u Lights of the North light festival coming to Winnipeg Continued from page 1

The Lights of the North committee is co-chaired by Dorothy Dobbie, first fe- male chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and leader of the trade del- egation that accompanied the civic group lead by then mayor Bill Norrie. The other co-chair is Brian Wood who managed the panda visit the following year. The twining and the panda visit were a very big deal at the time. In spite of all the excitement then, however, the relation- ship with our sister city has been allowed to decline on our side, although Chengdu has reached out many times to us. That will be remedied this year. Not only does 2018 mark the 30th an- niversary of the signing of our sister city relationship with Chengdu, 2018 is the year of Canada-China Tourism as agreed between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Li Keqiang in September 2016. Seven new visa application centres have been opened to facilitate this, among them, one in Chengdu. To celebrate both events, a group of

local investors are bringing a spectacular Chinese light show to Winnipeg this Sep- tember and October. Lights of the North, the Chinese Lantern Light Festival will be an outstanding event covering 10 acres at Red River Exhibition Park and offer- ing the largest spectacle of its kind ever mounted in Canada. It will be more than a static display,

encompassing Chinese artisans, acrobats, cuisine and opportunities for kids and adults to be engaged in activity. There will be “living” dinosaurs, augmented reality experiences, carnival rides, and interactive art displays (a giant “Lite Brite” screen will let you create your own dinosaur im- age), fantasy world displays and incred- ible replicas of Winnipeg landmarks and icons.

Construction of the displays will be- gin in July with the show opening in

Sister cities have much in common

Chengdu is situated on two major rivers which meet in the centre as do the Red and Assini- boine do in Winnipeg. It is the primary railway hub for its part of China.

• A quick scan of Chengdu primary industries brings Winnipeg to mind. Chengdu does busi- ness on a much larger scale but they too rely on such industry as

- agriculture (grains and edible oil seeds and vegetables)

- investment and financial - logistics and transportation - electronics and IT - pharmaceuticals

Winnipeg hosts first panda visit to Canada

!n 1978, the World Wildlife Federation had signed a breakthrough agreement with China to co- operate in saving the giant pandas whose numbers at that time had dwindled to around 1,200. The plight of the pandas continued to be very big news in the 1980s -- when two giant pandas were loaned to the San Diego Zoo in 1987, two million people came to see them.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was created in 1987, just the year before the Winnipeg twinning with Chengdu and this became very much a focal point of the trade mission.

When the bears were brought to Winnipeg a year after the twinning, their visit drew international attention. Cheng Cheng and Rong Rong, the two pandas, were quickly adopted by Winnipeg. Their visit helped save the Assiniboine Park zoo which was under great distress at the time.

Thirty years later, the panda numbers have rebounded, thanks to the worldwide efforts led by Beijing to protect their habitat. Today, there are said to be about 1,864 adult wild pandas.

After the panda visit, Winnipeg reciprocated by sending a pair of polar bears to Chengdu.

early September and running until mid- October. From 75 to 100 artisans will be in town to do the construction and to set up the intricate lanterns and other fea- ture displays. One such display is a giant dragon made of thousands of china plates, cups and saucers. The “lanterns”, steel construction covered with fabric, contain millions of LED lights. Other displays will have skins of unusual materials such as thousands of tiny medicine bottles, re- quiring great skill in the set up.

The Lights of the North Festival will be a chance to allow Winnipeggers and visitors to get a glimpse of the culture of China, while allowing Chengdu to pay its respects to its Canadian “little sister”. While the organizers are thrilled to

present this entertainment opportunity to Manitoba, they are also acutely aware of the exciting possibilities such an exchange can present to business here. In the first instance, the show is expected to attract thousands of visitors to our city, but the

- While we build buses and farm machinery, they make automobiles.

- They even have a small aerospace industry and already rely on Winnipeg’s Standard Aero to repair their aircraft engines.

- Sichuan is the site of ancient hydro power dams built in 256 BC and still providing irri- gation to agriculture. Sichuan is also home to many modern hydro electric power dams.

