annoyed with this, largely because the O Canada I knew in grade school in the seventies never once mentioned God. Indeed it was not until 1980, that Pierre Trudeau forced us all to say God in the first verse of O Canada, something I objected to, but was only willing to protest by singing “O China”.
Actually myself and classmates had been singing O China before the word change but it was close.

the O Canada I knew in grade school in the seventies never once mentioned God

I was surprised to find that the 1927 version of O Canada, that was expected to be performed in school and public events, had 4 verses. I had only ever heard the first which didn’t have God in it. The three verses are what you might expect of a song honouring a country. Only the fourth verse mentions God. This is odd and seems tacked on given the first three verses.

So I went back to the 1908 version, the first lyrics written by Robert Stanley Weir. There are only three verses in these original lyrics. There is not one mention of God.

Weir should have stuck to his guns and kept God out

It is my opinion that Weir should have stuck to his guns and kept God out of his official lyrics.

I heard years ago that 15% of North Americans are athiest. I wouldn’t be surprised if this number is roughly static and that there are always fifteen percent athiests in all religious countries. There is a debatable number of agnostics who neither believe in God and others or don’t. The original settlers of this land are the indigenous people who weren’t originally Christian. There were also the slaves (Yes Canada had slavery it just ended before the American kind) who originally were not Christian when they were forced out of their African homes.

God was never a uniting symbol of all the peoples of Canada. I’m glad Weir’s original lyrics kept God out of it. I am just sorry that Christianity badgered Weir so much that God eventually made appearances in his song. From unity to meh.

And Weir never wrote the music. That was written decades before by the the French and has its own meanings.

From unity to meh.

I hope enough immigrants will allow us to turn O Canada back to the religously agnostic words it began with. Then the song can truly unite Canada again.

Soft Genocide

Much has been said about the genocides of the 20th century. Indeed I had a post up (that wasn’t that funny) on my humour blog, talking about 4 obvious genocides that century. So far the 21st century has been worse. In only 16 years there have been 2 genocides. The one in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the Yazidi genocide. There may be more but most people are hesitant to throw around the word genocide.

most people are hesitant to throw around the word genocide

But there are other genocides and actions that have just as nasty an outcome as genocide. I would like to introduce to you something I call a “soft genocide”. I will show what happened to the Ainu of Russia and Japan. This history takes place not in the developing world but that of fairly well developed Russia and obviously developed Japan. This seems closer than the developing world and I intend to bring the idea of soft genocide even closer at the end of this essay.

I am interested in the Ainu because they are white people. They are not Caucasian but also evolved with white skin. I’m just curious because I have lived around Europeans all my life and can even in some cases guess what country they are from. I would like to stare at a number of Ainu people to get to somehow know different white faces from European whites.

But there are so few pure Ainu left. The Japanese and Russians are both guilty of whittling down the population of Ainu. It was so bad in Japan at one point that many Ainu intermarried with the Japanese to end the persecution. In total the Japanese government says there are 25 000 pure Ainu in Japan.

Russia will not officially recognize the Ainu as an ethnicity. This and other indignities Russia has offered the Ainu. Still it is thought there may be a few hundred pure Ainu in that country.

You might think that they are safe with their 25 000+ people but I am a reader of science fiction. Generation ships are currently popular in that genre because they just seem like a more realistic way to the stars to the present pragmatist writers.

10 000 members of a society are considered to have enough genetic variety to survive and thrive and give birth to viable descendants. But that isn’t the only number presented, according to this Popular Mechanics article. Some think that the number is closer to 40 000. Since we’re talking about a society of pretty closely related people as opposed to a generation ship that looks like a United Nations of people, I’m going to say that 40 000 of that group seems like a more realistic number.

I say that the Russians and Japanese have committed a soft genocide of the Ainu.

The Ainu have only 25 000 people of the same ethnicity. So it is my opinion that the Ainu as an ethnic group are dead. Or are going to be in a distant future if they only breed with pure Ainu. Don’t get me wrong, people will still use the Ainu name. There are about 200 000 mixed Ainu in Japan. But it will be diluted.

Thus I say that the Russians and Japanese have committed a soft genocide of the Ainu.

I don’t think they would have been alone in this. Indeed, I live in a nation that has committed a plain genocide. The island of Newfoundland used to be inhabited by the indigenous Beothuk nation. We wiped them out. There are no reserves upon which can be found one Beothuk person.

