Kellie Leitch: An Example of “New Racism”

On Sept 7, 2016 Kellie Leitch posted a tweet in which she shared an article that appeared in Macleans magazine.  The article set out her proposal to vet all newcomers to Canada for “anti-Canadian values”.

On January 29, 2017 six Muslim men were murdered in a Quebec mosque by a white Canadian man who apparently harboured anti-Muslim, anti-immigration views.

Kellie Leitch tweeted that her “thoughts and prayers” were with “the victims”.  She did not mention the fact that the victims were Muslim or that they’d been murdered in a mosque.  Their identities had been erased.

Her “thoughts and prayers” tweet appeared directly beneath her Sept 7, 2016 tweet urging supporters to READ LIKE & SHARE the Macleans article which described her anti-Canadian values screening process.

The screening proposal

On Feb 2, a few days after the slaughter in the mosque, Ms Leitch doubled down on her proposal in a lengthy Facebook post describing her plan “to screen all immigrants, refugees, and visitors to Canada for Canadian values with face-to-face interviews with a trained immigration officer.”

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Kellie Leitch MP

Her plan is based on the following premise:

“Canadians are proud of their country.  They are proud of our unified identity and they are proud of shared, historic values.”

 “our unified identity”

Until Ms Leitch coined the term, Canadians weren’t aware that they had a unified identity.

Canadians have had a hard time pinning down their Canadian identity (unlike many older countries, Canada’s identity is not synonymous with a dominant ethnic group, for example Germans in Germany) let alone a unified Canadian identity…but that didn’t stop Ms Leitch from deciding we had one.

 “shared, historic values”

Ms Leitch says our shared, historic values are “hard work, generosity, freedom, tolerance, equality of individuals, and equality of opportunity”.  She says these are “civic values, not ethnic ones” and all those who subscribe to them are welcome in Canada regardless of where they were born.

What Ms Leitch defines as “values” are either personality traits (I work hard/you are a slacker, I am generous/you are miserly) or fundamental rights guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They are not values which are defined as individual principles or standards of behavior.

Protecting “values”

Ms Leitch says Canadians want a leader (Ms Leitch) who will “protect and promote our unified identity (as defined by Ms Leitch) and these shared values (as defined by Ms Leitch).”

She implies these Canadian values are under siege because hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees are admitted to Canada each year via a flawed immigration system.

She bases her argument on a book, Points of Entry: How Canada’s Visa Officers Decide Who Gets In, written by Dr Vic Satzewich, a sociology professor at McMaster University.

Ms Leitch claims that Dr Satzewich’s research supports her position that immigration officers, as the first line of defense of Canadian values, should conduct face-to-face interviews with all newcomers to determine whether they harbour anti-Canadian values.

Unfortunately for Ms Leitch, Dr Satzewich vehemently disagrees with her characterization of his work.    

In a letter to the Globe & Mail published on Feb 2, 2017, Dr Satzewich said “Kellie Leitch wrongly promotes [my book] to justify her proposal to screen immigrants for Canadian values”.  He says Ms Leitch should read “even more sociology”, and offers his book Racism in Canada in which he discusses “the notion of “new racism,” which is a way that politicians are able to use code words to talk about race and justify racist ideas and policies without explicitly using racial terms.”

Dr Satzewich says new racism informed Margaret Thatcher’s “anti-immigrant discourse” and is a key part of Donald Trump’s approach to immigration, and makes this solemn promise:  “Rest assured that I will use Dr Leitch and her proposal in the next edition as a Canadian example.”

Dog-whistle politics

Ms Leitch says her plan is not racist because it applies equally to all applicants including white supremacists who want to enter Canada. This is bizarre because white supremacists are already here—they’re the ones endorsing Ms Leitch’s screening plan to keep immigrants out.

If Ms Leitch doesn’t realize she’s using “new racism” to deliver racist messages to white supremacists she lacks the sensitivity and the judgment to become the next leader of the CPC.

If Ms Leitch knows she’s using “new racism” to attract supporters she’s engaging in dog-whistle politics and lacks the integrity to become the next leader of the CPC.

In either case it’s time for conservative voters to count her out.

Posted in Law, Politics and Government, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Three Reasons Why Jason Kenney is Scarier Than Donald Trump

Twitter exploded last night.

Thousands of demonstrators jammed American airports to protest Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the US.

Refugees traveling with valid documentation, permanent residents with green cards, temporary workers on visas, and dual citizens were detained, some were deported.

