Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

Quebec Politics

Canada Day July 1, 2013 or Moving Day in Quebec

CanadaDay_436X245

Across Canada folks are celebrating our nation. But I missed all the tv coverage because I slept in today. But I am sure it was fun and fabulous and all that. We will get the synopsis on the late news tonight.

But meanwhile, where everything has to be different … Meanwhile in Quebec it was Moving day. That fateful day where people are fighting for moving trucks and navigating piles of furniture on the sidewalks and pets all over the place.

It seemed quiet in the neighborhood today when I ventured out to the store this evening. And there was a commotion on my floor earlier, but I could not be bothered to open the door and see if one of my neighbors was moving out…

The National Assembly has been in an emergency session to set back to work legislation for more than 70,000 construction employees that have been on strike for more than a week, which has caused billions of dollars.

Here in Quebec the “Strike” is a fine art.

No matter what season it is – or what is going on in the city, a strike is not far off.

They usually happen as the seasons change.

The winter strike is always fun. Then you get one as winter goes away and spring begins with the asphalt pot hole folks, and the blue collars and the likes in the boroughs. The strike is the best way for groups to get more money for what they do. Even if it puts the city and its people on the back burner. They can hold the city hostage if a strike is allowed to go on for more than a few days, especially in the winter when plows, sanders/salters, sidewalk plows and the like are necessary to safe navigation of the city.

Add to that massive construction on the highways that will last until the fall, is screwing with the drive around the island. The super hospital is not yet finished and the present strike has put it in the forefront of taxpayers minds.

Oy Vey ….

It was another sunny day, but it is really hazy outside. My view of the south shore wind turbines are amid haze and pollution I guess. Yes, there are a bunch of wind turbines over on the South Shore. Not far from an energy plant.

Not much else today.

 


The Sociology of Montreal Transit and Escalators …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Firstly, welcome to all the new followers of the blog. It seems you like what I am doing, and that is always a good sign of where to go next.

I’ve got a new follower from our magic city of light. And after reading his blog earlier I thought I’d put up something I did a while ago – but never wrote about it because it was a school assignment. Maybe he will engage this post…

I took a semester of Sociology, because my husband is an M.A. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Concordia. This was at Dawson last year.

One of our work papers consisted of performing acts of breaking the norm when it came to mass transit, elevators and escalators.

When I first moved here more than 10 years ago, I fell in love with the city, not only because it was my birth mother’s city and I have family here, I came to visit and decided to stay.

It IS my anniversary of my arrival in Montreal this Easter. And so the first week I visited places, found meetings, found a place to live, sent off my application for my birthright citizenship form, and began to get to know the city.

Coming from Miami, there was little mass transit. One train, One line, and feeder buses connecting both points. I was blown away by the Metro System here. It is a big system. But pales in comparison to other Canadian cities and some in the U.S. like Washington and New York.

Montreal has its own charm. And there were things I learned early on. Like how to line up waiting for the bus in orderly fashion. Nobody seemed to push or barge in front of someone in line. People were polite and orderly.

Escalators … Stand Right, Walk Left. Never stand on the left, and never walk on the right. Except of course you are on a BIG escalator in a station.

Then it is all fair game.

Elevators … Always be kind to your neighbors. I live in a highrise. Never play music while others are in the elevator. It is rude and antisocial. People come in the elevator and talk on their phones. (Like I want to overhear your entire conversation !!! ) Going Up, What floor?, Hello Good day/evening.

If you enter a crowded elevator – take off your backpack and hold it by your feet to save space. THIS GOES for the Metro and the Bus as well. Because sometimes buses and trains are packed in peak hours.

When you get on a bus, if you are in a queue line, you are observant of others in front of you and behind you. Never sit in the front seats of a bus – they are often reserved by handicapped folks, older members or children.

Always be mindful of your bus driver. Be polite. Say hello – good day – have a nice day/night, and goodbye. Preferably in FRENCH !!!

People wait in orderly bunches on Metro platforms. On some platforms there are clear door markers on the floor marking where the doors will open. Always allow riders debarking the train to get off before you barge your way onto the train.

Never sit in marked seats for the pregnant and disabled.

Always be mindful of what is going on ON  the train while you ride. You never know when you will get to practice your chivalry or your French. Always be kind – don’t hog two seats because you only need one. Take care to pay attention to others, in case shit goes down while you are traveling.

You will notice that most folks are connected medically to their devices. Be they phones, players, I-phones, MP3 players and the like. Don’t blast your music and be aware of what is going on around you in case you need to step in and do something.

Learning how to navigate the Metro system took some time, until I learned what the directional signs meant. There are four lines. Green Line (downtown) Orange Line (Financial district line – going from one end of the city to the other) and the Blue line (which bisects the city up on the Mountain) from Snowdon to St. Michel. And finally the yellow line which operates from Berri to the South Shore and Ille Ste. Helen (where Expo 67 took place).

Your stop corresponds to the direction the train is traveling. You get on the train in the direction of your stop, the end points are identified on all metro platforms. I live downtown.

Our building sits equidistant between George Vanier on the Orange line, Atwater Metro on the Green line and Guy on the Green line up the way from here going into the East end.

Over the years the STM has perfected the way we use transit. We went from tickets we fed into turnstiles to plastic monthly passes we swiped to the all important OPUS pass that is a rechargeable credit card that holds all kinds of fares, be it daily, weekends, monthly etc …

If you are not fully fluent in French, you will learn, if you come here to live.

