Canadian Neighbours

It’s not a smart idea to go for a walk when the neighbours are out. Actually, when these neighbours are out, we tend to just let them be and avoid even driving past them. It’s a little ‘extra’, sure. But they don’t like it when humans bother them and we Canadians, we like to accommodate one another. They might look nice, docile and cute but I promise you, if they feel threatened you will wind up in a lot of pain.

Normally we don’t see the kids (just the grown ups), but they’re extra territorial when their babies are with them. People say Mama Bears are protective, I swear to goodness, the Moose are a lot more protective of their little ones.

And yes, the plural of moose is moose.

And yes, this is a Mama Moose and baby. Only male moose grow antlers.

The upcoming Canadian Election

Photo from The National Post

I’m going to talk, at length, about Politics. I am hesitant to talk about Politics because I understand that it’s an extremely divisive topic, but there are some things I feel I need to say.

First and foremost, I am choosing to not name any individual politicians in this post because I do not wish for this post to come across as hate filled. I just want to have an open and honest discussion about how I feel about the present state of Canadian politics. There is no hate here, just cause for alarm.

I consider myself to be very Liberal in nature. It’s who I am and what I believe, it’s the party I most align with. I do not agree with everything the Liberal party of Canada does, but, I understand that in life, you’re not going to agree with everyone 100% of the time and I still very much believe in the platform and policies they present.

Presently, in Canada, the media is playing the upcoming election out to be a neck-and-neck race between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. (If you’re not Canadian, these two are basically the equivalent of Democratic and Republican)

The individual running for the Conservative Party is, in my personal opinion, a scary dude. I say that he’s scary because he’s someone who can look you square in the eye, lie directly to your face and laugh about it after the fact. I believe that he’s under the impression he’s got the country fooled and that this election is ‘in the bag’ for him. His campaign is filled with bullying rhetoric, he doesn’t seem to have any plans or policies… at least none that he’s going to allow the Canadian public to hear before the election. Furthermore, every time he opens his mouth, it’s not to say something productive, but rather, to say something he believes to be bad about our current Prime Minister.

Canadian’s are not immune to this. We understand in politics there are certain parties and people who run on bullying campaigns (Exhibit A: The current President of the United States). We understand how this world works and, for the most part, I hope that his negative/hatred spewed, filled with lies, rhetoric towards the Prime Minister is seen for exactly what it is. This particular man has done a lot of alarming things over the course of his career, not only just during this election period.

This man is vehemently against the LGBTQ2 community. He’s not willing to admit to this on the campaign trail, regardless of how many times reporters have asked him about this, but he has been on record in the past (on video) campaigning against giving Lesbian and Gay individuals the right to marry, comparing their relationships to ‘the tail of a dog’.

I want to know how someone thinks that he can stand up for all Canadians when there’s such a large population of our country who’s very indentities he refuses to acknowledge.

One of this man’s constituents, someone running in the riding of Airdrie, Alberta has recently posted some alarming videos to twitter to proclaim that, regardless of your Citizenship, if you’ve not lived in Canada for five or more, you don’t deserve the right to vote. He also says that if you don’t hold a valid Canadian government issued ID, you don’t deserve the right to vote.

This is alarming to me, for a lot of reasons. My brother, a Canadian citizen who lived in Canada up until he was 22 years old, has lived in Denmark since 2012. He’s still a Canadian citizen. He still cares about what happens in this country. He still spends his two week’s holiday here every year. He still donates to charities here. He still considers Canada his home. He still holds a Canadian passport. Why? Because he’s Canadian. He may be choosing to live in the country in which his child is being raised, but he is still Canadian. By this man’s opinion, because my brother has lived in Denmark since 2012, he doesn’t deserve the right to vote?

This could affect so very many people. There are people living and working in Hollywood who still consider Canada to be their home. They don’t deserve the right to vote? There are people who are teaching at Universities internationally, who’ve retired internationally as a means to make their money stretch farther, there a million reasons under the sun why someone might have not lived in Canada for five years. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about what happens in this country. So why should their right to vote be stripped, despite the fact that they are now, and will forever be Canadian citizens who hold Canadian passports?

