When Good Isn’t Good Enough . . . Things I’ve Learned

I don’t mean this to be another flag waving article about being Canadian and how wonderful we are. That we are ‘wonderful’ is a given:) But it isn’t who we are. We are NOT Canadians. We are people just like Americans, Arabs, Chinese, Russian, Black folks, Red folks and so on. We are simply identified by geography. However, what distinguishes us from others in the world is how we have chosen to live our lives and we are identified for what that stands for in the world. We try to live our beliefs, our morals and hold up our culture to the rest of the world for all to see and we say, “if this is what you want then come and enjoy it.” The mistake we have made in the past is not including a clear follow-up statement that says, “Never-never try and take it from us.” As someone who values our freedom and our way of life as much as anyone else, I would feel much more generous, welcoming and accepting of those who want to live among us as equals knowing that that message is out there-loud and clear. There can be no agendas.

I am appalled to know that our Ontario government is considering dropping support for The Humanities programs offered in schools at all levels. What the hell are they thinking?  (click for more information)

At a time when we invite people from around the world to come and join us we are considering dropping ANY help and support that these new citizens will need in order to more clearly understand what we are all about. It is not just the customs and culture of the newcomers but ours as well that must be considered and adhered to. That door swings both ways. That is the issue that needs to be resolved. How do we both live in a world where there is so much diversity? That includes valuing women and the role they play in a free society.  It would help us as native born folks to understand more about those who are coming to stay with us. We could talk openly TO each other in classrooms all over the country and have real conversations about what we each need to see and hear from each other. Our children could go home and talk to their parents about what they learned about immigrants and refugees. Like it or not, believe it or not, children educate their parents more than it happens the other way around. It seems in many homes the only thing that some parents teach their kids is how to hate. Here is a chance-a real chance to stop that behavior from continuing and, in stead, we are thinking about dropping the subject matter. Wow–great thinking! This is not an issue where time will heal all wounds nor can we legislate morality or values. It is about an understanding reached.

The following is not mine but was sent to me. Please read it. Apparently, it is a true story and as such illustrates exactly what I had mentioned above. Neither party in the following conversation is wrong but rather they don’t understand where the other is coming from.

“One of my sons serves in the military, he is stationed in Ontario, Canada. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere they go. Telling me how people shake their hands and thank them for being willing to serve and fight, not only for our own Freedoms but so that others may have them too.

Then he told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the Base. He said that several people were in the line ahead of him, including a woman dressed in a Burkha.

He said when she got to the cashier, she made a loud remark about the Canadian Flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, “Yes, I always wear it proudly, because I’m a Canadian.”

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.

Then, a Gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son’s shoulders and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: “Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn’t need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I’ll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq , so you can Straighten out the Mess in YOUR country, that you are Obviously here in MY country to avoid.”

Everyone within hearing distance cheered!

And so it goes . . .

Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best, Jim

Comments are welcomed. Please send them to jimcloughley.com  OR  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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What Would You Do Differently?

As I read about what is happening around me and some of the decisions that are made on my behalf I hear the distant chant of “don’t worry, I’ve got your back.” Consequently, when I hear someone in a position of power or strength say that to me I automatically check the bull s. .t meter that is always close by.

With that in mind I have listed and provided some possible solutions to 3 topics that do nothing more than confuse the hell out of me and I wonder if I am alone in that or if some of you who will read this article feel somewhat the same.

1. Multiculturalism: This was a dream of Pierre Trudeau. It was based in good intentions with a genuine hand out to welcome all those people who wanted a better life for their families. They wanted a chance to prosper and be free of fear and worry. They wanted to share their gifts with others. Canada benefited greatly by their arrival as did those who travelled here from all around the world. But as often happens with great ideas and intentions there were those who saw opportunities to hide their true thoughts, goals and behaviours in the Canadian Bill of Rights which of course provided them with all the protection and freedom they needed to carry on with their nefarious plans.

What would I do if I could? I would put a freeze on ALL immigration right now. As a host nation we need to take our time to develop protocols and policies that better ensure that the people who have made application are truly who they profess to be. So who are they? What skills do they possess? Can they use those skills to support themselves once they are here? Do they have family or friends in Canada that can vouch for their character while they are looking for work? Will family or friends provide housing and shelter when they arrive? We, of course, should provide appropriate health care and opportunities for adults and children alike be involved in English as a second language classes to improve their comprehension. The ‘multiculturalism’ of the 60’and 70’s is gone along with the idealism that sparked it’s growth and interest. Justin needs to let Pierre’s dream go. I’m not saying that we close our borders. What I am saying is that we approach multiculturalism in a manner that benefits us all and reflects 21st century reality. There are tens of thousands who line up and go through all the proper channels to get here. It amazes me how quickly we can fast track some refugees but struggle with those who are doing it legally.

