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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Search for the historical Victor Hugo

 Victor Hugo1By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

With the success of the movie Les Miserables, people have been looking again at the author Victor Hugo.  What is it about Hugo that enabled him to write what Leo Tolstoy called the greatest of all novels? Who was the real historical Victor Hugo?

Every day around 3,000 words are published about Victor Hugo.  It has been said that to read the complete works of Hugo would take no less than ten years.  Every important poet, novelist and dramatist of his age was shaped by Hugo’s prolific endeavours.   Some call him the greatest of French poets.  He was the dominant figure in 19th century French literature.  By the time he left France in 1851, Hugo was seen as the most famous living writer in the world.  Upon his return to France, thousands of people in Paris chanted ‘Vive Victor Hugo’, reciting his poetry, and throwing flowers on him.  On his eightieth birthday, six hundred thousand Parisians marched past his house in his honor.  At his death, a day of national mourning was declared.

By the time Hugo died in 1883, he had become a symbol of France with all its struggles and challenges.  Hugo lived through bloody uprising after uprising.  Almost a million Frenchmen had died during this revolutionary period, half of them under the age of twenty-eight.  Les Miserables with its passionate message about the barricades reflect this deep trauma of chaos upon unending chaos.

When Hugo was born, his parents were horrified by his appearance.  His own mother could not bear to look at him. His own doctor indicated that without a miracle, Victor would not last out the month.  With an enormous head and a tiny body, his father said that Victor looked like the gargoyles of Notre Dame.  Such an insensitive comment led to his second most favorite novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Ironically after the success of his Hunchback novel, all the nouveau riche wanted their homes to be ornamented with gargoyles.

Sophie HugoVictor adored his mother Sophie but she cared little for her children.  During his childhood, Victor deeply resented his father Leopold who was always away at war.  As an adult, Victor became his father’s closest companion.  His own parents had divided loyalties between the royalists and the republicans.  Hugo’s parents met in Brittany while his Napoleonic father was stamping out a local royalist rebellion.  Both of his parents were unfaithful to their marriage vows, something that repeated itself in Victor’s own marriage.

While only fifteen, Victor applied for the French Academy’s annual poetry contest.  His poetry was so advanced that the Academy refused to accept him until his mother produced his birth certificate. Victor loved to write, commenting that ‘every thought that has ever crossed my mind sooner or later finds it onto paper. …Ideas are my sinews and substance.’

His father Leopold saw Victor’s involvement in literature as being like ‘pouring good wine down an open sewer’.  So he refused to help fund his literary education: “If you were to elect a career as a lawyer or physician, I would gladly make sacrifices to see through university.”  Victor often went without food in his early literary years, saying ‘I shall prove to my father that a poet can make sums far larger than the wages of an Imperial General.’  With great talent and a strong work ethic, Victor became one of a very small band who could earn their living with their pens.  One of Victor’s closest friends was Alexandre Dumas, the famous author of the Count of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers.

Adele HugoOne of Victor’s greatest sorrows was that his wife Adele was indifferent to his writings.  Even his passionate love poems for his wife, she ignored.  Adele warned Victor that ‘it is the fault of passionate men to set the women they love upon a pedestal. To be placed so high produces dizziness, and dizziness leads to a fall.’  Adele’s affair with her husband’s best friend Saint-Beauve crushed Victor, leading him into his own ongoing infidelity. There was great tragedy in Hugo’s life with his own brother Eugene having a mental breakdown at Victor’s wedding and his youngest daughter suffering the same fate after being abandoned by her lover Pinson.  One of the deepest wounds was the drowning of Victor’s daughter Leopoldine shortly after her marriage.   Out of this great sorrow came great dramatic writing, especially in his novel Les Miserables.  Andre Maurois commented that Hugo possessed and would retain all his life long, one precious gift: the power to give to the events of everyday life a dramatic intensity.

Ground-zero in Les Miserables was the gracious Bishop Bienvenue who transformed Jean Valjean by his generous act of forgiveness.  Victor Hugo’s son Charles was upset by his father’s choosing of Bishop Bienvenue.  Charles suggested instead that his father should have made Bienvenue to be a medical doctor instead of a clergyman.  Victor replied to his son: ‘Man needs religion. Man needs God. I say it out loud, I pray every night…”  Victor held that humanity is an ‘unspeakable miracle.’   Of all the French Romantics, Hugo made the most explicit usage of the Bible.

I thank God for the life and work of Victor Hugo who had such a passion for life, freedom and forgiveness, especially as seen in his novel Les Miserables.

 

(Click to watch)

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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The Joy of Les Miserables

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

eiffel tower in paris france

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

People have been raving about the musical version of Les Miserable which has already had around three hundred million dollars in worldwide box office sales.

