Be it Yours to Hold High
Over the last couple of weeks, North Americans have had a number of times to reflect on our history. Memorial Day, designated as a day for Americans to remember the sacrifice of those who died in war. Victoria Day, when Canadians from coast to coast are invited to remember our shared history with the British. And today, June 6, the anniversary of the allied landings on the beaches at Normandy in France. Why do we remember such things? What is the sense in bringing up the past? Shouldn't we step in the 21st century and just move on?
There are many in this country who have short memories. There are many who give not a fig for the past. To them our history is simply that, history. They would much prefer to carry about their lives without regard for anything that is so obviously removed from present reality. But there are many who would not. Over the last few days of organizing the Standard, I have realized that this group will not forget. We will not bury our heads in the sand. We will remember.
It is customary for the host to provide a short autobiography, as well as an introduction for the Standard. We will get back to my opening thoughts to be sure, but at this point, please allow me to share a part of me with you.
I was born in Victoria in 1978. When I was two years old, my father got a job working at the asbestos mine in Cassiar, B.C. We lived there until 1992, when the government pulled the plug on the mine (apparently asbestos isn't such a hot commodity anymore... who knew?). At the time, I was 12 years old. I was ignorant of the political and economic realities of the time. Nonetheless, I was angry. As far as I was concerned, my home was taken away from me, and I could do nothing to stop it. Despite messianic expectations of socialist salvation at the hands of the New Democratic Party's finance minister, Cassiar's fate was sealed. A lesson was learned on that day. People lie. Politicians lie. Life is uncertain. It is best not to rely solely on the promises and benevolence others, they will let you down. I have not forgotten what took place in those final months of life in Cassiar.
Since then, my family and I have lived in Smithers, BC. I spent two years in Abbotsford, and I hope to return to the lower mainland soon. Currently, I am experiencing a unique time in my life. I am fully aware that my 30th birthday is creeping up on me. As I look around at my family, a great deal of changes are taking place. My brother has a son... a son... what the heck? That makes me an Uncle... how crazy. As well, my elderly grandparents are experiencing the final moments of their existence. As Alzheimer's disease ravages my maternal grandmother like it did her husband in the 1990's, it has become more important to me to remember the things she told me as a boy. My grandmother was fully aware of history. She told me stories of her life as a young girl in Saskatchewan, and recalled the times that her husband played band for the troops that were set to depart. It is the ultimate irony that such a woman would have her mind taken from her in this way. And people in this country choose to forget.
My paternal Grandfather was moved into a hospice last week. Cancer is destroying his body in much the same way as it did his wife several years ago. He was too young to serve in WW2 (born in 1929), but he was a part of a paratroop unit that helped liberate South Korea. I do not know if I will see him alive again, but I will remember his courage. I will also remember the joy he got out of playing golf. This man would golf while sucking back oxygen from a bottle he kept in a knapsack on his back. If you are not a golfer, I cannot explain any further. If you are a golfer, you can understand his passion.
It is difficult to think that soon I will have no grandparents alive on earth. But this does not mean that they are gone forever. I will remember them both.
I have been a proud member of the Red Ensign Brigade since November 23, 2004. As I said back then, I repeat now:
It is an honour and a privilege to fly the Red Ensign Standard.
Why do I care about the history of my country? It is because my nation has a proud past. Why will I take a moment of silence today to remember D-Day? Because something extraordinary happened on that day. The numbers I read state that that were 1074 fatal and non-fatal casualties in the Canadian Army on that day. Those men served honourably under the banner of the Red Ensign. They did so to free Western Europe from a tyrant, and prevent said tyrant from undermining the freedoms they held dear. Their efforts, and the efforts of the entire force of British, American, and Canadian soldiers on that day, secured a third front against Hitler. It effectively assured victory in Europe for the Allies. I will take a moment of silence today. And then, I will carry on with my day. I can do so because of what they did. I will not forget.
For those of us on the Brigade, we are living in interesting times. Anywhere from 30 to 40 per cent of Canadians would vote for a corrupt and amoral government to continue governing. This bothers each of us a great deal. Not because we are all right-wing nutjobs (though some of us certainly are!). Not because we simply hate the Liberal Party (I suspect many of us would even vote for them if they were, ya know... classical liberal). It bothers us so much because we remember. We have seen what they have done, and we have seen how they act, and we want nothing more to do with them.
