The End of the Road 2015, Time to Heal and Unite

78 Days. 11 weeks. In this time, we’ve seen our leaders rise, stumble and fall. Some had risen again. Some just stayed down.

In this time, this election had become especially nasty as American style politics came to bear. There was a ton of accusations that one leader or another would be a disaster for the country, another would be a savior and another would stay the course and bring stability and peace. All cried out that they were the strong leaders that Canada needed, and accused the others of being found wanting in one aspect or another.

Being socially liberal yet fiscally conservative, and an atheist but former Catholic, I’ve found myself torn in the middle very often as the 2 extremes both appeal to me. As such, I’ve been able to do the one thing that many of the sides couldn’t… try to see things from the other’s point of view.

Needless to say, in the end, I don’t know what to feel as this long campaign comes to an end. The fanatics on ALL sides have had their say, and I’ve actually found myself quite disgusted with them. There is NO side of the major parties that is not guilty of having members who have willingly tried to play the games of property destruction, character assassination and outright hatred for his fellow man. And many of those fanatics hug tight to their beliefs while waving their cherry picked polls, selective arguments and “truths” with the thoughts that their philosophies will win out against the forces of “evil”, without even considering that there might be some good points regardless in the other’s views. It’s a deliberate choice to ignore perspective, which leads to tunnel vision and disastrous judgement.

I’m not naive. Politics is a blood sport. My belief in respecting the people who earned their place to run will always be there, just as my disdain for those who coast on a trend by a disgruntled public who are so tired of the screaming, would do anything to end the conflict. But at least, come what may, I still try to respect the candidates. They put their names out there into what can be a thankless job. They’re asking for the opportunity to literally miss seeing their families grow for years. They’re walking out there day after day campaigning, so that once elected, they spend MORE days walking out just to keep appearances, and still do the endless job of serving their constituencies as best they can. I may disagree with a person’s beliefs and/or record, but never the actual person.

But there was a distinct lack of civility, decency and more by a minority smug and arrogant crowd (again, on ALL sides) that was far too loud that has made the whole matter distasteful. And to those who destroyed a sign, wrote “bitch” or other slurs against another candidate or more, I truly hope you eventually understand that your actions are BENEATH you, and shames us all.

As I write this, there are just 2 1/2 hours left to vote. But as of tomorrow, there will be FOUR years of whoever will be our new government (or worse 18-24 months if there’s a minority government).

We all have to live together. I ask all Canadians to join me tomorrow to put down the rhetoric. Quiet your complaints and arguments for a little bit of time to give our leaders the time to organize and try to prove their plans correct for all of us. But let’s just stop the anger from the last 11 weeks to fade as we are all Canadians.

Sure, if they screw it up, then of course let’s speak out. But give whoever it will be the CHANCE to triumph or screw up. We’re all only human, but they’re playing with much higher stakes which is the state of our union.

Canada needs us united to be strong in this climate of economic insecurity. Canada will need our leaders to know they have our mandate to act for just a little while, no matter how much we may initially disagree. But in the end, Canada, and we Canadians need to hope.

We are all the children of this young, incredible country, soon to be 150 years strong. Let’s show the world why.

A Request for Civility this Canadian Federal Election 2015

So long as I’m working for Elections Canada, I can’t comment on anything unless it’s neutral in nature. But I have to admit… this is killing me to stay quiet. I’ve never seen so many political acts that are both inspiring and absolutely insulting to all Canadians.
So I’m only going to say this to all parties involved and those who are friends, family and even enemies of mine.
Yes, this election is important. Yes, this election has fanned a LOT of flames, where even friends are turning on each other.
But there’s ONE fundamental truth. On Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 2015, we will have a government and life goes on. Be civil. Be friendly. We are ALL Canadians. We’re supposed to be better. Prove it.
#elxn42 #Canada #Canadian #pride

The Days Before Tomorrow. 30 Years Later and a Call to Action

It’s now 11 years and a week or so since she passed, and now 30 years since that fateful summer when we first met. That special relationship put myself and her children on a path that I never could have foreseen.

