A Double-edged Sword: J. A. Macdonald’s Soul Soup

Mr. Morris

Humanities

April 19, 2018

Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald once remarked, “let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians,” leading the two opposing cultures to unite as Canada.  John A. Macdonald’s efforts in bonding the North and giving birth to the Confederation has long granted him a place as one of the greatest prime ministers in Canada, but recent reformations and value changes shed light on his not-so-great acts. Like the much loved and scrutinized fast-food chain Mcdonald’s, John A. Macdonald is under debate of whether his physical presence is a healthy contribution to the society. Many critics urged for the removal of his figure and likeness from the public sphere, but due to his indispensable contributions the newborn Canada and the influences his legacy still have on us, I firmly believe that John A. Macdonald’s name should remain in the public sphere.

Throughout the history of mankind, many notable people have come and past, their best ideas and contributions engraved in our brains and our society, and Macdonald is one of those visionaries and missionaries. There can be no denial of his part in founding Canada, from solidifying the notion of two official languages, to building and expanding the confederations, Macdonald is someone who deserves to go remembered. Macdonald believed that “[Canada is] a great country and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; [but] we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken,” and held on to his beliefs with the National Policy to insist on an independent and free Canada (Gwyn; Crane). That was a time when “one in five Canadians left for a better life below the border” (Gwyn). Canada is forever changed for the better with Macdonald’s contributions. While he did make some mistakes, “so did [all] Canadians, collectively,” and it is unjust to impose our current criticisms on someone who is irreplaceable in Canadian history (Gwyn). Macdonald deserves to be remembered by not just those who can afford to learn history in the private sphere, but everyone who have the right to walk the streets. Removing his name and figure not only removes his contributions, but also an opportunity to connect with the past.

Many critics argue that having John A. Macdonald’s representation in the public sphere show that we as Canadians support racism and all of Macdonald’s values, and that keeping the values of the past discourages change. However, change does not occur through a removal of the past, but instead through knowledge of mistakes and admittance of what is wrong. John A. Macdonald’s statues highlight his contributions while shedding light on how we as Canadians have changed, not the deeds of the past that reflects old values. Macdonald is known for “preserving the larger half of North America as a country of its own” and maintaining multiculturalism to a degree unheard of in his time, and his statues illustrate just that (Symons). The statues are not made to glorify Macdonald as a saint, or to show endorsement for every single idea of his. Just like how a war general would be portrayed in uniform, highlighting military talents and nothing else like his drinking habits or temper; John A. Macdonald is portrayed as the founding father of Canada, a respectable political figure, and not much else. It would be irrational to treat every representation of Macdonald as supportive acknowledgement for his not-so-great ideas, just as regarding statues as idol worshiping is silly. Erasing Macdonald from the public sphere will remove his legacy from most of known history, encompassing not just the contributions worth praising, but a bit of the past values worth reflecting about.

Although many have argued for the removal of John A. Macdonald’s figure from the public sphere due to changing values, he remains the founding father of Canada that shaped us like no other. When considering the effects of Macdonald’s figure on current Canadians, we conclude that his’s deeds not only deserve to be remembered and nodded-to, but reflected and act upon, both important reasons for his name to be in the public sphere. Through Macdonald’s figure, Canadians can wonder about the political, social and economical challenges of early Canada, review and learn from discriminatory actions committed from arrogant and self-righteous societies, and cheer about how far the social values have progressed to be more inclusive and supportive. Macdonald always had his nation in mind, and his ideas outshone and outpaced other ideas then, a strikingly similar attribute to Canadians now, who are progressive and empathetic. Macdonald’s case will prove Kelly Clarkson’s famous line, “what doesn’t kill [us] makes [us] stronger,” as Canadians have walked out of discrimination strong and free. Sir John A. Macdonald would be proud looking from above.


Crane, David. “Canada–US Economic Relations.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada, 3 Sept. 2009, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/economic-canadian-american-relations/.

Document of Learning 1: Postnationalism

“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.”

-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015)

  1. Choose an event from Canada’s past or present (social, political, environmental, or economic) and describe/illustrate (show cause and effect) how this event influenced / influences all four of the quadrants. Provide images / primary source evidence where possible.
  2. Does your event represent a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity, or does it move Canada more clearly in the direction of Trudeau’s discussion of a “postnational” state?
  3. In your opinion, is there any value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity, or should we abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood? Why?

