Monday, June 21, 2010

The First Day of Summer

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010

Today is the first day of summer, the day when we are blessed with the longest peiod of daylight in the evening. It is the summer solstice and a bittersweet day for me. Here's why. I enjoy daylight in the evening. In fact, I revel in it. However, after today, the sun will set earlier. There's something sad about that even though longer days will return after December 21st. So I am going to savour every moment of the long, lazy summer evenings. I hope you do too.

Here is a poem with a summer theme that I wrote.

Summer Night

You came to me on a soft summer night
When the air was sultry and serene
I took your hand as we walked in the light
Of a garden ripe and lushly green
And we drank of sweet jasmine in the air
We gazed on blossoms and bumblebees
I saw the moonlight shine ujpon your hair
As you sat beneath the cherry trees
Then we took a path to the lily pond
Stepping on stones and brittle branches
And there we quietly sealed our bond
With gilded dreams and winsome glances.

- Joanne Madden

Today marks a significant day in the history of women in Canada. For it was on this day in 1957 that Ellen Louks Fairclough was sworn in as Canada's first woman Cabinet Minister. She became Secretary of State in the minority government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

After the Diefenbaker sweep in the electon of 1958, Fairclough was promoted to a post of considerable difficulty and more responsiblity - Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. At that time the position included responsibility for the Royal Canadian Mint, the National Film Board, the National Gallery and the Public Archives/National Library. Indian Affairs was also under Ellen Fairclough's jurisdiction. In 1960, she introduced the historic legislation allowing Status Indians the right to vote in federal elections, a significant breakthrough for Aborignianl Canadians.

Born in Hamilton Ontario in 1905, Ellen Fairclough was first elected as a federal MP in 1950. During the course of her political career, she was elected to the House of Commons five times - more than any other woman during she 1950s and 1960s. It is also notable that Ellen Fairclough was the first female Acting Prime Minister of Canada. After her defeat in the election in 1963, she returned to her roots in Hamilton.

Fairclough was an advocate of equal pay for equal work for women. In 1975, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Province of Ontario. In 1995, Ellen Fairclough became a Companion of the Order of Canada. At a time when men thorouhly dominated the Canadian political scene, Ellen Fairclough was a pioneer and a trailblazer. She lived a long and fruitful life and died on November 13, 2004 at the age of 99.

Britain's Prince William turns 28 years old today. His father, Prince Charles, will turn 62 on November 14th. Queen Elizabeth II is 84 years old, the eldest monarch in British history. If the Queen lives until the age of 101, as her mother did, Charles will ascend to the throne at the age of 79. It is interesting to note that Henry VIII was a mere lad of 17 when he became king. Henry died at age 55.


The Blue Jays have today off. They begin a series with the St. Louis Cardinals tomorrow.

Blue Jays third baseman Edwin EncarnaciĆ³n was sent down to the minors.

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