Category Archives: Politics

Book Review: The ‘Red’ Kelly Story

Playing hockey in the National Hockey League and winning the Stanley Cup is the quintessential Canadian story of success. That is only when you win “the Cup” once. What do you call it when a boy from Simcoe/Port Dover Ontario plays for 20 years and wins the Stanley Cup eight times? You call it The ‘Red’ Kelly Story.

Hockey has changed over 100 years, a read of Stephen Harper’s A Great Game, Bobby Orr’s My Story or Wayne Gretzky’s 99: Stories of the Game demonstrate that evolution since the original six. In The Red Kelly Story, the doubling of the league following the Leaf’s Cup win in 1967 seems like eons ago compared to the recent expansion of the league with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights.

red kellyLeonard ‘Red’ Kelly is the NHL’s original gentleman and winner of 8 Stanley Cups – that none were won with the Montreal Canadians is a testament to his ability to make a team better simply by stepping on the ice. There are few like him who as a player, team Captain, Coach and General Manager had the respect of almost everyone he played with and against.

But Kelly also knew what he stood for and took the consequences in stride. His banishment from Detroit following his decision to retire rather than to accept a trade to the New York Rangers is an example. Then GM Jack Adams and years later President Alex Delvecchio refused to retire his number 4. But for every instance of rejection there are dozens of rewards. His election to the Hockey Hall of Fame only two years after retiring for good and helping the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup is recognition of his status in the NHL.

So consider what he accomplished and then add another full-time job to his duties that also included being a father of four. In 1962 he ran, at the request of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Toronto riding of York West, he was re-elected again 1963. He stepped down as the MP in 1965 following the debate and final vote creating a new Canadian flag.

The NHL was much simpler then with a fixed schedule which made it easier to be both in Ottawa on Parliament Hill and on the ice in Maple Leaf Gardens. In the three seasons he was serving in Ottawa, Kelly only missed 4 regular season games. Even Kelly was not aware of what the double duty was doing to him; he still dominated on the ice. Only going into the 1965-66 season when he was ‘only’ a hockey player was he able to see how being an MP had affected his game. Over a 20 year career as a player he only missed 64 games, and played 9 complete seasons.

However it’s also his post playing career that demonstrates his ability to understand the game and influence players to perform better. Through 10 years of coaching he made the playoffs, with teams that should not have been in them 8 times. Just as in his playing career where he missed the playoffs twice, he missed two post seasons coaching – one year, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was fired before the season ended. His coaching career is most memorable for the season of pyramid power while coaching the Maple Leafs during the 1976 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers.

There is not a lot of controversy in the life of Red Kelly, but that’s okay. The Red Kelly Story is one of determination that had a successful career as a tobacco farmer in Simcoe Ontario, as a Hall of Famer in the NHL and to have a family where his success and dedication as a Parliamentarian and father has turned each of his children into being strong and dedicated people in their own careers.

At times it is good to read about a life that works out alright and makes it through the struggles we all may face. Red Kelly was no angel and was not handed anything without having a work ethic that had him earn all he has. We all don’t have stories like The Red Kelly Story, so it’s good to read one like it, if only to reinforce that hard word, faith and family have its rewards.

The Red Kelly Story is a hockey story that cannot be replicated.  Hockey today at 100 years is not the same as it was when the NHL was a young 30 years old in 1947 when Red Kelly broke into the league.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

How Trudeau blew his advantage 

Parliament rose for the summer on June 21, 2017. It was not the best of times for Justin Trudeau; it may have been the worst of times. It may have been the best of times he’ll have compared to what is coming up for him when the MP’s return to Ottawa on September 18, 2017. The reason? Andrew Scheer will be settled into his role as the leader of the Conservative opposition with a shadow cabinet he’ll select. A few weeks later after the return of the house, the NDP will also have a new leader in place to face off against Trudeau.

