JULY 2021


This edition of my monthly newsletter is heavy! It was very difficult to write as its publication date coincided with CANADA DAY. Normally, that is a day of celebration, fireworks and festivity but in light of the horrendous news regarding the residential schools, celebrating just didn’t seem right.

Yet, CANADA DAY cannot be ignored. Therefore, we are moderating our tone and tempering it with some remorse, contrition and sadness. Rather than just hanging our head in justifiable shame, apologizing for the wrong we have done our own citizens, and asking their forgiveness, let’s have a call to action.

Call to action
Our governments, Ottawa especially, have been blowing hot air for years regarding reparations and reconciliation. It’s time to step up to the plate and hit the ball this time.

Call your MP, email the representative and ask how the federal government is implementing real action to the many promises made by the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”  in 2015. Five years after its 94 ‘calls-to-action,’ only  EIGHT, yes, just eight have been implemented. The government promised Indigenous people clean drinking water more than twenty-five years ago, re-promised that it would be done by March, 2021. The result: more that 50 Indigenous communities still must boil their water before consuming it.

CANADA DAY still should be celebrated
Celebrate CANADA DAY but celebrate it by reaching out to our fellow citizens, the Indigenous, and show them we really do care. Show them we do respect them and we want our governments to treat them properly as equal citizens. 
Stop the hot air, NOW!

In light of all the above, perhaps CANADA DAY can still be a day of some celebration if we balance it with some action.

First, send a message to your MP. Not having drinkable water in one’s home would definitely make life difficult but not having it for twenty-five years is absurd. Yet, many Indigenous had to live like this for years, and too many must continue to live this way.

The federal government promised and re-promised. More than 50 Indigenous communities still do not have tap water they can use/drink without boiling it first. Yes, today in 2021, we still have Canadian citizens who are relegated to living as second-class citizens in our country, a life of living like pioneers. Quaint! Celebration seems like a hard row to hoe.

Call or write your Member of Parliament. Obtain the name and email address of your MP from our website link at: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search?searchText=&parliament=all

Celebrate CANADA DAY but moderate the celebration. Yes, we have sinned grievously and for that, we should hang our heads in shame and remorse. But we have much about which we should still be proud.

In conclusion, I am celebrating Canada Day. My Canadian flag is raised. I may not shout that Canada is the greatest country in the world as I used to, but I am still proud to be a Canadian though I do not stand quite as tall or with as much pride as I once did. Let’s make CANADA DAY a reminder that we should stand on guard for all the good things about our country and keep trying to do them.

To paraphrase a notable world leader, “Vive le Canada libre!”


In light of the nationalism implied above, one of the contributors to my website recently wrote a piece about Alzheimer’s and music therapy.

Mike McFarland is an award-winning television producer who in retirement writes about better ageing.

He recently wrote a twist on his usual theme, about how we need anchors to hold us in place during times of great stress and worry. COVID has put us into that position and McFarland writes about how England used Dame Vera Lynn and to anchor their nation in the most trying times it ever faced.

Maybe it is a story about finding the silver lining in every cloud but the McFarland’s piece is very worthwhile reading if just to encourage ourselves into believing that even in the worst of times, we must retain hope.

Read his piece at: https://www.szpin.ca/well-meet-again/?highlight=dame%20vera


 A number of writers associated with our website have won numerous awards.





Dennis Gazarek has won the Canada Book Awards for Be the Awesome Man,” his follow-up book to ‘Whacked’ where he wrote about the withdrawal of General Motors from Canada. Be the Awesome Manis Gazarek’s guide to self-development for young men. A well-researched and very comprehensive guide, his second book is all coaches, physical education teachers, anyone working with young people should read. Given the depth to which Gazarek researches, he might consider writing a partner of his book for young women.

We have highlighted Nash a number of times and she just keeps on winning awards. In 2013, she received a Marty Awards for Emerging Literary Art. Recently, she has received the Canada Book Awards for her latest book, “Bushyhead.” Her “Juliet Malevolent: An Evil Tale” deserves equal recognition as it is a very entertaining story for kids of all ages with a very important message to be learned by all children.



Fermo nudged me repeatedly as I was writing this newsletter reminding me that I had omitted an episode of his ‘School Daze.’ With that in mind, I have added the following:

How long will you live?

How long will you live? Barring unforeseen circumstances, there is no way to guarantee a long life. However, common sense, good diet practices, regular moderate exercise and sensible precautions, will likely give you a maximum number of years.

Curious about your own lifespan, you can get a ‘guesstimate’ of how long you will live by clicking the following link:



If you’re a writer, you’ll be interested in this, an association of published writers who meet regularly to help fellow writers with ideas, advice, critiquing and helpful tips relating to their craft.

You are invited to join the group to get a taste of what they are all about. You do not have to be a published writer, maybe you’re writing your first work or just thinking about doing some writing. This is a place for support and helpful assistance. Contact Richard.

Beating back dementia
I work with electronic devices daily, iPads, laptops and desktops. I forget more than I remember but I use these devices to help my flagging memory. It’s not dementia or Alzheimers; it’s memory-lagging due to age. Maybe my wife’s claim that it’s a sign of a cluttered mind may be closer to the truth, but whatever, I still need memory assistance. If you do, you may find helpful ideas at this link:  TECH CORNER .   I especially like Google Extensions, Grammarly, Dictation in MS Word and Notezilla. Explore the section. See what interests you and try some items out. It could just confirm that your memory lag is just normal ageing.


To help you compose your letter to your Member of Parliament, here is my prototype. It may get a bit more editing, however, you are welcome to use it to give you some ideas and inspiration. Some important email addresses are included in the letter.

An open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Members of Parliament


Dear Minister,

Does the phrase “Pissed off” resonate with you? As rude as it may seem to be, it expresses how I feel about the federal government’s policies relating to Indigenous affairs. Meticulous examination and fuller explanation are redundant and unnecessary but I feel the government is more hot air than real action. Twenty-five years of undrinkable water, numerous cold cases of missing Indigenous women in western Canada, the majority of recommendations made by the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” ignored, delayed or swept under the carpet, the lack of judicial pursuit of the perpetrators of the residential school horrors…why does this list seem endless?

I concentrate on the Indigenous issues here more than others because they are so shameful, so disgraceful and so dishonourable. Never have I been so saddened to declare myself Canadian as I am now. What is so despicable is not that the governments are to blame for the injustices and crimes against the Indigenous people but how they pontificate, plead accountability and pledge reparations and reconciliation with minimal follow-up action, if any at all. It seems that nothing happens as the hot air wafts over the nation.

Do something! Do something concrete! Do something constructive! As a government, help our nation become responsible and responsive in actuality. It is your responsibility to govern with all our people in mind and it is not my intent to criticize the many areas where the government is failing in its responsibilities. How we have treated the Indigenous is morally wrong, ethically unjustified and criminally indefensible.

Let’s see some real action on getting our country back on a course of ethical justice and responsible policies for all our people.

A very concerned citizen,

Richard Szpin

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Email: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services
Email: Marc.Miller@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Email: carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca

Erin O’Toole

Jagmeet Singh

Annamie Paul

To balance the seriousness of this newsletter, may I offer you a few minutes of lovely escapism. Click the ANDREA BOCELLI video below:

Wish you a continued safe and healthy summer,




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