Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Writ, She Has Dropped

What a strange expression, "dropping the writ". Apparently (according to a brief google search) it's a Canadian thing. In the UK, where our customs and procedures originated, writs are "issued", not dropped.

The writ in question is an election order, and depending on whom you listen to, either the Prime Minister or the Governor General "drops" it.
I suspect it's the G-G, done at the behest of the PM. But my attention span has reached its limit on this issue.

So, if nothing changes I expect to vote for the Liberals.
That ranting and raving you heard from me up until sometime last summer?

Nevermind.

Including, during the last campaign, a rant on national television, which I never saw but some of my friends did, much to my embarrassment.
What happened was, I was minding my own business at my bowling league when in marched a bunch of people carrying very heavy objects and very bright lights. And microphones.
They claimed to be from CTV and wanted to get a feel for what people were thinking, and what better place than a bowling centre on a weeknight in May 2004.

Of course I need no excuse to get started especially if someone actually wants to know what I think, so I started in on my "Liberals are corrupt, we need a change, clean house, yadda yadda, I might even vote for the Bloc to teach them a lesson" speech.

Next thing I know, Jed Kahane is in front of me, holding a microphone in my face. D'oh.

This was before the resurgence of the separatist cause, and my riding has always gone overwhelmingly Liberal, I say in my defense.

As it turned out, I voted for neither the Liberals nor the Bloc, nor the Green Party as most of my family did. I plead the fifth (can I do that here?) on whom I actually did vote for but it was a protest vote and they had no chance of winning. The seat remained Liberal.

This time it will be partially a "there's no one else to vote for" thing, and partially a "I really DO want the Liberals to win" thing. In Quebec it's a two party race and the Bloc looks way more threatening than they did two years ago.
Plus, Paul Martin is no Jean Chretien.

So I look forward to an entertaining winter of nasty rhetoric, blogging, election signs becoming missiles in the snowstorms, and lots of Mike Duffy. I just love him especially in the ads when they have him say, "Just Watch Me." Swoon.
(No that wasn't sarcasm, I really do have a killer crush on him!)

And when that's all over, the Winter Olympics, for a kinder, gentler sort of competition.

More to follow, where I learn a new bad French word while waiting in line at WalMart.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

You Can't Have it Both Ways

Headline that caught my eye on the CNN website:

Mental illness no red flag in gun buying

Hey why should it be, the US Constitution states that it is the right of every nutbar to bear arms.
Or something like that.

But seriously.
The article cites some cases of diagnosed psychotics who bought guns and used them on themselves or others.
Diagnosed psychotics are, according to the article, prohibited from buying guns,

however,

privacy laws prohibit their names from being publicized in the first place.

So the names of people suffering from conditions that make it undesirable (and even illegal) for them to possess weapons cannot be made known to those who provide them with these weapons.
I know I already said that. I was making sure I had it right.

Clearly this situation is untenable, and something must change.

Of course if the privacy laws are loosened and names of the mentally ill are circulated along with those of known felons and other criminals, it gives us one more reason to hide grandma in the attic lest she be carted off to the looney bin.
Society's attitudes have improved with regard to such illnesses as depression but there is still a way to go before it is regarded in the same light as other chemical imbalances such as diabetes.

And I'm not arguing that depressives should be allowed to buy guns, I'm arguing that nobody should be allowed to buy guns unless there is a good reason for it.
That way, guns will be in the hands of the police, the hunters, and the career criminals, all of whom know how to use them.

If your store is held up, you give them the money and nobody has to get hurt.
If your house is robbed you hide under the bed and nobody gets hurt.
If you feel a homicidal rage coming on, you take a knife instead of a gun and only those within arms' length are in danger.

It is beyond me why they cannot see that in order to have a society where gun ownership is a RIGHT, not a privilege, too many other rights have to be sacrificed.

Nobody needs to carry a gun in their pants.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Front page article in this morning's Gazette:

More young anglos choosing to stay

I doubt the link will last more than a day or two, so I will paste the relevant text. Sorry about the copyright, etc.

Young anglophones are less likely to leave Quebec than a decade ago, a migration study issued yesterday reveals.

Moreover, four out of 10 respondents in the 2004-'05 survey indicated they consider themselves as much a part of the francophone community as Quebec's anglophone minority.

...The survey suggests that Quebec anglophones are more attached to their origins than previously believed, said Madeleine Gauthier of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique.

...It also appears the one-way drain of anglophones from the province can be reversed, Gauthier said following a news conference to unveil the study.



My personal experience bears out this trend. The flood of refugees to Toronto and parts westward has slowed if not stopped; the last time I remember a personal friend leaving was 1997.
(How do I know? Her son was in the same class as mine, and they left when he graduated Elementary School.)

In fact (to my unending glee) both children of another wayward friend have chosen to attend McGill instead of any local (to them) Toronto university.

You can check out but you can never leave.

My own two sons, now in their 20s, have shown no interest whatsoever in relocating, even the one whose French is less than fluent. The other, who went through French Immersion, is off and running in a Francophone workplace.
I can't think of any friends of theirs who are leaving, either. Quite different from my own situation at their age.

I stayed, against the flow, because my life was here, my job was here, my parents were here, and I married a man (also Anglophone) whose life was here. There was no serious question of leaving, even through the turmoil of the 80s and 90s, because my husband was only licensed to practice his profession in Quebec and for reasons known only to him, refused to try to obtain licenses anywhere else.

So the trend has indeed reversed but the article doesn't really address WHY.

I can think of a couple of reasons:

The ones who were going to leave, have already done so.
The children of the ones who stayed were brought up with a different attitude. They learned French and were thus able to participate in a broader range of community activities and be exposed to a broader range of cultural influences.
They feel more at home.

There has also been a lull in the political noise at least up until the news of the Sponsorship Scandal broke. House prices went up, for sale and for rent sightings eased to reasonable levels, the Quebec Liberals were elected, and, it can be argued, our heads became nestled comfortably in the sand.

I would expect perhaps to see a smaller new wave of emigration if things proceed as I envision now; the separatist cause gains some vigour, the PQ are reelected in due course, the whole thing starts up over again; but nothing like the furor of the 60s and 70s.

On the whole, I'm glad to have remained in Quebec. I love Montreal and can't think of anywhere in North America I'd rather live (climate aside). Sometimes I think of how nice it must be to open one's mouth in public and not have it be a political statement no matter what the context, but when measured against other social ills, that one doesn't really stand up.

While I'm not vowing to stay forever and become a citizen of Quebec the country, I'm not vowing not to either. Life will take care of those decisions for me, I expect.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Be Nice to Your Plants...

...for one day they may have occasion to vote for you.