Bits and Bites of Everyday Life



A lesson to be learned from the wild geese
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

While the wild geese are passing through on their way to their nesting grounds, we Canadians are wrestling with another election. We think we are the smartest species on this planet and yet, we can learn much by watching animals in their natural habitat.

Humans hold grudges. This is how we ended up with Mike Harris as Conservative leader in Ontario years ago. Harris proceeded to make massive cuts to education. Schools lost special services in arts, physical education, music and library. School libraries became practically dysfunctional or were taken over and run by volunteer parents. He cut budgets meant for the purchase of books, all the while throwing new curriculum our way.

Teachers had to build the material and find the resources themselves. He did the same thing to the health care system, closing down highly functioning hospitals such as the Riverside and the Grace hospital in Ottawa. He tried his best to do the same with the Montfort hospital but francophones fought back with tooth and nail and saved their hospital. Finally people said “Enough!” and voted Liberal.
Same scenario with the federal government! Many people voted Conservative in response to the Commandites scandal. Many did not realize they were voting for a like-minded, “mutant” Conservative Reform party with similar views to the Harris government. Since then, we have been going to the polls more often than we care to and getting minority Conservative governments.
Now, back to the wild geese! Well-organized, long-flight birds fly faster and more easily to destination because they benefit from the community momentum. We haven’t witnessed any of that with the present government. In fact, we’re not too sure where we’re headed because the leader is keeping secrets. Imagine if we were to end up on a deserted island where community benefits such as universal health care became conditional, environmental issues were left unchecked and international clout was diminished because nobody, except the head bird, knew exactly where we were headed!
Would you be willing to give this bird your unequivocal trust? I’ve also heard that when the head bird gets tired, he moves to the back and lets another bird take over. I think it’s time we switched! Don’t you? Makes a lot of sense!
During the journey, the geese at the “queue” honk in order to encourage the head birds to maintain speed. I haven’t heard much support honking. Criticism has been the norm, more often than not!
When a goose falls sick or is wounded, two other geese go down to help and protect the stranded goose. They will stay with the goose until it is ready to fly again or until it passes away. They will then rejoin another group until they can catch up with their group. Will the Harper government give us the same kind of services in health care, social, legal and environmental issues as we are accustomed to or will he just drop undesired groups and issues as he goes along? I have already voiced my concerns. I hope you have too!
Only 58% of Canadians voted in the last election. This was a record low. In the last election, Conservative attack ads turned people off from voting. The Conservatives tried the same thing this time with their constant criticism of Michael Ignatieff. But lo and behold, people started listening to Jack Layton and his popularity has risen. Harper will try hard to diminish him in the last few days before the election. I can only hope Canadians will vote in Canada’s best interest while ignoring ugly smear campaigns.
For my part, I have had a deep disdain for waffling, manipulations, the delivery of half-truths and secrets. The Conservative government being held in contempt of Parliament was the last straw! I do not trust the present government, its leader and the Conservative incumbent in my riding who waffled his way through key issues again this week. He will not get my vote but I WILL VOTE!
I am looking for a government that will work with the people and for the people. No hidden agendas! This way we will all get to where we are going faster and more easily!
Blessings to all and please vote!

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