Don Cherry, racism, and freedom of speech

Anyone in Canada and hockey lovers elsewhere in the world know who Don Cherry is.  By now you have probably heard that he was fired from his Coaches’ Corner role in Hockey Night in Canada by Sportsnet for his comments during last Saturday night’s NHL game.

The rant went like this…“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

don cherry

Many people found the comments discriminatory, divisive, racist and over the top.  Even though he never said the word “immigrants” we all knew who he was referring to. If he had backtracked, confessing to merely defending veterans and what they stand for, his rant might have been swallowed more smoothly.  Instead he stuck by his words.

Others feel that he was indeed just defending veterans and voicing his opinion.  He has always been (on and off the show) supportive of veterans, even visiting them overseas.  Although his cohort Ron McLean gave a thumbs up at the end of Cherry’s rant, McLean was quick to apologize when the complaints started piling in, some say throwing Cherry under the bus.

We should remember too that Don Cherry is 85 years old.  It is not unfathomable that Canadians (and others around the world) of that era might be more sensitive to the sacrifices veterans made (and current soldiers continue to make) for their country.  We do live in a nation where freedom of speech is accepted don’t we?

At almost 60 years of age I have vague memories of older relatives and heard stories of ancestors that were directly affected by war.  My children and grandchildren don’t though.  We try to explain the horrific times, especially around Remembrance Day, but I have to admit the memories are just not there and so hard to envision. That doesn’t mean we don’t wear a poppy every November or don’t respect those that have “paid the price” as Don Cherry said.  That’s because I was taught otherwise, from my parents who (like Cherry) do/did have the memories.  Some people never had that respect instilled into them.

Although speaking his mind is Cherry’s claim to fame, especially in the hockey world, it appears that these days (especially in some media, CBC in particular) you have to choose your words very carefully.  He has been reprimanded for his choice of words many times recently, although some claim that was his charm on Coach’s Corner.  Once again I think that goes with advanced age.  The older we get the less we care what others think of us and our opinions. Unless we need the paycheck. In that case we turn the thumbs up to thumbs down and apologize to those we (possibly may have) offended.

The fact that he never apologized for the wording of this rant was his (final) downfall. After all, one politician in particular has been (well) known to make insensitive, foolish, politically incorrect errors in judgement. But he gets away with it because he apologizes (charmingly and sheepishly) when called on his actions, regardless of how he really feels. Don Cherry does not have the acting skills necessary to do that. Nor does he care to or should he have to!

So much for freedom of speech!

 

Regenerative Agriculture

This post is an except of the story by Gosia Wozniacka, produced in partnership with Civil Eats, a nonprofit news organization focused on the American food system. Read on to put regenerative agriculture in your vocabulary…

More than 20 years ago, Will Harris was a cattle farmer who relied on common industrial tools like pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and antibiotics. Today, his 2,500-acre ranch in Bluffton, Georgia, is a holistically managed, no-waste operation with 10 species of livestock rotated to graze the rolling pastures and fertilize the land without chemicals, resulting in rich, healthy soil.

Known as regenerative agricultural practices, those methods have not only improved the land of his ranch, they also have led to the land becoming a carbon sink, pulling carbon from the air and storing it in the ground. As a result, Harris’ ranch has been able to offset a majority of the emissions related to its beef production. A key supplier of General Mills’ EPIC Provisions brand, the ranch has become a model of how to transition to a form of farming that the company says can provide a solution for climate change.

“I’ve literally bet the farm on it working,” Harris said.

General Mills, the packaged food giant, is one of several Big Food corporations jumping on the regenerative agriculture bandwagon, escalating the buzz around the idea that capturing carbon in the soil could reverse climate change. The company took the lead when it announced this spring that it would apply regenerative agriculture to 1 million acres by 2030 — about a quarter of the land from which it sources ingredients in North America.