French is mother tongue over the transit platform. I’ve learned my French at Dawson and learning to live in this multicultural city. However I identify as a member of the anglo community. I find the only places I use French in my daily life is on transit, the grocery store and the shopping malls. For the most part I live in English Montreal. My meetings are in English and most of my friends are English – but a fair number of my friends are fully multi lingual.

The English AA and French AA share the same space at the Intergroup office. Our meeting lists are printed multi-culturally, French, English, Spanish, and Farsi. With the need of meetings crossing cultures, AA has adapted to the needs of the people in the city.

So now that we have given you the pointer of how to navigate our city, we come to the highlight of the post. The breaking social norms exercise. We had a week to complete this task. Then it became a written paper for class.

We were asked to do things a bit differently. With all that I have written above about etiquette and social responsibility this was our task.

1. To sit where we shouldn’t
2. To stand/walk where we shouldn’t
3. Take seats that are not usually sat in (see above)
4. Be counter the flow

And add to this watch how folks respond to breaking the social norm.

I found that I could not break social norms when it came to the bus, metro and escalators. And I surely did not sit in a front seat on a bus, I never sit in the front seats on any bus, Even if I at at the head of a line getting aboard.

I’ve learned in Living here more than a decade, there are unspoken rules that we all live by. And your lessons start the first day you set foot on our streets. We are kind people. We are forgiving. And we are polite.

However, there are those who just don’t fill any of these qualities.

NEVER be rude to an S.T.M Employee.

NEVER be rude to a bus driver.

Just Never be RUDE if you can handle that.

Smile, be kind and be aware of what is going on around you because you might, one day, have to act to help another human being on your day’s journey.

And that is a snapshot of Montreal from my perspective.

What have you learned about people, where you live???

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Election Night in Quebec …

What can I say about today? I voted. And I voted for the CAQ candidate in our riding. Our riding is a heavy Liberal riding and it stayed that way. I saw lots of people out there voting all day today especially in Westmount.

I am going to repost this from a friend because he has the pulse of this issue and I don’t have the knowledge to paint this picture correctly.

CTV called a: Parti Quebecoise Minority 9:21 p.m. This may change later on tonight, I will update it as needed.

Lifted from Written Inc – Carmy Levy

As I write this, voters in Quebec – where I was born and raised – are casting ballots in the provincial election that, in all likelihood, will spell the end of the rule of the Liberal Party and its leader, Jean Charest, after 9 years. If you don’t live there, I know what it means to you: meh. If you’re Canadian, however, it could mean the beginning of yet another chapter of game-playing with our country’s future.

I’m going to way-oversimplify this, so forgive me in advance. Here goes: Quebec is the only province in Canada where the majority of residents speak French as a first language. Long-festering feelings that the rest of primarily-English Canada treated them like second-class citizens gave rise to the separatist movement, spearheaded largely by the Parti Quebecois political party. They first came to power in 1976, under leader Rene Levesque, on a platform of separating the province from Canada, their way of preserving the French language and culture in a North American milieu.

Yes or No

The PQ has held two referendums on sovereignty since then – in 1980 and in 1995 – and in both cases voters said, no, they wanted to remain in Canada. They’ve voted the PQ and Liberals into office sequentially since 1976, and every time the PQ takes over, fears of yet another run at leaving Canada surface.

Throughout the current campaign, PQ leader Pauline Marois hasn’t exactly endeared herself to members of minority groups, and has made it fairly clear that the French majority makes the rules. To wit, here’s a fairly typical gem of hers:

“It is the responsibility of everyone that wishes to call Quebec their home to learn and assimilate the local culture, not replace it with their own.”

Lovely. And this in a province where the schools your children may attend are determined by what language the parents were educated in, and where they are from. And stores are only allowed to post signs in the official language of French (Canada’s bilingual, remember) and, if they violate the language laws, the so-called Language Police swoop down and charge them. Where a province crippled like all others with the modern vices of too much demand and too few resources spends billions on legislating language and prosecuting violators.

The exodus continues

My wife and I – both fluently bilingual, and she’s a French teacher – eventually grew tired of the cultural, language and borderline-xenophobic games, and finally left soon after the 1995 referendum. Of my high school class, the vast majority have left, as well. Montreal was once a city of boundless opportunity, a cosmopolitan city of the future. After the PQ swept to power, waves of well educated anglophones headed west, primarily to Toronto. Head offices of major corporations and the country’s top banks soon followed. If you ever wonder why Toronto became the business hub of the country, now you know. I’m not sure they ever sent a thank you card, though.

We decided we wanted to live in a place where the priority was building businesses, building communities, and raising families. The endless political, language and cultural wars became tiresome for us. And I suspect another generation of folks just like us is already getting ready to call the real estate agent, book the moving van and get the hell out of Dodge. Or whatever the Pequistes choose to call it from here on out.

Unfortunately for those who escape, Quebec’s inability to get with the program – or to willingly work with the rest of Canada to address its persistent feelings of being left out – sucks the life out of the rest of the country, too. Political uncertainty destabilizes not just the Quebec economy, but the national one. It discourages foreign investment and diverts resources away from the issues and projects that will benefit citizens the most. Many Canadians, fed up with Quebec’s generational tantrums, have stated publicly they’d like to be rid of the province entirely. Unfortunately, separation would throw the entire economy into a tailspin – as if it isn’t there, already.