Nicky Gumbel calls it a superb film, a triumph of grace over law, good over evil, love over hate. Eric Metaxas said that it is one of the most vivid, most moving examples of God’s goodness and mercy currently playing at a movie theatre near you. I enjoyed the new movie so much that it inspired me to again watch the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. Though my wife and I saw the Les Miserables production many years at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, this time round seemed to be striking a deeper chord with myself. The original novel, which I now have in eBook version, has been in print for over 150 years. Upton Sinclair calls the novel Les Miserables one of the five greatest novels of the world. With 1500 pages (1900 in French), it is also one of the longest novels ever written.

Many of you already know this delightful story of how an embittered ex-convict named Jean Valjean stole from a bishop who turns the other cheek and challenges Valjean to become a new man. Victor Hugo has the bishop say: “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” In gratitude, Valjean spends the rest of his life showing amazing grace, love and forgiveness to others. The forgiven forgive. Valjean’s life is based loosely on the life of Eugène François Vidocq, an ex-convict who became a thriving entrepreneur known for his good works. In 1828, Vidocq, like Valjean, rescued one of his factory workers by lifting a heavy cart on his shoulders.

The tension in the movie between forgiveness and judgment is expressed through the police inspector Javert relentlessly pursuing Valjean. Javert tells Prisoner 24601 (Valjean) that ‘men like you can never change’. Again and again Valjean shocks Javert by forgiving the unforgivable. Valjean offered to Javert the same radical reconciliation and healing that had been given to him. Javert cannot handle forgiveness because he is so fixated on people getting what they deserve. Javert was legalistic and self-righteous. This caused him to persecute the very person whose life had been transformed, the very person who was doing so much good for others. Javert’s compassion is completely lacking. Life becomes no more than following the rules and trusting in one’s own efforts. For Javert, God is an unforgiving moralistic tyrant. For Valjean, God is personal, caring and loving.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was spectacular, particularly in her singing of ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’ In 1841, Hugo personally rescued a prostitute from arrest for assault. We grieve with Fantine over the injustice of her losing her job and being forced into prostitution to feed her child Cossette. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times notes that Les Miserables ‘delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.’

Les Miserables reminds us that anyone can change; anyone can become a new person. We are not fated to be bitter and miserable. We can choose the way of forgiveness and joy. We can choose to be a new creation like Valjean. My prayer for those reading this article is that the movie Les Miserables may inspire each of us to forgive and serve one another as did Valjean.

 

The Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Louis Riel’s Parting Messages to Humanity

“INTERVIEW WITH RIEL”

(Regina Leader Newspaper, Saskatchewan,Nov 19th 1885 )

by Mary MacFadyen McLean (my great grandmother reporter)

“His parting Messages to Mankind”

    “The reporter of the Leader having received the orders of the proprietor to see Riel before his death and have an interview with him, waited on Captain Deane who was suffering from a severe accident, and who said he would be most happy to oblige the LEADER, but he doubted if he could do so were he in charge, but his superior officer was there, and he had no authority to act without his orders.

    “Who is he?” asked the reporter.

    “Col. Irvine.”

    “Reporter: “I fear Col. Irvine is not friendly to the LEADER, which, in the public interest has felt bound to criticize him.  However I must not enlarge on that head with you. My marching orders were to ‘See Riel,’ whom it was understood desired to see the Reporter of the LEADER with whom during his trial he frequently communicated.” Believing it useless to wait on the gallant Col, I repaired to the Queen City of the plains and went to my lodgings where I had the ‘Materials’ with which I had long been armed in preparation for this crisis.  When first the officer in command of the LEADER said ‘An interview must be had with Riel if you have to outwit the whole police force of the North-West,’ I resolved various schemes.  I reflected what great things had been done by means of the fair sex, and I thought, suppose I enlist on my side the fair ‘Saphronica’ and get her to put the ‘Comthethes’ on ‘Irvine’s susceptible fancy, and let her represent the LEADER.  Saphronica was willing.  A young lady of undoubted charms and resolute will, she essayed the officer in command, and, strange to say, his sense of duty or his fears of the Government, were stronger than his gallantry and Saphronica utterly failed to corrupt the guard.  But on this, the Editor in chief frowned. At last I hit on a plan of my own. Accordingly on the evening of my refusal by Deane, I repaired to my lodgings, put on a  soutaine (liturgical term for a robe) armed my chin with a beard, put on a broad brimmed wide awake, and stood Mr. Bienveillee the ancien confesseur of the doomed Riel.  I hung at my bosom an enormous silver crucifix and now, speaking French, presented myself at the Barracks.  The guard made no difficulty, and I believe they took me for Pere Andre.  Entered his cell, I looked round and saw that the policeman had moved away from the grill.  I bent down, told Riel I was a LEADER reporter in the guise of a pretre, and had come to give his last message to the world.  He held out his left hand and touching it with his right, said: “Tick! Tick! Tick! I hear the telegraph, ah ca finira, “quick, I said, have you anything to say? I have brought pencil and paper — Speak”.  Riel: “When I first saw you on the trial, I loved you.”

