The best books (that I read) of 2020

The books that wait to be read in 2021. “The Great Republic” by Sir Winston Churchill is mt first of the new year

2020 was a good year for me, in books. I finished 22 books and started my 23nd of the year in December, which will be the first I complete in 2021.  Most of the 22 books I’ve enjoyed, only one rubbed me the wrong way.  I wrote about it early 2020, here is the link.  That post also is about the best books I read in 2020.  I also decided to jump into a couple of series; Kathy Reichs’s ‘Bones’ series, I read the first  and the latest in the series of 27 books and Mark Burnell’s thrilling Stephanie Patrick Trilogy.

The following 5 books were the best of my COVID-19 booklist.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering it is the follow up to “The Handmaid’s Tale”.  Perhaps the reason for this is that it didn’t have a lot of the darkness that was found in ‘Handmaid’, Don’t get me wrong, there is still darkness, but “The Testaments” fills in the blanks of the beginning of Gilead, we wanted to know how it all began. More importantly rather though, “The Testaments” has hope.  I am not sure if you can or should read The Testaments without reading The Handmaids’ Tale First.  There is too much given away, but you should read “The Testaments”. 

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larsen

For a history buff, the year in the life of PM Sir Winston Churchill in the worst year the UK experienced in the Second World War is a must read.  This book did not disappointment. 

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

A must read from Canadians, Jesse writes about his life, and it wasn’t a good life; but he has come through and now uses his life to inspire other Metis and Indigenous youth. “From the Ashes” also is a difficult read, difficult as it paints a picture of Canadian Indigenous peoples that are at odds with the government and society.  “From the Ashes” should be a book read in Canadian High Schools and for those that have trouble finding a book on Canadian Indigenous people, “From the Ashes” is a good place to start, it is not judgemental, it lets you decide how you feel.  By the last page flip you might end up as I did, you will take more interest in hearing about the welfare and relationship of Canada’s Indigenous people and the government,  

Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner

One of the oddest books I read in 2020. It’s about working and living in Silicon Valley. Anne Weiner takes up through her working in tech and social media tech.  She’s careful not mention specific companies but rather gives them labels that identify then without calling them by name.  There is ‘the social media company loves to hate’, the highly litigious Seattle based software company, the home sharing platform and car hailing app to name a few.  Weiner names GitHub, the company she worked for as ‘an open-source start-up’.   It is interesting to read how the those working in Silicon Valley and the numerous dot coms actually are different from people who don’t work in a dot com company. The ending is very odd, it ends as if Weiner’s laptop ran out of power and she didn’t write anymore, it was the most disappointing thing about the book, but I got over it.  One last note, a certain ‘real estate developer who once played the part of a successful businessman on TV’ is mentioned as Weiner rides out on the spacebar of a laptop in the “Uncanny Valley”.

History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a Mysterious Land by Adam Shoalts

I had previously read Shoalts’ “Beyond the Trees”.  “Ten Maps” tells the story of Canada, yes, by using ten maps.  The first is of a Viking map and through storytelling, historical accounts Shoalts walks us through the discovery and founding of Canada.  Told in ten chapters, you won’t have to read this all-in-one sitting, but you’ll want to.  “Ten Maps” is the winner of the 2018 Edna Staebler for Creative Non-Fiction.  It is also my most recommended books of all the books I read last year.

I’ll give an honourable mention to Greg Iles for “Cemetery Road”, a thriller set in the south.  It was fast paced and took a few fast turns to get to the truth and the final page. I could not put it down.  Iles preceded “Cemetery Road” with the “Natchez Burning” Trilogy, something I’ll pick up this year as I expect another COVID year of reading.

I hope that one or more of these books will be in your hands at one point, or at least on ‘must read’ list for 2021.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, appreciate the time you take to consider what I have to say and suggest for you.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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Are you optimistic?

Welcome to the first post of 2021, I had planned to write about my best books of 2020.  You will still see that post this month, but my post today was provoked by a memory I received on my phone.  

The memory I write about instead is from 2005, Christmas with Emma and Nicholas back visiting Mom and Dad in the home I grew up in, in Mississauga.

