Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BC Milk Supply Management System (SMS)

BC Milk Supply Management System (SMS)

Full Disclosure

If you believe in free markets, as I do, the presence of market control mechanisms administered by government is offensive. As an entrepreneur interested in utilizing milk production to bring value to a given land base, my encounter with the system was disappointing, to say the least – they simply refused to grant “permission” for me to do business; even when it was clearly demonstrable that no impact would accrue to incumbent producers and processors. So, in the interest of full disclosure, the comments to follow will be offered with inherent bias and a good measure of disgruntlement fueling the discourse.

What I wanted to do.

I've spent a considerable amount of time contemplating how to bring maximum value to a given land-based, that is to say perhaps more accurately, how to make farming/ranching pay. The key observation of the industry is that, from crops to livestock, it is a commodity environment, for the most part. This reality requires one to seek improved operating efficiencies relative to the norm or to occupy more of the supply chain so as to access the greater margins that accrue to business action closer to the consumer.

In acknowledgement of this key observation and others, I designed a business model that would, in my judgment, best address the contemporary realities that flow from capital costs, production realities and the “new food market”. I made market observations; that the functional food market was growing and that functional beverages with an appropriate macro-nutrient mix targeted to specific human action was ineffectively represented in the market. I combined these observations in the design of a the business model with efficiencies that emanate from an integrated supply chain to create the concept of Mid Fraser Agro -  a business concept – that included a 3000 head dairy, an UHT processing and packaging plant, and a nationwide marketing initiative for functional beverages with the base ingredient of milk.

I prepared a business concept document and initiated due diligence processes which began with a regulatory review, that’s when I encountered and came to comprehend the nature of SMS(s) and their effect on the industry and accessing the industry.     

Relevance of the Present SMS System

One understands the impetus for the creation of the SMS; the desire to effect price stability in a production space that has as components highly perishable product and a nearly emotional societal attachment to the product as a right to have for children. My father was a dairy farmer in the Fraser  Valley in the 60s and was active in garnering the SMS for himself and other dairy farmers.  The fact is that the Dairy farmers do garner a higher price for their milk than they would absent the system, in the present operating environment affected by the SMS. It is my sense that the latent capital that as a product of licensing costs that are as much as 1/3 of net worth, administrative costs, the inefficiencies that now exist due to regulatory restraint in pursuit of an optimal operation regime, regulatory errors which result distortions that increased transportation costs and a number of other realities, all conspire to effect a less profitable circumstance than if the market was left to function on its own. Add to this the challenges that SMSs have on implementing trade deals, in recent talks with Europe, SMS’s have weighed heavily on the process. One needs also to consider the advances in technology with respect to refrigeration, production methods, processing methods, and information systems and their ability to distribute information, in the context of the milk industry. Clearly, the ability for farmers to market their product is better now; the SMS has been overtaken by events in many ways rendering it defunct or at least of increasingly dubious value.

Complex Bureaucracy 

The most striking thing that becomes to light when examining the SMS universe is the weight of the administration on the industry. The supply management complex represents a tremendous transaction cost to the industry itself; additionally these sorts of cost tend to amplify as their effect works its way through the system; by way of example, the milk producers pay for people to administer the system and so when the product gets to market, mark up is added to these costs. 

The Softdrink industry has no SMS overhead, it is bigger, more dynamic; people just do business and the market takes care of itself. The BC  Milk Marketing Board (BCMMB), that exists by government statute, employs a large number of people, manages directly the transportation of milk, determines the nature and scope of milk products processed and sold in the province, determines the nature and configuration of production and processing facilities, controls access to the industry – this is a massive undertaking. The people working at BCMMB are excellent people who seek to fulfil their mandate, the challenge is their mandate or perhaps their presence in their capacity, it is inherently obstructive. In the pursuit of accessing a better price for milk for producers, the cost of doing so harms the efficiency of the supply chain, curtails innovation, effects stagnation in market share and impairs needed consolidation in the industry.

Over and above the BCMMB there exists another organisation called the Farm Industry Review Board (FIRB). The FIRB’s function is to provide a quasi-judicial body to manage disputes that arise between marketing boards, processors, producers and the public at large.  Another excellent group of people, well-educated bright people, employed to interface on behalf of the government with organisations created by the government who manage a market that can manage itself. It is difficult to measure the FIRB’s affect on milk prices for example, as the administrative costs are paid by the provincial government; there are costs, however.

The financial costs of administering SMS here are one consideration. The costs of the opportunities forgone in deploying people to a task that is superfluous are another. In my interface with these organisations I encountered people of significant capacity who’s talents, if directed toward promoting and developing market and product, would be effecting growth and dynamism rather than industry decadence.

Industry Situation Analysis

The Canadian Dairy Industry is well established. The SMS, given its monopoly, has facilitated an established product environment and processing industry. The incumbent operators have enjoyed constraint on competition, producers on new entrants to the industry and processors on the obstruction of new entrants in some circumstances. As they were able to do to me by participating in the FIRB appeal process (see transportation).

Consolidation / Scale

There is presently a culmination of events which are forging the industry in a manner that makes consolidation an inevitable trend, responding to that trend it is an imperative to be maximally efficient and hence profitable. Scale is an entrenched trend supported by fundamentals rationalized to the contemporary operating environment. Demographics of the participating human resource in the agricultural industry are driving consolidation – more people are leaving than entering. The capital requirements to participate are driving a different type of industry participant and require greater asset utilisation to support these increased capital requirements.

Consolidation is occurring industry wide, internationally as well as domestically, and consolidation is occurring at a more rapid rate in countries where dairy operations are exposed to the rigours of an open market system. Consolidation has been a trend found in every facet of the agricultural industry as the family farm makes the transition to a family agricultural enterprise or just an agricultural enterprise. In the USA where access to milk industry is unfettered by government intervention, average heard sizes are higher, approximately 900 head compared to 200 head in Canada.
“Large dairy farms have substantial cost advantages over smaller farms, derived from the ability to take advantage of economies of scale. On average, farms with at least 1,000 cows realize costs, per hundredweight of milk produced, that is 15 percent lower than farms in the next largest size class (500–999 head) and 35 percent lower than farms with 100–199 head. Other evidence suggests that costs may continue to decline as herds increase to and above 3,000 head. “ USDA Report

There is a mass of literature supporting larger scale, however, the supply management program limits access to the industry and limits scale. For example, in British Columbia, the herd size is limited to approximately 3000 head. It is nearly impossible to acquire the quota to get to that level, worse is the reality that the BCMMB is beginning to limit the ability to buy farms and consolidate the cattle and quota to a large operation. There is an insistence on the part of the BCMMB that upon the sale of quota that it be committed to the BCMMB quota exchange for purchase; this precludes the ability to consolidate the heard to optimum scaled operations.   