In my view the period leading from the election to the end of the current session of Parliament should have been clear sailing for the Liberals. They have the majority and what seems the platform the voters wanted and they had the good will of Canadians willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The biggest advantage the Liberals had for the 1st two years was that the leadership of the opposition parties in house at the start of the four-year mandate would not be the same when the election would come in 2019. Form the outset it seemed that there could be nothing to stop the Liberals. I don’t think they ever considered that they would be their own worst enemies.

Rather than get to work and pass the legislation they promised, what has Justin Trudeau done? They’ve backpedaled on their biggest election promise – election reform. The Liberals tried to change parliamentary procedure, not once but twice. Trudeau has been caught vacationing where he ought not to have, fundraised with rules he said on the campaign were unfair and transparent appointments turned to partisan nominations. All of this and more led to disruptions in the house by the opposition, extended attacks in Question Period, numerous votes to “have a speaker be heard”, endless amendments to government bills, filibusters in committee and motions that would take hours to vote on during midnight sittings in the House of Commons.

How could’ve all this happened? One word; underestimation. Trudeau and the Liberals underestimated that Rona Ambrose would rally and unite the Conservatives in opposition. Trudeau underestimated that Tom Mulcair would not go quietly.

While the Liberals underestimated the strength of the Conservatives, they returned to the opposition benches with 30+ new first time MPs who wouldn’t have the legacy of Stephan Harper to defend. The Liberals also got greedy; it caused them to ignore parliamentary tradition and try to ply their muscle at a time when it wasn’t needed. The muscle would be best saved for when both the NDP and Conservatives would be in the House with new leaders.

The first 199 sitting days of the Trudeau mandate were just the warm up for what is about to come. The Conservatives have Andrew Scheer honing his skills this summer as their leader and the NDP have five candidates vying to bring back the honour of Jack Layton (Read: Saving the House that Jack Built). Day 200 of Trudeau 2.0 will come September 18, 2017, that is the day that the real game of politics begins.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

Saving the House that Jack Built

IMG_20170615_0848010-1

One leadership race is done (see From the floor of the #CPCldr Convention) and one more to go. The Federal NDP will choose their new leader before October 30, 2017. Seriously there is no firm date, check out the NDP Leadership website, https://www.ndp.ca/leadership-2017.

When I last wrote about their leadership race (June 2016) there was only one candidate, sort of. Ontario MPP Cherie DiNovo said she would run but was balking at paying a fee to enter the race. She has since left the race. Since that day there have been as many as 6 candidates running, currently there are five.

Why is a Conservative like me so concerned about the NDP Leadership? Two reasons, it’s exciting to watch and the Conservative Party needs the NDP to have a strong leader. The Trudeau Liberals kicked great NDP MP’s out of the House of Commons. For the Liberals to lose their majority or even lose the next election, the New Democratic Party needs to have a leader that will capture the imagination of voters on the left the way that Jack Layton did.

Today there are five candidates, Pat Stogran, Canada’s first Veterans Ombudsman dropped out shortly after jumping in. The last candidate to announce was the Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh, a smart, bilingual and charismatic Ontario MPP. He wants to jump into the federal game. He joins Nikki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Peter Julian and Guy Caron to fill the shoes of Jack Layton, because really the last thing the NDP needs is another Thomas Mulcair, at least the one who thought he could be the next Prime Minister. Mulcair’s shoes are going to stay in the mudroom – never to be worn again.

The moment that the NDP had been waiting for has come and gone, the Conservatives are no longer sucking all the air out leadership media coverage. The general consensus was ‘wait for the Conservative leadership to be over, then we’ll (the NDP) will have the spotlight’. Have you noticed any difference? The addition of Jagmeet Singh was a blip on in the media. It might be because it’ssummer, it might be that Parliament is still in session but I am sure there is more to why the NDP leadership is so, so boring.

I think that the candidates have learned by watching the Conservative race and have chosen not to be controversial. In fact the one candidate that came out swinging is no longer in the race – Pat Stogran. Watching him make his pitch in the first days after his announcement of jumping in was fascinating – he was adding energy and challenging the left to look at themselves and make them think about what was needed to become government. He entered the race April 20th; by June 3rd he was gone.

