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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Just as Canadian Thanksgiving occurs before the American Thanksgiving every year, Canadian Thanksgiving also predates the US celebration.  And, I’d like to think, our celebration is a far friendlier more welcoming one.  Ours is a celebration of thanks for the bounty this land has to offer, and a time to be thankful that we’ve survived the (sometimes harsh) journey that brought us to where we are.

You can find a general overview of the first Thanksgiving, and Frobisher’s role in it, as well as the parliamentary decry that made it a public holiday at http://www.twilightbridge.com/hobbies/festivals/thanksgiving/canada/ – but just a warning…  the website is bright red, which can be hard on the eyes.  However, I am THANKFUL not to have to give a history lesson on the events and to be able to point you elsewhere for it.  😉

So, today, I hope you gathered with loved ones and thought about all the things you are thankful for.  Sometimes our journey is full of difficulties and pain, but we end up where we are, with those we love…  and that is definitely worth giving thanks.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Government sanctioned discrimination, way to go Canada!

So, it appears Canada is again on the chopping block thanks to Harper.  Our flags once waved proud, but now are just as often full of disgrace.  This newest measure allows discrimination based on gender, going so far as to allow airport security the right to allow or deny access to individuals based on their gender.

Under section 5.2(1)(c) of the Aeronautics Act:

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if:  the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Why is this an issue?  Because for many Trans individuals the sex on their passport may not coincide with their gender.  There are very strict rules in place for changing the sex on your international identification that only a very small segment of the populace qualifies for.  These rules make it impossible for non-operative Trans people to have the M or F on their documents changed to reflect their actual gender.  A better solution, if this wording is to remain in place would be to allow for an “Other” designation.  Gender is, after all, a social construct that has nothing to do with an individuals sex (which, lets be honest, also has more than two possibilities).  Alas, we are stuck in a society that appears to enjoy this incorrect, yet entrenched, gender binary.

This goes even farther though.  The instant we allow those with limited power the ability to select who qualifies as female and who as male – based on how they present, we are opening ourselves up for all sorts of abuses.  Gender is a social construct that changes with time.  It used to be that we dressed our long haired little boys in pink dresses, while the girls wore blue.

What happens when the thirteen year old girl, with short cropped hair, wearing low rise baggy pants and a jersey is denied access to a plane to fly home to her parents after spending part of the Summer with her grandparents?  This policy gives airports the right to determine who is female enough, or male enough to board their planes.  The potential abuses this brings forward are downright scary.  Don’t think for a second that because you are not a genderqueer, or trans individual, or because you don’t have a gender creative child that it won’t affect you.  This is something that has the potential to harm us all.  Will we all have to don a dress and kerchief in order to be female enough to avoid speculation?  It’s a scary idea.  Men, don’t even think about wearing that salmon coloured shirt, you too may be pulled for questioning regarding your gender presentation.  Is this really a slope we even want to start on?

There is a petition here:  http://www.petitiononlinecanada.com/petition/tell-harper-to-allow-trans-people-to-fly-on-airplanes/758  Add your name, and let Harper and his yes men know that you are saying NO to this government sanctioned discrimination.  And for more information and ideas on what you can do to combat this, check out what Chris Milloy has to say here:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

female enough to fly?In 1930 Amy Johnson finished a record-winning solo flight from England to Australia.  Would she be “female enough” to be allowed on a plane in Canada in 2012?  I wonder.

Larry Waldinger: GPS Leadership Candidate

Before proceeding to Larry Waldinger’s answers to my seven questions for our leadership candidates I wanted to issue a quick apology.  I had intended to post his response yesterday, but time just seemed to get away from me.  For that, I am sorry.

Victor Lau has yet to respond.


What inspired you to put your name forward for party leadership?

I sensed that it would help the party and my campaign at the same time. Also, some people I spoke to were enthusiastic about me running.

What one issue do you feel should be the priority for our provincial election platform?

It is hard to separate which is more important people and planet or planet and people. If we don’t come to grips with climate change it will cause a lot of damage to the planet and a lot of misery to the people, so what I like to say is that climate change is our “signature issue”. If I had to choose I would say that climate change is the thing, but we need to balance a little sacrifice now with avoiding mass misery later.

How will you juggle work, family, and leadership duties leading into the provincial election?

I will balance all of my responsibilities the way I have been and the way I continue to do each day. It’s not that complicated. I will work hard at all of my responsibilities. My union (ATU615) has negotiated the luxury for its members of being able to arrange time off from work, so I am able to put my work responsibility on the back burner for a while. In fact I have been doing that for some time. That makes the juggling act much more easy.

Can you please tell us a little about what first brought you into “a life political”?

I felt an overwhelming need to do something about the many crisis facing us. I started with a donation to the GPS, followed it with an offer of volunteer help, and it all just seemed to flow naturally to where I am at now.

When did you first identify as a Green?

I think it is in my DNA

Why should we vote for you?

People should vote for me because of the passion, energy, and innovation that I have already brought to the table. Since 2010 I have been active, loyal, and dedicated to the GPS. I have experience in leadership positions. Same applies to my candidacy in the Saskatchewan general election to be held on November 7, 2011.

Where can we go to learn a little more about you?