Messages: “I wish to send messages to all. To Lemieux, Fitzpatrick, Greenshields.  I do not forget them — They are entitled to my reconnaissance.  Ah!” he cried, apostrophizing them, “You were right to plead insanity, for assuredly all those days in which I have badly observed the Commandments of God were passed in insanity (passé dans la folie).  Every day in which I have neglected to prepare myself to die, was a day of mental alienation.  I who believe in the power of the Catholic priests to forgive sins, I have much need to confess myself according as Jesus Christ has said: “Whose sins you remit, they are remitted.”

Death: “Here he stopped and looked in his peculiar way and said: “Death comes right to meet one.  He does not conceal himself.  I have only to look straight before me in order to see him clearly. I march to the end of my days. Formerly I saw him afar.  (O rather ‘her’ for he spoke him in French). It seems to me, however, that he walks no more slowly.  He runs.  He regards me.  Alas! He precipitates himself upon me.  My God!” he cried, “will he arrive before I am ready to present myself before you. O my God!  Arrest it!  By the grace, the influence, the power, the mercy divine of Jesus Christ.  Conduct him in another direction in virtue of the prayers of Marie Immaculate.  Separate me from death by the force the intercession of St Joseph has the privilege of exercise on your heart, O my God!  Exempt me lovingly by Jesus, Marie, and Joseph, from the violent and ignominious death of the gallows, to which I am condemned.

    “Honorables Langevin, Caron, Chapleau, I want to send them a message, let them not be offended if a man condemned to death dares to address them.  Whatever affairs hang on you, don’t forget, ‘What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?’

    “Honorable Messrs. Blake and Mackenzie, I want to send them a message.  For fifteen years you have often named me, and you have made resound the echoes of your glorious province, in striking on my name as one strikes on a tocsin.  I thank you for having contributed to give me some celebrity.  Nobly take from me advice nobody else will dare to give you.  Prepare yourself each day to appear before your God.

    “The Vice-Regal throne is occupied with magnificence.  He who occupies it is brilliant, and my eyes cannot fix on him without being blinded.  Illustrious personages the qualities with which you are endowed are excellent.  For that reason, men say ‘Your Excellency’.  If the voice of a man condemned to death will not appear impertinent to you: it vibrates at the bottom of the cells of Regina to say to you: Excellencies, you also do not fail to hold yourself in readiness for death, to make a good death, prepare yourself for death!

    Sir John Macdonald! I send you a message.  I have not had the honour to know you personally.  Permit me nevertheless to address you a useful word.  Having to prepare myself for death, I give myself to meditation and prayer.  Excuse me Sir John.  Do not leave yourself completely carried away by the glories of power.  In the midst of your great and noble occupations, take every day a few moments at least for devotion and prayer and prepare yourself for death.

    “Honorable and noble friends! Laurier, Laflamme, Lachapelle, Desjardins, Taillon, Beaubien, Trudel, Prud’homme, I bid you adieu. I demand of God to send you the visit of Death only when you shall have long time desired it, and that you may join those who have transformed death into joy, into deliverance and triumph.

    “Honorable Joseph Dubuc, Alphonse, C. Lariviere, Marc. A. Girard, Joseph Royal, Hon. John Norquay, Gov. Edgar Dewdney, Col. Irvine, Captain Deane, I would invite them to think how they would feel if they had only one week to live.  Life here below is only the preparation for another. You are good Christians, think of eternity.  Do not omit to prepare yourself for death.

    “O My God! How is it death has become my sweetheart with the horror I feel towards her?  And how can she seek me with an attention proportioned to the repugnance she inspires?  O Death, the Son of God has triumphed over your terrors! O Death I would make of thee a good death!

    “Elzear de la Gimodiere! Roger Goulet, and you whom I regard as a relative Irene Kerouak, prepare yourself for death.  I pray God to prolong your days, Louis Schmidt, I ask of the good God to enable you to come to a happy old age.  Meanwhile prepare yourself for death. Listen to the disinterested advice of one condemned.  We have been placed in this world only for the purpose of probation.

    “And you whom I admire and respect, Glorious Major General Middleton, you were kind to me, you treated me nobly. Pray see in my words the desire to be as little disagreeable as possible.  Life has been smiling and fortunate for you. General, if there is one thing I have appreciated more than being your prisoner of war, it is that you chose as my guard Captain Young, one of the most brave and polite officers of the army.  Captain Young, Be not surprised if I send you a message through the LEADER newspaper which I understand with reconnaissance has not called out against me, prepare yourself all your days.  Death also disquiets himself about you.  Do not sleep on watch.  Be over well on your guard.

MESSAGES TO FATHER CHINUIQUY

    “And you whom death spares and does not dare to approach and you whom I cannot forget, Ancien Preacher of Temperance, Chinuiquy, your hairs are white, God who has made them white slowly, wishes to make your heart white right away (tout d’un coup). O be not angry at the disinterested voice of a man who has never spoken to you, to whom you have never given pain, unless it be in having abandoned regrettably the amiable religion of your fathers.  The grace of Marie waits for you. Please come.

    The prisoner paused, and in the pause, one heard the skirr of the spurred heel of the Mounted Policeman and the neighing of one of the horses in the stables hard by, and I said: “Is this all? Have you no more to say?”

    “No more”, replied Riel.  “Father Andre has been here.  He has told me there is no hope, that he has had a letter from my good friend Bishop Grandin.  I have taken the sacraments.  I am prepared.  But yet the Spirit tells me, told me last night that I should yet rule a vast country, the North West, with power derived direct from heaven, look!” and he pointed to the vein in his left arm, there the spirit speaks, Riel will not die until he has accomplished his mission and —

    He was about to make a speech and I left him with some sympathy and no little sadness.  I felt that I had been in the presence of a man of genius manque, of a man who, had he been gifted with judgement, might have accomplished much; of one, who, had he been destitute of cruelty might even command esteem, and as I rode over the bridge and looked down on the frosty creek, and cast my eye towards the Government House where happy people were perhaps at dinner at that hour, I said to myself: “Why did he murder Scott? Why did he seek to wake up the bloody and nameless horrors of an Indian massacre? Why did he seek the blood of McKay and his fellow peacemakers? Unhappy man there is nothing for it. You must die on Monday.”

    Here as I passed near the trail going northwest, the well known voice of a home-returning farmer saying ‘Good night’ woke me from my reverie.  In twenty minutes, I was seated at dinner.  I joined in the laugh and the joke, so passing are our most solemn impressions, so light the effect of actual tragedy.  Our emotions are the penumbras of rapid transitions of circumstances and vanishing associations and like clouds, we take the hue of the moment, and are shaped by the breeze that bloweth where it listeth.”

Mary McLean

Regina Leader Newspaper Reporter, Mary MacFadyen McLean, maternal great-grandmother of:

The Reverend Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.


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Who was Captain Robert Dollar anyways?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

While visiting Dollarton, I met my good friend Keith Cameron who lives in the historic Dollar Mill Office built in 1918.  Keith pulled out the book ‘Echoes Across the Inlet’ published by the Deep Cove and Area Heritage Association, and said to me: “You need to write an article about Captain Robert Dollar. He was a sparkplug for this whole area”.

The more that I have learned about Robert Dollar, the more fascinating I find his life-story. Captain Robert Dollar (originally spelt Dolour) was the founder of Dollarton and its first major employer with hundreds of local residents working at the Dollar Mill.  He was a very visionary individual who could see North Vancouver’s potential in terms of international trade and commerce.

Coming to Canada penniless from Falkirk in Scotland, Robert Dollar became one of Scotland’s fifty wealthiest individuals, amassing a fortune of over forty million dollars.  Leaving school at age 12 to work in Canadian logging camps, he saved up enough cash to buy into the lumber trade itself.  As most loggers spoke French, Dollar taught himself French and took over the camp’s accounting.  At their peak, Dollar’s mills produced fifteen million board of lumber.

As mentioned in ‘Echoes Across the Inlet’, even in the lumber camps, Dollar ‘always made it a practice on Sunday to take out (his) Bible to a quiet place and read it, even in the coldest of weather.” Dollar “attributed much of his success to the teachings received from this daily reading.” Dollar advocated “clean habits, clean thoughts, plenty of exercise, fresh air and plenty of sunshine…and plenty of work….Last, but most important, fear God and keep his commandments.”

In 1895, Dollar purchased his first ship in order to move his lumber down to American markets. His first boat became a huge success because of the number of people making their way to the Alaska Gold Rush. Out of this, he began the 40-vessel Dollar Steamship Company (later becoming American President Lines).

Known as the Grand Old Man of the Pacific, Dollar started three head offices in North Vancouver, San Francisco and Shanghai. Dollar’s ships bore the famous “$” on their smokestacks. During his lifetime he made some 30 voyages to Asia, being the first to bring North American lumber to Asia. While in China, Dollar built a Y.M.C.A., an orphanage, a school for the blind and a village school.

In 1923 at age 80, Dollar purchased seven “president” ships from the U.S. government which enabled him to pioneer round-the-world passenger service, being the first to publish scheduled departure and arrival times. In 1925, Dollar Line acquired the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and its trans-Pacific routes. Dollar was on the cover of the March 19th, 1928 Time magazine, and written up in the Saturday Evening Post in 1929.

Dollar was a family man with a strong work ethic and solid faith. His granddaughter remembers visiting her grandpa, saying: “We all arose at 6 a.m. and went to bed at 9 p.m.  Grandfather read a passage from the bible each morning and we joined in…Grandfather sat at the end of the table and said grace before each meal. At festive occasions he would tell us a story about his life in the Canadian north woods and have us all spellbound and laughing.”

Dollar’s mom died when he was nine; his grief-stricken father became an alcoholic.  Out of his family pain, Dollar developed four principles to which he clung to: 1. Do not cheat. 2. Do not be lazy. 3. Do not abuse. 4. Do not drink.

In Dollar’s 1920 diary, he wrote: ‘Thank God, from whom all blessings flow …we start the year with supreme confidence in the future, knowing that God is with us and hoping prosperity will enable us to aid humanity with our money, and that we will be permitted to leave the world a little better than we found it.”

Dollar never retired, saying: “It would have been nothing short of a crime for me to have retired when I reached the age of sixty, because I have accomplished far more the last twenty years of my life than I did before I reached my sixtieth birthday … I was put in this world for a purpose and that was not to loaf and spend my time in so-called pleasure … I was eighty years old when I thought out the practicability of starting a passenger steamship line of eight steamers to run around the world in one direction … I hope to continue working to my last day on earth and wake up the next morning in the other world.”

Robert Dollar died of bronchial pneumonia in 1932, at the age of 88.  Some of his final words were: “In this world all we leave behind us that is worth anything is that we can be well regarded and spoken of after we are gone, and that we can say that we left the world just a little better than we found it. If we can’t accomplish these two things then life, according to my view, has been a failure. Many people erroneously speak of a man when he is gone as having left so much money. That, according to my view, amounts to very little.”

May the example of Dollarton’s Robert Dollar inspire all those reading this article to make a difference in our lives.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Catharine Parr Traill: Pioneer Canadian Mother

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

Catharine Parr Traill was a pioneer Canadian mother who made a phenomenal impact on the life of our nation.

England in the early 1830s was caught in a Canada-mania.  In the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, England was thrown into an economic depression.  Thomas Strickland, the father of Catherine Parr Traill, was caught in the economic downturn, resulting in near-bankruptcy and his premature death.  He left behind an impoverished widow and six unmarried daughters whose chances of marriage were seriously limited.

Both Catherine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna married economically-challenged Scottish soldiers who were offered land grants in the colonies.  Canada began to be seen as the land of milk and honey!  Altogether 655,747 people sailed away from British shores between 1831 and 1841 (almost three times as many as had moved abroad during the previous ten years).

The two key Canada-promoters William Cattermole and Captain Charles Stuart were being paid so much per head for every Brit that they could recruit for Canada.  In their glowing description of Canada, Cattermole and Stuart forgot to mention the backbreaking work required to clear the forests, the total absence of household comforts, the aching loneliness, and the grinding poverty of most early Canadian pioneers.  Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna, being gifted writers, were able to record a vital part of our Canadian pioneering history.  In Catherine Parr Traill’s book ‘The Canadian Settler’s Guide’, she insightfully wrote:

“In cases of emergency, it is folly to fold up one’s hands and sit down to bewail in abject terror: it is better to be up and doing.”

Catharine’s book “The ‘Backwoods of Canada quickly sold its first printing of eleven thousand copies, being translated into German in 1838 and French in 1843.

Of the six Strickland daughters including Catherine, five of them became published authors!  Catharine’s older sister Agnes in England was the leading royal biographer of the 19th century.  Sister Agnes caustically commented: “Who in England thinks anything of Canada?” and “Nothing that is first published in Canada will sell well in England”.

 In Charlotte Grey’s book ‘Sisters in the Wilderness’, Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna are described as laying “the foundation of a literary tradition that still endures in Canada: the pioneer woman who displays extraordinary courage, resourcefulness and humour.  This ‘Canadian character type’, as critic Elizabeth Thompson calls her, is a pragmatist who discovers her own strength as she overcomes adversity.”  Sir Sandford Fleming, inventor of one-hour time zones, and the engineering genius behind the Canadian Pacific Railway, said of Catharine: “She has rendered service of no ordinary kind in making known the advantages offered by Canada as a field for settlement, and by her very widely read writings she has been instrumental in inducing very many emigrants from the United Kingdom to find homes in the Dominion.”