As I looked at the photos, I could not remember them, I couldn’t remember being there.  There were more than 20 photos that didn’t break open any doors to the memories of that Christmas when I first set my eyes on.  As I looked through the photos, I slowly recalled that trip back home.  My thought was my goodness aren’t Emma and Nicholas young, and how nice it was to see the cousins together.  Mostly what came to me was how different so many families celebrated the holidays.  Gone, in 2020, was the family gathering. My family was no different, I have yet to celebrate Christmas with Emma and Nick, too many extended bubbles meant we have to wait.

Hardest to reconcile in 2020 was my parents not being together for Christmas for the first time in the 60+ years of marriage.  The separation was due to medical reasons, but not COVID reasons; I talked briefly about this on a December 1st.  Well, here we are, more than a month later and Mom’s health issues have not been resolved, and have been complicated because of COVID, but as of today the threat of COVID is very faint.  But when talking to my Dad over Christmas he insisted that there would be no Christmas this year if he could not be with Mom.  Big senders of Christmas cards, there were no cards send from them this year.

What hit our family this year, has become common for us to hear in the news and on social media from many other families.  Separation of loved ones at a time that traditionally brough families together was the norm and was encouraged at all levels of government.  Like other families there was frustration on the COVID testing protocol and how hard it seemed to be to get my 93-year-old father to a test centre, or why there is no mobile test system set up. I don’t blame the people that administer the test or schedule the tests, but this belongs at the feet of governments that are responsible for this.  I can’t understand why there is no rapid testing available.  I heard a phrase on a podcast this week that goes like this; ‘rapid testing is the snufagulufus of COVID-19, oft talked about but never seen’.  It seems quite true.

The one thing I can say about the start of 2021; the arrival of the vaccine and commitments to get the vaccines given to as many as possible as soon as possible give me some optimism for how the year will end.  The optimism may be thin, but I have faith that it will grow and by the time we celebrate the coming of 2022, we’ll be well on our way to shedding the cloak of the pandemic.  My optimism is due in part to the increased number of eyes that read #RedHeartBlueSign on a regular basis, I am thankful for each of you.  I hope that you also will feel optimistic or will begin to feel better for a good end of the year from where ’21 started.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

The Last Word

This frame of a large sign sits empty, I see it every time we walk along the Rideau Canal to Lansdowne. Previously on that frame was the promise of a future development coming.  The building that was to be replaced still sits on that property,all that remains is an empty sign frame.

The frame of the sign is just asking to be used once more so I have asked a few friends I know to give me the one word they would put on that sign to describe their experience with 2020.  I want to thank them for their participation in this, my last post for 2020.

“Enlightening”, I feel like I was enlightened to the simple and important things in my life and that my busy jet setting life wasn’t actually for me.  I prefer being home with my family and I’m enlightened to the fact of what really truly matters now.  (Crystal)

“Draining”, it has been an emotionally draining year.  There were several deaths on my wife’s side: her Mom, Uncle and Bestie.  PLUS, COVID stuff like knowing someone who died from it and his family who continue to rehab from it seven months later, it made it real for us.  Plus dealing with four of us sharing the house when they were off school, two teens, plus, plus, plus etc.  I’m exhausted, drained. (John M) 

“Creativity”, I thought creativity because I mean in the context that people have risen to the challenge through many avenues of being creative; from home gyms, learning to cook, baking. Learning to appreciate the outdoors and WFH. Always question of how can I use this time; home renos and upgrades, reading, going on diets? People were thinking! People coming up with new ways to help others! (Colleen)

“Disparity”, the tone of things after Don Cherry was fired and the bat escaped from Wuhan Labs (Danno)

“Indefatigable”, Unrelenting, tireless from the a negative perspective. From the positive side of the coin it has required from many of us business owners and an those who believe in democracy to stay focused on what we need to do. (David)

“Gratitude”, 2020 is almost undefinable. 2020 has been transformative in that we have had to look at our own humanity in relation to others. With Gratitude there is hope. (Susan)

“Transformative”, the world has changed.  Economically, supply chains and business processes have both transformed in the response to the renewed threats, interestingly both emanating from China.  Business processes have become more decentralized and involve more AI.  Centralized supply chains take focus away from low-cost markets toward better sustainability of supply.  The massive increase in online shopping has changed ‘what’ people buy and that affects production.  Political systems are transforming and not for the better. We’re seeing the beginning of the end of democracy. (Fred M) 

“Unprecedented”, it was the most used word in 2020 (John)

“Relentless”, there was no way to escape the constant bad news, anxiety, anticipation of the daily numbers, finger pointing and anger. (Robin)

“Blessed”,

During this pandemic I have felt blessed.

