Revanchist Review

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Naomi Klein's Latest Cause

In today's Globe and Mail essay Naomi Klein, doyenne of the left, is perched high on her soap-box megaphone in hand and calling for Canada to declare the U.S. guilty of war crimes for its pursuit of the war in Iraq. She contends this is how Canada could assert real power and “strut upon the world stage” along with France and Germany. That she sees herself at the forefront of the sans-culotters who would strut victorious should such a result be forthcoming, is obvious to anyone who reads Ms. Klein's anti-American screed.

The apparatus by which Ms. Klein claims Canada should assert its power is our Immigration and Refugee Board. According to its website the IRB's mission is "to make well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters, efficiently, fairly, and in accordance with the law." Thankfully, the government intervened and reminded the IRB of its mission, resulting in a ruling that the legality or illegality of the Iraqi war was not relevant to the case before it.

The case is that of U.S. army deserter Jeremy Hinzman who seeks refugee status to avoid his forced return to the U.S. to face a court martial. He now asserts in the alternative that he is entitled to refugee status because the U.S. is guilty of “systemic” violations of International law. Ms. Klein enthusiastically supports his cause and claims that Mr. Hinzman's star witness, a former Marine Sergeant named Jimmy Massey and the New York Times coverage of Abu Ghraib will present ample proof of U.S. guilt in these war crimes.

She laments the fact these “crimes” may never be tried because the U.S. refuses to subject itself to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. She seeks to further bolster Mr. Hinzman’s case for refugee status by endorsing his argument that the Iraq war is illegal because it did not have U.N. sanction. Apparently no fan of the presumption of innocence with respect to anything to do with the American administration or its policies, Ms. Klein's article throughout assumes the proof of these crimes and even accuses Canada of moral duplicity for not taking a stronger stand on this "illegal war".

To augment the rebarbative nature of Ms. Klein’s commentary (she knows no other style of commentary when it comes to the Americans), the editors of the Globe and Mail chose to accompany the text with a cartoon by Jenkins of a colony of beavers surrounding a flagpole upon which is flying the Stars and Stripes. Two are chewing on the flag and one is chomping on the flagpole. How clever, how neighbourly!

The New York Times or Washington Post would be forgiven if tomorrow they displayed a cartoon of the American Eagle gleefully landing in her nest with a plaintive pleading beaver in her talons, her hungry chicks eagerly awaiting the feast. Thankfully, the American administration and its supporters will pay as little attention to Ms. Klein is does the elephant to a gnat. The same can't be said for Ms. Klein's many followers in the U.S. media and the self-professed intelligentsia of the American and Canadian left.

Ms. Klein’s stated goal is to end the war in Iraq, but it is obvious she has a much bigger agenda. In her sub-text she adjures her followers to seek the humiliation and utter defeat of the U.S. in Iraq where she claims so indelicately it is already “hemorrhaging (coalition) members”. She remains, as always, mute with regard to what semblance of order would fill the vacuum should the U.S. pull out tomorrow, and offers no insight into how the Iraqi people would be better off if Saddam loyalists returned to power (or better still Saddam, since if the war was illegal surely his arrest and confinement is illegal and he should be returned to power and given access to the billions he and his U.N. friends stole from Canada and all the other contributors to the Oil for Food Program).

Her hope is that a desperate attempt by a cowardly deserter to avoid the consequences of his cowardice (he did after all volunteer for the Army, and armies are known to have to fight from time to time),by pleading for refugee status before a Canadian tribunal made up of Liberal political appointees, might open the floodgates to other cowardly U.S. soldiers who don’t want to fight to seek refuge in Canada.

She ends with the vision of Canada once again becoming a “haven for war resisters” and thus doing something major to help end the war.Too young to have jostled through the picket lines of Vietnam protests, Ms. Klein is eager to make Iraq its doppelganger and to bring the U.S. to its well deserved Gotterdammerung.

Ms. Klein may have hit on something here. A cursory review of Canadian Immigration Appeal Board rulings would reveal much more bizarre decisions than the finding Ms. Klein hopes for. Is there a more confused department of government than Immigration, as the recent and spreading revelations of our official policy toward the urgent need to fill the many stripper bars of Canada with poor Rumanian women surely attest?

Is there a country that reveres the role of the U.N. more than Canada despite overwhelming evidence of the corruption and amorality which grips that body? This same UN “whose very raison d'etre rises from the ruins of Auschwitz and Belsen, and has never produced a single resolution dedicated to combating anti-Semitism or a report devoted to this devastating global phenomenon.” Should any of us be surprised if the Board ruled in Hinzman’s favour?

