Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ Category


It could be my 335th edition of ecclectica in all its itirations in life, but truly, it is reflecting more of the 335th day of the current exisence. Some days to bring together thoughts, and things of life in the here and now. Before we shift into what life should be through some reflections I just want to share something cool from a friend, and a former colleague, a dreamer living life building community. During c-tine many have been discovering Star Trek Deep Space Nine on streaming services and being astounded they did not know about the complexity, characters, and discussions that leap from every episode, and so compelling and applicable to our curent world. Bruce Callow, as part of his work in Costa Rica and science/space education was able to sit down and interview Nana Visitor (Kiera Nerys) from the show, read the Costa Rican Times article here.

Our road map as a photo collage, we have touched on living dreams to make the world better, and understanding how life experiences shape a person with our interview with Ms. Visitor. Now we move into the ecclecitca, which includes touching on different topics. The highest streaming in North America is of course, that a President whose words, actions and machinations that incited an insurrection where 5 citizens died could be acquitted at his second impeachment trial. It is some what of a commentary on our world, where accountability is only for some, and not reserved for those who scream “persecution” the loudest.

It has become a staple within the Right to Al-Right to Fascist to Neo-Nazi end of the political spectrum. As the right moves further along the spectrum (which when I was a public school student, was taught in school, but currently is not taught as teachers fear being labelled ideologues and lose their job. The result: a less critical thinking electorate and citizenry). The left which goes from Left to Socialist to Communist to Dictatorship to Stalinist is pulled further into the right end of the spectrum, for nature abhors a vacuum, and so does our political ideological entrenching, the chasm being created is one where many are left politically homeless. Where those left politically uninspired either become apathetically complicit for not voting, or do to the rage on one side or the other enter into a highly dualistic co-dependent relationship with an extremist ideology, that has to be completely good as the other side has created that it is evil, and then we are in the shouting match that with a simple match, the tinders can incite violence.

This was a chance in history, for the supposed leader of the Free World, to re-assert the need for healthy dialogue, for holding to account hate and extremism. Instead, they collapsed under the pursuit of power, and shoring up territorial biases and bases. It was a commentary touched upon recently in Canadian politcs by the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark (read article and link to podcast here), where some key points to be extrapolated is that our political leaders of all stripes have become more social media performers, than thought leaders. We as a nation need to demand better, we need to move beyond territorial entrenchment, and party-colour belonging, to push all our national parties to actually be pan-Canadian, to look at what is needed for our nation as a whole. To vision cast, to move beyond the tweet-byte, lay out a vision/dream. To take seriously the character of the local representatives that are running and serving, do they serve all Canadians and their constituents? If it is only serving the party line, then it is a systematic failure. It creates group think, that makes accountability only faux-shows, where parachutes are aligned after the smoke and mirrors. Or accountability is non-existent as we see in Alberta with MLA Barnes & Pitt joiing the Anti-Lockdown Caucus propagated by the People’s Party Maxine Bernier, a party known to overtly affiliate with the Neo-Nazi’s of Canada, and to be blunt the politicians that affiliate are creating streams of disinformation, and wreaking havoc on governments (many they are in the governing caucus’ of) to get traction on a pandemic (and we shall touch on the epidemics of opioids, meth and homelessness in a second).

Which the silent complicity of party leaders not kicking these members from caucus, leads to non-accountability as we saw on display this past Saturday Feb. 13 at CF Chinook Mall with anti-maskers marching through the mall hoping to spread covid, and comparing restrictions as making them the “new Jews” which opens up a whole lot of “WTF” in my mind that we have allowed once again mainstreaming of anti-semitism and the hate that perpetuated a holocaust only 80 years ago (the lifespan of many that are losing their lives in our pandemic currently). Yet, no ticketing, no arrests. Why?

We have created a world, where the smoke and mirrors of personal rights and performance creation of victimhood/persecution lead to 0 accountability. We have stripped the interdependence, as we make each side the other, and the villain. Instead of entering into dialogue. Having said that, I do state clearly when it comes to where the spectrum connects on Facism/Naziisms-Dictatorship/Stalinism, that needs to be called out. Though, we truly need to understand what that is when it is called out, so that the authentic is placed in the cell of silence it belongs in, and the impact of those terms are not destroyed by screaming it at every point we do not agree upon.

Which brings me into the reading of Irshad Manji’s (2019) Don’t Label Me, as a queer-Muslim writer, she has a dialogue with her beloved pup, Lil, about the state of the world. The challenge being revealed, is that we lose ourselves in labels which perpetuate stereotypes, and do not allow us to meet the person to see who they actually are. It is within her words she shares about moderate Republicans she has met who do not hold to the MAGA/Q Cult. She also shares about her own journey in faith, and the push back from other progressive quarters of atheism that do not want to hear the word faith even on things as innocuous as Facebook, taking offense that someone should not share that for fear of offense. It really is a call to keep ourselves safe, but also to get to know our neighbour and understand the anti-fascist, anti-rascist movements in the light of the impact on the other they have. There is a great story she shared of two friends in Missisipi and the move to change the flag, one a hip-hop artist, who speaks their truth to the symbology and the pain it brings, another, a man in the Confederate lineage that does not see a problem with the flag on their part. But then astutely shares, the hip-hop artist is their friend, and it causes pain, so “I have a choice, to take action to remedy, or not be a part of the change conversation and play the victim afterwards”. A proactive entering into discussion.

As a writer, I appreciate labels and stereotypes. When working a work of fiction they allow for a quick visual or quick reference words to create a word image for the viewer, yet we are living in this world where everyone is defined by the labels and no one wants to move beyond the label to meet the person underneath. Would we be able to shift our world to a better place if the more moderate on the spectrum connected and found the common ground once more? Built the bridge across the chasm that has been created by the extremists?

For it is the fear induced by the extremists that continues to perpetuate the hate and systematic racisms/injustices in our society. For the purity test on the other extreme just leaves them to default to where they are okay with the norm, instead of creating space to accept in the journey of life a person learns and grows and changes.

This is the message that resounds in the closing chapters of DC Comics’ New 52 Superman. In his final days, where a perfect tri-fecta has left him dying, he sets out to live the hope of his symbol until his last days. To try to lay the groundwork for it to continue. My question though, is do we have to wait until we are in a dire circumstance? Until the match has been lit again and people are dying? Until we are in the last days of life, to understand what it takes to create a legacy? Or can we simply leave each day knowing we have a story, and others we meet will have a story…

This is the challenge when individuals look to government policy as the silver bullet or cure solution. The challenge being in our current world of entrenchment, and each side needing to be able to claim the “holy and good” side, or to the spoils go the victor, much is missed. Framing the idea of ending homelessness. It is a broad and hard topic that hits the grieving of change vectors of individuals and communities. The first challenge is one has to understand how we have done as a society, has been okay, but in the first part of the 21st century decisions made have left many in poverty and homelessness and this is not okay. It is okay to admit we have made a societal mistake and want to move on. It is about being able to bring fresh eyes/heart to something like UBI, where many trip up thinking it is another layer of government entitlements added to the system and this is what trips up on costs of– it is a replacment for the piecemeal approach to support, it is stripping away the money wasted on disproving claims and the appeals process, it leverages technology to simply be. It removes space for individual grants if one has a dream for a small business, and gives space to let that happen, for artisans to flourish, and create new dynamic spaces for meeting, discussion, critical thought, it provides the top up for minimum wage jobs so they become living wage, as the pandemic has shown, each role is necessary for our society to function. The fist step though, is allowing permission to admit the bias and misunderstanding, and accepting that all can change. To shift the discussion from yes-no, to how. But first we have to allow the ability to acknowledge mistakes and change at the individual, the instittutional and the system level.

