Galvanize 1. b: to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock
News out of Canada today still lacks in-depth information and examination, but so far what is coming out is that a same sex couple who got married back in 2005, while trying to get a divorce, were told by the Canadian government that their marriage had never been legal. The British-American couple was shocked at this revelation, and according to the Toronto Star (newspaper) the same applies to thousands of other same sex marriages between non-Canadians that have taken place in Canada since 2004.
If you remember back to 2004, it was the height of same-sex marriage phobia in the United States, and the re-election of George W. Bush. Americans, as well as people from all over the world who could manage it, went to Canada where the country had embraced its role as a nation where same sex marriages could be legally performed and recognized. The government even used this image, as they do to this day, as part of their promotion of Canada as a world leader in human rights. The reports that have surfaced this week indicate that government lawyers are now arguing in court that if same sex marriages aren’t legal in the home country of those getting married, then the marriage isn’t legal in Canada either.
In the coming days the government as well as the lawyers may change their story. The prime minister, unsurprisingly, claims ignorance as to any change in government policy. But regardless of what elected officials, lawyers or the media say, this development should be enough to galvanize Canadians who value human rights and equal treatment. The spark that reawakens a movement that has, perhaps, fallen asleep to what seemed like mission accomplished. Suddenly betraying thousands of couples should be an electric shock that sweeps representatives out of office, and embarrasses lawyers and others into resignation and generally speaking – the social wilderness. This is the time to take something horrible and turn it into a rally cry to demand justice, a real, lasting justice that cannot be undone.
“Do you fear an arms race over the arctic?” the host of The Current Podcast asked an Inuit representative during a recent episode. The gentlemen spoke at length about the problems of the Inuit population in the high arctic and his concerns about the Canadian federal government doing military exercises in the arctic as opposed to giving much needed attention to public services and infrastructure.
Among the many things I learned while listening to this program, was the story of the Inuit High Arctic Relocation. I had never heard about the actions of the Canadian government during the cold war, relocating 87 Inuit people from northern Quebec. The government claimed, and still claims, that this was in order to alleviate problems Inuit had in northern Quebec by giving them a new and not over-populated region to practice their traditional living. However, as is illustrated in this program and other historical record, Canada was seeking to make settlements in the high arctic to prove that they own it and have people living there.
Many decades later, they’re still trying to prove it is theirs, and the Inuits still have problems stemming from government neglect.
Paula and Martin run a unique Urban Farm in Victoria, B.C., Canada. They don’t just manage one plot of land, their farm is scattered throughout various areas and its getting more and more popular. In this interview Paula explains how it got started, their specific method of farming, and the growing popularity in their community and beyond.
Over the past 2 years, as part of the new cold war over who owns the arctic, the Canadian government has chosen to use its military to show how serious they are about defending their claim. Through a series of missions and exercises that involve land, sea, and air forces, not to mention determined statements from the Prime Minister, they obviously hope the international community will back off and they can reign freely as masters of the arctic.
One small but interesting task I undertook recently was to search for video produced by or about the Canadian military deployed in the arctic. This vlog entry features those images. And while there may be a somewhat humorous element to the idea that Canada would use violence to settle an international dispute, you will also notice that they really are armed and very much playing the new cold war game.