Other Comments Regarding Consolidation – The Free Exchange of Assets

Inherent in consolidation is the reconfiguration of the assets contributing to the milk supply. If left unfettered, assets will configure themselves to best satisfy a given operating environment. Herd mobility is a critical element to permitting consolidation to occur in a manner most advantageous to both the people entering the industry and those seeking to exit the industry – cattle and quota (as the quota system now exists) will gain the most value when being purchased with the intent of being directed toward the most profitable use.

This reality stands juxtaposed to another present reality, where the sum-value of all assets is greater than the sum-value of the segregated asset components in many dairy operations. The gestalt that is formed by the operations component parts, quota, cattle, equipment, land … etc presently holds an elevated value as a turnkey operation – as many of the assets associated with a dairy are as much a drag on value, as a contributor to value, in the absence of an ongoing dairy operation. The functional unit provides cash flow valuation that adds to the primary assets value – so as a unit the farm is more valuable at sale. One may also attribute a liquidity premium, driven by an accessible smaller asset base supported by a business with cash flow. Industry incumbents need to be able to maintain this premium situation to maximise their asset value at the time of sale.

A paradoxical situation exists with the free exchange of cattle and quota, whereby, allowing the small farming units to exist in a manner which provides for them to be marketed as a whole enterprises, gives rise to a circumstance that permits the extraction of the most benefit for industry incumbents wanting to exit, and yet provides a mechanism for consolidation. Policies which impair the free purchase of cows and quota and their subsequent free movement, would have the effect of both damaging industry incumbent asset value and retarding the consolidation that is happening in response to new operational realities.

The writer’s interactions to date have found no opposition to consolidation being allowed to occur. The limiting of the sale of quota or its transfer in anyway, however, seems to have a chilling effect on the trading of dairy related assets – both CDQ directly and related farm assets. One may expect to see, if CDQ transfer is curtailed or limited to the present exchange indefinitely, decadence effected on the industry – where consolidation or regional adjustment is curtailed or operational transformation is retarded.

The SMS prevents the free flow of assets and the adjustments that would occur in its absence if assets were permitted to trade freely.  The discussion above offers recognition of the overall distortion due to the mere presence of the system and brings resolution to the “sub” distortions that occur as various policies are actuated. This is demonstrated repeatedly as one examines the SMS, below you will be exposed to policy related to the sale of quota (CDQ) that retards its accent in value, there are just endless examples of things occurring under the SMS that would never occur absent the system; distortions abound.

Continuous Daily Quota Review

BCMMB Consolidated Order

Calculation of the Market Clearing Price

10.          1)The market clearing price for the first Quota Exchange after July 31, 2010 shall be the average of the market clearing prices for the preceding 22 exchanges, namely, $38,000.00 per kilogram.
(2) If, for three consecutive Quota Exchanges:
(a) The volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to buy has
Exceeded the volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to
Sell; and
(b) The offers to buy have been filled to 50% or less; the market clearing price shall be increased by $500.00 per kilogram for the next exchange.

This mechanism is disconnected from the functioning dairy industry and natural market influences on the value of CDQ. The three month wait to increase price and an immediate response to reduce price may represent a mechanism prone to reduce CDQ value. CDQ finds its value as a product of the returns it can generate in the context of a given market circumstance, there exists the maximum possible price for CDQ, which is a function of its carrying costs relative to other operational factors, other capital cost, input costs and revenue. There is then likely to be a degree of cyclicality associated with CDQ prices absent interventions, cyclicality mostly influenced by input values. The more rapidly CDQ can be transferred from one dairy producer to another, the more accurately the price equilibrium (value) arrived at will represent the realities of a given operating environment. The manner in which the CDQ exchange functions now may be less optimum than if a transparent bid ask process facilitated immediate transfer. A transparent bid ask exchange would generate more price volatility, but at any given point in time, the value would be a fair representation of the market value of CDQ derived from industry operational realities. It is apparent that the CDQ Exchange as it functions under these regulations may retard the price of CDQ over time, and prevent quota from reaching equilibrium in a manner that is representative of present market conditions – market conditions of input costs and capital carrying cost related to dairy production.

The calculations above offer approximations, I am sure the BCMMB has better data; they do however, serve to support and demonstrate an appreciation trend in the ownership of CDQ. When CDQ ownership is presently considered, one can view it as an appreciating paper asset, with an appreciation rate of approximately 4% per annum above an assumed average 3% generalised inflation rate. The “real” appreciation is beneficial to operators as it represents a reduction in the cost of ownership than would otherwise occur in a stagnate or descending CDQ Value circumstance. Policies that retard CDQ valuation effect a substantive reduction in income to incumbent producers. The freer the transfer of CDQ, the more likely that CDQ value will ascend along with other asset values like land.

The Consolidated Order is the document that governs the BCMMB Conduct.

10 - (3) If the volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to sell exceeds the Volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to buy, the market clearing price shall be reduced by $500.00 per kilogram for the next Quota Exchange.
9 - (2) If the volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to sell exceeds the volume of Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to buy, the Quota Exchange will be cancelled and re-run within two weeks using a market clearing price that has been adjusted in accordance with these Rules.

The combination of Section 10 – (3) and 9 – (2) offers an impediment to quota reaching a price equilibrium that reflects its value in the context of operator’s ability to generate revenue by owning quota at any point in time. Circumstances may be such that people are willing to pay more, and a transparent bid ask process would provide an immediate response in CDQ price to operating conditions – when input and carrying cost are high CDQ price will fall, when input cost and carrying cost are low CDQ price will rise – this is a healthy circumstance for several reasons, perhaps the most important of which, is it gives operators the ability choose to exit the industry at the point of maximum benefit to them – when CDQ prices are favourable.

11 - (2) Subject to section 12, if there is insufficient Continuous Daily Quota subject to offers to sell in any monthly Quota Exchange to meet all offers to buy Continuous Daily Quota on that Quota Exchange, then the available Continuous Daily Quota will be Transferred to each buyer on a percentage basis - i.e. if there is enough Continuous Daily Quota offered for sale to fill 95% of the offers to buy, then each offer to buy will be 95% filled.

