first step

There comes a time when you can't just continue to sit and read the Facebook posts, or absorb the newscasts. I've never been an astute political science student, or as well-versed in world issues as my brilliant friends, so I often refrain from contributing to the seemingly never ending scroll of political updates on Facebook. But today, with news of the latest tragedies in Quebec, I realized that the impetus is on each and everyone of us to not just share/post/like/dislike, but rather to say something and get involved. 

And while I can assure you that my way isn't the most politically correct, or eloquent, it is a step-- one of many that I'll continue to take. I wanted to share the note I just sent to my Member of Parliament, as well as our Prime Minister. Not as a means to isolate or prove anything, but rather to open this up to to a bigger conversation about what it means to be human.

Reach out to your MP through this link.
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I am writing to you today as someone who is just at a loss for what to do after a weekend of news reports that continue to out do one another in terms of heart break and severity. Executive orders in the United States, the shooting in the Quebec mosque... It all seems to add to a lengthy list of disheartening actions in a scary new world. 

I was all set to copy and paste a letter about the status of refugees in Canada- how we should ensure that all avenues for refugees are kept open, that Canada should bow out of the Safe Third Country Agreement to ensure that refugees could seek safe passage. While I certainly agree with this, I felt like there was more to say, more to transmit than a hastily cut and paste email.

I'm a US born Canadian citizen. My story isn't necessarily remarkable, in that I was born in the US to a Canadian (Montreal) mother and an Irish dad. After my parents split up, my mom brought us home to Canada, a place I had been a citizen of since I was a toddler. I've lived most of my time in Toronto, bouncing around Toronto, and have finally landed in your area, MP.

On the night of the US election, once the results were final (and honestly, devastating in their outcome), I was overwhelmed with how I'm so absolutely proud that we accept and welcome people here. That our PM was kind and engaged, facilitating an open and free country that seemed at odds with the future of the US. At that moment, I certainly felt far more Canadian than my birth certificate would let on.

I work in public health and have had the opportunity to criss-cross the country, working in the largest of cities and staying on some of the smallest reserves. I have met the most unbelievable cross section of humans throughout this career, and continue to meet people on travels and throughout other endeavours. It has been a constant reminder, and inspiration, that everyone has a story, everyone is a teacher and everyone deserves kindness.

With everything that is happening in the United States, as well as around the world, it is becoming increasingly apparent to this constituent that Canada has an overwhelming opportunity to speak up and stand for what is right. I'm not a career politician, but simply someone who leads with love and kindness, something that we can continue to demonstrate in our day-to-day interactions, as well as our policy decisions at home and world wide. 

I'm at a loss for what to do as we watch events unfold online, and in the papers. I commit to continually learning and understanding all the viewpoints, and am clear on how I live my life. But I've never been one to engage in a rally or protest, nor have I ever contacted my MP. But I simply couldn't not say anything anymore. 

So while this note may not have a concise thesis, it feels like a necessary step in today's climate to reach out and encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, fighting for what is right and keep kindness at the center of it all. While that seems a lot "softer" than the copy and paste email I was originally going to send, it seems that these days, softness and kindness, as well as a recognition of the human condition, is paramount. 

So, once more to reiterate, please continue to uphold the values of Canada, to recognize people as the humans they are, and choose decisions that reverberate with love and kindness. Perhaps that looks like sanctuary and support for those displaced from the US, those who are fleeing, those who need protection from threats, guns and bombs. I can't imagine to understand the options on the table, and the priorities to consider, but I continually urge you to make the best decisions for humanity.

Thank you, 
Alex

alex kelly

public health + personal wellness