We are a diverse group. As you will see, we come from all over this country, and have all sorts of opinions and ideas. But is there something we all agree on? As I was thinking of how to answer such a thing, I came across this post by Tipper. It sums up nicely what I think too:
On a related theme, I’ve been musing a bit about what it is that unites the Red Ensign Brigade. Some of our blogs are quite political, many less so. Most, but not all of us, are to the “right” portion of the
political spectrum, many moderately and many somewhat immoderately. Some are very vocal, with “no holds barred,” others looking more for dialogue and discourse. Most live in Canada, some live outside. Most are Canadian citizens, others have a strong attachment to Canada. I really do relish the diversity I find on the blogroll.
But my sense of what unites us all is just simply support for Canada and for Canadian interests.
I believe the Canadians among us would all be called patriots – “a person who loves his country and defends and promotes its interests” [per Merriam-Webster]. We may not have complete consensus on what those interests are and even if we were to agree completely on the interests there would be less consensus about how to promote them. But we support. And support encompasses criticism, preferably constructive criticism, and preferably working to change what it is we criticize and not just to complain about it.
There is not complete consensus on what our interests are, and I wouldn't want there to be in a group this size. But the thing I noticed as I read through fifty-four fellow Brigade Members is that we have good memories. We will not forget.
There may come a day when Canadians everywhere simply give up. A day when we allow our government to determine our future without our consent. A day when we blindly go about our business, ignoring the deeds of a corrupt administration, because they are doing it 'for the good of the country'. A day when we bury our heads in the sand while immoral people distribute our hard-earned wealth how they see fit, and we gladly and greedily accept whatever handout is given to us in return with no concern for anyone else. A day when we remember nothing of our proud past, when exploration, technology, trade, and freedom are regarded as trivial. A day when June 6th means nothing more than August 4th or November 25th. A day when talking becomes more important than doing, and we promote freedom by scowling at bad guys and telling then not to be so mean. There may come a day when all these things take place.
But it is not this day. Not June 6th, 2005.
The following men and women live with eyes wide open. They record what they see, and they remember. With such men and women to remind all Canadians, that day will not come anytime soon. With that, I am proud to present the Twenty-Third Edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Let the Linkfest commence.
At this point there seems to be only one Brigade member posting from the far east. Bob, at Canadian Comment questions the sanity of having Zimbabwe on the United Nations Human Rights Watch, despite a plethora of human rights violations. He then posits whether a nation could actually violate enough human rights to not qualify for the Human Rights Commission. Well Bob, they aren't as bad as Syria, so let's just cut them some slack.
Along the same lines, he questions why Canada would provide financial aid to communist China, recalling some of the less noble qualities of said communist regime.
And be sure to check out his suggestion for changing the nickname of the New Jersey Devils, as well as his thoughts on electoral reform in Prince Edward Island.
Paul at All Agitprop, all the Time experiences a wave of emotion. First, he is pleased that the French rejected the EU Constitution, but that joy turns to frustration when he reads of Dominique de Villepin's appointment to the position of French Prime Minister. Paul also comments on the Gurmant Grewal scandal, and at the same time gives outsiders a glimpse into the secret world of being a Red Ensigner. And he wonders aloud why anyone, especially a foreign dignitary, would travel unarmed in Haiti.
A Chick Named Marzi shares her thoughts on the government's response to the murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi. She's got thoughts on Gurmant Grewal here, and her post on Karla Homolka has brought her some pretty messed up traffic from google.
Angry in the Great White North wants the water in the Toronto area tested for oxytocin. He also wonders what will happen with the same-sex marriage bill. Angry has some choice words for his MP, Mark Holland, and a poses a question that supporters of the Liberal Party want an answer to. Plus, he offers up his thoughts on Bernard Landry resigning from the Parti Quebecois. And Angry, you may not be on Monte Solberg's list of favourite blogs, but for what it is worth, you are definitely one of mine.
Damian at Babbling Brooks points the finger at the New York Times for trying to tell the greatest military machine the world has ever known how to recruit soldiers. He also reminds us of how Jean Chretien and the Liberal Party systematically deconstructed Canada's armed forces. Yeah, the very same armed forces that took Vimy Ridge, stormed Juno Beach, liberated Holland, and helped free the southern half of Korea. Our servicemen and women deserve better, as Damian so wonderfully points out. One other thing, man, what's your handicap?
