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Canada’s Pressing Problem

Houston we have a problem! You have no rockets, and Canadians have no decent olive oil. That the two are related has only to do with time, as both took the same eons to be accepted by Canadians—while space travel slowly became a normal activity, olive oil crept into public acceptance due to its healthy attributes. Now, seemingly with a snap of the fingers, both are relegated to the garbage heap, no money for space, and no olive oil fit for human consumption available on store shelves. It’s shameful, especially when both had reached an apex, man was headed for mars and Canadians had embraced the wonders of freshly pressed olives.

What happened to the rockets is explained by U.S.politicians as a cost cutting measure, while the absence of a decent, healthy olive oil can only be attributed to the rise of International food conglomerates and their insatiable lust for profits. Unlike other vegetable oils, the ripe olive only needs pressing and bottling to be ready for consumption. Sounds easy, it is; and by employing this ancient process all the important nutrients are conserved: the antioxidants polyphenols and natural vitamin E.

Olive oil reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and decrease the incidence of some cancers. Canadians know this through fancy marketing campaigns, with supermarkets responding by filling shelves with numerous brands. Problem is, what the Canadian consumer believes is on those shelves is not the reality, as the stuff in those bottles is so loosely related to the real thing, that it may as well be rocket fuel.

In 2007, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency randomly picked 45 brands of bottled olive oil from supermarket shelves for testing and found one-third had been cut with either sunflower or soybean oil. Historically, ripe olives are picked by hand so as not to damage or bruise with picked fruit placed into containers with holes for aeration and mold prevention. Before milling, twigs and stems are removed with the resulting paste pressed into oil usually within 48 hours. Then along came the conglomerates with big ideas to squeeze more profit from the ancient fruit. Shake it down ripe or not, ship in dump trucks and place into huge moldy piles to await processing by a continuous centrifuge that employs hot water to separate every drop. Antioxidant polyphenols are soluble in hot water and are lost during this process, which drastically lowers the shelf life from years to months.

Canada requires the words “virgin olive oil” to mean: that the olive oil is one hundred percent pure olive oil and a free oleic acid level of no more than one percent. No problem for the conglomerates, since all they must do is refine poor quality high acid oil with solvents to bring down acid levels.

While a few reader may remember the great tropical oil scandal of the seventies, wherein soy bean producers concocted a super successful campaign to convince consumers that tropical oils were causing heart disease, that is nothing compared to what European investigators are uncovering about olive oil. It may be the greatest food scandal of the twentieth century, as it appears that almost every conglomerate involved in the processing of olive oil has been cutting their product with highly refined hazelnut oil from Turkey.

Yes, Martha, your favourite brand of olive oil is not only nutritionally wanting, it is probably cut with cheap nut oils that may have something to do with your bouts of wheezing.

Yes, it is against Canadian law, but that apparently is no concern to the conglomerates as Europe has even more stringent consumer laws. When it comes to olive oil, it’s buyer beware in Canada, while those fortunate enough to have relatives in the old country would be wise to cultivate their friendship, as it appears Canadians must look to them for a supply of the “good stuff”.

-A.H. Jackson

Buckwheat Pancakes With Blueberry Grapefruit Sauce

Ask any East Coaster about their homeland and you’ll be bowled over with the enthusiasm of their response. I’m originally from Halifax and whenever Nova Scotia comes up my beau has to pinch me to keep me from monopolizing the conversation. He just doesn’t understand, he’s from Mississauga.

This excitable habit can catch other unsuspecting Canadians by surprise. Once I was flying to Calgary from Halifax and I found myself seated next to a very sweet Calgarian woman. She and I started chatting, when suddenly, out of the blue, she asked, ”By the way, what’s with all the blueberries?” I was beginning to question her sanity when she explained that every souvenir she had come across in Canada’s Ocean Playground had had blueberries plastered all over them. Well, she shouldn’t have gotten me started. I explained that Oxford, Nova Scotia is the wild blueberry capital of Canada and that the blueberries in Nova Scotia are in season from August to September and then I rattled off some other little known facts (little known for a reason) about Nova Scotia until she put her headphones on and pretended to be asleep. I’m telling you, don’t get an East Coaster started we love to talk.