Blessed to be active; Blessed to feel safe in my home; Blessed to have the support and companionship of a loving partner;

Blessed to be inspired by new craft projects and have the resources to pursue them; Blessed to celebrate my daughter’s wedding and birth of a new granddaughter;

Blessed to enjoy time with family when not in lockdown; Blessed to live in a compassionate country where health care is available for all. (Liz)

“Sobering” , 2020 opened our eyes and taught us gratitude by taking so much away that we had always taken for granted. (Fred S)

“Resilience” 2020 was so challenging and we collectively fought hard to build and rebuild with the understanding that tomorrow could be better (Denise)

“Finally”, this is the word I would post.  Finally, because it is what we have all wished for, the end of 2020 and the start of 2021.  Finally, because we can turn the page and from concentrating on survival, we can concentrate on our revival as a community, an economy and not leave important issues like reconciliation, the environment and our personal enjoyment of life on the backburner any longer.

I want to thank you, the reader, for your time, comments and your follow to Red Heart Blue Sign.  2020 saw me pass 300 posts and 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of this blog in October.  

I can’t wait to share more with you in the next 12 months.  If you have one word that describes 2020 for you, please leave a comment below. 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

An Ode to 2020 (Sorry St. Nick)

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

It’s only days to the New Year and across the nation.

Canadians are thinking when they’ll get the vaccination.

Because of lockdowns, quarantine and isolating

Our Christmas decorations have been up since Thanksgiving.

In the late evening hours near the end of the year

I sit and remember the 22 books I’ve read that sit near.

I think of the good, the great and the one that was bad,

Twenty-Two books! That’s the quite a reading year I had.

While reading is great, a wedding give me chance of a lifetime,

For in the book “Not Cancelled” is a story that is mine.

Pandemic spending and government handouts

Have helped Canadians of this there is no doubt.

But what of the plan to paydown the debt

The government hasn’t said nary a word yet.

The PM says we shouldn’t shoulder the payments

He’ll pass on to future generations that commitment.

The Tories want a plan and the NDP want to spend

All our good fortune until the very end.

Singh wants a Wealth Tax to make up the shortfall,

But studies show the 1% he’s proposing won’t cover it all. 

All of the Premiers and everyone on their teams,

See all the work they do reduced to memes.

Let’s all listen to Doctors Bonnie Henry, Deena Henshaw and Theresa Tam,

So next year we can have family dinners with turkey and ham.

Some have accepted and there a few that continue to ask,

Why oh why what must I isolate and wear a mask.

I wonder who these people are and what they are pondering,

Don’t you think that 2000 cases a day would have them wondering. 

I’ve switched most of my listening from CD to streaming and vinyl,

The best I’ve bought are from Tenille Townes and Lindsay Ell.

New music from Dylan, McCartney and Springsteen

Have treated my ears to music from stars when I was a teen.

New music from Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and Haim are newish

They’ll be making music for years, but I still don’t get Billie Eillish.

Even though we love our homes where we went to work and hide

We have all taken to walking great lengths and escape to the outside.

Cities closed roads and allowed us to walk on the street

An app counted our steps, breathing, mileage and our heartbeat. 

Podcasts became the thing for us to do,

I’ve listened to many and exclusively to a few. 

For a political fix I know there are plenty 

but for me there is And Another Thing and the Herle Berly.

Peter Mansbridge, remember him from the National?

His “The Bridge” Podcast daily helps make COVID rational.

By far the Podcast I download regularly

“The Broken Record” entertains me musically.

Rick Rubin and Malcom Gladwell who as a host

Demonstrate how to ask questions and get the most.  

We’ve read, or experienced, sadness, hurt and sorrow

There is no guarantee of what to expect tomorrow.

There is (hopefully) a light at the end of the COVID tunnel

To get there we need to understand there is info to funnel. 

Thank you for reading Red Heart Blue Sign

Writing it and reading comments is a real treat of mine.

The minutes wind down and the 2020 is almost done 

Thank goodness to old is over and its now twenty-twenty-one. 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

RHBS Q Note December 16, 2020

As you may know I was in Vancouver for two weeks, we flew Air Canada on flights that were pretty unexciting, meaning it was normal as far as travel goes. Of course we did certain little things that indicated it was not the same. We wiped down our seats, the tray, the screens and arm rests, and we did that a few times through the flight.