I looked for any kind of polling numbers, but there are none, so how can we judge who might be leading in this race. Some very loose searching (I was using Wikipedia) has me guessing the following on how the polls might look:

  1. Peter Julian: With 6 MPs, Julian has the most declared Federal MP support
  2. Jagmeet Singh: He has endorsements from 5 Provincial NDP members and 3 municipal councillors.
  3. Nikki Ashton: Ashton has 1 NDP MP (Benson), Ontario’s Cheri DiNovo, the Manitoba Interim NDP Leader and Ontario Federation of Labour Leader Sid Ryan backing her.
  4. Charlie Angus: Charlie MLA’s from Ontario (2) Yukon and Manitoba endorsing him, Former MP Andrew Cash and the union PSAC are in his corner.
  5. Guy Caron: Caron is lagging behind with only one former MP and a Hamilton School Board Trustee endorsing him

There is so much time left that this race could shift, the summer BBQ circuit is going to be important, as will the 5 remaining debates. There are going be big challenges; Julian needs to be seen by the youth as viable; Singh needs a National profile and a current MP to endorse him; Ashton needs to grow her support among caucus and Angus and Caron also need to get strong endorsements from within the caucus.

The question mark is where do the strongest MPs go? Who will get Nathan Cullen’s endorsement? We also need to find out where Leap Manifesto writers Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein will shake out, after all they practically ‘wrote’ Mulcair’s end as NDP Leader.

Bring on the summer and the campaigning. By the time September comes around there could be one person standing taller than the others to save the house that Jack built.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

From the floor of the #CPCldr Convention

IMG_20170527_2037384

This past weekend I attended the Conservative Party Leadership Convention that selected former House Speaker and Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer as the new leader of the Party, as a non-delegated convention and the second under the one member one vote process the expectations of an exciting outcome were low.

Following the Friday and Saturday evenings of the convention there were seveal factors the made this convention as exciting as any other in the combined PC/Reform/Alliance and Conservative history. here are a few reasons why.

5000 Pundits

There’s a saying, “everyone is an expert”, Saturday night there were 5000 of them. Everyone in the room had a theory and an outcome after each ballot result was announced. Guessing started as soon as 1st ballot results were revealed. The unspoken question everyone wanted to ask was “is this enough of a start for Bernier to win it all?” As successive candidates were dropped off the ballot we discussed where the votes would go and who would benefit from the dropped candidate’s loss. We all acted like the TV hosts lined up along the back of the room covering the event live. It wasn’t until Pierre Lemieux was last on the ballot that the prognostations started to go wild. It was good to see that Conservatives were looking at the possibilities and imagining outcomes and how those outcomes would help or hinder the Party.

Kevin O’Leary

When the results of the first round were announced, the reaction from the party members was not what I expected – laughter. In the first ballot rolecall, Kevin O’Leary was in 11th position with just over 1% of the vote. Previously I wrote about the decsion O’Leary made to drop out and how his timng was all off, rendering his name being left on the ballot.   O’Leary dropped out and endorsed Maxime Bernier, this was supposed to give Bernier the lead he could have to carry him through to win it all. Something happened on the way to the dance though, O’Leary’s followers didn’t go with him and some didn’t show up. It is unsure just where they ended up. Together Bernier and O’Leary are estmated to have 50,000+ memberships and with all of them voting Maxime would have had a lead that would have been insurmountable. He didn’t ,so was O’Leary a factor afterall in the race?

Trost and Lemieux

If there was anything that caused shockwaves greater than Kevin O’Leary finishing 11th, it was not only Brad Trost finishing fourth, but that Trost and and Pierre Lemieux BOTH finished in the top 6. Between them they had 15% share of the vote across Canada. Their 15% represented a huge voting block that was not anticpated by many.   The media did not see this coming.

IMG_20170526_2051172Between Trost and Lemieux, they demostrate the strength of family values and the SoCon segment of the Conservative Party. It is difficult to know how this will play out in the coming weeks and months leading up the 2019 election. But on Saturday evening, Trost and Lemieux from the right and Erin O’Toole from the centre delivered the keys to Stornaway to Andrew Scheer.

