Author Archives: redheartbluesign

About redheartbluesign

I think about things and occasionally write about what I think about. I am expanding my horizons beyond politics - though as a former Ontario PC Candidate, the politics will always be there.

Small Business, more than business – it’s social

first jobThere has been a lot of ink used about small business in Canada since the government introduced ideas about taxation. From these discussions it is generally agreed that Small Businesses are good for Ontario and Canada. They support community non-profits, create jobs – first jobs and spur growth in our local economies. There is more to it, there’s what small business does socially, yes, small business is a good social addition to our society.

By social, its not social media, but actually being social; social with customers, social with co-workers and social with supervisors. I recall my first job at 17, clearing a parking lot of grocery carts and looking after the parcel pick-up. It was also where I learned my first lesson of employment. I will have more about that first lesson later.

The social lessons of the small business employer have helped many youth with their first jobs. While as children we learn a lot from our parents, there are lessons that can only be learned from others. In our first jobs we experience different cultures, different languages and finally learning to have someone other than our parents as being figures of authority – someone else that we have to listen to and follow instructions from.

In our first jobs we have to listen to others, that can be challenging, but what saves us when have a new boss that is ‘challenging’ in their ways is our enthusiasm that we have for that first job and the regular pay cheque. We learn that what drives our employers is their need to succeed. Their business is their future and the future of their family. What we learn is not obedience but a respect for authority. While we learn respect in our first experiences of employment it also teaches us that we can also earn the respect of others when one day, we are in a position to supervise and employ others. While we might not know it then, we do learn good and bad leadership styles and hopefully keep the good lessons and learn outcomes from bad leadership.

The first job is not likely to be in an office cubicle, it’s also not likely to be behind a computer. It will probably be in retail, or a service industry – a Tim Horton’s or McDonalds. What is learned in these social settings will set us up for how we treat others for the rest of our lives. I learned in my first job to work with people of all different personalities, how to work for people with different personalities and how we serve so many people in our communities with different backgrounds. It can be very challenging, not everyone can ‘survive the bad boss, but these first jobs teach us the meaning of ‘being’ social to so many and smiling through it all.

In these jobs as service counter clerks, cashiers, grocery clerks is knowledge gained about business from so many that we worked for in those first jobs. When small businesses are lost, so to are opportunities to learn the social lessons by youth in those first jobs. When small business is called the backbone of the local business it should also be known as the great educator of our future business leaders, the leaders who will be better than we are because they will learn from our lessons and our weakness.

My first real lesson of employment came from the words of Roger Kingston, Store Manager of the old Woodchester Mall Dominion Store.  After working for a few weeks he asked if I liked my job, I said yes. He asked me “why does it look like you don’t? You know, you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to work here, but if you do, when you come for your next shift have a smile and have fun when you’re working.”

Boy did have those words helped, I went on to work at that store for 7 seven years and worked in many different positions.  I never forgot to work with a smile. and always made sure I enjoyed working, whatever I was doing.  I’ve had lapses when I let emotion get the better of me and suffered for it, but I’ll never forget the second chance that Mr. Kingston gave me. Because of that I have paid forward second chances to those I thought deserved it.

Small business is not just business, it’s social and the social lessons learned in those first minimum wage jobs we all had. We kill those job opportunities and we also lose those invaluable lessons that build the character of next generation leaders.

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

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What I learned from the Hip

Hip 1I am just an average Tragically Hip fan, I have never experienced the band live.  I am probably more of an admirer than what people would call a true fan, I bought the CD’s created the iPod playlist and chose to learn to play Ahead by a Century on my new guitarI can’t say that I remember how to play it today if I took the guitar out of its case. I consider the Hip to be the new Guess Who, who I grew up listening to with songs of Canadiana. You can’t forget about Running back to Saskatoon; Share the Land, Albert Flasher and of course American Woman. So back we go to about 15 years after the Guess Who and here come the Tragically Hip, 5 kids from Kingston who before we knew it started telling us more about Canada and taught us and reminded us about a nation we weren’t aware of.

The Hip opened up the stories of Canada through their songs. There is the cottage anthem of Bobcageon, the Maple Leaf anthem of Stanley Cup angst 50 Mission Cap and the vastness of the west that include the Paris of Prairies. Like the Guess Who and Gordon Lightfoot their music the Hip created a pride in Canada through their music.

