The Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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Braille Challenge
2015 Preliminary
Reading Comprehension – Passage 1
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Part 1: Description

1 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the national police force of Canada. Colloquially, its members are known as "the Mounties" and internally, as "the Force." Unlike police forces in other countries of the world, the RCMP works at all levels of government: national, federal, provincial and municipal. Currently it contracts with three territories, eight of the ten provinces, approximately 198 municipalities, and 192 First Nations communities. (The two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, maintain their own provincial police forces.) The RCMP is charged with investigating major crimes and homicides, forensic identification, collision forensics, police dogs, emergency response teams, explosives disposal, airport policing, drug enforcement, and undercover operations. As of 2014, there were 31,000 officers serving in the RCMP.

2 The RCMP is famous for its distinctive scarlet ceremonial dress uniform and the Musical Ride, first held in 1887. The Musical Ride is a ceremony in which 32 RCMP officers show off their horse riding skills and uniform in the execution of a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drills with music. The riders are all police officers, most of whom have no equestrian background before volunteering for a three year position with the Musical Ride. They undergo many months of training to prepare for the 40 to 50 annual performances given in Canada and around the world.

3 The Mounties were immortalized as symbols of Canadian culture in numerous Hollywood movies, often featuring the image of the Mountie as square jawed, stoic, and polite, and with the motto that the Mountie "always gets his man". Dudley Do-Right (of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show) is an example of the Mountie myth.

Part 2: History

4 The RCMP was created on May 23, 1873, by Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, under the name North-West Mounted Police (NWMP). His intent was to bring law and order and assert Canadian sovereignty in the North-West Territories, which then included the area of modern day Alberta and Saskatchewan.


5 The NWMP's early activities included containing the whisky trade and carrying out agreements with the First Nations peoples. In those early years, the force's dedication to enforcing the law on behalf of the First Nations people resulted in the establishment of positive relations with them. In 1885, the NWMP was used to quell the North-West Rebellion led by Louis Riel.

6 In 1895, the NWMP's jurisdiction was extended to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. There the force served with distinction under the command of Sam Steele, making the gold rush an unexpectedly orderly and peaceful event. Ironically, the force's dissolution was under discussion in the Canadian Parliament around this time, but the Mounties' conduct so impressed the prospectors during the gold rush that the force became famous around the world and their survival was ensured.

7 On February 1, 1920 the NWMP merged with the Dominion Police who held jurisdiction in the eastern part of Canada. It was renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and assumed responsibility for federal law enforcement in all provinces and territories.

Questions for “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police”
1. When was the NWMP created?

a. in the first half of the 20th century

b. in the second half of the 19th century

c. in the mid-1800s

d. after the Klondike Gold Rush
2. One of the original purposes of the NWMP was to _____

a. acquire more territory for Canada in the northwest.

b. patrol the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

c. negotiate treaties with the First Nations people.

d. affirm Canada's dominion over territories in the northwest.
3. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are famous for treating people with


a. stoicism.

b. dominance.

c. consideration.

d. sovereignty.


4. According to this article, how did the NWMP interact with the First Nations


a. They upheld only the Canadian side of the laws.

b. They negotiated new agreements between Canadian settlers and local


c. They took the First Nations’ side when such action was warranted.

d. They abstained from interaction with the First Nations people.

5. Which of the following is NOT true about the Musical Ride?

a. Applicants must demonstrate adequate riding skills.

b. The riders and horses are transported to other countries to perform.

c. Riders return to duty with the RCMP after three years.

d. The Musical Ride has been in existence for over 100 years.
6. Which crime was NOT mentioned in the list of those investigated by the


a. murder

b. narcotics possession

c. spying

d. traffic violations

7. Which set of words best describes the officers of the RCMP?

a. timid and deferential

b. polite, but unwavering

c. tough and unyielding

d. unknown, but ubiquitous
8. Read this sentence from paragraph 1:

“[They are] known internally as 'the Force.'”

What does the word internally mean in this context?

a. within their own organization

b. throughout Canada

c. in government documents

d. colloquially
9. What is true about law enforcement in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec?

a. The RCMP serves only at the municipal level in these two provinces.

b. The RCMP does not operate in these two provinces.

c. The RCMP enforces federal laws, but not provincial laws, in these

two provinces.

d. The RCMP oversees the administration of provincial laws, but is not

directly involved in day-to-day law enforcement in these two provinces.

Braille Challenge

2015 Preliminary
Reading Comprehension – Passage 2
Jazz Poetry
1 Jazz poetry incorporates the rhythm and improvisational feel of musical jazz. During the 1920s, several poets began to eschew the conventions of rhythm and style; among these were Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and E. E. Cummings. The significance of the simultaneous evolution of poetry and jazz during the 1920s was apparent to many poets of the era, resulting in the merging of the two art forms into jazz poetry. Jazz poetry has long been something of an "outsider" art form, having been conceived in the 1920s by African-Americans, maintained in the 1950s by counterculture poets like those of the Beat generation, and adapted in modern times into hip-hop music and live poetry events known as poetry slams.

