R.I.P. Alice Munro (1931 – 2024)

“Compared to Anton Chekhov for her peerless short stories for which she won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, Alice Munro (left) has died.FULL STORY


#64 Justin is Harpy Lite

November 27th, 2016

Hi Darlin’:

Sixty million Americans just voted for Trump. So we’re supposed to be relieved and grateful for Justin.

Not me.

The Twerp went to China, then he went to South America, and now he’s in Africa. I cling to the feeble hope he’ll visit Canada and actually DO something for a change. Maybe sign a paper undoing what Harpy did to the freshwater protection act, or even, who knows, stop dancing around playing push-me-pull-me on the pipeline and tanker question.

I would like to believe that the Canadian voting public will learn something by the disappointing behaviour of the guy for whom they voted so enthusiastically and hopefully, but I can’t quite convince myself. How many years now has Ms. Puff ‘n’ Stuff been wearing hard hats and smiling while promising LNG will make us all as rich as Donald Trump claims to be?

I remain hopeful that someone will explain to me WHY people vote for the candidates they choose to support. I know why I vote for a specific person but I don’t think I have ever voted for someone whose party actually won the election so maybe I’m doing something wrong.

In the run-up to our federal election I listened to my neighbours talking about who they supported and why and it seemed to me they’d have voted for a monkey if it meant the end of Harpy.

Well, we got rid of Harpy. And now we have the Twerp, who seems to be Harpy Lite. I think I’d like a different sort of voters’ list. One which would give the name of the candidate and then tell us which schools she/he attended. Because it seems to me the ones who get the cabinet posts and the ‘real’ jobs went to the same schools and have the same accent; and it’s not the accent of the ones with callouses on their palms, it’s not the accent of the ones with the backs made stiff by years of unremitting toil.

The Twerp makes big about “the middle class.” Strange, they’ve been trying to convince me for nearly eighty years that we have a classless society and suddenly there’s a middle class. Doesn’t that have to mean there is an upper class? And doesn’t that almost automatically suggest a lower class?

So why does the Twerp want to occupy himself with the middle class? Why does he seem to not be interested in doing something to improve life for the lower class? It doesn’t seem possible we can all be in the middle class so does his fixation on middle class mean he doesn’t give a fig for the lower class?

And what about the upper class?

I guess they’ll have to look after themselves.


I can’t hear the chain saws today. Western Forest Products has hired a contract logger and they’re busy shaving the slopes down by the Leiner river. See, I’m so lower class that the term “contract logger” is new.

We always called them “gyppo loggers.” Not because we thought they gypped anyone, cheated anyone, but because they move around, like gypsies, hired by the corporations to go here, there, or somewhere else to shave the earth.

Maybe the weather has given them the day off. The wind isn’t constant, it comes in gusts, but when it does, it’s strong, and that could be problematic when you’re cutting down mature second growth. There’s said to be a substantial amount of old growth there, too, and to my mind we need a law stopping the slaughter of old growth. We need the seed diversity, for one thing. We need whatever it is these very old trees have which has made them survive whatever diseases, bugs, or weather events they’ve bested for all those years.

But nobody listens to me. I don’t think we should allow logging within a kilometer of a year-round stream but nobody in the ruling circles seems to agree so we lose the streams and gee, what a coincidence, the fish stocks are impacted.  Who’d ‘a’ thunk it, eh?

I read an article written by a forester from Germany who claims trees are able to communicate with each other and with the mycelium which grows underground, around, and even on their roots. Won’t it be a total bugger if one day we humans realize that trees feel pain and that every one of them we murdered screamed and wept as it was chain-sawed?

The Canton valley was a place of marvel and beauty before the logging corporation sent in the saws. Now the trees are gone and the earth is littered with left-behind. There are denuded trees lying like pickup sticks, enough wood to build entire subdivisions, entire cities, just left there for the bugs, the valley has become an open-air cemetery. The rain which teems down on us every wet season washes away the dirt, the Canton Creek is silted, the spawning beds impacted, but it’s jobs-jobs-jobs and that leads to progress, which they tell me is a good thing.


And so one tries to take refuge in our private lives.

It’s my youngest granddaughters’ birthday today. She’s ten. She’s the kid who came out of the oven laughing. She finds almost everything funny. When she was in grade one the teacher wasn’t sure what, if anything, Ellen was absorbing so it was decided to give her a test.

When Ellie handed back the test paper they found she had totally ignored the questions, she’d turned the paper over and drawn a picture. They asked her why she hadn’t answered the questions and she said, “I didn’t want to.”

So she had to go to summer school. However, she said she didn’t mind because summer school just went from ten until lunch time and the swimming pool didn’t open until one anyway. Just before school went back in again she told me she had learned something important in grade one. She learned to pay attention because, said she, if you don’t you have to go to summer school. And then she laughed.

Meanwhile my 15-year-old rescue mutt Minnie has had a stroke (or something) and I’ve been much involved with her. She’s been the very embodiment of a good dog and she more than deserves any time and effort I put into making her comfortable. She’ll probably never get back to what she was prior to the incident but she’ll be around a while longer.

Did I tell you we have another resident in the sardine can?  A neighbour up the road from me passed away and I inherited one of her several dogs. A pug named Mary. I had a pug for years, a jolly and entertaining little Smiley D. Guy, but he was run over in his own driveway by someone who shouldn’t have been driving at all, let alone driving down the road in reverse.

Mary is Smiley’s sister from the same litter. She isn’t as cute-faced as he was, her legs are longer and she is, excuse me, kinda dumb. The house where she spent most of her life did not have a fenced yard so Mary and the other six or seven furballs were restricted to part of the deck, or inside the house.

First challenge was to try to convince Mary that in this sardine can there are no convenient little diaper pad dealyjiggers on which dogs can relieve themselves. Here we ask for the door and then go outside. That has taken some convincing, but I think we’ve won. And as a reward, we go for walks.

The first time Mary got taken on a walk with Min she just about went nuts!  She danced, she bounced, she cavorted, she made happy deep-throated grunting noises and she barked at everything she saw. So happy! And her name got changed a bit. She is no longer “Mary.” She is “Merry Mary.”

Which doesn’t change the fact that she’s kinda dumb.


Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.



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