Though lovers be lost

Though lovers be lost. I never forgot this poem as it always reminded me of her.

I haven’t written much about the kids this year, especially as I’ve only seen them twice. As I’ve explained, they’re not mine through blood or law, but they are of my heart nevertheless. In every way that truly matters to me and to them, we are family, and they’ve taught me so much about how it is to be a proud father.

Terry completed his stage in Las Vegas, and then extended it, and then extended it once again. He’s on leave of absence from culinary school now, simply because he was encouraged to travel and learn under some of the best in the culinary world. He’s in England, doing a stage on a culinary level that simply stuns me. There are no words I can express to describe the heights he will achieve.

Georgia is in year 2 studying law, the very degree her own mother couldn’t complete due to the events long ago. In a moment of face palm humor and frustration, she continues to show the stubbornness, passion and brilliance that her mom possessed. You see, she introduced to me her new boyfriend, another Chinese kid who I swear resembles me a little. But this time, he seems to genuinely love her, and they met through the same law program. Of course, I warned him as a father to take good care of her or else, but he already knew better than to upset her. She’s going to be brilliant, but I admittedly look forward to see her walk the aisle in a white dress.

Every Dad's Dream

Every Dad’s Dream

But that’s not the purpose of this blog, and why I returned to the Days. The real story is why that chance meeting 30 years ago continues to guide my life even now.

As you’ve probably read, I’m running for office now. I wasn’t planning to, but I discovered that I had to. There’s the classic saying, “All it takes for Evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” But while I subscribe to such dramatic thoughts, I believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it far better:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve always tried to be a defender for others. I see that the highest aspiration of a person is to serve his or her fellow citizen and found that the problems we see in life is very often rooted in silence. I simply want to serve my city, my home and make it just a little better each day, and to speak out to hopefully inspire others to act and do the same.

Now, I have a chance to serve and make a real difference on a great scale. There are so many causes that matter to me. Education. Equality rights. The future of Calgary. Small business. My friends and family. So many and more… and to make a difference, I choose to stop being someone who spoke from the audience into someone who wants to speak truth to power. This truly unique opportunity has come up, an invitation to run for office and have a voice where it matters.

Why am I standing up for what I believe in, when others could have been content from the sidelines? It was Terry who inspired me. He took the chance and had the bravery to come out to me, telling me a truth where so many other children found themselves ostracized, beaten, abused or even banished as my friend, photographer Kelly Hofer. With this decision, he showed me what true bravery was, and why I fight now.

One summer long ago, my first love and I kissed. It was a cheeky french kiss at a time where I was helpless while pretending to demonstrate mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It was a kiss full of mischief, joy and bold acts of young love and sweet moments. It put me on a path, through her legacy, that guided me to this moment of perfect clarity and the bravery to act.

The First Kiss

The First Kiss

To my wife, my friends, my city, the people of Calgary-Glenmore, and the bravery of a young man who I love as my own son, I dedicate myself to serve, to inspire others, and most importantly, I choose to lead. I am Terry Lo, a dreamer fighting to make a great Calgary into reality, and I want to be your MLA.  And this is a call to action to all, and I beg of you to stop being neutral or silent. Help me, be brave and stand up and act.

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The Story of the Days Before Tomorrow and the Children

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The Days Before Tomorrow, The 10th Anniversary of Her Passing

After the Wildrose Storm, An Assessment and Answers

Wow. What an insane past few days. An action that I did out of conscience became a firestorm that brought out the best and the worse of the political spectrum in Alberta. Even now, there’s a few detractors who are apparently still attacking me, but as I blocked the majority of them, I really haven’t read them.

So,I’m assuming you probably know the firestorm over the week. If not, just Google my name or read my resignation. It’s been an interesting week.

