Who Are You – Tobey Kai

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Using music as rehabilitation, a talented Calgary musician overcomes a Traumatic Brain Injury, and is an inspiration for others.

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Before last year my social media experience was limited to Facebook, but that changed last year when I decided that the time had come for me to do something different with my life. Having a larger presence on social media would go a long way towards accomplishing the things that I wanted to do, so I now have accounts across several platforms.

An Instagram account was a no brainer, and I soon found out that there was more to this app than just the Kardashians and other assorted “influencers” (I can’t believe they get paid for this shit, honestly). As I scrolled through the accounts that Instagram thought I’d be interested in, one stood out.

I was first drawn in by her photo. She is possessed of those qualities that are highly desired by those shallower aspects that are inherent to men. In short I thought she was hot. I started to follow her and checked out her profile. She was a local girl with an incredible musical talent, university educated, and she had also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. I needed to find out more about this intriguing person, named Tobey Kai.

Natural talent

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From Tobey Kai’s Facebook page.

Tobey’s musical talents come naturally, both of her parents are musicians who came to Canada in the mid-’80’s. From a young age, she showed an interest in music, taking her first piano lesson at only 6years old. She says that her singing abilities came from her mother, who also sings opera.

The family would come to Calgary by way of Vancouver, and Tobey continued to study music, enhancing her natural born talent. She has a younger brother, and an “adopted sister” who has been in her life since her teen years.

You might think that Tobey would pursue a music education at the Alberta College of Art, but her interests also extend beyond music. Instead, she has not one but TWO bachelor’s degrees, and they have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other, holding degrees in biology and economics.

Animal lover

Courtesy Facebook

http://tobeykai.com/

Equal to her passion for music is her passion for animals. She combines the two at her music studio where she gives private music and singing lessons. She has resident cats and dogs that will like to come and visit while she’s giving lessons, and she mentions this on her website giving anyone who might have allergies a heads up.

Conservation of the world’s oceans is another one of her causes and she is an advocate for the world’s sharks, whose populations have nearly been wiped out in Asia due to poaching. Shark fin soup has long been a delicacy in some Asian countries, but ever decreasing numbers have led to the dish been banned.


All life is precious. Meet Freyja, one of my many daughters I’ve had the honour of caring for over the years. A ferocious predator (not unlike a shark), but has never struck me because I haven’t given her reason to. 
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand. 
#alllifematters

To her, all life is precious, and she would soon come to know just exactly how very precious it is. On the home page of her website, you can listen to a song she wrote called “Ondine”, which she has dedicated to ocean and shark conservation.

A cagey polyglot

As if all of this weren’t impressive enough, she also speaks fluent German. I figure that she would be able to carry out lengthy conversations in at least three languages: English, Mandarin, and German. I ask her how many languages she can speak, and she’s coy about answering saying only that she “does dabble in a few languages”. Based on what I’ve learned about her so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that she could single-handedly interpret a meeting of the UN Security Council.

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18021109522098021/

Touched by Alzheimers

In 2017 Tobey began writing a song about her grandfather, whom she lost to Alzheimer’s disease. Called “Who Are You”, it recounts her grandfather’s final words to her “Who are you, young lady? Are you lost?” It is a poignant song about an experience that many families go through, and can relate to. It would be several months before she would record the song however. At the beginning of 2018, something would happen that had a lasting and profound effect on her life.

Who Are You – Written for Alzheimer’s and brain injury awareness.

Everything changes in an instant

For Tobey, recreation is something done outdoors no matter what season it is and whether it’s on a bike or a snowboard, physical activity is just as much a part of her life as music. She’s as much at home on the back of a bicycle as she is on a snowboard, and it was while enjoying a day on the latter that things would change forever.

Sunday, January 14th was a pleasant day to be in the mountains, with temperatures only a couple degrees below zero. Deciding to take advantage of the beautiful weather, Tobey decided to go snowboarding at Nakiska that day. At the end of her first run, when she got to the bottom of the hill, she slipped and fell to the ground.

Moments later a skier collided with her, impacting her left temple. Almost immediately, she knew that something was very wrong. She had lost feeling below her neck, her fingers were twitching, and she knew that she was bleeding from somewhere underneath her helmet. Emergency crews were able to stabilize her and transport her to Calgary by ground ambulance. She remembers much of the hour long ride back to the city, but some memories are gone.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Image result for subarachnoid hemorrhage
Image result for subarachnoid space

Your brain is covered by a thick, fibrous membrane called dura mater. Beneath the dura mater is the archnoid mater, under which cerebralspinal fluid helps to cushion the brain. A tear in a blood vessel can cause blood to accumulate in this space, putting pressure on the brain. Surgery may have to be performed to drain the blood and stop the hemorraging.

The odds of making a full recovery are against someone with a subarachnoid hemorrage as only one third of patients will have a good out come, another third will survive but with a disability, and the remaining third will die.

Nothing short of miraculous

For a very brief time Tobey was comatose, but she wouldn’t be unconscious for long. For the first few weeks, she was unable to walk and had to re-learn how. Her neck was also injured, and she would find talking painful. She began to wonder if she would ever sing again. But she persevered, and began to use music as rehabilitation.

To say that her recovery was miraculous would be an understatement. She learned to walk again and has been able to not only speak but return to singing the way she did before the accident. Only six months after the incident at Nakiska, Tobey appeared in the local media and performed “Who Are You” live. She looked as though nothing had happened at all.

She did not make a complete recovery however. She lost her short-term memory, something that she says is the one thing she regrets losing the most. She has also lost her sense of taste, and as is to be expected after a TBI, she has had some personality changes.

I ask her if her physical fitness had anything to do with how quick she was able to recover. She attributes it more to mental fitness, sheer determination, and stubbornness. I’d say she has the mental fitness to win an Ironman marathon while the competition eating her dust.