Photo by Athena on Pexels.com

I commend Air Canada for making sure we got on the flight as safely as possible. There seemed to be more sections that were called to board the plan. Travellers were considerate and kept their distance and the issue of wearing a mask was not an issue at all. The flight staff were kind and recognized that boarding the pane was not and should not be a race to our seats. The boarding was efficient and what I found was, because the boarding was staggered by more sections we didn’t get bogged down to get in our seat by waiting for other passengers putting bags in the overherad compartments. II’ll give all sorts of kudos to Air Canada for getting us boarded.

The same cannot be said for getting off the plane. I was surprised, almost shocked that the fight staff didn’t take the same care getting passengers off the plane. The mad rush to get up the aisle to win the sprint to get off still took place. Maybe I am wrong, but if you take the care to get on the plane safely shouldn’t the same care be given to getting passengers off?

In the same manner the plane was boarded i expected that the plane would unload row by row in an orderly fashion – and by orderly I don’t mean everyone standing up and waiting to get out. I waited for announcements asking everyone to stay in their seats untiil their row was next to leave. There was nothing, I didn’t hear the simplest of instruction to sit and wait. I am sure many passengers were uncomfortable with stgrangers standing next to them.

For all the care that Air Canada takes for safe boarding, I hope they and other airlines ask the passengers to take the same courtesy of getting off the plane they do getting on.

Avoiding Winter

March 13, 2020, the day COVID hit Canada and everything shutdown, we escaped Ontario for BC for two weeks.  You can read all about it here: https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2020/03/28/y2kxx-a-new-normal/.  At that time we were escaping winter in Ottawa in March and traded snow and ice covered sidewalks for beaches and long walks to the Olympic Village in Vancouver. When we returned, the snow was still there, but we knew that the snow and ice would melt. 

At the time of the first shutdown, BC was listening to Bonnie Henry give out advice how to care, be kind and be careful and safe by getting socially distant. When we returned home, working from home was the norm and we isolated; at that time while Ontario was just at the start of the pandemic and BC had the highest numbers.

Eight months later we went back to BC; the past two weeks we escaped the start ice and snow in Ottawa for something we knew would be better this time of year.  The wet was a huge improvement over the ice- and snow-covered sidewalks of home, especially with temperatures hovering at 10C.  The west coast sun made an appearance for a few days.  The sun in BC was the first rays of sunlight we had seen in quite a while, what a beautiful sight.  

The COVID shoes though, were on opposite feet.  Ontario was seeing a large surge of the second wave and while BC was seeing second wave increases, they weren’t at the level of Ontario.  The timing of our return trip out west saw the potential end of the pandemic nearer with the first approval of a vaccine and plans for a vaccination roll out, it was all a good sign – we just needed to survive a second wave.

We had a nice little AirBnB only a few minutes’ walk to Liz’s daughters’ home but, for me, this was part vacation, and part “work-from-away-from home”.  Because of the 3-hour time difference, the mornings were early, but so were the afternoons when I could end while there was still daylight.  I am eternally thankful that early on the west coast zoom calls have the option of turning the video off; too many people would have seen a hoodie and ball cap from my end.  But it worked and I worked without missing a step though I felt bad making a few late phone calls when it was still a work hour where I was.  

Based in the Strathcona area of Vancouver there were a few things to discover, the first was coffee, the chain stores were absent in the neighbourhood, thankfully the local coffee shop was plentiful with three amazing local shops within a 500 m radius of our Airbnb.  Three shops; Hunnybee, Wilders and The Garden Strathcona kept me in good latte health with amazing local handmade sandwiches and baked. Discovering these shops have been a real find. That’s not all I found, I found craft beer!  While local coffee shops were close, there were even more craft brewers!  We tasted from three local breweries: Strathcona, Superflux and Container.  Strathcona had an awesome sour IPA and Superflux specialized in IPAs.  Supreme of the three was Container, we tried 4 different brews and Container batted 1.000: four for four. All four; the Tapestry Belgium Tripel, Pour les mineurs Grissette, Farm Hand Fresh Hop Saison and Good Work Kviek Lager were well balanced and tasted so good with their own unique taste!

Just like our previous visit, this was another trip with a few books to read.  I finished two; “Spoonfed: My Life with the Spoons” by Gord Deppe, “Uncanny Valley. A Memoir” by Anna Weiner” and got well into “Cemetery Road” by Greg Iles before we flew back home. 

