Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category


No this is not a mid-term thingee (though to my American neighbours, please do use your right to vote, I hear it’s in November via a rather clogged Twitter feed).

This is the 2019-2020 election started at midnight of e-day last time around, so remember to vote this time around informational.

Things to remember:

  1. The only vote that does not count, is the one not cast (yes we are first past the post, but there is still roughly 30-40% of eligible voters not turning up, so think what can happen).
  2. Vote splitting. It is one “X” next to a name on a piece of paper, we only get one “X”. No party owns that “X”, only you do. So if you choose to vote for said candidate because of or regardless of affiliation, guess what? That’s right, that’s your vote. See point one.

Our system is simple. Party with most one seats becomes governing party, second place become “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition” who serves to make proposed government legislation better. The Members of the House are there to serve their constituents, not party (though we have muddled that a bit recently). So the local candidate matters (note word local, don’t let a parachute in foil or is that fool you?); the party is the caucus they will be in (unless they are an independent, which yes is allowable). Also not all parties will run candidates in all ridings (otherwise known as EDA’s or Constituencies), but they are still a viable party if the resonate with you.

Provincially please note there is more than simply NDP-UCP. Federally please note there is more than simply Conservative or Liberal.

So here is the so-far official list of Provincial Parties in Alberta (here)

So here is the so-far official list of Federal Parties of Canada (here)

So endeth your Public Service Announcement of voting.

 

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A compilation of random thoughts on the political landscape.

First up: Hon. Ricardo Miranda (Min. Tourism & Culture, YYC Cross MLA) and his twitter up with Airdrie UCP MLA Angela Pitt. It started with Ms. Pitt’s tweet as best as I can see pointing out Mr. Miranda calling her out on being at the Women’s Centre after being part of the UCP walk-out on Bill 9 (bubble zone legislation for pregnancy care centres that include those providing abortions).

I can see his point, I can see her point. Where is should’ve stayed is dereliction in duty of the office (not being on record for the vote). But in typical hyper-partisan fashion Mr. Miranda jumped the shark and took it to a whole other level. Where the comparison may have been able to be made about a worker crossing a picket line, then showing up to the Union Office for help to keep their job or even more high road: I hope you had a good experience at the Women’s Centre and learned why Bill 9 was important, or MLA Pitt do you care to share what you learned or heard today?

Nope. Instead it went to from Mr. Miranda:

WTH??? Yes I saw the tweet, yes I was about to respond, but thankfully those from across the political spectrum jumped on it and called it out.  It has since been deleted, and a supposed apology issued. But let’s be honest, we have honest to God Nazi’s still in this country, and a strong history of holocaust deniers (Keegstra in Red Deer anyone? or the Green Party member from Canada on trial in Europe)…where did this jump come from???

It is the dehumanizing falsity of dualistic politics. Keeping up there is only two choices NDP or UCP…we have a multitude in Alberta, and please look beyond party to your local candidate.

Point 2: If Charles Adler calls out the CPC ya know it also jumped the shark. Yes, I will admit my bias against the Conservative Party of Canada since the hostile sell out of McKay to Harper, but the image of a Haitian refugee crossing Trudeau’s tweet as a bridge into Canada with the hyperbole  and falsity of illegal entry was deplorable. Thank you Mr. Adler for holding your party to account, and using your media presence to do so.

I say falsity on the illegal entry, because the processing of refugee, immigrant and irregular entries is part of international agreements Canada has been apart of since the end of World War II to ensure what happened in the Holocaust does not happen again. Yes the system may be refined, but it is working and is simply a hot button issue and as the image projected going for the lowest possible denominator in a multi-cultural country. What I do endorse is the ending of Safe Third Country with the USA (who shares our border) which then allows us to look at a system that does not have a failed caveat within it.

Point 3: Just a fun flashback point, like going to Granddad and Nan’s for dinner. Political parties hope one does not have a historical context or understanding. They hope you have a drive for power or hatred of the “other guy” enough to dodge the tough policy questions, the questions that affect your life and your neighbours. The ability to look beyond your own household, person and context to the whole. It is why I try to look at the person running over the party, and then hope that the person can stand up to their party when needed. Sadly our system has become about leader over member and this is wrong and unconstitutional.

That is a ramble into a funny story from when I ran in 2006. The CPC candidate’s campaign manager attempted to recruit me to run for the party at the candidate’s debate. He pointed to the policy around poverty and was dumbfounded when I said no. He asked why and I bluntly pointed out, it was point one of a 7 pillar approach I aided in creating to alleviate poverty. His gobsmacked face is a fond remembrance.