To the left, Ms. Klein is a bright and shining star. She was proudly marching today alongside folks sporting placards of great erudition such as: Bush/Hitler and a swastika, Fuck Bush, and Bush – War Criminal. She and her followers would revel at the sight of George Bush in the docket alongside Saddam Hussein and Milosevic, an earnest Louise Arbour as the prosecutor.

To this Canadian, Ms. Klein and her comrades are an embarrassment we must tolerate as proof of our belief in democracy and the freedom of speech. The lamentable reality is that any American who watches Canadian television or reads Canadian newspapers with the occasional exception of the National Post, will conclude that the vast majority of Canadians must agree with Ms.Klein. The even more depressing possibility is that they may be right!

Meanwhile the suicide bombings, the kidnappings, and the beheadings continue. The small band of heavily armed and fanatical terrorists persists in their assault on the Iraqis who seek to create a stable environment in which to hold elections. In the face of these realities Ms. Klein and her followers stand like the three monkeys. Instead they don their ballaclavas and dance around their jungle fire of protest chanting incantations against the evil American empire, while their favoured arbiter of international justice, the U.N., fulminates against the U.S. and Israel, and obfuscates in response to efforts of investigators to uncover the identity of the beneficiaries of the Oil-For-Food scam.

This all reminds me David Stove's theory that "after the 2nd World War, any possibility of resistance to communist expansion rested almost entirely upon America: no other country possessed both the requisite military capacity and the willingness to use it. But the outcome of the Vietnam war showed that, while America's capacity for such resistance remained intact, her willingness did not. For that war was lost, not through defeat of American soldiers in the field, nor yet through treachery among them, but through a massive sedition at home."

The Bin-Ladens, Zarqawhi's and Iranian mullahs are counting on history repeating itself with Iraq, and Naomi Klein is one of their greatest allies.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Greatest Canadian - CBC Style

I tripped across the beginning of the end of the finale to announce the Greatest Canadian. It was too treacly for my taste and classically CBC in its amateurishness. Deborah Grey swooped onto the stage like a gigantic red comet trailing fabric tails, and cheering wildly for the man she was touting and who finished dead last in the top 10 list – Wayne Gretzky. Wendy Mesley forgot the name of the Alexander Graham Bell cheerleader and that was enough for me. (It was the squeaky voiced Evan something or other who took over from Avi Lewis when the latter went off to save the world from corporatists, riding tandem on her broomstick with wife Naomi Klein).

I later read that Tommy Douglas garnered the most votes and Terry Fox finished second ahead of Trudeau and Frederick Banting. I was encouraged that the viewers who could stand to watch this trifle, actually came up with two out of four good selections. Brave men who did not seek the spotlight, but instead soldiered on against heavy odds; in one case to raise money for research to fight the disease that killed him, and the other to discover insulin which has saved millions of lives all over the world.

There is a deep irony in the other two when compared to Fox and Banting. Tommy Douglas the bantam rooster prairie socialist and his arrogant and cerebral acolyte, Pierre Trudeau each represents much of what is wrong with this country. Douglas foisted medicare upon the province of Saskatchewan, causing great social upheaval and the exodus of many health professionals from that province. The fiscal question of just how Saskatchewan and later the entire country could afford a universal health care program was not one Douglas had any interest in addressing. His legacy is a sick, bloated, inefficient system that is failing its users and abusing the care and commitment of the many health care professionals and support workers who deliver the services. Worse still Douglas’ socialism continues to plague the system and the country, encouraging those who can afford to pay for the prompt delivery of services, and the physicians who want to treat patients and not sit idly by waiting for operating rooms to be made available, to be treated like queue-jumpers and greedy pariahs.

Trudeau made us all think we were special because he did flips off diving boards, pirouetted behind the queen, wore capes and married a woman 30 years his junior. His arrogance we excused as impatience. His dismissive shrugs as Gallic charm. He brought us the Charter of Rights and the War Measures Act, both evidence of the true radical and reactionary who lived beneath the surface of the cerebral Jesuitic intellectual. We even excused his canoe trips to Cuba and his helmeted motorcycle protest parades during WW II.