2. Recently John McCallum, Federal Immigration Minister, announced a change in the requirements regarding refugees to have some working knowledge of English when they arrive at our doors. Apparently the new legislation would reduce, substantially, the level of understanding and ability to speak English. Could someone help me understand how a new arrival in Canada would be able to understand the forms needed to be filled out for citizenship, have any working knowledge of the Bill of Rights, how to seek and receive medical treatment, how to apply to go to school, how to sit in a Canadian classroom and grasp any semblance of what Canada is about: our political system, our history, our legal system and so on. How would they be able to understand the motor vehicle code and what the street signs mean. How would they know about their responsibility in recognizing other peoples rights. The list goes on. Are they that naive to believe that it will all just work out–somehow?

What would I do if I could? I would take that bill and torch it as quickly as possible and then make it perfectly clear to ANY and ALL potential immigrants that they are welcome to share our bounty but there is an expectation that goes along with becoming a citizen in the greatest country in the world. Being a citizen suggests you need to be able to make yourself understood and to understand what is being asked of you.

3. The next brain fart has to do with prohibiting the sale of cigarettes that contain menthol because ‘children like them too much’.  Why, then, is it OK for kids to smoke ‘regular ‘ cigarettes or E-Cigs (uses nicotine as its main ingredient) but not those mentholated ones? How can any rational person say that ‘ordinary smokes are OK’ but mentholated ones aren’t. That is the suggestion. Remember that this is coming from a group of deep thinkers who want to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

Just to be clear I have long supported the idea of using cannabis for medical purposes only. Anything other than that is a money grab with little concern about the long term possibilities. Spin it any way you want. It is a dangerous idea. The driving principle is all about saving and raising federal money. You want to really win the’war on drugs’ you do it by affecting the demand side not the supply side. It seems to have worked considering tobacco use. Might it work with cannabis as well?? Just a thought.  

What would I do if I could? If you are really concerned about the health of our kids when considering smoking then ban the sale of all tobacco products to kids under 21.

These are three of my peeves this week. Not surprising there are more but I have run out of space and words.

Let me know what you would do if you could.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, Jim

Please forward this on to friends and family. Comments will get to me by connecting by email at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

Does Anybody Know What It Is? . . . Does Anybody Care?

As much as I try to get away from this topic it continues to edge it’s way back into the public conversation and I feel compelled to add my two cents. For me, however, this is not about immigrants and the mixed feelings concerning that issue. This is about what we were told multiculturalism was about, what it represented and how Canada would benefit greatly. I am speaking about the grand experiment that was championed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau (still my favourite PM) back in the early-mid twentieth century. I am always amazed at the spin that is put on programs and ideologies when certain groups want to have their way as was the case here. The timing for this ideology to be introduced to us was perfect. The ideas around Peace , Love and Brotherhood were running at a feverish level especially among the ‘flower children’ so debate or opposition was near none. The ideology is about allowing large numbers of immigrants into the country to add people power to a faltering economy. It was also about introducing a variety of cultures and different ways of living into this dual-culture country of Canada so that French and Anglo ideals and culture would not be all that defined the country on the world stage.

I don’t have any problem with the concept of multiculturalism nor do I have a problem with offering people from different walks of life the opportunity to come and share the bounty of this great land. As I have said before–there is more than enough to go around for all of us. My problem is what we have given up to host these folks and what we continue to give up to this day. In 25 years and perhaps less the true settlers and founders of Canada–those whose blood lines are connected to those brave souls who carved out  an existence and created a formula for living here–will become the minority in our own country. Our culture, our ideology and our way of life will all but be a blip on the big screen. What will be the reality created by those seers who believe that they are the enlightened ones and the true thinkers among us? So many questions abound such as:

Is the cost of having a multicultural society worth the loss of our cultural assets, our freedoms and our uniqueness in the world?

–Other cultural groups come to Canada from a variety of global villages and they bring their customs and culture with them of course. However, our leaders seem to think it is OK for us to give up some of our customs and culture to allow our new guests an opportunity to enjoy their customs and culture in the process. Instead of each  group sharing their cultures and customs with each other to learn more about each other it has become an ‘either or’ scenario. We have become accustomed to giving up our identity as a nation so that others who come to us can enjoy more of theirs whether we like it or not. How do we feel about that?  What price do we pay for our generosity, tolerance and acceptance?

–Back then we were told that by allowing a huge number of folks to come to Canada that would bolster our economy because we could produce more from our resource base and therefore become much more prosperous as a nation. Our standard of living would certainly be increased. Apparently that has not happened and yet we continue to increase that labour pool each year even when there aren’t enough jobs for our own citizens. So that argument doesn’t fly. Why are we still being told that the opposite is true? Apparently new Canadians or those who are set to enter the country-legally-are receiving or will receive more benefit by being here and accessing our social systems than they are giving back to the country through taxation and so on. Why are we not addressing this issue?