To the second point of the video the man of the Airdrie riding made, that you shouldn’t be able to vote if you do not have a government issued ID, this just isn’t fair. There are so many people in this country who do not hold a valid ID. This is not to single out any particular portion of the population for any reason on than examples sake, but something I ran into a lot with my last job was that people who live on Reserves often don’t have ID. Why? Because they were born, raised and have lived in a two block radius their whole lives. They don’t get on planes, they don’t get on trains, they don’t own their homes (their homes are owned by the Band), and a lot of them don’t even get the adequate medical attention they deserve. They can go their whole lives without needing or having an ID that would be required by this man to vote. They’re still human. They’re still Canadian. They still care what happens in this country. This isn’t just a Canadian problem. This is something that happens all over the world. It’s something that John Oliver pointed out as a specific issue the United States had in the last election.

One could argue that, if these people without IDs want to vote, they should go out and get an ID. Well yes, I guess you could get them all an ID. But it’s not that simple of a process. If you don’t own a home, because it’s owned by the Band, then you don’t pay bills for that home. If you don’t pay bills, then the only thing that the government has for proof of residence is Band Records. Band records being something that the government has accepted for decades, because of the very reasons I’ve listed above. So if all of these people need to jump through legal hoops to get an ID, are you (Mr. Airdrie riding) going to help them do that in the next 30-some-odd days? That’s what I thought. You don’t want them to vote.

Another piece to this election I find alarming comes from one of the constituents running for the Conservative party in the Burnaby North Seymour. This individual posted a photo their Facebook page of Rick Mercer. The photo has a quote on it, that is attributed to Rick Mercer on the photo making it look as though he’s telling Canadians to ‘Vote Conservative’. Rick Mercer is a widely popular TV personality in Canada, an openly gay man and a man who is openly critical of the Conservative Party and what they stand for. Never in my life to I believe that he would be telling Canadian’s to ‘Vote Conservative’ like this photo suggested. He pointed out this fact on his twitter page when he vehemently rejected the photo on it’s face and stated he was reaching out to the Conservative party to ensure his photo and name are not used on their behalf ever again.

The thing is, Conservatives are banking on people being uninformed. They’re banking on people not knowing that a photo and quote like this are fake. Because uninformed people won’t take a second look, they won’t investigate. Conservatives are banking on people just believing what this photo says. It doesn’t matter if it was up for ten minutes, ten hours or forty days, the fact that it went up at all is widely deceptive and showcases a very alarming side to the Conservative party.

I really don’t know what is going to happen on October 21st. I sincerely hope that Canadians do not elect the Conservative party for federal government. I sincerely hope that we’re not about to send our Politics, way of life and position on the world stage backwards. I sincerely hope we’re not planning on making the wealthy wealthier and the middle class weaker. But, I don’t know. I see a lot of hate being spewed on places like my television, Instagram and Twitter accounts towards the Liberal party. And I get it, people are frustrated, but I just want Canadians to remember that not everything you see is always the truth.

I also want Canadians to remember that you don’t have to agree with 100% of what a party does to vote for them.

Whichever way that Canadians choose to vote, I respect that. I sincerely do. I just hope that they make an informed decision and don’t necessarily believe things being presented to them as true when they’re so blatantly not.

I respect the political positioning of everyone and I respect their right to vote for whomever they please. I respect differing opinions and I respect people who are willing to share their opinions in an open, respectful discussion. There is no room for hatred in Canada, in Canadian politics, nor on this blog. So if your opinion differs from mine, and you would like to share, feel free to do so, just keep it… kind.

On ‘building your dream blog’.

Whether you’re using your blog as a platform for which to vent out the current frustrations of daily life, or, you imagine it a platform for people to come to and learn about the newest and greatest trends of the moment… whatever your reason for blogging, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to take the time to learn.

