Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rick Mercer's Rant - Lest We Forget

Once again my favourite Canadian comedian who tells it like it is has hit the nail on the head.Definite food for thought...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Safe Food for Canadians Act

On June 7, 2012 the Harper Government introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act.  This act will "strengthens and modernizes our food safety system to make sure it continues to provide safe food for Canadian" (Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz).  This will mean more consistent inspection regime across all food commodities, tougher penalties for activities (eg. tampering, deceptive practices, hoaxes) that put health and safety of Canadians at risk, better control over imports and exports and strengthening food traceability.  The Act consolidates the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act.  The penalties under the new act will be substantial, as high as $5,000,000, or in the case of the most serious offenses could be even higher at the court’s discretion.  Regulated parties will be able to seek a review of certain decisions made by CFIA officials.

What does this mean to the average Canadian?  In my opinion and having traveled outside of Canada, I consider Canada's food supply to be quite safe.  The CFIA is very good at warning the public of potential health risks associated with foods.  Recently both New Brunswick and Saskatoon have had E.coli outbreaks, the same strain (0157:H7) as the Walkerton outbreak in 2000.  When an individual contracts this type of food borne illness, the public health unit is quickly notified.  They in turn, notify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who then takes action that results in recalls of the tainted product.  The problem is, there can still be tainted product in freezers across the country that could be consumed causing illness because the product code was not checked by the consumer when the recall was issued.

While I applaud our government's efforts at making our food safer, I would like to see more education for the consumer on food safety.  The consumer must take a responsibility in food safety as well.  I am a home canner who cans low acid (eg. meats, vegetables, stocks, soups) and high acid (eg. fruits, jams, jellies, pickles).  I know how to can safely using the proper equipment.  Low acid foods (pH 4.6 or lower) must be pressure canned using a pressure canner.  The number one question I get on my cooking blog is "Can I use a boiling water bath canner to can my green beans?"  Well no you can't, you must use a pressure canner!  High acid foods must be processed in a boiling water bath canner not simply inverted to seal.  The problem with home canned foods that you see in some specialty shops, roadside stands, orchards and at food events (eg. rib fests, county fairs, community events) is there is no way of knowing whether they have been properly processed.  The second problem is home canned foods like cake in a jar are unsafe regardless of how they were processed.  The third problem but more of a quality rather than safety issue is direct exposure to sunlight.

Home canning has seen a resurgence in Canada since the y2K scare and with the growing concern over food additives and pesticide residues combined with preserving the harvest from organic home gardens.  It should be noted that home canning has always been popular in rural locations, amongst certain religious sects, and for those who hunt or fish.  The CFIA really needs to address this.  I'd like to see more information on home canning put out by our government.  Let's say a case of botulism (which is rare but possible with home canned foods) is traced to home canned food.  Does it fall under the new Safe Food for Canadians Act?  Or does it only fall under the Act if the home canned food was sold at some type of venue?  Are some venues exempt?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy Canada Day

145 Years Young
Strong, Proud and Free
Oh Canada!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Conservatives Announce Telemarketers Will Now Cover Costs of Enforcement

According to The Canadian Press (April 29, 2012), telemarketers will soon have to cover the costs of investigating their own industry.  The Conservatives have announced that all costs of probes and enforcement of the Do Not Call List will be transferred to the telemarketing industry itself.  As a result, these costs will no longer be funded by the taxpayers but rather will be funded by the telemarketer likely in the form of fees.  The CRTC will consult with the telemarketing companies regarding how the fees should be levied.  You just know the CRTC is going to mess this one up just as they have with anything else regarding telecommunications.

What I find rather interesting about this is the government is finally taking some type of action against the telemarketers.  It's nice to know our tax dollars were going towards investigating and imposing fines against the very same folk who cost us money and time by their actions BUT they don't know how much it is costing taxpayers annually.  Good gosh, don't they have bookkeepers in Ottawa?  It really is time that Canadians demand accountability and transparency from our government.  Honestly, they collect our tax dollars they owe it to tell us exactly where it is going!  Our tax dollars should not be going towards policing the telemarketing industry.  My personal feeling is as long as I am paying for the phone service of which I am charged HST on and if I wanted to us my phone service's call block feature it would cost me an additional $5 per month plus HST, I should not have to pay to get them to stop pestering me.  Unlike the 78% of Canadians on the Do Not Call List in a recent survey by Acrobat Research and Advanis, I do not feel we are getting fewer telemarketing calls either.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

National Hunger Awareness Week

Yesterday was the kick-off for National Hunger Awareness Week in Canada.  Canada is a very affluent country, rich in foods it produces and yet food insecurity is a growing concern.  The sad thing is hunger affects children the most and quite often it is hidden.  While an attentive educator can recognize the signs that a child is hungry, children are very good at hiding that they are hungry.  Part of that is shame to admit they are hungry where their peers will turn that against them.  Part of it is some parents warn their children not to tell and part of is just acceptance on the child's part.  Hunger is a personal problem and yet it is also a societal problem.

