Category Archives: manitoba

Why Do We Have To Blame Someone?

This is my Carillon column this week. 

Who is to blame?  Last week the headlines of provincial news media featured a story about a car accident that occurred during a funeral procession. Thomas Novak a pastoral worker for the Catholic Church was in a procession to a cemetery, when his car was hit on the passenger side at a busy Winnipeg intersection. Novak was shaken up but not injured.

funeral-processionHowever as a result of the accident he is calling for an end to funeral processions.  He thinks they are just too dangerous.  Funeral processions are a tradition still practiced in some rural Manitoba areas, but infrequently in Winnipeg, and consequently many drivers simply don’t know the protocol surrounding them. That invites accidents. I tend to agree with Novak.  If funeral processions are a hazard why have them, particularly at high traffic times of the day? Most families now lay their loved ones to rest in private services before or after the actual funeral. Often cremation has taken place and ashes will be scattered later so no trip to the cemetery is required.

One argument made for continuing funeral processions is that people might have a hard time finding their way to cemeteries without them.  GPS technology and Google Maps make that argument a moot one. 

lyle thomas memorial garden

This plaque near the Provencher Bridge in Winnipeg pays tribute to Lyle Thomas a worker who died while it was being built.

Another reason given for funeral processions is that they are a way to show respect for the person who has died. But there are many other opportunities for doing that, including publishing obituaries, making a charitable donation in the person’s name, planting a tree in their memory, erecting a plaque or carrying on traditions they started. 

What really surprised me about this news story was how it became such a big issue and how commenters on media sites immediately looked for someone to blame after reading articles about the issue.

The first targeted group was young people, who according to many commenters don’t have proper respect for traditions like funeral processions. Young people cause accidents because they are so busy texting they don’t pay attention.  Parents were also targeted for failing to teach their children proper respect for the law and for letting their kids spend too much time on their devices, so they become socially isolated and don’t understand social norms.

Another targeted group was elderly people who according to some commenters don’t quit driving when their health no longer allows them to drive safely, and are generally a hazard.  Manitoba Public Insurance was also targeted for not having stringent enough protocols for awarding licences and not making people retake their driving tests more frequently.  The RCMP was blamed for not enforcing laws more strictly to get bad drivers off the road and for not providing police escorts for funeral processions.

Another targeted group was newcomers to Canada who according to some commenters don’t know the traditions and cultural habits of their adopted country and haven’t become accustomed enough to driving here. The federal government was also targeted for letting too many immigrants into Canada.

Organized religion was also a target of blame. Some commenters said without the religious traditions and trappings surrounding funerals these accidents wouldn’t happen.

funeral processionI was struck by the fact that finding someone to blame was uppermost in many people’s minds.  Why do we do that?   The funeral procession issue is just one of a myriad we could use as an example of how finding someone to blame and ranting about them seems to be the first response.   Why instead of laying blame can’t we have meaningful conversations, look at data, weigh possible options, propose alternatives, and find solutions?  Why do we always look first for someone to blame?

Other posts………

Pallbearers

Apartments for the Dead

Dead Yard Party

 

 

 

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Filed under Culture, manitoba, Religion

A Serendipitous Coincidence

manitoba history journalI have a book review in the latest edition of The Manitoba Historical Society Journal and the magazine couldn’t have come out at a more serendipitous time. no man's land

The book I was asked to review was No Man’s Land- The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton, by Kathryn A. Young and Sarah McKinnon.  Mary Riter Hamilton a Canadian artist working in the first half of the 1900s led a fascinating life and was instrumental in helping to establish an art gallery in Winnipeg in 1912. 

easter morning by mary riter hamilton

Easter Morning-La Petite Penitente by Mary Riter Hamilton- c. 1900

The serendipitous thing is that an artwork by Mary Riter Hamilton, painted when she was studying in Europe at the turn of the century, is part of a new show that just opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Defying Convention. That means I will have the perfect opportunity to share everything I learned about Mary’s interesting life story while writing my book review, with the people I take on tours at the gallery. 

What a wonderful coincidence!

Other posts……….

Talk About Defying Convention

Women Painting Men

A Serendipitous Sail

 

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Filed under Art, History, manitoba, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Bison Safari

img_3192My brother-in-law Paul and sister-in-law Shirley are visiting us here in Winnipeg.  We took them on the Bison Safari at Fort Whyte. img_3196

Our guide was excellent, a veritable walking encyclopedia of bison knowledge. He hypothesized  that the near annihilation of the bison on the prairies in the late 1800s was actually a way to try to annihilate the Indigenous  people since they depended on the bison so completely for their way of life. bison fort whyteWe rode in a bus out to the large bison enclosure and followed the herd while our guide told us more about the bison.  We learned the difference between bison and buffalo.  Did you know bison are the largest mammal that can jump and get all four legs off the ground or that they can keep up a 60 km. running pace for more than an hour? bison furWe got to touch bison fur and learned it is so warm in winter bison don’t seek shelter even at 40 below temperatures. dave with horn

Dave is taking this sharp bison horn seriously.  The guide told us that competing males at Fort Whyte had once fought and one died after the other bison rammed its horn into his body. Bison horn was used  by the Indigenous people to make musical instruments,cups, powder horns, spoons and toys.         buffalo wallowWe saw the wallows that dotted the field, where the bison roll around on the ground in summer to get rid of biting insects
bison-herd

Our guide told us bison aren’t that smart and have a real herd mentality. Herds are led by cows not bulls. The bison’s sense of sight is poor but they have a great sense of smell and hearing.    

bison fort whyteOn previous visits to Fort Whyte the bison have been more frisky and we’ve been allowed out of the bus to take photos. That didn’t happen this time but hopefully our guests still enjoyed learning a little more about the plains bison the official Manitoba animal.

Other posts about bison……..                                            

Killing a Bison is Hard

There Must Be Fifty Ways to Use a Bison

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Bison

 

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Filed under manitoba, Nature

I Golf For the Scenery

On the long weekend we went golfing in Pinawa and Lac du Bonnet with our friends Rudy and Sue. I don’t keep score when I golf. I’m there for the visiting and the scenery. And some of the scenery on the Pinawa Golf and Country Club course and the Granite Hills Golf Course was gorgeous.

granite hills

pinawa golf course

lac du bonnet golf course

I also discovered this really cool sundial in Pinawa across from the hotel where we spent the night.  sun dial pinawaIt was designed in such a way that you could learn a lot about eastern Manitoba by walking all around it. 

golfing in Lac du BonnetDespite the fact our second round of golf ended abruptly after 12 holes because of non-stop rain I still had a great time enjoying the scenery and visiting with our friends. 

I golf for the scenery and the visiting. 

Other posts……

Visiting the Nikkels in Sarasota

Golfing at a Hudson’s Bay Outpost

Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona

 

 

 

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Filed under manitoba, Sports