A Sunday Poem: “Enigma”

 

If everyone in Heaven

unites with their high school crush,

it may not be Heaven

for their legal spouse.

 

Nor for their high school crush.

 

If everyone in Heaven

is debt-free, pain-free, worry-free,

it would hardly be Heaven

for bankers, doctors, therapists.

 

If every meal in Heaven

is crafted by Chef Ramsay

– served on a balcony overlooking Naples –

it may not be Heaven

for McDonald’s, Taco Bell, or IHOP.

 

Nor for Ramsay.

 

If my Heaven

is the ultimate perfection,

why is everyone

miserable?

 

(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

Book Review — Murder In Authie

In the village of Authie, France, population 1500, it’s still possible to score a $56 hotel room with a nearby McDonald’s rated “catastrophique” on TripAdvisor. There is also a Rue des Canadiens “where the bodies of two murdered soldiers were placed on the street so that a tank could repeatedly run over them,” explains Canadian Battlefields Of The Second World War. In Authie in 1944 “wildly excited Hitler Youth began murdering Canadians while the battle still raged and continued killing prisoners systematically after the fighting ceased.” Murder victims numbered 37.

Authors Terry Copp and Matt Baker lead readers on an intriguing tour of the Normandy countryside that witnessed gallantry and atrocity 77 years ago. Take a drive down Highway D170, “one of the prettiest roads you will explore in Normandy,” they write. “This is one of the roads the Regina Rifles used in their advance inland on D-Day.” Names of the dead are immortalized in a village church.

Canadian Battlefields rises to the best tradition of war tour guides, juxtaposing tips on where to find a good, cheap lunch with concise accounts of horrific sacrifice where Canadians fought and died in “the hope of a better world.” The historical research is flawless; accompanying maps are compelling. Readers learn the actual location of parachute drop zones off the farm roads, away from McDonald’s.

“The Canadian citizen army that fought in the Battle of Normandy played a role all out of proportion to its relative strength among the Allied armies,” the authors write: “Perhaps it is time to recognize the extraordinary achievements that marked the progress of the Canadians across Normandy’s fields of fire.”

“No one knew what the outcome of individual battles would be or how long the campaigns in Western Europe might last,” they note. “And no one knew exactly what was required of them.”

Readers are swept along the stony beach at Dieppe where 901 Canadians perished and 1,946 were taken prisoner in 1942. “The heroism of individuals could only accomplish minor miracles,” says Canadian Battlefields.

Only seven of 23 landing craft made it ashore that morning. Victims included tank crews drowned within sight of the beach. Canadian Battlefields takes readers through the seaside resort along a narrow lane to a nearby cemetery “beautifully kept,” it says.

And there is the village of Bretteville-sur-Laize, where the French erected a memorial to Private Gérard Doré of Roberval, Que., a veteran of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal. Doré enlisted at 15 and was dead at 16, “believed to be the youngest Canadian soldier killed in Normandy.” The marker reads: ‘Volunteer’.

By Holly Doan

Canadian Battlefields of the Second World War: Dieppe, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, by Terry Copp and Matt Baker; Wilfrid Laurier University Press; 250 pages; ISBN 9781-92680-41701; $24

‘Confused’ And Mismanaged

A damning pandemic audit, the first to date, cites confusion and mismanagement at the $675 million-a year Public Health Agency, including “limited public health expertise.” Agency President Tina Namiesniowski abruptly resigned twelve days before the internal audit was completed: “I need to take a break.”

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Quickest GG Exit Since 1872

Julie Payette yesterday abruptly resigned as Governor General amid allegations of workplace harassment. Payette’s tenure was the shortest of any commander in chief in 149 years: “Tensions have arisen at Rideau Hall over the past few months.”

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China Inspections Just ‘Paper’

An internal memo contradicts federal claims inspectors checked every shipment of medical supplies from China to spot shoddy goods. In some cases inspections were a “paper exercise,” though MPs on the Commons health committee were assured of vigorous scrutiny: “There is a quality check there.”

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Second Only To Nfld On Debt

Cabinet’s finances as a share of GDP are now in the worst shape of any jurisdiction outside Newfoundland and Labrador, a federal agency said yesterday. Record low interest rates are expected to keep debt interest charges at 7.3 percent of federal revenues this year: “It can be useful to compare.”

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Would Privatize Crown Corp

A Crown corporation once dubbed an “absolute mess” is slated for privatization. The Department of Fisheries yesterday said the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation of Winnipeg should be ‘transformed’ into a business: “Maybe in 1969 it was relevant.”

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CBC Corrects Fuel Tax Libel

The CBC yesterday corrected a commentary claiming a Blacklock’s story on the federal carbon tax was an “attempt to confuse Canadians.” Max Fawcett, a Calgary pundit who made the claim, had not read the story.