Ryan at Blue Perspective discusses the EU constitution, specifically the Dutch rejection of it. He also provides links to the transcripts of the Grewal tapes. Thanks, Ryan!
Andrew at Bound by Gravity shows us that the Conservative Party of Canada is not the anti-environment zealot group they are made out to be. He also comments on... errr Dippergate in Manitoba. Here are his comments on the Sikh man who lied to police about a racially motivated beating. He also points out why each of us in the Brigade do what we do. Admittedly, that's a bad choice of words on my part...
Bob's co-blogger at Canadian Comment, Dana, asks how useless the Canadian media is. Question Asked, Question Answered, I'd say. His thoughts on Grewal can be found here, and I think we can all guess what his favourite fast food restaurant is.
Canadianna thinks the Conservatives have really dropped the ball on the Grewal issue, but isn't very pleased with the media's handling of it either. She also tears into the Globe & Mail's Gloria Galloway for the anti-Christian remarks she has made. To top it all off, she fisks Don Martin and Greg Weston... at the same time! A girl after my own heart.
Alan at GenX at 40 has the low-down on the Tantrama tapes! He also posts on the National shame that is the Arar Case. And when he isn't waxing nostalgic about the Internet, Alan manages to poke his nose outside just in time to see a raging fire and blog about it.
Over at Hammer into Anvil, James links to two unfortunate stories that you gotta read to believe. On top of that, he experiences nausea about the Canadian media uber-fawning over Justin Trudeau's marriage. He also makes a great argument for small government.
John the Mad has thoughts on Grewal, and after determining what the "real" problem in this country is, he offers a solution on how to deal with those pesky Catholics and Evangelicals. The whole thing is hilarious, and I can't help but post my favourite snippet:
We could force Christians to get permits and make them store their bibles in steel cupboards with thick chains wrapped around them for extra security. Rumours have it that Catholics already do that. Think how much more comfortable police will feel if they have to respond to a domestic recitation of the rosary if they know in advance that the scripture is locked away beyond the reach of proselytising laymen. Mind you this will be of limited utility in the case of Evangelicals, because they have memorized the key passages and will be able to preach without scriptural texts at hand. But, to quote the motto of the Liberal gun registry, "No regulatory system is completely perfect."
Priceless, John. And be sure to check out how many times the term "hidden agenda" is used in this post.
Eden at Just Between Us Girls is having trouble with permalinks. But I guess that just means you'll have to click the link, and read the whole darn blog, eh? Don't miss her thoughts on hijacking a riding association in the post titled "Me? An Idealist?"
The most brilliant author of Minority of One, Keith, wonders aloud if we could clone George W. Bush, leaving one copy in Canada, and sending one to the EU. With this kind of thinking, Keith is bound to get arrested. And if you keep slamming out Nanny, you're really going to be in trouble. Nonetheless, I'll post bail for ya, pal.
Meanwhile, Nicholas at Quotulatiousness has been political shopping, with rather funny results. He also points us to a unique case between the US Library of Congress and the ACLU. As well, Nicholas shows us which restaurant he'll be dining at when he vacations in Taiwan! Be sure to check out his pics of the 2005 Brooklin Spring Fair.
At Ravishing Light, Paul hopes the Grewal tapes are not faked. He also fisks a meme from the always-entertaining folks at Democratic Underground, and provides a review of the cartoon Madagascar. For those of you living in the Ottawa area, you may find this traffic info widget quite useful. And to answer your question, Paul, both Testaments contain hellfire. The New Testament is just a little more... final, about it.
Over at Rhetoricking with Myself, Rhetoric has recently released the unedited version of the Grewal tapes. He is also keeping tabs on all the latest polls, and posts his feelings on Stephen Harper's leadership.
At Skeet Skeet Skeet, Ben is pretty pleased with some of the soundbites coming out of a couple of Conservative MP's. He also promotes capitalism in a most eeeevil and un-Che-like manner. As well, he tries to tell us that he knew and dated Miss Universe 2005 before she became famous. Yeah, right Ben. Nice try!
