I have a hard time peeling myself away from the book I am reading to focus on this column. The book is called From the Ashes, and it is written by Jesse Thistle, presently an assistant professor of Metis Studies at York University in Toronto. The path that led him to where he is today though… OK, I will not spoil it for you. I am three quarters done and have shaken my head and winced more times than I could count since I started reading it. I had heard him sharing his story on the radio a couple of years ago while driving with my eldest to Harper Mountain. I wished then he’d write about it. He did.
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It is hard to put into words the extent of the tragedy that has befallen the families and friends of the 176 people who died in the recent plane crash near Tehran. Worse yet was learning the latest about the Iranian surface-to-air missile that struck the plane down. Someone – human error or not – shot the plane down (yes, I know it’s not the first one, sadly.) One can hope that many of the painful questions that multiply with each day will find answers, but then again, that will not make up for lost lives.
Most days the boys come home from school saying the day was OK. Every now and then something more than ordinary happens and the usual non-descriptive OK is replaced by stories, good and bad. A couple of weeks ago our youngest came home with such a story – a good one.
That day, their Career Planning teacher told them, among others, that gratitude makes life better. He told them stories about people who went through hard times and became that much more grateful for what they had even when almost everything had been taken away from them.
Another time, the woodwork teacher told them that they are fortunate to be able to go to school and have access to so many learning resources. We often talked about this in our home. It is hard to put in in words how good many people have it here. And having it good comes with moral obligations, I believe.
Some people eat too much sugar and others watch too much TV. I read news and get too involved with it. It is good to stay current, no? Yes, but there is a darker side. Many of the stories are upsetting and often times there is no closure after a particularly heartbreaking one. I cover many in my columns, and then I keep on hoping that there will be some resolution, closure for victims and their families. Sadly, that is not the case. Oblivion is a horrible mistress and our faulty justice system enables it.
The first question I hear every time I walk into his room is ‘What are we going to do today?’. My answer is almost always the same, ‘we can read some, or do rhymes, but first I want you to tell me my name.’ He tries a couple of letters and eventually he guesses it right. We do a fist bump and then another. I tell him ‘you are amazing,’ and he smiles. You too, he says.
I first met Jessie last year on November 24th. I did not know what to expect. I had been following the story since it happened, back in June of 2016.
Many are welcoming the proposed new measures on vaping products. Others are resenting the tax hike (money grab, they say) and the reduced nicotine content might just drive them back to smoking, they argue. Let’s hope not.
Either way, it will be interesting to see if young people will vape less, or at all. Many still do, and age makes no difference. Nor does the location, as some kids vape right inside schools.
This column was to be about fish. Herring to start with. A few reputable conservation groups, including Pacific Wild, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Conservancy Hornby Island and the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewarts, are urging the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to rethink the roe fishery quotas for the herring in the Straight of Georgia (the plan is expected to be finalized in early December.) The stocks are almost 60 percent depleted, their press release said, and that’s happened in the last four years. Shocking isn’t it? Albeit not a local issue, it is a provincial one and a sign of a pervasive and challenging issue.
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