Blacklock’s in a January 5 item “Contradict Carbon Tax Claim” correctly reported the federal treasury in 2019-2020 collected millions more in carbon taxes than it paid in rebates in four provinces, an average twenty percent more. The figures contradicted cabinet claims that households “actually get more money” under the program.

The story correctly quoted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as remarking in 2019, “The average citizens of those provinces will be better off.” Trudeau has said rebates, called Climate Action Incentive payments, exceeded higher fuel costs for most consumers.

“The reality is the Climate Action Incentive and our plan to put a price on pollution actually gets more money in the pocket of middle class Canadians,” said Trudeau.

The story also correctly stated cabinet as recently as last December 7 repeated the claim rebates exceeded taxes for the vast majority of people. “Households benefit,” Liberal MP Sean Fraser (Central Nova, N.S.), parliamentary secretary for finance, said at the time. “Households continue to receive more money in the Climate Action Incentive than they are putting out.”

Cabinet to date has never disclosed any data proving the claim. Nor has cabinet detailed actual figures on higher costs for Canadians as a result of carbon-taxed fuel, home heating, groceries, goods and services.

Pundit Fawcett the day the January 5 Blacklock’s story appeared alleged the article was false and unethical. “This is either shamefully dishonest or shamefully incompetent work,” Fawcett wrote on his Twitter account: “This little episode is going in a future column of mine.”

“Lies,” “Deceit” And “Attempt To Confuse” 

The Blacklock’s story was paywalled for subscribers. Fawcett is not a subscriber, had no access to the article, and did not answer when challenged. His commentary had no references to elements contained within the paywalled news item.

Instead, Fawcett cited Blacklock’s by name in a Tuesday commentary on a CBC.ca website headlined “Ottawa Needs To Fight More Effectively For The Carbon Tax.” “Lies and deceit keep spreading,’” it read.

“Their latest attempt to confuse Canadians came in the form of a January 5 story in Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based subscription news service, which suggested that ‘Canadians paid millions more in carbon tax than they received in rebates,’” he wrote.

Fawcett lamented “an environment where misinformation thrives and where one side has repeatedly shown its willingness to spread it about the carbon tax,” adding: “Equally dishonest was the implication the federal government had promised the rebates would be larger than the total tax paid by all Canadians. That was never the case.”

A CBC Journalistic Standards And Practices guide states even pundits must adhere to a code of conduct. Opinions must “not misrepresent other points of view,” it states. The CBC yesterday published a notice correcting any suggestion “the attempt to confuse Canadians was initiated by the Blacklock’s story.”

Fawcett yesterday denied making claims about Blacklock’s. “I never once commented on the actual story,” he said in an email. “I didn’t call your story any of those things.”

Fawcett is a former manager at the Alberta Climate Change Office. In 2018 Global News disclosed he was named by the province’s then-NDP government for publishing a snide tweet stating: “Cuckservatives are the best. So fragile!”

“I was shocked and very disappointed to see the comment posted by an employee,” Eric Denhoff, then-deputy minister responsible for the Climate Change Office, said in a statement to Global. “The comment in question was totally unacceptable and does not represent the views of the Government of Alberta.”

By Staff

6.7M Got Tax-Free Fed Grant

About 6,700,000 seniors received tax-free pandemic payments last year, by official estimate. The payout went to tax filers, from the poorest seniors to retirees with incomes up to $128,000 annually: “You’re making it sound like rich people are getting this.”

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A Canadian First On Labour

A proposal to compensate federally-regulated employees asked to take Zoom calls, texts and company emails after hours will go to the labour department as early as this spring. Any “right to disconnect” would be a Canadian first: “They send and receive too many emails.”

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Over-Estimated Airbnb Tax

A proposed tax on Airbnb rentals will see about twenty percent less revenue than expected, the Parliamentary Budget Office said yesterday. Cabinet has said it will charge the GST on short-term rental accommodations this summer: “Airbnb rentals have become very problematic.”

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Worried By Green Farm Code

A federally-subsidized survey on green farming restrictions is not a blueprint for regulation of private lands, organizers said yesterday. One farm group cautioned the attempt to draft a Code Of Practice for grain growers “raises several concerns.”

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Tax Rebates Average $4/wk.

The first carbon tax rebates to consumers averaged $4 a week, according to Access To Information figures. Cabinet has claimed most Canadians received more in rebates than they paid in higher prices for fuel, home heating, groceries and other charges impacted by the tax: “We will win the race against climate change.”

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Finds White Supremacy Here

Parliament Hill police yesterday said the Ottawa security threat level remained “medium” amid U.S. fears of demonstrations to mark the inauguration of a new head of state. One Québec senator expressed concerns about “white supremacy and political extremism” in Canada.

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