Permission to acknowledge mistakes is one of the things missing from public discourse. It is what leads to the unaccountability for actions. See, mistakes happen, some big, some minor, and we have to accept the accountability for those actions whether they were intentional or unintentional. I teach my students, each time I pushed the boundaries of the rules or broke them, I fully and rationally understoon what I was doing, and knew that worst case scenario it could lead to unemployment, and I was okay with that. Each person needs to be. Unfortuantely this quest for profit and power over people, has created a world where we do not expect accountability (good or ill) for our actions. We also have created a world where we cannot openly admit mistakes, or when we struggle.

That ties into a blessing I received for a Christmas gift. The complete CBS series of Elementary on DVD. I am a Sherlockian (I belive that is the right term), as I was introduced to the stories first through the ol’ Basil Rathbone movies on PBS, then reading Doyle’s stories, and the comics, enjoyed RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes movies, and Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. But there was something about this imaginging of Holmes in the modern world, with his sober companion Dr. Joan Watson into America. Holmes as we meet him is a recovering addict (the usage is part of the original stories, but was always on the fence for the reader if it went from simple Subtance Use/Social Use to Misuse/Substance Abuse). There is a beautiful scene opening up the first episode of Season 2, with Holmes in a meeting, and he openly talks about his usage, and that he feels he was born 100 to 200 years late, as the world would have been so much quieter, and perhaps then he would not have been an addict. This is also the episode where we meet his brother, Mycroft, and begin to understand the interplay of family in recovery, and what happens for both sides to see the other in their new reality, with new hearts. This is the beauty of Elementary it’s authentic portrayal of addiction, recovery and reconnection. The use of not only purpose in the process of being a part of community, but authentic belonging.

As the life and discography of Johnny Cash would illustrate, purpose is about what resonates deep within us. Belonging is those authentic folks who we connect with. For Cash it was about the music, his faith, and more, the story of his wife, and how that connection turned his life.

This is where we miss the mark in society on our march to end homelessness. We hold it is about upper-middle class developer housing- a house or a condo or an apartment. It goes deeper than that. It is about belonging. The government monies and policies speak to capacity and stock in the system to allow one (or family to be housed), same goes for the donations to non-profits. Decades ago I helped in writing policy for the now non-existant Federal PC Party, that spoke of all types of housing stock to have 10% put on an affordable sliding scale to aid in the stock on affordable housing, which very few took up as it was seen as to out there as what would your neighbour think finding out they are paying this and you are paying that (what does it matter what each of us pays, as long as we are all in community in a healthy way). By providing safe housing, that is designed for the needs of community members, we remove external stressors on their determinants of health, by providing a UBI, which allows for housing and food security, we remove layers of stressors/traumas on one’s healthy that actually burden more expensive systems of care on the emergency response end. As one ages in place, the costs on the system align with other neighbours.

Then it becomes more complex, as it is about moving beyond labels, for what to do with neighbours that may be provocateurs? Disruptors? If they are breaking by-laws/laws, it does not matter if they have lived next door for 20 years, moved in from another community or exited homelessness. This is where accountability for actions matter. What is needed in community is free options for neighbours to connect and get to know one another, so we are able to know what is typical behaviour, and when they need us to be present. This is why public libraries are so amazing, it is the one space left in our Western World where you can exist without having your bank account value checked. It is why I love seeing religious groups opening their doors for community meals, space for neighbours to meet together. A universal approach where there is no means test to access, simply saying come and break bread together. What if community associations created the same space? Are there volunteers out there that would share their skills for knitting circles? Meals? Book clubs? A space for those that live in community to use to connect based on hobbies and interests?

What if this allowed for funding from municipalities so that the halls were not constantly driven for rental incomes, and become spaces to cultivate getting to know one another beyond labels?

Think as we head into our civic elections in Alberta this October, what dream is there for a healthy and robust community beyond NIMBYISM, beyond labels…what does it look like for authentic belonging for all? For connecting? For purpose that is not tied to simply work?

I bring this up because it is one of the quick arguments of some, as to why we have a means test and work so hard to keep people from accessing Alberta Works and direct to day jobs in construction (which devalues the actual skill set it takes for what is classed as unskilled casual day labour, trust me, if my Dad, a general contractor and Master Electrician is aiding me on a DIY in house, it works, to my own skill set not so much). I am an Albertan and do not believe this ludicrousness. The entitlement is there for those in need. Not once they have cashed out all their savings and retirements then help. It is there for help. Say what we will on the back end of sorting out CERB and the possibility of taxation for those that made too much, at least those who needed it got it. See what shifts when we look at supporting one another in need? Not simply, trying to root out a fraudster?

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Same in our systems of housing, of care– why so much added trauma and stress to access the supports needed for physical, developmental or mental health?

Why not a robust system to allow for thriving, where we trust the family doctors and specialists that what is being asked for is needed?

Imagine how different our world would be?

See, Johnny Cash, found his belonging in his faith…

Others find their belonging through hobbies, interests, politics, philosophies, their faith. As we have moved into more commuter communities we have lost the local connection. We scream shop local currently, but miss a deeper point for health on the other side of c-tine:

Live Local.

For when we live local. When we connect, and know one another’s stories and journeys. It becomes truly hard to stigmatize, or live in fear. We can move through the grieving of change together. For it is in moving forward in understanding root causes we can truly make a difference.

It is in being present, that we live out the evidence.

For in that prescence with one another, we have to see the intrinsic value of our neighbour. The instrinsic value in human life, no matter what path brought you to that shared point of view with so many. Which shifts the discussion then from either or in solving our substance abuse epidemics of opioids and meth, to focus on the person behind the substance and their story. It leads us to understand for some the path is abstinence, for some it is harm reduction in the healing. It is a necesary spectrum, for as each person has intrinsic value, and are the protagontists of their own story, so too does each have a path of healing that touches on the tools of systems, theories and practices we try to create our own silos and chasms with. Instead of understanding, oh so simply, regardless of the theoretical label placed on the tool, it can be adapted for the person before us. The neighbour only finding away to numb the pain or silence the chaos.

Connecting.

Belonging.

Purpose.

Ideals that overlay so many things in our lives. That when truly sought, we can begin to accept the different paths to the same community. When sought healthily so many underlying causes can have truth spoken into them, space held, and reconciliation lived into.

