Brexit: A synonym for political chaos and confusion. To ardent advocates in a divided and embittered Britain, it represents a noble and historic national cause. Opponents fear it will reduce the United Kingdom’s stature, prosperity, and even size, tempting Scotland and Northern Ireland to defect from what they see as English nativism. Polls indicate most in Britain regret the way the 2016 referendum amounted to a careless leap in the dark, a simplistic binary choice then Prime Minister David Cameron presumably didn’t think he would lose and hardly tried to win.
(JustOttawa’s Note: Peter Best, in authorizing JustOttawa to publish Chapter 1/ Introduction of his book “There is No Difference” asked that his website, thereisnodifference.ca., be noted. He also referred to Jack Major, retired justice of the Canadian Supreme Court who had written to Best, saying “There is No Difference” continues to impress me no doubt because I agree with it.” Major who had personal experience in the Residential School system says that it is a “myth” that native children were “torn from happy, loving homes.” Many were in fact saved from death by malnutrition and tuberculosis. English was mandatory but “how else to equip the student to function off a particular reserve?”.)
Since 2014 I have been chronicling the lives of the men from MacKay United Church in New Edinburgh who fell in World War I. In all 140 men and one nursing sister from MacKay Presbyterian answered the call, and nineteen gave their lives. But telling the stories of the nineteen quickly morphed into a broader study of a church and a community at war, and it became increasingly apparent that the story was really about families – families that watched and waited, that bore the hardship of war, that experienced grief and loss, that sought to retain their faith that the war was a battle for freedom and civilization and their hope that victory would usher in a better world.
This article tells the story of one such family, the Ryans of New Edinburgh. Its centrepiece is John Henry “Jack” Ryan, one of the greatest athletes of his day, who deserves to be better known. But it is also a story of the other members of the family, including the oldest brother who helped raise his younger siblings and then also perished in the war. Finally, it is a reminder that tragedy in this era did not only come from war, and that even from the darkest days can come new life and new hope.
Olga Tokarczuk Tokarczuk (1962-)
Tokarczuk is a Polish writer, activist, and public intellectual. She has been described as one of the most critically acclaimed and successful authors of her generation. The novel, Flights, brought her international recognition when it won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For me, this is an honour. Truly.
I will talk about the global setting of the crisis in Ukraine; about its origins; about the existential imperative that we in the West keep more peace with Russia and how Canada might help do so; and about what I think you should recommend.