Back to the brink

Anyway, apologies for the ramble. Tonight, the PQ stands poised to kick the Liberals out of office. Mind you, the Liberals, dogged by persistent corruption scandals and a grinding protest by students against tuition hikes, didn’t do themselves any favours. Like the good politicians they were and are, the pig-at-the-trough mentality eventually caught up with them. But as we once again listen to voters justify their choice by saying they didn’t vote FOR the PQ as much as they voted AGAINST the Liberals, I can’t help but think that the subtlety of democracy is completely lost on them. After all, what you’re thinking matters little once you’ve let the wolf in the door. The wolf doesn’t much care why you let him in, and will proceed to happily do whatever it is that wolves do best.

Vive le Quebec libre, indeed. What an unbelievable waste of political capital. And what a sad comment on an entire society’s inability to do what it needs to do to keep pace with the rest of the continent. While they bicker over perceived slights to their beloved language and culture, Rome – or in this case, Montreal, or Quebec City, or virtually any other city in a place that could have and should have had it all – burns.


Wood …

Courtesy: Homedesigning

Such a pretty space. The home conversion of a holy space. I’ve seen a few of these and they have been done up to high spec.

You know what they say about prayer … “Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.”

I wrote a post about what has been going on here at the hacienda and my worries. It is the end of the month, hence, we run out of everything all at the same time, it is just a gradual – well, we run out of food. We run out of pills. We run out of stuff to drink.

And most importantly, you know you’ve hit rock bottom when you run out of toilet paper. And have no money to buy more. Thankfully there is 1 roll left which means money will come. I believe as long as there is one roll of toilet paper ready to go, that’s money in the bank.

I was up late last night. Much later than usual. I was scanning through several books to occupy my mind because I was out of my meds and I wasn’t really tired, because my mind tends to wander and I begin to ruminate. So I picked up Harry Potter and read a scene from the Order of the Phoenix, and put it down. I picked up Many Lives and Many Masters and read a paragraph, and was like Oh God !!!

Then I picked up meditations by the Dalai Lama, and was like, too deep for 4 am. Then I picked up The Tao of Pooh, and read a couple of chapters. But it wasn’t sinking in, so I gave up the ghost, turned off the light and tried to sleep. 45 minutes later I was wide awake laying in bed. It was close to 6 a.m.

I fired up the box and rifled off my opinion about the looming election on September the 4th. If the Liberals loose we may find ourselves under the gun of a separatist party who’s main goal is to push through a referendum “tomorrow”

As the Parti Quebecois Pauline Marois has said in interviews as of late,

about separating Quebec from Canada. Like they can afford to do this, and have a new currency ready to go, and a majority government to push through this referendum, because it will be harder to do with just a minority, which if we believe the reports as of last night, a minority is within reach, if the Liberals cant eek out another win, which is unlikely, but we all haven’t voted yet and until the last vote is counted, we don’t know who will win.

Fuck these separatists. They can all go to hell.

When I came to Canada I became a citizen of Canada. Not a citizen of Quebec. Quebec didn’t send me a nice signed “Welcome to Canada proclamation.” And the first time I shopped in a Quebecer staffed grocery store and a francophone woman spit at me I was finished with anything French… They can all go fuck themselves.

And if the separatists win and they fuck with my living in Anglo Montreal, I will sure as fuck consider leaving the province because I don’t need that kind of shit to worry about.

Sorry for that rant .

Moving right along … back to my story:

So it was closing in on 6:15 and I was ruminating so I got dressed and I actually broke out a sweatshirt to wear out because it was that cool this morning. I walked the few blocks there jamming some good tunes, and I arrived around 6:30. The meeting is only a few blocks away.

I sat there and waited until 10 to 7 and then texted grasshopper because nobody had shown up to open and he sent me back an “I’m on my way.”

He has this new phone a Galaxy something or other. And he has an app that is a virtual personal assistant. All he has to do is speak into the phone and tell it what to do and he does it for you. Like instead of texting and driving all you need to do is speak to the assistant and he will do it for you … It’s not Siri…

So anyways, I said a prayer to God last night when I wrote that “trust me” post and God replied at 7:20 this morning. Just as my sponsor advised me to do.

You might pray to God to help you change this … or ask him to change it…

Once you become a member of the fellowship, ALWAYS bring your needs to a meeting, be they big or small. In 10+ years of sobriety, I’ve never had to go outside the room for anything. If there was something going on, I took it to a meeting and spoke about it and I shit you not, I got answers. Sometimes not immediate like today, but damn close.

I shared my concerns with a friend and he, without skipping a beat, took care of those problems as soon as the meeting was over with. I am truly grateful for friends in the program. Because they have done great things for me.

Attitude of Gratitude…

And I get word that tomorrow is our wonder woman chair from Tuesday Night’s meeting, anniversary on the 30th. Thursday night, and her sponsor is flying in from New York to speak at St. Matthias then. It will be a Big Huge Estrogen Party. It will be exciting for sure. 14 years is a long time.

Good things to look forwards to on Thursday night.

I think I may try to sleep now. Since I’ve been awake for umpteen hours now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday Notes …

Courtesy: JackAnthony

This photo would be more appropriate if there were train tracks near here, and there are, not far off but one doesn’t really go walking on the tracks because they are busy all day long.

*** *** *** ***

There have been marches every night here in the city. The cops are getting creative with their “Kettling” of the crowds, and though other police forces in other cities have been cited for using this drastic tactic, Montreal police are fearing for their lives on a nightly basis.

Hundreds were arrested last night after a Kettling, and even innocent passersby have been getting caught up in the dragnet. We are told that talks will resume and that they really need to reach consensus, and they need to do it now.

The Grand Prix is starting to suffer as groups have begun to cancel their appearances here because they fear for their lives and the well being of the cars and those who would be coming.

Festival season is just days away now and students are holding the city hostage and the Premier is shuffling his cabinet in the attempt to bring fresh eyes and ideas into the mix to try and end this conflict with students.

