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Hey Canada. Got a minute to chat?

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Scott Cameron by: Scott Cameron

President/CEO at bassa Social Innovation

Hey Canada. Got a minute? I think we need to chat.

It’s not really about the election last night, but more about what the election means and how we’re feeling about one another. As an Albertan, I watched #CBC and #CTV until about 10:00 pm and failed to see even one poll reported from Alberta. Sure, you might see a sea of blue and think…”typical”, but you might not see what’s happening below the surface.

For the first time in my life, I voted Conservative. Not because I believe in their platform, appreciate the leader or believe in economy above all else. I voted Conservative because I thought they’d be the only chance that Ottawa might begin to understand the depth of hurt, frustration and sadness that is being felt here.

Let me be clear, I’m not whining. I’m trying to communicate that there’s something else going on here in Alberta that the rest of Canada doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate. I don’t want to separate – I love this country. I’m just sad that my fellow Albertans continue to be out of work, that the social programs I’ve worked the past couple decades to support are being overwhelmed with people experiencing poverty and emotional distress, that families are breaking apart, and that addictions continue to trap more and more good people.

I’m sad that the hard work happening on the front lines and in the offices here in downtown Calgary to make Canada’s energy sector the most environmentally conscious around the world are being overlooked. I’m sad that we are having conversations about a 16 year old European girl as if that’s the most important conversation to be had. We are allowing ourselves to become entrenched in political soundbites as opposed to taking the time to understand that there are multiple perspectives around people, progress and the planet that don’t have to exist as polar opposites.

I care about whales and it would be tragic to see a news story about a whale lost to a shipping accident. I also care about people, but we don’t do a news story each night about the lives lost to addiction, homelessness or suicide – in many cases due to an economy that isn’t providing for the needs of people across the country. It’s not an either/or and we have to stop treating these issues as such.

I am Albertan, but first and foremost I am Canadian. I think it’s time that we set down our ballots, step off our platforms and meet with one another to truly understand our shared values. We might have different ways of expressing those values, but I refuse to believe that a shouting match between East/West, Indigenous/non-Indigenous, wealthy/poor, immigrant/non-immigrant, gay/straight, man/woman….is going to move us forward.

Let me suggest a starting point for this conversation. It’s one based on respect, a willingness to listen for understanding, and curiosity. It’s a conversation grounded in trying to understand and finding possibility in diversity. It’s a discussion about solutions…not problems. It’s about making Canada the best it can be for the most Canadians – and for those that are struggling, a recognition that they’re not left to go it alone.

Is that too much to ask? I’m inviting you to this conversation.

Originally published October 24, 2019

Scott Cameron is the former Social Planning Manager at The City of Red Deer, and before that he was Executive Director of The United Way of Central Alberta.   He now lives in Calgary.

bassa Social Innovations is a values-based and principled consulting firm committed to positive social well-being for people, their families and their communities. We can help navigate the shared, and sometimes divergent perspectives of government, corporate, non-profit and community organizations to unravel social complexity, and explore collaborative and sustainable social change.

The term ‘bassa’ comes from the world of music, and basically means to play or sing an octave below what’s written. That’s how we describe our work – we work collaboratively to understand what isn’t obvious on the surface. The metaphor goes one step further…the bass note is the foundation of the chord and we seek to create foundational work that serves our clients in the present and future.

 

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Primary Care Network launches ‘Year of the Garden’ to encourage more activity and healthier eating

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By Mark Weber

Summer is here as is the joy of spending time outdoors – and an exciting Primary Care Network program has been designed with that goal in mind.

“The City offered us one of their garden plots on the north end in Normandeau,” explained Lynsey Hermary, a recreation therapist with the PCN, adding that space is being offered to any PCN patients or staff to use.

Essentially, it’s all about encouraging folks to get outside more, while of course growing healthy food and spending time in nature.

“It is located directly behind the Save on Foods on 67th St, access is along 68th (Nash St) and we are garden plot number B12.” The plot numbers are marked on the stakes.

“We recommend that everyone who uses it, marks off their section, and is then responsible for weeding, pruning and harvesting their area,” notes the PCN web site. It’s also an incredibly practical activity to take part in, with the ongoing high costs of food – particularly healthy food, added Hermary.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of room at the plot as well, and it’s been exciting to see people utilize the space. “This is a brand-new program – we just got it up and running (recently),” she said, adding that the City of Red Deer web site offers tips on the
gardening side of things as well.