He plundered our treasury, created regional rifts between East and West that still divide us, and fueled not only the separatist movement, but the pork barrel politics of appeasement which continue to this day despite Royal Commissions and Auditor General reports. And when it was time to leave the political scene, he hopped into his gull-wing Mercedes roadster and rode off to our cheers!

Contrast these two politicians and their love of the limelight with Fox and Banting. Terry Fox endured the pain of hopping across half of Canada to raise money for a broken and bankrupt national medicare system. He ran through rain and sleet and heat, a tribute to man's independence and will to survive and to produce something out his own sweat and tears, never asking for a handout or looking to someone else to fight his fight or bear his burden. Banting laboured long and hard for little financial reward and even today the government of Ontario can’t find the will to properly preserve his homestead as a tribute to this great Canadian.

Two great men and two poseurs. The challenge for Canadians continues to be to know how to tell them apart.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sgro Must Go

"Ministers' staff also have an obligation to meet with people when they are asked to do so. That is exactly what the staff member was doing," she replied to hoots of laughter from the opposition benches. – Immigration Minister Judy Sgro.

According to government records, more than 550 exotic dancers from Rumania were granted temporary work visas last year. It seems exotic dancing is one of those essential Canadian vocations whose many positions are very difficult to fill with local talent. This is classically Canadian isn’t it? 550 spots in our immigration queue taken up by desperate young women, most of whom will be drawn into the sex and drug trade.

It is unclear how many of them were recruited by Minister Sgro’s sublimely named chief of staff, the donkey-headed Ihor Wons; or how many of them stuffed envelopes or worked phone banks for Minister Sgro during her re-election campaign.

There is this quaint principle British parliamentarians have, one which Canada long ago abandoned, perhaps as part of shedding its colonial ties. It is the principle of Ministerial responsibility. In practice, when the action of a Minister or her staff is so scandalous or inappropriate that it brings the department and the government into disrepute, the Minister immediately resigns. If it later proves that the Minister should bear no responsibility for the scandal she is often reinstated to Cabinet, if not always to the same portfolio.

So fearful are Canadian ministers of being relegated to the gulag of the back bench, and of the loss of the perquisites of office, that they act like desperate cats scratching and spitting in a vain attempt to avoid being pitched into the pool of political oblivion. And once finally pried from their perch, the more wicked ones still land on their feet with some ambassadorship or taxpayer funded sinecure.

Meanwhile, that shepherd of cats, Mr. Paul Martin, slouches through Africa cursing his fate, his incompetence as a leader more apparent every day. Perhaps he is hoping to find support for his silent campaign to be recruited as successor to the failed statesman Koffi Annan.

I think I will invite Mr. Wons to our next book club when we discuss the madness of another regime in Bulgakov’s, The Master and Margarita. He can’t refuse once asked, remember.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Virtue of Chores

Choring About

I have spent the last four days in self-imposed solitude away from the city and beside the sea. Freed from the distractions of radio and television, and faced with numerous physical chores on my work list, I have experienced a certain soothing of the soul.

My Dad died two weeks ago. “Chored about today” was the most common phrase in his 18-month diary from January 1, 1941 to early July 1942. I doubt he gave much thought to the fact he had created a new verb. He didn’t list all the chores but as anyone who has grown up or spent an extended period of time on a farm knows, they were many and they were mundane. Picking rocks, sharpening fence posts, stuking grain, shoveling snow, chopping wood – the list is long. What does one have to do except think when one is choring? I suppose a truly modern chore-person would have his MP3 player and headset on, effectively anaesthetizing the brain, but I went purely retro with my choring and it was good.

I thought about good things for the most part. I thought about my Dad and how hard he worked as a farmer for so little monetary reward. I thought of my Mom, married two weeks before her 18th birthday and 18 months later back with her parents with her new-born son, my brother, praying for Dad’s return from active duty. I thought of what it must have been like for them as they built their first house with their own hands, and as they endured the uncertainty of weather throughout each growing season.

I remembered how excited I was by prairie thunder storms with their spectacular lightning displays and the ferocity of golf ball sized hail stones as they bounced off the roof and put little dimples in the ashphalt shingles. And I thought how differently my parents must have viewed those displays of nature’s power with its consequence of cows killed by lightning and fields of wheat and barley flattened by hailstones. Yet through it all I can’t remember ever being really unhappy as a farm kid and though my parents must often have been stressed and anxious, they rarely showed it.

Each new day brought unlimited opportunity for the exercise of one’s imagination. Bale piles became rugged battlefields, and death spirals off imaginary cliffs ended with a soft thud in a pile of straw. Like Fearless Fosdick, enemy bullets could pierce one’s heart or brain but we always lived.