Hold to history, hold to accountability. Look for change if it has happened.

Now a bit of fun:

First, as endorsed in previous elections, I do think Jeremy Nixon would make a good representative in government. I am unsure if he would break party lines with the UCP, that will be up to those in Calgary-Klein to ask him and press him on the doorsteps. Including things such as Bill 9, not just his stance but also would he have voted, but I could not let this endorsement meme pass without a comment from my comic geek side:

“Where unintentionally the UCP makes themselves Lex Luthor, and the NDP Superman…for Kryptonite was only wielded by the bad guys.

Where unintentionally the UCP makes themselves Lex Luthor and the NDP Superman…for Kryptonite was only wielded by the bad guys.


On June 7, 2018 I wrote to Alberta Education Minister David Eggen, as noted in this almost 2 month old post here.

I finally received a response from the Minister today. It was a lovely and long outlined letter. I must state unlike letters from previous PC Education Ministers it stayed on target for the issue brought to his attention.

The just is this, in Alberta Education’s opinion resources and monies have been provided and it is something to be dealt with via principal, superintendent and trustee (which has already been brought up multiple times) for they are the ones to determine if any grief support response is necessary for students and staff in schools when a child passes.

Yes, the letter affirmed what I already knew to be true. The unfortunate piece is that the Alberta Government had an opportunity to address a systematic discrimination issue and–

CHOSE NOT TO.

Much like my son’s school principal CHOOSES not to use the resources at his disposal to care for his staff and students.

I encourage all parents of children who are (Complex Learning, Special Needs, Super Heroes, Differently Abled, Kids with Disabilities-how they choose to identify) Super Hero– to take up the fight. Do not let them medically-cognitively segregate us anymore. That is how the voice is lost. Do not let the system deem who is of better worth or worse off…

THESE ARE OUR KIDS AND ONE VOICE MUST RING OUT IN THEIR SUPPORT!

 


There needs to be more of thinking outside of ourselves in our world, and understanding how decisions we make have a ripple that can adversely effect another. Yes, as you read this know that I have and am a life long environmentalist and progressive. Yet we also need to move forward in healing and reconciling with creation by not picking and choosing who can live. Oh and to borrow a colloquialism from Twitterverse, don’t @ me. I am well aware of the many options for other straws, but there is a percentage those are not safe or usable for so shut it.

From Calgary Sun, Letters to the Editor July 7, 2018:

PEOPLE NEED STRAWS
Re: Plastic Straw Ban. A few pictures of turtles and our world wants to ban plastic straws. Something that makes up 1/10 of 1% of plastics in our world. Not looking a the other 99.9% of plastics that may inconvenience those screaming (frappe cups; Keurig one serves, etc.). It has become a “ban challenge” coming out of B.C. What is left out of the discussion is that for some persons with disabilities, the only way they can ingest liquids is through the pliable plastic straws. That is right, we are running a ban that essentially is telling a segment of the population you do not deserve to drink or belong. When this information, and information on the safety concerns (from choking, to burns, to breaking of teeth, etc.) have been brought forward to city councillors, the response is when we debate this it is something to consider. Please let that sink in for where we are in Calgary’s history: something to consider. We will consider at our political level if it is OK if some cannot provide sustenance to themselves or not? Before bandwagoning, take time to explore outside of your own bubble of self absorption and ask, if I was the one in need of something to live others wanted to ban, what would I want societies response to be? I believe in a Calgary where all are welcome, allowed to belong, thrive and live. The plastic straw ban, asks whether or not people with disabilities are allowed.
TY RAGAN
(Far bigger issues locally and in the world than plastic straws.)


Time is not linear. Yes, that is how we track it, but truly we tend to circle back to our regressive roots as cultures more often than not. Almost make that break through on belonging and then BANG! door is closed. The BANG! is usually caused by a slow but steady marketing technique- foot in door. It literally started with door to door salesmen that would use the tip of their shoe to block a closing door so they could use a cold read on the customer to give an in roads to a sale.

We see it today. It is still used within group circles (religious, political and social justice jump to mind the most). In good case scenarios one can look at this technique used for things such as Universal Health Care; human rights; to name but a few.

Unfortunately it has become more familiar in the not so good realms of our societies. A United conservative party candidate recently tweeted of using the technique if they formed government to limit funding, and access to abortion.

In Trump’s America, the resurgence of Fascism started within the Christian Right Circles. First they forgave his philandering ways; Republicans made excuses for his racism and misogyny in allowing him to continue to run; then he mocked a reporter (person) with Cerebral Palsy, and it was still okay. Open and active racism had become acceptable. Apologetic of evangelical Christian faith went into full defense mode, and now there is kids in cages and people scratch their heads as to why.