 

Regnerative Agricultural Practices

Undisturbed soil naturally contains carbon and microbes, but once it’s tilled for farming, for instance, the carbon is released into the air. Regenerative agriculture, a term that is often used synonymously with “carbon farming,” is a set of practices that builds organic matter back into the soil, effectively storing more water and drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere. Examples include applying compost and employing managed grazing, as well as planting cover crops, which protect the soil in winter and prevent erosion while adding nutrients. Though scientists generally agree the practices, especially when used together, work to draw more carbon, there’s an ongoing debate on how much carbon can be stored that way and for how long.

General Mills has since rolled out a pilot project for oat farmers, as well an open-source self-assessment app available to anyone interested in implementing regenerative practices. Soil health academies and individualized coaching for farmers are in the works, as is the conversion of thousands of conventional acres into organic production.

“We’ve been looking at these farmers as the examples of what is possible in terms of soil health, diversity and farmer resilience,” Mary Jane Melendez, General Mills’ chief sustainability and social impact officer, said. “Imagine what you could get if more farmers were implementing these practices. It could be revolutionary.”

Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, and a dozen other companies are not far behind. At the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, they announced the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) coalition to advance regenerative agriculture, rebuild biodiversity and eliminate deforestation. And Land O’Lakes, the dairy and animal feed behemoth, is also touting its soil conservation efforts, including a new initiative to help bolster sustainability on 1.5 million acres of U.S.-grown corn.

It’s Pretty Magical

The focus on regenerative agriculture is just the latest in a slew of climate-related strategies coming from Big Food, which also include efforts to minimize food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on land by offering plant-based meat alternatives, and marketing organic or non-GMO product lines.

About 50 percent of General Mills’ greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, Melendez said. So after a decade of investing in various sustainability practices, she said, the company realized there was a better approach. The epiphany came in 2015 at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, when her predecessor heard farmers talk about the impact of a changing climate on soil health. “What they have seen on their farms, how they’re getting economically resilient…we thought it’s pretty magical,” she said.

The company acquired the well-known organic brand Annie’s in 2014 and faced criticism that it was watering down the mission-driven company in its quest for growth. Then, in 2016, General Mills supported The Nature Conservancy in developing a Soil Health Roadmap, which made the case for investing in building healthier soil on U.S. croplands.

It later commissioned research on Harris’ ranch. The assessment, which has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, showed that the ranch offsets a majority of its emissions by capturing and storing soil carbon through the application of compost and use of rotational grazing, which moves cattle between paddocks of pasture for short periods of time, stimulating the growth of carbon-storing perennial grasses.

To expand such practices, Melendez said, General Mills decided to focus on its North American brands and key ingredients, including oats, wheat, corn, dairy feed and sugar beets. The company will provide farmers financial assistance to change their practices, including paying for monthly one-on-one coaching, soil sampling/testing and the creation of a custom transition plan. It is betting that once regenerative principles are implemented, the farmers will save money on fertilizers and pesticides, making them more profitable.

The first pilot project, which spans 50,000 acres of farmland, began this spring with a group of 45 oat farmers in North Dakota and Canada. A second pilot program, with 35 large-scale Kansas wheat farmers, will kick off in November.

The training is led by Gabe Brown, a North Dakota farmer, regenerative no-till pioneer and author of the 2018 book “Dirt to Soil.” Rather than prescribe a single approach to regenerative agriculture, Brown stresses that every farm is unique and requires its own set of solutions.

For Harris, whose White Oak Pastures began making the transition two decades ago, the support of a large corporation has been critical.

“The difficulty for any farmer trying to step out of the industrial model … is the risks they take,” Harris said. “A company like General Mills is in the position to mitigate some of the risks by guaranteeing a market for their product.”

A Real Job, What is Yours?