Yet, it begins with you and me, not as an I, but as a We.. Your decision. Your choice. Your voice.

Become…

Our reconciliation. Our dialogue. Our decision, Our choice. Our voice.

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Out of coffee with a friend/mentor comes a recommendation to explore George Monbiot (2017) Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for An Age of Crisis which encapsulates many of the thoughts around community renewal, postulates some new ones, but truly percolates what is needed in our divided times (see my reflections on Rabbi Sacks works)– that is discussion, discourse and community building. For I see this work as something that harkens back to use during a simpler time, that when Pastor Douglas was growing the CCF and Pastor Aberhart was growing the Social Credit (yes I realize there was many involved in growing/educating these movements, I am using the two historical premiers as a short hand not as an all inclusive they did it independently fallacy).

See, they had their resources, for Aberhart it was social credit, for Douglas it was the Regina Manifesto if you will. It happened a household at a time, over tea and coffee times, with friends invited for study and discourse (much like a church plant if you will, growing and learning together as healthy community has the same points of genesis). This is how I can see this book work, over a few weeks of meeting together with then each small group choosing an activism activity that has come to mind from the text.

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It is at once a political science-political economics primer couched in cultural study which is easy to read and follow. Monbiot takes the reader through the short history of the shift from Keynesian theory underlying public policy and economics to Neo-Liberalism and its affect on the worker, community and shift from collectivism to exploited independent contractor to celebrity culture as they explore alienation. The continued exploitation and redefinition of the commons, whom it is actually to benefit. The writer touches upon what this looks like in ripple effects, and how it has impacted voting.

Two quick case examples are used, Trumps win in 2016 due simply to the fact that a plausible alternative could not be demonstrated to the Labour loss in the UK in 2015 to the Tories, simply because they had produced a till receipt platform (costed to remove their “threat” as seen in the media and corporate world) but forgot the connecting narrative of Hope that voters were looking for (wonder if this can be extrapolated to the NDP loss in 2015 in Canada federally?). Also a bonus snapshot later on is looking at Bernie Sanders, and how to empower volunteers and actual talk with folks to propel movements.

Why does this matter? Whether Monbiot is writing about economic choices, the balance between corporate or state control (actually more of a balance, with each having their own sphere of influence). To exploring what democratic reform needs to look like in its simplicity (single transferable vote) to online direct civic democracy like in the Nordic countries (quite a case study of rapid feedback and impact). Yet as you wind through the democratic reform what emerges is a topic I am familiar with, the important of co-operates, interdependence of citizens; fair taxation; belonging– more pragmatically for Canada is a renewal of the Constitution Act 1982 that would see an abolishing of the provinces to empower/equip the Federal and civic governments appropriately. It reads as the need for governance being local, known, and impactful (as well as held accountable).

It is not just a book for a bookshelf. I will be using ideas within my research on community building for my 2021 writing project. For the political activist though now, who wants to affect positive change I law out a simple path.

  1. Online or within your cohort (it is covid times) establish a coffee-tea book klatch to read-discuss and activate.
  2. As we head towards municipal elections, borrow from my 2006 playbook (which I borrowed from Rt. Hon. Joe Clark in Calgary City Centre 2000) and establish healthy rainbow coalitions of teams to run for the positions in your municipal or country councils; and school boards.
  3. Ensure it is not the candidate with the most money you are voting for (especially with election donation rules changing), but the one most connected to your local communities.
  4. Leverage the network of the rainbow coalition to renew community association, non-profit, community, sport league and if you have religious members, their boards for new vitality health and working together for the best of the communities you exist in and the households that make them up.
  5. Take time to understand and discover who your neighbours are, and how different ideas of co-ops and alternative economics may benefit everyone.

Just a few thoughts to begin percolating your thoughts. Healthy community based transformation is possible, it literally begins one household at a time rejecting the concept that our governance bodies are for sale.

What’s your first step out of the wreckage and into the rebuild?

P.S. if you haven’t already Albertans check these folks out who are doing great work, Reboot Alberta,


In the emerging c-tine I am beginning to gather material for a new book, that I hope to be able to put together in the Spring of 2021. The topic is one that reflects my spiritual life, community-belonging-connection. Now one may ask in a work reflecting on Preston Manning’s new book, Do Something, I would share this. I to ponder, but because there are some points that he writes that speak to health community. Much like I suggested Christians read Irshad Manji’s The Trouble with Islam so I suggest Manning’s new work to those of any political stripe to begin to ponder some key points.

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Once I as a reader navigated through the conservative partisan bias (which is to be expected for one from a conservative political thought writer), there was some kernels to share. Yes, I had to set aside some of the partisan broadsides, accept there was some kernels of truth in some, some continued bias ideological statements overshadowing seeing the good in other. What was refreshing in Manning’s writings, was his open sharing about third parties moving Canada forward in a healthy way, including his positive reflecting and sharing around other political heroes of mine, Rev. J.S. Woodsworth & Pastor Tommy Douglas, as well as the usefulness of populism section touching on the Famous Five, and other human rights matters but also touching on the chaos it can wreck with separatist movements and “western alienation” to the information of a data and science informed conservatism, that illustrates, how off track the current Alberta government is, the Federal party. As long time readers will also know, I do not give much time to the concept of private encroachment into our just society safety net (whether health care or education). It was beneficial to have an “elder” of current social conservatism, even while arguing against identity politics, point out the need for truth and reconciliation with our history of racism and oppression.

Now into some of the meat if you will, that I found useful in Mr. Manning’s discourses. These would touch on topics of science, political spectrum, religion, preparation, and community involvement. In reading Manning’s words, I was reminded of reading some of the writings of Stanfield and his team in the Trudeaumania era of Progressive Conservatives. Shifting from populist drive of Diefenbaker, to a data and science driven policy approach.

This is a key understanding I think any political group needs to get to, for us to return to healthy discourse in our country (and religious groups, as it is the science that explains the how of creation). For it then shifts from yelling matches, gotcha politics and social media sound bytes to raising the bar back up to policy discussions. Manning’s example was pollution pricing (carbon taxes) and not arguing against the practice, but rather the implementation. His challenge that if one cannot believe in climate science, rather look at environmental impacts and work to solve that which they could understand. For those who may be too young to remember, I believe it was when Jim Harris stepped down as leader of the Green Party of Canada, Manning aided in raising them to prominence. The intertwining of his faith and love of science has led him in my understanding to find ways to be a caretaker of the environment (if only more in his ideological realm would hear the call).

The concept that is also helpful, is the false dichotomies we want to exist within politics (liberal or conservative, left-centre-right), where he would share a 12 axis assessment on issues for aiding in defining what one held to be true. As most Canadians, exist somewhere in the centre, not wanting to make a decision, but wanting to ensure the most possible are included in the decision (a consensus as much as possible) this does raise some ideas. Within the 12 axis were topics such as environment, trust, jurisdiction, values, health act, education, etc.

