Thursday, September 1, 2016



 It was the opening of the 2016 Ex. Of course we had a provincial cabinet minister there or else the Liberals wouldn't give the CNE any help.
You sort of get back a little of what you pay and pay for.
I was staring up at someone identified as The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Minister Responsible for Accessibility and Member of Provincial Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, and wondered why I had never heard of her before.
After decades of spending most of my waking time with politicians, I got to know most of them so well I knew their middle name (which was often the mother's maiden name.) But now we have a new host of anonymous political celebrities, a new crop who love to use the honorific of "honourable" even if the public and the media don't.
Imagine trying to get all that on a sign, providing that you would want to create a sign for MacCharles who managed to drone through a speech written by an aide which made the usual mistake of saying the Ex started in 1879 as an agricultural fair.
Actually it didn't. Industry was first in the title and that was what was stressed. People wanted to see the first public lights and other wonders of the coming electric age, and cows and horses and plants were boring stuff by comparison. (There was a history of the Ex written for the centennial and I say it's an interesting book even if I did write part myself.)
MacCharles demonstrated the normal Grit pandering to all minorities real and imagined by pointing out that the ceremony just inside the Princes' Gates was held on ancient native land.
Actually it isn't.
Various native groups have been claiming great chunks of Toronto for years, trying to make us forget that great chunks of Toronto were actually created by landfill by the hated white folks.
For example, there was a native claim for Toronto Island.  You don't have to be much of a geographer or historian to know that the island chain was actually a peninsula until a storm broke through an eastern channel around 1859. These islands were formed by sand drifting from the Scarborough Bluffs and from muck ripped from the bottom of the harbour. More than 50% of the islands are man-made by dredging.
If MacCharles really cared, she could have looked to her left and seen what we used to call the Automotive Building standing firmly on land created from the lake. The old shoreline headed north from where Stanley Barracks sat on the water's edge and went up to the "new" Fort York.
 Everything behind her was under water when some natives meandered around here, although there was a Western University study years ago that showed for a century ending with the French around 1750, there were few natives living in and north of the Toronto area.
Takes me back to my first newspaper job in the Yukon where the natives were busy with land claims even though everyone knew that their ancestors, not being nuts, didn't live in the inhospitable territory where only the scenery is easy.
It's the great sleeping issue of politics. Any politician and media organization that doesn't realize it will be in trouble.
I predict that in a few years, there will be a revolt by all the descendants of immigrants who came later against the demands of natives who said they were here first. As digs throughout North America are showing, they weren't first, they just killed those who were.

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