Max and Second Choice Support

There was a threshold that had to be met. The only gasp that was louder that then one where Andrew Scheer was announced as leader was the one heard when the first ballot was announced.   The gasp was the result of Maxime Bernier not breaching the 30% threshold of the points available on the first ballot. The consensus was that Bernier needed a strong opening ballot result to see a clear path to 50% with as little second ballot support as possible.

While Andrew Scheer and even as a remote as it seems, Erin O’Toole had a path to the leadership, Bernier however had a narrow path and as the subsequent ballots were announced, Andrew Scheer had faster second, third and fourth ballot support than Maxime Bernier. As the evening progressed through to the 13th and final ballot, even Erin O’Toole could not give Bernier what he needed, the majority of his next level support with the additional 9.63% to get to 50.01. His path was shorter than Scheer’s, but was full of weeds, rocks and fallen trees and was steep. Bernier didn’t make it.

Scheer and the coalition that made him the Leader

Through each round of balloting Scheer slowly gained the the support he needed to eventually overtake Maxime Bernier. Who were the Conservatives that elected Andrew Scheer as Leader of the party? Who was the Kingmaker? Scheer only made significant movement by the time the results for the for the 9th round of balloting was announced and Pierre Lemieux was dropped from the ballot. Scheer gained 2.18% while Bernier only moved 0.45%.

As candidates with support of 7% and higher dropped off, more of their supporters went to Scheer than Bernier, and it was only a matter of time before Scheer became number one, but only if there was enough time. Looking at who was on the ballot, people were doing the math and considered just where support would go, Bernier’s team must have been holding their breath and counting votes through each successive round. In the end it was the right, the environmentalists and the centre of the party that gave Andrew Scheer the final push and the leadership.

The Missing 130,000

There were 259,000 memberships when sales closed at the end of the leadership campaign, only 125,000 ballots were counted in the final results. Where did the 130,000 other ballots go? There have been comments online that as many as 20% of the ballots were spoiled. That still meant a large number of ballots never made it to the count. Were some of the ballots in the hands O’Leary supporters that did not have a home after O’Leary jumped ship? Likely, but what about the remaining 85,000 ballots? Where are they? We’ll never know.

At the end of the evening, the tortoise won the race, out pacing the hare. It was a slow but exciting unpredictable (for a while) release of ballot results – but no one left the room. No one wanted to dare miss the next round results. When the 13th and last round of results were announced, Andrew Scheer had won with a mix of support that would have made Stephen Harper proud. After the roar of victory, band kicked into a version of “We are the Champions” that the best of lounge singers would be proud to be a part of.

It was a good night to be a Conservative.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

Elections should be easier for voters: Part Two

Polling Station

In my post from May 20th, I discusssed how simplicity and clarity could not only help political parties with their message, but help voters understand what they are voting for.   The idea is to lay out a four year plan with a simple theme in each year of a the  mandate. I mentioned a possible plan would be to have each budget have a one focus,  the four ‘thematic’ budgets would be Health; Environment; Energy and Education. But you say to me, “Rob you forgot about transportation, social services, job creation, First Nation etc.” My response is that each of those could appear in each budget as long as the overall focus remains on the priority set out by the government.  Each ion those can be part of that years budget focus.

For the sake of clarity let me focus on two specific budget priorities; Health and the Environment. In each of these other spending tracks are found.

Let’s look at Health Care. The major issue to be addressed is the delivery of health care to Ontarians, eliminating wait times and ensuring that there are doctors for everyone. Within health care you will find infrastructure spending to build new hospitals and care centres. Social services are covered under mental health services, autism testing and education. If you want to cover First Nations you’ll see it in emergency care, access to health service for education to prevent health issues both physical and mental health in First Nations communities.

