Monthly Archives: February 2017

If you could give a TED Talk (what would it be about)

ted

Have you ever watched one or many TED Talks on YouTube? Have you been to a live TED Talk?

Have you thought to yourself, how do I get into one of those to even give a TED Talk?

 

Really? What would you give a TED Talk on? Is there a topic you know you could fill for ten to twelve minutes and keep everyone’s attention during that time?

I have not been watching TED Talks for long, I only subscribed a few months ago. I have a few favourites. But it did get me thinking, if I was asked to give a Ted Talk, what could I fill 12 minutes on?

While I consider that question here are a few  I have recently enjoyed watching:

“Meet the inventor of the online spreadsheet.” Nerds will love this Ted Talk, even non-nerds will find this interesting, and it just proves that anyone who is inquisitive can make a change that impacts the world. Who knew a Texas Instrument calculator could be so inspiring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDvbDiJZpy0

“How to get better at the things you care about.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKACzIrog24

“How to have better political conversations.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V6p1tgHfm0

“How online abuse of woman has spiraled out of control.” It was difficult listening to Ashley Judd recite some of the most hateful comments a person could throw at her, it confounds me that people can be so mean. How do some have the energy to hate so much? I don’t think standing there saying what people think of me (in that way) is something I can do. My TED talk would have to be of a lighter topic.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSf6nij-SdA

“What I learned from 100 day of rejection.” This is a favourite, it has humour and a message, and it is so good that Jia Jiang has given this talk or versions of it many times in many different Ted Talks venues. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talks+100+days+of+rejection

In fact, googling Ted Talks with the author of the talk reveals that if it’s a good one, you can go places – many places where ever a TED Talk talks place. In Ottawa there have been TEDx talks…for those like me who try to discern the different between a TED and TEDx talk – TEDx are independent TED Talks

tedx-2

Consider this, you are asked to give a TED Talk, what is your strength? What is your passion? What are your loves? How do you use those strengths, passions and loves in your life? Do they help you? Do they help you help others or do your strengths just help you get through the day (there is nothing wrong with that)?

When I think of the above I would probably talk about public service. Not your public service that many would call getting elected. I think about the type public service that others would not expect. For me it is coaching a baseball team, volunteering to lead a scout of girl guides camp service on a Community Association and flipping pancakes at a church breakfast. I have done all those things, these were the things that I believe led me to my public service and ultimately lead to my decisions to run for elected office three times. I was never elected, but that does not define me. What defines me is my early public service starting with leading a Youth Group in Church or coaching a baseball team at 16 and even giving a sermon in church (yes I have done this).

These things remind me that at one time I took chances, chances that paid off. 40 years (yikes!) later from coaching baseball I draw back to doing these without doubting myself or being afraid of what other people will think.

I guess I could fill twelve minutes with that.

What about you? If you were asked to give a TED Talk what would it be about?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

The Grand Rebirth

100-wellington-street-former-us-embassy-united-states

The grand ole lady has great bones, fabulous sight lines and is currently the most eligible address in the Parliamentary Precinct.

Last fall Liz and I took a tour of the old U.S. Embassy. It has been empty since the bunker on Sussex St opened in 1998 and US embassy staff moved in. Since then, there has been enough debate of what lies ahead for the 1932 constructed building. Over the course of a few weeks the doors were open and the people went through the stripped down main and second floors. Even though much had been removed and almost 20 years of neglect had done its damage, you could clearly see the potential and past beauty that once was in place.

Walking through the building you could feel the history and grandeur that once existed.  We lucked out, and our interest caught the attention of one of the Project Managers that day after asking some questions,  we were led behind the ropes into rooms that were not available for the open house.  In the rooms you sense that the walls are just waiting for the moment that restoration begins.  Filled with the natural light of the large windows the rooms require little in additional illumination.  The view of Parliament from what must have been the Ambassador`s office is breathtaking, and any weather, sun or snow would not diminish it.  For a Canadian catching the same views when the building is open again, it will be of the same magnitude of seeing the first fireworks that appear from behind the Peace Tower on Canada Day or making a turn and getting that first glimpse or spray of Niagara Falls or looking up from street level to view the CN Tower.  The significance of the view will not be lost.

The debate of what to do with the building was left to the fate of an online survey, completed after you finished touring the building on tablets on site or at home online. Walking through the building you could  imagine any number of events taking place in any of the rooms,  a wedding, an art show, a live art performance,  a public presentation or an special awards evening.

Fast forward a few months and the survey says…

…based on the responses from 6500 people, the top three suggested uses are:

  • Canada House, for a taste our our diversity
  • A gallery hosting art of national significance
  • An indigeneous centre, highlighting the culture, acheivements and the prominent role of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples

There were other options but these are the main contenders…or the building could house all three, rotating as needed.

The building,  valued in the ten’s of millions will likely require much more than that for the renovations and building upgrades to turn the building into whatever the government and its project managers decide. It is clear that Canadians have been waiting for the most eligible address in Ottawa to have a new tenant since the Americans moved out. Previous governments had seduced us with plans for a National portrait gallery until the Harper government shelved any plans plans for 100 Wellington.

An announcemnt is expected in “early” 2017. What early means to the government remains to be seen, though considering that it will likely require budget considerations we could hear by March what Trudeau’s plans are.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Sanctuary! Sanctuary?

sanctuary-city

A funny thing has happened since November 8, 2016 (Election Day in the United States); people feel the need to defend values in Canada because they feel similar values in the US are being attacked by the new administration. There is a reaction revolution happening in Canada. Protests against the President are taking place; protests are taking place against the decisions being made in the American capital. Funny thing though, Donald trump is not our President, heck, he isn’t even our Prime Minister. Yet Canadians are taking to the street to protest his actions. Likely though, Canadians are just trying to let our Municipal, Provincial and Federal governments know how they feel about the 45th American President.