Learn about the website you’ve chosen to use for your blog. Learn about blogging trends. Learn how to create your best blog. Learn about analytics. Learn about search engine optimization. Learn about how best to phrase the thoughts in your mind so they make the most sense to someone who isn’t you. There’s so much to learn when it comes to blogging. This is an activity that, in my opinion, you should never stop trying to learn more about.

With so many blogs out there, often times it can be really easy to ask yourself ‘is there even room for me’? Yes. There is always room for you. Learning will allow you to better yourself and your blog. If you’ve been wondering about things to read or learn, here are a few tips that I have found very helpful to myself over the past couple of months (since I started my blog in January):

  1. Write for yourself first. This is integral when it comes to writing a successful blog. And, it also happens to be the step that will make you most happy. Trying to write what you think people want to read/see/hear will leave you unsatisfied and confused as to why you’re not achieving the growth you desire. Writing about what you want will help you to find an audience who loves and/or understands exactly what you do and how you feel.
  2. Be consistent. Consistency is one of the most important tools a blogger can use to their favour. Remind yourself that it’s much easier to lose traffic than it is to build it up, so, if you’re blogging, ensure you’re consistently blogging.
  3. Choose a simple layout. Think of it this way: if you’ve ever been to a website and thought that it was cluttered, not user friendly and had an ugly layout, remember that everyone has different opinions. What you like isn’t necessarily what anyone else likes. So, if you’re hoping to create a platform for which to appeal to the most amount of people possible, chose a simple design. Something that is simple is user friendly and far more likely to appeal to more eyes than a specific, more complicated design.
  4. Use catchy headlines. A catchy headline is the perfect amount of click-bait needed to get someone to read your article/post/entry, without actually lying to them about the content within it. (This is much easier to do if you write your blog post first and then choose your headline) The rules for creating a catchy headline are to keep it simple, powerful, useful and bold.
  5. Don’t cheat. I cannot stress this enough. In this day and age, it’s sooooooo damn easy to just talk to one of those ‘growth hacking’ firms that can provide you ‘x’ amount of followers for just a one time fee of $45.99. Please believe me when I say this… a small amount of real followers who follow you because they genuinely love your content and, hopefully you, are infinitely more valuable than any amount of followers that you could purchase.
  6. Give away your knowledge. If you’re a subject matter expert on a certain area, tell people. Give them the information that you have to give. Teach them things! People love to learn, and if someone wants to read, allow them the opportunity. Don’t hold in the good stuff for fear of giving away the ‘secret sauce’. The secret sauce is that blogging is free, and if you have the opportunity to teach someone something – teach them. If you’re a doctor, teach people about health and wellness and how to avoid illness. If you’re a librarian, teach people about books and the options that libraries can provide. Whatever you consider yourself a subject matter expert on, why not share that information and allow us to all be informed?
  7. Stay true to yourself. People don’t care to follow a site as much as they care to follow a person.
  8. Don’t demand attention. Earn it. Hopefully this is pretty self-explanatory. No one has to read your page. It’s not a requirement in anyone’s day. What can you do to make them want to read your page? Because you’re certainly not going to succeed if you try to force them to read it.
  9. Pick a side. If you’re wrong, don’t be afraid to admit to it. Your opinions are your own for a reason, so don’t be wishy-washy when you’re talking. Share your opinions, and be open to the opinions you get in return.
  10. Love the readers you already have. It can be really easy to get so focused on growth that you ignore the people who are already reading your blog. If you’ve got people who are reading your posts, time after time, let them know you’re appreciative of them. If you intend on growing your audience organically, show as much kindness to your readers as they are showing to you.
  11. Use proper tags. Tags are what allow your posts to be searchable, both on wordpress and on google. If you’re aiming to be searchable, having the proper tags associated with your posts can help immensely in drawing people to your page to read your posts. If you write a post about Anxiety, tag the post ‘Anxiety’, don’t tag the post ‘Follow me’.
  12. Give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I think the most important thing you can do for yourself when blogging is to do it for yourself, first. Feed your soul. Let out your thoughts, sadness or desires. Make yourself happy. If you chase this as your passion, that passion will resonate. Do it for the right reasons.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.