6 - (2) Subject to subsection (3), the maximum amount of Continuous Daily Quota which may be contained in an offer to buy is the greater of 13.7 kilograms or 10% of the Producer’s current allotment of Continuous Daily Quota, up to a maximum of 109.6 kilograms.

From the perspective of Inverine Developments and the creation of West Fraser Agro, where an objective assessment of the industry drives operational scale of up to 3000 head, the application of these sections impede the ability to gain scale through the purchase of CDQ at a rate that permits viability. Please consider, that assuming an entrant could purchase CDQ at the full rate these clauses dictate, it would take four years to garner sufficient CDQ to operate at capacity – if my assumptions are correct – please see CDQ Analysis matrix below.

The following matrix is an approximation of the operating outcomes in a circumstance where MFA was able to garner full quota purchases as per the CDQ Exchange rules, as the writer’s present state of awareness perceives them to function. It is the belief of MFA’s developers that maximum efficiencies are achieved at or around the 2500 to 3000 head mark. In the pursuit of this scale, it is required to invest in the infrastructure to support this herd size at the outset and carry the cost of ownership of those assets through the period of acquiring cattle and quota. Full quota, even under ideal circumstances, is only reached at the close of four years, operational break even takes a full 23 months achieve and overall return on invested capital is only .8% over the cattle and CDQ acquisition period of four years. Compare this to a fully operational year where the return on invested capital exceeds 10%.

Some modification to the CDQ Exchange rules is required to provide for entrants to manage this dynamic associated with purchasing quota for a stand-alone dairy operation. The functioning of the Exchange as the rules now provide for; impairs, entry, the natural trend toward consolidation and the pursuit of scale efficacies. There are several means to address this issue, simply increasing the maximum CDQ purchase amount in conjunction with the section 12 – (1) provision for new entrants would offer a considerable improvement. Optimally, however, the transfer of CDQ would be facilitated through an open and transparent exchange in a typical bid ask functionality; allowing CDQ value to respond to demand for the privilege to produce milk, as influenced by the market dynamics external to the Supply Management System. By allowing people to enter the dairy industry purely on the basis of their ability to satisfy licencing requirements and apply their capital to the challenge, the general health of the industry, at least its vibrancy, would be enhanced.

CDQ Entry Analysis


The present configuration of the CDQ Exchange in conjunction with the suspension of the direct sale of CDQ between farms, absent any other means of transferring quota, may offer risk of the value of CDQ – relative to BCMMB precedential operation – experiencing less favourable appreciation in the future absent other means of transferring quota that allows for “natural market dynamics” to determine the price of CDQ, some of which were at play in the BCMMB’s previous actions. The writer is not aware of the events that precipitated the reported suspension of non-exchange transfers and trusts they were perceived as necessary by the BCMMB administrating body. The above observations are offered from a lay person’s perspective and the perspective an entrant wishing to gain scale and viability as quickly as possible.

NOTE: The writer, at the time of writing, has only received verbal notice of a suspension in non-exchange transfers and as yet has been unable to verify through documentation this is in fact the case.


At present, under the SMS and related marketing efforts, the milk market is effectively stagnating. There are areas of improvement, however, the decline in per capita consumption of fluid milk offsets these advancements.

One is unable to attribute this stagnation entirely to the SMS system; there are counter convention consumer groups in place that have boycotted the consumption of milk products; their effect is substantive, however, it is the righters sense that the SMS is mostly the cause.


One of the key determining factors in advancing the use of a product with market penetration to the degree milk has, most households have a milk product of one kind or another, is innovation in production, processing and product design. The government recognized this to be the case and in 2006 mandated SMS sectors to put in place “innovation” programs. In the none SMS sectors, think cars with similar market penetration, innovations are what the industry lives on, in any given year there are literally hundreds – that's innovation. Since the government mandated innovation in about 2005, at the time of the writer's review of the system in 2010, there had been one “innovation” organic milk. Organic milk is really the same as none organic milk, the production process is on altered slightly. 

Once the milk finds its way into the hands of the processors, who under the umbrella of the SMS are required to compete, innovation is quite brisk. One encounters in the market place variations on a theme, yoghurt, for example, has a thousand incarnations.

The other challenge with the SMS is that programs directed toward product innovation are intended for, mostly, incumbent processors. A cumbersome aspect of SMS is that every product has to be defined in the context of regulatory requirements and permission given to sell it. Absent SMS, no one is worried about how a product is defined, save how it works in the market place. This reality places a whole other level of managerial concern on product development and in many cases, as it did in mine, stifles it all together.

Innovation needs to be considered with a broader scope than just product innovation - production and processing innovation needs to occur. The present modality of regulation by the BCMMB precludes many types of innovation from transpiring. The writer’s proposed business model would have accessed the full spectrum of innovation, innovations in scale, innovation in the degree of integration and innovation is product offering. The amalgam of these innovations would have generated a powerful means by which to address the market, with an anticipated expansion in overall milk product consumption. These sorts of obstructions to innovation of all sorts are likely to be putting downward pressure on customer consumption of milk as they are failing to access both more efficient production modalities and product innovation; so the consumer who is offered constant expansion of choice and price improvement from competing products, finds no reason to pursue milk products. Products competing with milk, or milk bases products, are subject to none of this type of obstruction and over time milk product market share will decline and opportunities for dairy farmers will decline with it.    


The reality is, in the case of milk, there is stagnation in the production sphere, the product sphere and overall market share is waning. One has to ask why is this the case, the types and varieties of other competing products, soymilk, ricemilk, sports drinks, juice beverages – the list is endless – are expanding and taking market share from milk.

It is the intent of SMS to reduce participation in the market to effect and increase in the price of products sold, that is the fundamental reason for it. What comes in tandem with this reality is the reduction in disruption - the creative destruction processes that fuel innovation, the ability for incumbents to impair others from access to production reduces access to the industry, distortions evolve in the producing and transportation of products. The rigours of an unfettered market discipline the industry so that it is rationalized to demand realities in the context of the market as a whole. The entrenchments that come with SMSs effect upward pressure on price. Please review the graphs below and note the price of Canadian Butter and Canada Skim Milk Power relative to world prices; decide for yourself the accumulated affect of the SMS.       


The issue of Transportation as it relates to the BCMMB demonstrates the distortions that come into play in the administration of an SMS. I believe, in the interests of “fairness” the BCMMB has as a policy that the cost of transport for milk should be “equal” for all producers regardless of where they are located. The BCMMB actually, in a direct manner, manages the transport of milk from producer to the processor. Over the years of operation, as a result of this policy, there has been a disconnection between the location of producers relative to processors. If either processors or producers were responsible for transportation costs, the concern would be given to their relative location.

