Thursday 28 January 2016

The First Women in Canada to Get the Vote

One hundred years ago today on January 28, 1916, women in my home province of Manitoba became the first in Canada to obtain the right to vote. I like knowing that my grandmother and great-grandmother were legally enfranchised on this date. No longer were Manitoba women classified along with "children, idiots and criminals" as legally incompetent to exercise the central right of citizenship -- the right to vote.

Led by the Political Equality League of Manitoba, a long campaign for female suffrage had been waged throughout the province. But unlike the violence of the British suffrage movement, the vote in Manitoba was won through peaceful means -- pamphlets, lobbying, petitions, public debates and satirical mocking of anti-suffrage arguments.

The long-time Conservative premier of Manitoba, Sir Rodmond Roblin, consistently refused to enact female suffrage, saying it was supported only "by short-haired women and long-haired men." Homophobic slurs have a long history in the fight against feminists and their allies! But once Premier Roblin was turfed from office in a corruption scandal, his Liberal successor Premier Norris promised to enact votes for women if a petition with 20,000 signatures could be produced. The Political Equality League presented him with a petition of 40,000 names and the deed was done.

One of the most prominent members of the Political Equality League of Manitoba was Nellie McClung, a popular author of the time. She later moved to Alberta and became one of the "Famous Five" group of women who successfully sued to have women recognized as "persons" under Canadian law, equal to men.

Saskatchewan and Alberta followed close behind Manitoba in extending suffrage in 1916. It is thought that the prairie provinces were more open to the idea because men understood perfectly well the central role that pioneer women had played in homesteading and settling the west. It was harder to portray women as too inherently weak to engage in society's issues.

Canadian women obtained full voting rights in federal elections in 1918. Quebec women had to wait the longest for the right to vote -- until 1940 -- because of the conservative Catholic Church's unyielding grip on Quebec society.

First Nations women and men could vote only if they legally surrendered their treaty status and rights under the federal Indian Act. This fundamentally unjust condition was not removed until 1960.

And what about "children, idiots and criminals," the other categories of people who were all forbidden to vote a hundred years ago? Following the 1982 enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our courts recognized the voting rights of people living in mental institutions in 1988 and of prisoners in penitentiaries in 2002. So today, only children under the age of majority still remain on the list of those citizens who are legally disentitled to vote.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Liebster Award

Way back in December, two wonderful bloggers -- Anne Marie in Philly of From My Brain to My Mouth and Toni of Wandering and Wondering -- both nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thank you so much, you two! Sorry I had to wait for the hub-bub of the holidays to die down before I could post my appreciation. Thank you even more for your patience!

The award comes with 11 questions to answer. I pass the award on to any of you who want to answer these questions on your own blog!

1. Order or chaos?
I'm all about order, baby. Chaos upsets me. I'm so anal retentive, I even rearranged the order of this set of questions to make them flow more logically.

2. What do you think about social networks?
I'm not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other social network because they are all major time-sucks. Most of my spare time goes to blogging . . . . What?

3. Why did you start blogging?
For the big bucks and international fame, same as everybody else.

4. What is the writing for?
To inflict my random thoughts and reposted cat memes upon an unsuspecting world.

5. Which literary genre do you prefer?
I like novels. Huge, sprawling, seemingly endless novels. Right now I'm reading the Game of Thrones series of (ultimately) seven novels. I'm on Book Two. It's gonna be a loooooong haul.

6. Paper book or e-book?
I prefer to read an actual paper book but if I can't get large enough print for my aging eyes, I go with the e-book version.

7. TV or not TV?
I watch certain select, cherished programs. And lotsa news because I'm a masochist.

8. Where would you like to live?
In a pineapple under the sea. No, wait, that's Spongebob.

9. Starry sky or sunset?
I love a big starry sky at night but with urban light pollution in the city, it's easier to see a sunset.

10. Favourite food?
Anything bad for me that I'm not supposed to eat.

11. Favourite music genre?
Good music is good music, no matter the genre. I love ALL kinds of music. As a special treat, I'm going to end this post with my current favourite song, S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats --


Tuesday 19 January 2016

Agent Carter Returns!

Season 2 of Agent Carter starts tonight on television, YAY! Is anyone else a Peggy Carter fan?

For those of you not in the know, Peggy Carter is the British military intelligence officer who was Captain America's true love in World War II. Hayley Atwell did a magnificent job of portraying her in the movie Captain America: The First Avenger.

Peggy Carter is such a marvelous kick-ass female action star that Marvel decided to create a TV show around her. After the war (and Steve Rogers' apparent death), Agent Carter moves to New York to work in the Strategic Scientific Reserve spy agency. She must battle both the bad guys and her own colleagues' sexist undervaluing of her skills and abilities. What woman can't identify with that?

In Season 2, she is going to be transferred to Los Angeles to live and work. California in the late 1940s -- now that should be fun! And apparently she will have a love interest this season too.

