Canadian stereotypes in 1 minute

Funny MasterCard commercial with Canadian comedian Cobie Smulders.

Do you relate? I do …

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Canal Rideau

Una vez al año, despues de por lo menos una semana de constantes frígidas temperaturas de -20C, empieza la expectativa de saber cuando abre el Canal Rideau, para convertirse en la pista de patinaje mas larga del mundo con casi 7 Km.

Iniciando en el corazón de Ottawa, a partir de las esclusas que separan el Canal del Rio Rideau, a pasos de la Colina del Parlamento, atravieza el pintoresco centro de Ottawa, hasta llegar a las esclusas de Hog’s Back, formando Dow’s Lake.

Cientos de habitantes de Ottawa usan a diario el canal congelado como su medio de transporte al trabajo, mucho mas rápido que el bus o el auto, y es comun verlos en las oficinas con patines de hielo colgados en los hombros. Igualmente, muchos aprovechan su hora de almuerzo para patinar rapidamente en el Canal. Los fines de semana la pista congelada se convierte en una de las mayores atracciones para locales y turistas.

Para nosotros el peregrinaje se repite cada año.

Todo inicia con la busqueda de los patines de hielo, abandonados en alǵun rincon del sótano. Cada año se descubre que las Chiquis crecen y que los patines del año pasado ya no sirven, se heredan entre ellas, los de Mamá para la Chiqui mayor, los de la mayor para la menor. Mientras Mamá no tiene patines, por no querer comprarlos, Papá (Yo!) reconoce sus limitaciones y sabe que el mejor sitio para los patines es la caja donde fueron comprados hace como 14 años y que solo han sido usados una vez.

El siguiente ritual es afilar los patines (para que? Se usan una vez al año) Una rápida visita a Canadian Tire o a Kundstat Sports (1583 Bank St., y sin fila!) y 18 dólares después, los dos pares de patines están afilados y listos para la acción.

Al auto y despues de la rutina de buscar sitio de parqueo y caminar hasta alguno de los puntos de acceso al canal, (o en nuestro caso, Dows Lake), cambio de zapatos a patines, en las multiples bancas para este fin, y mientras las chiquis pretenden patinar, nosotros los adultos caminamos de forma pingüinesca sobre el hielo / nieve / agua jugando a no caernos.

Despues de caminar (deslizarse, casi caerse, caerse, empaparse, y levantarse) unos 500 metros, la meta son Beavertails (Si, son colas de castor fritas :-)) con sendos chocolates calientes. Despues de una pausa para calentarnos y secar los guantes en las dos o tres fogatas a leña dispuestas para tal fin.

Iniciamos el mismo recorrido en reversa (deslizarse, casi caerse, caerse, y volver a empaparse) hasta volver al mismo sitio donde se inició el recorrdo, vuelta de cambio de patines a zapatos y caminar hasta el auto.

El peregrinaje anual al Canal Rideau ha concluído.

 

Contradicciones Canadienses

Como diria Lido Pimienta, el PR de Canada en el exterior es muy bueno, donde venden la imagen de Mounties, Invierno Placentero (la puntica nada mas, los 10 primeros centímetros de nieve), Maple Syrup, y un gobierno socialista que da plata por cada hijo.

Como siempre, la verdad es a medio camino. Canadá tiene profundas contradicciones como estado socialista.

La mayoría de sus pueblos aborígenes no tiene acceso al agua potable y vive en condiciones infrahumanas de hacinamiento en reservas indígenas en el ártico, donde les proveen casa gratuita, pero los hacinan de 40 personas (una familia completa) en una casa, sin embargo, los aborígenes tampoco cuidan la casa, porque es gratis.

Los costos de mantenimiento de una casa en el ártico son astronómicos, siendo más económico, dejar podrir una casa y construir una nueva.

Hay reservas indígenas en Ontario que todos los años en Primavera, Verano, y Otoño, se inundan, haciendo inhabitable el pueblo. El gobierno vuela gratis y paga hotel a los lugareños, hasta que las aguas se congelan, y vuelven a pasar el invierno en el pueblo.

Antes, cuando se quería fumar marihuana, se hablaba con el amigo del amigo, y se conseguia en un callejón, sin preguntas. Ahora que es legal (solamente fumada) las personas se quejan por el alto costo propuesto, quieren que sea orgánica, libre de pesticidas y con ingredientes y cultivos certificados por el gobierno y “tabla nutricional” con las cantidades de THC por miligramo de Canabis. Incluso, el ex-jefe de la policia Toronto y el de la policia Montada, se convirtieron en accionistas mayoritarios de uno de los cultivadores industriales de marihuana mas grandes.

Otra contradicción con relacion a las drogas. Se ha establecido en Ottawa un sitio supervisado para que adictos vayan a inyectarse drogas de forma segura, tiene sentido, ya que se les dan agujas limpias para evitar contagios de hepatitis y SIDA por compartir agujas, y se pueden deshechar las agujas usadas de forma segura. La disculpa es que tambien pueden hablar con consejeros que potencialmente les pueden ofrecer tratamientos contra la adicción. Otros grupos de activistas han establecidos sitios similares (ilegales tecnicamente) en carpas en parques públicos, la ciudad los tolera hasta cierto punto, pero ahora que entra el invierno y las temperaturas bajan, esos mismos sitios ilegales le exigen a la ciudad calefacción.

