Posts Tagged ‘Canada’


When grieving, contemplation, prayer and collaboration lead to action. That is what this Saturday morning was about as my youngest tried to decide for their final Grade 8 Social Studies project which nation that is a part of them to discover and share (Metis, Indigenous, European), a friend reached out about what educators can do in our shock and grieving over the discovery of the unmarked grave on May 27, 2021 at the site of Kamloops, BC residential school.

What happened was, and I hope/pray will be powerful, a call to action on the dormant call to actions. There is a change.org petition you can sign here.

If you would rather reach out via e-mail to the local faith leaders and political leaders that can make the International Investigation and locating of the other missing children, feel free to adapt the below letter and send on:

To Pope Francis, Archbishops & Bishops of Roman Catholic Dioceses in Canada

 Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

 Moderator of the United Church of Canada

 Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada 

 The Government of Canada

Re: An Open Letter to actualize Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #75 from Educators from Canada and around the world.

On May 27, 2021, an unmarked mass grave of 215 children was found on Turtle Island (Canada). 

Youngsters stripped from their homes on the onus of the Canadian Government, handed over to religious authorities for the purpose of cultural genocide. This act of genocide ended their lives. A discovery that had the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada to ask for flags to be lowered in mourning.  

Sadly, this atrocity is not an isolated incident, but rather it is part of a dark chapter of history, known as Residential Schools which were closed in 1996. It is time for Canadians and people around the world to know this story, atrocities, and all. It is time to heal, as other nations have held up the mirror and investigated the darkness to know the truth and act in reconciliation.

It is time for Canada to be honest in our truth, and act on our intent of reconciliation. For those from a religious background, reconciliation is recognized as a sacrament, or an important act lived through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth known as the Christ for Christians. It is not simply saying, “I am sorry for what has been done”. It is articulating the right words for what has happened, making amends and reparations, affecting healthy closure, and with that closure the grieving process in order to  move forward in healing towards a new reality. 

This open letter from educators calls on those institutions involved to turn their records over to international investigators so that they will be able to locate and return the lost children to their families for appropriate mourning. For  international investigators to be able to state clearly to Canadians the truth that is being evaded. Only then will it be possible to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation. 

On every Holocaust Remembrance we utter those words, “We will never forget or repeat,”and the whole time our own genocide was being carried out.

We acknowledge the 4/5 institutions that have apologized, and the work Anglicans, Presbyterians and United Christians have been attempting in Reconciliation work. We call on the Roman Catholic Church to actively live what their Catechism teaches on Reconciliation and  to not only formally apologize but catch up to where their contemporaries are at in the process. And to move forward to ensure the call to actions are actualized (not simply read or taught but done). For Canada, like other nations around the world needs to finally interrupt and heal our intergenerational trauma, and know our truth.

The First 175

Posted: September 7, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Humans are very peculiar. I often find them unfathomable, but an interesting psychological study.”
-Spock

175 days. On March 17 I will admit I did not foresee us having to be socially/physically distanced much beyond the end of the school year. Some would say, yeah but schools have reopened and Alberta is in Phase II. Yet daily numbers continue to climb, and currently 16 schools have had positive tests for Covid-19. Now I can spend this time ranting about the ineffectiveness of the current provincial government who has chosen this time to perpetuate failed American policy of funding following students, to defund public schools and a government actively picking fights with our health care providers, not to mention the parallel opioid epidemic happening during this pandemic.

Yet, that is not the purpose of this post. I think just last year at this time I was in the midst of treatment for my own conversion disorder/PNES/PTSD and now here I am in the midst of a pandemic, shifting gears in a career path to working from home. The current underlying anxiety of life. There has been ups and downs, making hard decisions within a life where my son is in highest risk of the worst case scenarios is he was to contract Covid-19. It brings a different lens to life, a heart lens, a heaviness that shifts life experiences during this time.