ACLU lawyers fanned across the country, meeting with detainees, preparing habeas corpus applications and stay applications and going to court at midnight to argue their case.

Judges issued orders and some customs officials violated them saying they “reported to Trump” not the courts.  Goodbye checks and balances, the rule of law, and the Constitution.

Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his support for the refugees. Premier Notley said “Alberta has always been welcoming to those seeking refuge and that will not change.”

Then Jason Kenney chimed in.

He did not express concern for the detainees or support for the demonstrators, the ACLU lawyers or even the Premier who confirmed Alberta would welcome those seeking refuge.

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Jason Kenney

Instead he tweeted nonsense like this:

“Kudos to conservative Republic Congressman @justinamash for challenging the President’s bizarre and counterproductive Executive Order” Trump’s EO is more than “bizarre” and “counterproductive”.  It’s inhumane and unconstitutional. 

“Republicans in Congress who (rightly) challenged President Obama for making law through EOs should now challenge President Trump’s EO.”  What’s Obama got to do with this?

“The USA is and should be our closest ally, but our first obligation is to defend the interests of Canadians & Albertans.”  What????

These tweets illustrate why Jason Kenney is more dangerous than Trump:

  1. Kenney is smarter than Trump

Unlike Trump, Kenney does not make misogynist, racist, xenophobic, or homophobic comments.  He attracts misogynists, racists, xeonophobes, and homophobes and they do it for him.

When challenged about their behavior he responds with a “tut-tut” and posts a photo of himself at an ethnic celebration.  Meanwhile the harassment continues.  Case in point:  Sandra Jansen and Stephen Kahn abandoned the PC leadership race in part because they’d been targeted by misogynist, racist idiots.

  1. Kenney is more effective at manipulating conservatives than Trump

Brian Jean says it’s impossible to form a stand alone new conservative party.

He’s right.  The only way to “merge” the PCs with the Wildrose is to merge the PCs into the Wildrose and give it a new name.  How about the Alberta Conservative Party (Alt-Con?)

The Chief Electoral Officer agrees.

The issue here isn’t that Kenney doesn’t understand that the Wildrose will forfeit $2 million in assets if Kenney pursues his dream of a “new” conservative party, it’s that he’s too pig headed to admit that Brian Jean is right.

Kenney insists the matter is up for debate and his supporters believe him.  This lack of critical thinking on the part of his supporters does not bode well for Alberta.

  1. Kenney is more cynical than Trump    

Kenney wants to slow down the merger process but hasn’t said why.

If he’s elected PC leader, he wants the merged party to be formed in the fall and the leadership race to occur in the spring of 2018.

Jean says this is too late.  (Reg Downs, one of the chief architects of Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party, would agree with him).  Jean wants the merged party to be in place by this summer and the leadership race to take place in the fall of 2017.

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Brian Jean

Jean’s is moving six months faster than Kenney.  Jean’s plan ensures the new party will have a leader going into the 2017 Legislature and gives the party additional time to get its act together and prepare for the 2019 general election.

Makes sense but Kenney won’t buy it.

Why?  Because Kenney isn’t convinced he’ll win the leadership of the merged conservative party.  It’s one thing to defeat PC leadership candidates with delegate slates stacked with Wildrose members, it’s quite another to take down Brian Jean.

Jean’s polling numbers are higher than Kenney’s.  He’s the MLA for Fort MacMurray which practically burned to the ground and he lost his son while he was campaigning for the leadership after Danielle Smith crossed the floor.  He’s quietly supported some of Notley’s social policies and publicly told supporters who chant offensive chants or brandish offensive signs to “…stay at home and keep their opinions to themselves.”  Compared with Kenney he looks like Mother Teresa.

Kenney would rather see the new party enter the Legislature this fall without a leader (would that make Jean the Acting Leader of the Official Opposition?) than risk losing to Jean.

Or maybe Kenney is afraid to face Notley in the Legislature.  Kenney could punt a WR or PC MLA out of his/her seat, trigger a by-election and demonstrate his prowess vis-à-vis Notley for a couple of terms before the next election.  He’d get brownie points if he’s effective and raspberries if he’s not.  Surely, he’s not worried she’d destroy his chances in the general election.

Where does this leave us?

I’m not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d urge all conservatives to compare Brian Jean’s merger plan with Jason Kenney’s and ask themselves which is the best path to success.

While they’re at it, they should look across the border and decide whether the cost of electing a cynical self-serving politician is worth it.