For two weeks we avoided winter; sadly, all good visits end by going home and facing our worst winter nightmares; perhaps we earned out homecoming of a freezing rain homecoming to the nation’s capital.  We’ll be in the air Saturday afternoon and if you’re reading this on the day I post it we’re likely still in the air waiting to face ice, sleet, snow and slush when wheels are down.

Thanks for your time in reading and catching up with me.  As always your comments are welcome, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

RHBS Q-Note December 3 2020

I’ve been balancing working in a time zone that is 3 hours earlier than my co-workers. For the most part it has worked out pretty well.

Early dark skies

The trouble is when I receive calls from people who are not co-workers. The past few days has seen calls come in the 6am hour, I have surprised myself at how awake I have sounded. I even surprised myself at 645 Tuesday morning when I woke up as a call was coming in from my Doctor’s office. This would normally not be an issue except my phone is on “do not disturb” until 7am.

How I managed that I’ll never know, Liz was even more impressed that some strange ESP woke me for the call.

I am 4 days into two weeks of a remote work from home or work from an AirBnB arrangement. I’ve been able to log normal work hours for the first three day but today I had to call it quits long before my 8 hours were done. I did manage to work until the home office had cleaned up and gone home.

It felt normal as I closed up the laptops and there was still daylight. Darkness before the end of the workday can be very distressing. The good news is that the shortest day of the year is only 18 days away. December 21st is my favourite day of the year and when I start counting the extra minutes of daylight.

Never mind the number of days until Christmas, I count to the days to Winter Solstice.

RHBS Q-Note December 1, 2020

Welcome to the Red Heart Blue Sign Quick Note, to be known as the RHBS Q-Note, a quick way to connect with you and talk about a things that are happening but can’t make it to my regular weekly blog post.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Today I was thinking about the youngest and the oldest girl/woman in my life being cared for. I am in Vancouver for a couple of weeks as we welcome young Freya, now four weeks old , being cared for so well by her mother and by Nana (Liz). Little Freya is being loved and welcomed into this world; everyday is a new experience for Freya and her mother. We’ve only been with Freya for a week, but she is quite a littke person and we can see how she is different from her cousins Jasmine and Julianne. I know that Liz is soaking every second she gets with grand daughter #3.

I am thinking of my mother, who turns 90 next March, is undergoing hip replacement surgery in Mississauga tonight after a fall a week ago and a visit to the ER a couple of days ago revealed a fracture, a fracture that was extremely painful for my Mom. This is the rotten cherry on 2020 for my parents that because of their age, my Dad is 93, all they’ve been able to do is going shopping every Monday. The rest of their time is spent in their condo. I’ve noticed the hardship my parents have experinced being isolated from their neighbours, friends and family.

Tonight my prayers go to Freya and my Mother that they both sleep well and that tomorrow is a day that brings smiles, and the friendly voices of those that love them.

Tomorrow, do what you can to help someone, anyone – family, friend or stranger. 2020 has taken enough away from us. Its time to give back to someone.

Breakfast with Glen

I received a text from a good friend this morning, Glen, asking when we could get-together for breakfast.  Glenn and I would have a standing monthly breakfast at Dunn’s on Elgin Street in Ottawa.  It was much easier to do when first Glen and his wife lived downtown, we could see each other’s balconies from our respective condo buildings in the golden triangle.  They moved to the south of the city in search of a backyard and a home that could give Glen what he really wanted, a music room to play and listen to music. Second, it was easy before Dunn’s Deli closed, another location was required.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

Glen and I have many political discussions, I am a Conservative (though Glen is convinced I am Liberal) and Glen is a former Liberal who worked on a Conservative campaign (with me – and not mine) and now leans further left but I am sure his is a supporter of a good Conservative economic policy. Though I do know outside of his political affiliation, he is loyal. Glen came to a Christmas event I hosted a few years ago as a Candidate for the Ontario PC Party.  Glen came as Santa, a ‘fit’ Santa, I know a couple of ladies still remember that and mention it to me when I see them.

It was Glen that introduced me to a few books that I would not think to pick up, namely Naomi Klein; Glen introduced me to the most difficult book that I have ever finished, “Saving Capitalism” by Robert Reich.  I think it took me many weeks to read that book as I had to re-read many portions.  I recently saw Reich on a Munk Debate, he was much easier to understand in that video presentation than reading the book.

