Friday, March 29, 2013


It's flummoxed, I am.

You see, the calendar (and my darling daughter, herself) tells me, in no uncertain terms, that my oldest is
twenty years old today.

Twenty? Seriously? You've GOT to be kidding me ...

I didn't really mind when she turned nineteen - sure, it seemed a little hard to believe but not that big of a deal. At least, not as big of a deal as her turning twenty.

Yeah, yeah,  I am well aware that in the eyes of the law, she became an adult last year.

But twenty? My kid is twenty??



Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Purple Day is fast approaching.

And Purple Day is a bit of a big thing around here, as you might recall.

Meaning right at the moment I am up to my eyeballs in posters, buttons, wallet cards, Purple Daisies, brochures, pamphlets, bookmarks, pens, stickers ... the list goes on.

And cupcakes, of course ... right, never forget the cupcakes!

So while we here at Free Falling prepare to do our small part in the grand endeavour to paint the world Purple ...

Please remember to Wear Purple on March 26th.

And have A Very Coole Purple Day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On Dreaming

Once upon a time, I asked Lex if he would ever fly again. The question was asked while he was still actively serving, but a few years after he had strapped on a Hornet for the last time. It was beyond clear how much he loved and missed flying so I asked if he would ever consider flying a bugsmasher.

No, he replied, he wouldn't. Something to the effect that having once partaken of government-sponsored crack cocaine, there was no going back to mere commercial flight. I remember thinking that the only cure for that kind of drug must be complete withdrawal.

And it seemed like a reasonable enough response at the time - even though not in my frame of reference (I would jump at the chance to fly any aircraft, bugsmasher or not), I could accept that from his point of view, there simply was no going back.
There was a time and place
Not far from here and now
Maybe a brighter day
Maybe they had it made somehow
Living for there and then
Under a psychadelic spell
No one was listening
Still they had so much to tell 
But isn't it how funny how time changes things?

Whatever happened to the dreamers
They always look beyond the sky
Saw a world they could believe in
But only when they close their eyes  
A mere few years later, Lex took on a weekend job flying tourists and other assorted types in dog-fights, with the occasional learn to fly jaunt thrown in for good measure. And it wasn't long after that, when he took on the challenge of learning to pilot taildraggers.

Next thing I knew, he was back in the fighter pilot game.
There were the politcians
Men of the cloth, painters and poets
Starting a revolution
Without even knowing
Making the world around us
Making heaven and hell
Saying so much about us
Still they had so much to tell  
You left us much, much too soon, sir.

But you left us living your dream. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
Whatever happened to the dreamers
They always looked beyond the sky
Saw a world they could believe 
only when they close their eyes
Where are they nowThey've all left town
Bringing the clouds    
Why are we on our own, why are we on our own  
Nothing's ever been this way before
A dream is just a dream and nothing more
Nothing's ever been this way before
A dream is just a dream and nothing more
But that I can follow your example and, no matter what, never give up on my dreams.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

More Good News on the "Hate Speech" Front

You might recall that I was very pleased when the move was made to remove sec. 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act last year.

Well, I was even more pleased when I learned today that the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has now weighed in on the wording of a similar provision in Saskatchewan's Human Rights Code.

The facts of the case are notorious. After William Whatcott distributed flyers condemning homosexuality using very strong language, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal found that that his actions breached sec. 14(1)(b) of the Code, which prohibits the publication of printed matter that “exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons” because of sexual orientation.

Although the SCC upheld part of that provision as constitutional and not a violation of Whatcott's freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it found that the prohibition against ridicule, belittlement or affronts to dignity did not meet constitutional muster.

The Court held that those words are not synonymous with hatred, which was defined as “whether a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the expression as likely to expose a person or persons to detestation and vilification on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination”. Thus, the Court made clear that it is unconstitutional to prohibit speech that is something less than detestation and vilification.

Finally, the SCC held that although freedom of religion (Whatcott argued that his flyers were motivated by his sincere religious beliefs) and religious speech have broad protection like the freedom of expression, at the same time, that speech cannot expose vulnerable groups to detestation and vilification, even if it is sincerely-held.

Although it will fall to the politicians to ultimately (hopefully) remove remaining "hate speech" provisions from Canadian human rights legislation, the SCC decision at least clarifies that
  • the test of hatred must be applied objectively (i.e., the reasonable person aware of the relevant context and circumstances), not based on the subjective views of the publisher or the victim; and
  • hatred” involves two concepts—detestation and vilification, which enforce the legislative objectives of anti-discrimination laws.  
I guess all we can do now is await the political process. Bill C-304, which would repeal the hate speech provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act (and which provision the Federal Court found largely constitutional in October, 2012),  has passed the House of Commons and is currently being debated in the Senate.

In Alberta, Premier Redford promised during her leadership campaign to repeal the equivalent Alberta provision.

Any other Province care to step forward and be heard?

~  ~  ~  ~

By the by, writing this post got me to thinking about our good friend (term used loosely), Rev. Stephen Boissoin, whose case (last we checked) was winding its way through the courts.

I am pleased to say that the good Reverend (again, using the term loosely) was successful, both in Alberta's Court of Queen Bench and the Court of Appeal, where the Court held that “matters of morality, including the perceived morality of certain types of sexual behavior, are topics for discussion in the public forum,” and “freedom of speech does not just protect polite speech.”

In the words of Jonathan Kay, "Just so".

Sunday, March 3, 2013

He Has The Whole World in His Hand

I came across a picture today that I thought was kind of cool.

So, tell me, what do you think?

Yeah, sure, I know ... nice snap for sure but not really that big of deal, right? Certainly not enough to get an honourable blog mention.

Are you sure about that?

JEFF FRIESEN has jumped the rails with his version of taking the train across Canada.
Instead of getting aboard a Via Rail locomotive, he carries a miniature replica of a train with him, sets it down on a miniature track in a landscape and takes a picture for his series, The Canadian: Ghost Train Crossing Canada.
.  .  .

The train, five centimetres tall and not quite three metres long, is a replica of the 1959 Canadian, the first train to “almost cross Canada.” It went from Montreal to Vancouver. As a vintage train, it is “a ghost from another age.”

And he's photographed that same train streaking by the turquoise water of Lake Louise, crossing the canola fields of the Prairies, disappearing into a rock tunnel in Ontario and crossing a moss-covered log bridge in Quebec.

Apparently the photos have went viral in Europe and the US, which begs the question of why that hasn't yet occurred in Canada.

You have to admit, pretty cool, right?

And not bad for a Canadian, let alone a Nova Scotian, eh?