Sources: Calgary Herald Dec 6, 2016, A4 and Jan 28, 2017 A3

Posted in Politics and Government | Tagged , , , , | 39 Comments

Why I Marched in the Women’s March on Washington

On Saturday morning Ms Soapbox boarded the Red Arrow bus from Calgary to Edmonton to join her friends supporting the Women’s March on Washington.

My journey was considerably shorter than the one taken by Edmontonian Michelle Brewer who joined the horde of Canadians traveling to ground zero—Washington, DC.

But it’s the message, not the miles, that count.

women-s-march

So why did I attend a rally billed as “a non-violent, inclusive and intersectional protest to stand for and support the rights of all women, all religious communities, all political affiliations, cis or transgender and all sexual orientations”?

Because Donald Trump crossed so many lines in his bid for the presidency…and was rewarded with the White House.

Because Canada’s Trump-lite politicians are taking notes as they formulate their own bids for power.

Because conservative think tanks like the Manning Centre are inviting Trump campaign advisors to teach them “how Donald Trump won and what Canadian conservatives can learn from it.”

And because conservatives need to understand that Canadians, unlike Americans, don’t scare easily.

If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that Canadian women will stand up for their rights, it was put to bed by the speakers at the WMW—Edmonton.

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Nasra Adem Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate

There were many great speakers but the two who captured my heart were Marni Panas, a transgender activist, who responded to a heckler by looking them dead in the eye and saying:  “Listen, I have heard you, I love you, but it’s my turn to talk” and Nasra Adem, Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate, who shouted:  “I’m responsible for you, you’re responsible for me.  We got us!”

So here’s my message to the powers-that-be and the powers-that-wanna-be:  There’s a line you do NOT cross in your bid for power—it’s called fundamental human rights.

Or as the marchers in Brazil so eloquently put it:  Let’s be clear here:  you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.

So thank you WMW Organizers for giving us the opportunity to reaffirm our faith in humanity.

And thank you everyone who couldn’t attend and marched with us in spirit.

We know who you are and we love you!

Note: updated to correct Marni Panas’ response to the heckler.

Posted in Celebrations, Politics and Government, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

“Phasing Out” the Oilsands

At a recent town hall meeting Mr Trudeau reiterated his position on climate change.  He said:

“You can’t make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.  We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow.  We need to phase them out.  We need to manage the transition off our dependence on fossil fuels.  That is going to take time, and in the meantime, we have to manage that transition.”

Alberta’s conservatives went ballistic.

Mr Jean tweeted: @Justin Trudeau, if you want to “phase out” the oilsands.  You’ll have to go through me and 4 million Albertans first.

Mr McIver tweeted:  Justin Trudeau you just threw Alberta under the bus today.  How dare you shut down an industry providing 1000’s of jobs for families.

Mr Jean’s “you and whose army” response and Mr McIver’s righteous indignation were a little over the top but the most bizarre response came from Jason Kenney.

Mr Kenney reacts

In a recent radio interview Mr Kenney said:

  • Justin Trudeau was Pierre Trudeau’s son (true, but irrelevant unless this is a “sins of the father” tactic) and Pierre Trudeau “single-handedly shut down the western Canadian oil and gas industry with the National Energy Program (partially true, but irrelevant because Justin Trudeau did not say he was introducing NEP 2.0)  
  • This prime minister, Justin Trudeau, rolled over and played dead when Barack Obama vetoed Keystone XL. (Not true, Obama vetoed Keystone XL on Feb 24, 2015, Trudeau was elected on Oct 19, 2015, so the prime minister who rolled over and played dead was Stephen Harper, not Justin Trudeau).
  • Trudeau vetoed Northern Gateway (true, but let’s give him a little credit for approving Kinder Morgan and Line 3) and is introducing a carbon tax (true) that’s going to make life more expensive for Canadians (not necessarily true, the feds will recognize provincial carbon taxation programs, two thirds of Albertans will get a full or partial rebate and BC’s carbon tax is revenue neutral).
  • When Trudeau talks about phasing out this multi-trillion dollar asset that can help us pay for future healthcare and education infrastructure and pensions, what he’s really talking about is letting the future global demand for oil be filled completely by theocracies, kleptocracies and dictatorships like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar. (Not true, Trudeau said nothing about letting the future global demand be filled by theocracies, kleptocracies, dictatorships, or even that looney country south of us).
  • I for one would prefer that Canadian oil be in the mix in the global market rather than leaving it all to the bad actors who are the other major producers of oil. (Agreed).
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Mr Kenney

Mr Kenney was asked whether Stephen Harper said “anything that sounded like at some point that Canada will phase out of fossil fuel production”.

