Swastika Trail is no more

PUSLINCH – Randy Guzar has waited months for this day.

As fog and rain descended over Puslinch Lake early Tuesday, Guzar woke to learn Puslinch township staff had followed through on a promise to change the sign at the end of his street from Swastika Trail to Holly Trail, ending a decades long effort to remove the street name that for many is offensive because of its indelible link to the Nazi regime.

“After decades of advocacy, outreach, and struggle, we are encouraged that Puslinch Township has renamed Swastika Trail – taking a first step towards an inclusive future for our community,” Guzar said in a statement to CambridgeToday.

In October, Puslinch township council voted 4-1 in favour of the name change, setting in motion what Guzar calls an enormous amount of work by township staff to ensure the old name was removed and the new name made its way onto the tax roll, address lists, maps and into dispatch systems for emergency response.

He praised the work of the township for making it happen.

“Additionally, I hope to extend my thanks to leaders including former Senator Linda Frum for her tireless advocacy, MP Bryan May for sponsoring our petition, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal for their support, and Jon Lee, John Danner, and Warren Kinsella and Daisy Group for their assistance.”

Residents of the trail have spent the last few months switching addresses over on everything from licenses to credit cards, and despite some hiccups along the way, Guzar said it was a small effort with a big reward.

Canada Post will continue to deliver mail addressed to Swastika Trail for the next year.

“I am grateful for the support of fellow Puslinch residents and Canadians from across the country who offered their support through petitions, statements, deputations, and letters – to name a few. Each of them has made a lasting contribution to our community.

Support for the name change grew in 2021 when Guzar and some of his neighbours asked Cambridge MP Bryan May to take his 1,800-name petition to the House of Commons.

Then Warren Kinsella took up the cause to rename Swastika Trail.

The former journalist, Toronto lawyer and former Liberal Party strategist who founded the anti-hate group Standing Against Misogyny and Prejudice (STAMP) and his consulting firm The Daisy Group agreed to work pro-bono for the cause, saying he wanted to move public opinion on the name change, not only in Puslinch, but for the northern Ontario town Swastika as well.

He enlisted the help of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre to encourage Puslinch councillors to vote for what they believed was a “no brainer” in removing the name they and others consider “extraordinarily offensive to the spirit and intent of what Canadians stand for.”

The effort gained significant traction in June 2021 but took well over a year to be considered by Puslinch council, with some members opposed until the final vote.

Swastika Trail neighbours who were opposed to the name change pointed to the fact that the swastika is a “symbol of peace, prosperity and good luck,” and continues to be used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains around the world.

They also argued the private road was named in the 1920s, years before the rise of the Nazi party in Germany.

But Guzar and others said it didn’t matter, and were tired of being embarrassed and compelled to explain whenever they were asked to provide their address.

They argued that since the symbol was co-opted by Hitler’s regime it had come to represent hate and antisemitism in the decades that followed the Second World War.

“Swastika Trail was a reminder of the unspeakable losses felt by some of our neighbours, and so many around the world,” Guzar said. “In this time where hatred continues to spread, it was critical that our municipality act in a manner which showed its opposition to discrimination. While there is no simple means of ending hatred, we can each do our part to make the world a little bit safer – and that’s what a majority of our council voted to do.”

“It is with great pride and gratitude that today we can all finally say, it’s a beautiful day in our neighbourhood!”

My latest: your Royal Hypocrite-ness

When you’ve concluded that the media are “destroying our mental health,” is it a good idea to then do multi-platform media interviews on multiple continents?

When “public pressure” about your private life is causing you “drama, stress and tears,” do you then turn around and agree to participate in an intimate six-part Netflix series about every aspect of your life, including how you apply makeup in one of the five bathrooms at your borrowed California mega-mansion?

When “fearing for our lives,” do you go on the aforementioned Netflix series and chat about whether you’ve got sufficient security, up to and including whether you’ve remembered to lock the doors at night?

Or – my personal favourite – after lamenting over and over (and over) about how it’s “incredibly sad” that family have grown apart, do you write a book detailing how your brother criminally assaulted you, or that your step-mum leaked stories about you, or that the rest of the family thought dressing up as a Nazi was really funny?

No, of course you wouldn’t. You don’t typically say one thing in front of a global audience of millions, and then – days later – go and do the polar opposite in front of a global audience of millions. Because you’re a normal person. You’re sane.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Harry Mountbatten-Windsor and Meghan Markle – no longer appear to be sane, however. With the publication of Prince Harry’s magnum opus this month, the pair have elevated humble-bragging to an art form.

You know what humble-bragging is, don’t you? The dictionaries define it as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something.” And that’s the on-again, off-again Royal couple all over, ain’t it? They say they don’t want attention – but they would die without attention.

The erstwhile Prince has titled his 416-page book ‘Spare,’ which is sort of funny, when you think about it. Because, after months and months of Harry and Meghan complaining about all the attention they get, and then doing all they possibly can to attract yet more attention, all of us are just saying: “spare us.” Spare us the sanctimony and solipsism and self-pity. Spare us, please.

But they won’t, of course, because these two pampered, spoiled children couldn’t spell “restraint” let alone ever practice it. Eyeball this gem from Harry, and see if you can keep down your lunch:

“[Meghan] sacrificed everything that she ever knew, the freedom that she had, to join me in my world. And then, pretty soon after that, I ended up sacrificing everything I know to join her in her world.”

After reading that, don’t you wish they’d both get on a spaceship, piloted by their neighbor and mother-confessor Oprah, and be rocketed to the outer reaches of space to their brave new new “world,” never to return? I sure do.

Is it sad that the Royals – not just Harry and Meghan – are destroying the monarchy? Not really. They’ve all been busily dismantling their reputations for years, now, with an endless torrent of tawdry, seamy guck about extramarital affairs, sex scandals and racist attitudes. If the monarchy is going to die, however, should it finally do so at the hands of these puffed-up creeps?

Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for certain: it’s now completely obvious that Queen Elizabeth, God bless her, was the glue that held the whole Royal shebang together. With her sad passing, her children and grandchildren – always easy to dislike – have become even more dislikable. They make the villains on Dallas or Yellowstone look like beatified saints.

Will we all keep paying attention? Some will. Harry’s ‘Spare’ door-stopper will be a bestseller, because people always pay attention to plane crashes, not plane landings. But, slowly and surely, Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal cabal are accelerating their own demise.

Harry and Meghan, you see, demand crucifixion. And, then, once they get it?

They complain about the view.

I am vindicated

Like I’ve said for months: Anyone who is (a) sane (b) of voting age (c) in Canada doesn’t like either Trudeau or Poilievre.  The federal choices suck.  Worst ever.

From the Globe:

“More than half of Canadians think the Liberals should ditch Justin Trudeau as leader before the next federal election, while 45 per cent think the Conservatives should find an alternative to their new leader, Pierre Poilievre, a Nanos poll for The Globe and Mail shows.

The Canada-wide survey of 1,021 people found that 51 per cent of people want the federal Liberals to replace Mr. Trudeau, while a quarter want him to stay on…

Only 22 per cent of women think Mr. Poilievre, who became party leader in September, should be the face of the Conservatives in the next election, compared with 39 per cent of men.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20, found that Mr. Poilievre has far more support in Saskatchewan and Manitoba than in the more populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents in the Prairies think the Conservatives should keep Mr. Poilievre at the helm until an election. But in Ontario, where he is an MP, the proportion who want him to stay drops to 29 per cent. And in Quebec, it’s just 17 per cent.”