I found that there are 17 sanctuary cities in the US; the largest are New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago. In Canada, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and London ON are sanctuary cities. London being the newest, as the city council voted in 2017 to become a sanctuary city. But – do we need to have sanctuary cities here in Canada? Hasn’t Canada always been a welcoming country – taking in thousands from areas of the world afflicted with political uncertainty and upheaval?

What does it mean to be a sanctuary city? The designation of being a “Sanctuary City” ensures that people without legal documentation will have access to services they require. The designation also means that illegal immigrants would not be sent back to their home country if they were discovered.

This past week in Ottawa, Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney indicated she wants to make Ottawa a sanctuary city. A motion to council was expected this week (February 8th), but McKenney held the motion back and hopes to have Ottawa council vote to be a designated sanctuary city in the spring.

The idea of sanctuary goes back over 800 years to the 12th Century in England where fugitives, when they crossed the threshold of a church, the community would be legally required to feed and house the fugitives for up to forty days. I am sure we all at one point have seen a movie where someone is running into a church demanding “sanctuary”. Oh…and after 40 days, the fugitive had to confess his crime, give up everything they owned and walk barefoot to the nearest port and live in exile for the rest of their lives. Sanctuary has evolved since the days of King Henry III.

Back to Ottawa. Ottawa has a very generous history of accepting those from other countries recently; Syrians have found a home on our city as have Vietnamese boat people in the late 1970’s. Ottawans have continuously opened their doors and hearts to help others. Ottawa is now a vibrant multi-cultural community as Iraqi’s, Iranians, Somalians, Congolese and Afghans among others have come to Ottawa to live following political unrest and violence in their home country.

Ottawa, and Canada have accepted the many from the around the world – and in Ottawa’s case, they have had little if any documentation – they have been refugees. This has been done and we have welcomed many without the designation of being a sanctuary city.

So, do we need to have that designation? Conservative or Liberal federal governments have always accepted an open door policy to refugees, this is what Canada is.

Are Canadians and specifically, Canadian politicians allowing President Trump to dictate our laws and regulations? We didn’t expect NO political fallout from a Trump Presidency, but to have one man and his administration have such an effect is surely an overreaction. Canada has survived ‘cool’ relationships with the Americans in the past – what evidence is there where we expect that we won’t get through the next four years, or eight with Trump? It’s not like he can rule as Prime Ministers have for 10-15-20 years.

Are demands for sanctuary cities nothing more than a reaction,  a shield, a need for protection a need to define LOUDLY our Canadian Values?

Do Canadians lose when we feel the need to ‘bulk up’ against someone who has such different values than us? Shouldn’t sanctuary be something we want as a proactive step rather than a reactive move against one person?

If becoming a sanctuary city was such a good idea, why haven’t we discussed this earlier? Why do we need to wait for one person to cause this to happen. If we haven’t needed this is the past, why do we need it now?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

A Cap ‘n Trade happy ending

happy-endingsDISCLAIMER: I am not a climate change denier, I have been on the earth long enough to know that our climate is changing and that everyone must do something so that when Canada celebrates 250 years our great great grandchildren will have a just as great country as we did 100 years previous. But, I am also aware that wages are not increasing in the private sector as fast as taxes are going up and being introduced. The end of being able to fund EVERYTHING the government wants/needs to do is coming.

Somehow I got an email from a company that was announcing its purchase of Cap and Trade credit, I do not know how they had my email address but that is beside the point here. An Ottawa area real estate team annouced that they had figured our their carbon footprint and purchased carbon credits to offset the carbon they create/use each year.

My first reaction was great – thank you for recognizing your environmental impact. My second was, you have a new cost and now you are going to pass it on your clients? On top of that in the email, there were suggestions on how to reduce our individual carbon footprint like using LED bulbs, lowering our thermostats when we’re not home, using cloth or reusable grocery bags an fill our green, black and blue bins for recycling.

Did the writer of this email think that we weren’t already doing those things? People are doubling up sweaters when they are home to reduce electricity consumption to stay warm. Many have to decide do I heat or do I eat? I asked the company to talk to the government and let them know that consumers are reaching the end, the disposable incomes of Canadians are thinning out because of the passed on costs of taxes and carbon credits to consumers.

They Real Estate company probably don’t expect any replies, but I decided I should ask a few questions on their decision to purchase Carbon Credits. How many did they buy? How much did they pay? Will they be passing the cost of their purchase onto their clients? Are they aware that by passing on the cost, they are adding to the cost of homes in Ontario making it more difficult for first time buyers and families that need a new home to replace the once they have grown out of?

I was not expecting a reply, but I received one the next day. in the email I was told:

“…as a company (we) decided to take this initiative on and fund the costs of doing so without passing them on to clients.”  

Further more they wrote when I asked why they were doing this at a time when cap and trade is going to cost consumers more, they wrote:

“My belief is organizations and individuals should all look at doing this for themselves and that means paying for it themselves not passing it down the line.”

So, kudos to them, I applaud their stance that believing that they alone were responsible for their carbon footprint and that they alone should pay for it.

Kudos to the Adam Mills Real Estate Team in Ottawa for taking a stand for consumers. They won’t get much press for doing what they did, but I hope that word sneaks out and that they have set the bar high for others to follow. That the government will be adding a Carbon Tax line to our hydro costs is expected – that one company in Ottawa has decided NOT to is unexpected.

I hope others WILL take note and follow their lead.

I am not in the market for a new home, but if I were they would be getting a call from me.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.