His answer was no.  No? 

Mr Kenney explained that when Mr Harper signed the Munich G7 Agreement in June 2015 it was simply “a completely symbolic aspirational statement” to be carbon free by 2100.  Ah, Mr Harper’s commitment to a carbon free future was NOT a commitment to a carbon free future notwithstanding what he told the G7 in Munich.    

Rachel Notley’s response

Mr Kenney was singularly unimpressed with Ms Notley’s response to Mr Trudeau’s comments.

He said her video statement was not the right because what she really said was “there’s nothing to be worried about here, everyone please look away” and she failed to demonstrate Alberta’s traditional leadership which was a “tradition of strength”.

My goodness.  What did Ms Notley say that was so deeply disappointing to Mr Kenney?

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Ms Notley

In her video she said:

“Oil and gas will help power the global economy for generations to come and our job is to make sure that Alberta’s product is the first in line.  That’s why we’re working with industry to position Alberta as a global energy leader, the most progressive and sustainable producer of oil and gas anywhere in the world.  And you know what, it’s working, just recently we secured approval for a new pipeline, something former conservative governments could never get done.  The bottom line:  Alberta’s oil and gas industry and the people who work in it are the best in the world and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

She elaborated on these comments in a CBC interview where she said:

“At the end of the day this is what I know to be true…the world market for oil is not going anywhere soon, and so the job of Albertans and Canadians is to make sure that that world market looks to the oilsands, as they should, as the first choice for where they get that product from and the reason is because we’ve been so successful working with industry putting in place significant environmental improvements, working hard with industry to help them reduce their emissions footprint so we truly are the most progressive and sustainable producers of oil and gas in the world.”

Nothing in Ms Notley’s response contradicts Mr Kenney’s desire that Canadian oil be part of the mix in the global market.

So what’s not to like about Ms Notley’s response?

I’m betting it’s Ms Notley’s observation that Alberta has recently secured approval for a pipeline which was “something former conservative governments could never get done”.

Albertans and Canadians may want to take that on board when they’re asked to chose between quiet diplomacy that gets results and throwing one’s toys out of the pram which does not.

Posted in Energy & Natural Resources, Environment, Politics and Government, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Marie Henein’s Take on Kellie Leitch

Last Friday Ms Soapbox attended the 2017 Milvain Lecture at the U of C Law School.

It was given by Marie Henein who recently made headlines by successfully defending CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi on sexual assault charges.

While Ms Soapbox and Ms Henein do not see eye to eye on the Ghomeshi case, they do share the belief that Canadians must push back against populist politicians who want to undermine our democratic institutions.

The politics of fear are alive and well

Ms Henein, like many Canadians, is concerned that election of Donald Trump has implications for those of us who live north of the 49th parallel.

Ms Henein warns that we should not slip into complacency.

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Ms Henein

Sure, Canada has enacted good laws like the ones protecting same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and the right to assisted dying, but the battle is far from over.

We must not forget that less than a year ago Stephen Harper was pushing laws like the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and the Truth in Sentencing Act.   Did I miss the memo?  Were we 100% tolerant of barbaric cultural practices and supportive of lies in sentencing before that?

Such laws create fear among the majority and marginalize religious and ethnic minorities.  They sacrifice the democratic principle that extends the same rights to everyone in favour of partisan politics.

We thought we were done with all that when Mr Harper’s Conservatives were defeated.  We were wrong.  Mr Harper simply passed the torch to Kellie Leitch.

The Anti-Canadian Values test

Kellie Leitch is the front runner in the federal Conservative leadership race.

A key plank in her platform is the proposal that visitors and immigrants should be screened for anti-Canadian values.  Ms Leitch says this will protect our “unified Canadian identity” from…well, god knows what.

Not only has Ms Leitch been unable (or unwilling) to articulate what she’s protecting our “unified Canadian identity” from, she’s ducked questions asking how her anti-Canadian values test would deal with people, some Roman Catholics perhaps, who oppose same-sex marriage, LBGTQ rights and a woman’s right to abortion.

In the absence of greater clarity, we’re left with the uncomfortable suspicion that Ms Leitch’s anti-Canadian values test would reject Muslims who, surprise, were the intended targets of Mr Harper’s barbaric cultural practices tip line and anti-niqab legislation.

