AT FIFTY DEGREES BELOW ZERO, HE BUTTONED UP HIS VEST

THE CONTRARIAN

A page from Willie Brant’s diary — Wow, it’s getting scary, don’t think I have ever seen minus 50F for this many days on this many of my neighbours thermometers.  Goats are staying right in the barn, I think some of the chickens got their comb’s froze right in the chicken coop.  It wasn’t this cold back in the 70’s when the ‘progressive’ folk were worrying about the coming Ice Age.

Had to go to town this morning, my niece’s car wouldn’t start, apparently modern cars aren’t made for colder than about minus 10, the computers lose their mind and drain the battery. So the dealer sells you a new battery when you bring your car in, that and lame excuses is about all he can do.  My old 1985 rig doesn’t have a computer and starts just fine, so I went to give her nice new car a boost.

Stopped at Joe’s on the way home to check on him. Good thing, he was looking pretty rough, hadn’t shaved or changed his shirt for a week.  Told him about the new car problem, to which he mumbled “Well, I guess the car companies think the planet is warming up so they don’t need to worry about testing new designs in cold climates any more”!

“Yep”, I tried, “We are making our country poor saving the planet from Global Warming, and freezing our butts off at the same time!”

Joe looked puzzled for a minute, and then said “Oh, the pipeline thing. That’s not about saving the planet, whether we send clean western oil east by nice safe pipeline, or they burn dirty Arabian oil shipped over in leaky tanker ships, Canada is such a small player the planet will not even notice.  The pipeline thing is just another shot in the war to keep what I call Rupertsland down so the Toronto-Montreal axis stays dominant.”

He went off looking for clean coffee mugs, and I put in “Rupertsland? For Pete’s sake, what are you talking about?”

He hollered from the kitchen “Rupertsland, northern and western Canada, the Hudson’s Bay territory the crown ‘sold’ to the new Dominion. The eastern Colonies have to beat it down every so often.  Like when they took the Air Force fighter maintenance contract away from the Winnipeg guys who were doing it for years, and gave it to Montreal even though their bid was higher.  Their explanation was that the aircraft industry ‘belonged’ to Montreal.  Or the ‘National Energy Program’ — that set the economy of western Canada back a whole generation!”

“OK”, I threw in “now I get it. If we are doing history, you could throw in preferential freight rates that prevented manufacturing from developing on the prairies for a century.  We could talk about the guy who called us ‘stalwart peasants in sheepskin coats’, not fully equal.  Maybe we could go all the way back to the Riel Rebellion, when the citizens of Rupertsland tried to claim their place, so Canada sent in the army and hung Louis Riel!”

Joe poured a couple of cups, saying “Maybe it is time for the citizens of Rupertsland to stand up again.  And don’t forget that Northern Ontario is part of Rupertsland.”  He looked downright excited — maybe this weird conversation got him out of his funk.

Supposed to be warmer tomorrow, hope my niece’s car will start

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