It does also aid I believe as it moves one from blind ideology to one party, making each candidate needing to work beyond their party affiliation and leader to win the trust of the voter. This speaks to the need for character, and connection within the community. Does the candidate belong? Are they known for being a positive community member and builder? Stepping back into the concept of what public service is to be about– that is service for all citizens for peace, order and good governance. The role of government being to create the best possible life for citizens, and through that, the healthy environment for creativity, and business will happen (in my opinion and experience).

It also speaks to preparation for community leadership. Do we expect people to prepare for a vocation? Manning admirably used the example of Brother Jesus, and for each year of his public ministry, he had 6 years of life (and for some preparation). What would shift and change within our municipalities, counties, provinces and country if for each year of elected office we expected a certain number of years of preparation? Work/service in their local community? Connection. Belonging. The bottom line of the thesis do something is the suggestions of how to become active in community leagues, groups, political parties, research whether as a participant, donor or volunteer…the old adage of giving of time, talent and treasure (from small steps to large leaps depending on personal capacity).

With a final nod to the religious aspect of community life. This section was handled well, had a conservative bent, but could easily be expanded to all parties. Manning shared of those who served of all political stripes and faith. The idea being simple and familiar, we need to acknowledge the harm that has been done in the name of religion. But for those with authentic faith, you cannot separate the value system from who you are (goes back to core character and integrity), but it is not about imposing that on the populace. The other piece, is creating space for discussion, debate and acceptance within political movements.

So yes, is it everyone’s cup of tea this book? Probably not. For the entrenched partisan depending on which primary colour they are in it can be vilified or beatified. Both responses would miss the point of a call to action work. This was a call to action that can be read at the surface level for Canadian conservatism and democracy to what it means to moderate. For any other politico or religious politico, it can be read for ideas and concepts on how others think, how to do a mirror reflection into your own movements, and how to engage at the local community level to grow engagement, connection and belonging.

To extend a metaphor from the c-tine. Where we live is our household, each of those households creates a community, each community a village/town/city, and those a province and then a country. How are we creating health households, then communities? How are you choosing to do something to create a healthy ripple in your pond? What simple action- step are you going to choose to do?

To do something to effect positive change in your world.


I was attempting to not have to do the whole re-education cycle of why plastic straws matter. Historically they were created for safe use in medical settings for patients, and for many with disabilities it is why they do not require feeding tubes. During the pandemic, single use plastics have been a literal life saver (hence why the Canadian Government is holding off until the end of 2021 to institute the ban).

With the announcement has brought forth the same ableism I addressed many times on this page (and my own social media), when the City of Calgary was exploring such a ban. There are a few key points to consider on the single use plastic ban, that I want to ruminate on before actually tackling the straw.

First up, is the plastic bag. Yes, they seem easy and that not much impact will be had. In Calgary, Calgary Co-op has switched to a compostable bag, Sobey’s-Safeway has paper bags, and every other store as an alternative has re-usable bag (starting at $1-$20 at more bougie locales).

Here are some things not considered. The increased use of paper- have you ever seen what paper plants are like? What about recycling it? Now many will scream – Hemp- and I am with you on that one. BUT, and this is a big “b”, where in Canada are stores using hemp paper products? How wide spread is it? Will we see that shift or are we just trading one impracticality on the environment for another (and yes paper straw (the most useless device ever) advocates I am looking at you as well)- much like in the 1980’s when environmental populists caused fast food restaurants to shift from containers that could be used in fertilizer to an unrecyclable paper product (know and learn from history).

Also the cost of reusable bags create an undue hardship upon many Canadians and households (it is a certain socio-economic bracket solution). I have also reached out to many jurisdictions that have banned about the impact on food banks without these bags to use, and no one has ever looked it (or would not answer) the impact on those in need. Plus, many will have the bag do double duty for garbage or their baby’s diapers (which yes the compostable option or a hemp paper still allows for, same with the food banks). We as a society just cannot trust that corporate Canada will do what is best for the consumer, and not the profit line.

Now onto the straws. I like in a province where UCP populism has been tapped, where former Reform Party leader, and son of a former premier, Preston Manning has warned against tapping this vein for the path it can take you down and all you are left with is anger and hate. What is also does, like environmental populism is create an echo chamber of re-enforcement, and seeing it as okay to attack programs to support those with disabilities as they have little human capital. I see a connection with environmental populism here, and their ableism in ignoring the need for the plastic straw, and unwillingness to explore creation of a product that meets both needs. Or to be more blunt– just listen to those it impacts, and create dialogue, held space, and let them lead the solution finding phase.

See for many in the disabilities community as I opened up with it ticks all the boxes for physical safety they need and independence. Also it is socio-economically viable, compared to the cost of the many re-usable options they are pelted with. They do not have to worry about the straw being sanitary, as lack of support staff (or funding for such), dexterity, or dropped cleaning implement (or sadly, socio-economics) can all create barriers for usage even with not touching on things such as teeth breaking, harm to mouth, jaw, choking, etc from other variants.

Yet, we are to hold that it is up to the one in need to find the solution, and to accept the solutions being pelted. If not, then it is simply being seen as obstinate or not wanting to work for a solution.

Nope.

It is simpler than that.

See the full humanity of the other person. What that person needs to thrive and enjoy life.

Then enter into conversation as equals about any changes that are plausible and possible.

Without that,

it is just another form of oppression being driven by populism- regardless if it is political or social justice, an empty, inhumane echo-chamber.

Let’s move forward together, as one community, seeing neighbour as full people instead, eh?

Other articles on/around this topic from me:

https://tyragan.wordpress.com/tag/plastic-straw-ban/

https://tyragan.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/people-need-straws-calgary-sun-7-7-18/

https://tyragan.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/foot-in-door-technique/


Control + Alt + Delete for many with computers that was how you would escape the screen freeze or blue screen of death. Then have to answer the question if you wanted to restart in safe mode. Alberta thought they were doing that when the United Conservative Party was elected to governance just over a year ago. The traversing of change, the needing to re-invent our economy, and create space for belonging for everyone had stalled many out in the change process in anger and denial.

That was preyed upon by a high centralized bully culture.

Is it the best governance? How many voters have voter remorse as our world class institutions were decimated, the world rebuked our oil and gas sector for the draconian ways we scaled back to, and diversification was cancelled. With announcements of Premier Kenney tomorrow (Monday) around diversifying our economy, one has to simply wonder is it relabeling NDP era policy as UCP to try and win back support, knowing the shenanigans’ of this government I would side on yes.

In the midst of cancel culture though, it raises the question what about governance and politics? Why do we accept shady business and almost zero accountability for actions and behaviours? Have we defaulted to our “colour” must win at all costs in striving for power and be damned the consequences to ourselves and neighbour? Data points to yes.

The ideological lock chain does not help out world, our neighbour or ourselves. It locks us into false dichotomy for solutions with no robust discussion on topics and research. It leads to school yard tattle tale gotcha moments that can deflect from the ongoing ineptitude in governance for all Albertans (insert your context here as I am sure you have examples). The rallying cry for engagement has always been the least you can do is vote.

