Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Fire That Won't Go Out

[Blogmaster's Warning: Sarcasm and exasperation often don't show up in the written word, yet this piece is dripping with both of them. Please don't bombard me with messages about how self-loathing I am; I know that already. For the record, just because I'm self-loathing doesn't mean the cause of it is internalized homophobia.]

I had to read the accompanying article a couple of times, because it contained so many incongruities. It seems a gay firefighter in a rural part of BC is suing the local fire department for anti-gay bias.

First of all, yeah. You live in the country, and work with men whose machismo means more to them than their soul. They put up nudie pictures and tell fag jokes. Yeah?

This has just sealed the deal. I'm announcing the release of my hip-hop album right now, even before it's written or recorded. Why not? Why not wade right in where you know from the start that you're not wanted, put yourself in harm's way, then complain about it?

That it happens doesn't make it okay, but you don't have any right to be shocked about it when it does, especially when you had to know from day one that it would. I worked one day as a photographer's assistant on a firefighter's calendar, and I could have told him this would happen.

What, was the police department not hiring? Good luck Mr. Mackenzie in changing the entire world all by yourself. I tried that once and it got old fast.

BC has no Human Rights Commission, but it did prior to 2002; when Gordon Campbell's Liberals were elected it was one of the first things they abolished. Currently we have a Human Rights Tribunal. In the old days, when reporting systemic bigotry such as this, investigators would interview past and present employees in an attempt to get to the source of the problem. Under the current system, the two parties get an hour or two face time with an adjudicator, and if the complainant doesn't agree to the adjudicator's findings he can be charged with the cost of the entire proceeding, usually upwards of $80,000.

I also work in a homophobic industry. I listen to fag jokes all day long. I don't say anything because if I'm ever in a dangerous situation I want to know that my backup is coming, not hanging back and laughing at the about-to-be-dead fag. And I certainly don't go to some hollow government agency where no one gives a shit about me.

Of course, that's just me. I've always been something of a libertarian where government is concerned.

The smartest thing David Mackenzie did here was going to the press. It'll get better results faster, and be more likely to bring about actual change. Going to the Human Rights Tribunal is strictly a formality to underline the seriousness of the complaint, and to make the press take it more seriously.

[S O U R C E]
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Now Showing - "The B-Team"

All kinds of funny, and totally pop culture.
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Queen of Canada Rededicates Vimy Memorial

The following is the text of the speech made 9 April at the rededication of the Vimy Memorial in France:

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Ladies and gentleman, in any national story there are moments and places, sometimes far from home, which in retrospect can be seen as fixed points about which the course of history turns; moments which distinguish that nation forever. Those who seek the foundations of Canada's distinction would do well to begin here at Vimy.

Until this day 90 years ago, Vimy Ridge had been impregnable; a lesson learned at terrible cost to the armies of France and Britain. For the Allies, this ridge had become a symbol of futility and despair. It was against this forbidding challenge that the four divisions of the Canadian Corps were brought together as a single army for the first time.

In a matter of a few hours, on this cold and inclement Easter Monday morning, the Canadians became masters of the ridge and accomplished what many had thought impossible. Their victory was the fruit not only of an ingenious battle plan drawn up by Canadian commanders, but especially of courage and determination with which Canadian soldiers carried out their mission.

No fewer than four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery during the battle, though it could easily be said that every soldier in the field demonstrated conspicuous bravery, such was the verve of the Canadian attack. It was a stunning victory. More, in capturing this formidable objective, the Canadian Corps transformed Vimy Ridge from a symbol of despair into a source of inspiration. After two-and-a-half years of deadly stalemate, it now seemed possible that the Allies would prevail and peace might one day be restored.

Here on this hallowed ground, where so much has been sacrificed, we're commemorating their courage and achievement. Their victory gave more than hope, it allowed Canada, which deserved it so much, to take its place on the world stage as a proud, sovereign nation, strong and free. Canada's commemorative monument at Vimy shows Canada's great strength and its commitment to freedom and also shows the deep solidarity that links Canada and France.

And lastly, it certainly shows the bravery, courage and sacrifice of the courageous Canadians that inspired a young nation to become a great nation.

To their eternal remembrance, to Canada, and to all who would serve the cause of freedom, I rededicate this magnificently restored memorial.

Bless you Ma'am.

The Vimy Memorial was originally dedicated by Edward VIII as King of Canada on 26 July 1936.
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