Did you know, that the aspect of religion in Canada is as diverse as the age of the country? The first official census of Canada (in 1871) revealed that there were a grand total of 13 Muslims living in Canada. There were also 5,000 Sihk. The first mosque in Canada was built in Edmonton in 1938, when there were 700 Muslims. The first Japanese Buddhists arrived in Canada in the late 19th Century. The first Buddhist temple was built in Vancouver in 1905. The late rise of immigrants to Canada in the late 20th Century has increased the populations of Buddhist, Sihk and Hindu communities. One of the most interesting stories of recent memory is the moving of a building to Iqaluit, Nunavut in the Canadian Territories to help the Islamic Society of Nunavut. Iqaluit has a population of 8000, of which 100 are followers of Islam. The United Church of Canada is the first nationally organized church in Canada that recognized the marriage of gay and lesbian couples and even allowed for gay and lesbian ministers to be ordained in the church. 20 years later, the Lutheran Church of Canada has gone through the same ordeal as it’s central council has looked into recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
While much of Western Canada, and including Saskatchewan, was developed and settled by Ukrainian, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Hungarian and American immigrants, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have a great deal to owe French Canadian and Metis settlers.
Saskatchewan is also home to one of the first Baptist churches in Western Canada, that being the now National Historic Site, the Shiloh First Baptist Church.
One thing I use this blog for, aside from witty or sarcastic editorials, is a log for my own writing ideas. I’ve tossed this one around before, but slowly I’ve been crafting the back story. It’s complex, covers 40 years, and to date has about 25 characters to go through.
This one is just the beginning.
Please note, one character’s name has changed.
May you live in interesting times ~reported to be an ancient Chinese curse, first English use was by Fredrick R. Coudert in a letter to Sir Austen Chamberlain, who informed Coudert that the saying “we live in an interesting age” was similar to an ancient Chinese curse. This letter was written in 1936. Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen was also informed in 1936 before he left England for China that the Chinese had this curse. While this was brought to light in the English speaking world, there is no evidence in China that this is indeed a curse used on one’s enemy.
It’s an interesting phrase and one that seems to be steeped in myth and used widely in Western popular culture, as the phrase has shown up in everything from Terry Pratchet’s Discworld to Star Trek: Voyage to Magnum P.I. But it’s very apt in some ways.
We are living in interesting times. It’s not just 2012, it’s been something that’s been happening for the past 10 years. I find it similar in some regard to the revolutions that have taken place where people have risen up and thrown out an oppressive government. That we’ve seen with such things as the Arab Spring. Oh, and just a note, Occupy Wall Street was not the United States version of the Arab Spring. That was against corporations. If you want to find a western comparison to the Arab Spring, look no further than First Nations Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike as she demands a meeting with Stephen Harper over the conditions at Attawapiskat. Attawapiskat isn’t alone. There are other First Nation reserve that are dealing with intolerable, third world like conditions. But we’re enlightened in Canada, and we don’t like to see that we’re treating Canadian citizens in such a manner. So we don’t hear about it until it gets to the point where Spence has taken things into her own hands.
She’s not alone, as she’s received support from First Nation people not only across Canada, but across North America. It’s created a series of Idle No More rallies from every corner of Canada, and even places in the United States. And Harper’s refusal to meet with Spence puts a huge black mark on the earlier apology that the Canadian government made to First Nation people. Naturally, detractors are saying that Spence’s hunger strike isn’t as bad as all that, as many believe she’s being fed and even drinking Boost, which is classed as a meal replacement. Others say that the books for Attawapiskat should be opened, obviously thinking that there has been nefarious dealings by the tribal council that has gone to the mistreatment of their own people.
All of Spence’s detractors are using age old racism as a part of their argument. But, I’m sure they have “Indian friends”, so they can’t be racist now can they.
Hopefully, in this new year, there will be some sort of meeting held and things can move forward to ensure that First Nation people across Canada are treated with the utmost respect and as equal citizens. Because currently they are not being treated as such by this government.
Two more years until the next election. Two more years, and maybe, just maybe, the Conservative Party of Canada can go the way of the dinosaurs they actually are.