NO! That’s not the least you can do, showing up and putting an “x” beside the party name, as you say it’s the leader not the local representative doesn’t matter—oh but it does. For when the leader with the centralized power is off base, it is the local members that need to hold them to account, and within the Westminster System have the power to replace.

Knowing the character of the person wanting to represent your party is important. Do they show up for debates and events? Do they live locally and have their kids in the public institutions? Are they a parachute candidate from somewhere else? A paper candidate or flag bearer (just letting their name stand on the ballot)… all these things are important and need to be understood, for if we move beyond gotcha, to the ability to demand better choices we begin to engage. In the last federal election the Greens and Cons played games with voters with the gotcha era pretending to fire candidates, and then election day people were shocked they were still on the ballot, once confirmed you are confirmed. Know our system, the local constituency associations need to take seriously a candidate search and are the main point of vetting for the best to represent… are they doing their job?

What if the ballots were party blind? No parties listed, just names, how would you choose your representative? You’d actually have to get to know them, and the volunteers behaviour would reflect directly on them…those that espouse ableist, rascist, queer hate, misogynistic views would be held to account. Also, knowing they could not fly under the party colours how much more seriously would the local EDA’s take the vetting? Would all parties be fielding full slates? Or would their be times if a candidate had to be of good character and active in the election period to stay on the ballot (i.e. 3 debates planned must make 2 or are deleted)…would we get a better crop (and I do believe a ranked ballot would aid the process even more).

Cancel culture when used well and targeted appropriately can bring about positive change. It needs to hyper focus on our political systems, demand better choices, push media to remove the voice of opinion from policy, and close off the options for populist-extremism on either side to be shuttered away, to create space for robust discussion of the issues, and the big questions on why and how? The voice to strip the centralized power from the First Minister’s office (Prime Minister and Premier), to re-empower the local representative, remove the party whip, and allow the local voices to come together to create consensus policy for the whole.

The least we can do is to open the conversation and share why things matter and are important, to create a space for healthy, robust debate and dialogue so that come election day, it is not an adversarial approach to save our own fragile egos that our team needs to win like some Stanley Cup play off round, but be able to say the local candidate with the best ideas is the one that was voted for and elected.

Ready to do the least for the vote?

If you’re interested in being a part of the reboot of our province, I encourage you to check out https://rebootalberta.com/


Hugh Segal has had a long career in public service, both at the Federal Political level, Provincially, and in our Senate Chamber. He was called to the Senate much to his shock, by Prime Minister Paul Martin, a Liberal, and offered the ability in 2004 to sit as either a Progressive Conservative, Conservative, Liberal or Independent, much to his surprise, because usually up to that point vacancies in the appointed chamber were filled through partisan politics. Segal decided to adopt the new brand of the recently merged right at the time and sat as a Conservative, though in 2014 when he left, he was seeing it was not the Tory ship he remembered.

The Wynne government was not perfect nor Tory. Few governments in Canada are “Tory” anymore. Today when I use the word, I refer to Disraeli-like belief in “one nation” politics–a politics that sees as unacceptable the vast difference between those living happy, well-funded lives of travel and luxury and a sub-culture in which people are denied enough to eat, indoor plumbing, time for family, or any enjoyment at all. A Tory respects tradition and the rule of law but sees the reduction of the gap between rich and poor as essential to his or her mission. The Disraeli administration made progress around child labour laws, breaks during the working day, a full weekend off, and other amenities for workers that reduced the pain and hopelessness of poverty. This is what I refer to when I use the word “Tory”. (Segal, 2019, p. 159)

Segal’s (2019) Boot Straps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada opens during his childhood in Quebec, where his toy box has gone missing and it is revealed that his father had given it to a neighbour for fire wood, and the long life journey of unpacking the idea of poverty. Of the work of community to support one another to carry one through, and the role of government. His family’s elder generation was CCF/NDP, his parents was Liberal, and through the whistle stop of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (A Tory), a young Hugh Segal at 12 years old was converted. Why?

Image result for boot straps need bootsDiefenbaker spoke to his family’s circumstance. Even though everyone in his family supported the “natural governing order” or the incumbents in the safe seats, what is Canada’s equivalent to a British rotten burrough is a good reminder to always question the incumbents, the party, and that there is no natural governing body, but rather a coalition of citizens that need to show they are working for Peace, Order and Good Governance for all Canadians, and what that looks like at the core should be able to cast a vision, have a plan, implement and get support across parties–for opposition sometimes is about right out opposing when it is bad legislation, but on the whole, opposition should be about making governance better, more accountable and transparent.

The need to what the quote of Segal’s from the book at the time the Liberal provincial government of Kathleen Wynne had him come to pilot the Guaranteed Income project (a pilot project scraped by the incoming Doug Ford populist, in PC brand only, governance). It was one of the two interests that drove Segal’s public life. Under the PC Leader Stanfield there was a drive for using solid research and application in public policy. Segal’s writing affixes him as a true Red Tory, he stayed true to his party, in 1998 would run for leader with the party now reduced to 5th place due to the fracture of the coalition and rise of the Bloc Quebecois and Reform Party. Yet a platform to espouse the drive for the Guaranteed Basic Income Model.

A Model that lays out a pathway to prosperity for all citizens in an economic efficiency instead of the layers of government entitlements (four for seniors in Alberta, disability payments, and different income supports at a provincial level). It gears to a tax base allows for a universality of a program to ensure livability. It creates a system of hope, and replaces a system based on paranoia, and exclusion to one of inclusion, and opening up new avenues for citizens to fully participate in economic prosperity.

Aside from the memoir journey that shows his path from childhood, where at 12 years old he was encouraged to contact the leader of each party before making a decision, and sharing how it was Diefenbaker’s office that responded not with a form letter, but a letter, and speeches that centered on the questions he asked. Engagement of the youth, asking questions, seeking out the best evidenced based solutions, understanding the need for collaboration across party lines to effectively make change and positive impacts. This was seen at different points when he wrote of work in minority governments, and the shift in majority (as he was a part of Mulroney’s government)…to a return in the Senate, then stepping back and becoming principal of a college, to his work with Wynne’s government.

The echo is also seeing the unfortunate change, as collaboration dies, the ability to question one’s own movement as well as others in the discourse of ideas (the altruistic evil writers like Jonathan Sacks discourse on) to what it actually means to be a public servant. The memoir unpacks the story of a life work yet to be accomplished, and the question to the reader is, should it be? And yes it should for Canadians as a whole.

Segal, using Ontario as a case in point writes of where we are at in decision making:

Cabinet solidarity after reaching a decision is one thing; having no chance to influence the decision before it is reached is another. This goes beyond right, left or centre. This goes directly to process, inclusion,and the right of ministers to have their say. After all, their oath of allegiance is to the Crown, not the premier or his staff. (p.179).