So…. here goes. Soooo much came out of this, that it’s a LONG BORING read. Try not to fall asleep, but I’ll give you my blessings (and that of the Flying Spaghetti monster) if you do.

WERE YOU EVER REALLY A MEMBER OF THE WILDROSE?

I’ve been a card carrying member from 2009-2014. I actually believe in Danielle Smith. I believe her to be a politician of strong character and respect her actions and work. To me, she would have made an magnificent Premier.

What I ceased to believe in is the Party in itself. The majority of the party are actually respectable everyday people, who actually care about where our province goes. But for a vocal minority like outspoken angry children who believe in a different regressive view as the way to bring Alberta back to greatness, are equally passionate in their belief as I am in mine. The problem is in ideology, their culture which is inherently opposite to what I believe to be ethical and moral , made it impossible for me to stay. I believe that this angry group has taken over the party direction, much like the minority Tea Party has done to the Republican party in the States. But in a more progressive Alberta, this bird doesn’t fly except in the sticks.

WHY DID YOU JOIN IN THE FIRST PLACE? 

The Party as a whole has a HUGE image problem. A far bigger problem is that so very few members truly understand or gets it. It’s basically being stuck in a time of movie theatre news reels in a modern age of the internet. If they couldn’t win 4 by-elections, a time when traditionally an opposing party can get a seat out of protest, in a time of near perfect hatred of the PC party, then what hope is there in a general election. The polls in 2012 proved that the Lake of Fire proved that this is a sticking point of distrust among the city populace. And for 148 people to vote away the statement and give the appearance that the Lake of Fire was sanctioned by the party entire? Deplorable and disappointing.

The WR really do need more members like myself. Yes there are the odd Indian, Chinese , black visible minority, but do you see these numbers actually growing? My brief time in WR has showed me that the purpose why I joined, to use my communication expertise that the WR COULD have been inclusive was badly needed. The revocation of the statement has made that job 100x harder, especially considering that I no longer believe in it myself.

I still believe in the need for a strong opposition. I am NOT trying to discredit and destroy the WildRose as I made my stance out of personal belief. If anything, I truly hope the party rank and file will use this unexpected firestorm to be an opportunity to reflect, and for once truly listen to those minorities (religious, sexual, etc) that their actions mistakenly spat on. Changing it to a vague ALL wasn’t the way to do so. And their concerns that it would be too difficult for Albertans to understand and would be confusing. Bulls***. It was word for word VERBATIM from Section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights, which has been around since 1982. Are they honestly trying to say that a statement guaranteeing the rights of citizens that has been around for 32 years is now suddenly confusing? The WR was built not just as a protest against the PC, but also as a party of hope, which is now endangered by a group dedicated to bring it back to the 1950s.

As for why an Asian, atheist, and a dad of a gay kid, thought he might best be able to bring an inclusive message? Honestly, who better? Right now, the general appearance of the average WR member is that of a right wing fringe god fearing white rural landowner. I was LITERALLY the exact opposite of that stereotypical image. If someone such as I was willing to look past the stereotype, and gave that message of welcome, then I would have been far more likely to build a dialog. There’s a classic saying, “Only Nixon could go to China” that explains it all.

WHAT ABOUT THE LAKE OF FIRE? WHY DIDN’T YOU LEAVE THEN?

Because I believed that the whole Lake of Fire was just the voice of one person. I still do. But as for why Danielle did not speak out about it, she is a true Libertarian in the definition of the word. However, thanks to the US political process, being a libertarian is now equated to be a lunatic fringe member of the Tea Party, when at the very heart of libertarianism is simply the belief that the rights of the individual matters. That’s why I didn’t leave. I would have faulted the entire party for 1 person, just as I don’t fault the entire party for a loud mouthed minority as well. What I DO fault the party is that it’s following the lead of this destructive angry group.

YOU DID THIS FOR PERSONAL GAIN, YOUR 15 MIN OF FAME, TO RUN FOR OFFICE, ETC?

