Naomi Klein on climate change

Can social movements save us?

Naomi Klein on climate change, Ed Kashi photo

Naomi Klein has done it again with her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. She challenges the existing ignorance and denial on climate change and …

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Pulpit and Politics in pictures

The year 2014 in review

There has been much to write about in my Pulpit and Politics blog during the past year. Please see a sampling below. If you would like to read any of these posts in full, just scroll down to the Archives section at the bottom of the screen and click on the appropriate month. In reviewing …

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Christmas Truce 1914

What Canadians can learn about war

Christmas Truce 1914, Creative Commons photo

When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Canada was automatically at war as well. There were a lot of parades and bravado as young Canadians marched off to enlist,  expecting to defeat the Germans, Austrians and Hungarians and to be home by Christmas. It did not turn out that way, as the sides dug in for muddy and brutal trench warfare along lines in Belgium and France.

Canadians were not home for Christmas but something exceptional did happen at the front among German and allied soldiers. Estimates are that up to 100,000 British and German participated in an unofficial ceasefire along the Western Front. There was also a Christmas truce on the Eastern front which, although lesser known, involved Austrian and Russian soldiers.

In the West, the truce started on Christmas Eve, when German troops decorated the area around their trenches in Belgium. They placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then they sang carols, and the British responded with carols of their own. Men from the two sides called out Christmas greetings to each other. Soon after, they crossed No Man’s Land to exchange small gifts, such as food, tobacco, alcohol and souvenirs. They even played soccer. 

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Light for Lima

Faith groups call for action on climate change

Faith groups hold climate change vigil in Ottawa

Faith groups continue to call for an international agreement that addresses climate change.  On Dec. 7, groups in nine Canadian cities held vigils that coincided with the latest round …

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Clearing the plains

How John A Macdonald starved Indigenous peoples

James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains

The countdown is on to celebrate the 200th anniversary in 2015 of Sir John A Macdonald’s birth. Author James Daschuk, however, says that Macdonald deliberately used “the politics of famine” to force Indigenous people into submission …

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Global cry of the people

Canadian mining industry criticized by civil society

Jennifer Henry, KAIROS, says partners asking about Canadian mining

Recently, I attended a Saint Paul University symposium dealing with environmental and human rights abuses committed by Canadian mining companies — with the knowledge and …

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Snow boating with my dad

Rudy Gruending (1918-1977)

Snowboating with my dad, Rudy Gruending

I am thinking today of my father Rudy Gruending who would have been 96 years old on November 15. He was born on a farm in Saskatchewan in 1918 several years before the …

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Remembrance Day 2014 in Ottawa

Red poppies, white poppies

Heather Menzies (left), Rosalie Reynolds lay wreath of white poppies

There was a little-noticed twist to this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. About an hour after the end of …

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