Workplace and symbol

It was about 1 p.m. One of the clerks outside the chamber went over the rules I was to keep in mind when I went inside: Enter quietly. No briefcases or parcels. No applauding or talking out loud. Rise to your feet when the Speaker enters, when you’re introduced and when you leave. It made me think I was entering the Vatican.

But it was actually the Speaker’s Gallery at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton last Thursday afternoon. Eventually, the MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for Sherwood Park, just outside Edmonton, rose to address the government and opposition members present.

“Speaker, I rise to introduce distinguished visitors,” MLA Annie McKitrick said.

Character in comeback

Michelle Obama illustrated the importance of not giving up. csmonitor.com.
Michelle Obama illustrated the importance of not giving up. csmonitor.com.

It’s no wonder she is a model mother. It’s no coincidence she has earned such great respect as the U.S. first lady the past eight years. But if the new leaders of her country – whoever they turn out to be – are wise, they might turn to her often to deliver positive energy and a way through the rhetorical mess that is sinking America. I mean, who paints stronger images than this one?

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” Michelle Obama said to the Democratic delegates on Monday, “and I watch my daughters, beautiful, intelligent, black young women – playing with their dogs on the White House lawn…”

The salve of understanding

Joe Tilley hold photo of his son Spencer during his time in Canadian Forces.
Joe Tilley hold photo of his son Spencer during his time in Canadian Forces.

Joe Tilley recalled the day his son died. He recounted the scene in front of an audience that knew the story. He described the day two years ago, when his wife answered a heavy knock at the front door. The fact that a police officer was knocking didn’t surprise Penny-Claire Tilley. Their son, Spencer, had had several run-ins with the law. But this police visit seemed different.

“You’re here to tell me my son’s dead, aren’t you,” Penny-Claire Tilley said.

“Yes,” the officer said solemnly.