Curiosity is terminal

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Canada, oh Canada

So the list over on the right is by no means exhaustive. There are probably about 30 blogs and online newspapers I read regularly. And by regularly, I mean a few times a day.  (My own particular jury is out on whether my smart phone was such a smart idea.)  But reading keeps me from writing. Because they are such good researchers and analysts and writers, I often feel like what I might say about these things is immaterial. I am, in a word, intimidated.

I do feel strongly about the state of this country. I am pro-choice. I am in solidarity with the Montreal students and their supporters. I am appalled at the bundling of so many regulatory items in the budget implementation budget. I am in agreement with Mr Mulcair on the situation with the dollar and the lapdog behaviour of the western premiers. I am opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline. I am in favour of Canadian jobs, but not at the expense of the Canadian wilderness. I am an anti-capitalist.

But honestly, I don't know what to say about those things that dozens of people have not already said very well indeed.

25 years ago, the local school district stopped doing certain maintenance on one of the old schools in the city. It was built in 1910. It was a big two story structure with great high ceilings and tall windows and big wide trim, and sagging floors. I went to school there when I was 10, and my daughter went there all her elementary years. 15 years ago the district began their campaign to close it. That was when my daughter was 7. Their first argument was that the school was underused.  In fact it was not underused. There were actually two schools - the regular english public school, and Programme Cadre, a program for French Canadians. Even though my daughter attended the english program, I found the cross- cultural experience of  this combination exhilarating. We learned so much about Quebec by participating in the Programme Cadre events. The school also housed the local YMCA daycare program. In all the school provided rather a rich community experience, but our board had visions of a central mega- school  and no quaint little community schools in children's neighbourhoods.  Why is community and connection anathema to a certain kind of politician?
I remember going home from the first meeting about the possibility of closing the school and being mad. Really mad. And as I brushed my teeth before I went to bed that night, I thought, "Somebody needs to do something."  And I looked in the mirror. And my reflection looked back, and I thought, "Oh..."

We managed to rally the community for 5 years and put off the board's plans. But remember they had stopped doing maintenance 25 years ago? It was intentional. By the time my daughter moved to highschool, the cost of catching it all up was apparently prohibitive. The school was demolished, and in its place stands a shiny new highschool. No elementary school in the area.

I don't know what to write about what this same kind of people are doing to our country (in fact, one of those school board members is now the provincial AG). I don't know how to express my anger, and my fears, and yes,  sometimes my despair. They are making a mess that is going to be expensive to clean up. But in my mind, demolition is not an option.

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