One of the key efficacies garnered in the at scale integration of producing and processing is the elimination of transportation costs in that section of the supply chain. At appeal under the FIRB, processors sited my absence of transportation cost as “unfair” and it appeared the tribunal gave weight to the assertion. So then it can be said, that the BCMMB impaired production innovation AND permitted the impairment of the implementation of a business plan that sought an elevated level of efficiency relative to the industry at large.

This is just one of many distortions that evolve when industries are shielded from, or regulated in a manner that prevents, disruptive influence or action rationalized to profit.     

Cost to the Consumer

The cost of milk products to the consumer are higher as result of the SMS; this reality extends beyond just fluid milk and milk products in general, milk products are a base ingredient in many products: all these products are affected by the price increase. In fairness to the administrators of the Milk SMS, provision to use cheaper skim milk from the world market for production of products intended for export is permitted.

Transition to an unregulated market

The government has put a system in place which dairy farmers have come to rely on, the government has a responsibility to ensure the interests of farmers upon dismantling the system. In many jurisdictions, governments have simply ended the system and farmers have been left marginalized and years of accumulation lost; a circumstance we must seek to ensure never takes place in Canada.

New Zealand facilitated the transition away from SMSs to an open market by facilitating what amounts to a farmers CO-OP. Literature indicates this was a relatively successful approach.  

The Government recognizes the value of Quota, it is measured in the billions, an approximation of $15 Billion would be a ball park number nationwide. The government will need to see the return of farmers money in some way, perhaps by a combination of cash payments and extended tax considerations for incumbent producers.

There are a number of potential strategies for the disassembly of SMSs from - declining monopoly to just a cash payment, the key is to ensure that government sees to the preservation and enhancement of the industry in the process of dismantling the SMS. As stated, farmers need to be wary, as other governments have been ruthless in their exists from SMSs.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Law, Legislation and Liberty - Say no to Internet Censorship

This was written in response to policy suggestions related to adult content on the internet.

The internet is a reflection of humanity at large; if what you find there is offensive, it is us you’re looking at. The full spectrum of humanity is represented there, tolerance is required. The prospect of the government choosing what is moral or immoral on my behalf is a grossly offensive prospect. At what point does government stop this sort of intervention into the private lives of the populace; it may be “pornography” today and depictions of gluttony tomorrow, a sin after all, is a sin, no one is enthusiastic about a child eating themselves to obesity. These sorts of technical interventions have proven dangerous, China’s persecution of Fallen Gong for example. Once an institution starts down the path of dropping a blanket of judgment over the populace at large, the society becomes a dull and indistinguishable place of being. Cultural or life modality variance, is healthy; government is very ineffective at managing the personal lives of people; information is what defines people.

We do have the obligation to keep the PUBLIC SQUARE as influence natural as possible, I should be able to walk down the street with my child and have them arrive at the other end unaffected morally; they should remain in the state of morality I as a parent have provided.  The family is the only appropriate mechanism for the delivery of moral concern or organizations that parents voluntarily choose to expose their children to.  

The presence of adult content available for access by one’s own discretion is only accessed as an act of freewill, parents have the option to exercise that freewill in the interestes of their children. For the government to intervene in that process in a manner that forces one to identify themself, puts information in the hands of government that could in some way subject these individuals to discrimination or be accessed illegitimately as a filter for other societal endeavors. By way of example, Safeway in the US once sold pharmaceutical data to insurance companies absent that knowledge of the person’s concerned; there are thousands of examples of data abuse, not the least of which was the recent breach of Revenue Canada’s data.

There are elements of widely held taboo, child pornography is illegal and is wholly offensive. Subjection of a child to sexual abuse has a clear harm, physically and mentally, and the full weight of government, of all of us, must come to bear on protecting children. Prior to the internet this element of society was embedded and dispersed. As a result of the Internet, the perpetrators of this type of conduct congregated and gave authorities a means by which to detect and locate them. Had the system blocked the traffic related to this subject matter, this despicable element of society would have remained undetectable. As a Toronto policemen said “I can’t walk down the street and ask if someone if they are a pedophile, but I can on the internet.” The Toronto Police were able to identify groups of pedophiles the world over and where able to safe and guard  children as a result. As grossly offensive as this subject matter is, it offered resolution to the challenge for police and provided an observable target. Clearly, child pornography is a scourge, to know its point of origin we need to know its there.

Adult content is at the discretion of adults to access. As adults we need to protect our children’s innocence so they can grow to adults with the full spectrum of choice in life modality. When government puts a blanket filler on adult content and forces one to identify themself to access it, is a breach of their personal liberty for reasons stated above and no different than forcing me to give my name to access the United Church website. The only practical means to filter content is at the point of consumption. The government should be working at provisioning tools for parents to filter content on personal devices, the government should invest in the enabling of parents to control minors access to content.  

The world of entertainment is full of depiction of evil, by seeing evil we become acquainted with it – we come to understand it. Only by exposure to it can we gain the insight we need to wage war against it. There are just too many instances where government has been the evil, or religious institutions have burnt people at the stake for “adult content”. There is no clear distinction between censorship and good old fashioned book burning, curtailing information in anyway curtails progress. Evil has always been with us, it raises its head as often at the hands of the ostensibly righteous as it does the sinister; the only thing that has ever stopped evil is the good judgment of a an enlightened individual.  

The exploitation of women is a concern, to attach exploitation of women to adult content in general is an errant path of thought, it carries inherent in it 2000 years of distortion around the perception of female sexuality and the dumping of a distorted perception of virtue in women’s laps. We are all eager to protect women in vulnerable circumstance from exploitation.  It is my sense that the physiological coupling of violence and sexuality is a dangerous path. I believe violent depictions of adult activity is most often associated with female exploitation, if women are being forced into these circumstances it requires functionality on the ground to address it, internet censorship has no means to determine the presence or absence of coercion. To presume a woman is being exploited because she is shown in adult entertainment is a product of a prevalent bias, a bias I believe feminists are fighting to eradicate.

My personal use of the internet and the content and information I garner as a resource there, no one could have imagined just a few years ago. The openness of the information highway has facilitated the distribution of information to so many and has democratized almost every element of modern life. There is both promise and peril in openness, openness regardless of the risks is the only path to enlightenment and may the enlightenment continue.   