More commonly, here in North America, we were playing the same game that the Japanese and Russians were doing. We warred with our indigenous people until they were no longer able to fight us. Then we persecuted them with our diseases (sometimes deliberately spread) and made them live on much smaller reserves. Their culture and their dignity was attempted to be stolen by residential schools which were often violent and for sure were trying to kill their cultures. If the accident of civil rights hadn’t come along, I think the Indigenous North Americans would be much closer to the plight of the Ainu.

We must stand against all genocides

Soft genocide, then, is a simple game. All you have to do is get the minority under 40 000 persons and then a slower, softer genocide has been committed. We must stand against all genocides, no matter how innocuous they might seem.

Snapchat: The Information Suck

Perhaps millenials are using Snapchat in large numbers but there are problems with information, pictures, and videos with expiry dates. For that reason it will never truly challenge Facebook. It’s supposed to be like an informal conversation where your words don’t remain on display forever.

Snapchat has a variety of ways to make information disappear. One is that your follower is only allowed to see it once and then the information is terminated. There are ways to tell if the follower has screen captured the eventual contraband.

now I have nonfunctioning places in my blogs where there should be a comic strip

Now this is all well and good, but Snapchat bought out Bitstrips and now I have nonfunctioning places in my blogs where there should be a comic strip. Thank you Bitstrips and Snapchat for combining to take away my comics if only temporarily. I have about ten strips that got sucked out into the vacuum of Snapchat.

Well done, Snapchat. You have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can make anything of yours disappear. Bravo.

If the cartoon remains intact by the time Bitstrips returns to service…

But wait a second, what’s that I have on my Super Power: Sun Shielding post? Why, it is my cartoon still intact. This is the only cartoon still intact, I say we use this as a canary in the coal mine. If the cartoon remains intact by the time Bitstrips returns to service, I say we point out to Snapchat that the tears and trouble were never necessary in the first place.

The Bitstrips site says a few weeks. I’m waiting.

Rainbow Folk

There’s LGBT. There’s LGBTQ. There’s LGBTQ2. Then there’s LGBTTIQQ2S. They stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender[, Questioning](, 2 Spirited). The extras in the longest acronym are transexual, intersexual, and queer.

can’t we have one all inclusive name that isn’t the memorization difficult LGBTTIQQ2S

Clearly we have a problem with dealing with other sexualities and genders. But can’t we have one all inclusive name that isn’t the memorization difficult LGBTTIQQ2S. Yes we can. For that, all we have to do is look to the flag. The LGBTTIQQ2S flag. A few weeks ago a person who identifies as LGBTTIQQ2S came up with the answer for me in my local Kitchener Post newspaper. Simply he referred to these types of people as rainbow folk. There’s no capitalizations just like you would do in general use and it isn’t a memorization quagmire.

I like it. So when the use of LGBTQ, for instance, might be called for, I am going to use the term rainbow folk. Now you can whine and cry and rage about this but the fact is most people know almost immediately what I am talking about. And it makes reading easier.

rainbow folk are worried about coming out and there are no reliable statistics to say what frequency these people have in our society

In another area of concern, rainbow folk are worried about coming out and there are no reliable statistics to say what frequency these people have in our society. This is largely because rainbow folk stay in the closet for fear of being targeted or other reasons. So might I suggest that deathbed and only-to-be-released-after-death admissions be used to find out how many rainbow folk and of what variety exist in our society.

Then a rainbow person might know, “I’m gay but so is one in ten of the males I know.” This might be comforting or even empowering. I think accurate but anonymous stats are important. When the true numbers are unknown the mystery can be used to the detriment of rainbow folk. Indeed, here in Canada, I wonder if the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper, canceled the mandatory questions of the long form census, precisely so no future census could find the true numbers of rainbow folk.

Interstellar = Wonderful?

American Authors have a brand new album out and one of those songs, the title track What We Live For to my mind uses the word interstellar as a synonym for wonderful. Let me walk you through it.

The singer says that “baby you’re my open road” and later says the title line “This is what we live for” seeming to refer back to that. Obviously the singer loves traveling and really likes it when he has an open road. Extending this to space travel, wouldn’t interstellar space travel be the ultimate open road. And that is why I think he is using the word interstellar as a synonym for wonderful.

As a science fiction writer, this pleases me.

