Who Are We?         

Friends ask me if I’m enjoying writing a weekly blog. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. In fact, I went into it kicking and screaming as I do with any significant change in my life. But having written the blog for almost a year, I have to say I love it.

The blog reminds me of the letters I used to write to the local newspaper when I was a kid. If there was something in the community or in the news that bothered me or I had an opinion about (and when don’t I have an opinion), I used to take pen to paper. I guess I was meant to be a politician or an activist, but I didn’t do any of those things. Maybe I was too afraid I’d end up in prison.

Instead, I became a social worker, doing front line, hands on work. And in some cases I was lucky enough to see positive change occur in another person’s life. Making things happen is way better than just ranting about it.

I’ve used my social work training to transition to other lines of work. There has always been a need for such skills in every sector I’ve been fortunate to work in.

Leaving it all behind twelve years ago, I moved to Whistler to become a writer and a ski bum (okay, maybe not so much a ski bum). The transition wasn’t easy. Being quiet and alone in my thoughts in order to write doesn’t come naturally to my mega-hyper, type A personality. So in addition to the writing, I formed a writers group, because I like people. I’ve mentioned this once or twice before. Who wants to work alone when you can work with others? And that group has gone on to organize a festival that has grown to become a going concern.

This year more than any other time, I’ve begun to question what it is I am: a writer or an organizer? I’m coming to realise that I might not be able to do both. This admission (even couched in words like might not rather than can’t) is difficult for me. I come from the generation that believes we can do it all. Hence the wishy washy use of the word, might. Still, I’ve been asking myself: who am I? What do I want to do when I grow up? The answers are slow to come. But, at least, I’ve begun the search. 

I expect we all feel a little lost from time to time. So I’m hoping this is a normal process and I’ll come out of it with some insight and a clear path forward. I mean there are things I’m absolutely sure about. I love working with people. I love writing. I love giving to others. After all, I’m a Canadian. Helping others is what we Canadians are known for. Right?

Except what it means to be Canadian has also shifted.

Under the Conservative government, we’re no longer seen as honest brokers in the Middle East. In fact, we barely have a world presence. Full stop. Our prime minister doesn’t think it’s worth attending United Nations meetings even when he is in New York. And don’t get me started about other Conservative government changes such as: abolishing the long gun registry, the abysmal lack of a national day care strategy (Does Mr. Harper really think $100 a month for each child until the age of six is going to help pay for day care? Really?), the mandatory sentences and the building of more prisons, the elimination of pensions for young disabled veterans, the fine tuning (nice word for hacking up) of immigration policy to favour certain countries over others, and the expulsion of other countries (Iran) which means no more dialogue just at a time when dialogue is so needed. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Who are we as Canadians? We’re changing under this current government to something I’m afraid I no longer recognize. It’s subtle, but it is happening. This erosion is blurring who we are and what we can offer the world. Yes or no?

Yikes. How did this blog swing to a political rant? Maybe what I really want is to be an activist. Just what I needed. Another element to add to my search for identity.

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