Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

Hello everyone, from Mexico!

It may be comforting for you up north, to know that down here, we are also having to cope with similar conditions as you are suffering this holiday season.

Seriously now, this is our Christmas letter to you all.

2008 brought some significant changes for Sandy and I. One major change was my favourite (only, but favourite) son Lyle, graduating from High School. The other was that the many months of planning for a transition of ownership of Olds Electric & Lighting Ltd., to Jeremy and Cindy Tookey became a reality in early September. With Lyle gone to Germany for the better part of a year on his own little adventure, the stage was set for Sandy and I to move in to our motorhome, and set off to explore the open highway. We plan to work more diligently on our website business,, but so far we have been very busy with travelling, visiting, and doing a whole lot of nothing. Since we left the Olds area on September 22, time has really flown by for us. We believe that we are in a transition period, and with that I think comes a bit of a "state of shock". Although we miss our friends and family tremendously, we are having a great time on our new adventure.

To sum up our travels thus far, we went from Olds, to Fernie, to Whitefish Montana, back to Vernon BC, then off to Burnaby, then down the west coast, then to Palm Springs (Indio), over to Mesa AZ, then up to Las Vegas, down to Lake Havasu AZ, then over to Casa Grande AZ, then down to Puerto Penasco Mexico, where we are now at Christmas, and plan to move on further south for a couple of months.

To our family and friends, in lieu of Christmas gifts that we would have purchased for you all had we been with you this holiday season, Sandy and I plan to give gifts to some of the less fortunate people here in Mexico. We haven't found just where the best place to use the donations will be here yet, but when we do, we will be giving either a monetary contribution, or other worthwhile gifts that we see the most urgent need for. We will give the gifts in your names, and will take some pictures of who's lives you made a bit brighter if possible.

We really miss our family and friends, especially at this special time of year. It makes you realize what Christmas is really all about. To all of you, please have a very Merry Christmas, and all the best to you in the New Year! See you all in the spring!

All the best!
Terry, Sandy, Molly, Callie, and Champ!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Crisis in Columbia (oops, meant to say Canada)

I apologize for getting political again in my blog, but I believe it is essential that everyone that has any influence at all, needs to speak up about the situation in Canada, and what it means for any Country that claims to be a Democracy.

If you aren’t aware of what is happening, let me give you a quick update. We have several political parties in Canada, but the real choices boil down to two. The Conservative Party, and the Liberal Party, and you could draw a reasonably analogy here to the Republicans and the Democrats in the U.S.A. Conservatives are right of center, and the Liberals are left of center. Neither strays too far from the middle or they would be crushed in a country that has political views as broad and as wide as the country itself. Then we have some fringe parties on the sidelines that can make some noise, especially when they get a leader that rolls up his sleeves and boldly proclaims that he wants to be the Prime Minister, but in most Federal elections his party gets only about 15% of the popular vote. They are called the New Democratic Party, or N.D.P. for short. (Democracy in their name is a bit ironic). Another small percentage is split up among the other parties, one of which is only based in one province and the entire platform of that party is to take all the good things that Canada has to offer, but to split away from Confederation to be a country within a country. (I know, it sounds bizarre, but it’s true). In our last election, these fringe parties split up the votes for the main choices that we have, and like the last couple of elections, neither the Conservatives, nor the Liberals were able to get enough Members of Parliament to form a Majority Government. We elect M.P.’s to represent our interests in Federal issues, and each member that runs for office is normally affiliated with a political party (some are independent for various reasons). The party with the most members elected, earn the right to form a government, and the Leader of that party becomes our Prime Minister. If they don’t have enough elected members to form a majority, they get to govern with a minority. This is not really the worst case scenario as it keeps the government from doing anything goofy and forcing another premature election, but it gives them the mandate of the people to govern as they have a huge portion of the popular vote in comparison to the other parties. In the last election, the people chose the Conservatives to lead us, and with an even stronger mandate than the last election (from 36% to 38%). The Conservatives would likely have garnered a majority, but a lack of funding for Arts and Culture cost them some critical support in Quebec. The Liberal party got historically one of their worst results in Canadian History! Here’s where this all gets almost un-believably, incredibly stupid. The leader of Liberal Party may soon be installed as our Prime Minister! With only 26% of the popular vote (down from 30% in 2006), this man that was rejected by the people, has lost the confidence of his own Liberal Party (has agreed to step down as leader), could be our Prime Minister. Here’s how.

The New Democrats (cough, cough) under their egotistical party leader, have gone to the leader of the Bloc Quebecois (Separatists) and made a deal to support the Liberal Party (official Opposition) to form a coalition government, and install the leader of the Liberal Party as our country’s Prime Minister. With 26% of the vote, our Prime Minister. Really. I’m not kidding. Really.

News Flash! I just learned that our Governor General has just finished a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and has granted his request to Peroge (suspend) Parliament until January 27, 2009. This will give us some time to sort this all out, and will give the people time to let their elected officials know that this is not what we voted for!

Now I’ll admit that I’m a little biased, and this blog entry will provoke some lively discussion, even within my own family, but someone needs to counter-balance our so obviously left wing slanted national media. I watched an interview with our Global National news desk anchor, Kevin Newman, arguing with one of our government ministers about the validity of this proposed hostile takeover. (I thought the media is supposed to be un-biased when covering any news stories).

So let’s put all bias aside here, and we’ll put this situation in to terms that most Canadians should identify with, and my American friends can apply this to any professional sports league that they can identify with. Please, nobody take offense to this as it is only intended as an analogy!

The Toronto Maple Leafs have sometimes been referred to as Canada’s hockey team. Although they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since the 1960’s, these lovable losers have a firm fellowship of supporters, and equally as many who hate them. However, I suspect that if they were one the last teams standing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, many Canadians would jump on the bandwagon. So here’s my analogy:

Let’s say the Leafs have finally put together a team that has been improving over the last several years, and has been getting closer and closer to being a cup contender. Every year they make improvements, and now, after several years of growth, they have made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadians.
They even have some support in Quebec, as they have shown that they are a good, solid hockey team, and are worthy of support. They get in an epic battle with the Montreal Canadiens, and would likely have been the sentimental favorites throughout the entire country, including a few in Quebec. However, just before game 7, a reporter asks the Leafs team captain what he thinks of Arts and Culture in general. He states that he would prefer to put that aside right now, as he is focused on game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. This costs the Leafs any support that they had in Quebec, but still most people are on side with them to win the Cup.
On the morning of the big game, the regular members of the Montreal Canadiens have been replaced by all the top players from the other teams in the N.H.L. It turns out that the owner of the Canadiens had been in secret meetings with the owners of the rest of the teams in the league, and had decided that if it comes to game 7, they would all ban together to defeat the Leafs. It’s a hollow victory that sparks outrage across most of the country, and the rest of the world, and destroys any confidence in a league that could allow such a thing to happen. The N.H.L. spins out of control, Ratings are way down, season tickets are cancelled throughout the league, and the league goes bankrupt before the next season gets underway.

I hope this puts this outrageous situation in to a perspective that everyone can understand. Stay tuned, as this isn’t over. We’ll see what happens when Parliament re-convenes in January.

If this concerns you, I urge my fellow Canadians to get involved between now and January. Don’t let it get pushed aside as this crisis is not over by any stretch. Attend the rally’s, write letters to the editor, call or write your Member of Parliament, call the talk shows, and join a Facebook group. STAND UP FOR CANADA!