The protests have morphed into what is called Casseroling. People sit on their balconies and on street corners banging pots and pans in civil disobedience to voice their displeasure with Bill 78.

Social media is firing all these protests in our city, and even though I support the students, something has to give and it better give soon.

We don’t venture out into the neighborhood very often and we sure as shit don’t travel to the East end or the village because that is where all the nightly troubles start. Marchers are fucking with the city by marching up and down streets Against traffic which creates nightmares for pedestrians and drivers and buses.

They marched against traffic down Ste. Catherine’s Street earlier today which stopped traffic for hours while cops drove behind them the wrong way all the way to Westmount.

I don’t see an end in sight and this needs to end because if it doesn’t the summer tourism season will be heavily affected and the city will loose big because tourism is a huge draw during the summer with the Grand Prix, The Fireworks Festival, the Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, and on and on …

If students are marching in the streets blocking traffic, fucking with the Metro, blocking bridges and streets en masse, how are we supposed to go on with our lives – it’s not only the tourists who are loosing, it is Montrealer’s just as well.

We will keep you posted …

*** *** *** ***

It has been a quiet couple of days. I had lunch with my mentor yesterday and we chatted about a great many things. Lots of ideas are on the table but nothing looks really good at the moment. I’ve been told by more than one sober person that I should wait to see what presents itself and not to rush to do anything big just yet. I’ve been making a list of “Things to do or Things I would like to do.”

And all these things involve other people and all of those people are out living their lives and doing their jobs and ministering to their folks. How do you go about asking someone to devote some time to you when it seems that their plates are full already? Time is precious and I don’t want to waste someones time or be a burden on them or their community.

All my EBAY items for sale will end tomorrow. Which means I will have to cart those boxes downstairs for pricing and shipping again. I contacted all the bidders to get some information from them and I am waiting on them to respond. It’s all about timing right now.

I was sitting on the balcony earlier today and the sun was shining and dark clouds closed in from the South Shore and it poured down rain just before I was getting ready to head out for a meeting. And glad that I arrived when I did to see arching over the sky from one end of the sky to the other was a huge bright and beautiful rainbow – I took photos of it with my phone. It was the first time in recent memory that I have seen a rainbow that big in the sky.

Not a bad photo !!!  Courtesy of Android HTC Hero.

The speaker at tonight’s meeting talked about God, and his conscious contact and how God had moved in his life. All the stories are somewhat the same. We came, we drank, we couldn’t stop things get ugly and only finding God as a result of working the steps, does one finally get sober.

A friend of mine asks the questions …

How much recovery is enough?  My answer to this question is another question…. how much is there?

Our man has been part of the program for more than 25 years. But he dabbled, drank and drugged in sobriety. So how much is enough? I don’t think we ever get “enough” but we have to come each day and fill our cups with living water, hope and serenity. It isn’t enough to stop drinking – but a constant daily necessity of getting what we need as we need it.

It was a good meeting. Here is today’s reflection…

Happy, Joyous, and Free

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

Alcoholics Anonymous P.133

No matter how bad it gets (Grasshopper) there is always a solution. It may take some time – but we will find the solution. Just don’t drink. One day at a time.

That’s all for tonight.


The Largest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History

Courtesy: Philmphoto

Daily Kos – Online Article Listing

The TroubadourFollow for Writing by David Harris Gershon

Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.

Massive crowds engulfed downtown Montreal this afternoon, marking the 100th day of student strikes and protests sparked (in part) by Quebec’s plan to raise tuition by 82 percent on May 22.

While estimates ranged wildly – from 100,000 to 500,000 in the streets – the number is less significant than the civil disobediencethat has thrust Montreal into the global revolution spotlight.

Authorities in Quebec, trying to counter the protests that have raged for over two months, passed “emergency” legislation last Friday that suspended the winter semester and effectively made protesting illegal. (The legislation, or Bill 78, stipulates that groups of 50 or more gathering must submit itineraries to the authorities in advance or be deemed illegal.)

Students and citizens in Montreal responded to the draconian legislation by streaming into the streets and defying Bill 78 in record numbers today. While the protests have been led by the significant student population in Montreal, the protests today contained cross-sections of the population.

Noting one of the more visible and noisy marches of the day, which was gatherings of both the young and old banging on pots and pans, Steve Faguy of The Gazette Tweeted the following:

I’ve covered quite a few protests. Never have I seen one that so resembled an actual popular uprising.

And writer Kris Holt had this to say regarding the emergent popular uprising:

Those on my street banging pots and pans are middle-aged or older. Much more than students now.

It seems that the legislature’s attempts to quell protesting in Montreal has had the opposite effect, as many today streamed into the streets specifically to defy the anti-protesting emergency legislation.

As one of the student leaders, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stated today:

“We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right,” he said, walking side-by-side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.“If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable.”

Absurd indeed – and that absurdity seems to have awakened popular support for the students’ plight, support that has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

The global revolution has officially arrived in Canada. And with student strikes and protests set for the summer, and with more of Montreal’s citizenry falling behind the students, it’s a revolution that may not be ending anytime soon.

Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Israel, New York City, Montreal…

…we are witnessing an historic global uprising, as peoples across the globe continue to rise up in numbers and demand their political rights, demand social justice, demand economic fairness.

It’s a struggle that is not just essential, but fundamentally human.


We … The First Word …

Courtesy: ChicagoTheatreBeat – A Separate Peace …

“WE” The First Word of the First Step …

It rained today. And amid all that rain, tens of thousands of people defied provincial law to march on the city once again today, and I hear through the grapevine that a march will happen again tonight marking the 100th day of the student uprising. And the plight of students here in Montreal has gone global, with support coming from far and wide around the world and on tv.