A Challenge lifted with the faux choice presented around back to school, where our other child could online hub, for the supports necessary for my son to continue to grow and thrive, he needed to be back in school. Even with his school providing one of the safest options, still many moving parts. Some will never know the amount of trust our medically complex community extends to be part of basic Constitutional rights as Canadians.

During this past 175 days we have learned, we have grown. We have continued to connect as a family unit. Shifted gears into what was safe to do- walks, drives (ah before the parks opened and you could get amazing wildlife pictures from the vehicle as they were so chill), checking out how things were set up for safety (Thank you Vulcan Trek Station). Oh and a fun Wynonna Earp tour of Didsbury (seriously Didsbury, think of Earper days).

Our kids mourning the summer shift away from the parade circuits, small town fun and doing some fund raising to help others. As thrift stores re-open being able to donate to at least continue our pattern of helping. Not being able to be around Countess as much as usual for the varied reasons of the c-tine.

Screen fatigue sets in as everything feels like it is online. A few close friends who get it, we can set up visits with. But the smack of heart/soul pain when you believed one got it, only to realize in the moment that they did not and the extra layer of fear it brought. But thankful for the screens, and the online communities that were able to build connection-summer camp for the kiddos, youth group, and church each week, thank you for the heart your brought to your passions.

Focusing on interests, exploring some new. Realizing that costs rise as you step away and lose the way you used to do things (ah Public Libraries). A summer spent reading, and another child discovering and refining their cosplay passion.

A fun summer of variety of RuPaul’s drag races (though what was up with that mask? on the Zoom finally!). Bosch, Star Trek Lower Decks (okay Trek in general), warped and weird comic book team ups brought to my bookshelf by curbside pick ups from Words & Pictures, Doctor Who…and the list goes on…so many new release movies bought and watched shared through my Facebook as our Ragan Chateau Cinema (and finally Good Omens!).

Empathizing for each family that has lost someone to Covid, for the outbreaks in our shelters, and for those who my son has lost in his life this summer. The haunting conversations with him during this time. Asking in a night of tears if I loved him and would do his funeral. Fear as he did not react in anger at loss of his classmates, but rather, just slumped over like one beaten by grief. As I told him, no it’s not how the universe works he needed to get through Bible College like he dreamed to do mine because parents don’t bury their kids.

His answer…

Silly Daddy.

While others look to starting back to life as close to normal as possible. We do have to double check and triple check, second guess…for the heavy heart of a Dad, I do not want to be the one that made the misstep that costs my son his life. Moments over the last 175 where I thought of breaking my tea totaller ways, but what a risk of loss for myself, for a sip of alcohol. Not worth it.

Enjoying and living the journey of discovery of my other kid as they come into their authentic self. Pride is the only word that comes to mind, with their passion and love and care for life and others.

Hope to find a new addition to our fam jam, a wonderful new rescue Mumma dog to love as day 176 dawns in the morning, and head back to work.

In the still quiet silence, trying to connect to calm the constant state of anxiety. Listening for the vocational call…that can shift back around to a renewal of the soul of the work February 20th…just need to take the step of risk and inquiry.

One can begin to reshape the landscape with a single flower.
-Spock

I talked with my wife, Shawna, about whether I stopped counting the days because the boi was back in class. I decided against it, because our life had not shifted gears back to fully belonging and inclusive in community once more. That will take some time. Just like reminding myself, that the compassion and kindness I try to bring to others during this time, I need to bring to myself.

For, I had set the intention for a post a day during this time, and some days (several back to back), after logging off from work finding the energy is just not there to even journal. I need to be kind to me, and move forward. Each day is a new day. And yes I still work to find my centre, and peace. Most days are good, had some dark days in the first 175, and that okay.

For each day can be reshaped, just like a landscape, by adding one thing. Take time each day to note at least one thing you are thankful for. It begins to make a whole new soul scape.