What does a real job mean to you?  I read this powerful message on Facebook the other day…

The other day, someone very dear to me said, “Charlotte, promise me this. Promise me you won’t go back to waiting tables, frothing coffees or tending bars. When you graduate uni, you’ll get a real job, won’t you?”
Hmmm. ‘Real’. What does ‘real’ look like? Does it wear a suit? Boast a briefcase? Does it drive a ute? Fly a plane? Is its hands dirty, or clean? Does it save lives, or suck the life right out? Does it do your dry cleaning? Keep our streets clean? Your coffee cravings at bay?
So many people chase ‘real’, the ‘real’ that seems to be etched into our skin by society’s blade, and find that they don’t belong to their own life.
The way we have been conditioned is a travesty. The pressure I am under, as a 25-year-old, to make decisions that will supposedly ‘make or break me’ is crushing. The truth is, there are no rules here. Success is highly subjective. It’s traumatising to measure your success against someone else’s, yet we do it to ourselves every day.
The person who said the above said it out of love, and I love them for that. I get it. They want to see me succeed, but under whose guidelines? They want me to move up in the world, but who sets the bar?
Whether you’re a barista or a barrister, university graduate or world traveller, business owner or garbage collector. It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you make the rules. It’s your life.
Take it back!

a real job

 

Charlotte May McLeod (@lottiemaymcleod) posted these words of wisdom in Australia in frustration for the situation she is in.  Well said Charlotte, good for you for recognizing that a real job can be anything we want it to be.  Students and parents alike today (over) focus on the pursuit of the perfect education in preparation for the equally perfect job upon graduation.  The problem is that a job deemed perfect for one person is often not even close to perfect for another.

Education is important, that will never change, but keep in mind that there are all kinds of education available to prepare you for your very own real job.  Remember that every job you take on is an education of sorts, even those that are not considered real jobs.  Many of these so called not real jobs open doors for exciting and lucrative opportunities.  By lucrative I mean both financially and emotionally rewarding. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

As Charlotte so eloquently stated, a real job can be anything you like these days, don’t settle for something that will please or impress anyone except yourself.

Please visit my other blog Gardens4u about all things garden related, including my business.

Brainwashing our children, practice what you preach!

Are our children victims of brainwashing?  Some people believe overzealous climate change activists are filling children’s heads with doom and gloom causing unnecessary stress and even depression. Children are the unwitting targets of this brainwashing in this blatant form of emotional blackmail.  What parent, grandparent or any adult for that matter, can resist emotional and passionate pleas from young children?

Environmental threats are (and should be) a concern globally.  As intelligent humans we need to address the threats using proven scientific solutions and compromises.  The problem arises when big companies or wanna be scientists on both sides of the argument get involved by throwing big money or their famous face into the pot trying to sway the general public to their side.

Mega-rich oil and gas companies are fighting to keep their businesses afloat so deny that many of the suggested solutions will help, without attempting to compromise.  Activists like David Suzuki and Jane Fonda crave the spotlight, earning their own mega-bucks in appearance fees, flying around the world in fossil fuel powered jets.

Hypocrites, all of them.  While it is important to teach our children to respect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint, brainwashing them to preach unproven opinions without understanding what they are preaching is morally wrong.

Perhaps we should be teaching them to practice what they preach!

Brainwashing

Please visit my other blog titled Gardens4u about all things garden related, including my business.

Alberta appeals to Ontario and Quebec

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was quite well written, explaining the importance of the energy sector in Alberta and Canada in general.

