September 13, 2022 Message to the Membership
Posted on September 13, 2022 in Message to the Membership
Over the past two and a half years or so – that is, during the lifetime of this little column / article / message to you – on occasion you’ve allowed me the opportunity to veer a little outside the usual window of business. I’m asking your permission one more time.
You see, writing this column is a bit of a labour of love, and yet is somehow my biggest PITA (you likely know what that means). It’s relentless. Each Tuesday rolls around and, for the most part, another message is due. As I’ve explained in the past, I can only write about what is on my mind, and what is on my mind this week has nothing to do with business.
What’s on my mind is what’s in my heart, and my heart is aching for two recent current events. The first is far more impactful because it concerns the loss of 10 innocent people. The second, though considerably less tragic, is affecting millions around the globe.
As my friend Mark Arcand said at his family’s press conference following the loss of his sister and nephew, they didn’t ask for this. Certainly not. The crime is unfathomable and senseless and took 10 innocent lives and injured another 18 people.
Although Arcand holds a leadership position, he’s asked that it not be referenced. I’ll respect and honour that request. He’s being respectful of the other family members who are grieving and mourning just as much as him.
As Arcand said, this is about the victims, and how they were heroes, particularly his sister, who perished protecting her children. I think it’s also about the survivors, including those attacked and those who witnessed the unspeakable crimes. But it goes far beyond that. There are people across our province who are hurting, grieving and mourning.
As the excellent columnist Doug Cuthand wrote in a recent column, Indigenous people, because of their isolation and space limitations on reserves, looked to other reserves to find spouses and partners to prevent inbreeding. Thus, he says, when it comes to inter-reserve relations, they don’t just have family trees, they have family forests.
And the incredible bit of news coming from this tragedy is that leaders and members of James Smith Cree Nation and other Indigenous leaders are already talking about healing and forgiveness. They know that their only path to whatever forms of peace and solace they can find, is through those gracious acts.
Their culture amazes me. Despite the oppression and genocide their people and culture have experienced, they remain proud and resilient.
Sadly, substance abuse and social issues have plagued their people – due to the aforementioned oppression and cultural genocide – and it’s been prevalent for decades. The perpetrator of the unspeakable crimes had a vast criminal record that personified these issues. Point being, that in a perfect world, where these issues were non-existent, it’s entirely imaginable that this tragedy would not have occurred.
That’s why I think we all have a role in helping with the healing process. As much as we can, anyway. And I don’t even know what that means. But at the very least, show some compassion and respect. This is a difficult time.
Which leads me to the other untimely occurrence – the passing of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I’m not a monarchist – not by a long shot – but I am a traditionalist and I’ve become accustomed to the tradition of Queen Elizabeth being a constant in all of our lives. When I heard of her passing, I was caught by surprise by being hit with an unexpected pang of pain.
She was at her best when everything all around us was at its worst. And ironically, her last public statement was to express sympathy and send condolences to those who lost loved ones in the horrific attacks in Saskatchewan.
The woman lived to be 96 and she worked right up until her final days. I know some of you may scoff at the idea of the Queen and work. But I can assure you being a public servant is indeed work. As someone who has a public-facing aspect to their role, I can personally attest to this, although my public serving is several orders of magnitude lower (and I mean in a completely different solar system) different than Her Majesty.
But there’s no way that I would be doing that, or this, for another 40 years, give or take. It can be exhausting, and even more so for us introverts.
What I find astonishing is how quick the transition is. I mean he’s already King Charles. I thought we’d get some warm-up time for that, like when a new Pope gets chosen. But nope, the courts have changed to King’s Bench and the lawyers to King’s Counsel.
The only King I’ve known in my lifetime is Elvis but I guess that’s about to change. Queen Elizabeth was so exemplary, that if her son is half as competent as she was, he’ll be alright.
Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well, but most of all, be kind.