A PCN-hosted Westerner pancake breakfast is also slated for July 20th

Looking forward into the summer, staff are also excited to announce they will be hosting a pancake breakfast on July 20 from 7 to 9 a.m. to celebrate Westerner Days. It will be held at the park beside the PCN office which is located at 5120 – 47th St.

“You’ll see our PCN staff and some of our physicians out flipping pancakes, and there will be some entertainment,” said Bonnie St. Dennis, office and IT administrator at the Red Deer PCN.

“There is no charge to attend, but donations are welcome which will go to support PCN programs involving the City’s vulnerable populations.”

Staff also wished to remind residents that they have the PCN bike corral each Saturday at the Farmer’s Market.

“We really encourage people to ride their bicycles down to the market, and they can then leave them for us to watch,” said Lorna Milkovich, the PCN’s executive director. “It’s a nice option to help people get out and get more active, too.”

And another key local event PCN staff are helping to promote is the Dr. Walter Reynolds Memorial run which is set for Sept. 18 th.

More information about the family-friendly event, which will be held at Bower Ponds, can be found at www.drreynoldsrun.ca. As the web site explains, it was in August of 2020 that, “A wonderful person was taken from us while working at the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic.

“The community of Red Deer suffered a tremendous loss when Walter was taken from us. A hole in the hearts of many as he was loved by all who knew him, from his patients to his colleagues, friends and family. The purpose of this run is to remember Dr. Walter Reynolds and what he stood for: respect, love, kindness and community.

“In Walter’s name, ALL funds raised through this race will be donated back into the community which he loved. The Red Deer Hospice Society and Red Deer Youth Sports initiatives will be the organizations benefiting from this year’s event. Our goal is to see this race become an annual event and spread the love through the community.”

Also looking ahead, St. Dennis pointed out that although the PCN’s Health Cafes won’t be running again until the fall, anyone can check out the PCN web site (under the Patient Resources tab) and view previous Health Cafes which cover a wide range of health topics with experts offering guidance and information. Meanwhile, the local PCN offers a wealth of programs aimed at bolstering virtually all aspects of healthy living.

Primary Care Networks are made up of groups of family physicians working with other health care professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, exercise specialists, social workers, and mental health professionals.

Red Deer PCN supports the communities of Red Deer, Blackfalds and Penhold.

For more information, call the local PCN office at 403-343-9100 or check out www.reddeerpcn.com.

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Count down to Canada Day celebration at Bower Ponds

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News release from Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership

Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership and Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society Partners for Canada Day

The Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership (RDLIP) and Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society (RDCHS) is partnering for this year’s Canada Day event at Bower Ponds. This day is meant to celebrate ALL peoples of and in Canada and its diversity, and race relations among community members. It is also an opportunity for community members to reconnect after easing the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Canada Day is a multicultural event that inspires people to recognize and appreciate Canada’s cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and geographic diversity. It is hosted annually by the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, who are working in collaboration with the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership this year. This event began back in 1969 (formerly known as the Red Deer Folk Festival Society) and is held at the Bower Ponds location. We expect a strong turnout, a diverse line-up of performers and all the usual amusement and festivities reflective of the multiculturalism and beauty of our country.

“Proud to be your neighbour” campaign launched by RDLIP in the beginning of the year. It is an awareness campaign which aims to highlight good neighbourly relations between people of different backgrounds and to change people’s racist attitudes and behaviours.

Events of the day include multicultural performances on the main stage all day, 11am – 11pm. You can also enjoy food from 10 different cultural food booths starting from 11am. The Canada Day Opening Ceremony will kick off at 2pm with free cake following, about 2:30pm. Celebrations will close with an epic firework show at 11pm.

During the day, there are different activities held to provide opportunities for conversations and better understanding of race and culture. 2 sessions of the Human Library TM will be held between 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM- 4:00 PM in partnership with the Red Deer Public Library, wherein ‘human books’ are available to be ‘read’ by community members. The Human LibraryTM provides space for dialogue that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices. The human books will come from different parts of the world and will share their knowledge, culture and experiences. Proud to be Your Neighbour lawn signs and pins will also be distributed at the RDLIP booth.

“It is so exciting to be working with RDLIP on Canada Day and to share their anti racism campaign on ‘Proud to be Your Neighbor’. This year celebrates that Canada is appreciative of our multiculturalism and diversity”, says RDCHS Manager Delores Coghill.

“We are excited to collaborate with the RDCHS for this year’s Canada Day event. We want to continue to share stories about how diversity helps, how it makes our communities stronger. Canada Day will mark the end of the campaign and signals the beginning of the next phase of RDLIP’s anti racism work,” says RDLIP Interim Program Manager Kristine Bugayong.

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