Dear Ed Holder, (Federal Member of Parliament for London West)

Dear Ed,

I received your Merry Christmas card in the mail today. I am humbled you remembered me. It was ages ago that your office gave me the runaround and it had slipped my mind. I was glad it hadn’t yours. The card has healed the wounds of your bureaucratic whip or should I say whipped. You haven’t had an unscripted word come out since the Prime minister stuck his hand in your back and made your mouth move. The Library of Parliament all done up in tinsel pales to the one of you on the back cover. To be honest I was hoping to forget the faces of several Conservatives this season but you rub my nose in it and symbolize those who thumb the same at democracy and fair government.

The back of the card I found to be a taunt. I can contact you in Ottawa, London or while on prorogue with email. Would it be helpful when I use these avenues of democracy to mention that you in fact sent me a Christmas card this year?

As one of your constituents who is literate and can therefore write, here we be. My good fortune is such that I have a roof and wall with a phone on it and can call you. I am shy to divulge my luxury but I even have a computer with which I can email you. In a few short words I would like you to know that you work not for the proroguing hairpiece but in fact me.

Using said computer I have a few calculations for you. There are roughly 40,000 households in London West; “Dear Neighbours” as you say. Possibly you have read my blog and singled me out with your sentimental salutations but considering the impersonal words I expect the other 39, 999 households received your blue box fodder as well. I don’t know how much the parliamentary printer charges us but with gloss and envelope let’s assume they cost a nickel each. Forty thousand X’s a nickel is $ 2000.00 dollars. As angry as that number makes me my mind catapults to the fact that the federal government is doing this across the entire nation. It is a magical season but the postal workers have not sprouted angel’s wings to move your boxes of parliamentary Christmas cards. They use gas and are paid wages to distribute the fabulous faces of many if not all members of parliament.

You smile from the back of these cards oblivious to your country. 30 000 Canadians are homeless every night and 833 000 are assisted by food banks each month.

There are 13 320 615 households in Canada X’s that nickel equals $ 666 030.75

I take comfort in the fact you used an envelope made from recycled paper to send a non recycled card. I might have thought you had no conscience with your recycled aspirations. That is why you sent the card isn’t it? To wiggle your toe in the direction of re-election? You and your pension prone pals should be ashamed. You would rather hold an elected seat than feed people? No cards went out to the homeless and the shame of it is; all that money should have gone their way.

I don’t believe in Santa but I believe $666 030.75 would find shelter for many or if we had a parliamentary baker we could see a loaf of bread for each dollar. I guess the difficulty lay in the fact that those with empty bellies and absent addresses tend not to vote.

This is nearsighted stupidity and parliamentary propaganda laced with sentimental bull. As my mind wanders to Ottawa I hope the lot of you are dethroned for your lack of vision regarding your less fortunate constituents.

Hristos se rodi

Curriculum Vitae

I contacted my Member of Parliament Ed Holder’s office yesterday to inquire about taking part in the processing of Bill C-54. After I forwarded one of my blog entries on the subject, I was informed that I might send my Curriculum Vitae to the Minister of Justice but they didn’t know if I would be successful. I was always under the impression that democracy was both interactive and inclusive.

To request a Curriculum Vita from an average citizen causes me to question who the government listens to and represents. In Canada, a Curriculum Vitae is a professional document which many psychiatric consumers would find exclusive and intimidating. It is a document usually reserved for lawyers, executives, professors, physicians and scientists. I am pleased this government calls on the expertise it is obviously lacking but Bill C-54 would benefit from input from individuals with lived experience.

I assume my Member of Parliament is confident in the fact that I and most citizens do not possess a professional history. I have no academic credentials, my publications are not academic, I have no research experience and my contributions and significant achievements pale in comparison to most.

Why does my government suggest I list my professional licenses and certifications? Why does my government request I list my scientific and academic research? Why does my government suggest I list the papers, books and publications I have written? Why does my government require my thesis or dissertation? Am I not enough as a citizen? What purpose is there in discouraging my voice?

I believe I am qualified to speak to the issue. I may be a common voice but I have had an uncommon experience and posses an uncommon perspective clearly not considered. I do not belong to any professional associations but that does not mute my 34 years of psychiatric experience.

I have always had the utmost respect for individuals with letters in front of or behind their names. They are hard fought and earned. At the same time I consider lived experience to be important. No physician can think or calculate their way into what I have experienced. It is one thing to walk the halls with a clipboard until 5 p.m. It is quite another to hear the key turn as you remain behind.

Are all citizens interested in contributing to democracy dissuaded or is it because of my apparent disability? It is distasteful either way. This is not a note of surrender. I will come up with a Curriculum Vita. Curriculum Vitae in Latin is “the course of my life.” If that is not enough it will be a shame on my government and a kick to us all.