It reminds me of a great Star Trek story. In the original series was an episode, “Space Seed” that had Kirk & co rescue the Botany Bay. Khan and his crew were survivors of the Eugenics Wars. Yup. Eugenics, genetically engineering to the superior species- perfection- what the Nazi & Stalinist holocausts were all about (extermination of Jews, persons with disabilities, political dissidents, multiple births (i.e twins), LGBTQ2). In the lore of ST it was a war, and Khan and his people were the outcome finally overthrown as Earth realized the horror of their ways. In good Star Trek fashion their lives are spared even after they try to capture the ship, and are left on Ceti Alpha VI to make a new way for themselves.

The sequel was probably one of the best Star Trek movies ever made: Wrath of Khan. Which brought a great quote into the universe of Trekkies:

The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few or the one.

-Captain Spock

An older Admiral Kirk with his original lead team, on a ship of young cadets are on a mission to save the Genesis experiment (literally life from lifelessness, or reversed not so kind). The lead scientists are an old flame of Kirk’s (of course) and a son, David, he never knew of. (watch the movie, get Space Seed on Netflix, it makes for a good conversation night). The battle against regression, anger, and hatred is the battle of the Enterprise against Khan. One that costs the next generation (Scotty’s nephew is amongst the causalities). And a friendship ends.

Trekkies were rocked, as Spock died to save the ship, the crew, and be able to get the win. The inevitable hatred and belief of superiority, supremacy of one species over the other, destroyed Khan and his followers.

And you can see the idea that lefties have clung to this idea of the needs of the many can outweigh the needs of the few. So has the right. Civics 101 is simple, the political continuum is not linear, it is spherical, and extremism on both ends comes out to the same hatred filled conclusions. It begins with a simple foot in the door.

For progressives the foot in the door currently in in environmentalism. The great End Plastic Straw Ban Challenge. It is precipitated on the idea that plastic straws are evil and need to end (as well as single use plastics). It started from a horrific picture of what humans using Mother Earth as our toilet, and gutter, has done in regards to straws and turtles.

Yet it is the Khan superiority play. There is a multitude of variances or different types of straws that can be used. Many involve a higher cost (socio-economic challenges). BUT, and this is a big but…

It misses that there is a percentage of those with mental health that need single use plastic straws to overcome germ phobia when drinking.

AND

More, there is a percentage of persons with disabilities in that the only viable straw they can safely use to drink, have some type of independence, is a single use plastic straw.

(and on the socio-economic front, there is a higher percentage of persons with disabilities in the lower socio-economic spectrum)

Want to see hate outside of the Trump feeds? Check out the feeds on the straw bans.

A foot in door. Straws make up 1/10 of 1% of plastics, yet we will target it because it inconveniences the majority the least. Who cares that it actually is a life issue for some. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. It is so much truth even Star Trek taught it.

WRONG!

The Eugenics story line was a trilogy. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Kirk and company literally had a chance to possibly save Spock. To allow life. There careers, and status were on the line. But if there was a chance all could move forward in life, then it was worth taking. It was not classed as rational, or logical as Spock’s decision was. It was made out of the decision of being family. Of belonging. Simply put it was the outcome that sometimes:

The needs of the few or the one, outweigh the needs of the many.

As we move the door open by foot. Let’s look at the way it was used for good. Let’s ensure we are not using it to push an agenda of passive or assertive hatred.

Let us step outside our own concern, as Star Trek showed us. Step outside our own concern, and be able to understand experience from another perspective. Be able to comprehend that even if this makes no sense to me that perhaps, simply perhaps, we need to do better as humanity.

When you hear people saying to save the world we need to ban plastic straws and celebrate as the bans roll in. As persons with disabilities go, hey but that means “me” or “my bud” can’t— BELIEVE THEM!

Stand up to the extremes that harm life.

In each of the stories of Eugenics the crew of the Enterprise had a choice to make.

They chose life.

Will you step outside of yourself, empathize, set aside your regimented ideologies and do the same?

Are you able to choose life?

Or does belonging in hate mean more no matter how pretty they make it?

 


Diversity is a beautiful thing. Belonging is the normative for diversity. The sadness of our world is that we continue to perpetuate segregation, and myths that place tolerance, accessibility, and inclusion over belonging. In essence, we continue the journey of exclusion.

The first post pointed out that the right of belonging begins by throwing out the meta-narrative society has saddled us with. The burden that we shall grieve because a child does not fit the “mold”. The mold may have changed, but the underlying eugenic concept of what is acceptable has not.