 

One of the key events that has shaped Canadian identity and affects all aspects of our lives is the right to universal health care. Tommy Douglas (NDP) first proposed it as premier of Saskatchewan in 1947, urging for free basic hospital care. All of the provinces and territories soon followed, helping Canadians across the country live without fear of health issues regardless of their wealth. The medical program soon expanded and improved to include more treatments covered, leading to the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957 and the Medical Care Act in 1966. This is a political event, but its far-reaching consequences are definitely affecting all four quadrants. This decision definitely affected the social aspect of Canadians, helping equalize people to make sure they have the same access to important social services. It is also an important step forward in making Canada the accepting, unbiased nation that it is now. It is a statement made by the government that symbolizes their determination to support all their citizens and provide them with the same fundamental rights regardless of poverty or social standing. On the economical side, the government’s decision to “reimburse, or cost share,

one-half of provincial and territorial costs for specified hospital and diagnostic services” will have an impact on the other expenses of the country. The free medical services are, after all, not cheap, knowing that the average household pays $11,320 per year in tax money. The money spent on providing care may be withdrawn from important funds, like ones set up for the environment. The Conservative party is not known for renewable energy and the like, so the health care funds may reduce environmental funding not supported by the government. Also, the fact that people won’t have to pay for healthcare will mean that a lot more people will use the system, increasing strain on the system and usage of medical supplies, creating more waste that may harm the environment.

This act has moved Canada closer as a nation by emphasizing to the world the values that Canadians are proud of. Even today, free universal health care is not the case in many countries in the world, and the fact that Canada is part of this group says something about our stand regarding human rights. From the women’s rights movements in 1929 to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, Canada has shown itself to be a nation that embraces change to accept all races, genders or social classes. Canada’s decision to spend valuable funds on the universal health care system to provide access to a healthy life for everyone states its priorities to the world. At that time, not many countries would use big sums of money to help the poor, but we did, and that action at the time made millions of Canadians proud. It is actions like this, ones which distinguish Canada from the rest, that shapes Canadian identity, and I believe that everyone, whether then or now, would see us Canadians as open and tolerant people.

I firmly believe that we, as Canadians, should have a collective identity that overarches on the sea of different values and beliefs. It is only through this sense of being “Canadian” that we could be united as a nation and a country. Canadians in this country may have distinct values and beliefs, but just like how Americans are united by the idea of “freedom and ideas”, we should be people drawn together by something as well. This something, I think, is the strive for equality. As a nation, the Canadian identity is gender equality (LGBTQ + as well), immigration and refugee help, First Nations support, and multiculturalism. Regardless of whether the government is doing well to actualize those things, they are the things that Canadians care about and believe in. This is what makes Canada the nations that it is, huge ideas that support and protect the multitude of small, individual ideas, knowing that our differences can’t break us, but only unite us.

Romeo and Juliet Not “Children”?

Before I start, I would like to clarify that I am looking and writing with a modern perspective. At the time in Italy, things may have been different, and so one may arrive at a conclusion different from my own.


 

It has become a subject of debate whether Romeo and Juliet’s love in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is shallow puppy love carried out by teenage children. I have been reading the play in English and in my understanding, the two’s love is a bit more than short passion, but not much more. It cannot be denied that both Romeo and Juliet love from a physical point. That can be seen in Romeo’s change from his description of Rosaline that “beauty starved with her severity cuts beauty off from all posterity. She is too fair…” to his exclamation that “I have forgot [Rosaline]… my heart’s dear love is set on the fair daughter of rich Capulet” (25, 103). Romeo solely focuses his love, or desires, on appearance, so when someone fairer than the one he loves shows herself, Romeo ditches his old love immediately. We can see from here that Romeo have a rather immature view on love, and he “love by rote, that could not spell” (105). Juliet, on the other hand, is much less impulsive and naive, but in modern standards, she loves too fast and without deeper thought. This can be seen in how she is shaken when the news of Romeo killing Tybalt comes, wondering how can “[a] book containing such vile matter [ever be] so fairly bound” (163). The fact that Juliet just comes to realize what kind of person her husband is after the wedding is quite alarming, likely leading to an unhappy marriage after the physical attractions fade away with age. The reason I don’t classify this affair as simple puppy love is because the two aren’t just loving for fun, like so many teenage kids; they are prepared to live their entire lives together, united in marriage. The intense passion made them oblivious to the other’s shortcomings, classifying the relationship as one that is not well thought out, but the extent of their love goes a long ways beyond physical lust and attraction.