As tomorrow brings a new day, a new bus ride, a new log on…and the cycle continues where it leads…


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/


The shortest work in the Hebrew Scriptures, Obadiah is a scant 21 verses of reality checking rant at the people. As probably part of the remanent left behind in Jerusalem between 587-76 BCE, and a symbolic name that means “servant of the Lord”…Obadiah laid it out for the people:

The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.[a]
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,[b]
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

If thieves came to you,
    if plunderers came by night—
    how you have been destroyed!—
    would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
    his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to your border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
    those who eat your bread[c] have set a trap beneath you—
    you have[d] no understanding.

Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Edom’s Violence Against Jacob

10 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
do not boast[e]
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

The Day of the Lord Is Near

15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.
17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.

The Kingdom of the Lord

19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21 Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
    to rule Mount Esau,
    and the kingdom shall be the Lord‘s.

Yes the whole kit and kaboodle of the book for you to read. What is Edom? It is where Esau went after being screwed out of his birthright by Jacob, who was Jacob? A patriarch of Israel. Why does this matter in the exile? It is showing the long history to the people, it is showing that Edom is reaping what is has sown in unethical practices, and the cancer it has let take root in its nation.

It is a rant…it is showing the people a stark message for where they are now. It is what the Orthodox Church does in theological conversation with other churches, we are going to discuss the problem we have with you, by discussing with this other party, so you move from survival to the point of view as spectator to see what is actually happening. Edom is the stand in for Esau, but both are the stand in’s for Israel and Jacob at this point in history.

It hits home as Wexit (though love how one British commentator misread it as the west was wankit!- if you know British slang and the term wank, you can see where it went). trends post our Federal Election in Canada. It is not heeding the warning that the SoCons that veil themselves in the cross, God and religion wanting back the hey day’s of yesteryear and are stoking Alberta separation do not want the people to hear. Like Premier Jim Prentice in the 2015 election provincially asked Albertans to look in the mirror, to accept accountability for our role. Instead we continue to pass the buck, let our grieving process in the transition of economy and politics stall in anger and denial instead of moving forward into acceptance, and being able to grow and be better.

Image result for 5 stages of griefWe want to hold onto the fairy tale that a landlocked province can up and leave Confederation. We are letting the angry speak for us, and to show that we do not understand simple things:

  1. The Clarity Act
  2. Constitutional Freedom of Movement in Canada
  3. Global Economics and cross country trade
  4. How our own electoral system works.
  5. Though Oil Field jobs are now scarce, there is a huge shortage in tech/IT and skilled trades— hmmm… perhaps there is a solution?

We continue to want to live out of isolationism, no common ground, no common dialogue, no common core values to move forward on. We want to believe wanna be media outlets that think it is okay to stalk at 16 year old girl to her hotel room, and wish harm upon her and her property. We want to believe a Prime Minister and government that bought our province a pipeline is a traitor (really need to understand Canadian Criminal Law and the statutes around treason). We want to believe the same lying wanna be media that if we separated America would take us as the 51st State, when in reality we would became a territory (and look at how they treat Puerto). And how in a privatized health care insurance system would that work for citizens in a province with a ridiculously (some say global leading) levels of Multiple Sclerosis and cancers that we could even be insured for health care, never mind everything you now have is pre-existing and exempt.

On top of that a separatist movement destabilizes economies, means we if voted to leave, would get our level of Canada’s debt, plus our own debt, and not have the stable interest rate we currently enjoy as an economic power in a stable nation, rather we would be negotiating and borrowing as the equivalent of a banana republic.

We are Israel, we have reaped what we sowed. We did not want to look in the mirror. We did not want to face reality, we did not want to admit that education was key, or that the oil boom everyone warned us about not being constant, was not constant. Norway with similar population and tax base, took the Heritage Trust Fund idea of Lougheed and the Royalty rate of Manning, and now have over a trillion in savings, Albertans have 18 billion, and you are not saying we have been mismanaged for 41 years?

We have gotten the lack of Peace, Order and Good Governance our constitution declares for us do to our disengagement, apathy, and placing a value on the investor dollar over the citizen.

