Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Lac-Mégantic: Life Loss Legacy, Apr 30

April 17, 2017

Great news. Maine’s award-winning folksinger, Ruth Hill, will join the bill on Apr. 30, 7 PM at the Atwater Library in Westmount, Quebec.

In this one-time public event poetry, photography, song, and critical policy analysis come together to explore the elements faced by the citizens of the town devastated by Canada’s worst train disaster, as they continue their struggle to get the rail line moved from their community.

The evening will include a reading from Jacques Rancourt’s book Quarante-sept stations pour une ville dévastée, translated into English as Forty-seven Stations for a Ravaged Town by three time Governor General’s award winner for translation Donald Winkler. Winkler will read sections from his translation.

Photo by Ben Welland.

Bruce Campbell, Lac-Mégantic: Public Betrayal, Corporate Negligence, Justice Denied. Campbell has studied the political failures that allowed the train disaster to occur. Awarded a fellowship in 2016 at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of law, Campbell is currently writing a book on the disaster.
The photographs of Montreal’s internationally-recognized photographer Michel Huneault will be shown. Huneault rushed to Lac-Mégantic within twenty hours after the train explosion. He continued visiting the community fourteen times over the first year, documenting the trauma of the community. Schilt Publishing has produced a book of Huneault’s work, The Long Night of Mégantic/La longue nuit de Mégantic.

The state of Maine’s acclaimed folksinger Ruth Hill will travel to Westmount to perform various songs, including Lac Megantic. Ms. Hill has been writing songs for decades and was the 2016 winner of the Maine Songwriter’s Association songwriting contest.

A special poem by Canada’s current Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, will be read at this event.

Various people from Lac-Mégantic have been invited to share their stories.

The event begins at 7:00 PM, Sunday April 30, 2017, at the Atwater Library Auditorium, 1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount. The event is free to the public and people should enter through the side door.

The event has received financial support from the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.


Supreme Court too provincial

November 23, 2015

by Jack Locke*

The Supreme Court of Canada has done the citizens of Canada a royal disservice.

In the recent case of Caron versus Alberta, a majority of the court said on November 20, 2015, that Alberta did not have to make its laws in French and English. I repeat not.

Pierre Boutet and Gilles Caron had been charged with traffic offences in Alberta. They admitted breaking the law, but contested the legitimacy of the laws as being unconstitutional for failing to be available in Canada’s two official languages, English and French.

In their 6-3 decision(can be read HERE), the court ruled it’s okay to deny the two complainants the right to have laws printed and published in French.

What makes the case truly repugnant to Quebec citizens, or should, is the fact that the Government of Quebec did NOT intervene at the Supreme Court to assert the linguistic rights of French speakers in Alberta.

This is the dirty political game that Quebec governments continue to play.

By not standing up for the rights of French-speaking persons throughout Canada, the Government of Quebec simultaneously maintains its consistent discriminatory stance against English-speaking persons within Quebec.

This is an undignified position and one contrary to the wishes of numerous Quebecois and Quebecers, to be sure.

It is equally undignified that the Government of Alberta did not stand up for all Canadians equally, nor for a great number of French-speaking Albertans.

As a result, the culture provincial governments are fostering—one of linguistic greed—is at the expense of national unity. In addition, it fosters animosity amongst the two linguistic groups, which Alberta and Quebec currently do not seem to mind, apparently.

This is not my Canada. Let’s set aside for the moment the need to recognize indigenous languages as official—as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission— but not for too long. The refusal by provinces to seek harmony throughout the land, by recognizing the multi-lingual nature of our country, is something to which we ought take umbrage.

Supreme Court justices Abella, Wagner, and Côté, who formed the minority in this case looked at the issue from primarily an historic viewpoint. They concluded that the decision of the late Judge Leo Wenden in the provincial court of Alberta, which took 89 days at trial, was correct. Namely, that Alberta’s Languages Act, and Traffic Safety Act, are unconstitutional.

However, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and justices Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, and Gascon ruled in favour of Alberta, and contrary to the position of Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser as stated in a press release.

“Today’s judgment is not the one I had hoped for. It is the end of a legal saga that gave Canadians an opportunity to know how deep French roots are in Western Canada,” said Commissioner Fraser. “However, provincial governments could make their own decisions to move toward equality for the two language groups.”

However, the Supreme Court did not look at the issue of equality for the two language groups. It was not mentioned in their judgment. Sadly, they avoided that issue altogether.

Under present law, Quebec and Manitoba must print and publish all laws in both English and French. Yet, the Supreme Court ruled that Alberta does not need to do so.

What kind of equality is that?

It’s the kind of equality that makes lawyers rich.

And it is the kind of equality that keeps the Supreme Court of Canada busy. By not dealing with the obvious legal question, it will have to be fought once again by a large team of lawyers, no doubt.

At the end of the Caron case, the Supreme Court made an unusual costs decision. They awarded the losers certain costs for the huge 12-year legal odyssey. The trial transcript alone required 9,000 pages. That’s one heck of a lot of legal work, only to prove that the Supreme Court has done a major disservice to the people of Canada. My Alberta friends will thus have to bear the costs of this litigious misadventure.

But it is of little consolation for the litigants, who will have to pay their traffic tickets.


* The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the positions, strategies, opinions, or beliefs of Journalists for Human Rights(JHR).

Budget Boy Joe

April 21, 2015

Canada’s federal budget was delivered today, and in honour of this momentous occasion, Canada’s Poet Unlaureate, Jack Joseph Locke, has written a rather dismal limerick. For your pleasure…

Harvard grad, Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Finance.

Harvard grad, Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Finance.

This is a poem for Budget boy Joe

Whose budget was late we know

It’s April already

Canada’s unsteady

With his Harvard smile, he tells us how much we owe.

Cartoon: The Case of Mike Duffy and Two Wrights Don’t Make a Right

April 20, 2015

AET36Duffy Whos Paying2

Cartoon: Praise? The House of Commons Prays

April 17, 2015


Canada’s House of Commons Prayer – Amen, and pass the Ammonia

April 15, 2015

In light of today’s Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled Saguenay’s pre-council meeting prayer as unconstitutional, I present Canada’s House of Common’s prayer that closely resembles the unconstitutional and discriminatory prayer adopted by Saguenay.



Before the doors of the Chamber are opened to the public at the beginning of each sitting of the House, the Speaker takes the Chair and reads the prayer before any business is considered. While the prayer is being read, the Speaker, the Members and the Table Officers all stand.

The text of the prayer is as follows:

Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as Members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as Members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen.

The prayer is followed by a moment of silence for private reflection and meditation.

At the end of the moment of silence, the Speaker orders the doors opened, and the proceedings of the House begin. At this point, television coverage of the proceedings commences and Members’ guests and the public enter the visitors’ galleries.

Cartoon: Steeling Ore

April 13, 2015

AET31Pay the Rent2

My latest cartoon: Oh Ekuanitshit

April 12, 2015

AET30 Pay the Rent

Good idea, Stephen

April 1, 2015

1Heinous criminal Screenshot from Edfast.caThe Conservative Party of Canada has posted this image that identifies the problem. Yes. Maybe having the Prime Minister’s photo above the caption implies Freudian slippage.


Cartoon: Long Arms Registry

March 27, 2015