Monday, July 22, 2013

Organisational Behaviour - Leading by consent and the age of creed.

Organizational Behavior, management, business, 

There has been an evolution in the nature of the work force, perhaps more aptly named, economic participants. Many of the management regimes now in place in the public and private sectors evolved into being with two prominent preconditions; firstly, the desire for a single authority to control the mass, and secondly, a large asymmetry between the leadership’s knowledge and the lead. In the presence of these conditions, evolved the “fearless leader”, the wellspring of inspiration and direction or in parlance of the sixties “the man”. Today these two preconditions have, in most cases, been usurped. The young people of today leave more knowledge latent than their predecessors had, they are creative, educated and current, the fearless leader is often inept by comparison on many levels. Given that participants are more educated, they have expectations with respect to being extended more leeway in execution, and a more democratic and less authoritarian occupational environment.  

This is the age of creed, that is to say, one must define the organizations purpose or mission and communicate it by a well-developed credo. The credo is the source of leadership in the organization, all people in the organization are subordinated to it, not to authoritarian power mongers, but to the ideals and purpose found in the credo. From purpose flows objectives, in the modern organization, it is objectives that are given to people as opposed to instructions. In this atmosphere people have the ability to function is concert, but with independence. This facilitates self-actuation and greater “buy in” than the traditional hierarchy. Accountability comes from the understanding of metrics and indicators as opposed to the most often subjective assessment of someone put somewhere.

While the direction given by the credo may have evolved from a former point in the organization’s development or it may been group sourced from throughout the organization’s contemporary operating circumstance; the credo provides the substrate for all organizational action and policy.
In this atmosphere a culture of individual action emerges and leadership, rather than barking orders, becomes a resource; the organization becomes knowledge lead.

Combine the credo culture with a flat organization which has management pushing down more responsibility rather than trying to hold power and a lot of the damaging dynamics of organization are diminished. Management is a function in this case, as opposed to a plumb; people define themselves as successful by seeing their measured response to the organizations mission, as opposed to the number of people they have “under them”.  Language like “my people’ and “my staff” are rendered defunct. Politics are reduced because 100 people are absent the neither need nor desire to compete for the one management chair. People always seek in any given system to better their lot, when there is a narrow offering for advancement they then tend to spend most of their time with intra-organization concern related to advancement, rather than fulfilling their function.

This modality of building structure both scales and cellorizes more easily than the traditional hierarchy; it builds out on incentive and function, rather than intra organizational competition. This effects a generally more healthful environment in the expansion phase of an organization as people have clear direction absent supervision.    

Law, Legislation and Liberty - Organisational Behaviour - Force Feeding Philosophy

Enlightenment is a process that occurs through exposure to ideas and the extended contemplation of said ideas; until such time as one develops a clear sense of a life modality. To be enlightened it is necessary to expose one’s self to a multitude of philosophical perspectives, to be able to hold up in juxtaposition each one against the other and to choose which finds accord with your present phenotypical circumstance. All circumstances have a philosophical mate; the goal needs to be, to have a broad enough exposure to life philosophies so as to permit the application of the right one in the right circumstance.

The challenge I've faced in interface with societal entities-from bikers to Baptists, is the entrenchment one encounters in their modalities of interface. There is an irrationality in the acquisition of life modalities, people tend to just believe what they are conditioned to believe, you might say they take it as gospel, rather than really making a study of what is the foundation of being, one’s sense of appropriate conduct.

What is truly frightening to me is the degree of militancy one encounters from some quarters, there is a willingness to breach all things, from dignity to the fundamentals of our ostensible society – it seems an action to chisel out a place for themselves or to effect control over others. They are absent a commitment to allowing their means of existence to stand the rigours of disruption, where disruption is present there is renewal, where disruption is absent there is decadence and or stagnation. It is a wonder as to what exactly fuels this conduct, perhaps fear, perhaps greed, perhaps the desire for control, perhaps to allow one modality of life to “out compete” the other, perhaps tribalism, perhaps spite, perhaps envy or perhaps an overwhelming need to stuff their view of the world down other’s throat. Dogmas are like stray cats, it seems at some point in everyone’s life you’re affected by one.

I’ve encountered in people the finest intent, love, support, tenderness, honour, integrity – what is of concern is that those people stand by while other’s inflict pain, bully, skulk in the shadows in plain sight. What permits this to occur in such close quarters as a town or our country, Canada? We need to find a means by which to effect some degree of friendliness, or in the absence of that, agree to respect the boundaries other’s set. Without the ability to function as an autonomous agent in society at large, people are then forced into camps – fissures form and grow, and from there the irrationality of tribalism takes hold. As Bill Clinton said “for reason to prevail all we have to do is accept other’s truths to be as valid as our own. “ Philosophies take many forms, from religions to stoicism to political concerns. The important thing to remember is that all philosophies are abstractions, to attempt to reify them or to apply them in a literal way most frequently meets with error at best and pain at worst.

The most societal resolution comes in examining the continuum that has at one end asceticism and hedonism at the other. All people choose their place on this continuum, it is rare they arrive there with the rational mind however. In the Anatomy of Power, John Kenneth Galbraith asserts “conditioning” to be the most powerful of the “powers”, conditioning is what happens to us as we are exposed to societal activities, starting with our parent’s influences with regard to morality and gender, and then, as we move through all the various civil and government structures to adulthood, conditioning subconsciously affects our choice as to where we lite on this continuum. People normally find their place on this continuum as a product of the uncomfortable confluence of their tacit and actuated desires and the explicit requirements as defined by their culture and peerage, in league with the moral complex that arrived in their psych with their mother’s milk or perhaps their father’s cane. The point here is that, inherent in this reality, the suppression of desire, moral obligations, peerage observation and conditioning, people find it necessary to engage in what they want covertly, so that they are ostensibly maintaining continuity with the explicit assertions of the culture at large. This creates a life that is absent integrity, integrity in interface with peers is the place where words and actions meet, integrity internally, is the actuation of self so that beliefs and actions are in accord. In circumstances of orthodoxy or the ridged enforcement of dogma greater distance develops between the tacit aspects of life and the explicit aspects of life, hypocrisy in no longer a failing, but a necessity.

Tolerance is absent a requirement to forfeit personnel principle or belief, it is only a commitment to accept first, and teach second – and to then accept some will make choices that conflict with your principles and beliefs – at that point tolerance dictates a goal of benign coexistence rather that violent rebuke or attack. A priest and a strip club owner can pass each other on the street unaffected, which should be the worst outcome from moral discord. 

