Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Karine Blais

The ramp ceremony in Afghanistan took place for Trooper Karine Blais earlier today. She is the 117th member of the Canadian Military to die since Canada's mission began in 2002.

Ironically, on Canada AM this morning the piece directly preceding this story dealt with assisted suicide and I couldn't help but draw a parallel. Our soldiers are meant to be peacekeepers, yet they are forced to assume a combat role. Our own government contradicts itself by saying out of one side of its mouth that we will not leave until the Taliban is defeated and from the other side it whispers "the Taliban can never be defeated". So, as crass as it may seem, I can't help but compare the Government of Canada with the the physicians who assist in suicide. We are sending young men and women to their deaths.

Funny, I don't get emotional about a lot of things, but as I sat in my bedroom watching the ramp ceremony on TV while my peripheral vision caugh a glimpse of the Canadian flag in my back yard flying at half staff, I cried. I don't know anything about young Karine Blais except that at 21 years of age she has not even had a chance to live half the life I've lived. No great love, no children, no future.

I can't think of anywhere else on the planet I would rather live, and I am eternally grateful that I am a citizen by birth of what I believe is one of the greatest countries on the planet. But as more and more of our troops are killed fighting instead of peacekeeping, in a war with no parameters, unattainable goals, and no end in sight, my pride in being Canadian is feeling just a little bruised today.

Our government needs to do more than issue eloquently worded statements of condolence. Leadership? No, I wouldn't call it that.

Rest in peace Trooper Blais.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evolotion of a career

I wonder what I really want to be when I grow up.

My real estate career is quite successful. My partner Tracey makes it worthwhile to go to work every day. But increasingly this is becoming a way to pay the bills and I find myself searching elsewhere for gratification, for lack of a better word at 4:22 in the morning.

I find that I have the urge to write. With no formal training, I realize that this is not yet a way to pay the bills (and according to many people with whom I've spoken it may never be). And so it goes.... another chapter in my career unfolds in the same manner as everything else I've accomplished: by the seat of my pants! Mix 2 parts B.S. with a little confidence in myself and I'm working hard to build a portfolio - albeit a limited one for starters.

After 3 issues of BBT Voice I had to move on because I couldn't stand the fact that the Board did not view me as a true editor, and tried to take control by censoring my ideas in favour of some not clearly identified or properly articulated sense of "political correctness". I may be new but I still have integrity when it comes to my writing. So as much as I will miss working on this project, it is amazing how when one is sending out the right signals, other opportunities present themselves. Last night I had a conversation with my new friend Chuck MacLeod of Snap South Simcoe and while his inaugural issue was a great success, he just needs a little help with some editorial content. Its a big job to handle sales and covering all the events. How opportune. I'm already starting work on my first assignment.

So I wonder... will I ever be able to make a career of this? And if I do, would I be willing to give up real estate? Hmmmmm....