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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The long run and Terry Fox

As a new freelancer, I won't pretend to know all the details and politics involved in this... THIS! Really. I'm not on the line, I'm focused on other work, and neither management nor union heads know me from Adam. And I don't know them as human beings.

My father, a retired MTO manager who used to go out of his way to chat with the union people at their events, inculcated in me a healthy level of sketicism about almost everything. Especially messages driven by agendas (no matter what the position). Whether it be someone trying to sell me potato chips or a group peddling a cause, I learned to watch, read, and listen. What I took away from his example was this: As much as possible, trust should be reserved for individuals. If I can't read someone's eyes and body language, then I don't sign over the farm, if you know what I mean.

The upshot: be wary of groups, just on principle.

But what I also learned, from both of my parents in fact, was to be compassionate toward individuals, to deal with individuals.

Perhaps this is why self-employment has always appealed to me. If an environment is at odds with me on some philosophical level, I walk away. If there's a problem with the work, I simply call up the client and settle the matter in one phone call. (Which is why I find it particularly difficult to sit and wait for faceless bargaining teams to do their work. This is hard for everyone, let's be honest.) Are there compromises and hardships in my life? Yes. Is my lifestyle easier because I have a partner with a steady job? Well, really, this is none of your business, but since I'm opening up, the answer is yes.

Another thing I learned from both of my parents is to step into the shoes of others. Hey, if a writer/journalist can't do this, then he/she should put down the quill and put away the ink well. You are all individuals with lives, and I can understand the privation you're all suffering. Which is why I support your fight on a human level.

Do I think most CBC workers should be permenant? Yes. Most people need security. I'm not thrusting my preferences on others. I've read the positions and agree that security for the majority of CBC workers would make for good public journalism. And it's the decent thing to do.

However, I do not support either side of the table when the conflict results in moves contrary to my personal views.

Which is why I feel the need to speak up about the Terry Fox 25th Anniversary fiasco.

Fox epitomized the virtues of individual spirit, courage, and selflessness. He's one of my heroes, for sure. As much as I miss my radio project, I wouldn't give a leg for it. Terry Fox ran halfway across the country to encourage Canada and the world to focus on an issue. He gave his life doing so.

We're dividing the whole by exploiting the memory of a man who stood for full unity.

Shame on all of us today. While I support the individuals walking the line, I feel even more kinship with the young man who ran alone.

I'm with Terry on this one.


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