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.

Advertisements

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.

——————————–
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.

—————

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 Over Ric McIver, the Future of Alberta, and Gay Rights

As all readers know, I’m a new found father of sorts. The son of my heart, Terry, is a culinary student, presently doing a stage in a restaurant in the US. He is also gay. And it is for him as his father and as a supporter of gay rights, that I write this.

Statement of Dedication: I will do anything and everything in my personal name and reach to fight the PC leadership candidacy of Ric McIver (within legal means of course).

——————————–

On Father’s Day, the “March for Jesus” went through the streets of Calgary,  proudly heralded by PC Alberta leader hopeful Ric McIver. As an avowed Atheist, admittedly I find such events to be mildly annoying, but the beauty of Canada is that all opinions can be accepted, or at least tolerated in a live and let live situation. So long as the religious sensibilities of a group doesn’t impose or be used in an act of tyranny against a helpless populace, then why not celebrate their beliefs in a man who celebrated the cause of love for your fellow man.

But while I would normally prefer to stay quiet, the more I learn about this, the more I’m absolutely disgusted and furious. This so-called event, originally created by multi-denominational groups in the 80s as a celebration of Christianity, has continued on through the hard work of zealots who oppose all LGBT rights as it offends their religious sensibilities.

For anyone who represents himself as worthy of leadership of this province, or at one time, Mayor hopeful of Calgary, who not only advocates and supports all of these groups who through their misguided homophobic beliefs or even outright hatred and intolerance, has proven himself unworthy of any public office. To represent this province, a leader has to represent all members, not just the rancid dogma of right-wing religious extremists.

Most shocking of all are the claims by the right-wing Progressive Group for Independent Business (in their own site), which states that McIver had worked with them for years, had successfully managed to elect him as an alderman, and honoured him with an award for his work in city council. This is a group that all of the conservative parties, both PC and Wild Rose, had rejected for being too extremist.

If you are PC, regardless of the bread and butter issues, do you really want a possible bigot to represent you? And then when you do think of bread and butter issues, he claims he was responsible for killing the Redford penthouse, but then can’t show even the slightest bit of proof that he did. More importantly, while fiscal hawks may love him for being “Dr. No” (by opposing each and every project ever proposed by city hall), neither has he ever displayed any sort of vision on the future of our city, let alone the province. A leader inspires, gives direction and hopefully can see the potential of what can be. Has that ever been displayed?

And as for something more to think about, this statement comes directly from one of the groups that organized the March for Jesus:

———————————–

From the Web Site of March for Jesus 2014

“Last year alone, Calgary’s streets were flooded with people of wrong sexual preferences during a homosexual parade of over 30,000 attendees and none of them were embarrassed the slightest to publicly even present their nakedness in front of families and in front of future generations to openly proclaim and manifest that they are not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan) and in the same way not concerned with provoking greatly the wrath of the Living God.”

————————————–

If you believe that the next PC leader, and as such, the future premier of Alberta should be someone who’s guided by such thoughts, then by all means support Ric McIver. But it is my dearest hope that Alberta, land of hope, dreams and opportunity, composed of a people who believe in honor above all, can prove to Canada and the world that such men should be relegated to go rant on the lonely soapbox in the corner of the park, unwanted, unheeded and unheard.

Some more interesting light reading for thought:

Alberta PC Candidate Ric Mciver Needs to Explain his Connections

Ric McIver and the Lake of Fire Redux

PC Hopefuls Spar Over Parents Right to Pull Children over Classes