Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Anthem: (noun) a solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity.

Why are so many people against changing the national anthem? Canada is about growth, innovation, change and acceptance. Surely we can add to and modify our messages as we grow?

Anthems should reflect what we are at the time. As Canadians, we have grown, matured and become more inclusive. Our anthem should reflect that. Dictating that something cannot be changed because it was “that way over a 100 years ago”, closes our minds.

Anthems are not cut in stone, at least not in Canada. For the record, “O Canada” was written in 1880, originally without lyrics. The words were added after and were completely in French. In 1906, an English version was created, and then rewritten in 1908. Neither English version was a literal translation. The 1908 lyrics used the phrase, “thou dost in us command”. In 1914, they were changed to say, “in all thy sons command”. This is the line that is now causing us such strife. In 1926. A fourth verse was added. In 1927, it was modified again.

While unofficially being used as an anthem in some of Canada, “O Canada” did not become the acknowledged anthem until 1967. At that time, the lyrics were again modified, using most of the 1908 lyrics, but replacing some of them. In 1980, the National Anthem Act made “O Canada” the official national anthem of Canada. At that time, two more changes were made to the lyrics.

While terms like “man”, “mankind” and “seaman” have grown to be gender neutral, the same cannot be said for “sons”. “Sons” is very gender specific, as is “daughters”. Changing the term to “us” includes everyone, and acknowledges the part women play in protecting our country as well as men. Keep in mind, while there are many more women serving in our military, government and industries than there were in 1908, there were women fighting in our military in World War I as well. The “sons” phrase, does not acknowledge that.

I have heard arguments that the change is about “political correctness”. I believe the change is about acceptance, inclusiveness and acknowledgement. The change that is being proposed is to change “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”. Interestingly, this is more like the original lyrics.

I doubt the anthem is offending anyone right now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Common politeness, something Canadians are renowned for, would have us behave in a way that does not offend, and that embraces all. I believe the change should be made.

Regardless of the side you are on, let’s stop using this as a source of anger and hate. Surely two words (that’s all it is) changing should not be a reason to expend so much energy towards anger. I really don’t think that’s why we fought for freedom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"Dumbing of Age" and parenting

I'm a firm believer that the best comic strips are the best because of their writing more so than their art... "Dumbing of Age" is a web comic that's been around since September 2010. I like this strip because it reminds me a lot of my own experiences leaving home and high school and starting out on my own at college.

I've been reading this since earlier this summer and am getting close to being caught up. Today, one of the strips really made me feel good, and may become my favourite “Dumbing of Age” strips - (minor spolier alert).

Joyce (the girl in the strip) was home schooled as a devout, creationist Christian. First year away at college, she has learned much about the world. Her best friend from childhood, Becky, grew up with the same teachings as her. She ran away to be with Joyce, revealing herself as gay and in love with Joyce. Joyce has struggled against her teachings to accept Becky and many other things, and is succeeding. This is her first trip home after the “reveal”, and she’s been terrified of how her parents will receive her new outlook and beliefs.

In this strip, Joyce's dad nails parenting!

I could wax poetic on how this directly relates to my current time in life, but I think I'll just let it stand on its own.

Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA, Piracy and the New World

I feel I need to weigh in on the SOPA issue that has flared up in the last few weeks, even though it has existed for a lot longer.

SOPA is a US bill aimed at stopping online piracy. It is being pushed by large commercial content providers, primarily in the music and movie industries, as a solution to unapproved, unlicensed distribution of their property.

The stated intent is to allow legal bodies to take action against known pirate sources on the Internet, by blocking their transmission through technical actions. But here's where the problem starts.

As written, the bill is vague. It would allow any site to be shutdown (blocked) based on the unsubstantiated complaints of any corporation. Worse still, these complaints could apply to a user posted comment to a site. So, as an example, a 14 year old's Facebook status containing a link to an image of Mickey Mouse, not sanctioned by Disney, could provide grounds for the Disney Corporation to shutdown Facebook.

Would it happen? Probably not. But why pass a law that could allow that?

At stake, is the freedom of information and exchange of knowledge and creativity that the Internet promises and delivers. This is worth protecting.

The other reality, and I hate to use this argument, is that this type of law will not stop piracy. It will make it more difficult, but piracy will happen. Piracy of this type happens because there is no suitable business model to replace it.

Our challenge is to design and deliver the new business models. Find new ways to distribute the content and media that the public wants, in the way they want, with a working business model attached.
These models exist:, Netflix, Hulu and iTunes to name a few. But they need refinement and better distribution. And the media giants who don't get this need to change. They need to realize the opportunities they are missing. History shows you cannot stop change by force. You need to be part of the change to succeed.