Most of all though, she credits music for pulling her through and giving her the motivation. She was composing again before she was allowed off bed rest. She also credits her life experiences for being able to maintain a sense of calmness through it all.

A song dedicated to our troops, our veterans, and their families.

On Remembrance Day 2018 Tobey released a new single titled “Time”. It is her emotional tribute to our active duty personnel, our veterans, and their families. Together, “Time” and “Who Are You” would make the perfect anthem for those verterans with the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) caused by mefloquine toxicity.

People like Tobey are very rare to find. With natural talent and beauty, a social conscience, an amazingly resilient brain, and the ability to inspire others, we are lucky to have someone like her.

In the future, when history recounts those individuals who have had a major impact on Calgary, and were among this country’s brightest shining stars, the historians will count Tobey Kai among them.

D.B.

https://www.facebook.com/tobeykaiofficial/

Meeting The Mefloquine Cowboy

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As Shaun Arntsen fights the biggest battle of his life, he’s reaching others who are doing the same, and saving their lives.

I first heard from Shaun Arntsen about four days ago. He sent me a message on Twitter, where he is known as The Mefloquine Cowboy. He tells me he’d like to collaborate with me on something, a video and written media project about mefloquine. As I’m go through his posts on Twitter, one grabs my eye, it’s a You Tube video whose title warns me that I am about to see something emotionally charged. I watch the video, and it is what the title promises, and then some. Intrigued, I tell him that I’m very interested, and would like to talk. The next day, I hear back from him, and arrange a time to talk on the phone. It was at this point that I found out his real identity.

We exchange messages the following morning before finally connecting over the phone. In one of his messages, he lets me know that he needs to rest. I come to find out that Shaun in plagued by sudden debilitating headaches, and one has just taken hold. It is but one of a number of symptoms that he has experienced over the last 17 years. The symptoms began when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002.

When we do connect a short time later, he begins to tell me about the symptoms he is experiencing, symptoms that the Department of National Defense attributes to PTSD. He exhibits many of the symptoms that appear with PTSD, anxiety, depression, nightmares, but, he also has symptoms that are not seen in PTSD either.

He often experiences a tingling, pinprick sensation in his hands, has problems with his digestive system, and experiences episodes that he calls seizures, which, from his description of them, sound like petit mal seizures. He tells me that the things that trigger his anxiety are also unusual, in that they aren’t the normal triggers that one might see in PTSD. He tells me of how walking into a supermarket can be one of the biggest triggers of anxiety for him. The lighting in particular bothers him.

He then says something that catches my attention, when he talks about not getting anxiety from loud noises, and says something about being bombed in Afghanistan. Wait, did he just say he got bombed in Afghanistan? That didn’t make sense, our guys never got bombed in Afgha… is about as far as I thought before the words “Tarnak Farms” had popped into my head. A few moments later, he would confirm this, and I would suddenly realize who I had been talking with.

The Incident at Tarnak Farms

Canada’s first troops in Afghanistan were members of the elite Joint Task Force 2 special operations unit, followed soon after by the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in January of 2002, led by Lt.Col. Pat Stogran, as part of Operation Apollo.

The battalion took part in Operation Harpoon in March before commencing training for future operations. The live fire training would take place at a location known as Tarnak Farms, which had previously been an al Qaeda and Taliban training area, and was known to pilots to be in friendly territory.

On the night of April 17th, a section from “A” Company was conducting nighttime training, when an American F-16 flying overhead saw the tracer fire down below. In a stunning display of incompetence, the National Guard pilot dropped a 500 lb bomb on them. Four men were killed, another 8 were wounded.

Although close by, because of where he was at the time of the explosion, Cpl. Arntsen escaped physical injury that night. The same could not be said for his psyche however and there isn’t a single normal human who wouldn’t be effected similarly. It should go without saying that an incident like this will result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he would begin to display the classic symptoms of it while still in theatre. The only thing was, what was happening to Shaun Arntsen was far more than just PTSD.

Battle For His Life

I wanted to get a sense for who the man was before I talked to him, so I did my online homework on Shaun Arntsen. I’m struck by the things that I find in his various social media accounts, and they start to give me an idea about who he his. First, in order to get a true sense of who he is, you have to look at all of them together. To simply view him through the lens of a single social media account will only leave you with a partial understanding of him.

Looking pictures of him, my first impression is that Shaun is someone who epitomize the word rugged. With his long hair, beard, and tattoos, he would look natural on the back of a motorcycle, and like many former soldiers he is active in the Canadian Veterans Motorcycle Unit. This group of motorcycle enthusiasts works to raise awareness of veterans issues on his community and across the province.

He describes himself as a “jack of all trades” and is just as comfortable operating heavy equipment as he is a camera. Using the knowledge and skills he picked up in the military, he offers tactical firearms instruction through his company Tactical Yoga, and is also an assistant coach with the Nakiska Alpine Ski Association, teaching and mentoring youth.

He’s a talented photographer, and appears to be just as comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind it. The pictures that he has taken, and those that he appears in himself, could very easily be in any number of glossy magazines, used to promote a men’s fragrance or to showcase a new clothing line.

Yet, there is another aspect to Shaun that you can’t see as much in those pictures. It’s the veteran, haunted almost continuously by demons that first appeared in Afghanistan. Like many veterans of that conflict, he’s had his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse and he’s been in trouble with the law. There are times when he’s filled with an uncontrollable rage, and he has had outbursts in public that have left some feeling uneasy, even unsafe.

During these episodes, although they may appear frightening from the outside, his rage is not directed towards any individual, and he has not attacked or otherwise menaced anyone during these episodes.