Stephen Covey, after a review of hundreds of years of success literature suggests we should first seek to understand and then to be understood. A prerequisite for understanding is to converse, with an open heart and mind, to prepare yourself to allow your beliefs to be challenged and in the process to find a better way. Understanding always begins with a question, edicts and ultimatums begin with an assertion. Force feeding your view absent discourse, costs you the opportunity to learn and narrows the prospects of the subject of your intervention.

The appropriateness of delivering any given philosophy in any given circumstance, is best assessed by outcome and or the accumulation of opportunity forgone. In the immortal words of Gerry McGuire “show me the money” or perhaps “where’s the beef”, do its subjects possess a sense of place, has the philosophy I’ve imposed delivered the uncontrollable desire for its subject to kick up their heals, has love found them, has another’s warmth been near them. Life can be a feast for the senses, that’s certainly my pursuit. Feasting senses is in no way mutually exclusive to doing good, being good or effecting a better solution. Here is my accountability question when I put my head on the pillow at night; if everyone did what I did today would the world be a better or worse place. Or as Winston Churchill says “it is important to have a grand strategy but every now and again you've got to check the results.”              

Friday, July 19, 2013

Canadian Identity - Closing Thoughts on Canadian Identity

Canadian Culture, Canadian Identity, 

Pondering Canadian Culture 

The Canadian's identity devolution from a person in relationship to the natural world and community, to one that emanates from a hyper stimulated urban techno world that is politically correct, conformist and collectivist challenges me. We have a tradition of conformity stemming from what was almost a bureaucratic birthing of a nation, so the trend I am commenting on is long standing. The ruggedness that accompanied our evolution in the face of a harsh climate and the appreciation of the stark beauty northern regions provide and which inhabited our sense of ourselves as Canadian, holds charm. While in viewing the realities of modern society one understands the attachment to the land having to fall to the wayside, however, surely the character of the individuals the land formed should be extended prominence in our national psyche. A little more Robert Service and a little less rap cover please.

Having as a part of our identity, a doctrine like Multiculturalism, placing tolerance for others ideas, values and beliefs as a first premise in the pursuit of equity in our society is noble indeed and eminently practical. Canadian’s ability to function in cultural segments and yet synergistically harmonise as a society which accents cultural pursuit by the presence of the other is remarkable. Inter-cultural, secular and interfaith actions in Canadian society are providing us all with a basis for the future which is needed and lacking in much of the world.    

The institution of family in the context of being culturally supported and as a part of Canadian identity is waning. One enters into a discussion around family values with trepidation, as the extreme left in Canada has maligned the verbalisation of family values for reasons I fail to understand. Most certainly, a strong family does relieve the state of much functional necessity in the realm of social assistance and hence resulting in less government. While the compassionate and generous safety net Canada provides is laudable, it has had a corrosive affect on family. One realises that there are people in need, which require policy to address their special circumstance, but the degradation of family as an entity of paramount importance as is resides in our collective consciousness, has been most detrimental to Canadian society over the past few decades. The infusion of cultural support of family in our national narrative, in concert with affirmative family policy is wanting in contemporary Canadian discourse.

Inherent in the identity that accompanies citizenship as a Canadian is the value or lack of value that citizenship represents. That is to say, the higher the value of citizenship the greater deference will be given to the values the recipient identifies with. My citizenship as a Canadian is innate, I am absent any other expression of citizenship. When people immigrate, the process by which they commit to Canada and to the extent to which we elevate that process, will be reflected in the value they put on citizenship and the extent to which they identify themselves as Canadian. Canadian traditions are likely muted in relevance to traditions from their point of origin. While every effort needs to be extended to immigrants is terms of quality of life, earning full citizenship should come with time and be rigorous. Only in this way will citizenship be elevated beyond merely being a means by which to access a better life and move to being a real commitment to the dominion of Canada. This commitment is very well expressed by the majority of immigrants, but in many cases the absence of extended commitment has lessened the value of citizenship and as a result minimized the attachment of identity to and image of being Canadian. 

The Great Generation, the generation of my mother and father, has all but passed. I wonder who we can count on now. When one contemplates the degree of commitment they had to their citizenship and its responsibilities, one begins to quake at thought of filling their shoes. What was in their sense of national identity that would have so many of them engage voluntarily in as perilous a task as warfare to defend the source of that identity? An anonymous general once commented to King George ll he thought General James Wolf was mad, and King George ll replied “have the dog that bit him bit all our generals.” We might consider looking backwards for inspiration, if not for war, but for a cultural primer on identity based on commitment – seek out a healthy patriotism – perhaps being bit by the dog that bit the great generation. Over time perhaps Canadians will find identity as sovereign agents of world, who are supported in that agency as citizens of Canada and project influence through the logical progression of individual, family, community, region, country and world government.     

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canadian Identity - Government Sanctioned Anti-Americanism

Canadian Culture, Canadian Identity, Anti-Americanism

What? we’re not sharing the back of a turtle with an elephant –  government sanctioned anti-Americanism

Let me premise these comments by stating clearly that Canada’s independent and eternal dominion over north of the 49th is a passionate desire of mine – I am a patriot if such a thing exists in Canada. What is annoying though is that I felt compelled to make the declaration as I begin to affirm affection for elements of American culture worthy of representation in Canada. As the Molson advertisements so aptly put it “I am Canadian”.

There is pervasive in Canadian society an anti America sentiment that I believe to be a most unfortunate rallying cry for defining our national identity. We as Canadians need to define ourselves by what we are as opposed to being non-Americans. The sheer mass of our neighbour is intimidating from the perspective of developing and sustaining a differentiating cultural element sufficient to generate robust cultural resolution to the Canadian population.

The America media / meme / culture machine is a power house and the resulting vigorous American culture is infectious. In the face of this cultural powerhouse too often Canadian leadership has taken an ugly turn and permitted a degree of Anti Americanism in our culture and it is cultural as opposed to just public opinion, which has precluded a more fruitful utilisation of what America has to offer. By permitting the development of a narrative around the US that is negative as a cultural immunisation against US culture’s entry to Canada, Canadian youth carry a generalised aversion to ALL things US. This cultural insecurity is closing the minds of our youth to a plethora of worthy elements in America Society.  