When considering whether Romeo and Juliet are children or not regarding the conventions then, we can assume that they are viewed as adults. Romeo and Juliet was written between 1591 and 1595, originating from The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet written in 1562. The story likely took place during or slightly before that period. In medieval England, children at the age of twelve will often find themselves given the responsibilities of adults with adult-like consequences (academia.edu). Jobs like rock scarers (restaurant dishwashers) or shepherds in Montaillo, France are given to young boys at the age of twelve. The fact that both Romeo and Juliet are in noble households mean that they don’t have to work, but they are both of age to marry as to the customs. It is not often that children under the age of fourteen are married in medieval England, but around 8 % of the children documented are married at that age. The conditions should be similar in Verona, Italy, so the two lovers are both adults in their society. I wasn’t able to find whether “for most of the history of mankind, at 14 years of age human beings were considered to be adults” as claimed by Kulich in her article, but her central idea that Romeo and Juliet are adults is right.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet

http://www.academia.edu/322247/Coming_of_Age_and_the_Family_In_Medieval_England

EMNent Speech Outline

Preposition: this is a speech given by graham in his late years

Hook: ? (something investment related) [try using a story/or question]

Body (rising action): explanation of value investing

  • Value investing vs. speculating (explain speculating)
  • What is value investing about? (1-2 POINTS)

These (climax): You need to invest in qualities of your life that is deemed valuable by analysis, because life is full of sheep like participants who follow the flock to do what all others do and believe in what others believe

  • Whatever you do, do it with a purpose and commit to it once you choose it

Conclusion: best of luck to you and every thing that you choose to invest in. I look forward to your name on life’s superinvestor’s list.

Socials Final!

Socials is over, and how fast time flies by when you are having fun… To give you more of a visual, I have included notes in my PowerPoint that I presented in class on Wednesday. So when you click on the link, just click on notes on the bottom right hand corner and you will see an explanation of each slide, which is also kind of my script for the presentation, altered a bit.

Some helpful links you may find helpful in additional:

My Midterm blog post

Socials 9 learning outcomes

pdf of powerpoint without notes

if the PowerPoint link don’t work, click this pdf notes-and-ppt

 

Shadow by Tony

The Sun was going down in front of me, the shadow behind me dragging me, telling me that I’m nothing but a withered old leaf that waves in the wind, in a remote corner of the picture. It tells me that my time is up.

All are born with a task, an impossible task. I was, too. Many stumbled and failed, broken apart. Most lived on, not knowing the underlying purpose of their actions, or the cause for their stress. But some discovered it, and they are those that got the most out of their lives.

From the day I was born as a purplish, minute baby, the shadow had always accompanied me. As a small, fearful kid, looking back, I could see the everlasting and reddish-yellow glow of the morning Sun, rotating around the earth like the hour hand the in a clock, blazing with light and energy and emitting a warm but dry beam on me. It made me think of the so called “compliment” of parents, “You’re-smart…so-you-have-to-get-A.“ Turning my head back to the front, a long, slim shadow have appeared in front of me. I may not have realized it yet, but I know that I have a long way to go.

I am a youth now, and the shadow is still there, urging me to become the better, silhouetted version of me. Yet I know that every time I struggled forward, the shadow would move forward with me. Every time that I improved, thinking I could match my counterpart, it just moved with me. I spend hours thinking about who I am, worrying about who I have to become and wishing my shadow would just go away. All the same, I still have live on, swallowing my fears and stress, hiding it in the deepest bottom of my heart.

The Sun is going down in front of me, the shadow behind me dragging me, telling me that I’m nothing but a withered, old leaf that waves in the raging wind like a boat shivering in a storm. Swoosh, swoosh, ready to return to the earth like how I was born out of earth. You might call me an old but still comfortable article of clothing that doesn’t fit the fashion anymore, that isn’t “cool”, that from the outside, looks broken and wrinkled. People look at me and tell me I can’t, so while I can, I can’t.

No one will ever know you like you do, they don’t know your capabilities or your strengths. Don’t be constricted by the shadow, for you are you, and they are them. Sometimes, your shadow is as far away as the Andromeda Galaxy. The shadow pushed us to success through our deep thirst for interpersonal relationships. We want to make others like us, trust us, believe us. Sadly, then they will expect better, bigger, smarter. Master the power of the shadow, but never be overwhelmed by it.

I am someone who doesn’t like compliments.