Er, wha?

What gain? This was a VOLUNTEER POSITION. I posted it in a blog that maybe got 10-30 hits a week just to clarify my stance. I didn’t look for the press, they came to me. And while I was satisfied with what I said was enough, it was hacks from the fringe of WR that encouraged me to face them and speak. Personal gain? None. If anything I acquired quite a few enemies across the entire province. I’ve been attacked over and over again in the media and in talk shows. Why did I speak out anyways? Easy. If you see my statement of purpose, I see myself as a knight and a protector. The minute the word got out, I was attacked almost immediately. I will NOT abide bullies, period. If that concept is so difficult to understand, in a time that we’re actively striving to stop bullies at all aspects of life, then take a good hard look and find out why so cynical?  To not back the strength of your convictions, good, bad or misguided, is the act of a coward.

As for the 15 min of fame? For what? It serves me nothing but headaches for the last few days. I really do have better things to do than be heckled by losers all over the net. I work in a field where anonymity is treasured, not discouraged.

And really, to run as a liberal? If they actually bothered to read my resignation, they’ll see that I really don’t find the Liberal Party or the NDP party very effective. In fact, mind showing me where’s the nomination papers that I apparently prepared to run for any seat with any party for that matter? I don’t have political aspirations.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS IN WR?

Yes, there were way quieter ways to do this. Way more peaceful ways to do this.Yes, I know I upset quite a few. Politics is politics. I had never intended to offend my friends in WR, but neither was going to be polite about this. If they ever truly understood who I am and what I represent, then I believe my continued inclusion in their lives is probably a good thing. If they don’t, then we probably were never friends in the first place. It’s just like my friends who are religious. I don’t believe in what they do, but we have mutual respect and hopefully love.

SURROGATE FATHER?

Oh, that’s probably the best description I can give. My son, Terry, is not my son by blood or law. I was his godfather (during my catholic days) and he was named after me. His mom, my first love, is a story all told in my blog entries under “The Days Before Tomorrow”. When she divorced her husband, she had intended to get back with me and have Terry formally adopted, when things went awry and in culminated with her accidental death. He’s my son in every way that matters, and he’s presently rocking it as a chef in the US.

ABSOLUTE HATRED OF RELIGION?

Those who read the first draft, and some others who are trying to discredit me, happened to notice that the original text stated “Absolute hatred of religion” was changed to “rejection of organized religion”. Why did I change it or tone it down? Easy, a conversation with a quite polite believer in religion had simply stated that “there’s too much hate” as it is. Considering that the entire point of my resignation was because I rejected the WR anti-LGBT minority agenda, which is based in religion and hatred in itself, countering hate with hate probably isn’t the way to go. After that chat, she convinced me to at least tone it down. I’m still quite anti-organized religion, and I know people are constantly telling me why am I never promoting the good it does. Let’s put it this way… if your best friend was a great charity organizer and helped out thousands of people a year, hell, let’s make it millions, but liked to rape small children every once in awhile, would you condone such actions for the greater good? To me, why are we all following a belief created by bronze-age men trying to explain why it rained?

WHAT NOW?

Honestly, I don’t know. Anyone who knows me knows I joined the PC Party specifically only to vote AGAINST Ric McIver during the leadership vote, and that was all about the Street Church march. I don’t see a home there as they themselves have no such protections. Alberta Party actually is much closer to my philosophy over all, and after the Glenmore Rally, I actually gave my full support to Greg Clark in his run to for Calgary-Elbow. I’m not sure about that either though. As for the Liberal and NDP, my opinion hasn’t changed. I have the greatest respect for Dr. Swann, Kent Hehr, and Laurie Blakeman, but there’s very little chance of them ever taking government. The possibility to take back Opposition is also unlikely in the immediate future. However, a certain announcement by a former news reporter does have an appeal to me.

