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Alberta

What My Brother’s Suicide Taught Me About Living

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My brother Brett died 3,285 days ago today. 9 years. It feels like a hundred. It also feels like yesterday. But whereas others have moved on with their lives, I am one of the few left counting. Please don’t get me wrong, I am glad others have moved on. He would be glad too. But my life and how I see it has changed forever.

The morning I learned of my brother’s passing was a day I will never forget. I miss him very much and at times I am still overwhelmed with enormous grief and paralyzing sadness. All these year later when I think about him, warm tears instantly well up in my eyes and roll down my cheeks.

Typically, those feelings catch me off guard: a song, a memory, a family event like our Uncle’s 70th birthday last year where for me his absence is always felt. Or a wedding or the birth of a baby, events that bring so much joy and happiness, yet I always remember that my brother will never experience two of those life’s greatest moments.

It may not make sense to some but my most of my hardest hitting moments are at times when I am happy, not times when I am sad. I am forever left with the feeling of “I wish my brother was here.”

The last time I saw my brother is etched forever in my mind.

A surprise 43rd birthday party for me in December of 2011 filled with love and laughter. That cold, snowy evening ended as usual—a hug, a kiss on the cheek.

“I love you,” I whispered in my brother’s ear.

“I love you, too,” Brett replied to me, like a thousand times before.

That was the last time I would ever see my brother.

Nine years ago, a little after 3 a.m., on March 19, 2012, I was awoken by my husbands’ words, “Jodee, I think someone is here.” I still remember vividly the image of four black pant legs with yellow stripes on the doorstep as my husband opened the front door.

My brother had taken his own life.

The World Health Organization estimates that each year approximately 800,000 people die from suicide, which accounts for one death every 40 seconds. Some sources predict that by 2021 that will increase to one death every 20 seconds.

These deaths are our sons, daughters, moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. And in the approximately five minutes it takes you to read this article, seven people will have taken their life. Seven families, friends and loved ones will very shortly feel a pain like no other, their lives changed forever.

My brother’s death taught me so much, not about dying but about living. I try to remember to cherish life every day, to be open-minded, empathetic, and understanding, and to tell the ones I care about that I love them. I strive and am successful in not being bitter, angry and blaming as those emotions serve no purpose other than to break my spirit and keep me stuck. I work hard to remember that not everyone has the same opinion, that we all experience life and the circumstances surrounding it differently. So, I never get argumentative when others do not agree with my perspective. They have not lived my life, nor I theirs. Without realizing it, my brother and his complicated journey taught me that you never know what someone else may be going through, so I try to be kind.

Because of my brother and his absence, the beauty of life is always fresh in my mind.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish he was here, or that I don’t love him. It doesn’t mean I’m not feeling an underlying sense of sadness. But in his memory, I try to appreciate and enjoy life everyday.

I have made a conscious choice to celebrate how precious life is. That it is filled with so much beauty at the same time can be filled with heartache, challenges and hardship. I am blessed to live in the small town of Sylvan Lake; the water brings me joy and peace. It always has, which I believe stems from my childhood with my brother. Family vacations where we were blissfully happy and constantly in the water.

As much as I can I breathe the fresh Alberta air; I swim in the water and feel the warmth of sunshine on my face. I love the sand between my toes. Because of my brother, I remember how short life is and you can’t take any day for granted. You never know what tomorrow may bring. In fact, you never know if there will be a tomorrow at all.

Today, I celebrate the lives and memory of everyone who has lost their lives to suicide and the families that love them.

Today, my sweet brother, I celebrate the memory and love I have for you.

 

Jodee Prouse is a sister, wife, mom, and author of the powerful memoir, The Sun is Gone: A Sister Lost in Secrets Shame & Addiction & How I Broke Free. She is an outspoken advocate to help eliminate the shame & stigma surrounding addiction & Mental Illness. Follow her on facebook @jodeetisdaleprouse

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. If you think someone is in immediate danger, do not leave them alone, stay with them and call 911.

Author of the powerful memoir The Sun is Gone: A Sister Lost in Secrets, Shame and Addiction and How I Broke Free. Outspoken advocate to help eliminate the shame + stigma surrounding Addiction + Mental Health. Visit www.jodeeprouse.ca or follow on instagram @jodeeprouse

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Alberta

Alberta backs Saskatchewan in court battle defending parental consent for ‘pronoun changes’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘Saskatchewan and Alberta agree that the key figures in children’s lives are their parents, and our provinces are both committed to supporting families and children so that they can work through unique needs together,’ the provinces wrote in a joint letter in defense of parental rights.

Alberta has announced its support of Saskatchewan’s policy requiring parental consent for children to go by different pronouns at school amid a lawsuit against the policy by an LGBT activist group.  

On April 9, Alberta Minister of Justice and Attorney General Mickey Amery and Saskatchewan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre revealed that Alberta will intervene in Saskatchewan’s Parents’ Bill of Rights case challenging their new pro-family laws.  

“Saskatchewan and Alberta agree that the key figures in children’s lives are their parents, and our provinces are both committed to supporting families and children so that they can work through unique needs together,” the joint statement read.  

“Notifying parents and requiring their consent before a child’s name or pronouns can be changed in schools, and before classroom discussions about gender identity and other sensitive subjects occur, ensures that the parent-child relationship is respected and paramount,” it continued.  

The pronoun policy is just one part of Saskatchewan’s new “Parental Inclusion and Consent Policies,” which also include provisions that ensure parents are allowed to opt their kids out of sex-ed, and that third-party presentations from groups such as Planned Parenthood will be prohibited from taking place.   

