Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ Category


Many on the political discourse like to look at other countries. Yes, I can spend my time doing that with what is happening in Hong Kong, Camaroon, Sudan, Ethiopia with the Annuyak, or our neighbours to the South (and yes I realize there is also the EU, and Middle East). But I think we need to address voter apathy here, because voter apathy allows for bad economics and governmental policy. It allows false narratives that governance is like a religion, non-profit or business model…it is neither, but can be all of those things. The current Religious Right ala Social Conservatives in Alberta/Canada that lead the religious charge are a multi-faceted mosaic, mostly good hearted, but are using the Cross or the Crescent (or pick the religious symbol) as a means of stripping away the care of neighbour which underlies most if not all religious belief systems. The ethic of care surrendered in the chasing of political power, and bringing everything down to a debt-credit bank statement style budgeting, and an either-or, us-them analogy that is also perpetuated by the secular-progressive-left.

This is a post I have been struggling to right, because I am religious, I believe in the Holy Trinity, and have shaped my life on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Politically I fall in the Red Tory to Socialist-Communist leanings, yet I am not made to feel there is a political home there due to the hate I take for my religious beliefs. 

Image may contain: one or more people and textWhile the place where a religious is welcomed does not fit with my core values of what government is supposed to do in care of citizens.  It is what has led me to affiliate with a grassroots organization Reboot Alberta, and continue talking to folks that all levels of governance are important to engage in, and at the very least cast a vote in. Get to know the candidate above the party, understand we have more than 2 parties in Canada and Alberta and discover the party that resonates with you the most. Vote for something not out of fear to stop something.

This is where this ecclectica post began, as I begin ruminating on the City of Calgary and Province of Alberta begin their cuts.

City of Calgary-

We have not learned the lessons of history. We use austerity, and front line cuts as a way to show that we are being “fiscally prudent”, but do not address the burgeoning muffin top of city managers, and the exorbent pensions for City Councillors. Instead we attack the least. This started, as I wrote in Soul Ripples, with the way the City dealt with what is now deemed child sex trafficking when I was in high school, and the ripples it created in youth homelessness, youth gangs, rise, fall and re-rise of neo-naziism, and child sex trafficking.

I was reminded of this short sightedness when dealing with the property tax department as they cancelled my TIPP program in complete violation of the contract. The City did not accept responsibility or fix it. In fact they left it to me to fix, and pay a fee to re-up in the program. Not seeing the ripples of the time it takes a person to accomplish this, and that the re-up fee is directly from my family’s grocery budget as an unexpected expense. If I hadn’t solved the issue, or had been away and missed the deadline all together getting into arrears with property taxes can have the ripple of affecting insurance and mortgages, yet City of Calgary does not care. It is CYA all the way and screw the citizen.

Image may contain: 4 people, textLook at the first wave of austerity they have unleashed? 14 new suburbs, yet cuts to Fire, EMS and Police. In Fact, we are in the midst of a rise in youth gang violence (which actually is modus operandi for the council)…so they also cut free programs like the mobile skate parks, and shutter 2 pools. Places that create safe community for our youth are chopped. The ripple effect? As history has shown us, is more lost youth to the darkness, yet City of Calgary doesn’t care. It’s a CYA to protect themselves not govern the citizens.

Hence, a ripple effect of the current Government of Alberta approach, as municipalities are a function of provincial powers, not an autonomous entity. The current government refuses to release a budget until after the Federal Election. They can use any smoke and mirrors they choose, yet it comes down to the fact they have seen the effects the Ford Government has had on the federal party in Ontario and do not want to cause the same effect here.

Yet, it has created the conversations and actions noted above. Let’s look at the beginning roll outs after the smoke and mirrors of the 5% MLA pay cut, or even before when they attack the lowest paid-but hardest working- cutting minimum wage for youth workers from $15/hr to $13/hr, and now exploring cutting servers wages the same if they serve alcohol. The tax cuts to big oil that led to over 14,000 more job losses. Yup, it is for the people (note sarcasm for those who do not have a British background).

