The Don Cherry Saga: Resolution, Canadian-Fashion

It doesn’t happen often – as a matter of fact, it might be the first time – but this was too good not to share with you, faithful readers. The story surrounding Don Cherry has monopolized much of our time and conversations since his outing about poppies, but it’s been surrounded by so much negative energy. Those who know me well will tell you that I’m a positive person, for the most part, and when I read this, it really struck a nerve (in a good way). And I’m hoping that it has the same effect on you who reads this. It is a must read whether you feel the firing of Don Cherry isn’t fair, was warranted or if it leaves you indifferent.

The following was written by a lady by the name of Sophia Jackson. As you will see, it’s well worth sharing.

Dear Canadian friends,

About the Don Cherry online ranting party our nation is having. We’re at the start of the long winter and it feels like our country is going to bed angry at itself. This makes me upset. So I’m wading into the conversation in a well-meaning Canadian fashion. Perhaps my ideas are naive. It’s not my intention to offend anyone. My only wish is to redirect anger towards the positive, to hopefully help people make better use of their frustration. Depending on your stance, below are three calls to action:

1. If you want to show Don your support for his Remembrance Day comments about wearing the poppy, instead of signing an online petition, do this:

Join or support your local Royal Canadian Legion. There are 1,400 branches across the country. Their memberships are ageing and some are struggling to stay viable. They just had their single biggest fundraiser of the year. Instead of letting them wait for another whole year to feel the love, keep the momentum going. Forgo some Christmas presents and instead, from now until the end of the year, cash mob your local Legion. You don’t have to be a member – anyone is welcome. Going out for dinner? Go to the Legion. Meeting a friend for a beer? Go to the Legion. Enter the meat draw. Hit the pancake breakfast or Friday night bingo. Talk to a veteran who’s sitting alone. Listen to their stories. Subtly ask if they’re ready for winter – what supports do they have in place? For many of these proud elderly people, Remembrance Day is the one day of the year they feel “seen.” Get some friends together and help this be your local Legion’s best Christmas ever, so much that they can report record support and make the newspaper. I think Don would give it a thumbs up.

If there’s no Legion near where you live, this challenge applies to any local veteran’s association or senior’s home. Just get out there and celebrate your freedom-giving elders.

2. If you feel Don’s comments were offensive to new Canadians, here is your challenge:

Befriend a new immigrant. Some are from hot countries and they’re heading into their first Canadian winter. If you grew up here, you know how unforgiving our winters can be. Explain to them that while February looks short on the calendar, it will feel unbearably long. Give candles and lanterns and good socks. Cozy things to provide comfort.

More than things, give time. Being an immigrant is hard. In the beginning, homesickness is like a pain that can’t be soothed. Some new immigrants are here alone, without any family. They miss the music, the food, the laughter of those they love and who love them. Social isolation does not create happy Canadians. So host a potluck for a new neighbour. Ask to swap cooking or language lessons. Trade Spotify playlists. Even small gestures can make a person feel they aren’t alone and that someone cares.

3. If you’re somewhere in the middle between these two ideas, or believe both options are equally valid and beneficial activities, do both.

Spend an hour having coffee with a veteran, then another hour going for a walk with a newcomer to Canada. Do this often enough and you will become a very wise human.

And if you’re sitting there making up excuses why you can’t do any of it – I’m afraid I’m going to have to call you on your bullshit. If we want things to change, we need to act on our convictions. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, don’t just be angry on social media or rage internally. Let your actions be your message. Let’s be the best Canadians we can be and really giv’er!

I love you, eh?

Elections: Would You Let Your Grandparents Decide What You’ll Wear?

Yeah, yeah… Bla-bla-bla… promise this… attack that… my dad is stronger than yours… temper tantrums… All that’s missing is a kindergarten teacher and you’d have the set-up of your first year of school. It’s to wonder if they wet their beds at night. That’s right, we’re talking about politicians. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to sway your vote folks. But Millennials, please read this… it’s for you!

According to Statistics Canada, in the 2015 election, the participation of voters aged 18 to 24 increased by 18.3 percentage points to 57.1% (from 38.8% in 2011). This is the largest increase for this age group since Elections Canada began reporting demographic data on turnout in 2004. But only 58.7% of eligible voters aged 25 to 34 took the time to vote in the same elections, an increase of 12.3%. While that’s a step in the right directions, it’s simply not enough. Why? Because more than two thirds of the eligible voters aged 45 and over go to the vote stations. Your voice isn’t being heard!

You find hard to follow politics? I can’t blame you. I’m well into my fifties and I’m struggling to make sense of the countless empty promises, the games played with taxpayers and our money. I too am delusioned about self-serving, egotistical and arrogant liars feeding us all a bunch of empty promises, most of which just to get in power, only to turn around and do whatever they want. I get it. But here’s the thing… historically, the people deciding on the elections are the 45 year olds and over!

So let me ask you a simple question:

“Would you let your grandparents decide on your wardrobe?”

Because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re not taking half an hour of your time to go out and vote. I really don’t care who you vote for, that’s not important. Have a quick read at their platform and go out there and vote for what YOU believe in. Letting old folks decide has a direct impact on YOU and YOUR FUTURE! By the time the damage is done, they will all be dead and YOU will be left with the debts and environmental devastation… because YOU didn’t take the time to vote!

Do it for your future. Do it for your family, for your kids if you so chose to have any. Ultimately, do it for YOU. You see, political parties, for the most part, don’t cater to you right now because they very much know who votes and who doesn’t… and they gear their political campaigns towards them, not YOU. So surprise them and show up in big numbers. Whether you’re a student or you’re in the workplace, they have to allocate time for you to go vote. DO IT! VOTE! And see what happens… wear what YOU want and not what your parents and grandparents what you to wear.

One last thing: Don’t buy into the “if you vote X, you’ll split the votes”. That’s the biggest crock out there. The ONLY way you’ll get those big political parties know that you’re dissatisfied is when they start seeing their number of seats go down drastically. Only then will they start listening to you and take you seriously. I’m part of the age group making decisions for you. Don’t allow it folks. You have a voice and make it heard. Happy elections and… see you at the polls.