–One great concern of mine is that gender equality will soon become a major issue or concern. When we consider that the majority of new comers to Canada are coming from countries where women are not respected or considered equal to men, how long might it be before that notion of inequality begins to find traction here? It is certainly likely that women who are arriving from those foreign lands would oppose any strength or movement that has developed here in the last 50 years.

–The unfortunate part of all this is: the people who stand up to pose legitimate questions about process and ideology, culture, heritage and the economy are branded racists and all rational, healthy and necessary debate is halted before it can receive a fair and public hearing.

I am not suggesting that we shelve the idea of multiculturalism-not at all. What I am suggesting is that we take another look at the ideology, vision and philosophy of the program and make adjustments to it that are at least as favourable to all those who participate and not just those who are coming here for a better life.


Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

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Is It Time To Reclaim Canada??

I think it is great that we, as a country, open our doors to offer an opportunity to anyone who wants to enjoy what we have and to share in the possibilities that are not available in many other places on the planet. I was first introduced to the concept of creating a multicultural society and how it would make us stronger as a nation, when I was a younger man. Being diverse, I was told, was good for us because it widened our scope of the world–yaddda, yadda, yadda.

So let’s see now–There were those who helped build the railway system from coast to coast and in 1824 began to dig the waterway between Port Colborne and Port Dalhousie virtually by hand. Many of those labourers and builders brought their families here from foreign lands taking a huge risk. There were those who wanted to live in Newfoundland when many wouldn’t not because it wasn’t magnificent but because there wasn’t a great deal there, early on, to sustain them. Living off the land was the only choice. But they came anyway because it was Canada. Opportunity waited for them. Freedom waited for them. There was a chance to be a pioneer and a citizen on a grand scale. Our First Nations People were the first real Canadian citizens and pioneers and as such were the first representatives of multiculturalism in this country. They worked hard and many died working hard to build this country into a place where everyone felt as though they belonged and that they were a part of a great plan for equality and opportunity.

There were First Nations Peoples, French people, Newfoundlanders, East Coasters, West Coasters, Dutch folks, German folks, English and Scottish and Irish folks and then came East Indian folks and Chinese folks and Polish people. We have always been a multicultural nation and one which fought together and built this great country–until now it seems.

It saddens me to see what has happened and continues to happen to Canada. We are a fragmented country. People have come to our shores but instead of joining in with those who were already here and those families that had fought for those freedoms we have allowed particular groups to use our charter to destroy us from within–to exterminate us culturally. Any of this beginning to sound familiar? For example we are not free to experience or practice OUR OWN religious beliefs and practices in public places while others are allowed to practice their religions in our schools and on our streets. We are becoming strangers in a strange land. Political correctness is now the weapon of choice. This parliament, with little insight, is guilty of not protecting our rights as they promoted the rights of others in consideration for votes and favours. Our own culture has been hijacked by those who live among us–those who would see us destroyed.

You fill in the blanks about how this is happening and who is making their move. Changes need to be made while we still have some control over our own political process. Twenty-five years ago you would not have been able to find too many people that dreamed of being the minority. Today that is a full blown possibility.

George Walker Bush said, “if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.”
Here are 9 things that I believe need to happen:

1. Vote for the candidate who talks about re-claiming our cultural identity. If they are not talking about it ask them why they aren’t.
2. Citizenships need to be earned not given away. You must live here, physically, for 5 years on a registered visa which allows the applicant to work and to experience the freedoms of travel–just like any other citizen.
3. Applicants who are arrested for a major crime and are found guilty are deported back to their native country, immediately.
4. Canadian citizens and applicants would be subjected to the same laws of the land. Each is held accountable by the same judicial system. Refusal to do so or to comply are grounds for deportation.
5. Legal immigrants seeking citizenship cannot own land, houses, businesses or holdings until they become citizens.
6. Non-citizens will not be allowed to vote at any level until they are citizens of Canada. They don’t have a stake.
7. Non-citizens will enjoy the same rights and freedoms as any other citizen. However, this does not include working to limit or ignore the rights and freedoms of any or all others.
8. If someone is not here legally then he/she/they should be asked to leave. Besides, if its so bad in your own country then fight THERE to change things for yourself and others.
9. We need to stop politicizing immigration. Immigrants need to earn the right to stay not give over to a political body that is willing to trade with them for a vote.

Unfortunately there are those who enter our country, not to enjoy it but to destroy it from within. There are clearly spoken groups who have stated that intent. Most that enter Canada come in peace and hope and are hard workers who share our beliefs and culture. There are those who come with malice in their hearts. We need to do a much better job of sending those folks back home. Sometimes we’ll get it wrong-I can live with that. Do we really need immigrants coming into Canada right now–No we don’t-not until we figure out how to do it better.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

Please send this along to friends who might be interested–comments always welcomed


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