Archive for ◊ December, 2010 ◊

• Friday, December 17th, 2010

Earlier this week, my eldest daughter and three of my grandchildren (one as-yet-unborn) were driving home when the vehicle that they were traveling in was crushed between two semi trucks.

Everybody is fine, but it’s just another thing that has happened in the last few weeks that has come up in my life that has demanded my attention.  With the Christmas season upon us, and all of the excitement  that come along with it, lives are filled with activity and often demands.

Unfortunately, the accident that set in motion the incidents that led to my daughter’s vehicle to be crushed, didn’t have the same kind of ending.   There was a life lost in this accident.  A young woman who was well respected by the people who knew her.  A woman whose death will have an impact on so many lives.  I can’t begin to imagine the grief that her family and friends are going through this Christmas season.

While it isn’t every day that your kids are in automobile accidents (please, Lord, make it so….), it isn’t that unusual of an event. And if not that, then its another thing—bills to pay, mouths to feed. Sometimes, life can be a struggle, but when I look back at where I’ve been, and how I got here, I know that these struggles have only served to make me stronger. I would not be the person I am today if I had not spent five years as a single mother of four, dividing my time between raising the family, working, and completing my education.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, now that I’m running for the Prince George Peace River Conservative Nomination. While democracy has existed, in various forms since the time of Plato, in truth, these have often been more like oligarchies: rule by the elite in a society. Before 1919, women weren’t allowed to vote, let alone run for political office. It was only in 1960 that First Nations were given the right to vote.

Its easy to take for granted this privilege, this gift of self-government. We live in a country where we, the people, are allowed to self-govern. This is a remarkable concept, made doubly so by the fact that this is truly a democracy. That everyone over the age of 18 is allowed to vote, regardless of political leaning, gender, skin colour, sexual orientation or whether or not they like the band Rush.

It’s remarkable that someone like me: A mother, a wife, a grandmother, a councilor, an ordinary person—from Tumbler Ridge, no less—has the same right, the same privilege, to run for national political office.

Here’s my challenge to you: get involved. Its surprising how easy it is. The most basic form of political expression is the right to vote for whomever you want to. With rumours of upcoming elections, I urge you not to become cynical, thinking that your vote means nothing. It does.

But there’s far more that you can do. Right now, the Prince George/Peace River riding does not have a representative in Ottawa. In the next few months, or even weeks, the local Conservative Party will be electing a new candidate to fill this vacancy. I am running for this position, and I would love it if you were to sign up for the Conservative Party, so that you have a voice in determining who you want to represent you.

If you want to get more involved, I am looking for people to help me: selling memberships, assisting with fundraising, making a donation. You can call or email to get involved.

“Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.”
– John Diefenbaker March 11, 1958

• Thursday, December 02nd, 2010

“I am a Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
or free to choose those
who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold
for myself and all mankind.”

From the Canadian Bill of Rights,
July 1, 1960.

Today I was thinking back on a great Canadian, a man I had the privilege to meet and to have several conversations with when I was a young girl.

I grew up in Saskatchewan.  My mom and dad had a restaurant which was known for my it’s homemade soups and pies.  My mother was—and still is—an amazing cook.  Our restaurant was in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town between Saskatoon and Prince Albert called Waldheim.  It was a great place to grow up.

I remember many days, just sitting in the restaurant and listening to all the older Mennonite men discussing politics, farming and Church over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.  And every once in a while this older man would come into our restaurant, invite me to sit with him and he would tell me stories.  He would tell me about his where he grew up, his life, his family and his country.  I considered him a friend, my friend John.

“I don’t campaign. I just visit with the people.”
– 1965 campaign picnic John Diefenbaker

My mom and dad eventually sold the restaurant.  On the last day we were open my friend John came in.  My mom was giving out free coffee to everyone,  but he didn’t drink coffee so my mother gave him an ice cream cone.  Before he left John gave me a button with his picture on it.   I still have that button.  This man was John Diefenbaker and he inspired me as a young girl, he challenged me and he gave me something I will always treasure….his time.

“As I go across the country, I meet older Canadians as well as the youth of our nation. I have always been very proud of them and I am more so with the passing of days. They want to do something for Canada. There are about 4 per cent who want to create trouble, but the rest are motivated by tremendous dedication to the building of Canada.”
– February 29, 1972, House of Commons John Diefenbaker

In making a decision to run for the Prince George Peace River Conservative nomination, I find myself thinking about “Dief the Chief” more and more. The thing about politics is that is for—and of—the people. That means you. Me. Us. John Diefenbaker understood that, he was an average Canadian and he represented the average Canadian.  He is someone that I have always respected and someone who I would use as an example of great leadership. Was he perfect? Far from it. But he talked to people. More importantly, he listened to people, and he strove to make this country a better place for all of us, no matter what our political leaning.

“I was criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can’t help that; I am one of them!”
– September, 1967. Speech to PC convention John Diefenbaker

• Thursday, December 02nd, 2010

O Canada!

Our home and native land!

True patriot love, in all thy sons command

With glowing hearts, we see the rise

The true North strong and free.

From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God, keep our land, glorious and free

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

These words instil pride in the hearts of most Canadians.  These words bring to mind the sacrifices that were made for our freedom, for our families, our communities and our country.  Rememberence Day has come and gone, but I invite everyone to continue to remember those who are fighting and have fought for our freedom throughout this Christmas season and into the New Year.