The closing shows how one over a lifetime can have a moment that inspires to change, even in the moment it is frought with a spectrum of emotions of anger, sadness and confusion. Segal’s toy box moment was this. Anger needs to be released, or it will consume and not allow you to see beyond your own anger, for what is actually the true healthy interdependence of our communities:

I am no longer angry at my Dad. The toy box was all that he had to help a neighbour whose economic straits were even more dire than ours.  I have forgiven you, Dad. In your place at the great cab stand in heaven, I hope you will chuckle at how long it took me to admit it. My father did the right thing. We all need to do the right thing now. (Segal, p.173).

What is the right thing you need to do?

Right now…


As regular readers know I have been on quite a journey since well I turned 38, some symptoms started before, some accelerated after (there’s a memoir you can buy, and a e-book sequel). There was many cheers in my world when I was stamped healed and with high risk of relapse/recidivism if I went back to my old work. Talk about a grief-change cycle after nearly a generation in that field? So the job hunt and vocation re-invention begins.

My Long-Term Disability service provider was good setting me up with a job coach to mitigate the loss issues, learn how to do resumes for the new world, and what a new job hunts looks like. In discussions with my caseworker (my 3rd in 2 years) it was believed I would be able to qualify for EI as the 2 years on LTD would be removed to look at the ROE for the short term disability on EI. As my long term disability expired I applied. Took my papers and information into the local Service Canada office in my neighbourhood (which is 98.5% non-western European descent, so many new Canadians who need competent and qualified staff to aid system navigation, never mind just the simple fact of depression negation by having a person to talk to in the process to break up isolation in general). I spoke with the staff on hand, explaining my situation and the last time I physically worked being 2017 and they showed me to a computer to file, each time a flagged question in my mind came up in regards to the application the staff instructed me to answer for my medical would be taken into account by checking this box. At no time did they say this was an exercise in futility.

Got my Alberta ID and Service Canada account set up. Began the reporting for EI– then on February 11, 2020 I received a curt and short e-mail stating “You do not have the 630 hours necessary in the last year you are denied”. There was no recourse on the account for communication (they say there is an appeal form, but it is buried). And it took quite a bit of surfing to find the phone number to contact at which point the options given simply were electronic voices to speak what was in my e-mail…no option for a person. SO I rolled the luck dice and hit 0, back in the day it meant operator–so human. At which point an electronic voice stated “due to high call volume your call is disconnected.”

Not exactly sitting well, formulating the plans of what needs to happen for my family care in short term, in the grander system scope wanting to understand how there is a disconnect. Having spent years navigating systems in human services, and needing to have short term hard conversations to redirect applicants to appropriate services when the one they want is not appropriate.

What to do? Well, when I was having so many seizures a day I could not focus for short term medical EI I reached out to government, y’know public servants–my MP, the minister over Human Services and the PMO for help, and then follow up in ideas to aid the system to be better. 2 of the players had changed on that list over this time, and I will freely admit God rest his soul, I miss Deepak Obhrai, we did not agree politically but the man and his office knew what it meant to serve the public. Unfortunately his replacement Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan does not. I outlined the situation, and information available, cause and effects, asking about appeal, but at the same time if that was not a recourse, then an explanation as to how this works so I can share it with my insurance provider and others so, other Human Services workers going down for a myriad of reasons and seeking to return are not hit with this blockade. And yes I did cc the CBC on it, for I felt it was an interesting human interest story to compliment the ripple effects of the homelessness epidemic, and opioid crisis from the helper end and how our systems may be in dysfunction.

Today I received a supportive reply from the PM’s staff; nothing from my MP (to put in perspective the message was barely finished last time when Obhrai’s staff was setting up an appointment)…and the Minister Hussen got a Service Canada employee to phone me. Though Rick was an adventure in missing the point of public service, and how to make systems run. He could not understand why anyone would expect a staff member to say do not bother applying you do not qualify, he stated clearly their role was to ensure everyone who wanted to applied and then the system would deem who was eligible, he did not get that a staff being able to simply do a quick screen and referral with someone would be beneficial and healthy for that was not the Role of Service Canada local offices. When questioned on appeal I was directed to the website to find the form and fill in to be sent to the local office, when I pointed out that the local office had no power or authority over the claim he stated that it simply went there to be then sent on to the home office. Asking if it was worth my time to appeal, he stated he could not say yes or no as that was not his role… adventures in missing the point and then we wonder why systems get bogged down, it is not by those who are seeking aid, it is by those paid to support those seeking aid unwilling either personally or via systems that make no sense, to triage and stream appropriately.

I sent a follow up letter to the Hon. Hussein in regards to the EI system and this issue:

To Hon. Hussen:
I am writing in reply to offer up a system analysis of what is not working for EI claims through Service Canada. I spoke with Rick this morning, a Service Canada agent who was unwilling to grasp the concern, and why it creates more stress in already stressful situations for individuals and families, and after decades of experience in human services I would say is a hidden contributing factor to addictions and homelessness (others in Alberta would say it is a contributing factor to domestic violence, but if your copping strategy is to beat your loved ones there is more at play than a government entitlement).
As Rick stated it is all on the crux of the computer algorithm, and this precious 630 hours in the last year worked, which is confirmed by ROE. What is missing is two fold:
1) Someone coming off a medical long term disability does not have the 630 hrs in the last year. Yes, there is a computer question about that, but it only extends the search to the next year, so at most 2 years. A LTD claim to its fullness is 2 years, plus the Short Term Disability of EI, which leaves a person over the 2 year mark. What is necessitated is this understanding in the system to go back to the last worked year based on the ROE which fails an there is no remedial process to account for that.
2) Is that Service Canada staff in the offices are not trained to triage, as Rick stated, any Service Canada staff is not there to judge, but rather to encourage and cheer lead the application and then the decision will be made down the line. Why have Service Canada offices staffed by people then? Folks seek out the personal touch to answer questions and to be honest of whether or not one should take the time to apply for EI and all the following reporting periods or what entitlements work for their situation either federal or provincial. By not taking this time to discern as staff you set up worse stressors and ripple effects, in the moment a person may be disgruntled but in the long run their time and Service Canada’s time are honoured in appropriate applications being made.
The solution is within your ministry to expect actual competent service of employees to citizens to ensure they are applying for the right services, not to be mindless cheer leaders.
Sincerely,
Dr. Ty Ragan
I admit the closing line may have been a bit more harsh, but truly if we have people working with people, they need to be empowered to discover the best outcome for the scenario, and the best outcome is not time and resources of a citizen being eaten up in a fruitless process. I also shared the information with my LTD caseworker to share with her organization, not because I was angry, but simply I wanted to ensure the appropriate information was provided to others and that a full understanding of what would be provided by Service Canada staff to citizens.
More stories to come during this season of vocation reinvention and other systems thoughts for best efficacy for citizen and monies investment.
The other issue though is a Member of Parliament legally obligated to reply to a constituent that did not.

We can debate the technicality of calling Canada a confederation or federation. Yet what is true is that we are a collection of cultures, religions, regions, and nations…some at times have wanted to be declared a distinct society, when the truth is Canada as a whole is a beautiful and distinct mosaic. Currently we are in the midst of what is being hash tagged as shut Canada down. It is beginning and centered in protests in Wet’suwet’en and the “lightning rod” media issue around pipe lines.