Over time, the retired corporal came to the realization that what was going on with him was more than the PTSD that the military said that he had. Many of his symptoms weren’t consistent with the diagnosis, and since they began 17 years ago, he has shown no improvement whatsoever over that time. As more and more stories about mefloquine began to emerge, it soon became clear that this was responsible for the nightmare playing itself out in Shaun’s brain and body.

He was perilously close to making the decision that many Afghanistan veterans have made, ready to end his own life in order to find himself free from the hell that he was living each and every day for years. But Shaun also is possessed of an incredible strength of spirit, and he decided to document his struggle on YouTube. His videos tell the story of a day in the life of a man who was poisoned by a neuro toxic substance that his government ordered him to take.

They are raw, edgy, and emotional, but also inspirational. Shaun Arntsen has a way of reaching his viewers the way very few people can. There’s no pretense to the man, what you see is what you get, and what you get is a dose of the reality that he and thousands of others experience daily. He can connect with people, and is a no bullshit kind of a guy, which is why he is quickly establishing himself as someone to be reckoned with, and someone that can be turned to for advice, or a little bit of support, or a message of hope at a time when it is so desperately needed.

With lawsuits pending, and a campaign of public awareness building, mefloquine will soon be getting the attention of the Canadian public at large, but there is still a lot of work to do. Every day, veterans are hearing about mefloquine and the damage it causes for the first time. For many, it almost comes as a relief, since it would provide the answers to a lot of questions that they may have been asking themselves.

Helping to lead the charge here in Canada is Shaun Arntsen, the Mefloquine Cowboy, who is saving lives as a result of his efforts. He is a man on a mission, and I’m hoping to be able to help him along in his quest to help his brothers in arms. He proved himself on the field of battle in Afghanistan, and his efforts now are nothing short of heroic.

D.B.

Dedicated to the memory of the first four. Godspeed soldiers.

Sgt Marc Leger, Pte Richard Green, Pte Nathan Smith, Cpl Ainsworth Dyer

Exercise Freedom Together: Just A Walk In The Park

Fish Creek Provincial Park that is.

As an ambassador for this year’s Field Of Crosses Memorial Foundation’s fundraiser Exercise Freedom Together, I’m throwing a challenge out to all the people I know who are physically able to, to walk, run, or bike 3k and then post a selfie with your hand over your heart on social media usingthe hashtag #Exercisefreedomtogether. Today I walked a 3k route in Fish Creek Provincial Park in Southwest Calgary (by the time I was finished and back at home again I had walked over 9k from beginning to end.

Fish Creek Park

Fish Creek Provincial Park is the second largest urban park in Canada and ranks as one of the largest in North America, at over 3,300 acres, and it is less than a kilometer from my home base. All together it has almost 120 km (nealy 75 miles) of pathways, 66 km (just over 40 miles) of which is paved.

Votier’s Flats to Bebo Grove

I selected a location that was 3k away from where I had entered the Park at Votier’s Flats, a place called Bebo Grove.

Starting Line – Votier’s Flats

First bridge
Halfway-near Raven Rocks
Bridge 6
Bridge 4

The Finish Line – Bebo Grove Day Use Area & Stormwater Pond.

For those wondering what ‘Fat Biking” is, think mountain biking only with huge, fat tires. When these things are coming down the pathwahy it literally sounds like a one-ton pick-up truck is heading your way. Great for the unpaved trail network and during the winter time.

Amazon.com: 24 Inch - Mountain Bikes / Bikes: Sports & Outdoors
#Exercisefereedomtogether

The Challenge

Get together a group of up to 5 people to make a $25 donation to the Field Of Crosses Memorial Foundation. I know a lot of people who like to walk in groups, so the next time you go out for your daily exercise, please remember to #Exercisefreedomtogether.

#Exercisefreedomtogether

We Got Your Six: Stephen Beardwood Talks Reopening The Somalia Inquiry

With your host Marj Matchee.

As I began entering the world of this advocacy a year and a half ago I would quickly learn what some of the hot button issues were, and this particular one is high on the list. The blowback I got after the first time I wrote about reopening the Somalia Inquiry told me that I had just opened up a big and shitty can of worms. People became quite passionate in their views that it should just be left alone, and that we needed to just move on.

Well, I was just as passionate in my response to them, pointing out that it was necessary to reopen the Inquiry for two primary reasons.

First and foremost we owe the truth to history. There is important, relevant testimony that will remain missing from the historical record unless the Somalia Commission of Inquiry is reseated to hear it.

The second reason is spelled out in this statement from the Executive Summary of the commission report:

Some suggestion has been made to this Inquiry that mefloquine caused severe side effects, including abnormal and violent behaviour, among some Canadian Forces personnel in Somalia. We were not able to explore fully the possible impact of mefloquine. This would have required additional hearings dedicated specifically to the issue, which time did not permit. However, we report here our general findings about mefloquine and its possible impact on operations in Somalia. It is clear that mefloquine caused some minor problems in Somalia, as might be expected from a review of the medical literature. We learned of several incidents of gastro-intestinal upset, vivid dreams, nightmares referred to by soldiers as “meflomares”, and inability to sleep following the use of this drug. Side effects — or at least the minor side effects, and possibly also the major side effects — appeared to be most pronounced in the 24 to 48 hours after taking mefloquine. If mefloquine did in fact cause or contribute to some of the misbehaviour that is the subject of this Inquiry, CF personnel who were influenced by the drug might be partly or totally excused for their behaviour. However, for reasons described more fully in Chapter 41, we are not able to reach a final conclusion on this issue….

It is evident that further investigation is warranted before any firm conclusions about the role of mefloquine can be drawn.

Executive Summary of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia
http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/bcp-pco/CP32-66-1997-eng.pdf

Not letting this go.

