There are People in Provencher Who Aren’t Hateful, Unsavory and Ignorant

The people in the political riding of Provencher  are “hateful, unsavory and ignorant!”  That’s what you might think if you read the second page feature in Tuesday’s Metro newspaper.  I had a copy of the Metro handed to me as I boarded the bus early Tuesday morning. I opened it up and read the piece during my transit ride.  I found the article unsettling. It describes a video posted by Provencher member of Parliament Ted Falk on his Facebook page.  In the video Mr. Falk suggests refugees who cross the border into Canada at Emerson are taking advantage of kind-hearted Canadians. Falk calls on the Liberal government to make their stance on the issue clear.

I had watched Mr. Falk’s video prior to reading the Metro story. I thought there would have been better ways to address the concerns of his Provencher constituents in Emerson.   I wished Mr. Falk had adopted a more welcoming and open-minded tone. While expressing his opinion that additional information and a clear policy from the federal government was required in the Emerson situation, he could have also talked about the many concrete ways we can all provide practical assistance to people from war-torn countries. Mr. Falk could have reminded his constituents  that at one time most of their families had been refugees too.

The Metro writer says hundreds of people have written accolades about Mr. Falk’s video on his Facebook page and that is true. I scrolled through the nearly four hundred responses and many are written in a fairly reasonable tone. There are some that remind Mr. Falk he needs to be more compassionate. They speculate as to how Jesus might have acted towards ‘the least among us’  who are crossing the border at Emerson. There are also some comments that say very disrespectful and unkind things about Muslims, the prime minster and refugees in general. I agree with the Metro writer that having provided a platform for these kinds of comments Mr. Falk might respond to them in some way. He could  delete or moderate inappropriate comments and remind his Facebook followers that informed, rational dialogue is the path to understanding.

One line in the Metro piece stood out for me. “Sadly, Falk’s views are in tune with those held by many of his constituents.”  That line makes it seem like the people in Provencher don’t care about refugees or their plight. I know that isn’t true. To balance their reporting on the Falk video the Metro might also have published a photo of the huge sign outside Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach that  welcomes all people as neighbours in both Arabic and English.  They might have reported on the refugee families that are currently being sponsored by groups in southeastern Manitoba or have been sponsored in the past.  I personally know of many such stories.

Last summer in the coverage leading up to the Pride Parade in Steinbach the media largely ignored the efforts of the people in southeastern Manitoba who have welcomed their LGBTQ neighbours for years and worked hard to make their communities more accepting. Instead they chose to focus on the less supportive comments and actions of local political leaders. Now they are doing the same thing with the refugee situation. 

I lived in Mr. Falk’s riding for some four decades. I know it is home to many people who are open-minded, welcoming, well-informed, thoughtful and compassionate. They need to be featured in media reports about Provencher as well in order to provide more  balanced coverage.

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach isn’t Something  New

Thoughts on Refugees

My Former Church and the Pope

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Filed under Media, Politics

Help Me Choose

I want to frame a couple pictures from our trip to Newfoundland to display in our home.  Here are the ones I am considering.  Which three would you vote for? 



2. loster-cove-hike-nfld


4. bonavista-nfld

5.  plant-at-the-arches







9.  bathrooms nfld





You can see all my posts about Newfoundland here. 


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How Did He Know I’d Love It?

I wonder how he knew I’d love this article? Recently my cousin Al sent me a link to a New York Times feature he thought I would enjoy. It was a brilliantly written piece by Amy Krouse Rosenthal called You Might Want To Marry My Husband.   Amy is the mother of three young adults and the author of nearly thirty children’s books. Amy was dying of ovarian cancer when she wrote her essay. In a moving, funny and beautiful way she profiles Jason, her husband of twenty-six years. She was writing in the hope the perfect woman would read her description and want to marry Jason and make him happy after she died.
I’m so glad Al sent me the link to Amy’s piece. I hadn’t heard of Amy prior to receiving Al’s recommendation and now I’ve not only read her essay, but I’ve listened to her Ted Talk, watched a couple of her videos, ordered her memoir and been to her website where I’ve made a wish and had it granted.

My cousin Cindy and I listen to cousin Al tell a story at a family party. 

 I have several ideas why cousin Al might have recommended Amy’s piece to me.  Perhaps it is because Amy is a published children’s author and I am trying to become one too. Perhaps it is because Amy writes memoirs and many of my blog posts and newspaper columns are of the memoir variety. Maybe it is because Al thinks I’ve got a fabulous husband and figured Amy’s piece would encourage me to sing his praises in print more often.  But maybe Al sent me the link just because he thought I would enjoy reading Amy’s piece and be touched by it. I did and I was. Thanks Al.

Note: Amy Krouse Rosenthal died yesterday.

Other posts………

I Held You Before Your Mother Did


Back Porch News


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What’s a Portscape?

