August 7, 1998 Halifax Herald

Food for thought and thought for food

For a change of pace, I'll respond to a few of your verbal and written comments and make a few comment about a couple of disturbing current events. Due to space limitations, dates that columns were printed won't be mentioned nor, respecting individual privacy, will names of commentators be disclosed.

Racism: Question by a person who hears and sees no evil. You state that racism is rampant in Nova Scotia; how can you make such an untrue statement? Response. In 1961 the provincial government undertook to put in place a Human Rights Act. Up to the onset of the process, a Mi'kmaq had never been elected, or appointed to any provincial office (MP, MLA, Deputy Minister, Senator, Judge, etc). Thirty seven years later, the perfect record is intact. A Mi'kmaq hasn't been appointed or elected and the prospects for having such in the immediate future are dim!

Racism: Comment by a person who believes the end justifies the means. Captain John Gorham came to Nova Scotia and helped the British colonize the place with civilized people, he did nothing wrong. Response. The fact that he came to the province from New England with a mandate to enforce Governor Shirley's barbaric proclamation for the scalps of Mi'kmaq men, women and children speaks for itself.

Politics: Question by a dyed-in-the-wool loyalist. How can you have the gall to say that the American political system is better than the British system we use? They don't even have government sponsored health care!

Response. The reason the Americans don't have universal health care is that they don't want it. American Governments, contrary to the way things are done in Canada, cannot override the will of the majority of the people. Need one say more?

Restaurant critiques published in 1997 are still garnering advice. If I had the time and resources to eat in every place recommended, I would be the fattest man in Nova Scotia's history. I have tried many and several were fairly good but, if your looking for a reasonably priced quality meal, Farmers Family Restaurant in Aylesford is still the best.

While on the subject of restaurants, the wife and I recently visited New Hampshire and Maine and enjoyed some fine eating. The clam chowder and other seafood dishes served at eateries in Booth Bay Harbour, Maine, and other locations was some of the best I ever tasted and the service was terrific.

This gives cause to say that its always a pleasure to visit eateries where the owners appreciate that a customer is doing them a favour by patronizing their premises.

Here, in Nova Scotia, many eatery owners think the opposite and think cheaply. In one place, I asked the waitress to substitute mashed potatoes for fries and the owner informed me that I would have to pay a dollar for the substitution.

In another, a fancy joint in Cape Breton, the evidence indicated that a member of its kitchen staff had accidentally dropped a piece of toast on the floor. Instead of being discarded, it was served (to my wife) with the floor's dirt encased on its surface. To say the least, she was rather upset.

A recent column about the hardships suffered by my Mon and Dad brought several touching comments. A lady from Truro informed me that because of a friendship enjoyed between our late Mothers, she had named her daughter Sarah.

And an elderly lady from Digby reported that the column gave her so much pleasure that she has read it several times and placed a copy in her scrap book. These types of responses make one's day!

Columns about the shenanigans and shortcomings of politicians have generated much supportive comment.

Politicians should take note of this: only one comment was favourable to them. The vast majority agree that the whole system needs to be turned on its head and reshaped to insure that the people will one day see a true democracy will emerge.

Speaking of democracy, the Chrétien government has given it another knock on the head. The appointment of a liberal to the supreme court, who wasn't recommended after the first review of her qualifications by the judicial appointments committee, gives the whole process a black eye.

Overall, she may be qualified. However, even a hint of impropriety has to be avoided. This incident makes one wonder if the lessons learned from the Junior Marshall fiasco are being forgotten. If the justice system is to be perceived to be fair, it must be kept free from political interference.

Religious bigotry: In Northern Ireland and other countries where blind religious bigotry is rampant, a biblical instruction, "Love thy Neighbour," needs to be instilled. The recent fiery deaths of three innocent boys in Ireland and the deaths, imprisonment, or maiming of other innocents because of their religious beliefs in such places as Bosnia, Kosovo, India, and so on sicken all but the most depraved.

What kind of warped thinking comes up with interpretations of religious scriptures which permit opposing forces to believe that a loving Supreme Being would countenance demonic behaviour?

Daniel N. Paul


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