Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

What’s in a Name?

Currently in the United States there’s a bit of a controversy about whether to call this time of year “Christmas” or the “Holiday Season.” I could make various suppositions about why the American media is more concerned with that than it is about Diebold, the maker of their election counting machines, paying the state of California a settlement of 2.6 million(http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3449691) over an alleged fraud case, but perhaps that is an issue for another column.

In this column I just wanted to celebrate that here in Canada, we don’t seem to be so terribly caught up in the entire name game. Take New Brunswick as an example. Their Premier recently released his Christmas message(http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/pre/2004e1454pr.htm), and called it that. It’s not a “Holiday Message” or a “Message of the Season,” it’s a Christmas message.

Some people have difficulty with the amount of attention and the number of religious messages going about this time of year, but if we’re all very honest with ourselves, we will recognize that this holiday is really a religious one–even for those of us who aren’t Christians(http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_other.htm). Canadians generally seem to realize that calling it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, Yule, the Winter Solstice, or whatever doesn’t change the essential fact. It’s a time for celebration and for thinking about those close to you. Now if only Alberta would clue in.

You see, here in Alberta, we have the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act (AIRA)(http://www.justice.gov.ab.ca/publications/default.aspx?id=3550#five) which basically gives gay and lesbians couples equivalent rights to married couples. Except for one thing. The name. They still cannot be legally married. They cannot acquire a marriage license, Supreme Court of Canada ruling notwithstanding. So, what’s in a name?

The essential fact about this season is that it’s a time for celebration no matter what you call it.

A Christmas Teaser

Premier Klein may finally start living up to his promises for post-secondary education that he made in 1988. The Edmonton sun has a quote(http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=6dd83680-3f9a-4a89-b2ca-e99a725317ce) that a tuition freeze “or something of that nature” may be in the works for Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.

Not a lot of information is currently available as the plans are just being formulated. Still, the recognition that post-secondary education needs something to ensure that it remains affordable to students is a huge change from previously, where access was stressed over affordability.

As I always have said though, building more university space is not educating people. Perhaps Advanced Education Minister David Hancock understands that concept as well.

Happy Holidays

Finally, just a quick note to thank those who read this. Hopefully you’ve found something as useful in reading these columns as I have in writing them.

Happy Festivus.. or whatever your choice!

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