Is it truly about pipe lines? Or is it another instance of colonialism dictating what happens and Indigenous voices shut out? Yes and no. Not an answer any one wants to hear. In Canada, as Truth and Reconciliation was not fully actualized (we went through the motions, but didn’t do the work) we are living in dualism. It is the type of dualism, Rabbi Sacks brought out in regards to historic and emergent anti-Semitism. He pointed to the fact of creating the Us-Them dichotomy where one side has to be right and the other has to be wrong. He also pointed out this dualism historically grew anti-semitism in the Christianities for it pointed to the Hebrew Bible God as a lesser being, with the Christian Testament God being superior. Even pointing out the terms Old & New Testaments continue to perpetuate this dualism, and the ability as the Christianities became Christendom under Constantine that Christianity and Rome became all Good (US) and Judaism and the Sanhedrin became Christ Killers–all Bad (Them). He goes on then to unpack that this is being brought into the Middle Eastern political landscape through bad religion and interpretation so Anti-Semitism is taking root in Islam.

Why this matters? Are you able to see the parallels with Colonialism? Settler and First Nation? Civil and savage? The outgrowth in our own politics of the same dualism where one side has to be sacred and the other profane, one holy the other sinner. The last Federal and provincial election cycles were nothing more than mud fists with the race to the lowest common denominator…no vision casting, no dreaming, no talking of foreign and domestic policies to build healthy relations nationally and globally.

Then we wonder why we have blockades? It’s a boiling point of frustration. Sure, some of the protesters may be paid, some may not know why they are their because like sports teams, political and populist movements, there is bandwagoners that join up to be a part of something. In an increasingly isolated world, any glimmer of belonging is what one latches on too.

It is rooted in the story of Canada, passive genocide both cultural and spiritual, inter-generational trauma, reserves, lack of education, soaring suicide rates, boil water advisories, Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (rampant serial killers targeting our vulnerable and the RCMP not acting), it is `60’s scoops of children to civilize them, residential schools, it is dehumanizing them, using them to fight our wars and when they returned home not allowing them back on reserves and with their families until they were found dead on our streets, shattered languages, over seizure by child welfare, over representation in prisons, high rates of addiction…

It is a government response that was almost, but not even. Talk of repealing the Indian Act since the Trudeau Sr. era. Being able to speak into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the 1982 Constitution Act (which started way back when with Louis Riel and the Red River Resistance); The failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords that may or may not have changed things for the better but became too highly politicized behind personalities for a true reading, stable governance, and a passionate Prime Minister on relationship building, Paul Martin, who worked with First Nations to craft the Kelowna Accord that would have radically changed the way our mosaic functions…then 10 years of a rise of old stock Christendom Dominionism that put relations back, if not in law, rather relationship, to when there was still debates if our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters are wards or humans. This was seen through the overturned by the Supreme Court of governmental re-write of environmental laws to push through oil and gas projects, and sell off Crown Land. To the end of the throwback to something new, but stumbling to find its rudder. An inquiry into MMIWG, Inquiry that came so close, but not far enough with no apologies for the flub. A Truth and Reconciliation process concluding with nothing changed or how to get the recommendations implemented. Both the “settler” and the “Indigenous” governmental bodies being discussed inside and outside for corruptions, misuse of funds and powers.

Then the pipeline through B.C.. The lightning rod. The final straw, and the protests began. Some poured over into blockades for transport routes (much like the Yellow Vest movement had done to support Oil & Gas). The forcing of the oil industry on another’s land, unseded. In another time, it could’ve created conversation and exploration as rural farmers are being left to foot the bill of abandoned wells on their land as the Alberta Government feels pity for the great corporations…but in the dualistic Canada it has created disparity, anger, and fuelled hatred. As well, as the challenge of balancing independence, interdependence, and need for economic capital within communities which is why, as in all pieces of our mosaic you cannot paint an act of some as it representing all.

If you want to state civil disobedience is wrong…then if your a woman stop voting, if your a veteran return your benefits, if your a worker give up your benefits and living wages and send your children to work–those are just a few changes for the better that came from Canadians with civil disobedience. The rule of law is thrown around, peaceful protest and gatherings are permitted under our constitution, the blockades are another matter. Yet the answer from the other side is the hammer of force via military (yes the RCMP is a military wing of our armed forces, they are infantry)…and so we see the peaceful protesters arrested and caged which does not help open up collaborative discourse for a peaceful ending, resolution, and healing.

Some have their hate released because of CN Rail saying it is going to lead to lay offs, and their stopping shipping. Yet, it has created a good smoke screen for the corporation that was coming under fire and tighter scrutiny by the Federal Government in their infrastructure up keep to stop the series of fatal derailments that have been plaguing the rails in Canada. They had been speaking of layoffs, and workers talking of strikes before this happened…so did the protests cause? Or are merely a way to build support for the poor corporation? Think, explore, listen and look.

See each other, as person not as Them to your Us.

Finally, we have all sides screaming for political change in Canada, reform of how government operates. I am not going into Prime Minister Trudeau’s seeking of the UN Security Council Seat or his International work during what is happening here. First, the misogynistic attempts by opponents and bully language makes one tune you out. He is doing what needs to happen internationally, let’s look what is happening nationally. The deputy Prime Minister (a woman), and the Premiers are being left to show what leadership looks like in our Constitution. Constitutionally the Prime Minister is within his rights to enact the War Measures Act…and the blood will run. So why not? There is legal and illegal, the War Measures Act is a sledge hammer, and a black and white tool in what is a grey area that requires a surgeon as we traverse the more ethical, what is right and wrong? Why this approach and why are we not able to see why this approach matters? Is it misogyny that does not allow one to see that this is a team/community approach? A rather decolonized approach to reconciliation? That we all need to work together to make our nation healthy and better.

For that is the challenge, when we speak of decolonizing I’m reminded of an interview question I had been asked in regards to it with an institution. I pointed out it is accessing wisdom of elders to compliment teaching and mentorship, but it is also taking the sacred teachings and medicine wheel as the lens (paradigm) we teach through. The response was well we have a class specifically on the Medicine Wheel. Ok, but to break the cycle it is doing things differently, it is not teaching one thing in isolation but showing how you take a value system and use that to craft your practice and your life. If we can apply in our learning and teachings a holistic system that honours creation including the person then we can grow a stronger, healthier nation and communities. It is an ongoing daily examin, adjusting, living and loving.

It can be done with any healthy and positive belief system that allows for healthy community. If done properly it will transform politics, governments and laws.  It is reconciliation after our truth…the way forward together. It is collectively opening up our constitution and saying, what does Canada need to look like for the next 150 years to continue to be a world leader?

There is no easy answers to where we are at now. We are living the grieving process of change. A nation–any community, is a living breathing organism, what we are seeing played out is what happens in our own body’s when change and grief happen. It is what happens when we keep repressing, ignoring warning signs and pushing forward eventually it crashes.