As the word of the Hip spread so did their celebration of not only Canada, but also of whom they were – they were us – you and I. We were and are students of the Hip. The first lesson is that we are all equal. They were equals among themselves and because of that they survived. The Tragically Hip was able to stay together for 30 plus years because they didn’t break up.  The Hip battled through the difficult times.  Simple to say, but harder to do. Image five brothers that stay together for 30 years. In a typical family there is always an oldest brother, a youngest brother and a middle brother. Could the five brothers stay together with those dynamics in place?

Equality created the staying power of the Hip and only when it was clear that the limits of time were ending did Gord Downie seek to create equality for those that had it taken from them. Their music brought Canadians together, around a campfire, the small concert halls and during the #ManMachinePoem Farewell Tour where thousands gathered in public squares, parks, bars and living rooms to watch the Farewell show from Kingston.

From the Hip we learn again, learn to seek our purpose, large or small while there is
time and we work on our purpose until there is no more time. Their music will live on like other bands, dare I say it, as The Beatles, the universal presence of their music will grow and their appeal will continue to expand.   Because there isn’t going to be new music their musical legacy will outlast many others because of the popularity and the connections the Tragically Hip made with Canadians in every bar and on every concert stage they played on. We loved and embraced their music “Fully Completely”.

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

Book Review: Liberty’s Lieutenants

Libertys LieutenantsAh history, we all need to know it so we know where we’ve been as a society and it acts a roadmap of where we need or might be going.

I came to know of Liberty’s Lieutenants as the author works in the office beside me. I am always game to support local musicians, local artists and local authors that I know and happily bought a copy of Matthew Kelman’s book, a book that took the most of the past two years to write, edit and self-publish.

The book has a twofold purpose, first it’s a book about our liberties, our freedoms. . Our six freedoms are the freedom of conscience; freedom of speech; of association; to bear arms; freedom of movement and freedom to own property. Secondly Kelman has selected twelve historical figures (and one historical document) that have defended at least one of the six freedoms; all have military backgrounds and have been on the battlefield.

Kelman has divided that book into three eras; The Ancients; Renaissance and Revolution and thirdly Modernity. In each of these eras Kelman presents a portrait of battlefield warriors that typify how battles were fought. Common in each of their successes is the ability to adapt and change as the tools of warfare evolved and became more dangerous.

Liberty’s Lieutenants is a good start for those that are interested in history and curious about it as well. It is well written, but not written as a textbook. Some of the portraits Kelman provides are available in cinematic form already. Napoleon, William Wallace and the battles of Greeks and Romans are all ready to view, with artistic license given to the Director and Screenwriter. After reading the book, I challenged myself with deciding the top moments of Liberty’s Lieutenants. So I have my three favourite profiles.

The Romans and Greeks (from the Ancients) clearly influenced how wars were fought in the future. These warriors were outstanding strategists, but they were also busy politicians. The two professions went hand in hand, and did so for thousands of years. The practice of being a wealthy noble and military leader existed as recently as the 1800’s. Both the Romans and Greeks had military careers hampered by political actions taken against them while they were on the battlefield, only to be taken to court or lose office when they returned – even if victorious.

The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta was celebrated in 2015. The Magna Carta is general considered the beginning of the division of powers between the Monarch and an ‘elected’ body of representatives. I don’t pretend to think those 35 words are sufficient to anyone who wants to understand the Magna Carta. Trying to do that is a daunting task. A travelling display made its way across Canada 2 years ago as an effort to educate us all about the beginnings of our parliamentary democracy. In Liberty’s Lieutenants, Kelman clearly explains where this all came about from 77AD to 1815 in 11 pages. Not to knock historians that have written essays and papers on the subject, but those eleven pages has been the best explanation I’ve read since 2015.

Of the thirteen chapters examined in Liberty’s Lieutenants, taking conversations being held across Canada and the US about historical figures today, the most interesting selection by Kelman is Robert E. Lee. My history lessons say Lee was a Confederate General; he fought and led Army of Northern Virginia in the war that was all about slavery in the in south. Right? Turns out it is only partially right. General Lee fought because he was against the North invading his home state of Virginia. Kelman writes that ‘Lee was morally and politically opposed to the institution of slavery’. Lee was invited to fight for the Union, declining because as I stated earlier ‘his reservations against raising a sword against his native State.’

Lee’s leading of the Army of Northern Virginia was not always successful, in fact had he been successful the US would look a lot different today. His leading of the Confederate Army was strictly a ‘nation’ issue and not related to slavery. He twice offered his resignation after battlefield losses, his offers to resign were always denied by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. This profile of Lee certainly changed my thinking of the man.