2 Early jazz poetry did not mimic the sounds and improvisational spirit of jazz. Instead, it heavily referenced the musical form with allusions to musicians, instruments, and locations key to the burgeoning jazz scene. Poets like Vachel Lindsay (who actually abhorred the "primitive" sound of jazz music) and Mina Loy wrote poetry in this vein. It was with the advent of the Harlem Renaissance that jazz poetry developed into what it is today.

3 Poets like Langston Hughes incorporated the syncopated rhythms and repetitive phrases of blues and jazz music into their writing. Many Harlem Renaissance writers were deeply concerned with racial pride and with the creation of purely African-American poetry. Since jazz music was an important part of African-American culture at the time, Hughes and others like him adapted the musical genre to create their own, singularly African-American voices that could easily be distinguished from the work of white poets. Many of Hughes' poems, such as “The Weary Blues”, sound almost exactly like popular jazz and blues songs of the period, and vice versa. His work is also highly evocative of spirituals.
The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes
1 Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
2 Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
3 I heard a Negro play.


4 Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

5 By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
6 He did a lazy sway...
7 He did a lazy sway...
8 To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
9 With his ebony hands on each ivory key
10 He made that poor piano moan with melody.
11 O Blues!
12 Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
13 He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
14 Sweet Blues!
15 Coming from a black man’s soul.
16 O Blues!
17 In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
18 I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
19 "Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
20 Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
21 I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
22 And put ma troubles on the shelf."

23 Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.

24 He played a few chords then he sang some more—
25 "I got the Weary Blues
26 And I can’t be satisfied.
27 Got the Weary Blues
28 And can’t be satisfied—
29 I ain’t happy no mo’
30 And I wish that I had died."
31 And far into the night he crooned that tune.
32 The stars went out and so did the moon.
33 The singer stopped playing and went to bed
34 While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
35 He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.
Questions for “Jazz Poetry”
1. What was Vachel Lindsay’s feeling toward jazz music?

a. excitement

b. disgust

c. grief

d. annoyance


2. What question is NOT answered in the narrative passage about jazz poetry?

a. What is the connection between jazz poetry and African-American


b. What were the characteristics of early jazz poetry?

c. How did jazz poetry evolve over the decades?

d. Did any white poets write jazz poetry?

3. Read this sentence from Paragraph 1: “During the 1920s, several poets

began to eschew the conventions of rhythm and style.” In this context,

eschew means _____

a. enhance.

b. adopt.

c. experiment with.

d. avoid.
4. How did early jazz poetry differ from later jazz poetry?

a. The early poetry contained words related to jazz musicians and

instruments. The later poetry incorporated the feel of jazz music into

the writing.

b. The early poetry used rhythm and repetition to mimic jazz music. The

later poetry used more complex language to describe the sounds of


c. The early poetry featured work by African American writers. The later

poetry included both white and African American writers.

d. The early poetry was written before jazz music was widely known. The

later poetry coincided with the rise of jazz music.
5. In Paragraph 2, why is “primitive” written between quotation marks?

a. Jazz music was undeveloped compared to other genres of music.

b. Jazz music evolved from the blues and spirituals, which used very few


c. Jazz music felt unpolished to some listeners.

d. Jazz music was just the beginning of a broader musical tradition.

6. What is true about the speaker in the poem, “The Weary Blues”?

a. He sings and plays the piano.

b. He wishes he had died.

c . He cries, "O Blues!" several times during the poem.

d. He sleeps at the end of the poem.


7. Paragraph 3 states that “poets like Langston Hughes incorporated the

syncopated rhythms and repetitive phrases of blues and jazz music into their


Which line in “The Weary Blues” does NOT have a word or phrase that is

repeated elsewhere in the poem?

a. line 6

b. line 15

b. line 18

d. line 19

8. The poem “The Weary Blues” includes two verses of the performer's song

(verse 1, lines 19-22; verse 2, lines 25-30).

Which of the following is true about the two verses?

a. Verse 1 is more hopeful than verse 2.

b. Verse 2 is less melancholy than verse 1.

c. Both verses are filled with despair.

d. Both verses mention the Weary Blues.
9. How do the two verses differ from the rest of the poem?

a. They do not repeat words or phrases.

b. They are written in dialect.

c. They are meant to be sung, not spoken.

d. They do not have lines that rhyme.
10. In his poem “The Weary Blues”, Langston Hughes uses the poetic device of

personification for which of the following?

a. the hands of the performer

b. the stool

c. the stars and the moon

d. the piano


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