Catharine Parr Trail had a remarkable ability to rise above adversity and make the best of every situation.  Charlotte Grey: writes in her book about ‘the stamina, talent and determination that allowed two English ladies to overcome the hardships of pioneer life and leave a powerful legacy to Canadian culture.’  It is hard for us almost two hundred years later to fully imagine the miseries of hunger, disease, cold, and disappointment faced by our early Canadian pioneers.  I was shocked to discover that both Catharine and her sister’s families came down with malaria, a widespread problem in Canada as pioneers were struggling to drain mosquito-infested swamps.

Catharine Parr Traill commented in the early days: “I have not seen a woman except those in our company for over five months….”  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Being wrenched from one’s homeland leaves deep scars in the psyche of every emigrant in any era:  Susanna and Catharine bore these scars for the rest of their lives.”

Catharine’s motto was ‘Hope! Resolution! And Perseverance!’.  She would assure her relatives back home that Canada is the ‘land of hope.’ Her sister Sarah spoke of Catherine/Kate: “Her blue eyes always sparkled with happiness and curiosity about the world.  She had a warm smile and an air of stolid contentment, and even as a baby, Catharine ‘never cried like other children –indeed we used to say that Katie never saw a sorrowful day – for if anything went wrong, she just shut her eyes and the tears fell from under the long lashes and rolled down her cheeks like pearls into her lap.  We all adored her.”

 Charlotte Grey commented how Catharine loved “the wild and picturesque rocks, trees, hill and valley, wild-flowers, ferns, shrubs and moss and the pure, sweet scent of pines over all, breathing health and strength.”  Nature, for Catharine, was saturated with divine meaning – its splendor and concord displayed the authority and goodness of its Creator.  That is why Catharine wrote many “books that reflected sheer love of nature’s bounty and admiration in God’s handiwork.”  The flowers of the field, for her, were good reminders of the teachings of Christ.  Catherine often illustrated her dried specimens with biblical quotes, particularly from the Psalms or the book of Revelation.

Charlotte Grey commented that in future years, Catharine would rely on her love of nature, the beauties of which she saw as the expression of God’s will, to carry her through one disaster after another:
“Strength was always given to me when it was needed.” As she dug and weeded in the kitchen garden, or lifted heavy cast-iron pans of porridge from the stove, she would pause briefly, straighten her aching back, close her eyes and utter silent prayers.  She noted at the end of her life: “In great troubles and losses, God is very Good.”

In the midst of her very busy writing and pioneering, Catharine never neglected her family.  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Motherhood came as naturally to Catharine as breathing.  It was the most meaningful activity in her life.  She was always prepared to give more love than she took, and she saw no conflict between her family and her impulse to write.”

My prayer is that every mother reading this article would receive that same strength as Catharine Parr Traill in the challenges of life.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Louis Riel: Canadian Patriot?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed and Mark Hird

Who was Louis Riel?  Was he a patriot or a dissident or both?

Louis Riel was born at St. Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) on October 22nd 1844, inheriting from his father a mixture of French, Irish and Aboriginal blood, with French predominating.

Louis’ mother Julie sent her son Louis to become Canada’s first Metis priest.  The 1864 death of his father however weighed heavily on Louis, bringing about an abrupt end to his seminary training.  Four months from becoming a priest, Louis met a young Montreal girl, fell in love, and decided to marry.  He rashly left the College of Montreal without obtaining his degree, and then his marriage plans collapsed when his fiancée’s parents forbade this proposed union with a Metis.  Embittered by this racist-rejection, Riel left Montreal in 1866 – without a wife, without a career, without money.

Returning home to the Red River settlement, Riel found that locusts had devastated the land. With the demise of the Hudson Bay Company’s influence, both Eastern Canada and the United States seemed poised to swallow up the Red River settlement.  The Metis felt forgotten, ignored and politically abandoned.

Without adequately consulting the local 12,000 Red River people, the Hudson Bay Company sold the Red River settlement to Eastern Canada.  Louis Riel rallied the Metis people in 1869 to take over the local Fort Garry, the Western nerve centre of the HBC.  Riel’s goal was to force the Federal Government to negotiate Manitoba’s admission into Confederation as a full province, not just a territory. The provincial name Manitoba, rather than the expected territorial name Assiniboia, came from Louis Riel himself.