In each profile a generous description and background of events leading up to a conflict and the conflict itself are provided. Kelman also penned the maps of military movements providing a visual for his words. I would only suggest to him to include phonetic pronunciations for names, especially in the opening chapter with Greeks and Romans. I also felt a timeline would’ve been beneficial in locating his subjects with their contemporaries.

Liberty’s Lieutenants is a good read and a good precursor for additional historical reading. Liberty’s Lieutenants gives the reader of a few eras to consider for further study as their interest by be more in the time of “The Ancients” rather than the age of “Modernity” or visa versa. It could be that the age of “Renaissance and Revolution” is more a reader’s preference. In Liberty’s Lieutenants, Mathew Kelman gives a taste of each and lets you decide which road you’ll travel next.

Liberty’s Lieutenants is available on Amazon.ca.

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

When did it become legal to do illegal things?

When did it become all right to break the law? When did good intentions become the alibi to commit a crime?

Overdose Prevention Ottawa (OPO) popped up in a park in the Vanier Quarter of Ottawa as a protest to the City’s lack of address in the opioid crisis in the city. The City of Ottawa had been approved for a Safe Injection Site (SIS) and a site in Sandy Hill is being prepared for opening. The OPO was the organizers response to address a need that could not wait until the permanent SIS was open.

The OPO opened without the required permissions – the route the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre completed for the SIS, and it is unlikely they even tried. The politicians and Ottawa Police are playing ping-pong with the issue as calls to the police from area residents are met without any police response. The Police have stated that the owner of the park, the City of Ottawa, must direct the police to take action, clearly there has been no request made from the city. Ottawa By-Law may have been called in but again it is unsure if any tickets were issued. Meanwhile for several hours a day a park, designed for family use, is a spot for illicit drug users.

The opioid crisis is real and needs to be addressed in the serious manner it deserves.

Following the OPO showing up Ottawa Public Health indicated that prior to the opening of the SIS in Sandy Hill, a temporary site would open in the Byward market, not far from where the OPO popped up. Since the OPO pop up site was created to fill a gap until the SIS was open and the prevention of overdose deaths could be addressed immediately, there was every expectation that when the temp site on Clarence St opened we would see OPO fold up.

Nope, they’re still there, without required permissions in the same park that is now is seeing calls from residents to police about addicts on front steps go unanswered.   OPO has indicated they will pop up elsewhere in Ottawa, again without any permits.

What is to happen to the Clarence St. temporary site when the SIS is open? I predict it won’t close. The City, under pressure from OPO will keep it open as a satellite of the Sandy Hill SIS.

When did committing illegal acts become legal and unpunishable?

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 follow me at www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I occasionally post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

Book Review: Could it happen here?

IMG_20170928_0848160It has been an often asked question following the election of Donald Trump as the US President November 2017, Michael Adams’ book put the question front and centre “Could it happen here? Canada in the age of Trump and Brexit”.

While the title suggests a global perspective, the majority of the information provided by Adams focuses on Canadian and American polling and statistical information. Where does Adams get his research? He does it, the research – or more to the point, his company Environics does the polling and research. What Adams has done is pull the relevant information together and present numbers to make suggestions on the likelihood of Canada experiencing a Trump/Brexit moment.

If you like numbers and love the analytics of numbers you’ll enjoy this read. It reads like a press release at times, meaning for me having to review the numbers a few times to understand the message.   The message is important here, Adams does not go out of his way to make predictions, but present the statistical information to track probabilities in the different chapters.

Could it happen here does cement one fact for me; Canada and the US are extremely different in historical make up, social divisions and the reasons for the differences. This does add up to make the case that Canada’s Trump/Brexit moment is an extreme event and would need more stars aligning than were needed in the US. Our political makeup of three major parties almost guarantees we won’t see red baseball caps on most Canadians.

While the book deals a lot with Trump, it addresses Brexit and the likelihood of Canada wanting its Brexit moment. This year’s NAFTA renegotiations (a by-product of Trumpism) are the example. It was not any demand from Canada to tweak the trade agreement. In Parliament the Liberals and Conservatives are congratulating each other for the Canada European trade agreement. Canadians support these deals because we have been able to maintain Canadian institutions like supply management in the deals. Adams makes a big point that Canada’s immigration is generally supported by all parties and Canadians. The drivers that ended in the Brexit just don’t exist in Canada today.