Stephen Taylor has an interesting idea for Stephen Harper to consider. He also plainly states that in order to win the next election, the Conservatives need to get down to the nitty gritty. Finally, he shows how Democracy Watch dropped the ball with regards to the disclosure of political campaign contributions.
The most excellent Taylor and Company has returned to blogging, and to the Brigade! He's been busy keeping track of which military aircraft each of us are. On a bit of a different note, he recalls the concert he took in last month headlined by Itzhak Perlman.
Kateland at The Last Amazon is shocked, shocked by the news that Mahmoud Abbas is postponing the Palestinian elections scheduled in July. Still with the middle east, she comments on two interesting articles found in the Jerusalem Post. And then shares this interesting musical moment she had with her daughter.
Mapmaster at The London Fog is reading the London News so we don't have to. Must be nice to have a million bucks to kick around. They are just doing it to improve your city, eh Mapmaster? But at least they are making... errr... progress. He also admits that he is nothing but a big meanie. Meanwhile, Lisa is more than a little fed up with the nanny state shenanigans going on in Ontario, and don't get her started on how junior hockey adversely affects the environment. And Mike has discovered a rare copy of Universal Child Care Comix.
The Monarchist is looking for new recruits! To have your work posted there would be a true honour indeed, so if you are an aspiring blogger who fits the criteria, apply today! The fine folks there have recently been granted Large Mammal status, which comes as no surprise to those of us in the Brigade. A round-up of the always thought-provoking Walsingham can be found here, and you would do well to read them all. And the Monarchist takes Adrienne Clarkson to task for shaming and dishonouring the position of Governor-General.
Over at the Phantom Observer, VW offers good advice for politicians (as well as the rest of us too, I suppose!). You can read his thoughts on Justin Trudeau's wedding, and be sure to read this post on Wile E. Harper (sooooper geeeeenius). His artwork doesn't end there either, as he puts pen to paper for a cartoon regarding the increase in religious MP candidates. And if you are interested in buying a submarine, VW has all the info you need.
The Tiger in Winter, Ben, tells us why he likes the Bush Doctrine (apparently lots of folks like freedom, imagine that). He thinks that Canada's new Ambassador to the US might actually have a head for the job. I always had a funny feeling he was a closet socialist, but in the end his heartlessness shines through. Things are really happening for Ben, but he still finds time to comment on the EU Constitution.
Huck the Bumf comments on the Grewal tapes, utilizing the term "slimy punk" in a most interesting manner. And when Huck isn't waxing eloquent about the purported Duceppe/Harper, Bloc/Conservative alliance, he is enjoying Lyle Lovett, and putting on a concert of his own. That's worth a trip to Cow-town right there! But all is not rosey for Huck, as his sister is dealing with the loss of a friend.
Darcey at Dust my Broom is house-hunting. He also mentions the diversion of water from Devil's Lake to the Red River (Perhaps they should change the name of that lake too, eh Bob?).
Darcey also mentions the same-sex bill, and does heterosexual males everywhere a great service by posting a picture of Miss Universe herself. I love summer too, Darcey.
Over at Grandinite, Aaron posts some great pictures from in and around Edmonton (more here). He also compares the subtle slants apparent in Bourque and Neale News, and notices the increase in the spending of the Alberta government (including the padding of their wallets). And if you have always wondered what Cold Spring Lager is like, look no further.
Jason of Musing is in the middle of a move from Alberta to Arizona. In the meantime, he posts a fitting tribute to those who serve. Good luck with the move, Jason. Alberta's loss is certainly Arizona's gain.
The Raging Ranter provides us with a transcript of the Liberal-altered tapes. He does some altering of his own as well, here and here, with quite fascinating results.
Peter at Rempelia Prime offers up the five smarmy liberal defenses on the Grewal matter. He then blasts every single one of them down to the depths. He has also been the unfortunate recepient of a dastardly piece of hatemail by a complete and utter maroon. Peter, if that cowardly sack of filth ever has the courage to show his face, you know you'll have a host of Red Ensigners to back you up. Bear in mind though, you'll be in no shape to fight if you stay up all night watching Cannabal Girls! As well, don't miss the letter he wrote to Judy Rebick.
Rue at Abraca-Pocus! was taking it easy this week (that is to say, she wasn't blogging a ton), but she managed to find time to post on the latest craze in cosmetics (how does that post title grab you?). And don't forget to Vote For Rue!
