Honoured

One of my paintings finds a home at the cottage of Andrea Douglas, who made a generous donation to charity to get it! Grateful and honoured.


Bobby

Today is the anniversary of losing him. What a different world it would have been.


My latest: when it comes to dead children, a tweet isn’t enough

Slacktivism.

They define that as “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.”

Slacktivism happens a lot, in the social media age. People tweet a tweet, or post a link on Facebook, or sign a petition.

Or they offer up thoughts and prayers. Or they fly a flag at half-mast. Or they put some kids’ shoes on their front step.

They do those things, and then they think they’ve done something meaningful. They think they’ve done enough.

And sometimes (perhaps) it is enough. Or (at least) it’s better than nothing. Depends on the subject matter.

But when the subject matter is hundreds of dead babies and children, dumped behind a building like they were trash, I’m sorry: A well-meaning tweet or a “215” graphic on Facebook simply isn’t going to cut it. It’s not enough.

Not even close.

Now, I know what you’re going to say: ‘I’m just a regular citizen. I’m just Joe or Jane Frontporch. I have no power like the politicians, or the media do. What can I do?’

Well, for starters, you shouldn’t do what the politicians are now doing, which is nothing. Which is the same damn thing they always do: Thoughts and prayers, sturm und drang.

Press releases no one reads, promises of more Royal Commissions that accomplish nothing, bilingual tweets no one remembers. (In either official language.)

That’s slacktivism. That’s giving the illusion of doing something that is really nothing. I detest that, personally. I’ll bet you do, too.

I also detest it when people try to fit their narratives into a larger narrative. But hear me out: I actually come to this story with legitimate connections.

One, my daughter. She’s Indigenous. We adopted her when she was one day old. She changed my life.

Two, Sir John A. Macdonald. He changed Indigenous lives, too.

He was the monster who came up with the residential school system — the system where it became acceptable to drop babies in unmarked graves. After they had been stolen from their parents, and abused, and destroyed.

And, in some cases, killed. Obviously killed. (Why else hide their deaths from the world?)

“Sir” John A. Macdonald was a young lawyer in Prince Edward County, where I live. I literally live in the area’s old general store and post office, and Macdonald used to come here to get his mail.

And he called people like my daughter “savages,” many times. He called for more “Aryan culture” in Canada. And he acted on those words.

So, what can we do, so long after the fact, you ask? Fair question.

Just this week, the Americans are dealing with a similar act of evil: One hundred years ago this month, a white mob attacked the predominantly black district of Greenwood, in Tulsa, Okla. The mob killed at least 300 African American men, women and children, and they burned 35 square blocks to the ground.

And they did all that, as with Canada’s residential schools, with official sanction. Some had even been made deputies.

So, what are the Americans doing about that, so long after that fact? Plenty.

There’s a massive lawsuit, for starters, against every level of government. It demands a detailed accounting of what was lost and stolen. It calls for the building of a hospital. It calls for an ongoing fund to compensate victims — survivors and descendants. It calls for a tax break for victims until restitution is paid.

That’s not a tweet or a Facebook meme: That’s real, meaningful, concrete action. It’s something that you don’t need to be powerful to do — it in fact is specifically designed to empower the powerless.

So I ask you: Someone wants to take your babies and children away from you, never to be seen again. To steal their language, and their culture, and their lives. What would you do?

You’d do a hell of a lot more than some slacktivism. I know that — you know that.

So, let’s do more.

— Warren Kinsella has been a Ministerial Special Representative on Indigenous matters in every region of Canada


Habs art

My Habs/Jets‬⁩ series painting. It’s working. (North of Swamp College Road, near Bloomfield in PEC.)


Would you name a street after a Nazi symbol?

Read this story. Sign our petition. We need your help.

Guzar and some of his neighbours approached Warren Kinsella, a former journalist, Toronto lawyer and former Liberal Party strategist who founded the anti-hate group Standing Against Misogyny and Prejudice (STAMP).

Kinsella and his consulting firm The Daisy Group, who agreed to work pro-bono for the cause, said the petition is an effort to move public opinion on the name change, not only in Puslinch, but for the northern Ontario town Swastika as well.

“People power works,” he said in a phone interview with CambridgeToday. “We’re trying to harness that.”

In addition to support at the federal level, Kinsella said they’re working with senator Linda Frum, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and lobbying with representatives at Queen’s Park to add momentum to the cause.

He said he believes the township has a number of tools at its disposal to change the name of the road, most of which aren’t going to “cost them a nickel.”

Expropriation would be a last resort, but even then Kinsella said he’s amazed it’s taken as long as it has to do what’s right.

“It’s the literal symbol of Naziism,” Kinsella said. “It’s literally the symbol of murder.”

“To me this is a no-brainer. It’s not ‘woke’ culture, it’s just being awake and being sentient.”

The issue has become of particular concern in recent weeks with the rise of anti-semitism around the world, triggered by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

“It’s still there. The beast is still awake.”

At its May 26 council meeting, Puslinch councillors went in-camera to hear information provided by the township’s solicitor on Swastika Trail.

Guzar and Kinsella said they don’t know why the township consulted its lawyer about the road.