Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance is not enough

Every year at exactly this time Canadians pause to remember and honour those who fought and died in the name of all that is good in this world. As the light of a cold November sun highlights the gravestone of the unknown solider inside Canada's new war musuem, please take the time not only to remember but to learn and to teach those younger than yourself. This is the only way that the remembrance will continue past the day when the last of the veterans has finally joined his fallen brothers for a long deserved rest.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Parliament isn't dying. It's dead.

It's a scene that unfolds every morning in Tim Hortons establishments across the country.

You polish off the last of your coffee, prolonging the final gulp by tilting your head back all the way until the "made in China" logo on the bottom of your mug is visible to the guy standing next to your table. The laces of his brown construction boots are so dusty they appear to be made of sand, and the tongue of his left boot bears the bite marks of a misbehaving puppy. You wouldn't be caught dead in his torn plaid Coleman shirt or his tattered jeans stained with various industrial fluids, but you're sure that he wore nicer clothes to meet his daughter's teacher on parent night.

You put your mug down on the table, careful not to place it too close to the napkin holder like you did last week, which caused eager napkins to wick away the stray drips on the outside of your mug. You don't notice which of your fingers is the last to touch the handle. Dropping one creamer face down on top of the other, you wonder why they always give you cream when you ask for milk, milk when you ask for cream, and both when you take your coffee black. These are things that do not matter and you refuse to dwell on, even if it means being surprised again tomorrow when they get it wrong once more.

Instinctively you check the time, exposing your watch from under your sleeve by the same “flutter and twist” motion that everyone knows how to do but few have taken the time to write down. How exactly this knowledge will be preserved for future generations is a mystery to you, but no doubt that committing it to paper is a waste of time. Speaking of which, there was no reason to check the time, it's just something you tend to do once your coffee mug is empty.

You do all of this without awakening the sleepy mechanisms of rational thought. It's just another morning, similar in most respects to the one before and in all likelihood to those coming after as well. You do these things not because they are necessary, but simply because they feel right. In some cases you do them because you did them before. You do these things despite the irrelevant, irresponsible and ongoing machinations of a Parliament that has utterly lost touch with the people that charged them with the stewardship of a nation.