Through the “health care” budget, we also can help the innovation sector with the challenge to provide long distance care electronically allowing physicians the ability to see patients via skype etc. Job creation comes from construction, expanded social services and while this happens the province expands the post secondary school sector focusing on educating in health sciences to serve the expanded health care network in the province.

My second example is the Environment. We can apply the same ‘political science’; Ontarians could find many of the other spending opportunities areas to help the environment. Innovation spending will be narrowed to creating clean green energy inexpensively, repairing and replacing municipal infrastructure that leads to cleaner air and land. Let’s not forget transportation either. Moving people can be a huge factor in reducing CO2 emissions.

Let’s use the “environment” budget to move people by rail, work with car manufacturers to design and build less expensive electric and low emission vehicles. and the infrastructure to support these vehicles. Agriculture also gets a boost from environmental spending – helping farmers adjust with new energy, farming innovations and studies to assist in concerns like a reduced bee population. We should always remember, farmers are the worlds first stewards when it comes to the environment and sustainability.  governments in Ontario in the last 13 years have given rural voters second and third place in the budget line-up.  This budget design gives equal voice to all ministries in the economy  of Ontario.

The main idea is stop having hodge podge budgets where many sectors get a little of the budget pie. Thought out properly each budget can address one major area of government with a trickle down effect to others. What this does is ensure Ministries have to work together – as long as the ministries can stay within the priority of that budget.

Working in this method will result in governments thinking and working better and harder for the voters. It requires forethought, planning and anticipating future needs of the province. It means government must listen to non-partisan sector experts as this type of budgeting is never ending.

This idea is like running the 10,000 meter race and how a runner prepares and is coached for it.  You will run around a 400 meter track 25 times, but as the race progresses the strategy changes. The budgets can work the same way. By the time you revisit health care, you will see where your plan took the province and will see how to change the strategies to fit where your previous actions have taken you. Obviously hope you don’t have to backtrack.

Does this have a chance of taking hold? Are politicians beholden to how budgets are planned now? Can political parties turn the corner and recognize that the voters need to see things get done differently, not the same way – in Ontario the same way is not helping?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Book Review: Legacy – How French Canadians Shaped North America

Legacy

The editors of Legacy start and finish the book, in between those pages are the stories of twelve French-Canadians, some I knew of and some I have not – though their names were known to me as street names in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa.

Andre Pratté contributes the Foreword and Jonathan Kay the Afterword. In the foreword, Pratte hints of who might be considered for a second volume as they were left out. Kay writes in the afterword of his ‘regret’ as a Anglo-Quebecer and how English Canada needs to know about these twelve French Canadians, but also that there are others that need to be heard and known of west of the Ottawa River. Both speak with pride about the role French Canadians played in the growth and prosperity of North American.

Kay says as much in a reply to a tweet I wrote after completing the book.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 12.18.45 AM

My dilemma in reading Legacy was HOW do I read it? Do I read the essays in the order I want, or do I follow (trust) the Editors Pratte and Kay have purposely placed these essays in a particular order? I trusted the editors. 

Legacy was an interesting read, the subject matter was great, but because of the format, I was as at the mercy of the contributors of the book. There were some essays that I had difficulty getting through because of the writer’s style, but I got through them and learned more about the contributions our Quebec cousins made to Canada and North America.

In reading some of the essays I had questions as in with Deni Ellis Bechard’s essay on Jack Kerouac I couldn’t tell if it was written when Kerouac was alive as Bechard doesn’t mention his death in 1969. I was drawn into the life of Montreal’s Paul David and his medical accomplishments. The political tour de force of Thérese Casgrain left me wondering why we had not heard of her and why her name is not mentioned with the Famous Five when it comes to women who leave their mark on this country.

In reading the essays on Thomas-Louis Tremblay and Georges Vanier, their heroics and bravery were outstanding. They are connected through their membership of the 22nd Battalion, the Van Doos and their battles in WWI. It’s interesting that another great Canadian has such a presence in the life of Vanier, Vincent Massey was the foil for everything that Vanier stood for – but both became Governor Generals of Canada, George Vanier was appointed Canada’s Regal representative following the death Massey in 1959.

