As one of the newer members of this ever-growing group, I am proud, and a little daunted, to host the 19th running of the Red Ensign Brigade.
This entry will cover our postings from March 28 to April 11, and covers some major events which will have repercussions for much time to come: the saga and demise of Terri Shiavo, the passing and subsequent funeral of Pope John Paul II, the fallout after Kazemi's murder, as well as the biggest story to hit the Canadian blogosphere in a long time.The AdScam/Gomery Inquiry controversy over it's publication ban thrust the bloggers into a very bright spotlight. Some even made news in the mainstream media, but we all were forced to look at what we do. Was blogging worth going to jail for? Could we really be charged? Everyone had to answer that one for themselves. All the while, we knew that merely linking to a certain Blog-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could very well have us answering some serious questions. I felt this was a coming of age for the Canadian blogosphere and the prospect is exciting. We speak at the Red Ensign Brigade of making Canada a better place, and now we may actually have a chance to do so. But it begs the question, will we get internet access in the slammer?
Who am I and why do I align myself with the group? Well, I'm a born and bred BC'er, the part of the country that often feels overshadowed by our own homegrown political scandals and the feeling that the population base in Eastern Canada tends to decide our fate long before we get to the polls. It's a world of apathy and cynicism. But that's just the easy out. I believe that blogging gives us a great opportunity to make a difference. To get the word out and to take responsibility for change.I am a 2nd generation Canadian. My grandparents are a unique blend of Scottish, Welsh, English and Irish. My father's parents met at the Edinburgh Castle, when my grandmother - an indentured servant at a wealthy house - allowed herself to be swayed by a charming Welshman's tales of a better world and a better life in Canada. They sailed on the Teutonic, in 1912 just before the ill-fated Titanic. For a while, they settled in Asquith, Saskatchewan where my grandfather opened a mechanic business but given the Depression, being paid in chickens and eggs only went so far. Not to be deterred, they came to the West Coast where they became very involved in the community, starting up the Marpole community centre which still exists today - although no longer the little house with a piano. They raised my Dad to make the world a better place, and that in Canada, it was possible. My mother's parents were of similar ilk. They came to Canada in 1922 after Ireland became a difficult place to live. They knew Canada held promise for their future children and they were right. They gave to the community as volunteers, and as foster parents they saw over 60 children have a better chance in life because of their toils.
My parents will have been married 53 years this month, and raised their four sons and one daughter to appreciate what Canada is. I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to 4 different continents, and I know that where I live is one of the most beautiful in the world. We have all the ability to make it the best on earth, but to let it slide due to cynicism would be a shame. Apathy has been borne of a general mistrust in the government and a feeling that change is beyond our means. I also live very close to the US border, which gives us a feeling of often straddling the two countries. Our federal government is based in Ottawa, which often feels like it's in a different country itself, however, I think nothing of flipping across the border several times a month. (And yes, I use my passport!)Almost a year ago, I was fortunate to meet someone who made me stand up and become more vocal about my beloved Canada. Ironically, it was a member of the US Navy, who is currently deployed in Iraq. During our many conversations, he has become a lightening rod for my patriotism. I have become alarmingly aware of our lack of international stature, our flagging military and the political problems that often find our country the punchline of some joke. It made me realize more than ever how far we have fallen from what we stand for, but how much promise we hold. Finding the like-minded souls who fly the Red Ensign flag in the blogosphere reminds me that we do have a chance and there are many people who have not lost hope.I want to live in a country that I can once again be proud of.
And with that, I am pleased to present the Red Ensign Brigade XIX :
Rue of Abraca-Pocus shares with us her memories of the Pope on the event of his passing, and shows her blessed rosary. She's also been doing some interesting reading (a few books I wouldn't mind checking out myself), and has been trying her hand in gardening (something that is completely beyond me...plants live in SPITE of me, rather than because.)
It's been a busy time at Absinthe & Cookies, where Ith hosted the 2005 Gathering of the Blogs for Tartan Day. Lots of great Scottish themed posts, and well worth spending some time perusing. Being 1/4 Scottish myself, I hope to join the party for next year. In other news, she relays that one of my most favourite TV shows, Lost will be ending in a crazy cliffhanger. Reminds me I need to post the rest of my pictures from the set in Hawaii last year. On the Gomery Inquiry, she has some great thoughts with about the insanity that surrounded the ban while it was in effect.Frozen in Montreal's Paul hasn't had a whole lot of time lately, but did weigh in on circus that became of the Shiavo situation. Where were these people years ago if they cared so much?
It's difficult to sum up Angry in the Great White North in one paragraph as there is just so many worth posts. He examines the election scenario, legal woes for the Liberals, the same-sex marriage debate and the popularity contest in Ottawa,Dirtcrashr of Anthroblogogy asks the question - Is there Social Justice under Communism? and introduces us to Elimidate - Baghdad Style. Makes me wonder if they have Nielsen families in Iraq.
Our own milblog, Argghhh! has another take on the publication ban that bears reading, and solicits opinions on the concept of citizen soldiers. It's also worth taking a look at Why We Are Here, a look at the happenings of the last year in Afghanistan.Babbling Brook's Damian, our self-proclaimed Ontario redneck, makes a point that the Liberals should reap what they sow, and that the debate over freedom of information in this country is far from over.
