Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gratitude and Hope

My friend Prabh Srawn is currently missing in the Snowy Mountains of NSW and every day that goes by I find myself fighting to stay positive; fighting the rational/human experience side of my brain that quickly tallies up the pro/con list of what I know can happen to a human being in freezing temperatures for any prolonged period of time.

I have found myself thinking these past 6 days since we became aware of Prabh’s disappearance: What can I do? Could I fly to NSW and help look for Prabh? I am a competent skier but I know that option would quickly lead to two missing Canadians and not one…

I have thought: What deals can I make with God to ensure Prabh’s safety? What can I give up in life that will tip the scales in favour of Prabh’s return? I don’t know why I think this way. Maybe it just seems like abstaining from things I enjoy will leverage some religious equity my way, and whatever being is out there will go: Oh there’s Courtney not eating/drinking/gossiping/lazing etc. What karmic allowances should we grant her?

The political science graduate in me decided that I would write my local MPs and politicians requesting their assistance in expanding the search for Prabh. The absence of reply/concern has left me even more disenchanted with our broken political system which I seriously doubted was possible.

I woke up this morning having dreamt that Prabh came striding out of the forest to tv crews and I was reading happy facebook/twitter and news updates about the miracle of his survival.

I am left with two things at this moment: the prevailing struggle to fight waning hope and the desire to make some sense of all of this. I have come to two conclusions about how I can internalize this terrifying situation:

1)    I am going to go forward in my life always choosing/endeavouring to put the interests of those who love and support me on par with my own. I will endeavour to remember the wider community of people who are impacted by every choice I make, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant. I have read many comments online questioning Prabh’s decision to hike alone and without satellite positioning technology. In the circumstances he was in: a friend cancelled the hike at the last minute and not knowing about the availability of this technology, I would have made his exact choice. ‘Screw that, I didn’t drive here not to see Mt. Kosciuszko’ I would have thought…

2)    I will complain less. As a law student my day-to-day concerns are fairly equally split between studying (read: fear of failure) and employment prospects. How lucky am I that these are the worries that darken my day? If Prabh is not found alive, he will not graduate law school, he will not experience those learning pangs of interviews gone awry…

More substantially, he will not have lived the life he was destined for: A life of love and service and family.

Sometimes it takes something very profound to make you realize just how tentative life is.

I choose to go forward feeling gratitude and hope. Stay strong Prabh.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tory Senators Kill Bill (part III?)

Living in Canada and being connected through the channels of media and social networking, there is a certain amount of American news/media which it is impossible not to succumb and listen in on. Do you have to care? Not really. After all, it's not Canada. Listening to/reading about American political news for many Canadians is the equivalent of watching Entertainment Tonight. What random and embarrassing thing has happened this time? After all, if Sarah Palin gets up on national radio and states that North Korea is a natural ally of the Unites States, how bad off can we really be?

The way in which we have started to process what does actually happen in Canada appears to be becoming caught in this mental cobweb of debris. Being constantly inundated with information, how can you tell what's serious from what's hollywood? How do you set the filter?

Well, for one thing, it's never a good sign when something new happens in government. Governmental process in Canada is about as firmly entrenched as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms without actually being written into law.* To put this into perspective, the last time a bill was defeated in the Senate, without debate (first reading, committee sessions, etc) was over 70 years ago.

So, why should you care? Well, for one thing, Bill C-311 was actually passed in the House of Commons. This means that the majority of Members of Parliament (whom we all vote for) seem to think that climate change is worthy of a second glance. Now i'm no environmental biologist, and i'm not a mineral process engineer either but what this says to me is that enough Canadians are concerned about climate change that our elected representatives have attempted to at least have some dialogue about what may need to change. For this reason, Bill C-311 was passed by the lower house and fired on up top to Senate to be debated and discussed in a methodical and diligent manner.

Now, to really get you fired up. The vote on this bill essentially took place before a prolonged Senate hiatus. (Senators barely work you see, and December-February is ski season.) The breakdown of Senators is as such: 52 Conservatives, 49 Liberals, 2 PC's, 2 Independents. On the day that Bill C-311 was voted down, 15 liberals and 1 independent Senator were absent. You can see how this might sway the numbers. By the way, as I mentioned before... Senators barely work. In fact, only 69/365 days this year were actually sat by the Senate. I mean, maybe they show up and check their email, hit an oceans and fisheries soiree once in awhile, but that's it. And all for a not so lean, mean $132,300 (basic sessional indemnity ie- this doesn't include the car allowance!)

Annoyed yet? I mean really! You'd be hard pressed to find a single Canadian, retired or of minority, working less than a Senator.

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, I guess my point is that we need to care a little more. It's easy to coast into ambivalent auto-pilot when your daily freedoms are more or less intact. After all, we aren't on the outs with Kim Jong-il. This should offend you though. Regardless of your stance on climate, CO2 emissions and Canada as an emerging global environmental embarrassment (sorry had to let the bias slip sometime), it should matter to you that these unelected officials have taken away your right to hear about it. Put it this way, you can't become a Senator until you're 30. Most of them will not be around to deal with the fallout of this climate gamble. It's up to you to educate yourself and contact your local MP if you find this egregious abuse of power offensive. And you should.

*psst, while the senate vote on Bill C-311 was not in fact illegal it has no precedent in history, post WW2.