Doing better at pushing for the truth

In this post, I talked about the importance of supporting Aymen Derbali.  To save others, Aymen put himself in the line of fire during the Québec mosque shooting in January 2017.

Instead, we still have Québec politicians arguing over where to put Moslem cemeteries and whether Moslem women should be forced to remove their hijabs.  Also, as of January 24th at least, no provincial or federal politician has recognized Aymen Derbali for the hero he is!

Lastly, I am disgusted by this report that Right-wing outlets spread disinformation in wake of Quebec mosque shooting.  Hours after the shooting, these sites were spreading a statement that it was Syrians who were responsible.  We know now that the shooter was homegrown and Caucasian.

We need to do better at finding ways to call out people and organizations who spread these false reports! At best they are misinformed and not following appropriate journalistic standards.  At worst, they are deliberately trying to advance an agenda, no matter what the facts.

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Remember the Children in Québec

The GoFundMe campaign for the Humboldt Broncos has raised $11.4 million to date.  It is the largest GoFundMe campaign in Canadian history and it is still going.  Many people have been touched by the deaths of the young hockey players – most directly, all those who play hockey and sit in rinks watching their kids play.  Even if your child does not play hockey, any parent who has put their kid on a bus and hoped that the driver would get them back home safely has been affected.  This bus crash and those who died in it have entered into Canadian history. How we do things will change because of what happened.

On January 29th, 2017 a gunman walked into a Québec Mosque.  He killed six men who also left behind grieving families.  Those families included seventeen children.  Aymen Derbali, himself a father of three, intentionally drew the fire of the gunman in order to protect others in the mosque.  He survived but will live as a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.  A recent crowdsourcing campaign for Aymen raised enough money to buy a house for him and his family, and another one (still open) continues to collect money for Aymen’s living expenses.  He can now, at least, live with his family again.

From what I can determine, it seems that the crowdsourced funds for the Québec shooting victims still pale in comparison to those raised for the Humbolt Broncos.  I can only hope that there have been private donations to the families of the mosque victims.  I do not want to take anything away from those affected by the Saskatchewan tragedy.  Still, I am disappointed by the disparity between the responses to these two events.

We need to do more by stepping up to support the families affected by the Québec Mosque shootings!



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Which comes first – Reconciliation or Experiencing Indigenous Cultures?

This past week, the teacher in charge of my daughter’s high school reconciliation committee decided to cancel this years’ Indigenous Arts event.  The explanation given was that people in the Indigenous community feel that non-Indigenous people need to reconcile before they are allowed to experience Indigenous culture.

It seems that feelings in Indigenous communities are pretty raw after the recent Coulton Boushie and Tina Fontaine cases.  This is understandable.  Still, I think that movement away from cultural sharing is a mistake.  Experiencing indigenous culture is a way in, at least for people like me!

First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures are rich and worthy of exploration.  I believe I came to where I am today BECAUSE I experienced them.  A big part of my reconciliation process involved reading the work of Thomas King, watching North of 60, collecting Inuit carvings and wall hangings, sleeping in an igloo, attending pow wows, listening to First Nations stories, eating Muktuk, bannock and bullet soup, attending plays like Salt Baby, and exploring First Nations practices like smudging.

This is NOT to suggest that experiencing Indigenous cultures is enough on its own.  There are other things that need to be done too – learning and accepting our shared history being one of them.  For example, try reading Clearing the Plains. It is an eye-opener!

Experiencing Indigenous arts provide an esthetic, affective route to reconciliation though that reading history can never do!

Am I really reconciled??? While I like to think I am, no one has ever pronounced on that.  Who would be qualified to do that anyway – an elder or elder’s helper, I suppose.

Still, we non-Indigenous people need to be patient around this.  First Nations in particular are dealing with a lot of issues.  I believe a reluctance to share Indigenous cultures will only be temporary because the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs.




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Is Canada’s democracy ready for a dire new age of weaponized news? – Politics – CBC News

Democracies around the world now have to contend with the threat of ‘political warfare,’ a collection of cybercrime tactics and weaponized fake news designed to cripple representative systems. Canada may not be prepared.
— Read on

…not quite as bad in Canada as you might think but consider this quote … “Genuine journalism must now compete with content that mimics it and dresses deceit in a cloak of credibility, while society must adapt to a world in which fact and falsehood are increasingly difficult to tell apart,”

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It is too late for gun control in America: Neil Macdonald – CBC News | Opinion

The teen activists today are probably too young to remember the awful despair of the Sandy Hook families — who pushed for, yet failed to see change — but they should prepare to experience it themselves. Because they will.
— Read on

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Shooters and the US Mentality

A recent CBC report after the recent Florida high school shootings said this about the FBI…

“Agents routinely face a challenge of sifting through which of the tens of thousands of tips received every year — and more than 10,000 assessments that are opened — could yield a viable threat.”

Sadly it seems that there is now a need to improve AI systems in order to get people like this shooter under scrutiny sooner.

Will the Americans ever get it that there is no need for average people to own assault weapons??? It seems not. Tabatha Southey recently said

“Since 2013, 138 people out of the 438 people shot in 239 school shootings in the U.S. have died. One can blink and miss a school shooting in the news these days, covered as they are now much like local weather…”

When I was younger I often travelled in the states on a motorcycle. I was treated very respectfully. I thought at the time that was because I was a friendly white male. Then, another US biker told me that they were never afraid to travel alone because they had a handgun in their tank bag. Since then, I have often wondered if a fear that I was packing had just as much to do with the respect I was given.

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Enough already!

It is time for me to start offering some questions and opinions to the world. Expect posts that touch on practical politics, the arts, education, indigenous issues, economics and fairness.

Where do I come from? I have worked in education for most of my career. I spent time in the business world too and I have LOTS of respect for people who take measured risks in order to succeed. I am left of centre on social issues with a recognition that we need a viable economy in order to fund social causes. Expect me to question ideology on both the left and right!

I welcome respectful comments and will respond in kind!

Thanks for considering what I have to say!

Don Dietrich

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