After the policies were put forth, LGBT activist group UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity at the University of Regina, represented by Egale Canada, filed a lawsuit to reverse the pro-family laws.  

While a judge has ruled in favor of the LGBT group, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced in response that he will invoke his government’s notwithstanding clause to protect the legislation from the courts.   

The notwithstanding clause, embedded in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, allows provinces to temporarily override sections of the Charter to protect new laws from being scrapped while higher courts make a determination on the constitutionality of the law.

The case is set to be heard in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. During the case, Saskatchewan will now be supported by Alberta, which has committed to intervene in the appeal. 

“This case has the potential to impact not only parental rights across Canada, but also the application of the Parliamentary Supremacy Clause, which has been an integral piece of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution of Canada since 1982,” it declared. 

Similar to Saskatchewan, Alberta recently introduced its much-anticipated pro-family legislation protecting children and parental rights from the worst results of transgender ideology, including banning doctors from medically ‘transitioning’ children, requiring parental consent for pronoun changes in school, and barring men claiming to be women from women’s sports.   

Recent surveys have shown that Moe is acting in the interest of Saskatchewan parents by introducing legislation protecting school children from LGBT propaganda.   

According to an August 2023 survey, 86 percent of Saskatchewan participants advocated for parental rights, supporting the province’s new approach to the LGBT agenda in schools.

Furthermore, over 40,000 Canadians have pledged their support for Saskatchewan’s fight for parental rights in the classroom, also calling on all other provinces to follow suit.     

Additionally, a Saskatchewan teacher wishing to remain anonymous previously told LifeSiteNews that she feels guilty about keeping secrets from parents and supports the decision to keep parents informed.    

“I fear that we are not supporting students or parents when we keep secrets,” she explained. “We have many students using alternate names, which sometimes changes frequently during the year, and then are asked by parents if we were aware of the changes after the fact. I feel responsible for keeping the secret and I don’t think it’s fair. I think schools are already taking on too many ‘parent roles’ and it’s important that parents play the ‘parent role’ not teachers!”   

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Alberta

Alberta taking back control of federal agreements

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Alberta has introduced legislation requiring provincial entities to obtain approval before entering, amending, extending or renewing agreements with the federal government.

The introduction of the Provincial Priorities Act, 2024 will support Alberta’s government in pushing back against the federal government’s ongoing overreach into areas of provincial jurisdiction. Alberta’s government will ensure federal funding is aligned with provincial priorities, rather than with priorities contrary to the province’s interests. Under the legislation, agreements between the federal government and provincial entities, including municipalities, that have not received provincial approval would be invalid.

As an example, the federal government’s unrelenting and ideological push toward electric buses in Canadian cities including Calgary does not acknowledge mounting evidence of significant problems with their effectiveness during harsh Alberta winters. Alberta’s government believes the funds that Ottawa allocated for unreliable and impractical electric buses would have been better spent on Alberta priorities including strengthening the province’s economic corridors with improved roads and commuter rail, or advancing the province’s hydrogen strategy as an alternate clean-energy source for transportation.

If passed, the legislation would also support Alberta’s government in getting its fair share of funding when it comes to roads, infrastructure, housing and other priorities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in housing. In summer 2023, Alberta received only 2.5 per cent of the total $1.5 billion in federal housing funds, despite having 12 per cent of the country’s population and, by far, the fastest population growth.

The legislation would also work to prevent taxpayer dollars being wasted on duplicative programs like pharmacare and dental care when what the province really needs is envelope funding to expand existing provincial programs in these areas.

“It is not unreasonable for Alberta to demand fairness from Ottawa. They have shown time and again that they will put ideology before practicality, which hurts Alberta families and our economy. We are not going to apologize for continuing to stand up for Albertans so we get the best deal possibleSince Ottawa refuses to acknowledge the negative impacts of its overreach, even after losing battles at the Federal and Supreme Courts, we are putting in additional measures to protect our provincial jurisdiction to ensure our province receives our fair share of federal tax dollars and that those dollars are spent on the priorities of Albertans.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

Currently, the Government Organization Act requires intergovernmental agreements to be approved by the Minister of Intergovernmental Relations for Alberta government departments and some public agencies, such as Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis; Alberta Securities Commission; and Travel Alberta.

However, this requirement does not extend to all Alberta public agencies or broader public sector organizations including municipalities, public post-secondary institutions, school boards and health entities, which has created gaps that could result in federal agreements contradicting provincial priorities and investments. By introducing the Provincial Priorities Act, Alberta’s government is working to close those gaps.

Under the proposed legislation, provincial entities include Alberta public agencies and Crown-controlled organizations, as well as public post-secondary institutions, school boards, regional health authorities, Covenant Health, municipal authorities and housing management bodies.

“For years, the federal government has been imposing its agenda on Alberta taxpayers through direct funding agreements with cities and other provincial organizations. Not only does Alberta not receive its per capita share of federal taxpayer dollars, the money we do receive is often directed towards initiatives that don’t align with Albertan’s priorities. Albertans from all corners of the province expect our federal share of taxes for roads, infrastructure, housing and other priorities – not federal government political pet projects and programs in select communities.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Currently, Quebec is the only other province or territory with similar legislation that requires provincial approval of intergovernmental agreements between a broad scope of public sector organizations and the federal government. During a federal-provincial-territorial meeting in November 2023, Premiers from across the country demanded that the federal government work with them, not around them when it came to agreements with municipalities. Additionally, the Premiers committed to exploring the need for provincial authorization on federal agreements.

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