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So in the end, let the critics make their rants. Honestly, given the choice between appeasing a bunch of angry misguided people and being able to be with my friends and my son with pride, I know I made the right choice. It was a no brainer. I look forward to see what will happen in the future.

Signed, Terrence Lo

PS: My predictions – Bill 202 probably will pass, but any vote by WR is now seen as a mea culpa for the AGM as opposed to genuine concern for the LGBT. Wildrose gets slaughtered in the 2016 elections and relegated to a fringe rural party. That vocal minority uses the election loss as reason to get rid of Danielle Smith and probably bring in Rob Anderson, and the party swings far right. The party will be relegated to what the Reform Party was seen as, a fringe party with no chance of ever gaining power.

A Statement of Belief and Defense of Principle

Today, I made a small stand for what I believed in, leading to what probably was the shortest time I’ve ever held office as VP Communications for the Wild Rose Party in Calgary-Glenmore, and the end to my association with the party as well. Being the surrogate dad to a gay son, Asian, AND atheist, I was always an unusual member of the party. But a few events in the last year made me realize that I was in a place that was morally (to me) untenable. I resigned today with no reservations.

Wild Rose 2014 Resignation Letter – Click Here to Read

I’ve always seen myself as a fiscal conservative, but socially liberal. I believe in a balanced budget, responsible use of the public purse and more. But I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a strong supporter of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and a firm rejection of organized religion. I would suppose that would make me a moderate of sorts. I also try to emulate and follow a modern version of chivalry, whereas the highest aspirations of a person should be in service of others, and built a name in support of charity and goodwill in Calgary. I despise anyone who will not support the strength of their convictions, and I really do try to back my own acts come what may.

Until the WildRose, there really was/is no alternative to the PC Party. The Liberal and NDP parties are ineffective at best, absolutely forgettable at worse. I joined in 2009 and helped here and there and saw the party fortunes rise in the run up to 2012. In the belief of true libertarianism, where individual rights are more important than political expediency in the Lake of Fire debacle, leader Danielle Smith showed me true strength of character if not necessarily political realism. The party ended up managing to seize the jaws of defeat from total victory. But from that, a statement of equality (to atone of sorts) came from it, one that was truly inclusive. I believed I had found my place politically AND potentially ethically as well.

Even when the WildRose actually joined with the PC to vote down a bill to give LGBT youth a place to be safe, with that statement, I believed I might have been able to play a some sort of role to help shift social beliefs to create a truly inclusive party that can run Alberta responsibly. But alas, it was in the recent by-elections that I soon found myself encountering serious doubts.

At the Glenmore Inn election rally in October, I was going around talking to rank and file members to get an idea of what sort of issues they were encountering while door to door knocking. One thing they kept encountering among potential voters was doubt that the WildRose had put the Lake of Fire truly in the past. In face to face and online talks, I had spoken with other WildRose members who truly believed that any animosity of perception of racism and intolerance was over. But being a member of a sports team with gay members, and looking around at random WR events, I knew this was far from the truth. What was sad was this was confirmed as I walked around. But in those several chats, what especially disturbed me was that LGBT people were described as “uppity” and “whiners”. This wasn’t a bad joke, or even a casual careless statement. Looking at each face, it was an honest belief. Needless to say, I was actually angry, no more like pissed and furious, on TV as I was positioned to stand right behind Danielle at the rally. I was close to storming off that day, but calmed down by the end of her speech.

Happy me, and pissed off me on live tv after hearing from members that LGBT people were "uppity"

Happy me, and pissed off me on live tv after hearing from members that LGBT people were “uppity”

The more I was talking with members after the event, I was honestly horrified to see how truly clueless so many of them were about how WR was being perceived (though I admittedly was thinking more in terms of how to get the right message out to the voters AND the members). But with a useless slogan (send the PCs a message), the use of negative ads (which has proven to disenchanted voters in the US) and a surprising rise by the Alberta Party in Calgary – Foothills with a message of hope, I realized that the party might have been hijacked by the right-wing and was shifting right. I still had some hope that this might just be a bad sampling and only representative of individual opinions until this weekend.

