Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Election Rant 2011

I have not enjoyed the idea of going back to the polls. I am committed to voting, because it's part of my duty as a citizen. But I really don't want to.

Here is what I would like to say to our political party leaders, if I could:

Stephen Harper: It's two days from the election and attacks on the other leaders is unnecessary. You're leading in the polls and you have some room to promote the Conservative party, rather than bashing the other parties. Your commercials start out so positive, and I would really appreciate if they stayed that way. I like you, but am still not sure that you should be our Prime Minister - especially if you have such a hard time convincing a majority of Canadians that you should.

Michael Ignatieff: It's time to see this election for what it is. You played the game and lost. I don't care about the whole American thing, but I do care about what you will do, and all I am hearing is what everyone else isn't doing. It's time to develop a platform. Make it good and act with integrity, and Canadians will believe you. Choose to act opposite, and we'll see right through you.

Jack Layton: I'm impressed with your ability to sway the Quebec vote, and that almost makes me want to vote for you. I also appreciate your charisma and passion for this country and think that you would make a really good Prime Minister. If it wasn't that you were prepared to form a coalition with a party that wants to separate a part of our beautiful country, I would probably be on your side. I'll think about it for a couple of days and see if I can get over that.

Elizabeth May: 2 words: SOCIAL MEDIA. I really wanted to vote for you in this election, but with 4% popular support for your party, it feels like I'm throwing away my vote. I haven't heard much from you, and I wish that I had. I would highly recommend hiring a communications expert (pick me!) who can help you get the young Canadian population engaged using social media. Your platform is awesome, and I totally support it. We need people to hear about it. Instead of railing about being excluded from a debate, get back at them by trying a new tactic. It worked for Naheed Nenshi in Calgary!

Gilles Duceppe: I'm sure that you are a really nice person. Unfortunately, I can't see you as any kind of option for Prime Minister because your party doesn't have a candidate running in most ridings. For that reason, I'm out. Just because Quebec has as many seats as they have doesn't mean that your party can or will adequately represent the needs of all Canadians.

To all of you: Whatever you do, and whomever wins, Canada is like a family, and managing it is just like managing a household: You have money coming in, and you need to decide about how you want to spend it. You can spend more than you have, but it's not recommended because it will end up costing more in the long run, and it would be tragic to pass debt onto future generations, rather than wealth.

I think I know who to choose in the next two days. But even if I don't, I'll still be voting.

Whether I like the fact that I have to vote again or not, the voting process gives me a voice that I would otherwise not have. And that's why Canadians have gone to war and brought freedom to this that I can have a voice. I'm pretty proud of that. And I really love Canada.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A glimpse of eternity...

Grampa died last week. I know, I'm late in writing this but the words just have not been flowing.

This is him as a youngster in primary school:

Cute. It's hard to imagine him being the child who would grow up to be my Grampa.

Grampa. It's weird, but he was never "Grandpa" in my head. He was always "Grampa." Not sure why. Not sure if it matters. But when I think of him in my mind, G-R-A-M-P-A is how it's spelled.

I am sad, because I won't see him again on this earth, but I also feel a bit like a kid caught sneaking candy because I know something. I'm going to see him again in heaven. He's probably laughing if he can see this, because I'm sure I had my hand in the candy jar at his house many a time as a little girl, and it was probably him that caught me. I was scared of him when I was little. Except when I heard the "Candy Man" song, and lined up in front of his chair with the other grandchildren and dogs to get our Smarties. We sat in a semi-circle. Grampa sang. I can't remember if he actually ever sang words, or if it was just the da-da-da-da-daaaaa. I should find that song on iTunes - it might actually have words!

Last Monday night, with tears in my eyes, I laid my head on his pillow beside his, and held his hand. I whispered, "Please find me when I come to heaven, okay, Grampa?" thinking that it might be the last time I saw him again alive.

Blaine and I went home, and I was prepared to make a middle-of-the-night trip to the Foothills Hospital at the news that his breathing had slowed and his time was short.

The phone call didn't come. So, we went back to the hospital on Tuesday morning, and sat with him. I kept counting the seconds between his breaths, scared that the time was becoming too great, and the last one would come, but all the while knowing that his body was too tired to continue trying much longer. When the last one came, I had reached 12 seconds, and heard my mom say, "He's gone." I felt like I could almost physically sense his soul leaving in that moment.

It was 08:45 on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, just 20 days short of his 81st birthday. And did he ever make good use of those 29,545 days. For one thing, he's a reason that I am here today.

He came to Canada as a spry, adventuresome 17 year old Scot. He was ready to make his mark on the world, and he ended up doing that with a successful career as a landman in the oil and gas industry. He also made his mark by marrying my wonderful Gramma, and having three fantastic children - my mom and two uncles.

Life with Grampa wasn't always rosy, but it was almost always funny. Because he was so smart, he always kept us laughing with his quick wit, and great sense of humour.

He was generous too. His favourite kind of generosity was sharing his life with us, and he was liberal in doing so. One of my best memories is a trip I made with him to Scotland in the spring of 2000 (it's hard to believe that it was almost 11 years ago!). He invited me, and as a typical mid-twenties, I thought I could come up with my own fun more than wandering around Edinburgh with my old granddad! Little did I know that he had a lot of fun up his sleeve. We went to the Edinburgh Castle, he took me to a shop where we dressed up in Scottish clothing and got our pictures taken, and he introduced me to my Scottish passion. He showed me his history (the tenement that he grew up in, his Grannie's house, his school, the park, and his vacation sanctuary).

Plus he gave me money to continue the rest of my trip!

This week he's gone from earth, but not from our hearts.

He met Jesus last Sunday night. And not at some kind of revival or crusade. He met Him in the quiet of his hospital room, after my mom asked him if she could pray for him. It was a request that he had denied for so many years, and that night he said, "Yes."

So she prayed. And he found peace. That's why I have peace, too.

Grampa, we are going to have such a good time doing the Whitson walk, and laying you to rest in your favourite part of the world - Blairgowrie, Scotland - in September. I know you must be smiling about it as we make our plans. In fact, you probably have the Internet in Heaven, and are already planning our trips for us. I'll be looking forward to that 20 pound note you'll leave under my pillow ;).

I'll always love you. Forever.