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.

Why you shouldn’t buy followers.

Do you ever notice how some people on youtube can have millions of subscribers and only get 10,000 – 20,000 views per video, while others have millions of subscribers on youtube and they amass 500,000+ views per video?

Do you ever see someone with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of WordPress followers post something to their blog only to get three or four likes… and rarely ever have someone comment on their page at all? You may not be able to see their analytics, but you can see the responsiveness to their blog and it makes you wonder… why no one cares what they’re posting if they have so many followers.

If you do notice this, do you ever wonder why this is?

I have a theory. A theory that I cannot prove, but a theory that I am certain is what’s happening.

About three months into my blogging journey was when I amassed my first 1,000 followers (which was a huge day for me!) on WordPress. About that time was also the point in time when I began getting inundated with messages from people who promised me things like: 5,000 organic, responsive followers for just one single payment of the low, low price of $49.99!

$49.99… that sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?

Actually, one offer that I got for just $200 was for followers on my WordPress page, Twitter account and Instagram account! Good little leeches saw all of these accounts connected and got creative!

These messages come in through my ‘Contact’ page on WordPress and through DM on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve never paid a whole ton of attention to Twitter, so being bombarded with these messages there was… interesting. I guess if you meet their criteria, they really do want to sell you their ‘product’.

In case you’ve yet to figure out, their product is not ‘organic, responsive followers’. These followers are bot accounts, made in masses, created to be sold to people wanting to get ‘InstaFamous’ quick.

How do I know this? Because I’ve purchased followers for Corporate accounts before.

About three years ago I was put in charge of Digital Marketing/Online Engagement for an international event that was happening in Ottawa. This event, while very familiar to people in certain parts of the world, has failed to garner the international attention it desires for being an international event.

My boss wanted a larger following on the social media platforms – specifically twitter and instagram, so that he could promote these mass groupings of followers to potential sponsors to gain more sponsorship money for the event. How do you get a larger following on social media on Friday when your boss’ first sponsorship proposal is being pitched on Monday morning? You buy them of course.

I didn’t like the idea at the time. I didn’t feel right about the idea at the time. We really didn’t know where the money was going, or to whom it was going to, we just gave over the corporate credit card for the promise of 50,000 new followers.

It’s worth noting that when you buy followers, you’re buying the number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.

We went from 6,000 followers on Friday at 4:00 pm to 56,000 followers on Saturday at 4:00 pm.

My boss was happy. He got what he wanted. He could make his pitch on Monday proclaiming that we had a massive following of people to which we could influence through social media to buy their products, and for that reason, they should sponsor our event.

And he did that.

He sold the crap out of our social media following and brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue as sponsorship for our event.

The problem was, we could not actually provide any return on investment. To the outside eyes, we had 56,000 followers. In reality, we had 6,000 followers. 6,000 concentrated followers from one area of the world.

It’s also worth noting that when you purchase followers it distorts your performance metrics.

My boss went to these International Corporations selling ROI for a following of 50,000 plus when in reality our following was 6,000.

He got the sponsorship revenue that he wanted, but in return, we could not provide these companies any ROI. Actually, in the end, he wound up having us ‘fudge’ the analytics to make it look like we had larger responsiveness than we did. This caused a rift in the relationship with these sponsors because he essentially blamed lack of investment in this companies on these companies. Let’s just say… they weren’t interested in sponsoring more events after that.

The purpose of this story? Don’t always believe everything that you see online. My theory is that a lot of these major Youtubers that people might be watching, they bought a lot of their followers. If someone has 1.2 million Youtube subscribers and are making an average of 10-15 thousand views per video, something’s not right. If someone has 10,000 WordPress followers and garners 5-10 likes per post, something’s not right. You may not be able to prove they bought their followers, but you can think twice before you accept any recommendations for products or advice they’re giving you.


REASONS TO NOT PURCHASE FOLLOWERS:

  1. It’s dishonest. Whether your accounts are for business or personal, shouldn’t your main goal to be honest with the people you’re interacting with?
  2. You’re not purchasing organic, responsive followers for your page, you’re purchasing bot accounts to make it look as though you have a lot of followers when in reality. If you think your content is good, these bots aren’t going to care.
  3. Purchased followers distort your performance metrics. If you have have 100 followers and a 60% read rate, your performance metrics are what I used to call ‘Bomb.com’ in the marketing realm. If you purchase 1,000 followers, your performance metrics are still 60 followers of 100, but your metrics look like you get 60 of 1,000.
  4. Instagram and Twitter have people on staff to purge fake accounts. This purging of bots has gotten even more strict after the last Presidential Election in the United States.
  5. If you have a desire to give ROI with respect to your social media platforms, you’re essentially lying to any companies you’re doing business with. You’ll be lying to get their business and you’ll need to lie to them (and ‘fudge’ the analytics) once you fail to meet the designated ROI.
  6. If your goal is to influence, you’re not going to be able to influence bots.
  7. Bought followers can often bring spam with them.
  8. What you lack in credibility after purchasing followers, you’re going to have to lie to cover up, or let people see the truth… you lack credibility.

