The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An invisible Eagle picked toddler Wab Kinew to change the world

People who have been mocking the NDP's tarnished star candidate, Wab Kinew, better watch out. They don't know who they're messing with.

Wab is a man on a mission.  

A divine mission.  

We know 'cause he told us so.  

Well, not us exactly, but Alberta Native News in March 2012, with more details in his pre-politics memoir.

It seems that when he was three years old, or maybe it was four, Wab had a vision.

He was in his bedroom, where all good three-year-olds should be at night, and he started to hallucinate.  He saw an eagle. 

It's always an eagle. It's never a magnificent Canada goose or a perky red-breasted robin. No, it's got to be an eagle. In this case, a Golden eagle.

Before the eagle, though, little Wab saw a pipe ("It was beautiful") with four eagle feathers hanging from it fastened by brass tacks. The eagle swooped down to grab the pipe in its claws.  "The scenery faded" but Wab could still see the eagle in his bedroom, flapping its wings.

He knew he had had a vision and so did his father and so did the medicine man his father took him to. The medicine man told Wab's dad to bring him back within a month, and when he did Wab was given a handcrafted pipe and told that, from then on, he was a pipekeeper, a prestigious role among Anishinaabe people.

From that moment Wab Kinew knew he was destined for greatness.

"His calling to a powerful destiny that would impact the lives of many was confirmed and his family started grooming him for his life purpose." wrote Alberta Native News writer Brandi Morin. 

It doesn't take much to get him to talk how he walks in the footsteps of men like Martin Luther King and Louis Riel, with the implication that he will be among their ranks. 

And women swoon in his presence. 

Take Brandi Morin for one, with this tweet:

Brandi Morin
My new crush is Wab Kinew @WabKinew OMG he's like a real life freakin' Super Hero! *drool- Come rescue this Damsel in distress too plz =)
6:13 AM - 10 Feb 2012

So it must have been a jolt when he entered politics and found that people didn't automatically gush over him like Brandi did.

Before announcing his bid for office he analyzed his vulnerabilities and zeroed in on the lyrics to his rap songs which degraded women

*  To get the jump on critics, at the Aboriginal Music Awards where he won an award for best hiphop CD, he apologized for such hurtful songs, and urged other hip hop artists to change their lyrics too. 

*  And he apologized in his memoir, in two sentences shoehorned into the very back of the book.  

*  And when the issue was raised in the election campaign, he apologized again.

*  And when his tweets containing slurs against gay men were discovered, he apologized. 

*  And tweets that body shamed overweight girls, you guessed it, he apologized. 

The only thing he hasn't apologized for is running over a cat with his car and joking about it. (The cat lived, though he broke its legs.)

Through it all, Kinew has known he was born to lead, just as the eagle said. 

In fact, he'll be the first to tell you.

"I hope over the course of this campaign and over the course of my career ... I prove to people I'm not just the indigenous guy. I hope that people recognize that I'm a leader," he said in a Canadian Press interview.

As for people who didn't recognize his brilliance, well "I think we all know where this stuff is coming from..." he said as he pulled the race card from his sleeve. 

If you don't forgive Wab Kinew and stop attacking his character, you're obviously a racist, was the clear implication intended to silence his critics.

But, eagle aside, Wab Kinew has shown little leadership that wasn't calculated carefully in advance.

He told CJOB he intended to fight bigotry. But he stands side-by-side in public appearances with NDP cabinet minister Eric Robinson, the biggest self-confessed bigot in Manitoba. 

Robinson fought off critics of his openly admitted racism against white people by inventing an exception to prejudice on the basis of colour --- white people have privilege because they're white, so it's okay for non-whites to be prejudiced against them.  

A weekend column by Gordon Sinclair in the Winnipeg Free Press showed another opportunity to show leadership that was missed by Kinew.

Only two weeks earlier, the taxi industry had been under attack by aboriginal women, backed by the Southern Chiefs Organization, amid allegations of racism and sexual harassment.

The CBC highlighted one disputed area:
"Some aboriginal people said they feel discriminated against because they're asked to provide cash deposits up front.

"The cabbies said they'll make that request if they worry a passenger will skip out without paying, no matter what their racial background may be. 

"I'll get that thrown in my face — 'You're only asking me for cash because I'm Indian,'" (a driver) said.

Sinclair, delving into Kinew's memoir, noted Kinew had been arrested years ago for assaulting a cab driver who tried to stop him from refusing to pay a fare.

That said, he could have gone public, admitting his prior actions had contributed to the suspicions that cab drivers have about aboriginal customers.

 He could have said that there is validity to both sides and tried to de-escalate the conflict. 

But he didn't. 

Shown the opportunity, he chose to be a one-trick pony. 

He chose to be, in his own words, "just the indigenous guy."

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