On Saturday night on SNL Arcade Fire wore the “Red Squares” on their shirts in support of the Quebec movement. If the authorities (read: Government) thought that Bill 78 was going to stop the marches –

they were terribly WRONG !!!

They not only thought wrong, they threw more fuel on the fire. We will see where the march tonight.

It was a dreary, blustery day today. And it doesn’t rain for very long, but comes in intervals and we got a good downpour just before the meeting started.

But the day began with me carting two huge boot boxes down the the post office to get weighed and rated for shipment come Friday when my auctions end, and it was raining this morning on and off. Then I had to cart them back upstairs, what a pain in the ass.

I knew that thousands of people were gathering at 2 pm this afternoon, and I was afraid that the marchers would get to our end of the city before I got out of the house, One doesn’t want to get held hostage by marchers in the street. I got out of the house early, just to avoid getting caught up in the throng.

On the way out, I checked the mail, as usual, and stopped at the bulletin board to read the announcements and I was pleasantly surprised to see a baby announcement from our building manager. Now I see her every day, sitting behind her desk, but I haven’t seen her stand up in a while, so I stopped in the office to congratulate her and she was not only pregnant, she was VERY pregnant. And I missed it all this while. So she is off for a year’s maternity leave starting in a couple of weeks. We’ve lived here more than ten years now, and it will be joyous to welcome a new baby to the building.

Set up was a breeze and it rained so you never know how many people are going to come to the meeting in the rain … If it rains, people don’t show up, If it is -20c out, people don’t show up, and If it is 40c outside, people don’t show up …

That’s the facts about our meeting. Depending on the way the wind blows, people either come or they don’t. We sat 40 folks tonight. One of our young men was in the chair for the first time so he went with the Daily Reflections. And today’s reflection was all about the word “WE.”

Stuck in my disease – it was always about me. But not really about me. Living with HIV put me in a very specific hole in life. After your friends and family ditch you, what do you have left, Yourself…

I was living alone. I had very few friends. Nobody knew the misery I was sitting in for so long. And nobody would know, because I kept it to myself. There was nobody there to notice that I existed. Nobody to point out the hole I was in, lest they get in the hole with me. I drank in a big, loud, dark, room with hundreds of other people – and I was alone …

It was by the grace of God and the persistence of a young man named Troy, who came into my life at the right moment, when I was ready to hear the message and the invitation to come back. I prayed for those words to be spoken, I asked God for those words to come, and they did.

I went to one meeting to see Troy get his year cake. Nobody noticed me. Queers in recovery can be as clueless as they are in the bar. So I waited for the next meeting at 10 that night, and a woman came up to me and greeted me and asked me to join them all in the meeting. Fonda took me by the hand and welcomed me into that meeting.

I was no longer alone …

I never took another drink. I was lucky to be in that “we” group. We went to dinner, We went to the beach, We went to meal after meal after meal together. We did things together every night and I was never alone again. And that is the spirit that carried me to Montreal some months later.

And ten years and some months later I am still part of that “WE” effort.

It was a good night, and the skies are clearing up, the temperature went down drastically, when we came outside the hall after the meeting it was very blustery and cool. Great sleeping weather. The helicopters are buzzing our neighborhood which means marchers are getting close.

Hopefully – nobody gets hurt we’ll see …

Goodnight from Montreal.


Montreal mayor livid over metro smoke bomb attacks

McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal

The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …

The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.

CBCNEWS.CA

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.

“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.

Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.

(more…)


NDP chooses mercurial Mulcair as spear carrier of official Opposition

The Canadian PressBy Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press

TORONTO – New Democrats opted Saturday for a rhetorical spear carrier over an ideological puritan, selecting mercurial Thomas Mulcair to carry the official Opposition into electoral battle against Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Mulcair, a combative former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, won the NDP leadership on a fourth ballot, besting longtime party strategist Brian Topp in a contest that severely strained the party’s self-styled tolerance.

A perceived centrist who was once wooed by Harper’s Tories, Mulcair overcame loud complaints that he would abandon social democratic principles in the pursuit of power — a federal pursuit that New Democrats can now truly taste for the first time in their 50-year history.

In the end, a party now dominated by its come-lately orange wave in Quebec went with its star candidate in that province to replace the late Jack Layton, whose sudden death from cancer last August staggered New Democrats just weeks after their spring electoral breakthrough.

Mulcair claimed 57.2 per cent of the vote in the final, head-to-head showdown with Topp on Saturday’s fourth and final ballot.

Mulcair assumes the role of leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition when the House of Commons resumes Monday after a one-week break.

The experienced legislative sparring partner was the candidate most New Democrats conceded was best prepared to hit the ring swinging. He’ll be put immediately to the test when the Conservatives bring down their first budget as a majority government this Thursday.

“Thomas is fearless, Thomas is organized,” NDP MP Charlie Angus said Saturday after his first choice, Paul Dewar, dropped out following the first ballot. “He’s one of the strongest MPs we’ve seen in the House of Commons and he’s certainly a match for Stephen Harper.”

Topp, a close Layton confidant and the first candidate to enter the race just three weeks after his death, fell 8,542 votes short on the final ballot against Mulcair.

He vowed to work with the new leader in a united front against the Conservatives.

Topp had earlier defended his decision to force the final ballot, rather than concede, even after it was clear he could not win.

“I think it’s fit and proper to let the party decide who the leader is and to not have the appearance that it was arranged,” said Topp.