In Canada we hold as our guiding tenet of governance peace, order and good governance and who says credos are ineffective, because in Canada we have peace, order and good governance. The US has as its tenet - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; could it be that in this tenet there is a snippet worthy of consideration? Noteworthy from my perspective is liberty; our young people need to yearn for it, to watch over it and to keep a steely eye on threats to it. Liberty is the one element of society that insures all other actions, from personal choice - to freedom of association - to freedom to worship - to freedom of speech. As important as the lust for liberty is, is the fear of its loss. We are a kind hearted people who have built a kind hearted country, with a modality of life as good as it is generous, this comfort though, has conspired to create an apathy to the one element of society that lets us enjoy our modality of life - liberty.    

Canada’s genesis emerges out of the fur trade and a single massive corporation the Hudson Bay Corporation. The HBC worked in concert with the British Empire and was largely responsible for opening Canada to colonisation. This foundation provided stability in our evolution to nationhood, a far less tumultuous beginning than the US. Out of this orderly beginning emerged an orderly state with orderly people – people conservative in action and frugal in adventurism. This meme has remained robust in Canadian culture, yet it to some extent it limits us. This bureaucratic link in our development has produced an aversion to failure resulting in a cultural aversion to risk. In the US nobody fails, they participate in creative destruction. Winston Churchill said “Success is moving enthusiastically from one failure to the other” the American’s do this well. Churchill also said “you can always count on the US to do the right thing having tried everything else first.” These observations are far from criticisms, they are the essence of America’s success, the willingness to engage in bold massive ventures win or loose, as it is hard to argue with results, perhaps there is a lesson for us here as well.

There are many structural and cultural elements of the American society that are worthy of adoption, as Canada has much to offer to America should they want to look. The key point here is, in negating the significance of their offering is we are damaging and limiting our ability to export elements of Canadian society that have merit. Canadian measured cautious response to matters of state offers an effective counter to American adventurism; we need to be involved, credible and friendly to exercise influence. 

Much of our rebuke of America culture stems from people’s observations of American foreign policy and the means by which America projects power. America's foreign policy attracts a lot of criticism from many, within its ranks and without. Much of the resentment that has emerged in regard to America foreign policy is the result of extreme actions the US needed to take in the context of a decades long confrontation - the cold war. The cold war drove action by both parties that were extreme in the form of proxy wars and other means of securing regional influence. In this context many actions occurred that people site as humanitarian affronts and they are correct. When on the basis of these observations people resist American culture, they fail to serve the greater good by the absence of acknowledging the context of a highly charged geopolitical circumstance on American behaviour. Many in the Canadian intellectual vanguard who take the righteous position that exempts Canada of a stained past in realm of cold war driven human atrocity, fail to accept that we eat at the trough of US success in that struggle and in so doing share in the responsibility. I am unable to gauge the necessity of each action taken in the pursuit containing the USSR, only each person in each action has that judgment; however, one lives in comfort as a result of their collective actions. So now Canadians in reaping the benefits of those actions, are equally responsible to seek redemption through remedial efforts. To use a Canadian colloquialism, “we need to get off our moral high horse!”

Canada has the cultural mass to set aside the unattractive practice of US bashing as a means to effect cultural differentiation. We need to conduct ourselves with confidence in this regard, and rather than erecting a cultural firewall, permit the positive aspects of Americanism to find their way into our culture. By engaging in a process of winnowing the good from the bad we get to extract the best of the best cultural elements from our good neighbours; a process that has served us well from our British Roots and a process that is serving us well from our association with all other global players. 

Canadian Identity - Canadian Nambi Pambism & Political Correctness

Canadian Culture, Canadian Identity, Political Correctness, State Paternalism, Individualism

Canadian Identity - Canadian Nambi Pambism & Political Correctness

Canadian nambi pambism is rampant. This is one element of our culture that needs to be altered if not eradicated. Rather than promote characters, we promote compliance. In the mist of plenty and under the umbrella of state paternalism we’ve allowed a marshmallow to reside at our core. My mother had many stories about the depression and the hardships people endured through those times; that was a group of resilient people. The single redeeming element of her life in that era was the presence of strong individualised people – people worked in concert but were absent the blandness that the collectivism of today produces.

The mantra of collectivism has permutated our culture and generated milk toast where fire should be. From a constant refrain of “check with your doctor first” to “be careful” to “the inability to cook a meal without checking with the Canada food guide” and an incessant need to turn to government for everything, a culture of dependence is emerging.

Peace order and good governance has served us well. Wrapped in that package is a strong tenancy toward conformity. Conformity to political correctness has in many cases stifled thought, political correctness is truly a conditioning tool to restrict entry into the narrative of that which some deem undesirable.

The nearly tyrannical enforcement of politically correct speech in academic institutions is a frightening example, frightening because in the limiting of speech, the limiting of thought is inherent. This was exemplified in the actions of one institution when they suspended a professor for suggesting that the biological differences in men and woman may be at the root of the way society evolved extending an inappropriate portion of influence to men. I personally am unsure what caused the gross inequity between men and women to emerge, I can see the biological requirements of women would put them is position of vulnerability in the absence of social structure. The man’s assertion had a basis in thought to contemplate a societal outcome absent the attachment of value, there are many possible reasons why women may have found themselves in position of inequity, and surely it is reasonable to have the debate. Political correctness is a means by which social pressure by the majority suppresses the view of the minority, aside from being unfair, it is unhealthy.  

Give me another one like Sir John A. McDonald who was quoted as saying “they like me better drunk than they do Brown sober”, if a politician was to demonstrate such humorous character in contemporary Canadian society, the do gooder healthy kiddy foundation would launch a full scale smear campaign.

In concert with nambi pambism and political correctness, comes the muting of the individual, it seems we are becoming a nation willing to adopt the oppressive cultural that has as a component, the inclination to chop off the head that rises above the crowd or even the head that wants to go its own way.

In an ambient culture of goody two shoes, conditioning to turn to authority for direction and tyrannical political correctness; where are the free thinkers going to come from, where will diversity of thought come from? We need to reignite the cultural appreciation of the strong, critical thinking, self-assured individual.  There is a balance to be struck between adventurism and conformity, conformity in Canadian society has reached gag inducing levels – lets dial it back.   