Across Canada for the next week, hundreds of thousands with the aid of various charitable organizations and service clubs will work diligently to help restock food bank shelves.  I volunteer three days a week at the school breakfast clubs.  This is a nutritional program open to any child who is hungry, no questions asked.  We really need more volunteers so if you have a bit of time in the mornings that you could spend on a very worthy cause, please check with your local schools.  It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes of time.  The pay is amazing - a smile for a child who was able to at least eat one meal that day.  Together as Canadians we can help stamp out hunger in our great nation!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pension Issues

[from my email files an element of truth - While I don't recommend the following, I do appreciate the irony. ]


Worried your pension will run short?

So you're a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home available for you - what do you do?

Senior Health Care Solution
Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets.  You are allowed to shoot 2 MPs and 2 illegal immigrants!

Of course, this means you will be sent to prison where you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air conditioning and all the health care you need!  And, in Ontario,
you get HD TV, and sex-change operations are allowed as well!

New teeth? - No problem.

Need glasses? - Great.

New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart?

All covered.

(And your kids can come and visit you as often as they do now).

And who will be paying for all of this?
The same government that just told you that they cannot afford for you to go into a home.

Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay income tax any more.

No wonder the rest of the world’s population can’t get here fast enough!

- author unknown

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Canada Party

Oh good gosh, I just about burst myself hearing about this little gem!  Seriously even Canadians can poke a little fun at our neighbours to the south and even though we have our own idiots in control of the country, I do see where the Canada Party is heading.  Let's put this in perspective, with Canada as the next president of the United States, we can ignore all of our own problems while skipping that pesky delay at crossing the border.  Free trade would really be free trade!  And if we really wanted we could demote one or more of our politicians (umm, I have lots of names starting with McGuinty) down states side to say a colder climate than Ontario should we choose for the greater good.  Yes, I am really liking the proposition of Canada running for the next American presidency.  It's not like we didn't take down their Whitehouse once, so this time we will just take control of the county -  Ba hah hah.......

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ah, well ... It May Be Small But Still Made in Canada!

[from my email files...chuckle :)]

The largest condom factory in the States burned down. President Obama was awakened at 4 am by the telephone..
"Sorry to bother you at this hour, Sir, but there is an emergency! I've just received word that the Durex factory in Washington has burned to the ground. It is estimated that the entire USA supply of condoms will be used up by the end of the week."
Obama: "Oh damn! The economy will never be able to cope with all those unwanted babies. We'll be ruined. We'll have to ship some in from Mexico ."
Telephone voice says, "Bad idea... The Mexicans will have a field day with this one. We'll be a laughing stock. What about Canada ?"
Obama: "Okay, I'll call Stephen Harper and tell him we need five million condoms, ten inches long and three inches thick. That way, they'll continue to respect us as Americans."
Three days later, a delighted President Obama ran out to open the first of the 10,000 boxes that had just arrived. He found it full of condoms, 10 inches long and 3 inches thick, exactly as requested... all colored with red maple leaves with small writing on each one:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

As Canadians enter into the year 2012 I can't help but wonder if it will really be a good year or not.  During the election campaigns, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised no new taxes or increase in taxes.   Then I saw a news segment a couple of days ago where although it was termed as being taxes EI premiums and CPP contributions were increasing.  Well I don't care whether you call it a premium or contribution, the bottom line in Canadians are seeing an increase in taxes.  You can call a sow's ear silk but it is still a sow's ear!  There is no doubt about it, thanks to Harper most Canadians will have less money in their pockets.  What does this really mean though?  You see less money in Canadian pocket with more money going to the government is fine and dandy except less money means those Canadians are not going to be spending as much.  I fear the Canadian economy is going to be rocky for quite some time.  It's too bad that 2012 has already been greeted in with the broken promises of the Conservative government!