The us-them dichotomy is ringing true as they halted work  the new school curriculum. The new curriculum which was started under the PC Government pre-2015, and continued by the NDP government. Stating that the Alberta Teachers Association and partners were not apt to do this. They stated parents… well I was engaged and spoke about things in the previous curriculum consultations. Yet, lets be real…a good reality check. Who is the best equipped to design curriculum and curriculum delivery? Do you go to the doctor with a bursting appendix and be like, yeah I know this can kill me but really can you deal with my ingrown nail? Same effect here. I have seen the majority rules parental ruin of education. Under Klein it led to no fail policies, it has created a culture within education and society where bullying is so allowable we have 9 year olds committing suicide in Calgary. How about we let those trained in lifespan development, educational theory, pedagogy, curriculum development do their work. The goal of education is a well rounded, functioning life long learner. It is designed for those meant to go on to post-secondary to achieve there, for those meant to be in the skilled trades to thrive and achieve there, and for those not in those two streams to still be life long learners and discoverers so they are able to support the next, current and elder generations. See why educational curriculum in an era of post-truth become such a whack-a-mole? If everyone completes grade 12 (which Alberta has an atrocious track record of) as engaged citizens and critical thinkers, it makes ideological populist movements harder to steal power.

The next is the over 3 million cut to the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Now, yes it is bad, and punishes the most vulnerable. Yet, I want to engage in another conversation of question asking. Why do we have organizations like the CHF? Third Party funders that get government funds and distribute to the sectors. They are funded for a full staffing structure including directors, etc (taking money out of the helping pot)- they have created another organization to own real estate that then master leases to non-profits, so the non-profits don’t build their assets to leverage for clients. The questions that should be asked is, what is the full costing going towards the sector? What changes if they third party funder is removed? What increases in funding go to agencies? What happens if we direct fund the clients? So their decisions direct funds to the agencies they choose to use? How does this transform the sector in truly investing in staff health, staff retention, and increase to front-line staff salary for good human services delivery is built on the trust of relationship.

Yet, as the cut happens, it becomes an austerity measure, another us-them battle. But what happens when we engage and ask? What happens when the marginalized do not allow themselves to be herded into a one-size fits all solution. Admitting that each situation has a myriad of reasons to the now, and takes a mosaic to heal and get to home.

This is also the failure of the debate over the Supervised Safe Consumption Sites.  Location is important. It needs to be accessible to those in need. Yet, it also needs to be controllable. What does this mean? It means that the users need to be safe, the staff need to be safe, and the predators need to be kept out. Is the Sheldon Chumir the best location for this? Location wise, yes. For the other two, no, as it is too open and easily targetted. It is akin to when they moved the safe house for child prostitutes in the early 2000’s onto the actual stroll, the kids could get safety, but the pimps and predators were ringing the bell for them the next night. Perpetuates a cycle of harm acceptance. Now however if we critically look, expand, and create safety for harm reduction then it creates space for keeping people alive, having conversations, niggling out what led to…

Which is the other piece. See it is not safe sites OR treatment. False dichotomy for twitter wanks, and sound bytes. It is both and. It is not harm reduction OR abstinence based programs. It is both and. See, human beings are tricky, some who slip into addiction need the stability of harm reduction and may shift towards abstinence, others to simply survive need a sober environment period. To discredit either is to say that person’s life has no value in our society. But if the goal of harm reduction or abstinence is simply survival then it has missed the mark.

The root of the addiction is trauma. The human system attempting to null the unspeakable pain. This is the other sound byte that annoys me speaking with front line staff. Trauma informed care is not a pass for a person to be abusive, it is understanding where behaviours come from and in the courageous safe space to have conversations around healing, and when something goes awry to be in that type of intimate healing relationship to be held to account.

But that word T-R-A-U-M-A. It is healable. It takes time, it takes trained clinicians. It takes healthy community around a person. No, it is not staying in unhealthy family or community, rather it is knowing where health is and re-planting oneself there. It takes expansion of mental health services, normalization, and giving a damn about one another. It takes the removal of labels, and seeing each other as citizens, but beyond that as a PERSON. We are not monetary transactions, we are people. The simple act of being people, is our inherent value.