[P.S. And speaking of kick-ass female action stars, Leanna of Can We Have a New Witch, Ours Melted says to let all her fans know she'll be back raising hell in the blogosphere next Monday! Glad you're feeling better, girl!]

Friday 15 January 2016


'Murica isn't the only country with right-wing, anti-government rednecks who can't spell, y'know. We've got our fair share in Canada too, especially here in Alberta. And man, have they ever been worked up since the global price of oil tanked, our Canadian dollar plummeted, and a moderately left-wing NDP government got elected in our province!

On Twitter, one of our home-grown rednecks indulged in some typically overblown rhetoric and called for a coup d'état against our NDP government. Unfortunately, despite living in an officially bilingual French/English country, the tweeter had no clue how to actually spell this French term, so he just spelled it phonetically as kudatah!

Well, of course, this has set off a veritable firestorm of mockery and satire that Canadians have all been enjoying tremendously!

Now, I've laughed at this silliness as much as the next person, but I do feel a wee twinge of sympathy for the unfortunate tweeter at the centre of it. In all fairness and in his defence, I must point out that:

(1) he deserves props for even knowing the term coup d'état;

(2) he did use the term properly according to its correct meaning; and

(3) his phonetic rendering does accurately convey how coup d'état is actually pronounced.

Surely Canadians can cut this poor bugger some slack, just like we do for Ricky of the Trailer Park Boys who is, after all, a friggin' Canadian icon because of his (shall we say) creative language and spelling skills . . . .

And hey, you know what? Now that the cat's out of the bag, everyone is welcome to come to Alberta for the big event! Mark your calendars, kids!

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Les Miz

I've been a fan of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables for many years -- the novel itself and the classic old black-and-white movie, stage musical and recent film musical made from it. Love the story, love the songs!

If you're not familiar with this sweeping epic of the human condition, sit down, have a few chips . . .

. . . and take a few minutes to decipher this condensed, but surprisingly accurate, summary of the plot. Emojis really are replacing words in our culture!

Believe me, it's a lot quicker to figure out that text message than it is to plow through Hugo's friggin' huge novel.

Les Misérables may be an unrelentingly grim tale of oppression and exploitation punctuated by short interludes of hope, but it can still inspire the unfortunates of today's world . . . .

And who doesn't love the soundtrack of that marvelous musical? So many awesome and memorable songs! How quickly they become earworms!

It's better watching the filmed version of the musical in the comfort of your own home, though . . .

. . . where no annoying people will be singing along with all the songs except for yourself!

Monday 11 January 2016

Free at Last!

This post is dedicated to Birdie of Ditching the Black Dog, who is overjoyed to have had a hysterectomy last week. No longer will she have to tolerate the ongoing pain and tyranny of menstrual periods, the curse of every woman's life! You go, girl!

We women have to put up with soooooo much --

But the men in our lives have to put up with us when we have PMS --

Other than that, men don't have clue one, of course, and can easily be freaked out by periods --

However, men can be somewhat useful in temporarily halting our periods one or more times --

If only there were some way for women to cash in on the situation so all that pain and misery could be worthwhile --

Here's the only real advantage of menstruation --

Feel better soon, Birdie, and enjoy your wonderful new freedom!

Thursday 7 January 2016

Chrystos Rodyvsya!

Under the old Julian calendar used by the Orthodox Christian Church, today is Christmas Day. On the Canadian prairies, we simply refer to it as Ukrainian Christmas since they are the largest group who celebrate the occasion here.

You all know what a major Ukrainian wannabe I am, so I'm celebrating too -- okay, maybe not Christmas per se, but I'm celebrating Ukrainian culture. Like their fabulously ornate traditional dress (although I suspect photoshop may have been involved here) . . .

. . . their hearty stick-to-your-ribs food . . .

. . . and their high energy music! Give a listen to this wonderful traditional Ukrainian folk song performed with rock flourishes -- you'll recognize the tune as "Those Were the Days, My Friend" which is the name by which we know "Davni Chasy" in English.

Thanks to Professor Chaos at The Daily Irritant for introducing me to this music on his blog. If you want to hear more music by this British indie rock group, click here to go to his post containing more videos.

Monday 4 January 2016

What Would Captain America Do?

Further to my last post which mentioned giving up swearing as a New Years Resolution --

As revealed recently in Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Captain America with his old-fashioned values is having a hard time adjusting to the kind of bad language used casually and routinely in today's society. And there are so MANY new swear words that Steve's never even heard of before! How's a fella supposed to keep up?

"Google" STILL makes him blush though.

And there are worse words out there! MUCH WORSE.

Well, at least poor Steve's not the ONLY shocked one.

I'm kinda with The Boys on this matter, though. We all know there's only ONE circumstance where use of that word is justified --

Now get to work, MOFOs! LOL