On the eve of our Canadian Federal Election, I feel it is prudent to share with our fellow Canadians in the East how pivotal this election is for our Country. I recognize a strong disconnect between the regions and believe I have a responsibility to share our feelings, perceptions, and fears with the men and women of these provinces.  It is no secret that the election is decided before the first vote is counted in Manitoba. 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by your two provinces. Your votes decide our election. This is why I am appealing to you. The fate of Canada and our incredible province of Alberta rests in your hands.  We’ve had a rough couple years out here. Since 2015 unemployment has soared, the price of our most valued resource has plummeted, and our access to foreign and domestic markets has been blocked by federal Liberals. While this industry thrives south of the border in the US, Canada’s energy sector has been plunged into a ‘Legislated Recession’ thanks in part to the cancellation of 2 crucial pipelines and the poorly handled expansion of a third. These projects are crucial, allowing access to foreign and domestic markets and closing the gap between the price of Canada’s oil and the oil produced elsewhere in the world. The newly passed Bill C-69 makes new interprovincial projects nearly impossible to complete, and Bill C-48 restricts domestic tanker traffic on Canada’s West coast, while US tanker traffic navigates the same waters unimpeded. We’ve been put in a box, and the lid is slowly closing. Our Federal Liberal government is the architect of this disaster.  You may ask why this should matter to you? It is simply a matter of economics. According to the Alberta government and World Bank websites, Alberta’s economy accounts for 20% of our Nation’s GDP. In this province of 4.7 million, it means that 11% of Canada’s population produces 20% of our GDP. From 2000-2014, we contributed $200 Billion to equalization, all of it travelling East. On its own, Alberta is the 7th strongest economy on the planet. We’re the core of this country’s economic engine. We’re being told our money is OK, but the oil, our largest economic driver is not. Hell, we can’t even wear our T-shirts on Parliament Hill.  Alberta’s oil is Canada’s oil, and there are a few facts I would like to share with you about it. We are at the forefront of the sector’s clean technology and everyone in this country should be proud of this industry and the highest environmental standards in the world. During this election I’m sure you’ve heard about O&G subsidies and how everyone intends on stopping them, so I feel it is important to break that down. Last year, there were $1.4 Billion dollars given to clean tech by our government. O&G received 75% of that. Rightfully so. That money has been used to increase efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of production significantly.  A recent study showed that if every country around the world produced their resources to the same standard as Canada, the carbon intensity of production would drop 26% worldwide. Suncor, Canada’s largest producer, just announced a co-gen project that will reduce their carbon footprint by a further 30%, and we’ve championed cutting-edge carbon capture and storage technology. We would love to displace dirty foreign oil in the East, but we are told there is no social acceptability for a pipeline. We would love to know why there is social acceptability for Saudi tankers in your waters, but none for us? Last I checked, Saudi didn’t contribute to equalization.  The environment has been a big topic in this election, and there have been some strong assertions from the parties, some of which may be a little out of reach. 30% reduction in GHG, 60% reduction in GHG. The backbone of these reductions focuses on shutting Alberta’s economy down. There seems to be a huge target on Alberta’s back, and little red dots are starting to dance around the bullseye.  Canada contributes1.6% to the world’s total GHG emissions. China contributes 27.2%, US 14.6%. A 30-60% reduction in Canada equates to a 1.8-3.6% reduction in China and a 3.5-7 % reduction in the US. Al Gore once said that CO2 knows no borders, so rather than shut down the economic engine of our nation, why wouldn’t we export the clean energy and technology to the countries that need it the most, boosting our economy and helping everyone on this planet reach these targets? What we do as Canadians to reduce emissions means nothing on the grand world scale. It is these heavy emitting countries that could benefit from Canada’s LNG to replace coal, and clean tech to further drive down emissions. It’s a win-win-win for Canada, the environment, and our economy. The Conservatives have proposed this and it has been highly criticized as ‘not enough’. This is the most viable solution and environmental policy for everyone in this country, and it doesn’t include plunging the entire country into debt and recession. It is ironic that the one country (US) that pulled out of the Paris Agreement has made the most progress reaching that agreement’s targets. How? By doing exactly what the Conservatives have proposed to help us and other nations achieve: transitioning coal to significantly cleaner natural gas power generation.  -There is another sentiment out here that likely resonates with our fellow Canadians from Quebec. If you asked the average Albertan if they would support separation 2 years ago, you’d be laughed at. Today it is no laughing matter. At the time of the provincial election only a few months ago, it was estimated that 50% of Albertans were open to separation. A poll of 6000+ Albertans only a week ago yielded the same results. We’ve been beaten into submission by the federal Liberals, and we continue to get kicked. Terms like ‘Western Alienation’, ‘Republic of Alberta’ and ‘Wexit’ have become very common. All too often you see ‘Liberal on Oct 21, Separatist on Oct 22’. This movement is real. I mean, REAL. If another Liberal government is elected, even worse a Liberal minority with the Green or NDP propping it up, Alberta’s energy sector will just board up the windows and go elsewhere. It will be crippling for the entire nation. It is ALREADY crippling for Alberta. We can’t take any more of this. We are the victims of a current Legislated Recession and it will only get worse. Half of us want to leave now. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry.  Alberta separation would be a crushing blow to this country and its economy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Albertans are resilient, wholesome, hard-working people that have been happy to help our fellow Canadian citizens maintain a high standard of living. We’re only asking for reciprocation. We don’t want hand-outs, tax revenue, or power. We want the right and ability to do what we’ve been doing all along, without having fellow Canadians standing in our way. We’re a part of the solution, not the problem.  Fellow Canadians, please consider this when casting your ballot. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. There is a fragility in this nation that could be fractured with stroke of a pen, and the power rests firmly in the hands of your provinces. Vote wisely. Vote Canadian. 