What I anticipated the most ended up being the most difficult to read. Lucien Bouchard’s essay of Henri Bourassa was riveting. It being a hard read, it forced me go through it twice, I am glad I did. Bourassa ‘s battle with the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XI is well documented, as is his passion for Quebec, a passion that lives on long after his death.

From explorers Pierre de la Vérendrye and Albert Lacombe to Jacques Plante and Kerouac, Legacy brings nine men and three women, all French Canadians and all-important contributors to North American Anglophones AND Francophones to learn about. Writers Ken Dryden (Jacques Plante), the afore mentioned Lucien Bouchard Bourassa), Samantha Nutt (Casgrain), Roméo Dallaire (Tremblay) and Jean Charest & Antoine Dionne-Charest (George-Étienne Cartier) add their voices through their words on Quebec’s and French Canada’s history and place in North America.

Surely there are more than enough subjects for a Volume II.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

It took me almost 40 years to read The Handmaids Tale

 

Handmaids TaleI never read The Handmaids Tale in high school. I graduated before the book was published. If I had though I am pretty sure I would not have “got it”. I didn’t have the life experience to comprehend what Margaret Atwood was writing about. I would have only learned through current life examples, at the time, through news or history lessons. When I graduated from Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga (in 1979) the only parallels to The Handmaids Tale I would’ve known of were the Khomeini in Iran and the Soviet Russia, which while severely cracked was still in one piece. If I were to read and discuss Atwood’s ‘1984’ in high school I would have been far too influenced by the teacher’s impressions. Honestly, at that time, it would have not made me enjoy the book.

It is only now, 38 years later that I can say I read The Handmaids Tale and enjoyed every page. This is not a knock on Margaret Atwood, but back then I was reading books about a fictional Canadian takeover of America by Richard Rohmer and music biographies. Yes, it is now after 38 years after graduating from high school that I could read the book, appreciate the book, understand the book and fear the outcome of a world that seems too real.

Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail (April 29, 2017) wrote “Are we living the The Handmaids Tale?” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/are-we-living-in-the-handmaids-tale/article34843333/) . Wente discusses the recent calls from Vanity Fair, The New Yorker that under recent events women’s rights are under attack. She says “…the book is regarded as prophetic…more than ever people are convinced that women’s rights are under threat…”.

Wente and others are not wrong, and as a man reading a book that reduces women to providers of children and to complete the simplest of duties it scares me to think what happens when some have too much influence. Maybe purposely, but they also forget that in The Handmaids Tale men to things – also reduced to simple chores, driving a car, gardening and impregnating the Handmaid.  In The Handmaids Tale we see that men are afforded certain luxuries taken from women – access to computers for work purposes only), information and reading. In the book we do not know what the Commander of the house does, where he goes from 9 – 5 and how he earns his status in the new state. His marriage is just a marriage, not a marriage – a partnership or something to enjoy – but never a marriage. To keep appearances, there are a lot of whispers, clandestine signals and prohibited rendezvous. The Commander and his wife are under the same roof, but do not live under it.

While not to the extent that the rights of women have been taken away, the Commander and others like him also lost in the Gilead.  The freedom and happiness that the Commander seeks can only be done in secret. His midnight meetings with his handmaid only to talk and play scrabble show us that in a world that creates a strict doctrine, it removes the simple joys of life we take for granted. The Commander has to sneak out with the handmaid to be able to have enjoyable sex with her, sex for procreating is not fun in Gilead – it is a job and if either person involved this duty fail, whatever little they have now is taken away. Banishment from the ‘good life’ and the few accommodations allowed in Gilead are removed.

Atwood correctly identifies that women are not things and portrays an image of what feminists fight for everyday. But, she also identifies that men also suffer under strict doctrines and in The Handmaids Tale while not advocating for what might be called masculinism, she is warning that under the control of few, the many lose.

After reading The Handmaids Tale, a friend of mine send a recommendation for more Atwood via Twitter:

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 10.54.03 AM

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.