The point of all this is my breakfasts with Glen were something to look forward to, I knew would have some amazing nugget of information after 60 minutes.  Lately I have only been able to see Glen when a mutual friend invites us to get together, safely.  So for now I don’t have those breakfasts, I haven’t seen Glen at breakfast for months which makes the text I received from him today was an even greater pleasant surprise.  

I am sure that with the current situation in Ottawa Glen and I will figure out where we can have a safe and great tasting breakfast.

I bring this up today to ask what you have missed since March? I ask this especially as we start December, in the 10 months of this pandemic are there visits that you haven’t been able to have?  We have no idea when we will be able to call or text a friend and set up a breakfast get together.  It will happen that we can do the things we could before March 13th, just when that will be is the big unknown.    

When do you think you will be able to the things you love without any fear of COVID-19? What activities have you missed doing?  Who, besides a parent or child, will you call for that long overdue breakfast?  Please leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

A surprise from CBC Ideas

I am a person who respects the way things have been done and without  proper notice, I don’t always handle change well.  

Last week I wrote about the annual Massey Lectures on CBC Radio.  I was not very impressed that after usual five lectures there were no solutions and as the title of the series suggested there was no reset of the internet for civil society.  It was the most unusual of all the Massey Lectures I had ever listened to.  On the Sunday following the end of the five lectures, Ron Diebert appeared on a portion of Cross County Check-up to talk about the internet, it was billed as an AMA or IRL (in real life) known as “Ask Me Anything”, a forum that originated on Reddit.

I sent in a question via the shows Facebook page, I asked, after five lectures, where was the reset?  Isn’t the whole week meant to build up to the answers to the questions asked Monday to Thursday?  My question was not put to the guest.  I was at a loss, but I moved on and let it go.

The next day, Monday, I prepared to download a podcast to listen to while working out later that evening.  I had subscribed to the CBC Ideas Podcast so I would have the Massey Lectures immediately available, on that day there was a notification for a sixth Massey Lecture, the one where Ron Diebert would finally talk about the long-promised reset. I was unprepared for this, there was no promise of a sixth episode on the Friday and on Sunday afternoon there was no mention of ‘listen in Monday for the last Massey Lectures, “the one where Ron tells all”.

I was not disappointed, the last lecture did indeed talk about the reset, a reset that includes the following “R”s; Retreat, Reform and Restraint. The three are very relevant to today and necessary for each of us to reconnect with the world before apps and 24 hour access to everything became the norm.

In “Retreat” we hear how unplugging and going of the grid is no longer the option that the world can live by.  Our digital retreat sounds wonderful, but we soon forget that society and government is not going to unplug.  We’ve gained much from our digital society; can we really go back?  I subscribe to the idea we all need to have a digital detox, but a digital deletion, is that realistic.

The Canadian government has long promised to hold digital mega companies to account, to pay taxes, specifially GST on advertising dollars leaving Canada.  This past week Bill C-10 was introduced that would give the Canadian Telecommunications and Radio Commission (CRTC) ability to regulate streaming and digital content providers.  Diebert talks about “Reform”, minimal intrusive regulations allowing digital companies the ability to the governance of their users and themselves.  There will be push pack, last week Facebook had an op-ed on this very topic printed in the Globe and Mail.  Reform or a Reset will only come if all parties agree on how people can be protected with simple and reasonable principles for a democratic digital landscape.

Diebert talks of the final “R” restraint as being the building block to a reset digital society.  Restraint is our hands, our self-control; keeping reasonable personal limits that allow us to be assured of our privacy.  It also means restraining how our person data is used by government and private digital conglomerates. 

In the end there has to be a will of the government and a want of the digital companies to take real steps to protect our data; to protect the social platforms against hate and discrimination and to ensure that corporate social responsibility is treated as seriously as the bottom line of financial earnings and loss statements.

If you haven’t yet, I recommend you download the 6 episodes of Ideas and over the course of a few days listen to what Ron has to say and let me know what you thought by commenting below or email me at rdmedia@bell.net.

In March 2021 Rob Diebert will be back to discuss the lecture series on CBC Idea with host Nahlah Ayed, I hope he confronts the ideas that he presented this week as well the problems and while leaving us hanging waiting for the reset. 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net