Signed, Alberta

I was at a dinner party this past weekend where the topic of discussion turned (unfortunately) to the bitter and controversial political battle our country is embroiled in.  The guests and hosts of this evening are all good friends, so it was especially frustrating to see the discord amongst them when discussing our political leaders, parties and platforms.  Thank heavens our campaign only lasts 40 days!

The most disturbing comment (for me) was someone defending the SNC Lavalin issue as “that’s the way business is done.  To be competitive globally, Canadian companies have to do anything they can to get contracts.  Everyone does it”   Yet, conversely, when it was pointed out (as does the letter writer above) that Canada contributes very little to the world’s carbon emissions this same person said “well, we have to set an example to the rest of the world”

I am all about setting a good example, but think we should be consistent.  Ethical business practices, effective climate change solutions and compassion for our fellow Canadians.  The reason this country is so wonderful is because of its diversity, not just in the people, but the assets and resources each province contributes to the nation.

As I said before, get out and vote, but do your research first and vote responsibly!

Women in Philanthropy

Home early from fall cleanups in my gardens due to the cold, rainy weather today, I came across this unique idea for fundraising within the hospital I worked at for thirty years.  Women in Philanthropy is a group of, you guessed it, women, who donate money then collaborate on how to spend it for the benefit of the hospital.

women in philanthropy

I spent a good chunk of my adult years at Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) in Nepean (a suburb of Ottawa) so have always felt a connection to it.  Hired there at 22 years of age, I retired at 52.  At the time the laboratory I worked in (several departments over the years) was switching over to a regional format (Eastern Ontario Regional Lab Association or EORLA), offering severance packages to those employees wishing to opt out of the switch.  I left one day, started my gardening business (officially) the very next day, and never looked back.  Although I did spend many hours gardening there before the expansion made it impossible for one person to keep up with the landscape demands.

Women in Philanthropy

It was this connection to QCH that first drew my attention to the Women in Philanthropy article.  As a female business owner I was intrigued so read more about the idea.  Making a difference in healthcare has an enormous appeal to me, especially at the community level.   I recognized the chairperson of Women in Philanthropy as someone I used to work with; in those days the hospital was small enough that most employees knew each other.  I messaged her to see if she remembered me and to express my interest.  She answered within ten minutes that of course she remembered me and would love to have me on board.

I am excited about this new adventure, a combination of my gardening business and my healthcare background.  Especially as gardening season is closing down with the threat of rain turning to snow only too soon.

If Women in Philanthropy appeals to you too, sign up and join us!

Please visit my other blog titled Gardens4u about all things garden related, including my business.

Brown gravy, naturally

Do you know how to make rich, dark brown gravy the natural way? Without the store bought box or package of gravy?  No package of seasonings or dyes ever touch my gravy.  I learned this trick from my mother years ago.  Before you put the turkey in the roasting pan, slice up a small onion and a few cloves of garlic and add them to the bottom of the pan.  As the turkey cooks, the onions and garlic will brown up, colouring and flavouring the juices, creating wonderful brown gravy.