Canadian Identity - Canada the Warrior

Canadian Culture, Canadian Identity, Military History, Canadian Military Culture

The Warrior Spirit Needs Awakening 

My father and uncles fought in the Canadian forces in WWII, Uncle Omar Middleton died when the aircraft he was piloting was shot down. My father’s contribution Harry S. Thomson was exceptional, with active duty as a pilot throughout the entire war. My Uncle Woodrow Middleton (Canadian) fought as a US paratrooper in Asia and was taken prisoner of war there. Much of my identity stems from this Canadian heritage. There is some effort to attach pride to our actions in the wars; they always seem to be wanting in the breadth and enthusiasm. Canada’s intellectuals seem so afraid of the warrior spirit being ignited, that a critical component of our nation’s history is understated due to a fews' misdirected efforts is shameful. In contemplating my entire exposure to British Columbia’s education system, nary a single compelling exposure to our war history comes to mind. The only war history I have been exposed to has come from personal reading and time around the kitchen table.

We are a brave people and yet our governing and intellectual elites are so wed to bland non-activist anti warlike narrative, a critical element of our countries identity lies languishing completely off our youth’s radar. The warrior spirit is sorely absent in our culture in general. We have people with the warrior spirit, but the warrior spirit has come to them through family as opposed to a can with a maple leaf on it.

The archetype of the warrior gives a robustness to a national identity, the willingness to “through down the cloves” on the big issues is paramount at the heart of culture, in order for a culture to project itself. Whether or not this finds expression in violent action, it is a critical to the development of a collective “eye of the tiger.” Could the active cultivation of the warrior spirit result in collective violent action - perhaps if it is needed - but its existence provides so much more than a war footing. It provides the gumption to act in the defence of others. The world is a long way from being peacenikville, and a little warrior spirit will go a long way to our commanding a position in the world order.

The aversion to warrior verbiage entering our narrative was most emblemised when General Rick Hillier said his was going to “kill some scumbags in Afghanistan”, Canada’s political nambi pambi brigade was out in full force. Surely, when we ask someone to assume leadership in what - is a war after all; we can allow them a little bravado and physiological framing of the enemy. As with anywhere, Afghanistan has a few scumbags, let’s hope they are the ones that got killed and in their absence we’ve helped to promote good.

Canada has every reason to take pride in our contributions as peace keepers, the Lester B. Pearson tradition is a welcome addition to Canada’s military history. Peace keeping however, is dwarfed by our war time contributions. Canada, at the close of WWII had the third largest military in the world, we fielded a million men from a country of 10 million. The US army now barely has a million people. Our actions as warriors are grossly underrepresented in every facet of Canadian culture, form schools to movies – its muted expression is deafening.       

Canadian Identity - Scottish – Anglo contribution diminished in national narrative & culture

Canadian identity is nebulous, with the Anglo-Franco-cultural patrician interspersed with hundreds of other nationalities and the First Nations, we truly are a mixed bag. Multiculturalism and the omnipresent “diversity” are words often lifting tenuously from the chatter of uncertain youths. It seems the most unifying element of our national narrative is hockey, a wonderful game where our excellence is unquestioned and rarely surpassed.

Something is missing for me though, the real meat I draw on for identity comes mostly from my Scottish heritage – it has a strong presence within me, so when asked what my nationality is, I normally say Scottish. My grandfather was Scottish and came via England at the turn of the Century, my mother’s family built one of the first twenty houses in Toronto. Short of being indigenous, it is hard to imagine anyone more Canadian. When someone asks where are your from, I respond “Canada of course.”

A lot of my sense of Canadianess stems from our association with the British Empire. The Scots and the Canadians both have an inextricable link to the British Empire; they say the Scots ran much of it! Canada was birthed and preserved by loyalists in many respects. As the British Empire played such a large part in our formation, it seems fitting to give it - its due in the mashup that is forming our narrative. Like all entities of expansion and greatness, the British Empire stepped on some toes, the British Empire’s net affect on Canada has been overwhelmingly positive. I am often disappointed in the contemporary media’s absence of deference and at times holding contempt for, a great contributor to Canada’s creation. As, at times, one begins to believe Anglo bashing is the new national blood sport.         

I think it is useful to point out to our youth, to look around the world and observe where the prosperity is and is not. Countries sporting the British Parliamentary system and common law have among them the most prosperous nations. The British System of government has spawned free and highly egalitarian states with unprecedented wealth; they are all there to look at, shinning examples. So while there may have been some missteps along the way, Canadians should pay homage to our association with the British Empire, and happily preserve its presence in the Canadian culture.

As a Scot / Anglo, I sense a disproportionate depletion of our presence in the counties narrative. When positive Anglo influence is presented, it tends to be submitted to revisionist history, unless its an example of a racially related event, then the press seems to pay attention to crossing every t and dotting every i. Any racially related piece of legislation is unacceptable in a contemporary setting, when Canada was being created the world was a racial  place – a most unfortunate part of human history – but history none the less.  

This is my attempt at pushing back against a trend toward the marginalisation of my socio-ethnic group, the often maligned White Anglo Saxon Protestant. Often viewed as the imperialistic majority by the other’s we’ve become the subject of much abuse, and while a long way from being a marginalised minority, there is a trend in Canadian Society to permit detracting discourse toward us. Most importantly, my children are of the same ilk and as such I want them to take pride in their heritage in unison with the other ethnic groups in Canadian society taking pride in their heritage. There is a tendency in contemporary Canadian society to take every opportunity to besmirch the Anglo aspects of our history. The very process of committing to paper comments recognising my heritage come’s with trepidation, as I feel when I talk about my heritage it may be construed as racist given the back drop of contemporary discourse. I am extremely proud of my heritage, as should be the first nations and other ethic groups in Canada.

There are several events that demonstrate the curtailment of Anglo ethnic expression in Canadian society. Two events in particular come to mind, firstly, there was the Canadian Heritage Society’s attempt to stage a re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and secondly, there was the CBC production about Rene Leveque. The Canadian Heritage Society attempt to stage a battle re-enactment was halted by the threat of violence from extreme factions in Quebec. The Battle of the Plans of Abraham is an important part of Canadian history and deserves to be recounted and viewed in its proper place as history. By contrast, a government agency financed the telling of a story of a man whose main aim was the fracturing of the Canadian federation. Both are valid parts of our history to be recounted for our people, yet one gains the sanction by government funding and the other is stifled. This is a glaring inequity that brings to light a trend in Canada. I am sure if polled, most people in Quebec would agree there is an inequity here. As a Canadian I embrace the colour the Franco component brings to our nations identity, it is fair I think, to pursue equity in the telling of our history. When a mother is blessed with her first child she loves that child completely and when the second comes, she loves that one completely. Her love for the second child in no way diminishes her love for the first – there is an expansion of spirit to accommodate the feeling for both. I am willing to take this step forward with my ethnicity intact.