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Back  |  December 29, 2015  | 


The following was published in the Calgary Herald on December 29, 2015.

At this time of year, it’s natural to reflect back and think on the future. Certainly, 2015 has been a tough year for many of us and the job losses cannot be denied.

Yet Calgary is weathering the downturn better than many expected — we actually created more jobs than we lost from November 2014 to November 2015 and people continue to come here for opportunity.

Nonetheless, many of us are hurting, and it’s important for all of us to think about how we can help. I would argue there are two things that we need to do, now and throughout 2016.

First, let’s find our inner angels and remember to be decent to one another. The last six months or so, I’ve noticed a certain mean-spiritedness sneak into the edges of our discourse. Most of it comes online — people are particularly awful when staring at a screen rather than at a face — but I have noticed it in real life as well. Conversations at coffee shops and in line at the grocery store, are starting to be tinged with an “us-and-them” tone, whether the target is a politician or someone of a different faith or a newcomer to this country.

While there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing or letting off some steam, and while we all agree that violence and death threats are unacceptable in any context, we should remember that the way we treat others has real consequences on their ability to live happily and well in our community.

We are facing a mental health crisis — some sources show that suicide rates are up an unimaginable 30 per cent — and part of the solution is simply being kind and looking after one another.

Second, looking after one another also means giving. In this time of need, those of us who are able to give should consider giving just a little bit more — not only because demand is up for all charities and non-profits, but because so many of our neighbours want to give and just can’t this year.

And the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund is a great way to give. For 25 years, the fund has been carefully curating an annual list of non-profit organizations where your dollars can have the most impact, and this year is no different. Some of the 14 organizations are well-known; others less so. But each of them is doing important work in the community every day: helping our neighbours battling cancer, those escaping from violence and abuse or arriving hungry to school, those who need a safe and stable home, those who need a helping hand and a friendly smile.

Every one of these organizations performs miracles every single day. Every one of them deserves our help. Thank you for giving. And thank you to the Calgary Herald for helping make these miracles happen for 25 years.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016!

Click here to learn more about the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund.​

Categories: Columns; Poverty; Stronger communities

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