You can puree the onions and garlic with the gravy if you like your gravy smooth and lump free, or leave it chunky.  This trick works for roast beef or pork as well.

A few other holiday dinner tricks:

Gluten-free brown gravy thickener:  reserve (approximately) 1 cup of the water you cooked your potatoes in before you drain them.  That water contains lots of potato starch, which is naturally gluten-free.  Add the reserved water to your gravy, let it simmer for 10 minutes until the gravy thickens. Works like a charm, without the use of a roux made of wheat flour.

Decorating your dinner table:  I like to use whatever is colourful in my garden at the time.  In spring it is tulips or other bulbs. In fall I use leaves, ornamental grass spikes and decorative gourds.  Place the collected items in a vase, display on a cake pedestal, or lay them right on the table cloth (leaves work well flat)

Getting the creases out of your table cloth:  Do you ever forget to take your table cloth out early enough to remove the folds/crease?  Or change your mind on which table cloth you want to use at the last minute, and then cringe at the creases?

This product from Melaleuca is amazing.  Called Revive, it does just that, removes wrinkles and creases, without the use of an iron, reviving table cloths or clothing.  Keep some in your laundry room and bedroom for a quick fix.  It comes in several fragrances; this one has a tropical scent.  I sprayed it on my table cloth right on my table today.  The spray is a fine mist, so will not damage your table.  I always have a protective cover between my (antique) wooden table and table cloth anyway.

brown gravy
revive wrinkle relaxer

I hope these tips come in handy when you are preparing your next holiday meal.  Our Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend, so I plan to use them all.

 

 

Post Debate Discussion and Opinions

I had an interesting (and very telling) post debate discussion with my youngest son (22 years old) this morning.  He asked me whether the federal debate changed my opinion of the political leaders we have to choose a prime minister from.

My own post debate opinion?  If you are interested in personality, I thought Singh (NDP) was the “winner” last night. He was charming, funny and an eloquent speaker (no ums or aws), but weak (sometimes even evasive) on the primary issues.  Unfortunately (for Singh) nice and charming does not necessarily make a good leader, at least not a leader of a country as diverse and large as Canada.

Scheer (Conservative) had to repeat himself often as was often talked over by either Trudeau (Liberal and current PM) or May (Green), although he did a fair share of it himself.  Not a good look for any of them.  The other two, Bernier (People’s Party) and Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois), were/are only interested in Quebec.  Their presence was distracting in my opinion for a federal election debate. I don’t think they should be included in these circumstances.

My son’s opinion?  “The debt our country is faced with is not really a problem.”  I believe (with a sick feeling in my stomach) this is a typical response from his age group.  They are more interested in the “perks” that might be promised or taken away.  This opinion was spoken like an uninformed youngster who does not (yet) pay for his own:

  • mortgage
  • taxes
  • car loan
  • groceries
  • insurance (except for his own car)
  • expenses for children
  • education
  • etc, etc, etc

Maybe that’s why I was so impressed with a youngster the same age as this son.  Chris Kitchen’s wrote an article at Queen’s University on why Canada’s oil and gas reserves would and should be beneficial to our economy.

We (my husband and I) have tried, over and over (in many heated discussions) to get this youngest son to acknowledge that living in growing debt is never a good thing, especially a staggering debt like the one our nation is faced with.  We feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.  Are we bad parents because he does not understand this concept?  I keep telling him he will understand in ten years (hopefully less), but he refuses to think that far ahead, let alone plan for it.  In our defence, this son does pay for his own cell phone and clothes as well as car insurance, gas and repairs .  Oh, and LCBO and Uber tabs.

Thankfully, our two older sons, both with mortgages, car payments, and children of their own, get it.  There is only five years difference between our second and third son, so it appears (to me) that it’s not a full generation, but just a demographic, that don’t get it.  At least this theory is apparent in my family.  I have heard from many others that their much older children have the same myopic outlook.

Did you watch the debate?  What are your post debate conclusions, thoughts, opinions?