With blueberry season less than a month away I decided I couldn’t wait, so I grabbed a couple of pints of blueberries on my way home from work. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any Canadian blueberries and the ones I did get were unnaturally large and a little on the tart side (the price you pay for impatience), so I chose to make a blueberry grapefruit sauce with them instead of eating them fresh. I paired the sauce with 100% buckwheat pancakes and while these blueberries will never be as good as ones back home, this meal was a thing of beauty. Sweet, yet lip-smackingly tart, this blueberry sauce is my new best friend. I’m so happy to report that this recipe leaves you with an ample amount of leftovers. You can eat this sauce on ice cream, tea biscuits or on top of a big bowl of porridge; the possibilities are endless. However, I would recommend waiting until you can get Canadian blueberries. Yes, I know this is a bit of a tease, but when you do come across Canadian blueberries at least you’ll know what to do with them.


If you happen to be in the area check out Oxford’s Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival happening August 19th – September 3rd. I promise it’ll be delicious!

A Great Canadian Gordon Tootoosis

When we think about great Canadians, often we neglect to recognize the incredible accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous Canadians in our nation’s history. One such man whose legacy has been immortalized by his craft, is Gordon Tootoosis. He is a well-known film and television actor, who has brought characters of Aboriginal people to the homes of millions worldwide. His noteworthy accomplishments include Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, North of 60, and more recently Blackstone. Often the characters he portrayed, and how he gave them life on screen was different from the “Hollywood Indians” in films prior. He made the depiction of the Indian to be humanized, relatable, and with much less stereotyping and tokenizing. In essence, he developed the representation of First Nations people in mainstream media. This is a kind of activism that is creative and profoundly effective, as relationships between Indigenous peoples and settler communities had been strained from miscommunication and colonial misrepresentation.

Tootoosis is a Cree man from Saskatchewan, born on the Poundmaker reserve in 1941. He and his other siblings attended a residential school that prohibited them all from speaking their Cree tongue and practicing their cultural traditions. His experiences in the schools inspired him to become a Social Worker, specializing his work with children and young offenders. He was successful in reclaiming the traditional dance of his culture and was an active in the powwow circuit. Because of his work, he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004. He was a strong activist and voice for his people, and will be remembered forever. Gordon Tootoosis passed away July 5, 2011 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Miigwetch Gordon.

Great Canadians Jordan And Kyla

About Jordan and Kyla:

In the spring of 2008, we had begun a journey of both physical and spiritual transformation; one that was so powerful and enlightening that we had such a strong urge to share our experiences with the world. Through our heightened compassion and new found love of life, we were very eager to share our stories with whomever we could. As a result of this compassion and excitement, we decided to create a blog which could assist whoever was interested in reacquainting with their instincts while supercharging their life! It is hard to ignore, that the world is going through some rather profound changes. We are in the midst of experiencing something so exciting that it can change the way we live and think forever! Let us carry-on without fear and look within ourselves for the answers. For we all choose the reality in which to live. Let it be an experience full of love, joy and excitement! Embrace every moment with the utmost interest and compassion. We are here as a community to help and share in each other’s experiences. Let us rise to the occasion!

Jordan Miller

Prior to the Spring of 2008, I was overweight, depressed, and really had no motivation. I was always tired and miserable. At the time I thought this was only normal as I was always looking out to the world for answers to my perpetual “ailments” and hardships. Whatever the reason I thought was causing this downward trend, I knew within myself that something needed to change. I soon realized that we all have a choice in life and those choices dictate our actions and thus the way we feel. By aligning with this ideal and understanding that all humans have the right to exercise their free will, I decided to take charge of my life. Within 9 months, I lost 60 lbs, lowered my resting heart rate from 78 bpm to 54. My blood pressure regularized and I was no longer living in a state of depression. I decided to take charge of my health and well-being through proper diet, exercise and a positive mindset. Since then, I have turned my life around completely. I am grateful to those around me for the continued support, especially to my beautiful wife!

