To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:

To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:

MP Jagmeet Singh taught us something about Canada this week.

For anyone who hadn’t heard about it: In response to growing global concern about systemic racism, especially with regards to policing, including mounting global protests on the Issue, Member of Parliament and PoC Jagmeet Singh proposed a motion addressing systemic racism in the RCMP.

The RCMP or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (and no they don’t ALL ride horses) is akin to the FBI. They are the Federal policing agency, though in provinces like BC which doesn’t have it’s own Provincial police force they may also provide additional policing services.
Mr. Singh’s proposal would recognize that racism exists in the RCMP, would review their funding, as well as demand their reports regarding the use of force. Mr. Singh brought up that just in the last short while many Indigenous people had been the victims of violence at the hands of RCMP officers.

That racism exists in the RCMP is not really a new revelation. Some of us remember the Starlight Tours, where Indigenous peoples in Canada were left to freeze to death by the police. Some of us remember the findings of various commissions and reports that consistently pointed out issues with racism within the ranks of the RCMP and especially in their dealings with Indigenous communities.

Mr. Singh’s proposal was met with a single consenting vote, from the leader of the Bloq Quebecois. The Bloq has had a long racist history. They are among those who have proposed laws restricting access to public spaces and government services to people who wear religious garb like a head scarf. They’re basically conservatives with a Quebec accent.
Mr. Jagmeet Singh then proceeded to call Alain Therrien a racist.

I believe this to have been a calculated decision on Mr. Singh’s part. I think he was teaching us a VERY IMPORTANT lesson that we need to make sure we pay attention to.

In the last few weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee in acknowledgement of the protests and in support of Black Lives Matters. A big gesture in support of Civil Rights, but a gesture nonetheless.

As Prime Minister, Trudeau has the podium and the influence to make big changes in Canada. But he won’t even do the work of calling out and rooting out racism from within his own House. He won’t address the fact that white people are overwhelmingly over-represented among the members of Parliament and the Senate. More than one MP currently sitting in Government have shown support or given dog-whistles to white supremacist organizations. Our Oh-So-Brave Prime Minister won’t even call a racist, a racist.

Canadians like to pretend that racism doesn’t happen here. We loudly brag about the fact that the Underground Railroad led here to Canada, where we have no history of slavery.  We like to pretend that when racism does happen, then those who are its victim can be confident of support.

So here we have a Member of Parliament for whom Racism is not a theoretical problem. This Man of Colour spoke a truth everyone already knew, calling the one person to object to saying that there is racism in the RCMP, a racist. Here was a person who knows what it is to be a victim of racism saying out loud “this person is a racist.”

And as I’m sure he fully expected when he chose to speak the truth: He was Punished for it. Meanwhile, the person being racist, faced no consequence, not even an acknowledgement from other members of the house that yes, he is in fact a racist.

The truth of the matter is that in Canada, it is still worse to call someone a racist than to actually be a racist. That calling attention to racism when you are a person of colour, is to invite punishment. While a white man takes a knee and receives praise, a Brown man stands for the truth and is silenced by the same people demanding praise for their anti-racism. We are being shown right now what systemic racism looks like, what it acts like.

Jagmeet Singh took a stand against racism. I will not give my vote or support to anyone who doesn’t choose to stand with him in this moment.

Sincerely,

Ania Bula

To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:
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Dobranoc Babciu

I received a phone call early this morning from my father: his mother Lidia Bula née Pardon, my beloved grandmother, had passed away at the age of 91.

This has been especially hard on my Father. Around 30 years ago, when I was just a toddler, he lost his father Andrzej to a surprise heart attack. At the time, my father’s immigration status in Canada was still under application, meaning he couldn’t leave the country without risking not being granted re-entry. With a wife and new daughter here in Canada with him, it was a risk he couldn’t take. He had to miss his father’s funeral and the chance to see his face one final time.

Now 30 years later he loses his mother, and circumstances again steal from him the opportunity to say good-bye. Mine too for that matter.

Continue reading “Dobranoc Babciu”

Dobranoc Babciu

April 2020

My first semester of Agriculture Technology is finished. I’m taking a summer course, which means I get to stay out West for now, which is lucky cause I cannot imagine trying to navigate getting to Ontario in the middle of this. Not to mention, that BC seems to have a much smaller number of cases than Ontario, which for someone on immunosuppressants that make me in particular at risk of upper respiratory infections, is kind of a big deal.

This whole thing has been weird and scary to navigate. I’m trying to balance the need to feel in control by educating myself as much as possible with trying to not actively freak myself out by facing just how fucked I could end up being if I get sick, not to mention the fact that I’m likely to get sick eventually. It’s not been great for my anxiety, but weirdly, most of the time I’m managing.

Continue reading “April 2020”

April 2020

Some Pictures of Beautiful British Columbia

As a way to share some of the better aspects of living here, here are some pictures from BC, most of which are from the last few days and some socially isolating long drives and fishing trips.

Gallery

Delicious Homemade Broth

There is something quintessentially evocative of a Polish home, at least to me, about a big pot of stock simmering on the stove. Growing up, we would make stock at least once a week, and sometimes even more than that. We would have ingredients for stock prepped and frozen in the freezer so we could put together soup whenever we ran out of the bits already made.