I wholeheartedly believe that purchasing followers is wrong. I wish that brands would pay more attention to the people and companies they’re doing work with. I want them to look beyond the number of followers that someone has to ask for real time analytics and proof of engagement.

I won’t name any names, but I can think of at least a dozen people off the top of my head I feel like would struggle to show real time metrics/analytics to any of the companies they do business with. That being said, there seem to be a lot of companies in this world who see that follower count and don’t look beyond followers. I guess you could say that’s the company’s fault, and yes it partially is. But then you get into the ‘fool me once…’ cliche.

If you’re really wanting to be organic, open, honest and real with the genuine people who do choose to follow you on social media, buying extra followers isn’t going to do you any favours.

Personal opinions today, because I feel like sharing.

These opinions are entirely personal. I speak for no one but myself in sharing these opinions and I mean no harm with these opinions, I just have a desire to share.

Companies are moving farther and farther away from treating people (customers, employees, potential employees) like actual human beings as a means to chase the almighty dollar. The lack of respect is evident. The lack of connection is appalling. The desire to have less people doing more work as a means to turn a larger profit is not fair.

Pineapple does not belong on pizza. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. How to ruin a perfectly good pizza.

I don’t think lip injections look good. I don’t understand their mass appeal. It’s like… wanting to walk around looking as though your lips were permanently stung by a bee. I apologize if anyone has them and loves them, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on them as a means to understand more. But to me, every time I see them, I just… I don’t understand why.

People pay far too much attention to the business of other’s. The only person that they should be worrying about is themselves, and possibly, their family.

Teen Mom should have ended when the teen mom’s stopped being teenagers. I believe this for a plethora of reasons, including but not limited to: those kids are casualties in their parents’ lack of desire to get jobs and as result will never lead a normal life, the legal issues presently ongoing with many of these families are one’s that should not be given a spotlight and one’s that they should not be able to profit from, perhaps these women (and they are women at this point because they’re 30 or nearing 30) wouldn’t have to whine so much about their constant judgement if they didn’t put their entire lives out there for the world to see, and, I think at this point they’re doing things specifically to try and garner ratings because they’re aware they lost their relevance/prominence years ago.

Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to the United States in my lifetime, and likely many lifetimes before. If you like him, I’m sorry. I just think he’s taken the United States backwards decades. I could go on for hours about this, but I’ll leave it there.

Conservative governments are deeply rooted in religion and wealth and lack any sort of policy or true governmental standards. It doesn’t matter what country you look at, any country under Conservative government, or any country with an upcoming election, you can see the lack of policy. You can see the desire to bully, to beat down and to demean anyone who disagrees with them.

I think the Kardashian family operates with the notion that all press is good press. They have to keep people talking about them in order to sell their products… in order to make their money. I think this is why they continue to do things that are cultural appropriation, blatantly ridiculous or can be seen as cruel or downright unfair to the people who get caught in their cross-hairs. They have large enough teams of employees behind them at this point, I find it hard to believe that not a single person can stand up and tell them cultural appropriation is a bad thing.

Feminism is not a bad word. Feminism is not against the male gender. Feminism is not strictly for females. Feminism is deeply rooted in equality, and the desire to have fair treatment for women. It’s an acknowledgement that men, for all intensive purposes, do have more power, more opportunity, more potential than women in this world, and a desire to bring an equal playing field for all.

When an American politician gets on television to say ‘There’s nothing we can do about Mass Shootings’, there should be a closed captioning beneath them that reads “There’s nothing that we want to do about mass shootings”. The United States is not the rule. If the entire rest of the world can make it work, the United States politicians are choosing not to.

Music, television and movies lack quality in 2019. Producers, directors, companies are doing all they can do to pump out as much as possible without caring about the quality of what is being made. They’re chasing money and they really don’t care what it is they’re pumping out.

***If you would like to share your thoughts on any of the above, please do! I’m open to discussion, and to hearing different perspectives, thoughts and opinions. My only ask is that you keep is respectful.

On ‘the picture of perfect health’.