This past weekend at the AGM, the party, either in the misguided misunderstanding that nothing LESS than the statement of equality would do after the Lake of Fire event, or out of genuine desire to swing far right, actually BACKTRACKED and voted out the 2013 statement that affirmed and protected HUMAN RIGHTS.

In that moment, the party actually went against their leader and the recommendation of the MLAs, and basically said “screw you” to groups that have never felt included, or protected adequately compared to the white, christian majority. And the sad part, the membership seems to be falling on the argument that the more generic “ALL” statement supported is more than adequate. It’s far from that. In an ideal world, where peace reigns and harmony rises upon the streets, then it would be. But not a single member can comprehend ever the fear of a LGBT or minority kid who’s been beat up by another kid who belongs to that majority. As this vote proves to many outside of the party, “All” in the context of a Wild “Lake of Fire” Rose means the same as the famous statement in Orwell’s Animal Farm: ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’

This vote confirmed to me that the misguided angry beliefs of a minority of the rank and file holds actual sway in party policy. I’ve since spoken to another notable ethnic member who confirmed a similar experience as well over years. Ideologically, I believe now that the party is swinging far right again on social issues, and as such, totally in opposition to my own beliefs. And ANY party that visibly does not protect my son, is one that has lost my support, and in fact, earned my opposition.

I’ve been asked to stay, to reconsider and try to rebuild from scratch and be a part of the culture. I can’t. I wouldn’t ever be able to face my friends and my son with any pride or self-respect. To me, to serve in WildRose while it shifts right is an act of cowardice and insults those I love and care for. But I will find a way to serve, even if it means finding some way to reform through another party, or as a voice on the sidelines.

It’s time to reassess my political direction in this province that I love and dedicated myself to better for all. Just a funny thing to mention though, I worked to get elected VP Communications because I wanted the right message about the WildRose to get across. As my first major act as VP Comm, I believe I actually did just that, by sending a farewell message to the party.

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One minor addendum. I actually did wonder briefly tonight if I should walk away quietly and not go any further. Then a particular malcontent and probably misguided fellow started to attack me relentlessly on Twitter board. I won’t mention his name, but his idea of insults are actually a badge of honour. He reminded me of the people I spoke to at the Rally… and as a result, I walk away proudly. And I won’t be silent.

(11-22-2014 Special note: There’s been a few questions that emerged over this whole tempest in a teapot. I’ve written a follow up blog piece that’s probably too long, a bit dull, but should clarify some things. You can read AFTER THE WILDROSE STORM here. )

My (Left) Flank Steak, as inspired by Alberta politics

I’m a political junkie, and I’m proud of it.  I’m a small c conservative who loves the banter, the arguments, the manipulations and the games played in the seats of power.  I always followed the Canadian and the American political scene intensely with glee and utter fascination.

But admittedly, I never did follow Alberta politics until the last election when Ralph Klein left, making one of the most interesting contests ever in recent memory.  Just like every other Albertan, I was engrossed with the personalities involved, such as PC Leader (now Premier) Alison Redford, the energetic if political neophyte Danielle Smith, the ever determined Raj Sherman of the Liberals, and the one who piqued my interest despite a losing cause, Brian Mason of the NDP.

When considering that the NDP probably will be elected in Alberta maybe sometime in my great grandchildren’s lifetime (when oil has turned to god knows what), I have to admit that Brian Mason, has been doing an especially good job campaigning and fighting in the opposition for someone who is representing a party that is perpetually perceived as an underdog.

When he spoke, he came across as knowledgeable, feisty, a little hot tempered, and forceful to me, all good qualities for a leader.  I do applaud his work and, last year, before the election vote, I was inspired to make a dish based on what I saw in him for my Kingsland Farmer’s Market blog in 2012.