Picking rocks and roots produced some grumbles but throwing the smaller stones at my brother while ducking his return missile helped pass the time. Playing fox and geese and making angels in the snow, made up for the occasional face wash as punishment from my older brother for my too sharp tongue.

These and many more thoughts scudded across my mind like prairie clouds as I cleared drainage ditches, raked leaves, pruned fruit trees and bushwhacked blackberry brambles and underbrush.

And tonight I will go down to the dock, lie on my back and gaze at the starlit sky and marvel at the universe out there and the God who made it and give thanks for my parents and for my life.

Marriage Debate

Resisting Judge Made Law

The post Charter of Rights period in Canada has seen the ascendancy of judicial activism. Much of the blame for this rests with the governing federal political parties since 1982 and their unwillingness to take leadership by allowing citizens, through their MP’s, to determine what and whose fundamental rights the Charter should protect.

The knee jerk default position of governments and elites has been to resist the imposition of moral or cultural values by a majority on a minority. The result has been a tyranny of the minority as seen by the successful campaign of the same sex marriage lobbyists to convince the Supreme Court of Ontario to declare the right of same sex couples to marry to be a right protected by the Charter.

Like dominoes the superior courts of 6 other provinces and 1 territory have fallen over in response, while the potentially steadying hands of federal and provincial Attorneys General remain stuffed deep in their pockets. No legal opposition has been mounted to this judicial sortie into the political realm.

Where is the public debate on this issue? Why is it left to New Brunswick Conservative MP Rob Moore to introduce a private members bill in the House as the only means to put the issue of same sex marriage on the political agenda? Where are the reasoned commentaries in our national newspapers putting forward the argument in favour of maintaining marriage as the preserve of a man and woman – not for religious reasons or for homophobic reasons but for the best reason of all – that it just makes plain sense to do so.

This assertion that one can determine the rightness or wrongness of something by feeling is much maligned by today’s intellectuals. They deny us this essential truth about our humanity. I find philosopher Lesley Kolakowski’s view on this matter to be persuasive. “We do not assent to our moral beliefs by admitting ‘this is true’, but by feeling guilty if we fail to comply with them. This involves not an intellectual act but “an act of questioning one’s own status in the cosmic order…an anxiety following a transgression not of a law but of a taboo.”

The debunking of the received wisdom of many of our society’s taboos, and the deracination of our natural feelings of shame and disgust has left many lost and confused by the many changes to our cultural landscape in the last 20 years.

The opponents of same sex marriage propose that parliament pass a law declaring that marriage is the sole preserve of a man and woman. That there is a moral component to this legislation is a given. Such legislation would be a step to retake territory lost in the latest skirmish in the culture war.

There are two coercive instruments at work in a stable democratic nation – 1) Parliament and its law-making power and 2) the moral coercion of public opinion. It is naïve to pretend that conflict between people can be avoided when it comes to setting standards of morality and virtue within a society.

James Fitzjames Stephen illustrates this when he says:

“There is only one illustration of the general truth that the intimate sympathy and innumerable bonds of all kinds by which men are united, and the differences of character and opinions by which they are distinguished, produce and must forever produce continual struggles between them. They are like a pack of hounds all coupled together and all wanting to go different ways. J.S. Mill would like each to take his own way. The advice is most attractive, and so long as the differences are not very apparent it may appear to be taken, but all the voting in the world will not get the couples off, or prevent the stronger dogs from having their way in the long run and making the others follow them. We are thus brought to the conclusion that in morals as well as in religion there is and must be a war and conflict between men.”

Stephen goes on to make the point that “the influences which tend to unite men and which give them an interest in each other’s welfare are both more numerous and more powerful than those which throw them into collision. The effect of this is not to prevent collisions, but to surround them with acts of friendship and goodwill which confine them within limits and prevent people from going to extremities.”

He concludes “complete moral tolerance is possible only when men have become completely indifferent to each other – that is to say, when society is at an end. If, on the other hand, every struggle is treated as a war of extermination, society will come to an end in a shorter and more exciting manner, but not more decisively. A healthy state of things will be a compromise between the two.”

It seems the voice of those who oppose same-sex marriages in the secular arena has too often been shrill and judgmental, antagonistic not only to the judicial change to the definition of marriage but to the gay and lesbian individuals who wish to avail themselves of the institution. Lost are the voices of friendship and goodwill. The voices that say to the extent committed same-sex couples are discriminated against with respect to certain legal benefits of succession, social assistance and the like, the tolerance of Canadians will extend those benefits to them.