Are we willing to step up and look to the healthy solutions? Are we willing to silence the extremists on both sides in the healing and let the communal good move forward. Let the heart call out the b.s. (belief systems–or fertilizer, it is both). That is the crux of the matter. Will we give in to dualism, and the eventuality of altruistic evil

or

Are we strong enough as a nation, to live what we profess to believe?

 

 


I wasn’t that old, it was at a family dinner at my Nan and Granddad’s I remember. The image on the screen, the man in blue and red catching the helicopter…and yes I believed what I had seen on the spinner rack at the Mac’s stores— a man could fly. Christopher Reeve was the embodiment of hope. Superman and Clark Kent. There was a time with this meta-myth I would easily say one was born knowing who Superman was, with the advent of social media and algorithms, and those that only chase “gloomy realness” I am not so sure anymore. There has been many movies (I discount Man of Steel and Batman versus Superman), t.v. shows, cartoons, radio shows, novels, comics (monthly, weekly, comic strips, graphic novels, and collections out there)–and a host of family-Supergirl, Superboy, Bippo the Super-monkey if you will.

Yet at the core, is a hero designed by two Jewish boys. The original iteration was a villain, but by the time Action Comics #1 (1928) hit the newsstands, it was the familiar hero we know today. Superman started out fighting corporate corruption, as a voice and hero for the disenfranchised, the other. He was in PSA’s against racism, and fought the KKK. He would save the multi-verse, and fight to sexual trafficking as well in his career. My most familiar version was the post-crisis one crafted by Calgarian, John Byrne.

But I digress (can you see the fan boy coming through). What is the origin of the Man of Steel? The Man of Tomorrow? And how does it tie into the ancient wisdom stories of the Hebrew Bible and our modern world discourse around climate change today?

The Moses story was the meta-narrative used to craft the origin. Moses as the Hebrew Bible’s book of Exodus, tells us there came a crisis for the Hebrew people in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh did not know the patriarch that had settled them, and he became fearful of the nation within his walls (hearing anything about our current political climate in those words? Fear generation?). As such, Pharaoh set out on an program of genocide by eliminating all male babies of a certain age to ensure a culling. Moses’ family set Moses out in a basket on the river for a safer life, a new life, they did not know if it would work, but they hoped.

Moses was raised as an Egyptian, and upon discovering his roots, became a voice and actor of hope and emancipation for his people.

Jor-El, saw a world ending crisis coming to Krypton. He took his scientific data to the governing council that did not want to act. Did not want to create a panic in the populace. Did not want to believe that nature would conspire to rebel against their unethical dominionist ways. They laughed, they mocked, they used media to discredit him as hokey, call it a farce, fake news, fake facts, that this is all about the normal rhythms of space and their world.

Jor-el and his wife built a rocket to save their son from this self-inflicted genocide of the planet Krypton driven by ignorance. For what would have been the cost to listen? What would have been the cost to make their world and their people healthier by transitioning industries? Supporting one another? Why they would have to change the great Kryptonian ethos of “we’ve always done it this way.”

Kal-el was rocketed to earth. As he grew through puberty and his powers emerged, technology allowed for him to connect with his heritage. He grew, with the support of the core values he was raised with as Clark Kent, into a symbol of hope, and an emancipator for Earth from fear and corruption though the battle was a bit more cyclical than what the Hebrews had–wait—having read the Hebrew Bible, nope it was just as cyclical as that ancient wisdom works share with us.

Both Moses and Superman became hope. Jor-el is a symbol of what happens when we ignore science and truth because it is inconvenient, or disruptive to an echo chamber narrative we want to craft. I may not think climate change will be as catastrophic as the young are predicting, but I am no scientist. Though I have to ask, if we shift gears to a healthier relationship with creation, more of a caretaker than the strip mine dominion approach, back to the actual relationship and entrustment God gave us in Genesis 3 what is the worst that can happen? Cleaner air? Cleaner water? More equitable relationships between nations? Healthier holistic life? Being able to see and be with one another as neighbour?

If it is true and we ignore the end game is Krypton’s. Though there is another end game in the journey no one is addressing, by the voracious and bully focus of climate denial, we are doing something else. We are telling a generation of youth, our leaders now and in the future, that we did not equip them, we do not trust them, they are not valid or valued as members of society. Let that sink in. Aside from austerity measures that are harming the most vulnerable:

we through our lack of ability to discourse and change, are telling our young that they do not matter and then became outraged when their response to Gen X to the Baby Boom is the middle finger.

The question before us on planet earth is simple, who in the origin story of hope do we want to be:

The Kryptonian High Council or Jor-el?


What’s a fin you ask? Old slang for a fiver. That’s right the Bank of Canada is seeking input on whom should replace our first Francophone Prime Minister Laurier (also the one that gets Spocked) on our five dollar bill. I have heard thoughts for Celine Dion, Louis Riel, Tommy Douglas, Ryan Reynolds, Don Cherry, Terry Fox and Agnes MacPhail. But I think there is someone that would speak to our history and current state, and become a symbol for moving forward as one nation from a mosaic of many. In one of my callings as a children and youth pastor I did a discipleship devotional series on historic Canadians, regardless of religious affiliation, that showed a Jesus character. it was a means to show the kids, youth and volunteers that character matters more than vocal protestations.

Image result for chief crowfoot

Would this not be a powerful image on our 5 dollar bill?

Within the series, I shared on one of the First Nations historic leaders in Alberta, Chief Crowfoot. His character was instrumental in the writing of Treaty 7, a treaty that was approached a bit more collaboratively historically than the other treaties, as the Canadian Government was not entering into it as a conquering nation.

Crowfoot understood the ebbs and flows of change that things like the railroad brought, the request for the North-West Mounted Police to deal with the Whiskey Traders whose trade was rapidly destroying his people. He understood the ask when Riel and Dumont wanted him to join the Batoche Rebellion, where the world was, what had changed since the Red River Resistance, and the wisdom needed to say no t the ask– to stand outside– even though his heart probably supported the cause. Such a wise and powerful leader, that he was known by Queen Victoria, and had Royal attendance at his funeral.

In our era of Truth & Reconciliation, where the truth has been told, and now as a nation of nations we need to move forward together in a common good…Crowfoot’s wisdom still is in need today. A nation that has divides based on those that do not want to see change has and is happening, a new path of being and diplomacy, not the same old story, a care for creation, an understanding that decisions made are not always about the here and now, but stretching out 7 generations for the world, and confederation we want.

It is a rallying call to unity. It is a rallying call to working together. It is showing that we are honouring all who are apart of the mosaic of Canada. The choice shows the “disaffected” west, that they are honoured, while at the same time showing that it is not just a “settler” nation.

Some may say this choice on my part is political. They may be partly right, but then, is it not time we create symbols whether financial or communal that show the best of our nation? That show that reconciliation is not only possible, but where we are at our best? In an era of ongoing ideological entrenchment, it is time to shatter the walls, flood the trenches, and tell the robust story of all within this beautiful mosaic.

Chief Crowfoot’s life and legacy is what Canada’s meta-narrative has always been about…let’s make that narrative reality. One simple change at a time.