Dark-horse contender Nathan Cullen, written off at the start of the race last fall after proposing co-operation with the Liberals, made it to the final three and cemented his role as a rising star in the party.

Cullen said his strong showing in the contest proves there’s an appetite for co-operating with Liberals.

“Change is in the wind, my friend,” he said. “I think anybody who (thought) New Democrats aren’t open to the ideas of change was obviously mistaken.”

Peggy Nash was eliminated following Saturday’s second ballot, while Paul Dewar, Martin Singh and Niki Ashton all dropped out after the morning’s initial vote.

Mulcair, Cullen, Nash and Dewar are among the NDP’s best parliamentary performers and their long absences on the leadership campaign trail have not helped the official Opposition consolidate its role.

Their return next week should reinvigorate a Commons already boiling with political controversy over allegations of election fraud and the prospect of a ground-shifting federal budget.

The NDP’s weekend leadership showcase, however, was drained of much of its excitement and vigour Saturday by a series of technical delays with the online voting system — although the source of the delay did add a minor element of intrigue.

Party president Rebecca Blaikie confirmed two IP addresses had been isolated as the source of cyber-attacks that appeared designed to slow entry into the system, effectively gumming up the works but not impairing the vote.

“Whoever this is or whatever it came from, their goal was simply to make it a pain to get into our site, to make it harder for people to vote, to block it up with a lot of traffic,” Blaikie said.

Whatever the cause, Mulcair’s victory wasn’t confirmed until late Saturday evening — timing the party had scrupulously planned to avoid.

That wasn’t the only come-down for New Democrats.

The day’s biggest ballot topped out at 65,108 voters, a less than 50 per cent turnout from a party membership that swelled to over 131,000 during the leadership campaign.

About 56,000 people had voted in advance of the convention.

Under the preferential ballot system, in which voters ranked their choices first to last, those 56,000 votes were locked in for all subsequent ballots and couldn’t be influenced by floor-crossing endorsements.

None of the vanquished candidates except Singh — who, as expected, went with Mulcair — chose to publicly endorse another contender.

As it transpired, key endorsements weren’t required.

Mulcair’s high profile in Quebec helped him maintain his status as the candidate to beat. Once a western-based protest party, the NDP’s world has revolved around Quebec since last May’s election, when an unexpected Layton-led wave swept the province and vaulted the party into official Opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history.

As the lone Quebec MP in the hunt, Mulcair made a powerful case as the standard-bearer for a party in which 58 of its current 102 seats came from his home province. Mulcair was the lone New Democrat among those 58 Quebec MPs who held his seat before last May’s federal election.

He has also caused divisions, however, among social democrats who believe he’ll turn the party into a pale imitation of the more centrist Liberals.

Elder party statesman Ed Broadbent lambasted Mulcair as temperamentally ill-suited to leadership in an extraordinary public broadside just two weeks before the convention. Jack Layton’s mother Doris endorsed Topp in the final week.

None of it could stop Mulcair.


Friday in the City …

Courtesy: 1Etranger (Sean Ashmore)

The weather held out. It was much warmer than usual today, but it is summer and we should be thankful for warm days. There are only so many more weeks of summer and the season change will begin in earnest.

The parade stepped off around 11 out front of the building. The good thing with holidays is that they always step off right in front of our building from the streets below the tunnel on Ste. Antoine and Rene Levesque. A good time was had by all. The pubs were full on our end of the city.

But all eyes were on National TV and the celebration in Ottawa of Canada Day and the continuing visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It seems they were a big hit.

But all that is going to change because of the leftist separatist anti monarch animals in Quebec and Quebec city. They are going to be the tarnished black eye that is going to embarrass all of Canada to the rest of the world.

The anti Monarch protest is planned and tomorrow we will see just how much air time they get on the national news. Fucking animals…

But for today it was a good day.

Last night I headed over to St. Matthias for the Thursday night meeting, and wasn’t disappointed. I had never heard the speaker who spoke – he was a couple years in and older than me, we all have similar threads to get here.

The buses and Metro’s were all running up to speed both nights, I didn’t have to wait for either last night and tonight.

Tonight I headed over to Friday West End for a meeting. And it seems there is a trend going on with speakers being of the LGBT persuasion. In our own special way they are celebrating pride in sober fashion. My sponsor was waiting out front when I got to the hall but we didn’t sit together and I slipped out after the meeting and didn’t say goodbye to many folks.

A good night was had by all.

Tomorrow the Royal Couple will be here in Montreal for a few hours, I don’t know if I want to brave the heat and crowds over at St. Justine’s Children’s Hospital. there are a couple of things on the schedule for tomorrow before they board a naval vessel for the sail up to Quebec City over night.

Time for din din …

More to come, stay tuned…


Harper: Majority win turns page on ‘uncertainty’ CBC

Courtesy: CBC.ca

Canadian voters have delivered Conservative Leader Stephen Harper his first majority government after five years of governing in a minority situation, with the 41st election bringing a dramatic and unpredicted realignment to the country’s political landscape.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton will now become Official Opposition leader and replace Michael Ignatieff, who himself was defeated in his own Toronto riding. Ignatieff took reponsibility for the Liberals’ historic electoral loss. Ignatieff’s Liberals — often touted as Canada’s “natural governing party” — placed a distant third behind Layton’s party.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, the Conservatives were elected or leading in 166 seats, followed by the NDP with 104, Liberals with 34 and the Bloc Québécois with three and the Green party with one. A party needs to capture 155 seats to win a majority in the House of Commons.