I asked among my friends for their take on him.  Fortunately for me, quite a few of those friends are as equally passionate about food as they are about politics.  With that in mind, I took a small poll.  First and foremost, I needed some sort of protein to represent Mr. Mason.  I automatically disqualified chicken, turkey and lamb.  Chicken and turkey definitely didn’t suit Mr. Mason’s style and was too much a bad joke as well.  Pork?  Nope, Mr. Mason was not piggish whatsoever.  And then, my left-leaning foodie friend Tracey metaphysically slapped me across the head with a spiritual trout, and reminded me that only Canadian, particularly Alberta BEEF will do (hey take a look at their site for some awesome ideas! http://www.beefinfo.org).

Ok, that was that, but then what?  Was there a particular cut that would be right?  He just didn’t strike me as a Prime Rib kinda guy.  Ribs was a possibility, because as the leader of the 4th place party, I’m sure he had to have taken some political punches to the chest.  But   then it struck me, only FLANK steak will do.  Tough on the outside (before cooked of course), yet when treated well, becomes tender as well.  And in strategic terms, I like the notion that a leader, who debates from the left, maybe even the left FLANK (?), would be well represented.

Ok, now the cut was chosen.  How to pick the rest…. and with memories of the hot, passionate debates of the late NDP leader Jack Layton and the party colours, I decided that the orange Habanero pepper would be perfect.  But, I can’t have it TOO hot, or else I would roast those who would dare this recipe alive.  And with that, and also to complement the orange Habanero with the something sweet that would proudly show the NDP colours, roasted Orange bell peppers.  Perfect… and without further ado… may I introduce to you all, and to Mr. Brian Mason, honorable leader of the Alberta NDP, my homage dish to him.  The Brian Mason Hot Left-Flank Steak with a Grilled Orange Pepper Mix and White Rice.  To all of you Lefties, Righties, and hopefully the fun people at the http://www.eatwriteretreat.com will get a chance to enjoy it!

What you would need:

Serves about 3-4, takes about 12 min or so to prep, but at least 9 hours to prepare.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼  red onion, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 SMALL habanero chili pepper and dice it as best you can
  • 1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup diced cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbls honey
  • ½ olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin)
  • 1 ¼ pounds flank steak (Hoven Meats have a wonderful flank steak btw, hint hint)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The night before, grab the Flank steak, and with a hammer or heavy flat object (I use my heavy iron frying pan, “Mr. Softee” personally because the larger surface can get all of the meat evenly) and pound it a few times on both sides.  Don’t do it TOO many times, because you just want to tenderize the meat, not break it apart, not unlike a coalition government.

Add the garlic, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, thyme, cilantro, oil, and honey and blend it in a bowl or a blender until everything is well mixed together, just like the left wing of the opposition.

Marinate the flank steak with 1/2 of the puree in a resealable plastic bag at least 9-10 in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the puree to use later as a sauce.  This MUST be done.  Not only will the meat absorb the flavor, but most importantly, the marinate will tenderize the steak even more.  Here’s some great tips on how to grill a marinated steak from Canadian Beef!


When ready to cook, take the steak out onto a plate, and let it rest an hour before serving.

Preheat a grill to a medium fire and cut the orange bell peppers into slices.

Just before you’re about to toss the steak into the fire, add some sea salt, and normally cook the flank to medium-rare.  I find that cooking this cut to well-done will pretty much turn the flank steak into a well marinated piece of leather.   A rule of thumb?  4 minutes per side is about right.  Add the bell peppers as well on the side (or wherever on your grill that you have enough space)

Let the meat rest for a few min just to let the juices flow.  Grill the peppers until it starts to char a little.  This will release the natural sugars in the peppers, and make them sweeter than just plain ol’ peppers.

Once all the blood has stopped, start to slice the steak against the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices, and brush or pour the remaining marinade over the meat.