How the Liberals Intend to Change Our Democracy

First of all, I don’t mind getting rid of the first-past-the post system. That is a winner-take-all system and most of the time it leaves the majority unrepresented in our government. But the reflex position of the Justin Trudeau Liberals is to game the system in favour of the Liberal Party. So Justin Trudeau is on record as saying he wants Alternative Vote to pass.

Alternative Vote is also a winner-take-all system. It tries to appease the unrepresented by saying “Look you’re represented by your second choice.” But when has your second choice ever proven to be the best? It’s not your first choice for a reason.

Alternative Vote is also a winner-take-all system. It tries to appease the unrepresented by saying “Look you’re represented by your second choice.”

The Liberal Party thinks, because it is the most central of the main parties, that it will garner the most second choice votes and thus win almost all contests. This is how Liberals think they can game the system. So there may be a backlash amongst voters to not make the Liberals your second choice. But most Conservatives don’t want the NDP to be second and most NDP members don’t want to vote Conservative as their second choice. The most likely thing for them to do would be to not choose further than first choice. And that is why this Liberal government will make it a spoiled ballot if you don’t choose a second place party. Do you know where this is going?

The voting rebellion will be to choose the Green Party as your second choice. Why do this since it is quite likely the Green Party will be voted last and thus be taken off the ballot right away? If all the parties are to be ranked then it will be obvious that the Green Party has the most second place votes in a voter rebellion. In fact, lay people will be able to figure out the vote and find that the Green Party has the most second place votes. And their total first and second place votes might be higher than those of the Liberal Party. If a second place vote is indeed good enough, then there is a true reason to say that the Green Party won the election. They are just as legitimate as the run off winner which will likely be the Liberal Party.

So if the Liberal Party enacts Alternative Vote for next election, that will likely only come to pass with compulsory first and second place votes. But after the second place votes you don’t need to pick third, fourth or fifth places, etc. If they so this, we can’t figure out who had the most second and first place votes thus nullifying the protest. If this weird type of ruling comes down it is a certainty that the Liberal Party of Canada is filled with @$$holes.

But because the Liberal government has given itself a minority position on the parliamentary committee on electoral reform, I suspect they are expecting Canadians want a proportional representation system. Well, in the last few years the Liberals have come up with their own proportional system courtesy of former Liberal leader Stephane Dion. It is wrong to file this system under straight forward proportional systems because it is a hybrid. I choose not to explain all aspects of this and come up with my own conclusions. Instead I reference Wilf Day’s blog and take up some of his conclusions.

Dion’s system favours the top two parties. Even the third place party might be in jeopardy. The smaller parties are almost certainly compromised and left with almost no power. Dion’s position is that he doesn’t want fringe parties. Of course he doesn’t. He has spent his life climbing to power in one of two political parties that seems to have the possibility of governing Canada.

Would you go to Baskin-Robbins with only two flavours of ice cream?

Dion thinks fringe and I think choice. Would you go to Baskin-Robbins with only two flavours of ice cream? I don’t think coalitions are a bane of politics. It just means that those with different ideas have to cooperate. Cooperation among parties already happens in Canada with minority governments. It’s not that bad. In fact I think it is better.

So I expect the Liberals in the parliamentary committee on electoral reform will start with Alternative Vote then compromise with Stephane Dion’s system. If they still don’t get what they want and the committee approves something else, expect Justin Trudeau, Mr. AV as he might be known as, to drop the committee and pick the system of his choosing. He thinks that system will ensure his getting elected the next time. Right now he has 100% of the power in our first-past-the-post system and he intends to keep it.

Bill C-51 or Trudeau vs. Trudeau

By supporting Bill C-51, as is, in the House of Commons, Justin Trudeau has blatantly gone against the policy of his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

It gets worse. The few minor amendments to Bill C-51 that Justin campaigned on seem to have fled all Liberal discourse. That bill remains unchanged to this day and it looks like it will never be changed.

Bill C-51 almost completely does away with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you check almost any passage in this document, it is done away with by Bill C-51. Only a handful of rights and freedoms were saved.

Bill C-51 almost completely does away with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was the legacy legislation of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He got the premiers of the provinces to sign on to repatriating the constitution and then took the legislation to Britain to have Queen Elizabeth approve it. In all this he changed the British North American Act so Canada no longer needs any British approval of its laws. The best part was when he made the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the law in Canada.

Justin Trudeau has killed this legacy because of his actions. He probably thinks that he himself is legacy enough for Pierre. But he falls short every single day that Canada does not have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms to hold on to.