I was absolutely delighted when I found out the Winnipeg Art Gallery would be displaying Wanda Koop’s portscapes again. Never heard of a portscape? That’s the name a lively ten year old boy created last week to describe Wanda’s intriguing series of landscapes skillfully drawn inside faces. I was giving a tour at the Winnipeg Art Gallery to grade five and six students. We had been in the Group of Seven gallery looking at landscapes. We talked about what a landscape is. Then I took the students into another gallery where we examined portraits and tried to figure out what we could learn about the people in the portraits by looking carefully at how the artist drew them. Finally we visited Wanda Koop’s View From Here exhibit. “Are these portraits or landscapes?” I asked the kids. One boy piped up enthusiastically. “They are portraits AND landscapes. We should call them portscapes.”
“That’s perfect,” I said excitedly. “Can I tell other people who come to the art gallery about your new word?”
“Sure,” he said grinning broadly. We went on to examine each of Wanda’s portscapes figuring out how she had used things in her landscapes to create facial features for each portrait.
Then I had the students create some portscapes of their own. They did a great job.

One reason I love giving tours to children at the art gallery is because every single time I learn something new from them. This week I learned about portscapes.  What are portscapes? Come to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see Wanda Koop’s View From Here and find out!

Other posts……..

Portraits or Landscapes?

Haunted by Ghosts

Through the Eyes of A Child

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Filed under Art, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Faith ABC’s

Sometimes Christianity feels like a party we haven’t been invited to.

If we deny a burden exists or that we need help lifting it; over time that weight pressing down on us can become intolerable.

It is a shame I don’t always practice what I preach but it would be a disaster if I only preached what I practiced.

We can’t just learn by ourselves, alone out under the stars.

Love of God and love of neighbour are like the longitude and latitude for locating the purpose of life. At their intersection is where I hope to live.

Those were some thought-provoking quotes from the book Letters of Faith by David Douglas. However I found its tone a little too filled with patent religiosity and I wished it had fewer platitudes and more questions. The book is divided into twenty-six sections. Each begins with several Scripture passages and includes a story and a reflection. The stories all come from a year the author spent working as a pastor in a coal mining area in the Appalachia forty years ago. The book does give some good insight into what life was like in that time and place for many people. They had what appears to be a simplistic faith but one strong enough to carry them through very tough times. The book made me start thinking about what I might choose as the ABCs of my own faith. 

Other posts………

 I Have Fought the Good Fight

A Black and White Religion

King David Was A Rapist

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A Chance To Write

Here are two writing opportunities I’d like to take part in. The first comes up in just a week or so.  It’s a course being offered by Rebelight a Winnipeg publishing company. The course targets teen writers.  I know some authors who have published with Rebelight and they would be great mentors for those just entering the field.  If I was a teen I’d love to take this course.  As a high school English teacher I discovered first hand how developing writing skills and gaining confidence as a writer can inspire and empower teens.  Writing gives kids a voice. If I had a teenager I would certainly be encouraging them to try this course. You can get more information about the workshop here

I recently entered a contest to win free tution for a writing course at Book House on Pelee Island.  I’d love to be able to attend one of these session, first of all because my husband’s family has many connections with Pelee Island.  Two generations have spent a considerable number of years living on the island. But attending the workshop would also provide an amazing opportunity to work on a variety of writing projects while receiving professional advice.  I’ve known for a long time that writer Margaret Atwood had property on Pelee Island. It’s great to see she is being so generous about using it to encourage other writers.  You can learn more about the workshop here

Other posts………

A Quick Five

Why Pigs Bark 

I’m So Excited

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Happy Belated International Women’s Day

I know this is one day late because yesterday was International Women’s Day, but here are ten strong women I have featured in recent blog posts.

oviloo and her granddaughter TyeOviloo Tunille was an accomplished and talented Inuit sculptor who supported generations of her family with her work. She provides a highly personal glimpse into life in Canada’s most northern communities. hariot rowan hamilton dufferin public domainA sketching trip to Winnipeg’s railroad museum introduced me to the Countess of Dufferin a politically savvy Canadian woman who used her connections to provide health care for women in Pakistan and India.

Mrs. Claudette Brown daycare ownerOn a trip to Jamaica I met Claudette Brown. She has defied all odds and obstacles to provide quality childcare for hundreds of kids in Runaway Bay Jamaica.
listening-voices-steinbachI have come to realize grandmothers are often taking the lead in providing acceptance to members of the LGBTQ community.

sarah silverman photo wiki media commons

Sarah Silverman is a comedian who has used her notoriety to gain equal rights for women who come to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

audrey hepburn pixabay public domainAudrey Hepburn was a stellar actress who devoted the last years of her life to helping children through UNICEF. I learned she is the source of a significant quote about turning the impossible into the possible.

Juan Antonio de Frías y Escalante abigail and david

I was preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson when I learned more about Abigail a biblical character who served as a rational peacemaker between two headstrong men.

veronica cathedral liberia costa ricaVeronica is another character from the Biblical narrative that inspires us with her compassion and care. I have been finding images of her all over the world.

dispatches from afghanistanOn a visit to the citadel in Quebec City I learned how portrayals of women in military history have changed from them being portrayed as pale and weak to being seen as strong, caring, inspirational leaders.

frances perkins roosevelt public domain

Frances Perkins stands behind President Roosevelt as he signs the social security act in 1935 a lasting legacy of Frances Perkins

Francis Perkins was the first American female cabinet minister. In her role as Roosevelt’s Minister of Labor she introduced legislation that improved the lives of millions of people.

 Happy belated International Women’s Day.


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