To start, here's a letter in today's Glock 'n' Spiel (Globe and Mail).
Try to ignore the writer's barbed reference to "Americans." It's not
only part of the cultural wallpaper here, but he's exaggerating to make
a point, and I think the point's worth the exaggeration.

Not so bad after all

Thursday, December 19, 2002 – Page A22

 Ravenna, Ont. -- The controversy generated by David Ahenakew reminded
me that our Jewish citizens are often among our most loving and
generous. In both Canada and the United States, many charitable
foundations owe their existence to Jewish founders and benefactors.
Moreover, how many of our museums, galleries, arts councils and theatres
could survive as well as they do without their legions of Jewish

 So, what would happen if the Jews took over the world?

We know what happens when the world is run by, let's see, the Egyptians,
Persians, Greeks,  Romans, Ottoman Turks, Spaniards, French, British,
Germans, Russians and, Jehovah save us all, the Americans.

If it's ever the Jews' turn, we'll be surrounded by music, art, humour,
literature and great conversation.


Now the tangents, irrelevancies and sidetrackings....

David Ahenakew (pronounced ah-HEN-uh-cue) is a former National Chief of
the Assembly of First Nations, the most senior elected First Nations
official in Canada. Earlier this week he went on what honestly sounded
like a drunken anti-Semitic tirade in an on-the-record interview with a
Saskatoon TV reporter. The only part I can quote without violating the
list's charter (in letter or in spirit) is that "Hitler had the right
idea when he fried six million Jews." It's shocked everyone, of course,
and there's even talk of revoking his membership in the Order of Canada
(see for the neat-o medals the
three levels of OoC members get to wear. I've only met one OoC member
that I know of, and that was former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna,
with whom I helped arrange a meeting with my minister at the last
Microsoft World Leaders Conference the time Stephen and I met in

Anyway, Ahenakew's only position now had been as head of the "senate" of
the Saskatchewan federation of First Nations, which is an honorary
position (indeed, any reference to "senate" in Canada, including THE
senate*, has a connotation of an old folks' home for retired politicos
of various kinds) and he has announced his resignation.

Current National Chief is a Quebec Ojibway [iirc; maybe he's Cree] named
Matthew Coon Come**, has, of course, distanced the Assembly from Mr.
Ahenakew's comments in no uncertain way. Ahenakew's tirade was so
virulent there have been serious doubts raised concerning his sanity.

* We also call the Senate in Parliament "the red chamber." That's
because it has a red carpet, representing the background of nobility,
aristocracy and royalty that the House of Lords has in Britain. There
has been endless talk of reforming it, but governments are always
reluctant to do so because being appointed a Senator is a convenient way
to force an inconvenient politician into "early retirement" or to reward
bagmen and the like. The House of Commons is sometimes called "the green
chamber" because it has a green carpet, and this is symbolic, too: of
the meadow of Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed by King John.
When a government in a Westminster-style country like Canada, Britain or
Australia give what you guys would call a State of the Union address,
it's called the Speech from the Throne, and it's composed by the
government of the day, but it's read by the Head of State. This usually
means the Governor-General, but if the Queen's in town, she reads it, as
she's still symbolically the Head of State of most commonwealth
countries (a constitutional symbolism only). And they still use the
"royal we." I can still remember Elizabeth II reading a speech from the
throne once, and using "Our government has pledged to..." and so on. The
Head of State isn't normally allowed into the House of Commons (again,
just a symbolism) so when the SftT is to be read, the Gentleman Usher of
the Black Rod goes to the Senate and raps on the door with the mace, and
invites him/her to accompany him to the Green Chamber as his guest.
Thereupon follows the "peers" which in Canada just means Senators and
justices of the Supreme Court, iirc (but in Britain it also includes
several Anglican bishops as Britain is still nominally an officially
Anglican country).

** That's Mister Coon Come to you, bud. And yes, that's his real name.
Quite photogenic, he was active in forcing the Quebec government to back
down on some of its plans to flood vast areas of the James Bay and
Hudsons Bay drainage basin to build more hydro plants to export
electricity to the eastern US. He went to New York, addressed the UN,
local business groups, the whole shebang -- he's very media savvy.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many
more people see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.

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