Michael Adams presents the information that will allow the reader to make a personal conclusion to the question we’re faced with on the cover. But through the polling information and statistical data we see that when looking at the US, the UK and Canada, if you looked back populism seemed most likely in the US. For me, I’ve thought that America’s rise in populism began with the loss of Mitt Romney’s White House bid in 2012. Romney was no John McCain and no George Bush (both of them). He seemed to be as far from the common republican as you could be. But here is the problem, Trump has the wealth of Romney, however where Trump succeeded and Romney failed was that Trump spoke to the grassroots of republicans – Romney didn’t. The base of republican support doesn’t waiver, as it doesn’t with the Conservative Party of Canada. Populism in the US won the 2016 election because of an elitist candidate’s message to the base. Trump convinced the base hen was like them, though the lifestyle he lived was as far from them as anything could be.

Comparing a conservative base in Canada with the American provides substantial evidence that in Canada the rise in populism will be much more difficult. The key information that supports my idea is that Canadians don’t want a leader that doesn’t bend and avoids compromise. Americans and Canadians are opposites in this. Adams points out that a 2011 Environics survey 58% of Canadians want a leader that will compromise, 54% of Americans desire to have their leader to stand firm.

There are other reasons for me believing that Trumpism cannot succeed in Canada; a three party electoral system, our social and economic systems and dare I say it, our “Canadian Values”. There will however always be the wildcard of the voter themselves. Hillary Clinton found this out, the voters are fickle and if you lose their trust you cannot win.

Could it happen here? presents Canada vs. the US vs. Europe in a compact presentation. It also surprises the reader with the similarities between three. Similarities that do make you raise an eyebrow and go hmmmm.

 

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

 

Choose your healthcare life cycle

This is not a sponsored post, but it is written as a supportive post for Bruyere Continuing Care on Ottawa. Locally known as the best and largest palliative care centre in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, Bruyere has been growing and adjusting with new programs for the aged and handicapped. Bruyere has opened an adaptive affordable housing complex and started new programs that encourage older Canadians to stay in their homes for as long as possible. I have been volunteering for the annual Bruyere Radiothon for several years.

Bruyere 2When it comes to healthcare we go through phases in our life. For most of us, our attention to healthcare normally starts when our first child is born.   Prior to that it would have been our parents that took us for shots, check ups and for the broken bones from sports activities. As the years pass the experiences we have in hospitals and who we have those experiences with will change.

When do you start thinking about your future healthcare needs, meaning at what point do we start to think about being proactive and not reactive? What does it mean to be proactive in our personal health care planning?

For me, it means that I think about where I might end up when I need care in the months and years approaching. Will I need physio after a fall? Will my memory start to fade? What about rehab following a stroke? Let me add that I intend to do everything I can while I am in my late 50’s to prevent needing any of the above-mentioned care and treatment. Of course, nothing is for certain but I do have the opportunity to shape what care I might need by being proactive and practicing preventative care. This is important because our current health care systems are not preventive, they are reactive – it will take a generation maybe more of governments to change that.

I’ll leave how the government will handle the change to the politicians and healthcare agents.  For my care and what I want to have available to me, that will rely on my efforts. That means I’ll look to support a hospital that will work to have the needs of my generation, the late edge of boomers, in their plans for care and innovative.

The annual Bruyere Radiothon is being held this week, the once a year radio campaign to raise money for the organizations #LifeChanging campaign. Early this week I attended a private event announcing the goals for the campaign, $30 Million that won’t go to any brick and mortar buildings, but rather to programs and care focusing in Brain Health and Memory; Integrated Senior’s Health and Rehabilitation and all be powered by the sector leading Bruyere Research Institute.

BruyereThe most life changing plans revolve around Brain Health and Memory. As the number of Canadians suffering from dementia is expected to double before 2037, Bruyere will reduce the incidence of dementia by 50% in those same 20 years. Just as important is redefining geriatric care that will allow us to stay in our homes and out of expensive healthcare facilities as we age.  Life changing care is because living longer means living better.

I am not naïve enough to believe that by reading this you’ll support Bruyere and their plans, but what I hope you will do is look forward to your future healthcare.   When you do make that decision you’ll have to consider how you can ensure that care is there because you cannot count on the government to cover the increasing cost of your healthcare 100%.

The need for fundraising by hospitals will only increase as demand and cost grow. Choose your healthcare cycle and support it, for you and your future care.

Please take a moment and click here https://www.bruyere.org/en/life-changing-day and be a part of Bruyere’s #LifeChanginDay

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

Cancon: The making of MAPL music

RHBS184The recent death of Lighthouse founder Skip Prokop highlighted not only his musical prowess with the success he had with hits “Pretty Lady”, “Hats off to the Stranger” and “One Fine Morning”, but he also politically provided key testimony during the initial phases of Canadian content in Canadian radio.*

In his obituary posted in the Globe and Mail (September 8, 2017) Prokop appeared at CRTC hearings in 1970 stating “…in part the kids who are recording will start getting hit records. Then Canadian kids will start paying a certain amount of money to go and see them in concert. This creates the beginning of an industry – you start creating stars within your own country. This is something that Canada has never really had.”