The NDP, who appeared to have nearly tripled their seat count, made a major breakthrough in Quebec, mostly at the expense of the Bloc. The projected loss of 45 Bloc seats in the province prompted party leader Gilles Duceppe to announce he would resign in days.

Following his victory, Layton bounded up the stairs to address a near ecstatic crowd in Toronto, brandishing the trademark cane given to him by a supporter on the campaign tour to help him with his recovery from hip surgery.

“And let me tell you this: Spring is here, my friends, and a new chapter begins,” Layton told supporters.

The New Democrat leader said Canadians voted Monday to strengthen public health care, retirement security and help families make ends meet.

“And you voted to end the same old debates and political games,” he told the crowd.

But he also vowed his party would oppose the Conservative government “with vigour if it is on the wrong path.”

Ignatieff, who declined to say whether he would step down as party leader, said he still sees an “ongoing need for a party at the centre of Canadian life.”

“I will serve as long as the party wants me to serve and asks me to serve, and not a day longer,” he told supporters.

In his concession speech, the Liberal leader offered “open-hearted” congratulations to Harper and Layton — “two opponents who have had the better of the night” — and accepted responsibility for the result.

“Democracy teaches hard lessons and we have to learn them all,” Ignatieff told supporters.

It emerged shortly afterward that Ignatieff was beaten in his Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, while several prominent Toronto Liberals lost or were behind NDP or Tory candidates as of midnight ET.

Duceppe, who himself lost to NDP candidate Hélène Laverdière in the riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, told supporters after his loss it was clear Quebeckers wanted to give a federalist party another chance and now expected recognition of the Quebec nation.

“I am leaving, but others will follow until Quebec becomes a country,” he said, as the crowd of supporters chanted his name.

Meanwhile, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May earned her party’s first elected seat in Canadian political history, defeating former Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn in the British Columbia riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

“Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics,” she told a crowd of jubilant supporters in her riding.

Results in Quebec showed the Bloc Québécois plummeting from 47 of 75 seats in the province to only two. The NDP, who previously had only Thomas Mulcair’s Outremont seat in Montreal, were leading or elected in 59 seats in the province.

Some of the province’s highest-profile Conservative politicians lost their seats. Despite overall Tory gains, Lawrence Cannon and Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who served as ministers in Harper’s cabinet, were defeated in their Quebec ridings.

In Ontario, Conservative Chris Alexander defeated Liberal incumbent Mark Holland in the coveted Greater Toronto Area riding of Ajax-Pickering. The Tories are also holding their existing seats and leading in some key Liberal-held ridings such as Brampton West and Brampton-Springdale.

In Toronto, three high-profile Liberal candidates lost their Toronto-area seats, with Ken Dryden falling in York Centre, Gerard Kennedy losing in Parkdale-High Park and Joe Volpe defeated in Eglinton-Lawrence.

Outside of the city core, Liberal Ruby Dhalla lost her seat in Brampton-Springdale to Conservative Parm Gill while Conservative Julian Fantio was re-elected in Vaughan, defeating Liberal Mario Ferri.

The NDP was also holding its existing seats in the city, with Olivia Chow, Layton’s wife, winning again in Trinity-Spadina.

The Conservatives and NDP began the night making gains in Atlantic Canada at the expense of the Liberals, who have won the most seats in the region in every federal election since 1997. The Conservatives had 38 per cent of the vote, compared to 30 per cent for the NDP and 29 for the Liberals.

In Labrador, the Conservatives won what was once considered a safe Liberal seat, with Peter Penashue defeating Liberal incumbent Todd Russell. The Tories had been shutout of the province following an “Anything but Conservative” campaign mounted in 2008 by former premier Danny Williams.

Meanwhile, in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, NDP candidate Ryan Cleary defeated Liberal incumbent Siobhan Coady.

The results come as many analysts were caught off guard during the campaign after polls suggested a surge of support for the NDP, specifically in Quebec, following the leaders’ debate in French.

Layton took advantage of this apparent spike, saying that voters were tired of both the Conservatives and Liberals and that the “winds of change” were in the political air.

The polls also forced Harper and Ignatieff to alter their strategy and focus more on the NDP leader.

Harper returned again and again to one main theme, repeatedly stressing the need for a Conservative majority. He warned that Canada’s economic stability was at risk if the opposition parties had enough seats following the election to form a coalition or some other power sharing arrangement.

Although Harper had initially targeted a possible Ignatieff-led government, propped up by other parties, his focus in the later days of the campaign switched to the possibility of Layton in power.

For his part, Ignatieff slammed Harper over his handling of the economy and accused the Conservative leader of disrespecting the institution of Parliament.

He ran ads questioning if Harper could be trusted with “absolute power” and reminded voters that Harper shut down Parliament twice and had been held in contempt of Parliament.

Ignatieff had said he would like to stay on as leader regardless of the outcome of the federal election.


CANADA: Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing

[Anglican Journal] Link

After this week’s discussions with bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal plans to launch a process to work out a rite for blessing same-sex couples in the diocese who have been married in civil ceremonies.

In an opening statement October 24 to the annual synod of the Diocese of Montreal, the bishop said he believes that in the current debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution.

“For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Montreal, are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice,” he said. “It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the church. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing and a means of God’s grace. In time our voice will either be affirmed by the body, or stand corrected.”

About a year ago, the 2007 Montreal synod adopted a resolution calling on the bishop to grant permission for clergy, under certain conditions, to bless duly solemnized civil marriages, including same-sex marriages. Clarke, like the bishops of two other dioceses where such motions were passed around the same time, has not yet implemented it by authorizing such blessings.