Andrew at Bound by Gravity, the home of the always interesting and not-to-be-missed Quick Hits, thought he might have gotten into a bit of warm water lately when he picked up the phone. He asks us to remember the loss of one of our Great War veterans, our true heroes of the country. I agree with him and was lucky enough to meet Victoria Cross recipient, 'Smokey Smith' some years ago - these are who our children need to know about. Lastly, but certainly not least, he gives insight to the latest Medal of Honor Recipient, Sgt. Smith - a name we should all remember.Huck of BumfOnline has had some thoughts about the Gomery inquiry, Galiano and PM Martin. He also has some very interesting angle to the Ahenakew trial, that I agree with. Being a close-minded idiot isn't necessarily illegal, but making it into a media circus gives it much more power than it deserves. On a lighter note, he leaves us with a post on the Young-less Juno Awards.
Dana & Bob at canadiancomment remind us why NealeNews is such a great source of information and also to support the Canadian seafood industry. Lots of great posts about the Shiavo case, Gomery inquiry and Ahenakew here too. They also put the Kazemi story into a different and unsettling perspective.Rebecca of Doxology has been underandably grieving for the much loved Pope John Paul II and reminds us "All people of good will are mourning for the loss of our Pope. He truly was God's gift to us." In a short but sweet post, she weighs in on the publication ban. Correct, indeed.
Alan of Gen X at 40 has his say about the possible aftermath of the sponsorship scandal, and the first poll after the news became public. On a lighter note, he asks us to consider what is truly difficult about certain edible products.James of Hammer Into Anvil, a serious Dr. Who fan, talks about political corruption not just being limited to the Federal level, and laments on some poll results.
Just Between Us Girls asks us "Have you ever seen the top blow off a presser cooker?". It's a great spin on the Gomery inquiry. In honour of Tartan Day, she has this to say: "All men die, but all men do not truly live until they toss the weights, the stones, the hammers and the caber."
Keith at Minority of One weighs in on the publication ban, and the scandal itself. As he so rightly posts, da proof is da proof.
Myrick examines the efficacy of a publication ban from outside of Canada, and educates us on the Panda pandemic.
NorthWestern Winds examines Canada's tolerance, and Pope John Paul II's effect on the world. Curt also reflects why it's important for political parties not to confuse policy goals with the policies themselves.
Quotulaciousness ponders the Rights in Canada vs. the US, and Ahenakew's motivations behind accepting the Order of Canada.
Ravishing Light has some good points on the publication ban here and here. He also gives us some food for thought regarding Russia today, as well as the recent demonstrations against Bill C-38.
Peter at Rempelia Prime questions our response to Iran's treatment of Zahra Kazemi, and chides the Alberta Human Rights Commission for picking a fight with the wrong guy. While at it, he has some questions about his own human rights.Rightjab has been quiet, but did manage to bring our attention to the fact that idiots come in all forms.
Stephen Taylor documents Zahra Kazemi's injuries and Canada's belated response to Iran, asks some pertinent hypothetical questions on the publication ban, and muses about the possibility a snap election.
The Freeway To Serfdom's Jay brings up internet censorship in China and has a great quick summary of Canadian blogs up.
Kate at The Last Amazon has something to say about the soft handling of Zahra Kazemi's case, and reminds us that "It is never wrong to be on the side of freedom - never."The gang at The London Fog, who got some MSM spotlight this session, have been very prolific of late. Lisa points out some flaws in comments made by Warren Kinsella, and also talks about the Ahenakew trial. Mike makes a good point about the freedom of speech. Mapmaster has this to say about Liberal kickbacks wonders if Venezuela will become the next Zimbabwe? Basil questions the latest MP pay raise.
The Meatriarchy, between commenting on the beauty of fresh meat and the Ahenakew trial, has this to say in the winding down of the publication ban and the week that was in the Blogosphere.
The Monarchist honours Pope John Paul II, and brings light to the possibility that Britain's true monarch may not be as it seems. Being our resident monarchist, he has this to say over the recent nuptials of the future King. And last but not least, a good take on the publication ban too.The Monger extolls the virtues of Google satellite maps, the non-virtues of the publication ban. Reminding us that things can always be worse, and of the tangled web we weave, he pokes a bit of fun at Mr. Dithers.
VW of The Phantom Observer has continued his concise and informative summary of the MP's positions here and here on Bill C-38 (Same Sex Marriage). He muses over the ramifications
of the publication ban on the blogosphere and the failure of the ADR system for the Residential Schools. And I was remiss in the earlier edition, but I have to bring your attention to VW's rendition of the The Golden Age Red Ensign!
Tipper, who graciously hosted the previous Red Ensign #18 at Tipperography finds that making life's decisions can get pretty difficult, but it's not something we should abdicate to others or allow someone else to take on. And when the new American rules on passport requirements for travellers come into effect, life will become a little less simple for many on both sides of the Canada-US border.Turning 30 and a half - oh, that's me - I've talked a little about my opinion of the publication ban and was also fortunate enough to see Whoopi Goldberg speak as part of the Unique Lives and Experiences series. I have my own memories of the Pontiff to share as well.
Temujin at West Coast Chaos, is recovering from a little unexpected encounter with a wayward light fixture, but still has something to say about the upcoming provincial election. He also reminds us the of the greatness that is Neil Young.Honorable mentions go out to the following, who are on the bench for this episode of the Brigade:
Candepundit last posted backin September. At the time, he was pondering the pro's and con's of watching the beheading video of Eugene Armstrong. I can only hope he found the answer he was looking for..
ChrisCam is taking a break to enjoy his new family member.Dr. Funk at Musings of a Canadian Slacker has been a bit quiet lately.
We say a heartfelt farewell to Chris at Taylor and Company. He has left our blogging world, but will be missed.