Same-sex couples have with but few exceptions won all those battles and the conflict has been resolved in their favour. Where further concessions short of granting them the keys to the institution of marriage are required, they could readily be attained.

It is time for the spirit of compromise to be rekindled in the hearts of the same sex marriage advocates who are pushing the battle to the ramparts of the marriage redoubt. The risk of this struggle becoming a war that exterminates society is a real one. This assumes of course Canada has not already reached the stage of complete moral tolerance through utter indifference – a very real possibility particularly in our large cities.

If one were to measure the state of Canadian society by the willingness of elected officials to take principled stands and to encourage a broad public debate, one would regrettably conclude that the war indeed has been lost.

However, if every Canadian paused and thoughtfully considered this issue and its implications for our society, and upon concluding it was a matter of importance, took a moment to write to his or her MP with a copy to the Prime Minister; we might just spark a revival of conscience and duty on the part of enough of our parliamentarians to permit this matter to be resolved through broad public debate and not by the fiat of a majority of 9 Supreme Court judges.

Political Correctness 101

Recently I read the advisers to Her Majesty in their wisdom, recommended that the Waterloo Room in Buckingham Palace, undergo a name change for a day while it served as the locus for a state visit by Mr. Chirac of France. It seems the reminder of Napoleon’s defeat would prove to be too much for Monsieur Chirac to bear, weakened as he is from his recent prostration at the bier of his dear friend Yasser Arafat.

The room will be given a suitably neutral name, one I have already forgotten – this thanks to some vestigial defence mechanism my brain triggers to combat the virus of political correctness.

How long will it take for some Quebec politician to find an opportunity to press for the same sensitivity to be shown to government officials from Quebec when they venture into the provinces of the ROC? Wolfville could become Montcalmville for a day the next time it hosts a meeting attended by Quebec delegates. The mind boggles.

Headline Gazing November 16th

A Page Flip Through Today’s National Post – November 16, 2004

The main headline covers the murder of Margaret Hassan in Iraq. It seems even al-Zarqawi recognized the lunacy of kidnapping and killing a woman whose life and organization was dedicated to the provision of care to the Iraqi people, regardless of their politics or beliefs. His group said they would release her if she were turned over to them. Still, we can expect the usual suspects amongst the editorialists and commentators to point to this latest crime as a reason for the US and its supporters to leave Iraq. Predictably some talking head will say the blood of Mrs. Hassan is on the US' hands, for without the US invasion none of this terrorism would have happened. It is painful to endure.

George Bush plans to visit Canada and would like to speak to the combined House of Commons and Senate. It will be a test for people like Carolyn Parrish to constrain herself. Personally, I hope she reveals herself to be the panjandrum she really is, but that is my dark side speaking. No doubt the CBC’s Neil McDonald, now recovered from the shock and consternation of seeing his man Kerry lose the election, will be on hand to spin gold into lead as he covers the event.

A former stripper is suing an Ontario game park for $3 million for damages she suffered when a lion attacked her through an open window in the vehicle she shared with her then boyfriend as they drove through the game farm. It seems the scars on her scalp and hip prevented her from moving up the career fire pole of exotic dancing to “featured exotic dancer” from the more lowly “freelance” lap dancer. She claims now to have abandoned her former career and is studying to be a geriatric nurse. There must be a joke here somewhere.

And finally a Florida woman is trying to sell a 10 year old partly eaten grilled cheese sandwich that she claims bears an image of the Virgin Mary. It seems more than 100,000 eBay users had viewed the holy toast and bids had reached $22,000. Ebay pulled the item but a persistent Diana Duyser re-submitted it and bidding has now reached $17,000. What does the Virgin Mary look like anyway? I suppose one can make out a face, though I see a hyena when I rotate the page 90 degrees. A pile of rice and chow mein at the foot of my then two year old son’s high chair once resembled Mt. Rushmore. Where was eBay when I needed it?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Tribute to My Dad

My Dad died last week, peacefully and prepared. I wrote this piece and submitted a shortened version to the Globe and Mail for consideration as a Lives Lived column.


Emmanuel (Manny) Paul Leandre Buan – June 1,1921- November 4, 2004

Survived by his sons Alan (Marilyn) granddaughter Alanna, and Ben (Nancy) grandsons Caley, Aidan and brother Remy.