Speaking at this year’s synod, the bishop described his decision as one that “does constitute an incremental step forward, which is consistent with the wishes of synod, all the while observing the cautious posture voiced and upheld in other parts of the Anglican Communion” and expressed at the Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops this summer.

Delegates to this year’s Montreal synod took no further action on the issue except to debate and vote down, by clear although not overwhelming majorities, two resolutions presented by people opposed to same-sex blessings.

One resolution asked the bishop to refrain from implementing same-sex blessings until there had been extensive consultation with the Anglican Communion worldwide, until the diocese had established a process for consulting its members, until the General Synod of Canada changed the marriage canon, and in any event not before the 2010 Montreal synod.

The other resolution asked that, if the bishop did authorize the blessings, a process called shared episcopal ministry be made available to parishes and clergy requesting it. (Basically, this could mean that, with Clarke’s assent, a bishop opposed to the blessings would provide certain services, probably including confirmations, in similarly minded parishes. Last May, Eddie Marsh, retired bishop of Central Newfoundland, carried out a confirmation service for candidates from two parishes in the Montreal suburban area known as the West Island. Clarke authorized this, at least with regard to one of the parishes, and the experiment was considered by some to be a trial run for shared episcopal ministry.)

The two motions were rejected, although their sponsors used conciliatory language in presenting them.

David Johnstone, rector’s warden of the evangelical St. Stephen’s Church in Westmount, said the motion on consultation would not reverse the 2007 decision but would help to preserve Anglican unity in a situation where “the diversity once cherished by Anglicanism has been stretched beyond limits.”

The Rev. Timothy Wiebe of two churches in the Eastern Townships described the motion on shared episcopal ministry as “creative, generous and fully inclusive of all points of view” and “an Anglican solution, a via media.”

In his opening address, Clarke said that, shortly after the meeting of the House of Bishops (October 27-31), he would establish a commission with the responsibility of drafting an appropriate rite for the blessing and guidelines for implementation.

“In this process, I am committed to an open dialogue, and to this end, I will provide opportunities on a formal basis for listening, dialogue and further discernment,” he said. He added that the diocese would work alongside the faith, worship and ministry committee, which had been charged by General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, to develop a process to engage dioceses and parishes in study of the Christian perspective on human sexuality in light of scripture, reason, tradition and current scientific understanding.

“Let me make it absolutely clear that in this process, no cleric and no congregation will be required to participate in any future blessing of same-sex civil marriages,” said Clarke.

— Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Diocese of Montreal.


Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau (Liberal Party) wins his seat in Papineau with 41.5 % of the vote 17,747 votes (all polls reporting 239/239). I was watching CBC news coverage of the election returns. The Twitter community has been saying that the knives are out for Stephane Dion, will he step down and if he doesn’t – can he win a leadership review after this poor showing? There is a lot of talk about the leadership of the Liberal Party at this hour. And the news is not good for Dion.

We should continue to groom Justin for LEADERSHIP.

Well done Justin…


Que. language activists target phone menu system

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I am an Anglophone English Speaker in Montreal, and all of you Francophone Federalists can all go Kiss My White English Ass on Holy Sunday!!!

I will NEVER bow to the Quebec Language Police. This whole argument makes me SICK!

This is why I will NEVER learn French as a third language.
I am a Canadian.

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CTV.ca News Staff

Quebec’s language activists are targeting the telephone menu systems of provincial and municipal offices.

They don’t like the fact that people who phone into government offices are given the option of linking to an English menu before they hear French instructions.

The head of the Mouvement Montreal francais says asking for an English option to come at the end of government messages isn’t radical. French language activists say all they want is for the government and its departments to live up to the province’s language policy.The province’s language watchdog recently distributed a pamphlet reminding government officials that the provincial policy is to have the English language option for phone services at the end of the French message.

“The first language is French, and I want to keep the French language of Quebec,” Michel Morin, a French language activist, told CTV Montreal.

He and other activists have been bunkered down in a call centre, calling government and municipal offices demanding changes. Some activists say that having any English on voice messages implies that anglophones are first class citizens.

Lobbyists for minority rights in Quebec say they find the entire debate ridiculous.

“These guys have got way too much time on their hands,” anglo-rights lawyer Brent Tyler told the Canadian Press. “They must be scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to complain about if that’s what they’re coming up with.”

Minority rights groups in the province say they are being increasingly marginalized, and English is in danger of disappearing in Quebec.

Lately, anglophones in the province have been on edge. Last month, Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois proposed a new Quebec citizenship bill, which would submit new arrivals to language testing. It would also make French a prerequisite for running in local and provincial elections, including school boards.

Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu was also criticized last month after a speaker at a commission looking into the province’s reasonable accommodation debate said the NHL star didn’t speak French, despite having lived in the province for a dozen years.

Allen Nutik of Affiliation Quebec, an anglo-rights party, says it’s time for anglophones to stand up and fight back. He told CTV Montreal that the recent attacks on the English language are no accident.

“They want us gone. If don’t go, they can’t win the next referendum.”

But Beaulieu said it’s French — not English — that is under assault. He says that’s why his group has teamed up with another hardline language group, Imperatif francais, in the campaign to provide French before English on the phone.

“It’s urgent because French is declining in Montreal,” he said, according to CP. “For us it’s a crucial question, it allows the integration of newcomers to Quebec’s common culture.”

With a report from CTV Montreal’s Rob Lurie and files from the Canadian Press


Report: Anglican Head To Meet 'In Secret' With Gays

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THIS is NEWS!!! 

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

 A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

©365Gay.com 2007