This is non-negotiable and it will not be going away. The truth needs to be put on the record. It’s time to reopen the Somalia Commission of Inquiry.

#VeteransMefloquineRally2020 #Inthistogether #quinism

El rally de mefloquina de veteranos de 2020 está a la vuelta de la esquina

Sábado 19 de septiembre #Veteransmefloquinerally2020

3er Rally anual de mefloquina de veteranos en Ottawa 2019

El año pasado tuve la oportunidad de estar en Ottawa para el tercer rally anual de mefloquina de veteranos y tuve el honor de presentar a Marj Matchee, la fuerza impulsora detrás del rally y defensor de la mefloquina desde hace mucho tiempo. Fue una ocasión memorable para mí y tuve la oportunidad de conocer a mucha gente en persona por primera vez, y estaba ansioso por asistir nuevamente el año siguiente.

Las cosas han cambiado mucho desde el año pasado y, como resultado, el rally ya no se pudo realizar en Ottawa. Sin inmutarse por esto, Marj se dispuso a armar un nuevo plan. Habrá otro mitin, en Edmonton, y ella estará allí para luchar y hablar por los veteranos canadienses y sus seres queridos cuyas vidas han sido destruidas debido a la mefloquina.

Pero Edmonton no será el único lugar que tendrá un mitin, ya que también habrá uno en Kingston, Ontario. También puede haber uno que tenga lugar en Nueva Escocia. Dondequiera que se encuentre en Canadá, o en el mundo para el caso, si desea hacer una declaración sobre la mefloquina, esta sería una gran oportunidad para hacerlo. No es necesario que organices un mitin, aunque si eres capaz de organizar uno, hazlo.

Propósito

Como siempre, el propósito de la manifestación es pedir al Gobierno de Canadá:

  • Reabrir la Comisión de Investigación de Somalia.
  • Reconocer a aquellos cuyas vidas han sido dañadas como resultado de la orden de tomar mefloquina.
  • Poner a disposición fondos para la investigación de una cura y para poner los recursos médicos a disposición de los veteranos que se han visto afectados.

Para quienes viven fuera de Canadá, esta sería una gran oportunidad para aumentar la conciencia sobre la mefloquina en sus países y, al mismo tiempo, pedir a sus propios gobiernos que también tomen medidas sobre este tema. Es probable que miles de veteranos en toda Europa estén sufriendo porque a ellos también les pasó lo mismo. Los esfuerzos de defensa en Irlanda y el Reino Unido están dando voz a los veteranos allí, pero no se puede decir lo mismo de la Europa continental, donde las tasas de PTSD y suicidio entre los veteranos se han disparado a lo largo de los años.

#Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Aún puede mostrar su apoyo y marcar la diferencia sin realizar un mitin. Dondequiera que se encuentre en el mundo el 19 de septiembre, tome una foto de sí mismo sosteniendo un cartel con el hashtag # Veteransmefloquinerally2020 junto con la ubicación en la que se encuentra, y publíquelo en la página de Facebook del Rally de Mefloquina de Veteranos 2020 haciendo clic en el enlace a continuación y luego “Discusión” en la propia página. Tampoco tiene que ser un letrero grande, incluso escribirlo en una hoja de papel con un rotulador bastará.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2626280620800832/?active_tab=about

Sábado 19 de septiembre

El sábado 19 de septiembre, en cualquier lugar del mundo en el que se encuentre, tómese un poco de tiempo para mostrar su apoyo a los veteranos que pagaron un precio muy alto por su servicio, y para hacer saber a los gobiernos que serán responsables de su comportamiento.

O Rally da Mefloquina de Veteranos de 2020 está chegando

Sábado, 19 de setembro #Veteransmefloquinerally2020

3º Rally Anual da Mefloquina de Veteranos em Ottawa 2019

No ano passado, tive a oportunidade de estar em Ottawa para o terceiro Rally da Mefloquina de Veteranos e tive a honra de apresentar Marj Matchee, a força motriz por trás do rali e defensor da mefloquina por muito tempo. Foi uma ocasião memorável para mim e tive a oportunidade de conhecer muitas pessoas pessoalmente pela primeira vez, e estava ansioso para participar novamente no ano seguinte.

As coisas mudaram muito desde o ano passado e, como resultado, o rali não poderia mais ser realizado em Ottawa. Implacável por isso, Marj começou a montar um novo plano. Haverá outro comício, em Edmonton, e ela estará lá para lutar e falar pelos veteranos canadenses e seus entes queridos cujas vidas foram destruídas por causa da mefloquina.

Mas Edmonton não será o único lugar que terá um rali, pois também haverá um em Kingston, Ontário. Também pode haver um ocorrendo na Nova Escócia. Onde quer que você esteja no Canadá, ou no mundo todo, se você quiser fazer uma declaração sobre a mefloquina, esta seria uma grande oportunidade de fazê-lo. Você não tem que fazer um rally, embora se você for capaz de organizar um faça isso.

Objetivo

Como sempre, o objetivo da manifestação é chamar o Governo do Canadá:

  • Reabrir a Comissão de Inquérito da Somália.
  • Para reconhecer aqueles cujas vidas foram prejudicadas como resultado da ordem de tomar mefloquina.
  • Disponibilizar fundos para pesquisas sobre a cura e disponibilizar recursos médicos aos veteranos que foram afetados.

Para aqueles que vivem fora do Canadá, esta seria uma grande oportunidade de aumentar a conscientização sobre a mefloquina em seus países e, ao mesmo tempo, apelar aos seus próprios governos para que tomem medidas também nesta questão. Provavelmente milhares de veteranos em toda a Europa estão sofrendo porque a mesma coisa aconteceu com eles também. Os esforços de advocacy na Irlanda e no Reino Unido estão dando voz aos veteranos lá, mas o mesmo não pode ser dito da Europa continental, onde as taxas de PTSD e suicídio entre veteranos dispararam ao longo dos anos.

#Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Você ainda pode mostrar seu apoio e fazer a diferença sem realizar um rally. Onde quer que você esteja no mundo em 19 de setembro, tire uma foto de você mesmo segurando uma placa com a hashtag # Veteransmefloquinerally2020 junto com o local em que você está e poste na página do Facebook do Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally 2020 clicando no link abaixo e em seguida, “Discussão” na própria página. Também não precisa ser um grande sinal, até mesmo escrevê-lo em um pedaço de papel com um Sharpie já serve.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2626280620800832/?active_tab=about

Sábado, 19 de setembro

No sábado, 19 de setembro, onde quer que você esteja no mundo, dedique um pouco de seu tempo para mostrar seu apoio aos veteranos que pagaram um preço muito alto por seus serviços e para que os governos saibam que serão responsabilizados por seus ações.

Losing My Politics

The time has come for a change.

I have followed politics for a long time, locally, nationally, and internationally, and it has become clear to me, just as it has for countless others in Canada, that some drastic changes need to be made in the way we do politics in this country. Policy decisions that will have an effect on the entire electorate are being made by an elite few within the governing parties at the provincial and federal levels. Our elected representatives do not necessarily represent the views of many of the people that voted for them, they are beholden to their parties and the special interests that fund them.

Over time the ideological divide between these various factions has grown to the point that they are now at such extremes that there is no common ground between them. Their “leaders” are followed blindly by supporters who are unwilling to acknowledge even the most blatant lies and criminality on the part of their political saviours. This has done nothing but bring us to the precupice of civil war and unless some very drastic changes are made, and immediately, this country faces the prospect of destruction.

There are those that would say that democracy has failed and that only by embracing socialism will we be able to save our society. I strongly refute this is would suggest that would is needed is a change in the nature of our democracy. Rather than rejecting democracy as a failure I submit that what we need is to change from a Representative Democracy to a Direct Democracy, such as the Swiss have.

Representative Democracy vs. Direct Democracy

In Switzerland the people have a much greater say in what happens in government, and vote in elections and referndums an average of four times per year. At the heart of direct democracy are three electoral instruments available to citizens. These are:

Popular initiative

The popular initiative gives citizens the right to propose an amendment or addition to the Constitution.  It acts to drive or launch a political debate on a specific issue.  For such an initiative to come about, the signatures of 100,000 voters who support the proposal must be collected within 18 months.  The authorities sometimes respond to an initiative with a direct counter-proposal in the hope that a majority of the people and the cantons support that instead.

Optional referendum

The optional referendum allows the people to demand that any bill approved by the Federal Assembly is put to a nationwide vote.  In order to bring about a national referendum, 50,000 valid signatures must be collected within 100 days of publication of the new legislation..

Mandatory referendum

All constitutional amendments approved by parliament are subject to a mandatory referendum, i.e. they must be put to a nationwide popular vote.   The electorate are also required to approve Swiss membership of specific international organisations.

Discover Switzerland Website
https://www.eda.admin.ch/aboutswitzerland/en/home/politik/uebersicht/direkte-demokratie.html

Back to the Leaderology Lab

It has been a few months since Pat Stogran’s last episode of his Leaderology Lab podcast. He’s been taking some time to enjoy being a grandfather, and I can’t blame him for that at all. I’ve been missing it though and the idea came into my head that perhaps I could give it a shot, and keep the discussion moving forward. I want to define the qualities that real leaders have and examine whether we can see any of these in our politicians today, and to open up a discussion about those things that we need to do in order to make this a better country.

I endorse the Veteran’s Coalition Party.

Home | Keith Rosenberg

It has become abundantly clear that there is no real difference between the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the NDP here in Canada. These parties all represent the same BS that got us into the mess that we are in today. So I am going to be supporting another national alternative in the next election in the form of the Veteran’s Coalition Party Of Canada. Despite being made up of veterans and former first responders the party doesn’t just represent the interests of this particular constituency, it has a plan that will be of benefit to ALL Canadians.

I will also be inviting VCP candidates to speak on the podcast, and because they will not be invited to participate in any of the debates in the next election, I am going to afford them the opportunity to address the debate questions in this forum.

I’ll be talking about this more in the weeks and months ahead in the Leaderology Lab and hope to have things up and running again in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I urge you to consider what I have said here, and to let me know what you think. I hope to have things up and running in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

The Last Hundred Days: Day 25-27

1-3 September – Battle Of The Drocourt-Quéant Line

Photograph of German barbed wire defences at Quéant part of the Hindenburg Line. Date 4 October 1918.
Credit This is photograph is from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (CO 3392)

On September 1st the Canadian corps were able to take a strategic point known as the Crow’s Nest that overlooked a large portion of the D-Q Line, capturing 200 German prisoners along with a number of weapons including dozens of machine guns. The following day the Canadian Corps would begin their assault on the Drocourt-Quéant Line, though many commanders had grave misgivings about it. They would have little time to prepare and wouldn’t be able to rely on greatly needed additional armored or artillery support.

Currie attempted to utilize the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade under Brig. Gen. Raymond Brutinel, however the rough terrain of the battlefied would render them useless and see many damaged or destroyed by machine gun and artillery fire.

Canadian armoured cars going into action at the Battle of Amiens. Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-003016

Amid some of the fiercest fighting to that point the Canadian Corps had managed to breach the D-Q Line across a front 6km wide. The tank companies that had supported the assault would be charged with neutalizing concrete bunkers and machine gun nests as well as helping to clear the thick masses of barbed wire. By the end of the day three more villages would be liberated, and a record seven Canadians would be awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during that day.

