Rambling by Doug Bell

 Call me an ogre… It’s not the best way to begin a new year. I’m an ogre! An Ontario woman did it.

 Call me an ogre…

It’s not the best way to begin a new year.

I’m an ogre!

An Ontario woman did it. She was chatting with a political guru and branded Stephen Harper an ogre with a hidden agenda. She also admitted, “I know nothing about Alberta; I’ve never been there.”

A few days later, it hit me: I was born and brought up in the West; (I’m using the word west inclusively to mean North too); I married a western girl, raised a family, again in the West, continually reveling in the wonder of the space and magnificence of the West, have worn out a few western shirts, a turtle neck or two, and even a few pair of cowboy boots.

Male-logic led me to the conclusion that, since Stephen Harper’s background makes him an ogre, and mine parallels his, somewhat, I’m an ogre too.

Surely Canadian voters are more astute than that?

Surely the Canadian East-West, West-East thing is part of the past?

Surely Jack Layton, and Paul Martin aren’t ogres just because they were both born in Quebec, they carry a lot of eastern baggage, we don’t know much about them since we rarely see them, and… hmmm, I guess they are.

OK, lets agree we’re all ogres, but we’re Canadian ogres eh?

Maybe it’s time for all Canadians to gather at the river, stop mean-mouthing one another and remember what an incredible land we’ve inherited, and work together to make it even better than we received it.

You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do. (Henry Ford)

Digging in the ground…

“Earth is so kind, that you just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest,” suggests D. W. Jerrold, playwright and humourist.

Now a hoe in the ground isn’t farming, but it’s an important beginning.

In the late ‘80s a western wit suggested the latest form of abuse in Saskatchewan is farmers leaving their farms to their children. We often read of small towns and farms are dying on the Prairies so maybe he’s on the mark, and that’s a lot more worrisome than the reams of chatter about day care, taxes, guns, same-sex marriage, visions, patriotism, separatism, because talk never put one plate of meat and potatoes on a table.

Only those who tickle the earth with a hoe can do that so tell me how you’re going to stop the exodus of farmers from the land, so I can keep buying the efforts of the muscles of their arm, and keep our cupboards from going  bare.

It’s understandable though — after all, there’s only three people running if you use television as your political information source.

(I say three because Gilles Duceppe heads a provincial party not a national party. His presence on the national stage is questionable, if not unconstitutional.)

The gurus tell me there are maybe 999 candidates out there, all of them, according to the big city reporters, facing the trials and tribulations of a typical Canadian winter: “plowing through snowdrifts deep enough to cover a tall horse, and cold enough to frighten a brass monkey.”

So it’s a winter campaign, so what? Remember the humble words of veterans from the Second World War: “We had a job to do, and we went and did it.” 

(Besides those aren’t digitally enhanced photos showing the big three in gas-guzzling SUVs, luxurious buses and jet airplanes now are they?)

In matters of principal stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current. (T. Jefferson)

The last word…  

As a tip of the hat to candidates everywhere in the land I present Teddy Roosevelt’s admonition in tribute. It’s a century old, and edited to meet the politically correct standards of our day:

“It is not the person who sits by the fireplace reading the evening paper and saying how bad our politics and politicians are who will ever do anything to save us; it is those who go out into the rough, hurly burly of the caucus, the hustings, the political meeting and there faces their fellows on equal terms. The real service is not rendered by the critic who stands aloof from the contest, but by those who enter it and bear their part as a person should.” 

A tip of the hat to all the promises of vision, trust and tax bonuses the election is supposed to bring Canada and Canadians.

Oh, and enjoy your beer and popcorn as you count your tax blessings from whomever, and whenever, they come.

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