Terry Fallis would often sit and write speeches in the Library of Parliament for the member of Parliament he worked for during the 1980s. He held the place in reverence, and believes that all Canadians, at one time or another, should visit the place.
We got together outside the Library one sunny summer afternoon to discuss his award-winning political satire The Best Laid Plans, along with his thoughts on democracy. Among other things we touch on the beauty of the Library building itself, how inspiring a visit to The Hill can be, Canada’s current ‘apathy of affluence’ and the fact that while 85% of the populace used to vote in the 60s, that number is now less than 60%. We also talk about the pressing need for Canadians be better informed and to get engaged in their politics, the overly partisan nature of today’s political debate and the laudable goals of avoiding negative portrayals of opponents, working co-operatively on legislation and of focusing on positive visions and programs that put the ‘national’ interest first.
Thinking you might like to check out the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa? For information on tours of Parliament Hill, click here.
I visited Lang Pioneer Village just outside of Peterborough for a glimpse of what life looked like in Ontario at around the time Susanna Moodie and her sister Catharine Parr Traill emigrated from England.
This cabin was the home of David Fife, of Red Fife wheat fame – it represents what a Canadian settler’s dwelling was like circa 1820.
The sisters arrived in the early 1830s. Conditions, particularly during the winter months – on days like today for example – were wicked; with snow blowing in through cracks in the walls and little food to eat, life wasn’t easy. Seeing this cabin really brought home how challenging it must have been just to survive back then. But they made do.
“The flesh of the black squirrel is equal to that of the rabbit, and the red, even the little chipmunk, is palatable when nicely cooked.” (from Roughing it in the Bush).
For information on visiting Peterborough and the Kawarthas, click here.
As a result of a trip to Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and exposure to the works of Catharine Parr Traill
and Susanna Moodie
I’ve been reflecting lately on the immigrant experience in Canada.
I was born in Toronto, but moved to England with my British parents when I was five years old. We returned by ship seven years later on the S.S. Maasdam. Although I’d already been here, my memory is of having arrived in Canada as if for the first time. I’ll never forget the experience of coming up on deck early one morning with my father and sighting land – a collection of tiny, sun-lit Canadian islands. Everything seemed bathed in gold.
Moving to a new country is an emotion-charged experience, one that, while different in each case, shares certain common characteristics. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, people who immigrate typically go through the following stages:
Stage 1: Happiness and Continue reading “A Timeless Record of a Quintessentially Canadian Experience”