So, today I was at the grocery store with a friend of mine and she stopped in pharmacy section and picked up a pretty popular diet pill I’ve previously seen promoted by the Kardashian’s on Instagram. Naturally, this started a conversation between us and she told me she’s been taking this supplement for years. This baffled me.

This is obviously my opinion but, diet culture is a monster that preys on the naive, insecure and those lacking confidence in themselves. It worships thinness and equates health to mortal virtue, oppressing people who don’t meet these standards of what ‘the picture of perfect health’ is supposed to be. It’s quite literally an industry that capitalizes on one’s fears and insecurities.

Societal standards are such that… if you’re thin, you’re healthy. It doesn’t take into consideration body-type, it doesn’t take into consideration height, bone density, genetics (because yes, genetics play a big role in it as well), or any of the things that play a role in true health, it just believes that if you are skinny, you are healthy and that is the ideal.

The thing is, there is no picture of perfect health. Why? Because health isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can be thin and be unhealthy. You can be thick and be perfectly healthy. You can be a professional athlete and look like you’ve got an amazing body meanwhile you’re supplementing with illegal substances to make yourself look that way. I guess that’s what I wish people would take more time to understand… Being thin is not the sole and only criteria for health.

These pills that promise you can lose 30 pounds without diet and exercise, they’re lying. Actually, any substance or procedure that says you’re going to lose weight without diet and exercise is full of shit. Why? Because that’s not how our bodies work on the inside. Our bodies are fully functioning machines on the inside, they need proper diet and exercise to be fueled at their finest.

There’s a well-known Youtube personality, Dr. Mike, who explains it in a way that I think makes the most sense. Think about all of the time Doctors spend with patients trying to teach them about how to lead a healthier life, about the importance of exercise, about how they can institute these tactics in their own lives, the things they can eat to help lose weight, the things they can avoid to keep them from gaining weight. Doctors spend hundreds (if not thousands) of hours per year just trying to teach patients about how to live healthier lives. If these pills were all they’re cracked up to be, why wouldn’t they just tell patients to take these pills? Why would they waste their time trying to teach people about healthy eating and exercise? Why would they follow up? Why wouldn’t they just throw a bottle of “Diet Pill name” at you and tell you to GTFO.

Because health has nothing to do with thinness. Health is about how you treat your body, what you put into your body and making sure that you look after your mind and your soul. Health is how you feel about yourself, how you feel on the inside and how you feel you look on the outside. Health literally looks different for every single person on earth.

In summation: equating health with thinness is a mischaracterization of the true definition of health. Diet culture is big business, and in a world where money talks, can you really trust the companies pushing diet pills on you to have your best interests at heart?

One of my favourite books.

“It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty…” 

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

If you’ve ever found yourself a book that holds a special place within your heart, that encapsulates all that you feel about the world and all that you feel within yourself, than you’ll understand how I feel when I read this book.

I first fell in love with ‘Into the Wild’ in tenth grade when I was given the book to read as a homework assignment. Over the years, I’ve probably read this book 100 times over. Each time that I read it, I get something new from it.

Synopsis:

Known for starving to death in the Alaskan wildnerness, Christopher McCandless was an ambitious man from a well-off family with an aching need for adventure and a stubborn penchant for self-reliance.

After graduating from college, McCandless leaves everything behind and begins on a several years long journey across America in search of a place to call his own. He changes his name and leaves everything from his former life behind so that his family is unable to find him. Eventually, McCandless’ journey leads him to the Alaska wilderness, where he believed he found the solitude he’d been searching for so long for.

It’s a real-life story of adventure and heartbreak, telling the tale of lost soul who only wanted to find his happy in the world and would stop at nothing to do so. McCandless was an intelligent, extremely self-aware, caring and kind man who lost his life in search of solitude.

The book weaves McCandless’ journal entries with letters, interviews and a few speculations as to his state of mind along the way. It’s filled with incredible passages of thought provoking stories and quotes that cause one to think about the world in the very best of ways.

My take:

Most seem to think he was crazy, but many also think he was quite smart and admired him for what he did even though he managed to succumb to a couple of bad choices along the way. Personally, I can understand it. I can understand how one would search to vastly, so thoroughly for peace in this world that they’d be willing to stop at no bounds to find it.

McCandless was a visionary, who spent his life chasing something many of us are too afraid to even consider. His words are well spoken, his thoughts a little skewed (perhaps) but extremely intelligent, and his life is definitely one worth knowing about.

It’s not a long read, but it’s a great read if you’re looking for a new book to check out this summer. And, if you need some more convincing, google “Into the Wild Quotes” and read some excerpts from the book. You won’t regret it.

Also, read the book first. Don’t just watch the movie. The book is a lot better than the movie.