Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This morning I participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters in Calgary (Alberta). "In the decades before the Second World War, the Canadian Pacific Railway, with its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, was the largest transportation company in the world. Source: The Role of the CPR Ships in
World War II. Besides providing human resources to the armed effort of both wars, it also contributed its rolling stock and pioneered trans-Atlantic Bomber Ferry Services. Many of the bigger rail yards were converted to factories making munitions, artillery and tanks.
The service held today was small, but well-attended, and dignified. I waited until the service was over to take some of these images.
After this morning's Remembrance Day service I walked uptown (south) to Union Cemetery. There is a small Cenotaph there with some graves of servicemen. By looking at the dates, it is an assumption on my part to believe most died of wounds received during World War One. although there are a few that pre-date Armistice Day.
As I was approaching these grounds i noticed a young soldier in cammo fatigues come into the site from the other side. He looked for a few minutes for a what seemed to be a particular grave. Having found it he squatted and remained looking at it for while. My curiosity so much wanted to know more, however I did not approach him. Instead I took off my hat, and did my best to walk quietly around his position. Shortly afterwards, he acknowledged me, got into a car and left. I spent some more time in the immediate area taking photographs.
Monday, November 10, 2008
It has become cliché to note that the First World War, “The Great War,” was supposed to be the war that ended all wars.
Of course that was not true. There have been many conflagrations since
Yes, war was always candy-coated until now. More modern films are shredding that treatment to offer the brutality of what war is really about. That is not say truth-telling has become the banner. No, most people would find that boring or indigestible. Even a film like Passchendale, noted to be historically accurate in its making, eventually boils down to being a piece of fiction; a love story, based on real events. However, what it and its kind depict is that war is hell. Those who fight it are not thinking about glory for empire. They are fighting to kill the enemy; to make it out alive with as many buddies as possible.
I grew up wanting to soldier. I never did, and perhaps to God I am thankful. Not to say I don’t believe in honouring those that do. Tomorrow will find me at one of the Remembrance Services being held in
Like so many Canadians I would prefer that we would have peace; that our troops would be deployed to be peacekeepers. Nevertheless, I would not advocate for stripping them of their ability to make war. That’s what happened in the Seventies with the governments of the day. Until there is such a time where our nation should feel no threat from anyone, we need to have a strong military.
Do we need to remain in
The brutality of another war continues. It’s another war that nobody wants. So were the last big ones. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Is polarization along political lines healthy for how a nation is governed? I used to wonder why watching the Parliamentary Channel of Question Period sometimes the Opposition Party just didn’t agree with the government on what was overall good legislation. Why, I would ask, is it necessary to resort to catcalling and buffoonery? Why not more cooperation? There was time in American politics when there was more cooperation, and sometime the blending of party lines. This actually caused more harm on forming internal policies, according to
That said, what usually causes the rise of new [political] parties, or the loosening and confusion of existing ones, is the emergence of new social conflicts that are so overwhelmingly important that they strain the existing coalitions, scrambling party position on everything else. Despite the ferocious rhetoric, the new issues of recent years – primarily related to sex and religion – haven’t been controversial enough to disturb the existing [Republican and Democratic] alignment. Perhaps religion will one day do that, causing the depolarization of the parties along economic and foreign-policy lines, or the rise of a viable party in some states. But of course, this cure for polarized parties would be worse than the disease. Strong clashes between coherent parties aren’t a sign that the country is flying apart – they mean we’re getting along better than we think.
As it applies to Canadian politics what we experienced in the last session of Parliament was not dysfunction as claimed by the Conservative government. The polarization between the said party and its primary opposition was operating as expected. There probably was a lack of willingness to compromise and give up control by