Google me, click on one of the many links below, or use some of the contact information below to contact me directly:

Email: lwaldinger@gmail.com

Mobile: 306-717-7275

Web: LarryWaldinger.com

Blog :http://gpswaldinger.blogspot.com/

GPS: http://saskgreen.ca/larry-waldinger-saskatoon-sutherland-prospective-candidate-2011

Bio Info: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l8Iz8kbpuQihAz_Z264NbolSbAt_j25gdwEKq0xt_Wc/edit?hl=en_US

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Larry-Waldinger-for-Saskatoon-Sutherland-Green-Party-of-Saskatchewan/185144554852618

Twitter: @VoteLarryW

Or may I suggest to you that you go to the leadership convention…

Larry Waldinger

Thanks, TD

7 Questions for our GPS Leadership Candidates

Yesterday evening I put together a list of seven questions for each of the Green Party of Saskatchewan leadership candidates.  They were emailed to each candidate, and as they reply, I will be posting their answers here at TD365.  Hopefully this will help us all get to know these gentlemen a little better.  If their responses generate more questions for you, please feel free to post a reply on the blog.  I encourage active open discussion, it is the only road to democracy.

Train, train, go away… (turn off your engine while you wait)

At times I seriously curse the fact that we have so many train tracks running through our city.  Generally speaking I love it.  I love the sound of the trains on the rails, love the realness of it, love that it speaks of how our country was created, and what Canada could be again (if only we’d invest in high speed rail – which was invented by Canadians, but then sold to Germany when the Canadian gov’t refused to invest).  Tonight though?  I was ticked off by the train.

We were on our way home, Damon, myself, and the girlie.  When the railway crossing lights started blinking and the red/white striped bar dropped.  We were on 51st street, just passed the intersection of 51st and Waniskewin…  No biggie, right?  Oh, so wrong.

When we pulled up it was about quarter past seven, or maybe twenty past.  I wasn’t watching the time closely at that point.  But we didn’t get moving again until shortly after eight.  That’s at least 45 minutes stuck sitting waiting for a train to cross in the middle of Saskatoon!  That’s not okay.  Not even remotely okay.

When we first realized that we might be sitting for more than a minute or possibly two, we shut off the car.  And you know what?  It filled my heart with hope, as other cars around us took our lead.  It was cold, and we were chilly sitting there waiting.  But the car in front of us turned off, the car to the right, and the car behind that.  Who knows how many others followed suit, too far from my scope.  It was so wonderful to see them turn off, one after another.

A couple of years ago, we’d have been the only ones sitting in a darkened car thankful for our jackets and mitts, but tonight others joined in.  Sure, there were tons of others who’s vehicles were left running that whole time (close to an hour)…  but it still gave me hope seeing that others joined in with us, and turned their vehicles off.

The girlie passed her time playing with the camera phone.  Here’s one she took of me:

"train, train, go away, come again some other day..."

 

Besides all the cars sitting there, idling for almost an hour?  The most frustrating thing was the freakin’ train itself.  For the first fifteen minutes it sat off to the side of the road – not even blocking the road itself.  Not moving, not doing anything…  but close enough to the road that the bar was down preventing any cars from moving.  Then it slowly began to move, the engine went down a few blocks, and stopped again…  cars blocking the street this time (but at least then there was actually something REAL stopping traffic).  Then the whole freakin’ thing backed up again.  ARG!  Not cool.  Not blocking a major flow of traffic for almost an hour.  Seriously, there has got to be a bylaw or something preventing this type of thing during normal waking hours.  I was just grateful that I was able to keep the girlie entertained, and that she didn’t have to pee really badly (or worse).

So yeah…  a rather trying hour.  But I’m choosing to take hope in the people driving those cars who cared enough to shut off their engines.  THANK YOU!

I try to forget that it’s Remembrance Day.

On November 11th, every year after 1993, I do my best to forget that it’s Remembrance Day.  It may not seem appreciative, it may be politically incorrect, but it’s what I do to try to cope.  My sister was killed on Remembrance Day in 1993.  She was twelve, I was sixteen.  And in that instant the meaning of the day changed for me.

It was seventeen years ago now.   After that many years, it’s easy to get through the day to day.  After that many years her not being a part of my life is normal.

But on Remembrance Day it’s a whole different story.

One day a year those feelings become fresh, become new, and I experience the loss all over again.  One day a year I remember the annoying kid who drove me up the wall, yet who, at the same time, I loved totally and completely.  One day a year I remember my sister who never got to grow up.

I am so appreciative of all those men, women, and canines who have given so completely of themselves to ensure our freedom and safety. I am so grateful of the sacrifices made in the past, the sacrifices currently being made, and the sacrifices that will be made in the future.  So many amazing individuals giving of themselves in a way most of us can barely comprehend.  For the greater good – an idea, a concept that for so many has very little real and concrete meaning – but for our veterans and soldiers means everything.  Thank you!  To all of you!

Canadians have done amazing things worldwide, I am proud of our peacekeeping efforts.  We are a nation that believes in equality and in inalienable human rights, and our troops have given of themselves to ensure those rights for all people.  So please do not think that my attempts to forget, and ignore the date have anything to do with what Remembrance Day is supposed to be about.  It’s just that, for me and for my family, it is about remembering something entirely different.

It’s about my sister, Regan.

It’s about having someone you love ripped away from you.  It’s about all the things she had yet to do, and had yet to become, all the things she had hoped for.  It’s about the small moments we remember and that we now cling to… because they are all that’s left.

She was only twelve, and now she’s gone.

I will be glad when it’s November 12th, and we’ll have made it through another Remembrance Day.  Because, for a family to move on from something like this, you need to forget.  To cope, to survive, sometimes you just need to forget.

 

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