Kyla Paon (Miller)

I am originally from Prince Edward Island, Canada; I moved to Ontario in 2000. When Jord and I first met in 2006, we both had some pretty serious health issues. I had been diagnosed with an under active thyroid in 2001 and had been on medication ever since. It wasn’t until we started to change our choices in life towards better health in 2008, that I felt my symptoms getting better. I was eventually able to completely stop taking medication in 2009 and I now live without symptoms caused by an under active thyroid. Seeing this drastic change within myself has inspired me to help others. I am currently working towards become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. This journey has by far been the most exciting, challenging, happiest, and uplifting time of my life. I learn something new every day and I have so much appreciation for the air we breathe, the earth we live on, the friends we love and the life we live.

We hope that you enjoy this site. Please feel free to contact us or comment on our blogs ( We would love to share life and all its amazing synchronicity with you. Much love and peace be with you and yours.

With Love,

Jordan & Kyla

Editor’s Note: Look for Jordan & Kyla articles on The Great Canadian Online Magazine!

A Great Canadian Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin Poundmaker

Pitikwahanapiwiyin, more commonly known as Poundmaker, was born in 1842 to an Assiniboine medicine man and his part Cree wife in the Battleford, Saskatchewan area. After his parents died, he, his younger brother and sister were raised by his mother’s Plains Cree band (known as the Red Pheasant Band). His name was inherited from his grandfather, who was notorious for being able to bring buffalo into pounds, or corrals made by walls with thick bushes. Pitikwahanapiwiyin means “The One Who Sits at the Pound”.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin is best known for his ability as a peacemaker and protector of his people. He was not opposed to treaties, but to the failures of the government to keep it’s promises in the treaties. In 1876, he became renowned during the time of the 1876 Treaty 6 deliberations at Fort Carlton. At the time, he was headman of the River People bands. He ensured that Treaty 6 included a “famine clause”. He still did not want to accept because of his concerns with some of the other issues in the treaty. He only agreed to sign it because most of the band favored it.

Three years later, now Chief, he chose to separate from the band and accepted a reserve with only about 182 followers. The reserve was about 48 square km by the Battle River about 64 km west of Battleford.

His influence became more prominent when Isapo-Muxika (Crowfoot), chief of the Blackfoot First Nation, adopted Pitikwahanapiwiyin, to replace one of Isapo-Muxika’s sons who was killed in battle.This was a common practice for the Plains people. Some reports have the date as 1873, others have it as 1876, regardless of the date, it boosted his influence as a spokesperson.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin become more involved in the First Nations politics, after becoming extremely frustrated by the lack of the government’s promise in keeping the treaty agreements. He was an active spokesperson and represented the Cree in multi band meetings and with the government. He also was a guide and interpreter when Governor-General Lord Lorne traveled from Battleford to Calgary.

The band was hungry and in need of food, even though Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin tried many times to negotiate with the Indian Agent in Battleford.

In 1885, the band camp was attack by Lieutenant-Colonel Otter but after 7 hours of fighting, the Lieutenant was forced to withdraw his men. Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin stopped the Cree men from following suit to continue the fight.

Often, Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin, averted bloodshed between the R.C.M.P. and the band. Unfortunately, there were a few times that the Cree warriors from the Chief’s band did not have the same idea of peace that he did. Plains Cree tradition is that once a warrior’s/soldier’s lodge is set up in camp, they are in control of the camp, not the Chief, even though he is the political leader. Soon after the attack by the Lieutenant, the soldiers highjacked a supply wagon train slated to go to Lieutenant-Colonel Otter’s troops. Again, Pitikwahanapiwiyin intervened and the 21 teamsters were taken as prisoners instead of killed.

A few days later, the Metis were defeated at Batoche, Saskatchewan, in the historical Battle of Batoche, which had lasted from May 9-12, 1885. When Pitikwahanapiwiyin and his band heard the news, he sent Father Louis Cochin to the same major who defeated the Metis, Major-General Fredrick Middleton, asking for peace terms.

May 26, 1885, Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin and his followers, laid down their arms at Fort Battleford. Pitikwahanapiwiyin was arrested on the spot. He was imprisoned and sentenced for treason-felony for 3 years in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary (Manitoba). He was only able to serve 1 year because of his health. He succumbed to a lung hemorrhage in 1886, when visiting his adopted father Isapo-Muxika on the Blackfoot reserve.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) was called a traitor, and some even considered him a weak man, others idolized him. In the end, he did his best to protect those he was responsible for and even tried to protect those who he wasn’t.