Yesterday I attended the Calgary town hall on the Syrian refugees process. Some thoughts:
- Mayor Naheed Nenshi is an amazing speaker. I knew that before but on this topic, as the son of refugee parents himself, he is quite passionate and eloquent.
- At least locally, the resettlement effort is more organized and prepared than I would have thought considering the rush. Impressed. (Calgary really is a leader in so much of this stuff.)
- Nobody will be cutting corners on security and health checks.
- The semi-widespread notion that refugees are terrorists is nonsense. The Paris attacks were by French and Belgian nationals. To catch a 7-12 hour flight would be so much easier than the months-long gauntlet of checks, screens, transfers, and terrible travels those fleeing violence are going through. As Nenshi noted, terrorists are unfortunately smarter than that.
- Winter. These Syrians are arriving in the middle of a Canadian winter. Who would choose that voluntarily? People looking for peace and hope.
- The “how can we help” vibe in the room was inspiring. A smile at the airport and warm welcomes into the communities in which these families arrive will be more powerful than anything the government can do.
- The tight timeframe is actually a good thing, I think. Things happen in bursts. Canada shouldn’t be shy with ambition. And as far as moonshots go, this one is actually not that big.
Not many awards show musical performances have knocked me off my seat, but this one certainly did: Radiohead performing 15 Steps from their then-new album In Rainbows at the 2009 Grammys – with the USC Trojan marching band. So original and so, so good!
Like many, I didn’t watch the August 6th Macleans leaders debate – because, you now, summer. But I did catch some of the followup coverage. It made me wish that there was a fifth candidate onstage and that this would be her/his opening statement…
I have a question to ask all the people not watching this debate at home: What kind of monster starts an election campaign on an early August long weekend?
Last weekend I attended the World Domination Summit (The what, Steve? Come again.) and I’m still reeling from the experience.
WDS was started five years ago by Chris Guillebeau, the author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit, and blogger at The Art of Non-Conformity, where he’s chronicled his quest to visit every sovereign country on Earth (which he’s now achieved). It’s a gathering of his community in celebration of the core values of community, adventure, and service, held annually in the amazing and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon.