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A quiet time really, much was done this week and now it is quiet. I continue to be horrified by the situation in Ukraine and the war crimes of Russia. The Federal Budget came out yesterday and I am happy with it. I think that Chrystia Freeland as Finance Minister gave us a responsible budget and is addressing important issues. I was also happy to see Justice Brown Jackson confirmed to the US Supreme Court, I heard her speak at the hearing and was impressed with her knowledge and calm, well spoken, she will do well on the Bench. She reminds me of our Canadian Supreme Court Judges, in the way she handles herself.

I am still trying to plan a trip to Halifax which is 325 km away. I would go over 2 days so as not to be too tired.

We visited Fredericton in New Brunswick 2 years ago and at the time the Beaverbrook Art Gallery was closed for a large second expansion construction work. It reopens this weekend with a Jean-Paul Riopelle, CC GOQ RCA (1923-2002) painting exhibit.

He was a painter and sculptor from Quebec, Canada. He had one of the longest and most important international careers of the sixteen signatories of the Refus Global, the 1948 manifesto that announced the Quebecois artistic community’s refusal of clericalism and provincialism.

If ever you visit Fredericton, do go see the Beaverbrook Gallery, it’s collection is beautiful and extensive. The city itself is rich in Canadian History and great heritage architecture. It became an important military garrison town during the revolution in the colonies, several well known figures like Major Andre, Benedict Arnold and others came to Fredericton and their homes can be seen. Fredericton is the Capital of New Brunswick and is name after one of the sons of King George III.

The Beaverbrook Gallery with the new Harrison McCain wing.

I always say to people who would not visit an art gallery that if you go and see a painting that appeals to you, think that the painter is talking to you. The painting is a conversation and the painter is expressing a thought, an idea or a mood. Every painting has a story just like a book, it is up to you to make the effort to decipher what is going on.

Harrison McCain (1927-2004) was the potato king in Florenceville, New Brunswick. McCain products can be seen in all grocery stores from french fries to frozen pizza. He died some years ago and his family gave money to have this wing built at the Beaverbrook. Back in 1984, I was starting my Foreign Service Career and in those days, the Department of Foreign Affairs would send all new recruits on a Canada wide tour. We came to visit the McCain factory and HQ in Florenceville. Harrison McCain, spoke rapid-fire English — and he drove his Cadillac just as fast. He was assertive, salty-tongued, headstrong, and charismatic, he greeted us and like all multi-billionaire business tycoon, he was super confident in his product and it was a national success. After showing us around and boasting about the Frozen French Fry, he showed us a new products aimed at kids after school snack, the mini pizza. It was no bigger than 3 inches across with a tomato cheese topping. The audience test had gone very well, mothers and kids loved it. He asked if we had any questions, one colleague of mine being very earnest and a bit of an nutritional activist, said; Mr McCain how do you feel about feeding fast food to children and ruining their health. McCain was obviously very angry at this question, he immediately demanded the name of this person. We were ushered out quickly and the next day we heard that he had phoned Ottawa and spoke to the Minister asking that this individual be sacked on the spot for attacking a national brand. This person was not fired, but we were told in no uncertain terms never to do this ever again.