Overreaction?

Are Ms Henein and Ms Soapbox overreacting:  Could the election of a buffoon in the US trigger the rise of populist politicians in Canada?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

Robert Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk conducted research into the health of western democracies and found that the public’s trust in political institutions like parliaments and the courts “has precipitously declined.”  Voters are increasingly endorsing single-issue movements (anti-immigration ranks right up there), voting for populist candidates or supporting parties that exist simply as the opposite of the status quo, rather like the Bizarro subplot in the Superman comics series.

Foa and Mounk conclude that citizens who once considered democracy to be the only legitimate form of government are more open to authoritarian rule.

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Ms Leitch

They warn against politicians like Donald Trump who are prepared to tear down the existing political system and promote policies that violate the rights of ethnic and religious minorities (“stop and frisk” and racial profiling come to mind) for their own partisan advantage.

Saving liberal democracy

A liberal democracy is founded on free and open elections and a respect for human rights and the rule of law.  The laws protecting rights and civil liberties must be protected.  Ms Henein says that’s why criminal defense lawyers are so important.  This is their bailiwick.  She’s right.

Populist politicians like Kellie Leitch who justify anti-Canadian values screening because her survey says 70% of Canadians are in favour of it are laying the foundation for an illiberal democracy, one that erodes the checks and balances on power and violates human rights.

Ms Henein’s message to the law students was: use your voice, be an advocate for democracy.

Her message to Canadians after the defeat of Hillary Clinton was: “suffering fools quietly means they can become president…or prime minister.”

Ms Henein mentioned Kellie Leitch at least four times in her speech, sometimes with an eye roll and sometimes by noting that her own grandmother would have failed the anti-Canadian values test because she didn’t speak English and wouldn’t have had the faintest idea what Ms Leitch was talking about.

Ms Henein didn’t say this in so many words but I will:  Kellie Leitch is running for the leadership of the federal Conservative party.  If she wins and the Conservatives come back into power, which they will, Kellie Leitch will be our next prime minister.

It’s time for Canadians to stop suffering fools like Ms Leitch quietly.

Posted in Crime and Justice, Politics and Government | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

The 2017 List

Last year Ms Soapbox made a list of New Year’s resolutions for Rachel Notley.

Happily, Ms Notley delivered on the list, with the exception of resolution #4 (Ms Soapbox failed to anticipate the arrival of Jason Kenney on the political scene).

Rather than rewrite the whole thing Ms Soapbox decided to create a list of things she’d like to see happen in 2017.

She’d like your input.

2017

Things to strive for in 2017

  1. The end of Trump-style politics                 

Politicians like Jason Kenney say they want to avoid the “nasty, negative, irresponsible populism” of Donald Trump but they never miss an opportunity to inflame Albertans by telling them Alberta is wracked with “despair and recession” and they should put their faith in Mr Kenney to put an end to Alberta’s economic slide.

This is straight out of the Trump play book.

And it works.

When a supporter approached Mr Kenney in a café and said “Go Trump” and that he was “totally fed up with Alberta’s communist” politics, Mr Kenney didn’t bother to explain that Trump was not running in Alberta and Albertans live in a democracy, not a communist state.

Mr Kenney just smiled and shook the fellow’s hand.

If we want to stop the spread of Trump-style politics in Alberta the press and all political leaders, including Brian Jean, must call out politicians who indulge in it.

And the public needs to wise up, which leads me to…

2.  More facts less drivel

Mr Kenney is utterly transparent about his intention to use public despair (his words not mine) to capture the hearts and minds of voters.

He describes the situation in Alberta as “a human tragedy” and admits he overlooked local issues when he was a federal Cabinet minister because he may have viewed Alberta’s economic malaise “too statistically”.

Too statistically?

One of the statistics Mr Kenney is willing to ignore is that Albertans pay $7 billion less in taxes than their closest neighbours even with the NDP’s carbon levy and tax increases. 

Another fact Mr Kenney is downplaying is that Justin Trudeau would not have approved two major pipelines if Rachel Notley had not implemented a Climate Leadership Plan.

Those who don’t like these facts respond with anti-Notley memes like “cavemen walked everywhere and the glaciers still melted”.  What?

Ignoring the facts and posting idiotic memes do not encourage political discourse.

Speaking of social media…

3. Less mass distraction, more public engagement 

Where do you get your news…no wait, do you even get the news?

George Monbiot attributes the election of Donald Trump, in part, to the rise of celebrity culture as played out in our newspapers and on social media.