Store bought, just can’t compare to the taste I grew up with.

If you have any kind of meat bones lying around, chicken, pork, beef, cuts of freezer burned meat, they can all be tossed together into a pot and simmered into the kind of soup that’s perfect for when you are under the weather, outright sick, or just craving something homey.

With everything going on, I thought I would share the family recipe for stock. If you are feeling adventurous and want to give it a kick, when roasting the bones, smoke them instead. It will add a smoky flavour to your broth.

Chicken Stock Continue reading “Delicious Homemade Broth”

Delicious Homemade Broth

Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst

I grew up on liverwurst sandwiches. I love a slice of rye or sourdough, spread with some liverwurst, some tomato, and a slice of pickle. It’s my favourite sandwich, for all that I was mocked at school for eating them let alone liking them.

I am kinda picky about the kind I like though. I hate it when it’s coarse, or in any way gritty. I don’t even add THAT much to my sandwich, preferring a thin layer. When it comes to other forms of liver, I’m not a fan. The smell, taste, and texture are not really things that appeal to me.

When the opportunity came up to get my hands on a whole pig, one of the first things I thought of was getting a chance to try my hand at making my own. NOT for the faint of heart, let me tell you.

To start with, there are MANY different schools of though around ingredients, fillers, and so on. Different techniques, spice mixes, and so on. It can get overwhelming trying to figure out what and how to try. So those of you who know me won’t be surprised to hear that my decision was to sort of try it all at once. xD Luckily this porker had a BIG LIVER (easily 2 KG).

What do I need to get at the Store?

The base recipe that I finally settled on includes the following.

  • 500 g Liver
  • 500 g Pork Fat
  • ½ Onion pureed
  • 1-2 large cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp Cure 1
  • 35g salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 slices sourdough
  • 2 slices buttermilk potato
  • 3-4 roasted chestnuts
  • 1 cup of water

Your choice of assorted spices

I then added different ingredient variations to see what worked and what didn’t.
I find the flavor to be pretty versatile, so that a lot of different interesting additions work surprisingly well. Just think of what you like on your sandwich and what you like with pork and have at it!

Continue reading “Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst”

Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst

Greetings From BC

CN: Description of mild medical procedure and wound care, mention of needles.

So much has happened in the last month.

I made it to BC with remarkably little trouble. My birds came through ok, CJ was a darling quiet girl on the plane, and my stuff arrived just a few days after I did.  The move itself went remarkably smoothly. The guys who came to load up the truck were nice and very professional. They loaded everything up in under an hour. When the truck arrived here, everything was unloaded nice and quick too. All my stuff arrived in one piece and all of it arrived. Continue reading “Greetings From BC”

Greetings From BC

Baba Yaga’s School for Abandoned Girls (Part 6)

Previous Chapter

They were led through a strange sort of village. All the buildings were the hollowed-out trunks of house-sized mushrooms. Some houses had neat little fences keeping in what looked like strange, one-eyed roosters, except that what should have been tail feathers were actually hissing snakes.

“Miniature cockatrice?” asked Iskra, to which all the other girls shrugged, unsure themselves.

As they walked through the community, villagers stopped and stared. Younglings peered around skirts and walls to get a better look while staying out of sight. All four of them felt weirdly on display and were eager to get to the queen.

They arrived at what had to be the palace. Where the rest of the houses in the village were toadstools, this building appeared to be hollowed out from a giant white mushroom none of them could identify. It had a thick inner trunk rising up to a deep pointed cap. Two smaller stems rose up from the front like columns, and along the sides were more thin stems that evoked towers and turrets.

Their guide hurried them along through the large doors and into the main hall. Although not sure what to expect in the palace of a giant ant queen, they certainly had not expected a series of counters with long lines of ant- people waiting to be seen. Behind the counters were the most clerk-seeming ants they had ever seen. Which was unusual since none of them had ever considered the possibility of a clerk-seeming ant.

Their guide marched resolutely to the table in the center, making rapid hand motions at the clerk ant behind the counter. They both turned to look at the witches in their presence, before going back to talking at each other too quick for Anna’s translator scribe. Finally, the ant at the table stood up and scurried through a large door at the back of the hall.

– “It will just be a moment.” Signed their guide.

The clerk-ant returned and beckoned them forward.

They followed down an ornamental hallway filled with pictures of ants wearing crowns and holding ornamental scepters, before entering what looked like a grand library. There was a large desk, and a small ant, bent over a pile of paperwork.

You’re majesty? Translated the scribe spirit.

Yes, Yes, what is it?

You’re majesty, we found these four witches in our fields. We don’t know what they’re saying, and we thought perhaps you might be able to understand them.

-Oh, Hmmm, yes one moment, let me get the crown.

The queen began rummaging through the various drawers of the desk, pulling out all sorts of strange artifacts, and finally a circlet with a golden shaggy mane encrusted with garnets. With the crown firmly in place, all three ants turned expectantly towards the thoroughly bemused witches and waited.

“Um… Hi?” ventured Iskra.

