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CANADA, O CANADA: WHAT HAVE YE WROUGHT AND WHAT DO YOU FACE IN THE FUTURE?
by Michael H. Brown
[adapted from Sent To Earth]
It's our dear neighbor to the north, larger in area than the continental U.S., and our greatest trading partner. Most of its people speak the same language. It is our closest ally. More importantly: it's an advanced nation that in many ways may be a harbinger.
We speak of course of Canada, and let's hover on the notion of "harbinger."
In the societal realm, Canada has long been where the U.S. is now swiftly headed: into a new level of liberal secularism. A nation of many extraordinary people, including an army of devout Catholics -- a country that is still instilled with old neighborly values, remains with a believing populace (just seven percent are atheists, as opposed to fifty percent in parts of Europe), and materially wealthy (with health care for all) -- it nonetheless is headed, like the U.S., in the wrong direction.
That pertains not just to a pervasive liberal cultural milieu of Canada (it awarded the prestigious Order of Canada last year to an abortionist), but to the Church: some of the most "progressive" clergy call Canada home, and when it comes to diverting away from Catholic roots, in many ways it has led the Americas. In 2006 a male prostitute turned gay priest entered the Canadian Parliament after a shock by-election victory, and another priest has publicly supported abortion.
For sure, such priests are the minority; we must emphasize the tremendous devotion and deep Catholic tradition. This is a nation that has two major miraculous shrines in one province (St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal and Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré) and unlike the U.S. an approved apparition. In Toronto, which we will soon be visiting for a retreat, is a cathedral dedicated to the Archangel Michael.
But it is Canada where one province reports 35 percent with no religion and it is also downtown Toronto where there was once an incredible photograph taken (as I recall for Life) showing a bolt of lightning hitting a St. Michael Cemetery. And here we get to the crux of it. Like America, Canada risks chastisement, and already has seen events that may too be "harbingers."
Indeed, when the Red River recently flooded, it threatened liberal strongholds in Manitoba.
And that's the tip of it. Less than ten years ago, the same river threatened the same area and Canada has seen other extraordinary weather.
In 1989, there was such a pulse of solar activity that it knocked out electricity in the Hydro-Quebec system -- leaving six million Canadians without energy. This is an event that could happen in the U.S. and on a larger scale. A harbinger?
In 1998 -- not ten years later -- an unprecedented weeklong storm toppled 27,000 utility poles in Quebec, huge transmission towers, and immobilized a fifth of Canada's work force. It was a taste of apocalypse as a 600-mile swath of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario was coated with up to four inches of ice. Residents went without light, heat, and running water for days and even weeks. At one point the three million residents of Montreal were tethered to civilization by a single power line. So desperate were people that they began to chop up their porches for firewood. In Ontario, according to the government, the ice storm dumped the equivalent weight of 77,000 Titanics.
"It was a hundred-year storm no matter how you look at," David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment Canada, told me. "It could be a storm of the millennium for all we know. It was the most destructive, disruptive storm in Canadian history. We've looked in our weather files to see something like this, but nothing exists there. Maybe in the x-files, but not in the weather files." (That photo above of lightning was taken in Ontario.)
The signs, once a curiosity, had grown drastic. Tornadoes on the plains. Floods too -- monumental -- in Saguenay. As in the U.S., but perhaps even more so, the climate has gyrated: hot, cold, hot. In the Arctic, ancestral Eskimo ice cellars were melting. Butterflies indigenous to Mexico were being spotted at Canada's southern border.
There are always disasters but what we have seen worldwide has been tremendous. In 1999 winds from a system of low pressure ripped through France, the gale also buffeting Spain and Germany, what the national meteorological office in Offenbach called "the worst hurricane Germany has ever had," three days of devastating storms that howled through the Alps where it turned to snow and triggered avalanches. In Rome slabs were torn off a roof designed by Michelangelo while in France there was damage to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. A few years before the government in Canada declared that its people had suffered "some of the most extreme and destructive weather ever to hit the country, the stuff of a Hollywood catastrophe film -- 'weather bombs' in Vancouver Island, hailers on the prairies, deluges of biblical proportion."
In the western part too is the threat of a great quake from a fault that runs off Seattle.
That's due to a region stretching up the coast of Canada where what was called the Juan de Fuca plate was subducting under the North American plate, the same set of circumstances that had led to eruption of Cascadian volcanoes like Mount St. Helens. There have been great quakes in the past; the sea floor dropped; the area was far more susceptible than most knew, on a par, nearly, with San Francisco. It didn't get big quakes as frequently as California, but the maximum it could attain, the magnitude, was higher. Though there had not been large earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest for at least 150 years, the Cascadian subduction zone seems to be "storing strain energy to be released in future great earthquakes," say two government scientists, Thomas H. Heaton and Stephen H. Hatzell, who openly fretted about the possibility of "a sequence of several great earthquakes of magnitude-8" that would rumble on for years -- what one geologist, George Carver of California State University, called a "decade of terror."
And so we head to Canada, a nation dear to us. I spent many months working in Canada in the early 1990s, and I know the grace, intelligence, and mettle of the folks there. I also know the special challenge. Go to Vancouver Island and see the infiltration of New Age. Meanwhile, since 1970, three million babies have been terminated in the country.
Canada, oh Canada!
If we love, and balance our souls, God wraps us in His nurturing protection. That will be our message.
Canada, oh Canada!
So full of hope, in some ways, but, perhaps, in others, a preview of what will come elsewhere.
[resources: Michael Brown June retreat, Toronto: deliverance, spiritual protection and Sent To Earth]
[Said Mother Angelica about Sent To Earth: "If you didn't buy his book, you're missing it. It's not a scary book; it's a very good book. If you haven't bought it I would buy it. I think it's a great book, just terrific. I think it's important for my future and your future. I want you to read Sent To Earth. Why? It's logical, it's truthful, it's sensible, and it's God's way of saying, 'Let's be ready.'"]
[photo of lightning courtesy Spacing Montreal]
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