He refers to a study by Nick Couldry and Tim Markham that found citizens who follow celebrity culture, including reality TV, music and fashion are less likely to be politically engaged than those who stay current on traditional political issues like the economy and the environment.

Celebrity followers are three times less likely to be involved in local organizations and two times less likely to volunteer.  They believe they have no influence over government and it doesn’t matter who is in power.

This is not happy news but it illustrates the challenges we face in getting the public to focus on the issues and critically analyze the Trump-style politics coming at them from Jason Kenney, Kellie Leitch and their ilk.

4. Human dignity

Rather than review all the instances where civil rights and human dignity have been trampled in the political arena under the guise of an attack on political correctness, let’s focus on an issue we’re all familiar with—gender pronouns.

Contrary to popular belief, people who express a preference for a specific gender pronouns are not special snowflakes who have been triggered; they’re human beings entitled to the same level of respect as the rest of us.

We’ve learned how to refer to women as Ms;  it won’t kill us to ask someone what pronouns they prefer and to use them appropriately.

5. Happy Birthday Canada, but…

Canada will be 150 years old this year.

We should pause and enjoy our good fortune, but also remember that now more than ever we need to protect our democratic institutions from the populists, racists and power hungry politicians who would tear them down.

****

Right, that’s my list…now it’s your turn.

Posted in Economy, Politics and Government | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

A Double Dose of Christmas

This Christmas was unusual…even for the Soapbox family.

Missy* our eldest daughter is a nurse working in Victoria.  She was scheduled to work over Christmas which meant that for the first time ever the Soapbox family was not going to be together on Christmas Day.

No problem we said, we’ll reschedule Christmas.

So, on Dec 10 at 5 pm Mr and Ms Soapbox, Missy, her little sister Mini, Missy’s boyfriend (let’s call him Mario) and Ziggy the dog converged under the Christmas tree to open presents.

Things got off to a shaky start when Ms Soapbox accidently broke the horns off Mario’s Krampus soap.  Krampus is the horned anti-Santa of German legend who kidnaps bad children.  Why he merits his own soap is beyond me.  Mario was gracious about the whole thing saying he’d lather them back on.  Good Mario. 

Ms Soapbox modeled her Nasty Woman T shirt and Mr Soapbox demonstrated the correct way to use wooden cooking implements.

Missy and Mini both received adult colouring books.  Mini’s came with an attaché case jammed with crayons, pastels and paints; Missy will have to make do with a packet of 8 pencil crayons.  Thankfully they’re past the stage where every gift they got had to be exactly the same.

Ziggy was pleased with his bone but thought he looked silly in his red and white Christmas sweater.

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Ziggy prefers his Santa hat to his Christmas sweater

We enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve pizza and rounded off the evening with board games and wobbly snippets of Christmas carols curtesy of Mini who thinks O Little Monkey is a real Christmas carol no matter how many times we tell her it’s “donkey” not “monkey”.

Note to self: it’s rude to yell Bingo! when Mini and Mr Soapbox are playing Battleship and Mini sinks Mr Soapbox’s destroyer.

Further note to self:  when playing Scrabble with Missy and Mario ensure Mario’s turn comes after Missy’s turn otherwise he’ll set Missy up for the triple word score every single time.   Bad Mario.

The Soapbox Christmas was over in a heartbeat and we were just settling in for two weeks of post-Christmas relaxation when Missy slipped on the ice.

Within hours she was carted out of the house in a sling by four burley firemen.  (The EMS crew called the fire department when it became obvious they couldn’t get the stretcher down the stairs without tipping Missy out).  An undignified exit but Missy was beyond caring by this point.

The EMS crew rolled us into the stretcher queue at the hospital and we all bonded for a couple of hours waiting for a bed to become available.  The doctors discharged Missy the next morning and she embarked on a series of X-rays and MRIs, doctor’s appointments and physio.

Eventually she hobbled back to Victoria to be examined by her doctor who said (surprise) she was not fit for work.

Which meant she could come home for Christmas.

Again.

So, she did and we celebrated Christmas all over again—Christmas Eve with board games and O Little Monkey and Christmas Day with tiny presents and a very large turkey.

And you know what, it was even lovelier the second time around.

From the Soapbox family to you and your family, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and the very best for 2017!!! 

*Missy, Mini, and Mario are not their real names but suit them to a tee.

Posted in Celebrations, Vacation | Tagged , , | 28 Comments