“Greetings oh Midnight Acolytes of the Dread Boney-Legged –“ replied the queen, to the shock of all but Anna who was still looking at what the spirit scribe was transcribing.

“Midnight Acolytes?” whispered Kasia.

“I like it” responded Lidiya in hushed tones.

“I am Queen Adam, elected leader of the Shaggy Mane ant Village.”

“elected?” replied Kasia

“Yes! We did away with the system that determined that the ability to procreate meant you were divinely inspired to rule and instead we began to chose leaders in a yearly election. This will actually be my 8th year as Queen.”

“Fascinating! So were you a linguist or a translator previously?”

“Hmmm? Oh! No. Actually the crown has a language spell that which translates into the appropriate language of any visitors and vice versa, granting our monarch the ability to communicate at need.”

Their original guide ant clicked, in a way much like someone would clear their throats.

“Oh, yes, right, where was I. Dread acolytes of the Boney Midnight-Legged, my greetings… Why are you here?”

“We’re following a knight who stole something very dear to us.” Replied Iskra.

“And you tracked him to our village?”

“No.  We were trying to figure out which exit he had used when the rain caught us and we set up camp for the night. We had no idea we were by a village at all.”

“Oh.”

“You aren’t hiding him are you?” asked Lidiya, teasingly.

“Oh no Dread Lady. We’re only obligated to help him if he saves the queen. Otherwise we mostly spend our time farming Bantam Cockatrice for trade at the Great Antish Fair.”

“So many questions and so little time.” Whispered Anna.

“Do you perchance keep tabs on the comings and goings from the forest?”

“Why yes Dread Lady” said Queen Adam excitedly, beckoning them before disappearing among the various stacks of books. “Here we are” called his voice from among the rows, and they finally found him with a large volume in hand. “Invocation of Vasilia’s ruse, mounted knight… exited through the Morel Grove, which was partway through it’s quadrennial East-West Migration.”

“Great! Can someone show us where that would be?”

“We can have someone take you to the last known location of the grove, and point out the usual route if it’s not there. But it will have to wait till we leave for the fair in two weeks. At the moment we do not have an ant to spare as the toads are about to finish hatching the eggs and we will need all hands on deck to help take care of the chicks.”

“Two weeks! We can’t wait that long. By that point who knows what they will have done to Baba Yaga!”

“We might have a map somewhere, but they tend to not be very useful what with the landscape constantly changing.” The clerkish little queen scurried off down another aisle of books before diving into a section of stacked scrolls. He busily pulled out one after another, checking it’s contents, reshelving, and pulling out another one.

So absorbed in finding what he was looking for, he didn’t notice that the shelf was starting to sway from the furtive search. The wood creaked ominously, and there was a faint fluttering of paper. Still the queen kept furiously searching through the stacks. Finally with one loud crack, the bookshelf tipped and started to fall, and so did all the scrolls.

With a loud shot, Iskra stuck out her wand and froze everything in place.

Scrolls hung half out of their numbered cubbyholes as the shelf hung suspended at a dangerous angle. Concentrating furiously, the fiery witch tipped the bookshelf back into its correct position, and guided the scrolls back securely into their spots. After a few minutes’ effort, everything was back in its original place, while the ant queen looked at them in complete stunned horror.

“Oh, my goodness, you saved me!”

“Not really, the shelf wouldn’t have fallen on you.”

“Not THAT. Do you have any idea how long it would have taken to put everything back? Not to mention all the forms that would have had to have been filled out about the incident, the repair requests, the reports, I would have been absolutely DROWNING in paperwork! You really saved my life here.”

“Um… don’t worry about it. It was my pleasure.”

“No no, I am honour bound to repay you for saving me. Let me think. I really can’t afford to spare any ants during this harvest. Oh wait I know! My most splendiferous dread lady heroes, I will give you the Morell Compass!”

“Moral compass?”

“No no, Morell. It points to the location of the largest cluster of Morell’s in the surrounding forest. In a regular forest, it would be where to harvest them, but here. Here it should take you directly to where the grove is now. It is one of the prized treasury items which are mine to distribute at need. I will have my clerks find it, while we prepare you a mighty feast of our best assorted sweets in preparation for you long journey.”

With that pronouncement, the queen rang a little bell that suddenly appeared in his hand, and they were immediately surrounded by excited ants taking instructions, while the witches looked on bemused.

Baba Yaga’s School for Abandoned Girls (Part 6)

SO MUCH TO DO!

Things have been intense.

As I mentioned, I was accepted to UFV to study Agricultural Technology.

It’s a really exciting move for a lot of different reasons.

The program itself seems amazing. Part of it includes a certification in Livestock production with many of the classes involving actually working hands on with different animals. So far everyone I’ve met in the department is really nice and helpful. When I was visiting my boyfriend, they even showed us around the school barn building where they had piglets and chickens, and a whole greenhouse full of student grown projects.

It would mean a chance not just to learn about farming both from the technical side and business side, but also means a chance to make connections with the agricultural community itself which could mean opportunities to fulfill my dream of a little piece of land to farm and live on. Continue reading “SO MUCH TO DO!”

SO MUCH TO DO!