Viva la diferencia.

 

Pro-Life demonstrations are porn producers

Now that I have your attention with two very touchy subjects, Pro-Life / Pro-Choice and Porn, please allow me to try to make the following point across.

I completely support your right to protest against something, and for you to have your religious beliefs. Fine.

But where does your right to protest interferes with my right of not feel violated, or the right of my (young school age) daughters of not being assaulted by the very graphical images (sorry about this) of dismembered fetuses after an abortion?

Which brings me to the second point. Pornography, in general is not exhibited in the public space, even a sex-shop has to be very careful on what they can show in their showcases or even in their store. Some here, like Venus Envy, had to end distributing DVDs and magazines because some costumers were offended by the content. Now they have to stick to what is considered Educational Material.

Anyhow, at the end, we don’t show porn or sexual acts openly in the street? To “protect the children.”

Wouldn’t the same principle apply to the very graphical imagery that the pro-life protesters use to make their point?

Also, why does the pro-life movement engages high school students to push their protest?

I think its a very dangerous combination of High School Students and Pro-Life Protest.

From my point of view, no minor (under 18?) should be involved in a protest. They lack the criteria of what entitles to be in a protest, nor what they are protesting for, they just do what they are told to do. And now days, with the climate of violence around the world, its simply unsafe. A protest can turn ugly at any minute, and no one wants any children there.

Please do it for my children, all of the children, to protect their innocence as long as we can, independently of our religious beliefs.

Census 2016 demographic shift

The results from the 206 Census (the first full results one, after the years of obscurantism of the Harper government) have uncovered an interesting demographic shift in Canada.

Here is a good analysis from The Globe an Mail.

Percentage of Canadian Households per occupancy:

28%  people live alone.

26% couple with children

26% couple without children.

And 42 of the top 50 places where people live alone are in Quebec.

And multiculturalism is reflected in the languages spoken at home; where 49.6% of households speak English, French, and a third non-official language.

 

 

Canada’s own Mediterranean crisis …

It is estimated that around 1.5 million immigrants have crossed the Mediterranean trying to seek asylum in Europe during 2016, mostly fleeing civil war from middle east countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. From those 1.5 million, 4000 died (est. 2015).

One of those immigrants that never made it was Alan Kurdi, the three year old boy that drowned on a beach near Bodrum in Turkey, attempting to reach Europe and eventually Canada along with his family after two failed attempts to cross thru Greece.

The picture of Alan’s dead body on a Turkish beach shook Canada already embroiled in the middle of an election campaign, as her aunt Tina Kurdi had previously immigrated to British Columbia and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had denied previous refugee requests for the Kurdi Family.

I am of the belief that the picture of Alan  was the last nail on the coffin that brought down the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper and it was quickly used by the Liberals to assure Justin Trudeau’s win with the promise to bring thousands of refugees from Syria. (Estimated at 40,000 from Nov. 2015 to January 2017).

Fast forward to the 2016 United States Presidential campaign and the (unexpected?, unbelievable?) triumph of Donald Trump that has seen after it’s inauguration and first (erratic) month of government, mass travel bans to seven Muslim countries, threats of war with Mexico to fight the “Bad Hombres”, and  mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

This high level of intolerance and xenophobia south of the border, has prompted people (425 thru the Quebec / NY border, and 21 a weekend thru the Manitoba / North Dakota border, just in January) to cross illegally the Canadian border, literally jumping from taxi cabs and walking thru the border in harsh winter conditions.

One of them, Seidu Mohammed from Ghana have lost limbs and fingers due to severe frostbite after walking for several hours in -20C temperatures thru Manitoba’s farming fields, finally rescued by a truck driver.

If we can estimate that in just the first month of Trump’s government a little less than a 1000 people have tried to cross the border illegally, how many more will try to cross when the weather conditions are less risky, bringing in the potential of a humanitarian tragedy?

Myself an immigrant, I am of the firm belief that Canada needs immigrants and that these immigrants need to effectively integrate to Canadian society, but the desperation of entire families crossing under harsh winter conditions seems to be only the prelude of a humanitarian tragedy that Canada will have difficulty to manage.

Canada urgently needs immigrants. It is estimated that by 2035 Canada will be suffering from a demographic crisis just as today’s in Japan, where there is simply not enough young people to support the old, along with declining fertility rates.

And the world needs Canada, as an standing beacon of hope, tolerance and acceptance, to all those refugee families that literally risk life and limb pursuing freedom and the dream of a better future.

The Golden Eagle

Something is twisted I the mind of a person where the best tribute to his sister death by cancer is to get in debt and commission “The Maltese Eagle” a golden eagle encrusted in gemstones valued at 5 million dollars.

There is even a full website promoting the sale of the “Maltese Eagle”

Apparently the owner of this “treasure for cancer survivors” was trying to go to a reality TV show and sell it to Donald Trump and raise funds towards cancer research.

Now the “Maltese Eagle” has been stolen (Link here), but I think it’s a fake robbery to get the insurance and recover the financial loss of a very bad idea.