Louis Riel proclaimed that the Metis were ‘loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England’. “If we are rebels, said Riel, “we are rebels against the Company that sold us, and is ready to hand us over, and against Canada that wants to buy us.  We are not in rebellion against the British supremacy which has still not given its approval for the final transfer of the country…We want the people of Red River to be a free people…”

The Americans watched the Red River Rebellion with keen interest.  Ignatius Donnelly, a former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, said: ‘If the revolutionists of Red River are encouraged and sustained…, we may within a few years, perhaps months, see the Stars and Stripes wave from Fort Garry, from the waters of Puget Sound, and along the shore of Vancouver.’  In the summer of 1870, Nathanial F. Langford and ex-governor Marshall of Minnesota visited Riel at Fort Garry.  They promised Riel $4 million cash, guns, ammunition, mercenaries and supplies to maintain himself until his government was recognized by the United States.  Riel declined.

After William O’Donohogue ripped down the Union Jack, Riel immediately reposted the Union Jack with orders to shoot any man who dared touch it.  Despite his rebellious reputation, Louis Riel showed himself to be a Canadian patriot who single-handedly kept Western Canada from being absorbed by the USA.  Riel prayed in his diary: “O my God!  Save me from the misfortune of getting involved with the United States.  Let the United States protect us indirectly, spontaneously, through an act of Providence, but not through any commitment or agreement on our part.”  Riel also prophetically noted in his diary: “God revealed to me that the government of the United States is going to become extraordinarily powerful.”

“The Metis are a pack of cowards”, boasted Thomas Scott, “They will not dare to shoot me.” If it was not for Riel’s sanctioning of the tragic shooting of the Orangeman Thomas Scott, he might have ended up in John A Macdonald’s federal Cabinet.  Thomas Scott’s death made Riel ‘Canada’s most hated man’.

After fleeing to the United States, Riel was then elected in his absence as a Manitoba MP. The Quebec legislature in 1874 passed a unanimous resolution asking the Governor-General to grant amnesty to Riel.  That same year, after Louis Riel’s re-election as MP, he entered the parliament building, signed the register, and swore an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria before slipping out to avoid arrest.  The outraged House of Commons expelled him by a 56-vote majority.

Exiled to Montana, Riel married and became a law-abiding American citizen. In 1884, with the slaughtering of the buffalo, many First Nations and Métis were dying of hunger.  The Metis in Saskatchewan convinced Riel to return to Canada.  Riel sent a petition to Ottawa demanding that the Metis be given title to the land they occupied and that the districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Alberta be granted provincial status.  The Federal Government instead set up a commission.  In the absence of concrete action, Louis Riel and his followers decided to press their claims by the attempted capture of Fort Carlton.

Due to the Canadian Pacific Railway, my great-grandfather Oliver Allen was shipped with the Toronto militia to quickly defeat Riel at Batoche.  Using an American Gatling gun with 1,200 rounds a minute, the battle did not last long.  While in the West, Oliver Allen met his future wife Mary Mclean a Regina Leader news-reporter sympathetic to Louis Riel.  Right before Riel’s hanging, Mary Mclean disguised herself as a Catholic priest in order to interview Riel.  Before Riel died, he prayed in his diary: “Lord Jesus, I love you.  I love everything associated with You…Lord Jesus, do the same favour for me that You did for the Good Thief; in Your infinite mercy, let me enter Paradise with You the very day of my death.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Samuel and Helene de Champlain: A Canadian Romance

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Before Samuel & Helene de Champlain came on the scene, the very word ‘Canada’ had become a joke in France, thanks to Jacques Cartier bringing back quartz and ‘fool’s gold’ from Canada.  The term ‘diamond of Canada’ became a symbol for deception and emptiness.  During Champlain’s lifetime, France largely ignored him.  To most French citizens, Canada seemed distant and unimportant.  Even well-educated Parisians denied the value of Canada, sometimes dismissing it as another Siberia.

In the 16th century, France’s population was six times that of England, it possessed as much coastline, it was more affluent, its sailors were more skilled and were the first to consistently visit the Canadian seaboard.  But in contrast to England, there was little vision in France for the priority of sending people to the New World.  To immigrate to Canada, there was even a financial disincentive of 36 livres charged to anyone leaving France.  As a result, Champlain and his Quebec people felt disregarded, deserted and discarded.  King Louis XIII even had the thoughtlessness to cancel Champlain’s modest pension of six hundred livres granted by Henry IV; forcing Champlain to successfully implore for its reinstatement.

Champlain was born in 1567 in the town of Brouage, then a bustling seaport on the southwestern coast of France, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Bordeaux. His father was a sea captain and as a boy he became skilled at seamanship and navigation.  Champlain later commented: “…(Navigation) is the art…which led me to explore the coast of America, especially New France, where I have always desired to see the fleur-de-lys flourish.”  Ironically Champlain never learned to swim, even after crossing the rugged Atlantic Ocean twenty-nine times, as he thought swimming was too risky.