The question though, is as are we going to allow this current populist belief system to continue, or are we going to critically engage and challenge what needs to happen. To firmly, accurately, and compassionately call out the false narratives and dichotomies regardless of the institution they exist in and we exist in as members?

Are we willing to truly be person first in this life?

Advertisements

We are in an era of politics where apathy and entrenchment has led to an inability to actually talk to one another if they choose one party colour over another. An era where vandalism, threats and bullying have become common place in our body politic and campaigns. Where one can live in a comfort ability of post-truth. It has led to a disengagement and-or apathy (I mean, c’mon 54-60% turn out are historic highs).

I have been politically active my whole life. We had rambunctious conversations at dinners, over the television news, and at family celebration gatherings on topics such as health care, human rights, feminism, political parties and beliefs (I will not bore you with the details of my journey in political party land where I have been everything from Reform Party to Communist Party-both federally and provincially for those fun stories of my life, and Uncle Ed’s attempt to recruit me to the SoCreds, I refer you to my book- Soul Ripples). Suffice it to say I was more about what party policies were doing to aid citizens than partisanship- though I definitely went more to the progressive-pragmatist end.

I reflect on this journey that saw me run in 2006 as I look at the picture with Jack Layton. I ran for the New Democrats federally, but how my elders responded speaks more to how party’s should function within our democracy. They are to be a function- that is something that is influenced by the members, and elected members. Not simply the automatons of a leader. It is with the former how we get Peace, Order and Good Governance. My Great Uncle Red believed I would be a good Member of Parliament, but in conservative Calgary was concerned of my orange ways. He actually took the time to figure out what it would take to get me on the ballot as a Conservative if I so chose.

Community, family, working together on goals. Having the conversations about why and what makes our country (province) a better place for all. What is the core values. How do we use academics, science and scholars in line with the human factor to come up with the best solutions. But it only happens with community and belonging.

It is bumpiest journey, and where we are at currently politically it is hard to see folks across ideology have discussions. Yet it is possible. This what I was able to be a part of with a new movement, not about a new partisan party, but about connecting citizens, education, discussion and community. It is about taking what we learn through our conversations back into our own political realms or just our own circles of influence, to continue conversations.

The simple pieces of ensuring that our constitutional promise in Canada is held. Our current provincial government doesn’t represent that, but we can get it there. We do that, by being engaged and conversing.

The simple steps build bridges across the chasms of ideological trenches. For once you have had a meal, or even a cuppa with a person and a good conversation– it is hard to paint them as other.

rebootalberta.com is a movement of discovery, learning and connecting across partisanship, and post-partisanship. Check it out–they also have a Facebook page.


If Trudeau does not do what Harper did, we shall have an election on the fixed date in October 2019. We have just come out of an election in Alberta. It is a time to give pause, for there are a few fallacies that parties rely on:

  1. My vote does not count. It is an apathy that keeps people away from the booth. It is peddled and not fought against because it allows for two parties to court their base and get them out to vote to maintain the governance.
  2. There is only two choices. NO! Federally and provincially there is many choices, including independents. It is when we decide to vote against something, or to default to this logic that the best governance for the citizenship is lost. Government entitlements, human rights, Universal Health Care, were all policy planks of 3-whatever number parties. Due to their rise in popular vote (note not polls, but vote)…these policies carried chutzpah, and even though there may have been moderation, came to fruition.
  3. Strategic voting– is the ultimate B.S. that drives people out of voting. It is precipitated on voting against something, instead of for something. It allows for parties to wallow in the much, court the trash that is the extremist, have false arguments over food guides…it is about not standing on beliefs, and pointing to records. It is fed by the rabid base of both sides, and once more sidelines the importance of the candidate.
  4. Party over candidate. Especially this last round in Alberta with historic turnout (54% is historic, I weep for our democracy)–do you know how man folks are shocked about the investigations? Who did not know what the name of their local candidate was? That they were voting for “Leader” (unless you live in their riding, you are not voting for them. The leader of the party with the majority of seats forms the government, and becomes first minister. In the Westminster system said minister serves at the pleasure of the caucus, in Canada, we have lost this and made the leader all powerful–reclaim the power of the representative over leader/party). Know not only the party, and how their policies affect not only you, but the seniors, kids, neighbours…y’know think beyond the not my family, not my issue mental b.s. Authentically get to know the person and see if they have the character you think matters.

See candidates go through a vetting process. It is akin to a job interview when you put your name forward or someone asks you to run. There is usually an application, have to get some party support, win the nomination in a vote or by acclamation. Part of the process is biographical digging, resume, and interview. Lately it has also been the party wanting all access to a person’s e-mail and social media.

See it is no longer about a person who holds to the value of the party being able to speak from who they are in that context for their constituents or those they wish to represent. It is about, becoming a puppet of the leader, and the party line. See at its worst with Conservative Party of Canada candidates Federally, and United Conservative Party candidates, who literally re-read their leaders’ talking points or directly from policy manuals. They are not themselves among those they seek to represent. For it is leader and party banner over citizen.

Now, lefties, you are not off the hook either. For yes, there is some control on talking points, but what is even scarier (seen across the spectrum) is the sanitizing of social media. The idea that you have sold your very being to the party and they now can delete or close whatever they wish from your online footprint. It is a pristine person who only mimics the party line like a good parrot they want out there.

What is lost?

In this system we are growing, we have lost the importance of the local candidate. The idea that how their beliefs are shaped (religious and-or secular) matter. How they live in community. Communicate online and in person. The genuine person. It does matter, for what if the party wants to do something in power that harms the citizens, will this person have the guts to stand up and speak out? Or will they succumb to power/money?

Never admit past mistakes, default to no comment. If you can delete it.

BUT what if, we as a citizenship demanded different. We are okay with our candidates being human, like we are. Be authentic. I always joked growing up there was “happy black spaces” where I wasn’t too sure what the full story was, but I never did not comment when something was brought up, or challenged or questioned on a belief I had espoused. It creates conversation, discovery, and connection.

This is probably the biggest reason why the fallacy of Leader Branding perpetuates, then there is no actual connection with the diverse ridings folks seek to represent, the only connection is with the party War Room, and whatever Bizzaro type Rocky-Bullwinkle villain escapades they dream up to play gotcha games with instead of vision casting, and talking with us.

In these less than 90 days until the vote, demand better.


It is said Canada is a secular state. What does this mean? It probably began during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec in the early to mid-20th Century which was the assertion of the end of Christendom. What is Christendom? The one force of political religion. That is politics being draped in religious language, much like what Marx wrote out against. It brought Christianity from being a movement of those on the margins of society to the throne of the Empire, when Constantine won the throne under the cross. It held through the schism that created Orthodox and Roman Catholicism, and then the Protestant Reformation where monarchs took the power of the church for themselves from the Pope.

The Quiet Revolution in Quebec stripped political power from the church. During this time, movements like Social Credit grew out of fundamentalist Christendom, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was birthed out of progressive fundamentalists and activists…and by the 1960’s with the rise of Trudeaumania, a moderate-Jesuit style Catholicism was back on the scene with Pierre Trudeau as Justice Minister modernizing our laws, then as Prime Minister working towards repatriating the Constitution and moving the Bill of Rights to something governments could play with to enshrining them in the Constitution as a Charter of Rights and Freedoms (he also wanted a Social Charter that the Alberta Government killed in the need for signatories, the social charter would’ve dealt with many of the issues we are facing today). The final authority for the Charter and Constitution was no longer the Monarch, but rather the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Charter was fleshed out in consultations with churches, stake holders, citizens, First Nations and Metis. Trudeau in his philosophical ways, understood there was something intangible that bound us all, and as such this is the opening line:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Our neighbours to the South have an enshrined separation of Church and State. In Canada we have no such thing, our social safety net more often than not begun in a church hall over coffee or tea whether it was suffrage movements, labour rights, government entitlements, public education or public health care (and remember it was a devout Roman Catholic Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who led his government to legalize marriage equality). Yes, there is atrocities within the church that came from the Christendom style movement such atrocities as Conversion Therapy; Residential Schools, by proxy the MMWIG; Lack of Women’s rights (yes, both came from the same source, but different understandings).

Yet, in the death throes of Christendom, we got the Constitution Act, 1982

Recently, the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition gave a speech listing his values due to the Supremacy of God, and watch the Twitter eruption of how dare he. I have not heard the whole speech, many know my feeling on the corruption within the Conservative Party of Canada that goes back to the anti-members wishes merger under McKay-Harper, but moving on.

What does this mean?

If one has authentic religious beliefs, they drive and shape their life. They cannot compartmentalize them, and nor should they. We have a history in our nation of those across the religious and political spectrum working for the best for the people of Canada. It comes from a community understanding, that our individual rights come with corporate responsibility.  All on the political spectrum are guilty or religious demonetization.

One should understand where one’s values come from. In 2006 when I ran at the Candidate’s debate we were squarely asked about our religious-philosophical beliefs and how it related to the social issues of the time- marriage equality was the big one. To be cleared to be a candidate to run for the NDP I was asked to explain my standing on abortion, and explained why I was pro-choice, and what society’s responsibility was around that. The party did not like the well thought out explanation and had a hard time signing off, yet it was the answer that tied in well with my faith and politics.

Too often discourse publicly or personally of politics and religion are shunned. We want to yell our beliefs in a vacuum. We want pithy answers when asked why. We have lost the ability to debate, to craft healthy arguments and philosophical or legal discourse around issues that arise. We prefer social media yelling matches, and holier than thou stances for and against the way people come to their decisions. We also stand on this idea, that if you default to I believe this because of x,y, or z religious stance then I cannot be challenged. That too is wrong. If you raise it as a point of support, it is debatable, but we need to enter these conversations civilly. We also need to enter these conversations with the understanding the religious are grieving.

What? They are, they are in the anger and denial phase of grieving not willing to let go of the past and understanding that their voice is still valid. It is part of the same choir that has already existed, what has changed is that there is no forced vocabulary because due to social and economic pressure not everyone is in a pew. This is what creates the reactionary anger, and then allows for those to hide within their own echo chambers. Instead of reacting to the language, look what is being spoke of and if the value supported lines up.

Guess what that creates? Collaboration, which then one can say we have this core value as a nation regardless of how you came to the journey to come there. We honour our neighbours completely.

The example that this type of approach can be used with is in Alberta where the Alberta Government has stopped land acknowledgments. This comes most probably out of the heretical Doctrine of Discovery from the era of Christendom. Instead of being able to point out this is a Confession. It is pointing out we all share the land, but we know who our first neighbours were and are working towards reconciliation and a common future. The strong words there resonate with a Christian vocabulary- Confession, Reconciliation. These are concepts that are understood. It shows community.

Is Canada a secular state? Why do we need to label it. We are a multi-cultural mosaic. That includes religious beliefs. The beauty of where we are as a nation, is that religious beliefs, like any beliefs, are not static. They evolve and change over time. We help our neighbour through their anger and grief, we can get to healthier future. We answer anger with anger, hate with hate, it is like fighting a house fire with fire. It does not work. First you provide safety for the affected, then begin the suppression of the blaze. That is creating space for healthy discussion on shared values, and what brought each of us to that point.

Honouring that, and moving forward.

It is the roots of the grand tree that is Canada.

We just need to prune out the dead wood.

Yes this came out of a question I responded to on Twitter as to where all the moderate Christians are, and I pointed out tired of being yelled at by secularists and extremists, when interviewed by media not allowed voice because it is not infotainment enough.

 


I have been following one of my hobbies semi-closely as of late…that being politics. It is semi-closely due to the ideological entrenchments, vindictiveness, and seeking of power for power that is a bit of a turn off currently. However, that bit of a turn off is why citizens need to engage to hold these parties accountable that are acting like sandbox bullies in a pre-school.

In Ontario we are 5 months into a Doug Ford Progressive Conservative Government, and not seeing either progressive or conservative policies coming to the surface. There is MPP’s under investigation in the governing party, rumours that at least seven are about to defect (could be upwards to 14 which would sink the majority)…one already has, placing citizens she represents over party politics and the faux standing ovations her party is whipped to do. Yet that is not what has touched on me to write tonight.

Neither here in Alberta the UCP and NDP using an Alberta Party motion to curtail oil production to aid a flagging sector. Both parties claiming it is there idea…and well…that is just politics as normal sadly for third party ideas with the governing and official opposition. For decades the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives federally did it with the “conscience of Parliament” the CCF then NDP. But that is not why I am writing.

Or that the UCP continue to holds to the idea of a massive majority due to polls. Even though those same polls show numbers shrinking for the party and the leader. As well, the short term memory issue of the polls in the last 3 elections in Alberta that respectively were projecting majorities for the Wildrose, the Wildrose, and the PC. What happened for governance was PC, PC, and NDP. Sooo polling in Alberta not so good. But that is not what brought me to write.

It was a piece on the Prince Edward Island Green Party. Within the next 11 months there is to be a provincial election. The Progressive Conservatives are idle and imploding not being able to keep a leader. The governing Liberal Party has been in power 11 years, and even with a new leader is looking tired. The NDP has only ever held one seat in 1996. The Greens appear to make a break through, and possibly form a government. Yes it would historically be the first Green Party government within Canada. The major thrust being that they are not the same old tired song, but also the PEI Greens have done admirably what other Greens in Canada have not been able to do– show their whole platform with strong local candidates.

Having said that, I do think the Green Party of Canada, under Elizabeth May’s leadership could be the surprise of the 2019 federal election in October. Partly due to the introversion of the Scheer Cons, and the lost path of the Singh NDP. What it will take though is strong local riding candidates from a diverse background known in their area. It will also take getting their non-environmental policies on the table to show the strong Red Tory-Blue Grit style policy the party creates. Thus showing it as a strong centrist option to Trudeau’s Liberals. The topping on the cake for this decades old federal party would be getting key endorsements from patriarchs and matriarchs of the Progressive Conservative movement of yore: Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell. Perhaps even swing to the Liberals and see if the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin will endorse. Lastly, with the reading done in Preston Manning’s theology around social justice and environment it is highly plausible they may be able to get an endorsement by the father of Reform, the Hon. Preston Manning.

If these things could align, knowing May will be in the leaders debate it could shake up Parliament from the same old same old.

 


The Constitution Act 1982 does not speak of political parties, what it does promise is that at each level of governance Canadians are guaranteed peace, order and good governance. In fact it has been a transformational journey of our young Westminster Parliament compared to others, but we can still learn a lot from the “Mother” parliament of the UK, and other styled parliaments within the Commonwealth.

Australia Broadcasting Corporation poked fun at their system in the Fifth and Final season of Rake, that saw Cleaver Greene as a senator, and a rapid succession of Prime Ministers as the party caucus members that controlled kept cycling through to find the one that “worked”.

Canada has been seen as one of the most “party” controlled parliaments, in fact, more likely, Leader and their circle controlled. Now you can rebut and say party members elect the leader, yes, but after that what happens? What if the person in the House or Legislature is not up to the job? Do elected members have an ability to make a good change? How is the first minister chosen? We have defaulted to the leader of the party with the most seats.

Image result for turning parliament inside outAre there ideas for changing things? A multi-party work came out in 2017 that shone some lights on change: Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy (Douglas & McIntyre); editors: Michael Chong, Scott Simms and Kennedy Stewart. The book was forwarded by Bob Rae, Ed Broadbent and Preston Manning. It has submissions from Members of Parliament across party lines (including Elizabeth May). For most politico it is nothing astonishing, it is a solid collection of 8 ways to give power back to elected representatives and decentralize from the leaders (and by extension PMO in governance) office. The eight essays are easy to follow, well laid out, and easy to discuss for those involved in the systems of politics and those not.

For EDA’s; and parties I would encourage reading and discussion groups on the topics. For the non-partisan, get a few friends together to read and discuss the ideas. Even better is that it can be used as a starting point for discussions on what reforms (minor to major) that need to happen.

Such things as the “official party” seat number is just a function, not a rule. How are questions taken/answered in question period? How to get more people involved as candidates? And the list can go on.

What are your thoughts on Parliamentary/Legislature reform?

What steps can happen at the local level?

What can happen within parties?

The conversation of change that threatens power can be a scary one. Mostly because it comes down to the reality that moving forward there will be those accessing power, you were not allowed access to in the same moments of your journey. Yet for constitutional health of our nation, it is a conversation that leads to action that needs to happen.

And it simply begins with talking over a cup of coffee…like so many political movements that shaped our nation and world….

One cup. One conversation.


One gets a perspective on the world when they are engaged working with those without voice to discover voice. Whether it is a certain population, community, spiritualist, sectarian or political movement… or a child. It is the little moments when kindess can be modeled and taught. It is a proven fact cited by many sources and many times over (learned while a mentor with the Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth; and re-integration mentor with Calgary Young Offender’s Centre) that an adult committing 1 hour a week minimum in a positive way into a child/adolescent’s life can change that life for the better.

Yet too often as adults we drop the ball horribly. I am not yearning for yesteryear, but publicly there was accepted behaviours, privately–well I am glad the roof has been blown off the private abuse. BUT we still need to understand what it means to be, well, human and to be a good citizen. This is the investment, the colloquially it takes a village, for we all need to participate. Unfortunately the extremism of Right/Left political spectrum helicopter parenting/parents-rights movements have shattered this ability.

What am I speaking of?

We no longer understand the simplicity. And as a community will no longer call out and hold accountable bad behaviour, but rather will seek the most expedient method responsible for ending conflict, even (and usually does) mean removing the voice of the bullied.

If we can’t understand yes means yes, no means no in sharing toys of snacks…

In schools we tackle the “no sharing rule” or the “only sharing with those that you play with outside of school. Yet we do not address the harassment that comes with “No” for the person who brings the snack and maybe does not want to share with someone. It is the movement of independent rights, separated completely from interdependent responsibility.  Reaction is to cancel sharing, or to allow harrassment to continue until the resolution is for the afflicted to give in, or simply feel so scared not to bring something to school as a snack.

This is seen in play groups, when my child would start playing with something, and another child would want it and demand they share. Parents would say our child was mean when they would continue playing until done, then pass on. “That’s not sharing”. Yes, that is sharing, she/he did not want to play with your child, but the toy, the time was up, and passed on to the next in line. Watching your child harass the other child until they are reduced to tears or pass the toy over, or attempt to share only to have your child walk away without you saying anything teaches nothing but that the most important needs in the world are the ones of your child.

Same repeat story in the Public Libraries with technology, the card allows for x numbers of minutes for each cardholder. One child’s time is not more valuable than another, they may choose to play together (kids have a knack for finding friends adults will never see–a maybe or yes to creating a better world), but also no is a proper answer and waiting your turn is a proper answer. Child or adult harassing or shaming the one using the device is not the proper response to no or wait your turn please. Staff watching this behaviour and not interceding shows that this behaviour is acceptable and will be tolerated in public with no repercussions.

The other piece is the “teach abuser grooming behaviour for victim” where the apology is not actually acknowledging what was done was wrong (ala I am sorry you felt that way, or (insert rationale to my behaviour here) or blame the situation or purchase the “sorry you are mad at me present”.

These are behaviours in our children. If we cannot get them before adolescence to understand simple things like Yes means yes, no means no. Taking turns is sharing. You are not the only/most important individual in the world. In a community everyone has value.

HOW ARE WE TO GET THEM TO UNDERSTAND:

  1. Significant others do not owe you sex.
  2. When you ask someone out, you are not entitled to a yes…they can say no…then leave them be.
  3. Domestic violence is wrong.
  4. Emotional/verbal/spiritual harassment-abuse-manipulation is wrong
  5. Involuntary Celibates (or any other hate adjective) really is simply you are the ass no one wants to be around. It is time for self-reflection not violence (so no the van driver in Toronto and the Texas School shooter are not the victims, they are the violence bringers).

Consent is fairly simple. Yes many generations in general have struggled with it to the detriment of humanity, and harm of many persons. We are at a point in time where that needs to change, the movements have been subtle and overt to bring this change. How do I know this? Look at the resistance building to change, it is at a tipping point for a better world for our children.

The better world. That what is to be built upon the world we have for the next generation, 7 generations down.

Let old ideas melt away, new ones take root and grow fully. Learn from what is being born, and be the person.

As our village raises this generation, we need to be part of the positive tipping point.

Will you?