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Whither the Weather

by Anthony S. Tross

The weather refuses to come to heel. The season says autumn yet outdoors is summer, and a late spring walk the most beautiful amble through giant flakes of winter. Until Ulaganbagatur became the Mongolian capital, Ottawa would claim to be the world's coldest national Capital. Some continue to make that claim. I never believed it in the first place. 
We did have some cold winters in the'70's which made my snowshoveling career a nasty chore but the neighbors were elderly. I have to give a shout-out to the skidder drivers who would wait until I had finished shoveling and fill the driveway entrance right back in, except this time not just with snow but a potent mix of snow and hardened rock salt. A jackhammer would have been handy. As it was that stuff destroyed shovel blades, making them all but useless for clearing a hockey rink. The most sarcastic thank you possible to you guys. You got home 30 seconds earlier and cost me a solid hour.At the end of that particular season Madame Courtemanche gave me $2 for the whole winter. They were the neighbors, and did give me hot chocolate, and cakes and cookies. I'd say I got the best of that deal.
Ottawa is Canada's capital city, and the time of which I write, the 1950's to 1980's, possibly the world capital for spying. There were a number of reasons for this, one of them being that Canada has the world's longest undefended border with the United States. Another that Ottawa is but a short drive to said border and a short flight to Washington. Ottawa is also topographically ideally suited to covert operations with a major river, low but rough mountains,  trails maintained year-round and many more spy-attractants. 
There are two world-class universities located there, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. Both persue a full curriculum with UofO having a more science oriented bent, but Carleton with its journalism school could describe that far better than I. My father was a tenured Professor of mathematics and physics at UofO. He was also continuing to work for the United States within the intelligence community. I don't have any particulars about this work, and would not divulge that information were I able to. What I can say is that some Professors were deliberately hired, Father being one of them, as an asset, I am going to presume, of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). His role would have been to recruit the best and brightest of the foreign students, especially those from Russia, Japan, China, etc. to work for the U.S. military - especially outfits such as DARPA.
Dad's last assignment before retirement after 22 years in the U.S. military was 4 years at the Russian Language School. After retirement from the army he immediately went to the University of Missouri in Rolla where he received his PhD in Physics. We packed up in 1968 and moved to Canada where his skills were put to best use. The hiring of American Profs in these capacities by Canadian universities was rampant, and kept beyond top secret until fairly recently. He managed to keep this arrangement for 30 some years with bi-yearly, if not more frequent, de-briefings at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, and later the centre of NorthCom located at Fort Drum.
Now that that wolverine is roaming freely I am somewhat timorous of the repercussions for me. The truth needed to be told however, the information had be made public though not widely disseminated, and I'm going to take my knowledge and make sure a wider Canadian public is aware of the fact of these efforts in espionage, but also the implications of such actions.
Next time I am going to refine the level of detail in this particular case, but more importantly fill in the feeling of being in Ottawa as the world's spying capital. as a teenager surrounded by the capitalist dream / nightmare. Sleep well my Dearest Readers, don't let the room full of bugs intimidate, your number is just waiting to be called. Love us all. We don't have a clue what we're doing.

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abuddha (Tony Tross)
Swift Current, Sask.
Member since July 2014


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