The system may lend itself to the idea of supports for belonging. Yet the goal is accessibility or inclusion in life it falls short. It creates a false patriarchal hierarchy for the disability community…follows a ladder motif. Not what is truly needed for belonging, that of a circle, a round dance if you will that can be drawn wider even still.

Other myths perpetuated by the system to be challenged:
1) Diagnosis as a prognosis for life. It is not. Diagnosis is how one experiences life. The social net provided for in the Just Society contract should, and shall, provide whatever measures are necessary for an individual and their loved ones to belong.

2) that there is a hierarchy in medical complexity. Again see point one. The challenge is by perpetuating the hierarchy it fractures the voice that should speak as one into the world. It fractures that which intersects all other demographics and voices for change. It also creates a false “bogeyman” so silence and stigma remains.

The challenge in celebrating uniqueness is knowing and living into the present moment. Challenging the glass ceilings that have become cement blocks that nothing shall ever be better. Standing in advocacy solidarity with others. And when advocating, being able to step outside one’s own experience to speak to a broader necessary perspective. Just like with everything, there is specific supports necessary, but there is also a broader voice that must be heard.

Society needs to understand that all belong, and as such: delays, bans, crass remarks, open hatred or passive dismissal are no longer tolerated. Society needs to understand we are neighbours, we are all apart of the human family.

Beyond that, no matter what diagnosis is given or not given to a person. The journey of life, the personal, the social and professional supports also shape the identity of the individual and who they become as they grow and thrive.

Are we willing to shatter the glass?

Are we going to destroy the cement?

Are we going to risk belonging for all?


Daddy, we are not disabled, my buds and me are superheroes.

-My Son, Canada Day 2018

The world continually tells parents of super-heroes as my son phrases it, to mourn how they are not “typical” or “normal”. It forces us to buy into an ableist, almost eugenics think pattern. IT IS WRONG!!! Our kids live in the “we are a burden” and “we are sorry we can’t…” mindsets, because their parents and caregivers get brainwashed out of weariness into perpetuating it upon them.

And, in my humble pastoral-monastic-psychologist-Dad perspective, it is:

HORSE SHIT!

(Yes the stuff we stepped in while feeding horses and celebrating belonging and busing earlier this month as a family, with as my son phrases them, his sidekicks).

It is time to throw off the shackles of exclusion. Burst the chains that only speak of tolerance and inclusion.

Screw that.

It is time for full on belonging. We exist in the world. The world supports all, and needs to continue to provide for dignity, inclusion, and accessibility so BELONGING is the reality…and what is the benchmark to begin with for every child and human being on this planet, in our great country of Canada, province of Alberta and City of Calgary. if belonging is not the starting point– then yes we are simply lying to ourselves, and those lies are foisted upon our children so they never feel that they are good enough, healthy enough or typical enough to belong.

As the ancient mystics warned, the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. It was not some rule following. It is the world that is created when we create camps of others, or burden, and as parents do not celebrate the beauty in life.

Whether your child or self, identifies within the community as special needs, complex learning needs, disabled, differently abled, or as my son, super hero. Know that belonging is a human right. It is where our country states we begin the conversation. The essentials needed for that to happen should never be up for debate, and that is where the fight should be. That everyone needs different things to belong, and if it is medical, holistic or social supports or equipment that are necessary for that to happen that is okay.

Each person’s path in life is different. There is no such thing as typical or normal.

It is time to celebrate our beautiful diversity that exists under the Maple Leaf, and know that he Just Society is not a myth.

On this Canada Day… Celebrate the beautiful life that exists.

spong4Parents of children with disabilities are conditioned to live in perpetual grieving and mourning. They are conditioned by a world that always views their child as deficient, less than. It creates a trauma and grief that is then foisted upon the child. It is encouraged in the religious sphere through the lens that “healing” is needed before belonging, not realizing belonging is what simply is.

For my son, he sees his super powers (blessings) as his bi-focal good eye, his rolly eye, his elasticity of speech, his Cerebral Palsy, his incredible strength of his non-paralyzed side, his ADD that aids in exploration and multi-tasking, his deep empathy and love, his simple acts of kindness.

Some say we shield because we do not have time for communities of all shapes that embrace him as the boy he is. But I ask you, why should we bother supporting communities that say he does not belong?

My son, like his sister who does life her own way, is a child of the world…and we celebrate the amazing, inquisitive, superhero he is in transforming this world for the better each and every day.

The question is to the adults of this world:

Are you ready to remove your conditioning?

Are you ready to celebrate?