For a while Champlain served in the army of King Henry IV, fighting alongside Martin Frobisher in a joint undertaking by the British and French against the Spanish.  In 1599 Champlain captained a ship which returned Spanish prisoners-of-war, allowing him to explore the Spanish-controlled West Indies and Mexico.  As a result of his travels, Champlain prophetically suggested the idea of making a canal across Central America to shorten the trip to the southern Pacific Ocean.  King Henry IV was so impressed by Champlain’s map-making work that he granted him a lifetime income.  Henri IV also gave Champlain the title ‘de’, which marked him as a man of noble rank.

Four hundred and seven years ago, in 1603, Samuel de Champlain traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the site of present day Montreal, the First Nations village of Hochelaga.  In Champlain’s 1604 Journal, he wrote: “So many voyages and discoveries without result, and attended with so much hardship and expense, have caused us French in late years to attempt a permanent settlement in those lands which we call New France.”  After two Acadian colonizing attempts at St. Croix and Port Annapolis in the Maritimes, Champlain turned his eyes to the future Quebec City, a name that he translated from an aboriginal word: ‘where the river narrows.’  Quebec City, the Iroquois village of Stadacona, became the earliest enduring city north of Mexico City and Florida settled by Europeans.

Life was not easy for Champlain at Quebec City.  While building a miniature Bastille-like ‘habitation’, Champlain had to stamp out an attempted murder plot against himself.  When spring finally broke up the ice in April 1609, only eight of Champlain’s 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.

Champlain cared deeply about the First Nations people, building lasting friendships with many groups.  Pere Lalemant in 1640 wrote: ‘Would God that all the French, who were the first to come into these regions, had been like him!’ Champlain spoke prophetically to a gathering of the Montagnais, Algonkin, and French: “Our sons shall wed your daughters and henceforth we shall be one people”

When Samuel de Champlain married Hélène Boullé on December 30, 1610 in Paris, she was only 12 years old while he was approximately forty!  She was so young that her father insisted that she live at home for at least another two years.  At age 21, she moved to Quebec City.  The First Nations were intrigued by Helene who loved them dearly in return.  A titled lady with elegant outfits and etiquette, Helene was the center of attention at Quebec.  But for her the settlement held little joy.  Unlike Paris, Quebec had no shops, lively crowds or interesting chitchat.  As a high-spirited twenty-five-year-old, she pined for the exhilaration of Paris.  Champlain, fifty-six, favored the companionship of his hardy French and aboriginal voyageurs and the untainted grandeur of the Canadian outback.  And so, after four years, Champlain and Helene tragically parted ways.  Out of love, Champlain named the ‘Montreal Expo 67’ Island after her: Isle Saint Helene.  When Helene learned of her husband’s death in 1635, she entered a convent, choosing to become a nun rather than to marry again.

More than half of the fur-trading merchants working with Champlain were Huguenot (French Protestants) from La Rochelle; France.  The 1598 Edict of Nantes, which gave them religious freedom in Quebec and France, was first restricted in 1625 and finally revoked in 1685.  Although the Huguenot were therefore forbidden to worship in Canada by royal decree, the crews of Huguenot ships could not be restrained from holding services on board when in harbour.  The Huguenot loved to sing the psalms in French, a practice first encouraged and then outlawed by the French Royal Court.  Both Champlain and his wife Helene had been raised in Huguenot homes.  So thanks to Champlain, it was agreed that the Huguenot could hold prayer meetings on the ships, but sing psalms only at sea where no one else could hear.

After the English under British Commander David Kirke blockaded the French relief supply ships, Champlain and his men nearly starved, surviving mostly on eels purchased from the Indians and on roots & wood-bark. Champlain was forced to surrender in 1628 to David Kirke’s brothers and was sent for four years to England.  The Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye was signed in 1632 which brought Champlain back to Quebec City, much of which had been burnt to the ground by the British.  After having devoted the last 32 years of his life to Canada, Champlain died of a stroke in 1635 at age 68.

Champlain was the most versatile of Canadian pioneers, at once sailor and soldier, writer and entrepreneur, artist and voyageur, visionary and pragmatist.  He wrote four important books relating Canada’s early history.  He produced the best North American maps and its earliest harbour charts.  Repeatedly Champlain put his life in jeopardy in order to discover routes to Canada’s western wilderness. He nurtured struggling Quebec to steadfast life.  “No other European colony in America, “commented the eminent historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” I thank God for this courageous man Samuel Champlain who showed perseverance and dedication against impossible odds.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may show that same perseverance in facing our God-given daily tasks.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca