Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Zinger Wrapped in an Enigma

"Now back to June 6, D-Day in Normandy, France. As the senior Canadian D-Day Veteran, I accompanied the P.M. to an elaborate luncheon put on by French President Hollande for the Allied Heads of State — including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. As the celebrated heads were filing into their special dining room I edged toward the line. I missed Obama by three steps, but caught the incoming president of the Ukraine who was followed by, yes, Mr. Putin. I am in my full RCAF General’s uniform with medals (permission of the Chief of the Defence Staff). Putin stopped, looked at me, stuck out his hand. I took it and while shaking his I shouted one word at him. CANADA! No response and he was gone."

Putting Putin in His Place
(column by Richard Rohmer, Collington Enterprise Bulletin, November 18, 2014)

"After a time the king of France sent Jacques Cartier to explore the new land.  In 1535 he sailed up the St Lawrence River.  He landed where the city of Quebec now stands and found an Iroquois village called Stadacona. The Indians were friendly. They pointed up the river and said 'Canada', a word whose Indian meaning we do not know."

A Picture History of Canada


  1. Is it a mistake on our part to have ignored the general's Collington Enterprise Bulletin columns? C'mon, there was so much to digest. This coming year will mark a full half-century since the publication of Practice and Procedure Before the Highway Transport Board.

    Still, I'd really like to see selected newspaper writings made available in book form - things like his review of Nigel Hamilton's biography of that frump Montgomery,

    My personal favourite is 'Nineteen-Eighty-Five: A Little Crystal Ball Gazing' (Globe & Mail, 4 October 1975) in which he imagines a the collapse of Canada Post, a mobile House of Commons, provincial status for the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and the succession of Quebec.

    Ah, whatever happens, he assures the reader that we'll all be better off.

  2. What I want to see is a mobile House of Commons accompanied by a mobile gas station.

  3. Somehow I feel that we need a photo post that shows us at the Mackenzie Delta - I'll work on my "imagining the future that could have been" expression. One of you can work on a "First Nations - bah!" and the other can have the "Environmentalists - double bah!" looks.

    His encounter with Putin has echoes of the anonymous narrator in NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND plotting to get revenge on an officer by bumping into him in public, humiliating him. He spends an inordinate amount of time planning this "revenge" and when it finally happens the officer doesn't even notice.

    Or - silly me - maybe I'm just not adept at recognizing someone influencing the course of events.


  4. Chris, would there be extra closets strategically placed throughout the mobile House of Commons?