Chengdu is China’s fifth largest city with a population of over 10 million in a trading area of 16 million. The GDP of Chengdu is $163.7 billion USD. Winnipeg’s GDP is about $29 bil- lion USD.

longer term implication for reciprocal business is at the heart of the planning. Manitoba is now open for business as demonstrated in the many recent very pos- itive announcements of new investments such as the Simplot expansion and the pea processing initiative, together worth over $1 billion, not to mention the burgeoning downtown Winnipeg construction. Reconnecting with China’s fifth larg-

est city and a centre of enterprise can only spell opportunity to Manitoba business.

When political correctness makes honest debate impossible, the system fails

Dorothy Dobbie

tions person from the West Coast. This friend, we’ll call him Rob, had contacted me for help with a pub- lication about First Nations business opportunities he was preparing to publish. He wanted some marketing advice which I was happy to provide, but in doing so, I remarked on the prototype cover he sent me. It showed the back of an Indigenous man, naked from the waist up and in full traditional head dress. Why, I asked him, was he using that stereotypical image when the magazine was about business people such as him- self. “Wouldn’t you want to depict people like you, Rob


– modern, successful, forward looking individuals who are setting examples of the kind of power self- realization represents?” Rob noted that the past was important to his people, and I responded that I un- derstood but that wallowing in it without looking and moving to the future was a dead end. My retired politician friend was aghast. “Man, was that ever politically incorrect!” he said. That surprised me. I didn’t feel it was politically incorrect as all – just an older woman giving some advice to a younger man, who took it in the end and made some changes to his presentation, keeping elements of the past while showing the dynamism of the future. We both benefit- ted from our conversation, learning from each other. That is what honest communication is about. If we

can’t talk about something, how can we ever learn from each other?

The same is true of this current discourse over sexual harassment. You are not allowed to take the man’s side of the story or to say that young women can contrib- ute to what they consider to be offensive behaviour. We are to accept holus bolus that every female who takes exception to the way every man interacts with her is right and is grievously injured, no matter how

April 2018

he other day I told a friend, a former NDP cab- inet minister, about a conversation I had with another friend who happens to be a First Na-

That this was so in no way undermines or mini- mizes the horrors that others endured. That moves us forward to the ultimate absurdi-

Is political correctness behind the current wave of populism?

much he may have been led to believe he is respond- ing to her signals. (Sitting on a bed beside him in a hotel room as happened in an MP-to-MP encounter in Ottawa a couple of years ago is a pretty hefty signal). This is not to say that there are not men, who bully, harass and act like jerks or worse that need a good slap down – or more. It is to say that there are women who flaunt their wares, use their femininity as a tool and are then surprised when some guy gets the wrong idea. It is worth the discussion to see where the lines should be drawn, so each side understands better and learns from the discussion. Then there is the story of the senator, Lyn Beyak, who had the temerity to say that not every person who went through the residential school system had a negative experience. Calls for her resignation were rampant. She was kicked out of her Tory caucus in January. All this in spite of people such as celebrated Cree writer Tomson Highway who agreed that some folks did come through unscathed and accrued overall benefit. To read about his experience and comments go

ty, the story that emerged last November of young Lindsay Shepherd of Wilfred Laurier University who showed a video of Jordan Peterson, a controversial Toronto professor who had been speaking on TVO about why he disagreed with using non-gender- specific pronouns. You can listen to it here. https:// Lindsay was severely taken to task by her superi- ors at the University for daring to offend and make trans gender and other students “feel unsafe” be- cause she introduced the subject to the classroom where she was giving a presentation. All Lindsay had wanted to do was to have an open conversa- tion on the topic, which, in her mind, is exactly what university is supposed to be about. In the end, the university apologized to Lindsay, but this sort of clamping down on open speech is very common today.

The problem with this is that nobody learns any- thing and one half of the population ends up burn- ing with anger because they aren’t allowed to say what they think – even when there is some truth in what they have to say that deserves to be heard. The result is the election of a populist, out-of-control president such as Donald Trump. Many American feel that he is speaking for them. The other side of this discussion will bring out the hate speech argument, but there is huge gap be- tween hate speech and difference of opinion. Just because we don’t agree doesn’t make me a Nazi and you a Communist or a Fascist. It just means that we have a different view of the world, and if we talk, we may learn something from each other. Political correctness is a form of intolerance that

to tomson-highway-residential-schools_n_8787638. html

is every bit as ugly as racism or any of the other -isms that separate us and prevent us from coming together as human beings with all sorts of intriguing but valuable differences. 5

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