Jackie Shane – Any Other Way

U.S. born Jackie Shane lived in Canada and some like to think he is a relative of Little Richard. This song, a cover, became popular in Canada in 1962.

What’s political is Shane is seen to be using the word ‘gay’ in the lyrics for its sexual orientation connotation, and not simply as a synonym of ‘happy.’ This double meaning was not mainstream back then.

“Tell her that I’m happy/tell her that I’m gay”

The singer was a gay performer who often dressed in drag, and to many today, is seen as an early LGBT artist. Rumours are he is no longer alive, in hiding, or incognito, living her life today, as a transgender woman.


The Beatles – Fool on the Hill

“The Hill” is an informal name for the Parliament of Canada, located in the capital city of Ottawa, in the province of Ontario. That’s because the legislative buildings sit on Parliament Hill. Canadian political critics might refer to the head of government, the Prime Minister, as the fool on the hill…

Mind you, the 1967 song might be suggesting the fool in the lyrics actually has a head on his shoulder: he sees the world going ’round.

In a parliamentary system, the eligibility requirements for a prime minister is typically this:

Must be: an elected Member of Parliament, the chosen leader of their party, and commanding plurality support in the legislature among the members of parliament.

The job description of a prime minister would be posted in a wanted ad thusly:

sets the structure of government such as its departments and agencies; selects the members of cabinet that oversee these departments and agencies; can make appointments to various positions (which could include Senators, judges, deputy ministers that are the administrative and non partisan heads of departments), and may be able to call an election. Of course, too, the Prime Minister plays a greatly symbolic role in representing the country.

Kashtin – Ishkuess

Okay, this pretty and delicate song sounds like a ’70s ballad in Billy Joel territory that feels like it should build into an ’80s heavy metal ballad-and thankfully doesn’t! It’s from 1991. And the band are of the Innu people, of northern Québec, Canada. Plus, they are singing in their traditional language, Innu-aiman.

Kasthtin are considered to be the most successful First Nations (the proper term in Canada for “Indian”) musical group.

The song seems like a basic love song; the title meaning ‘girl.’ But Kashtin means tornado!

The folk rock band was active in the 1980s, and through to the 1990s, a time in Canada in which First Nations were becoming more active at expressing their political demands, which included reparation for the many past wrongs of colonialism, and a fresh start with ‘self government’ of their own peoples. Attempts at constitutional change to decisively deal with such matters failed in the 1990s. Smaller scale efforts with treaties and land claims continue in some Canadian provinces, and progress is slow.

A contemporary reviewed here is Susan Aglukark.

Manu Militari – L’Attente

Ideologically conservative media in Canada are apoplectic over a francophone, Montreal rapper that has a song which appears to celebrate violence against Canadian troops, by the Taliban, in Afghanistan. The video shows Canadian soldiers being killed.

The Prime Minister’s Office obviously came out against the song, but the Canadian government also helped finance it through an arts program, MusicAction. Canada frequently gets in such seemingly unpatriotic hot water, also recently with the punk group Living With Lions.

Hopefully, Manu Militari is not serious. But the strong backlash against the song also goes to show how free speech does not always need be restricted when the court of public opinion can also weigh in.