By the end of the day on September 3rd the Canadian Corps had pushed the Germans back to their next defensive line, the Canal du Nord, and advanced a total of 8km over the course of the three days of the battle. It would come at a heavy cost as the Corps lost nearly 300 officers and over 5,300 soldiers.

Seven Victoria Crosses Awarded

A single day’s record of seven Canadian soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions on 2 September. Two of them were Americans though, who had come to Canada after the outbreak of war to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Lance Cpl. William Henry Metcalf

Photo of William Henry Metcalf

Born in the US in 1885, Metcalfe came to Canada when the war broke out to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served with the 16th Infantry Battalion. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1916 for his actions during the Battle Of The Somme, and on September 2nd, 1918, he would earn the VC for actions near the village of Cagnicourt. The citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty in attack, when, the right flank of the battalion being held up, he realised the situation and rushed forward under intense machine-gun fire to a passing Tank on the left. With his signal flag he walked in front of the Tank, directing it along the trench in a perfect hail of bullets and bombs. The machine-gun strong points were overcome, very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy, and a very critical situation was relieved.

Later, although wounded, he continued to advance until ordered to get into a shell hole and have his wounds dressed.

His valour throughout was of the highest standard.”

(London Gazette, no.31012, 15 November 1918)

Capt. Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson

Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson

Born at Mount Carmel in 1885, Bellenden Hutcheson graduated medical school from Northwestern University and came to Canada at the breakout of the war, joining the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a medical officer in the 75th Infantry Battalion. He was awarded the VC for his actions treating the wounded under fire on September 2nd. His citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on September 2nd, when under most intense shell, machine-gun and rifle fire, he went through the Quéant-Drocourt Support Line with the battalion. Without hesitation and with utter disregard of personal safety he remained on the field until every wounded man had been attended to. He dressed the wounds of a seriously wounded officer under terrific machine-gun and shell fire, and, with the assistance of prisoners and of his own men, succeeded in evacuating him to safety, despite the fact that the bearer party suffered heavy casualties.

Immediately afterwards he rushed forward, in full view of the enemy, under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, to tend a wounded serjeant, and, having placed him in a shell-hole, dressed his wounds. Captain Hutcheson performed many similar gallant acts, and, by his coolness and devotion to duty, many lives were saved.”

(London Gazette, no.31067, 14 December 1918)

Sources

The Last Hundred Days

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/last-hundred-days?filter=month&month=9

Battle Honours and Honorary Distinctions

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/battle-honours-honorary-distinctions/drocourt-queant.html

The Vimy Foundation

https://www.vimyfoundation.ca/battle-of-the-drocourt-queant-line/

The Last Hundred Days: Day 21-24

28-31 August – The Battle Of The Scarpe

Commander of the Canadian Corps, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, inspecting German guns captured in the Amiens offensive, August, 1918.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-003046 (MIKAN no. 3397919)

Also part of Second Battle of Arras, the Battle of the Scarpe was three days of brutal combat that would see over 250 officers and over 5,500 men of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions fall as casualties. They were able to achieve most of their objectives however and in the process captured 3,300 German prisoners along with over 500 machine guns.

They had managed to advance a further 8km across extremely difficult shell cratered terrain, and through well-fortified German defenses. It would be the prelude to the assault on the main German defensive line, the Drocourt-Queant Line, on September 2nd.

The end is near.

General Currie
General Currie, Commander of the Canadian troops in France, and A.D.C. Location unknown. June, 1917.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001370 (MIKAN no. 3191901)

After the battle, Canadian Corps Commander Lt.Gen. Arthur Currie began to have a sense that the end of the war was nearing. In his personal War Diary he would write that the battle was “One of the war’s greatest triumphs.”

Victoria Cross – Lt.Col. William Hew Clark-Kennedy

William Hew Clark-Kennedy

The Victoria Cross was awarded to the commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Lt.Col. William Hew Clark-Kennedy, for his actions on 27 and 28 August. His citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and skilful leading on the 27th and 28th August, 1918, when in command of his battalion.

On the 27th he led his battalion with great bravery and skill from Crow and Aigrette trenches in front of Wancourt to the attack on the Fresnes-Rouvroy line.  From the outset the brigade, of which the 24th Battalion was a central unit, came under very heavy shell and machine-gun fire, suffering many casualties, especially amongst leaders.  Units became partially disorganised and the advance was checked.  Appreciating the vital importance to the brigade front of a lead by the centre, and undismayed by annihilating fire, Lt.-Col. Clark-Kennedy, by sheer personality and initiative, inspired his men and led them forward.  On several occasions he set an outstanding example by leading parties straight at the machine-gun nests which were holding up the advance and overcame these obstacles.

By controlling the direction of neighbouring units and collecting men who had lost their leaders, he rendered valuable services in strengthening the line, and enabled the whole brigade front to move forward.

By the afternoon, very largely due to the determined leadership of this officer and disregard for his own life, his battalion, despite heavy losses, has made good the maze of trenches west of Cherisy and Cherisy Village, had crossed the Sensee Rivert bed, and had occupied Occident Trench in front of the heavy wire of the Fresnes-Rouvroy line; under continuous fire he then went up and down his line until far into the night, improving the position, giving wonderful encouragement to his men, and sent back very clear reports.

On the next day he again showed valorous leadership in the attack on the Fresnes-Rouvroy line and Upton Wood.  Though severely wounded soon after the start he refused aid, and dragged himself to a shell-hole, from which he could observe.  Realising that his exhausted troops could advance no further he established a strong line of defence and thereby prevented the loss of most important ground.  Despite intense pain and serious loss of blood he refused to be evacuated for over five hours, by which time he had established the line in a position from which it was possible for the relieving troops to continue the advance.

It is impossible to overestimate the results achieved by the valour and leadership of this officer.”

(London Gazette, no.31067, 14 December 1918)
Sources

Veteran’s Affairs Canada – The Last Hundred Days

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/last-hundred-days?filter=month&month=8

Library and Archives Canada

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/canada-first-world-war/Pages/arras.aspx

Battle Honours and Honorary Distinctions

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/battle-honours-honorary-distinctions/scarpe-1918.html

Il rally Mefloquine del veterano 2020 è proprio dietro l’angolo

Sabato 19 settembre #Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Terzo Rally Mefloquine annuale dei veterani a Ottawa 2019

L’anno scorso ho avuto l’opportunità di essere a Ottawa per il terzo raduno annuale di Mefloquine per veterani e ho avuto l’onore di presentare Marj Matchee, la forza trainante del rally e da lungo tempo sostenitore della meflochina. È stata un’occasione memorabile per me e ho avuto la possibilità di incontrare molte persone di persona per la prima volta, e non vedevo l’ora di partecipare di nuovo l’anno successivo.

Le cose sono cambiate molto dallo scorso anno e di conseguenza il rally non ha potuto più svolgersi a Ottawa. Imperterrito da questo, Marj si mise a mettere insieme un nuovo piano. Ci sarà un altro raduno, a Edmonton, e lei sarà lì per combattere e parlare per quei veterani canadesi e i loro cari le cui vite sono state distrutte a causa della meflochina.

Ma Edmonton non sarà l’unico posto in cui si terrà un rally perché ce ne sarà uno anche a Kingston, in Ontario. Potrebbe anche essercene uno in Nuova Scozia. Ovunque tu sia in Canada, o nel mondo per quella materia, se vuoi fare una dichiarazione sulla meflochina, questa sarebbe una grande opportunità per farlo. Non è necessario organizzare un raduno, ma se sei in grado di organizzarne uno con tutti i mezzi fallo.

Scopo

Come sempre lo scopo della manifestazione è chiamare il governo del Canada:

  • Per riaprire la Commissione d’inchiesta somala.
  • Per riconoscere coloro le cui vite sono state danneggiate a seguito dell’ordine di prendere meflochina.
  • Per mettere a disposizione fondi per la ricerca su una cura e per mettere a disposizione risorse mediche per i veterani che sono stati colpiti.

Per coloro che vivono al di fuori del Canada, questa sarebbe una grande opportunità per aumentare la consapevolezza della meflochina nei vostri paesi, invitando anche i vostri governi ad agire su questo problema. Migliaia di veterani in tutta Europa probabilmente stanno soffrendo perché la stessa cosa è successa anche a loro. Gli sforzi di advocacy in Irlanda e nel Regno Unito stanno dando voce ai veterani lì, ma lo stesso non si può dire per l’Europa continentale, dove i tassi di PTSD e suicidio tra i veterani sono saliti alle stelle nel corso degli anni.

#Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Puoi ancora mostrare il tuo sostegno e fare la differenza senza organizzare una manifestazione. Ovunque tu sia nel mondo il 19 settembre, scatta una foto di te stesso con in mano un cartello con l’hashtag # Veteransmefloquinerally2020 insieme al luogo in cui ti trovi e pubblicalo sulla pagina Facebook del Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally 2020 facendo clic sul link sottostante e quindi “Discussione” nella pagina stessa. Non deve nemmeno essere un grande segno, anche scriverlo su un pezzo di carta con un pennarello andrà bene.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2626280620800832/?active_tab=about

Sabato 19 settembre

Sabato 19 settembre, ovunque tu sia nel mondo, prenditi un po ‘di tempo per mostrare il tuo sostegno a quei veterani che hanno pagato un prezzo molto alto per il loro servizio e per far sapere ai governi che saranno ritenuti responsabili per il loro servizio. Azioni.

A 2020-os veterán mefloquine rallyja csak a sarkon van

Szeptember 19., szombat #Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Harmadik éves veterán mefloquine rally 2019-ben Ottawában

Tavaly volt alkalmam Ottawában lenni a harmadik éves Veterán Mefloquine Rally-n, és megtiszteltetés volt bemutatni Marj Matchee-t, a rally és a mefloquine szószólója mögött meghúzódó mozgatórugót. Ez egy emlékezetes alkalom számomra, és a legelső alkalommal lehetőségem volt találkozni sok emberrel személyesen, és nagyon vártam, hogy újra részt vehetek a következő évben.

A dolgok sokat változtak a tavaly óta, és ennek eredményeként a rallyt már nem lehetett Ottawában megtartani. Ennek tudatában Marj új terv elkészítését tervezte. Utolsó rendezvény lesz Edmontonban, és ott lesz, hogy harcoljon és szóljon azokért a kanadai veteránokért és szeretteikért, akik életét a meflokvin miatt elpusztították.

De Edmonton nem lesz az egyetlen hely, ahol versenyt rendeznek, hiszen Kingstonban, Ontarioban is lesz hely. Lehet, hogy egy Nova Scotia-ban is zajlik. Bárhol is tartózkodsz Kanadában vagy az egész világon, ha nyilatkozatot akarsz tenni a mefloquinról, ez nagyszerű lehetőség erre. Nem kell rendezvényt tartania, bár ha mindenképp képes megszervezni, akkor azt is meg kell tennie.

Célja

Mint mindig, a gyülekezés célja Kanada kormányának felhívása:

  • A szomáliai vizsgálóbizottság újbóli megnyitása.
  • Elismerni azokat, akiknek az életét megrongálta a meflokin szedése.
  • A finanszírozás rendelkezésre bocsátása a gyógymód kutatására és az egészségügyi források rendelkezésre bocsátására az érintett veteránok számára.