Did his words strike true? Has the introduction of cancon developed the Canadian music industry? Would we have fewer Canadian musical artists cracking the US Charts if cancon had not come into being? If the government had not instituted the Canadian content rules would we have April Wine, Streetheart, Prism and others that may have had a small ripple in the United States but mainly have had successful Canadian careers? Concentrating on the first two decades of cancon, who would not have been here? Who should we thank cancon for, for having some artists in our record collections, mixed tapes and digital music play lists?

Knowingly I have not included names like Bryan Adams, Rush, The Guess Who/BTO, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot. These successful careers were based on influences that were are entirely due to the introduction of cancon rules. The longevity of their careers has guaranteed their music stays out of the “Canadian” bins due to international sales and tours.

RHBS184 1The MAPL system of identifying Canadian content was established by the CRTC in 1971. The MAPL designation identified the Music, Artist, Performance and Lyrics as being solely Canadian. To be a cancon selection two of the MAPL categories had to be of Canadian origin.

The initial success of Lighthouse was borne before cancon rules were in place, though the rules certainly may have extended their radio success. What about other bands, that as Canadians we love, but won’t be more than a passing interest to Americans?

Without prejudice I wonder what the fate would’ve been for the following Canadian musicians/bands if cancon had not been mandated. These bands all had fabulous success in Canada (I have most of these discs in vinyl). Below are just a few cancon era bands I personally love to hear in my playlist.

The 5 Man Electrical Band made more money when Signs was covered by Tesla in 1990 than they did in 1971 under their own name. An Ottawa based band they had other memorable songs including Werewolf and Absolutely Right.  With three big hits they have every right to play the reunion fall fair concert circuit.

The Stampeders had 16 singles charting in Canada from 1971 to 1976, they had but four songs crack the US.   Cancon has been good to The Stampeders. How else do you explain never cracking the top 10 in 7 years and maintaining a solid fans base today while continuing to hear Carry Me, Sweet City Woman and Hit the Road Jack in rotation at Canadian oldies radio stations?

I have nothing but smiles for the music of Michel Pagliaro. He was HUGE in Quebec starting in 1968 but for the rest of Canada it’s songs like Rainshowers and What the Hell I Got, which scored big for Pagliaro in English Canada and cancon gold.

It was the 80’s classic My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) from Chilliwack that made it big in the US but in the early cancon days Chilliwack sustained their career with songs like Lonesome Mary, California Girl , Fly at Night (not to be confused with Rush’s hit Fly by Night) that sustained the band via cancon.

Born from a cancon homegrown music contest, there is no better band than Honeymoon Suite to represents the success of Toronto’s Q107 radio contest. Honeymoon Suite won that contest with the hit New Girl Now. The band scored 6 Top 40 songs in Canada and 2 Top 40 hits in the US.   Without cancon rules and Canadian radio looking for new talent to play it is hard to know just where Honeymoon Suite would be.

With 19 singles released in Canada between the years 1977-1981, Prism is a cancon success. I’m surprised to see their lead single Spaceship Superstar only charted as high as 63 in Canada in 1977. I thought it was a fabulous song! In four years Prism charted 10 times in Canada and 5 times in the US. Prism’s success is cancon-centric, something to be proud of with 5 well received albums by Canadian rock and pop music lovers.

In an odd cancon twist of success, Saga scored big with 5 LP’s from 1980 to 87, but is a European twist; Saga has charted albums in Germany since 1981’s Worlds Apart. Saga soared with a top 3 hit in Canada and Top 30 in the US with On the Loose in 1981. With initial success in Canada the band has succeeded to continue to see success and to tour consistently. As a nod to their German fans Saga has released three CD/DVD concerts sets recorded in Bonn and Munich since 2004.

Canada has shown a real love for its homegrown bands. Whether it was cancon that created the environment for the love, Skip Prokop was prophetic when he appeared at the CRTC hearing back in 1970, “(cancon) creates the beginning of an industry – you start creating stars within your own country.”

*The CRTC mandated that 35% of music played on Canadian music must be considered Canadian content.  2 of the 4 categories of the MAPL pie must be either composed, written or performed by a Canadian to meet content.  Classical radio stations and Windsor ON stations had reduced content regulations.

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 where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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