On a Happier Note

Whew. That was a week, eh? Government malaise, potential military malaise, a cri de couer from an Asian American, and another look at positions on MAiD.

As we complete February, let’s end on a happier note. Three, in fact.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Fauna, Photos of Landscapes | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

MAiD: And Again

This week brought an impassioned argument against expanding access to MAiD, and a dispassionate analysis of where we’re at and how we got here.

I find that I learn something from every commentator, but am reinforced in my belief that individual op-eds are only one component of public-policy debates. Each writer expounds their own opinion with a view to convincing the reader, but there is no conversation: no actual debate. We would benefit from having more venues where people who hold strong viewpoints can both express their views and respond to challenges to them.

This is a complex issue and positions tend to be a muddle of many components:

  • Strongly held beliefs (some religiously based but not all) on the value of life and the right to personal autonomy
  • Political beliefs on the role of the state (at all and specifically in medical decisions) and the courts
  • Legal views on the appropriate scope of criminal law
  • Opinions about the medical possibility and what we might call the “cost practicality” of managing pain, both physical and mental
  • The trade-offs involved in spending money in one healthcare area versus another
  • Emotional reactions to experiences of intolerable pain, whether one’s own or that of a loved one

Mix in the different angles of how MAiD provisions can/might affect the elderly (with varying degrees of mental competence), the mentally ill, the disabled, those with terminal illness or incurable degenerative conditions, minors, and people who live in small or remote communities, and it’s amazing we can talk about it at all without coming to blows.

Anyway, first the analysis, then the passion. Both articles are worth reading in full if you have access to the National Post site. If not, the excerpts below will give you an idea of the range of commentary and approaches.

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Posted in Feeling Clearly, Politics and Policy, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 4 Comments

R-O-E Redux

I recommend this article as a follow-on to thinking about rules of engagement: This time, at the cultural/societal level.

With the rise of Asian American hate crimes,
I’m no longer confused about who I am.
I am Asian, as well as American,
and swallowing the bitterness of racism
shouldn’t be something that I have to bear.
America and Americans should do better.
Kathleen Hou, Swallowing our Bitterness

Posted in Feeling Clearly, Relationships and Behaviour | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Waiting for It

Sigh. The acronym I most wanted to learn this year was not CFNIS, which stands for Canadian Forces National Investigation Services, the investigative arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police.

The CFNIS was established in 1997 with a mandate to investigate serious and sensitive matters related to Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. It performs a function similar to that of a Major Crime unit of the RCMP or large municipal/provincial police agency.- Wikipedia

It’s early days in the investigation into sexual misconduct by Canada’s top soldier — this one, a sailor just two months into the job of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) — but it’s a bad look for the military, coming hard on the heels of an investigation into sexual misconduct by Canada’s former top soldier.

Open up a can of CDS, Martha.
We’re gonna need another one.

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Posted in Feeling Clearly, Management and Work, Relationships and Behaviour, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 4 Comments


The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report
on the navy’s next-generation warship program on Wednesday … and you’ve all stopped reading already, haven’t you? Hello?
Matt Gurney, National Post

Of all the boring topics in government, and there are many, procurement must surely be near the top: The most boring, I mean.

No one would blame you if you had [stopped reading].
Because you’ve read how many stories like this before?
Under how many governments, going back how many years?

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Posted in Politics and Policy, Thinking Broadly | Tagged | 11 Comments

Rules of Engagement (ROE)

Welcome to our monthly church meeting.
Before we begin, let’s review our R-O-E.
We treat everyone as if we believed
they, too, have a spark of divinity.
We assume good intentions, even or especially
in those with whom we disagree on methods or priorities.
We are grateful for this opportunity
to work in community, even when it’s frustratingly slow.

Said no church-committee chairperson ever.

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Posted in Management and Work, New Perspectives, Politics and Policy, Relationships and Behaviour, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , , | 19 Comments


You may remember the common redpoll I saw that turned out to be a hoary.

Saturday, with that error firmly in mind and determined not to make it again, I saw a hoary redpoll. That turned out to be a common.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. But while both photos are too fuzzy even for the cover of the Rolling Stone (not to mention National Geographic), they’re clear enough to see the differences.

2-photo collage showing a hoary and a common redpoll

Hoary on the left; common on the right

I got one slightly sharper shot, but it doesn’t show any of the defining characteristics, like the red patch on the head. Bird watching is hard work.

Common redpoll, averting its gaze

I avert my gaze . . .


Posted in Laughing Frequently, Photos of Fauna | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Last Time

I can’t remember the last time I read three angry editorials on one topic in one newspaper on the same day. I’ve put the links below along with some representative extracts in case you can’t access the National Post, which is paywalled.

As I read about China and its alleged treatment of Uyghurs, I find myself engaged in a thought experiment. I wonder what the Allies would have done if Hitler’s Germany had not invaded Poland but had continued to operate Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Oranienburg, and Ravensbruck along with the thousand other Nazi concentration camps in which they detained, abused, tortured, starved, worked to death, experimented on, and gassed millions of people from 1933 to 1945.

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Posted in Politics and Policy, Sports and Exercise, Thinking Broadly, Through History | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

MAiD: Again

A last word, for now, on this topic. I recommend reading the whole post: Complex arguments don’t summarize well.

In other words, the Court recommended that MAID should be regulated the way other medical procedures are regulated: under the civil law and the medical ethics prescribed by physicians’ colleges. In six years Parliament has yet to take this learned advice.
Andrew’s Views


Posted in Another Thing, Politics and Policy, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 4 Comments