Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Letters

Homeland

Some examples and suggestions on how to maintain this beautiful country

By Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack

 

s described in an e-mail from my MP, this legislation to be alert for terrorism, does seem to be a good step forward.

 

However, I wonít vote Conservative because of other policies that make the rich richer and the lower middle class poor.

 

They have no control over multinational corporations that make huge profits by oppressing the poor and downplay the installing of solar and geothermal energy. Canada was highly regarded for starting the light blue beret Peacekeeping forces, but we have lost that respect through conflict roles.

As you probably knew, I have worked overseas in four different countries. I have worked with Muslims and know that there are many different sects among them. Canadians need to be warned not to look upon them as all similar. That said however, women in most of the sects are not given freedom, rights and education. Sharia Law is very oppressive of women. Many uneducated women feel loyal to Sharia Law, not knowing anything better. In Pakistan for two years I knew several Christian lawyers and met their Muslim professor at Christian weddings. I was a welcome member of several nursing and public health societies and was invited to Muslim social events and weddings. One of my friends was a lady who taught Persian at a university.

Fifteen per cent of the population of India is Muslim, far more people than in Pakistan. I worked closely with some Muslims during 16 years in India.

Nearly fifty per cent of the people now living in Lebanon now are refugees from adjoining countries. Vast numbers of refugees overcrowd many illegal ships to seek refuge in European countries. Many are drowned.

Canada ought to accept more refugees. I do not like the policy of favoring only educated, skilled foreigners to immigrate in Canada. Many poor countries are losing the cream of their population. They are needed in their homelands. We should not mind allowing poor people to immigrate. They are usually intelligent and resourceful. However, to allow McDonalds and other companies that pay minimum wages, to hire temporary foreign employees was a very wrong policy.

As the world population increases, Canada is going to have to allow some densification of population, but not allow them to settle in cities where many are unemployed and where youths get into gangs. It would cost much less and bring about happy settlement to provide jobs in rural projects. Our mountain valleys and river banks can be cleaned of rubble and the stones used to build terraced fields. The bushes and grass can be composted and used to fertilize the fields. Marginal lands can also be made productive. Streams can be directed to run gradually through the new terraces to irrigate them.

Cutting down trees to make paper and lumber must be curtailed and done selectively of only pine beetle damaged wood. Tree planting of a variety of locally indigenous species should be required on hillsides. Ads in newspaper for cars and hearing aids take up half the space. The advertisers should have to pay twice as much for ads one-quarter the size they are now. Then our forests would not be wasted and destroyed.

In the 30s, I saw a large desert forming in Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. I remember well. Thousands of people lost their topsoil in sand storms. A remarkable transformation has taken place by doing strip farming diagonally and not cutting grain low to the ground. Long stalks of wheat kept the wind from taking away the land. Instead of deep plowing, the stubble was harrowed into the land to compost it. Dust storms of the 30s by wise farming, came to an end.

If we donít take care, our mountains and foothills will all soon become bare downs as in large parts of Africa, England and the middle east. Many years ago all were heavily forested and full of wild life. However there are successful reforestation projects. Amazingly, after trees, vines and bushes grew again, dew and rain returned, and animals and birds returned. What a thrill to have seen such success! Floods are prevented by proper forestry practices.

The government should provide benefits that make rural living attractive with nearby high quality schools, high schools and university/colleges, health care facilities, and events that are enjoyable for professionals, libraries, music and drama classes, auditoriums and railway networks. If professionals get their education, or at least their internship, in a rural town, most will stay in small towns after they graduate.

I was a child in the days when we had a one room school every 6 miles. We got a good education in a rich cultural mix. We had multicultural neighbors and classmates. We had delightful Christmas concerts, school and agricultural fairs and music, elocution and drama festivals. Separate schools and private schools lead to sectarianism and racism. So when you settle newcomers in rural areas make sure to mix different languages and religions and provide ESL teachers. We had a district Agriculturist and Home Economist who were very mobile, bringing demonstrations and fresh ideas to meetings of many small groups. There was an experimental farm where new methods were tried out and farmers saw and copied those that made a difference. The School Nurse tested eyes, gave vaccinations and did much else in every school. An Anglican Padre came on Fridays to teach us about heroes of the Bible.

Let Canada again become a country of immigrants as it was for our grandparents. All, whether peasants or high born, brought/bring with them wonderfully diverse skills and interests. There were even libraries, photographers and Shakespeare plays in mining towns.

About Myrtle

Myrtle Macdonald,  M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.

 

She is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack and now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 93 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.

 

 

 

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