Rebecca at Doxology has an interesting rant about what she saw at a recent confirmation ceremony at her church. She's also quite busy with work and life and all that kind of stuff (apparently that sort of thing is important to some). But there is nothing like a good dog picture to ease the tension.
Curt at Northwestern Winds is taking a blogging hiatus. Pah! I laugh at the very thought! Rather than take an actual break, he posts his thoughts on a recent interview with Matthew Lickona, and then analyzes the thoughts of noted atheist Andrew Kenny. I'm glad your hiatus will be blogged, Curt.
The Raging Kraut is kind enough to bring us quite possibly the silliest headline of 2005. And his thoughts on the Single Transferable Vote referendum in B.C. are quite interesting as well.
Ith at Absinthe & Cookies points out a great website where you can send a message any service member. What with it being Memorial Day last week, and the anniversary of the D-Day landings today... what better time to drop our heroes a line? She also claims to have worked in a haunted hotel, but I think she is just bragging. And if you aren't hungry right now, go read this and this. I guarantee it is enough to make you drool.
Anthroblogogy posts just in the nick of time to be included in the Standard. I for one can't wait until he gets back to regular posting.
John of ARGGHHH (let's see here... one R... two G's... three H's... yep, got it) reminds us of a few cool things that happened in history on June 1st. He also reviews the book The New American Militarism, and has a pile of fantastic Memorial days posts here, here and here. I hope you told your dad you love him, John. I think I'll do something similar as well.
ChrisCam shares some thoughts on proper enunciation and China as a Superpower. How you tie those two together is a bit of a mystery, but he pulls it off. He also gets himself worked up over the latest UN report, and shares his thoughts on the rather unearth-shattering discovery of the identity of Deep Throat.
As always, MyRick has interesting perspective from Asia. He gives us the scoop on Pyongyang's willingness to dump millions into an unfinished hotel. He also shows us the two worst Star Wars costumes ever. And if you are ever in need of a haircut in China, he recommends this, errr... fine establishment.
At the Home of the Green Baron, Thomas is taking wages on how long Cruise and Holmes will be dating. He is back in New Orleans where he hopes to find work until resuming school in the fall.
Tipperography has been watching Yes, Minister, and opines on the Coerced Society. I'm afraid of posting a link to her Pig-Catapulting, because I don't want PETA or the SPCA to get on her case. And if you have a libertarian streak in you, but sure to read why Tipper loves the chaos of the blogosphere so much.
Locations Yet To Be Determined!
At Occam's Carbuncle, A number of terms have been added to Carbuncle's Lexicon. Be sure to check out Alienation, Western Separatist, and Corruption. In fact, you can now enjoy the whole works, here. Alan has also been busy finding the humour in the whole Grewal tapes incident. He also analogizes about my home and native land. Sad but true, I suppose.
Jay Random is both shiny and happy at Shiny Happy Gulag. The reason is Justice Teitlebaum's decision to keep Gomery as the head of the sponsorship inquiry. And if this isn't an entirely appropriate quote for Canadian politics, I don't know what is.
The Meatriarchy is surprising himself. He also gets mad props from MP Monte Solberg, and lays the beats down on rabble.ca for obvious hypocrisy. Of course, what would the Meatriarchy be without gratuitous meat pr0n? Mmmmmmm!
The following Red Ensigners are on hiatus:
The Unwinding Road
This nearly ends another edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Occasionally, the host has the opportunity to dedicate the Standard to someone, and I would like to do so as well. One year ago, I hummed and hawwed about starting a blog. I had wanted to start one, but there are plenty of bloggers out there who write better than me, plenty of linkers who get the scoop before I do, and plenty of people who live more interesting lives than me. When a friend of mine moved to Taiwan to teach english, she began a blog in order to keep in touch everyone. Upon seeing her blog, I finally bit the bullet and got one of my own. It is difficult to consider the Asylum my... errr Blog-Mother, since I am several years older than her. Nonetheless, if it was not for her, this blog may not exist, and it certainly wouldn't be a year old. I dedicate this edition of the Standard to the Asylum. She doesn't post nearly enough, but she's got some great pictures of Taiwan. Be sure to check out her motorbike, PinkE, and tell her Temujin sent ya.