So yes, dear Alberta, we, like Israel, have reaped what we sowed, and like the Nation in the Minor Prophets need to look in the mirror and choose to implode or heal and go forward…

As the prophets (although minor) have shown us over the last 11 installments, look in the mirror…what would Love do?

For further thoughts on the state on conservatism and Wexit (wankit?) see these sources:

Why Alberta Separation is the dumbest movement in Canada today (National Post)

Charles Adler on his move to the centre (or where Progressive Conservatism used to be)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister (PC Party): “I have no time for that” -also note what he compares Canada to– sound familiar?

Next: Party 12– the belly of a whale….


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.

 


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.


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.

 


A reader asked me to consider the question of including/welcoming the misfit. It should’ve been an easy question because that seems the whole underlying principle of “My Neighbour”. Yet we do need to pause and ask, what is meant by the term misfit?

What is a misfit?
Oxford dictionary defines misfit as:
NOUN
• 1A person whose behaviour or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way.
‘a motley collection of social misfits’
Synonyms: nonconformist, oddball, maverick, individualist, square peg in a round hole.

Canada in and of itself has been built as a collective of nations. A multiplicity of cultures, religions, ideologies and peoples from around the world, making their community in its inherent diversity one mosaic of many. Our binding principles are the Constitution Act 1982 (the re-patriated British North America Act 1867), the Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982. Upheld by the Constitutional promise of Peace, Order and Good Governance with the final word resting with the Supreme Court of Canada. All this is precipitated on the ideal of personal freedoms and collective rights. One of the things that was foreseen by our founding fathers, was the idea of a global village, hence the provision of freedom of movement (i.e. provinces are not the land they are, but the citizens) which allows free movement for the citizenry. One of the challenges is how powers were broken up between levels of governance. In that which the Federal (or then Dominion) government did not want to deal with, was granted to the provinces/territories. Hence the patchwork of public education across our nation.
In other words, Canada is a collection of misfits. We as a collective have forgotten this in our rush to rugged individualism, and commodification of the human being. To answer the question posed will take a few posts, this one is to look at a corporate/communal response that may aid in belonging and inclusion. I look to the idea of public schools. Alberta’s system is a mess. I can already here those who use the Separate (Catholic) and private systems gearing up their arguments. Trying to point to money savings or charter/speciality schools. Or my personal favourite threat from a private school user parent—I will send my kids to your public school. Okay, I think we can handle it.
See public schools were designed constitutionally to allow for a benchmark. A starting point for every citizen to be guaranteed a certain level of education needed to pursue a good life. Yes we have capped that off in Canada to be K-12 (yes I realize with the decline in public schools, technical and university degrees have become more the norm that should be funded up to). What I am proposing is a system that is fiscally responsible, increases the critical thinking, global citizenry, and good citizenry of the students. It also alleviates the idea of misfit, for it is a system that allows a student to grow/explore who they are.
By collapsing all funding into one streamlined system of schools that I would dub “Public Generalist” would set a standard. Yes academic achievement, social and emotional IQ would also be part of achievement benchmarks. This would include healthy school-life balance. It would look at core curriculums including the humanities and STEM, but also the holistic person with shop classes, home economics, health, world religions, world views, Canadian History, Indigenous studies, Language classes (we are officially bilingual, but I would say once entering junior high perhaps an expansion into an indigenous language option, and in high school a few others); also the fine arts (choir, band, art, creative writing, drama). These should be courses available, or through community partnerships brought into schools through elders, and student practicums from the disciplines running lunch hour or after school clubs; physical education (structured with proper teachers) needs to be apart of it as well. All these things feed into a critical thinking person, and also acknowledge TRC points I believe because it looks a the holistic person. It allows room for exploration, growth, understanding and discovery of who you are on this journey. I would also encourage clubs can be open to other points of view, if the students want it, the volunteer can pass the screening it should be allowed. We had parallel religious clubs running in my schools (believe a Sikh, Christian and Muslim); model parliament which allowed for creation of political parties. There was science Olympics and fairs; entrepreneurship programs. Plus the sports teams.
None of this was determined by our socio-economics. This was apart of public education.
I would build into the front-end a before and after school program to make life more affordable for families, which can be done in partnership with local groups (Boys & Girls Clubs, Youth drop ins; religious communities, 4-H, other service clubs looking for new mission/visions). The public school can easily become the community hub for older and newer communities. When there is a decrease in enrollment due to aging demographics why can’t some space be created that is not in use for seniors’ clubs? The list can go on.
What happens when this begins to happen the focus of public education becomes the focus of functional, healthy citizenry celebrating the unity in our beautiful diversity? Misfit no longer exists, they are simply part of the community.
That is a global solution, one that would take the drive of policy, government, but also of the adults realizing what has been lost in our education and community systems. One that instead of using the grieving of loss/change to drive further entrenchment, segregation and means survival tests goes… screw that noise…we built forward on what was built by previous generations why are we allowing our children/grand children to suffer, lets create something that builds on the legacy left us, instead of constantly destroying based on the almighty dollar.
But is there willingness to see each other as persons of value?


