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Archive for March, 2012


I have just finished reading Speaking Out Louder: ideas that work for Canadians by Jack Layton.  This book is a revision of his first book Speaking Out Loud, so includes updates to 2006.  I learned a lot that I didn’t know about Jack previously.  His untimely death made him a hero to many who didn’t know him well before he passed, including me.  After reading his book I realize how much we have lost. Canada has been blessed by his presence and activism.  Indeed, our country has been shaped as a kinder gentler society primarily because of the New Democrats.  It has been their contributions under minority governments that brought in universal health-care, affordable housing initiatives, a national attack on poverty, improved child-care, rights of marriage extended to gays and lesbians, improved funding for advanced education, improved safety and protection for workers, and international peace-keeping initiatives.  That most of these programs have been cut or threatened by majority governments, both Liberal and Conservative, is tragic. .

Throughout the book Jack describes the roadblocks to progress that were placed by Liberal and Conservative governments, how they happened and who did what. His chapter “Two Seats Short” describes the house shenanigans around the Liberal budget a few short years ago.  I wonder what Jack would write about the last five years in parliament… sure wish he was still with us.

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On Wed., March 7, Calgary Authors will meet with Lisa Francis for a follow-up session to her presentation on Social Media.  Since we have several new members to the group, this will be a first time course for a few.  The rest of us can ask more questions, as we always have more to learn!  If you are interested, check out www.calgaryauthors.com for information.  This particular workshop is for members only, because of space in the room.  Lisa Francis has helped individual members of our group with promotion, websites, and general knowledge.  What a gem of a resource she has proven to be!

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I am almost at the end of reading The Forest Laird, by Jack Whyte.  Once again, Whyte creates a vibrant world where history comes to life.  This time it’s the story of William Wallace, whose life inspired the movie Dragonheart.  He was the first Guardian in this new series by Whyte, and I am not disappointed.  Along with the details and accurate history he weaves a compelling tale of strong characters, and lets them talk about the changing times in which they live.  The times are 1280-1300 in southern Scotland.  The conversations between William Wallance, his cousin Jamie Wallace (who chose the priesthood), Bishop Wishart and his chancellor taught me much about tensions between France and England, the clans of Scotland, and the threat of the burgesse to the feudal system.  The burgesse, the business owners and crafts people, were independent of the feudal lords, and they contributed to the destabilization of a system that had existed for 700 years.  Fascinating parallels to current destabilized countries, as ‘people’ now have the means to destabilize the capitalist system.  Perhaps that is too big a stretch to imagine. No matter; the book is enthralling.  I should finish it within two days.  Then I’ll be off to the library to get the next book in the series.

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