Kanadán kívül élők számára ez nagyszerű lehetőség lenne a mefloquine tudatosság növelésére az Ön országaiban, miközben felhívja a saját kormányait, hogy tegyenek lépéseket e kérdésben is. Európában veteránok ezrei valószínűleg szenvednek, mert ugyanaz történt velük is. Az Írországban és az Egyesült Királyságban folytatott érdekképviseleti erőfeszítések hangot adnak az ottani veteránoknak, de ugyanez nem mondható el a kontinentális Európáról, ahol a PTSD és az veteránok öngyilkosságai az évek során rohamosan növekedtek.

#Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Mégis megmutathatja támogatását és változást hozhat anélkül, hogy rallyt tartana. Bárhol is van a világ szeptember 19-én, készítsen képet arról, hogy tartsa-e a táblán a hashtagot # Veteransmefloquinerally2020, a tartózkodási helyével együtt, és tegye közzé a Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally 2020 Facebook oldalán az alábbi linkre kattintva, és majd a „Megbeszélés” maga az oldal. Ennek nem is kell nagy jelnek lennie, még akkor is, ha azt Sharpie-val egy papírlapra kiírja.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2626280620800832/?active_tab=about

Szeptember 19., szombat

Szeptember 19-én, szombaton, bárhol is legyen a világon, szánjon egy kis időt arra, hogy mutassa támogatását azoknak a veteránoknak, akik nagyon mély árat fizettek szolgálatukért, és tudassa a kormányokkal, hogy felelősségre vonják őket cselekvések.

Die Mefloquine-Rallye des Veteranen 2020 steht vor der Tür

Samstag, 19. September #Veteransmefloquinerally2020

jährliche Veteranen-Mefloquin-Rallye in Ottawa 2019

Letztes Jahr hatte ich die Gelegenheit, an der dritten jährlichen Veteranen-Mefloquin-Rallye in Ottawa teilzunehmen, und hatte die Ehre, Marj Matchee vorzustellen, die treibende Kraft hinter der Rallye und langjähriger Mefloquin-Anwalt. Es war ein unvergesslicher Anlass für mich und ich hatte die Gelegenheit, viele Menschen zum ersten Mal persönlich zu treffen, und ich freute mich darauf, im nächsten Jahr wieder dabei zu sein.

Die Dinge haben sich seit letztem Jahr sehr verändert und infolgedessen konnte die Rallye nicht mehr in Ottawa abgehalten werden. Unbeeindruckt davon machte sich Marj daran, einen neuen Plan zusammenzustellen. In Edmonton wird es eine weitere Kundgebung geben, und sie wird dort sein, um für die kanadischen Veteranen und ihre Angehörigen zu kämpfen und sich für sie einzusetzen, deren Leben durch Mefloquin zerstört wurde.

Aber Edmonton wird nicht der einzige Ort sein, an dem eine Kundgebung stattfindet, da es auch eine in Kingston, Ontario, geben wird. Möglicherweise findet auch eine in Nova Scotia statt. Wo immer Sie sich in Kanada oder auf der ganzen Welt befinden, wenn Sie eine Erklärung zu Mefloquin abgeben möchten, ist dies eine großartige Gelegenheit, dies zu tun. Sie müssen keine Kundgebung abhalten, aber wenn Sie in der Lage sind, eine auf jeden Fall zu organisieren, tun Sie dies.

Zweck

Wie immer ist der Zweck der Kundgebung, die kanadische Regierung aufzurufen:

  • Wiedereröffnung der Untersuchungskommission von Somalia.
  • Anerkennung derer, deren Leben durch den Befehl zur Einnahme von Mefloquin beschädigt wurde.
  • Bereitstellung von Finanzmitteln für die Erforschung eines Heilmittels und Bereitstellung medizinischer Ressourcen für betroffene Veteranen.

Für diejenigen, die außerhalb Kanadas leben, wäre dies eine großartige Gelegenheit, das Bewusstsein für Mefloquin in Ihren Ländern zu stärken und gleichzeitig Ihre eigenen Regierungen aufzufordern, auch in diesem Bereich Maßnahmen zu ergreifen. Tausende Veteranen in ganz Europa leiden wahrscheinlich, weil ihnen auch das Gleiche passiert ist. Die Advocacy-Bemühungen in Irland und Großbritannien geben den Veteranen dort eine Stimme, aber das Gleiche gilt nicht für Kontinentaleuropa, wo die Rate von PTBS und Selbstmord unter Veteranen im Laufe der Jahre in die Höhe geschossen ist.

#Veteransmefloquinerally2020

Sie können immer noch Ihre Unterstützung zeigen und etwas bewirken, ohne eine Rallye abzuhalten. Wo immer Sie sich am 19. September auf der Welt befinden, machen Sie ein Foto von sich selbst mit einem Schild mit dem Hashtag # Veteransmefloquinerally2020 und dem Ort, an dem Sie sich befinden, und veröffentlichen Sie es auf der Facebook-Seite der Veteranen-Mefloquine-Rallye 2020, indem Sie auf den unten stehenden Link und klicken dann “Diskussion” auf der Seite selbst. Es muss auch kein großes Zeichen sein, selbst wenn Sie es mit einem Sharpie auf ein Stück Papier schreiben, reicht dies aus.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2626280620800832/?active_tab=about

Samstag, 19. September

Nehmen Sie sich am Samstag, dem 19. September, wo immer Sie sich auf der Welt befinden, ein wenig Zeit, um Ihre Unterstützung für die Veteranen zu zeigen, die einen sehr hohen Preis für ihren Dienst bezahlt haben, und um die Regierungen wissen zu lassen, dass sie für ihre Dienste zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden Aktionen.