Farmer, soldier, husband, father, entrepreneur – a small thread in the tapestry of Canadian life and culture.

Saul Bellow wrote that "death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything". So much becomes clearer when one looks back on the life of a loved one.

Emmanuel Buan was the youngest of six children born on a farm near St. Brieux, Saskatchewan. His parents emigrated from Brittany as part of the turn of century wave which populated the prairies. His father had previously spent 10 years at sea in the French merchant marine and navy and was at anchor in Shanghai harbour during the Boxer rebellion. His first week in Grade 9, Manny had a disagreement with his teacher. His dad needed help on the farm and told him he could quit school so long as he stayed and worked the farm. The choice was easy for a 15 year old. He quit school in 1936.

For the next 6 years he laboured at the subsistence living which was the sentence served by every small prairie farmer. His diary entries recount the daily routines of cutting wood, picking stones, building and mending fences and milking cows. Yet through it all he experienced a fulfilling sense of community. Small farming communities engendered a spirit of independence enhanced by a sense of responsibility for the well being of one’s neighbour.

His diary is filled with entries of visits to neighbours for meals, even if it meant a 2 hour walk in summer or sleigh ride in winter. He thought nothing of hitching his horses to a little caboose on sled rails, lighting the wood stove inside, and packing his wife and sons off for a 90 minute ride – all to go curling!

Manny tried to enlist in the Army in 1940, but his family doctor classified him C3 because of an earlier bout of septicemia. He argued with the doctor and eventually convinced him to reclassify him as A1. In one eventful week in July 1942 he proposed to his sweetheart, got his parents’ permission to marry, and received his call up for service. He was granted a brief extension to get his dad through harvest season.

On September 30th he married Therese Rudulier, followed immediately by 30 straight days working on a threshing crew before reporting for basic training at the end of November. He shipped out overseas at the end of April 1944, a week after his first son was born. He served as a corporal and saw action in the Italian campaign and in the liberation of Holland. His life of hard work had prepared him for the cold and muddy ditches of Italy serving with the 2nd Field Regiment, 1st Canadian Army.

After the war he built his house with his own hands and moved in with his wife and two sons late in the fall of 1947. After thirteen years of hard work and a decade of CCF government, farming began to take its toll. Manny once went to a T.C. Douglas rally and had the temerity to call out a question for the preacher/politician. He was met with a typical Douglas riposte – “There stands a Liberal, naked and unashamed.” Laughter, the politician’s friend, saved Douglas from explaining how it was he knew better than Manny how to spend his hard earned and meagre farmer’s income.

In 1960 he sold the farm and bought a hotel in Wakaw, Saskatchewan. Always the entrepreneur, but not always successful, Manny later acquired a retail store franchise in Watrous which failed, moved to Saskatoon and was one of the Principal Group’s first Saskatchewan sales representatives. He spent 7 years in Winnipeg where he built up and eventually sold a building maintenance business.

Unashamed of and undaunted by his Grade 8 education this self-educated man won several sales awards during his two stints with Principal, the last of which ended with the firm’s collapse in 1987. The emotional burden of having to counsel clients who had lost their life savings and his sense of having been betrayed by the management of the Principal Group took their toll on his health.

Those who knew Manny only in the last 10 years of his life did not see the humour, and vigour and vitality of his earlier years. He had a lovely singing voice and was always whistling and humming tunes while he worked. He had beautiful handwriting and an artistic streak which produced a few paintings to hand down to his three grandchildren.

He suffered the grief of outliving three wives. His beloved Therese died in 1975 of cancer, his second wife Margaret in 1979 of cancer, and his third wife Joan in 1999 after 17 years of marriage, the last several of which saw her struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Fifty years of smoking wreaked havoc on his lungs, artillery guns and un-muffled farm machinery ravaged his hearing, and his eyesight was failing; yet he never complained. He never asked anyone to help him end his life, and he did not waver from his Christian faith. He knew that his Redeemer lives, and that through Him, he too would have eternal life. He died peacefully with his youngest son at his side.

D.J. Enright wrote that “we might not really object to death if it were not preceded by dying.” Manny knew all too well that dying is part of life and there was nothing to be gained from railing against it. In these days of the cult of the rich, famous or the outrageous, Manny’s life offers little of interest to the headline seekers. However, he does represent a generation and a segment of Canadian society whose spirit, sacrifice and basic decency should not be forgotten.