Ray Grigg

Shoe leather, trauma and change

Consider nearly 10 years of Stephen Harper’s single obsession with economics

“Wear leather on your feet,” taught a Hindu guru, “and the whole world is covered in leather.”

So it is that when we’re hungry, all we see is food; when we’re freezing, all we know is cold. And when we live in a country in which the prime minister has ruled like an Iranian ayatollah — flagrantly abusing democratic traditions, disregarding evidence, silencing science and gutting established environmental regulations — all we experience is despair.

This despair has been visceral and palpable for people who are connected to their country and the Earth in a holistic way. Consider nearly 10 years of Stephen Harper’s single obsession with economics and, for some, his record may seem relatively harmless. But examine all his behaviour in its totality and the resulting pattern is chilling: obsessive control, legislation by ideology, endless court challenges, blatant political opportunism, suppression of evidence, a cultivated amorphous fear, a fracturing of the country’s psyche into antagonistic parts.

Worse, perhaps, than all this has been his environmental offences, a disrespect for the natural world as if it were not the fundamental source of our nourishment, the basis of our security, and the hope for our future. Nature to Stephen Harper was an impediment, an obstruction, a lifeless resource, an object to be dominated rather than a miracle to be respected, honoured and loved. This was a traumatic decade, interspersed with unpredictable and outrageous acts of vicious affronts to the sacred integrity of Canada’s crucially important ecologies. It will take us a while to regain our balance and optimism, to shed the pervasive apprehension that he inflicted with his policies, his muzzling, his attitude and his character.

On Nov. 4, in Ottawa, Stephen Harper was driven to the Governor General at Rideau Hall to resign as Prime Minister. As he got out of his limousine, he looked alone and small, somewhat harmless and innocuous, no longer the commanding force that once shaped the psyche of the entire country by the power of his will.

Later at Rideau Hall, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his 30 cabinet members took their oaths of office. The solemnity quickly became a carnival, a joyful celebration of renewal, a reclaimed vitality and freshness. The country suddenly felt alive and young, no longer ruled by a single leader but now led into its promising tomorrows by a cabinet family with experience, expertise, insight and competence. In a matter of moments the healing seemed to begin, the impossible felt as if it were once again possible. The world, no longer covered in leather, was once more alive and responsive beneath feet that could again feel and respond to its urgent needs.

Just Posted

Tragedy leads to ‘Hope’ for Masters family

Campbell River mother and her sister start outreach group following daughter’s death

Campbell River RCMP respond to complaints of animals in hot vehicles or needing water

Police warn of animal cruelty charges but caution against taking the law into your own hands

North Island College holding information session on new culinary diploma

Get a sneak peek at the new culinary kitchen at the Campbell River campus

Stone re-joins Campbell River Storm as head coach/GM

Team also hires former player as associate coach/assistant general manager

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Most Read