“At least four different species of aliens have been visiting earth for thousands of years…. Some of the extraterrestrials look like us and could walk down the street without anyone noticing.”

-Paul Theodor Hellyer, former Defense Minister of Canada and 22-year member of the Canadian Cabinet (as quoted by Erich Von Daniken in 2018’s The Gods never Left us).

It always amazed Rick how people could accept some things, but then still quibble over the most mundane. They could accept that there was Supra’s in the world. Those with extra human powers, and that they could be good or evil. They could accept his former alter-ego, now passed on to a legacy, the Bionic Knight came from another dimension and was part science, part magic.

Yet, folks like those that stood in the shadows of the alley speaking with him were of another planet, now as he fought to keep the left-hand tremble under control. Silently cursed the flashbacks he knew were coming with stepping this far back into the field. Much like the comic book John Jones, who was a green martian in DC Comics known as the Martian Manhunter, his secret identity put forward a humble human form. That was George. From a distance if you did not know better you would swear he was Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons come to life.

George was not a malicious entity like Thor that had dragged Rick’s friend John into the darkness and eventual death. He was like many immigrants and refugees from the cosmos, just looking for a simpler existence. Sadly, his connections with the Supra set had narrowed quite drastically, he did not know if the kids running with McKay could be trusted. Rick told him they could when he called the house line, Susan pushed, she remembered George and how big of a problem could he be in. Last time he had reached out it was because he had misfiled his income tax.

Why they couldn’t meet for a McCafe coffee Rick did not know, or even Perkins for some pie. The Dragon chose here. Only upside was hopefully it would not bring on the worst of the seizures as actually being on Ashram soil and with the team, like it had in the past. But the alley was across from city hall, Rick looked up, his wife’s office light was still on. Which meant by this moment with Uncle Shotgun the twins had him tied up or convinced that sundaes and colas were part of the night time routine. The thought caused Rick to smile a little.

George moved closed, pulling up the collar of his trench coat. His family were interstellar refugees that settled shortly after World War II and the Bogart look stayed true regardless of the generation. From inside he pulled out what looked like a fossil. Rick’s eyes moved over the greenish tinge.

“Jade?” Rick inquired.

“Possibly that or Emerald. If this was some comic book, I would quip Kryptonite.” George said.

Rick took the rock, there was etchings he had a hard time rendering in the dimming evening light. Every so often what the role of super hero had neurologically taken on him would cause his vision to almost go shadowy tripling. That effect was happening, he squished his eyes closed, and took some slowing breaths to correct before opening them again. Ensuring the stone was still in his right hand, the reasserting of breathing rhythm was bringing the left-hand tremor to control. “Not of this earth.”

“But of this cosmos. It’s a message.” George said.

“Message of what?” Rick asked, feeling very tired of the tedious crime noir novel back and forth, but it was the price one paid when people learned their language from Marlowe novels.

George pointed to the darker green etchings. “That which caused my people to run is coming.”

To Be Continued…