 

 

 

Canadian oil reserves a solution to climate change

This article was (very well) written by Queen’s University engineering student Chris Kitchen. He makes an interesting argument for why Canadian oil reserves play an important role in climate change and other issues in our current political debate.

I am impressed by the insight of this young, fourth year university student.  Too bad (most of) our political leaders vying for the job of prime minister don’t have similar insightful convictions. I wonder if any of them have read this.  Judging by the same mudslinging rhetoric in the news every night, I doubt it.

We could definitely use more of this proactive, scientific thinking and reasoning to pull Canada’s sinking economy out of the mess we find ourselves in.

Canadian oil reserves
Chris Kitchen

Political battle in Canada

There is yet another political battle going on in Canada.  Four years ago I warned you to be careful what you wish for when Canadians hoping for a change gave Justin Trudeau a Liberal majority.  Many of us were skeptical that the majority of his election promises would/could never happen and those that did would cost us dearly.

One (huge) example is the federal budget.  An election promise in 2015 claimed the budget would be balanced by 2019, with Trudeau assuring voters it would balance itself.  Although many of us saw that simplistic prediction as an enormous red flag,  (the majority of) others were willing to play along, blindly.  Perhaps blinded by the handsome smile and fashionable clothing although they are worn by someone that has never balanced let alone lived on a budget in his life.

Fast forward to the present: not only is the budget nowhere near balanced, our national debt is through the roof by BILLIONS of dollars and growing by the second.  Why that does not scare more Canadians I am not sure.  I worry most about my sons’ and grandchildren’s futures as the cost of living skyrockets out of control.

Let’s not forget about the scandals that have plagued the Liberal party these past four years.  Topping the never ending list is the SNC-Lavalin (an engineering and construction company) fiasco where our Minister of Justice and Attorney General left the Liberal party because she felt bullied and pressured into intervening in an ongoing criminal case against the company. An investigation proved she had reason to feel pressured.

Then there are the recent black and brown-face pictures as well as the outlandish garments Trudeau wore representing Canada abroad. Our incredibly immature, shallow and inappropriate Prime Minister apparently likes to play dress-up, fitting I suppose for a (former) drama teacher craving the spotlight.  Hardly the image we (most I hope) Canadians want to represent us on the global stage.  Trudeau may be a charismatic and friendly man but he has also proven to be foolish, naïve, a liar, a bully and a cheater, not to mention an elitist, without a clue how most of us live.  Any of us “average citizens” with those characteristics would be fired from our jobs!

So, what’s the purpose of this rant? Not to convince you to vote for a specific political party.  To warn you to think long and hard about how you want this wonderful country of ours to move forward.  No one political party will (now or ever) tick off all the right boxes for the issues at stake.  Individual voters have to decide which party ticks off the most and the most important (to us) of these boxes, then vote accordingly.

I have not even touched on the other important issues that divide the political parties.  In addition to the budget and financial deficits, each party has their own stance on climate change, oil pipelines, abortion, gun control, health care, same sex marriage, child care, education, immigration, indigenous rights and more.  The list goes on and on, be sure to read up on these crucial issues before you vote.

Of course there are the outrageous campaign promises flying around too.  Are reduced cell phone rates really a life necessity or just another calculated attempt to grab votes from the younger, phone-obsessed generation.  Just like legalizing marijuana was last election.  After all, most of the voters thinking cell phones and marijuana are important issues don’t yet pay the exorbitant taxes or hydro and electricity rates the rest of us are mandated to.

There is so much desperate political garbage and yes, fake news, on every form of social media these days.  I am sick of it, yet it’s only going to get worse within the next few weeks, building up to a frenzied pitch until the election is over.  Instead of getting caught up in social media’s mudslinging, do your own research to see where each party stands on the issues. Here are a few sites to peruse, but remember, all of them have the potential to be biased!

The last one compares the platforms for each political party, sorted by specific issues.  I found it very informative.  Do your homework before you vote blindly. Please!