Friday, June 14, 2013

Ryan Alexander Lovett, by his mother, Tamara

You can take what you want to send to whomever.

Last month I attended a parents gathering at the children’s hospital where they held their yearly memorial for parents who have ‘lost’ their children. And suddenly I am looking at a picture of my happy boy and another wave of emotion starts to run over me.  Just over 3 months ago my child died in my arms. StrepA has a 50% mortality rate. I ended up on the losing side. My world was shattered. There is no vernacular to describe how I ‘feel’…except to gauge my inner/outer energy and consider whether or not to engage…sometimes I am not able to give and sometimes I am compelled to move as Ryan’s energy inspires me onwards and upwards instead of completing shutting down.  ‘Feeling’ has taken on a whole new meaning… there is no ‘letting go’…what do I do? How do I feel?
At the children’s hospital service a father spoke to the group. Last year a little boy named Hayden drowned at Sylvan Lake. This father was sharing with us his experience sometime after the accident  of how, when he was playing with his other child, he came to the awareness that we who have lost a loved one know: ‘that moment when you are not thinking/grieving over your loss’ which is then followed by instant sadness as your memory engages…however at this moment the father felt Haydon’s ‘presence’ and in his mind’s eye was shown an open door in front of him and an open door behind him…Haydon’s message to his father was simple; walking through the open door in front of you doesn’t close the door behind you.  Moving on doesn’t have to feel like you are losing all over again. I started to feel a sense of peace in that moment.
I am thankful that the father chose to share that story as it also helps to illustrate what I experience on a moment to moment basis.  The constant ‘signs’ or ‘messages’ or whatever you would call them, coincidences or serendipitous encounters, magical moments and connections, are too many to deny…Ryan was present and showing me, and the people who bore witness, that there is more to ‘reality’ than what we will allow ourselves to consider and what we are capable of denying ourselves.  I have had the human experience of losing something that was once a part of me…I didn’t know that was on my ‘list’ of things to do while visiting Earth…somehow I missed that part of the in-flight manual.  And now I was learning how to come to terms with this.
Consider how Ryan made you feel and act.  Everything I did was for him and his brother’s future …a win-win for all; building community through freedom of expression and sustainable actions. Except I have learned the hardest way that not everyone plays fair and apathy rules apathetically.   Ryan was on an adventure and knew what he was in for when he came through…and now he is a Rainbow Warrior guiding each of us.  He naturally engaged with all he met as equals and was all inclusive. And he wants me to relay the most important message of peace which will truly heal this planet:
WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED WITH THE TOILET, CLOSE THE TOILET COMPLETELY – EVERYONE – 2 things will happen:  1.   minimize poo/pee particles when flushing;   2.   close the UP/DOWN debate once and for all!  And yes folks, we had this conversation last year…he said, rightly so, that we should close the toilet completely. Then there is no question and the air doesn’t smell.  My little baby, our little buddy – see you on the other side!
There will be a pot-luck celebration in Ryan’s honour at Cliff Bungalow Community Centre Saturday June 15 from 2-4pm.  If you would like to offer up a tribute in Ryan’s name please consider the following:
1. Ryan was a 2nd year Beaver Scout at the 18th Unit.  He loved going and never missed a week! We collected bottles to fundraise for Scout activities and the Veterans Food Bank. Your support would be greatly appreciated to help continue his legacy.
2. Ryan was an artist. He spent his formative years hanging in some infamous galleries around town.  He would want you to consider supporting local galleries Art Spot, Motion Gallery, Gorilla House and Art Point.
3. Ryan was a gardener. He knew what it took to grow nutritious food although getting him to eat some of it was a challenge!  Take the time to learn about growing your own food and what is happening to the global food chain. Ryan’s good friend Mac has a dad who started Grow Calgary. Support local sustainable initiatives.
4. A friend set up the “Ryan Lovett Scholarship for Painting” at ACAD.
Blessing to each of you and thank you for being a part of our lives. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Calgary’s Shark Fin Bylaw 45M2012 Needs to be Abandoned

My Asian friend immigrated to Calgary 48 years ago on May 2nd to join her father. She always told everyone how much she enjoyed her City and her Community. She considered herself living in harmony all these years.

That all changed July 16th, 2012 when Council passed a motion to draft a bylaw banning the possession, distribution and consumption of shark fin and shark fin products in the City of Calgary. This was followed October 15th, 2012 with Council passing first reading of the above-noted bylaw without prior and proper consultation with the affected citizens; the Chinese Community in Calgary and Calgarians in general.  This action was in opposition to the City of Calgary policy, CS009, Engage Policy, dated May 28th, 2003.

Engage Policy Statement
The City of Calgary (Council and Administration) recognizes that decisions are improved by engaging citizens and other stakeholder groups where appropriate, and is committed to transparent and inclusive processes that are responsive and accountable, and within the Corporations ability to finance and resource.
The City of Calgary assigns a high priority to appropriately informing and involving citizens and other stakeholders early on and throughout the process, where the decision(s) impact their lives.

Why the City should abandon bylaw 45M2012.
  1. Alberta’s Municipal Government Act lists three municipal purposes: to provide good government, to provide necessary and desirable facilities and services, and to develop and maintain safe communities.  The proposed shark fin ban is related to none of these purposes and is therefore ultra vires, literally "beyond the powers".
  2. Should the City proceed and enact the ban despite lacking the jurisdiction, there is a legal precedent to overturn the bylaw.  The City of Toronto’s bylaw banning the sale and distribution of shark fins was ruled ultra vires by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in November, 2012, Eng v. Toronto (City), 2012 ONSC 6818 (CanLII). The Ontario Court reached its decision to strike down the Toronto ban without examining whether the Province of Ontario has constitutional jurisdiction over sharks.
  3. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 divides jurisdiction over all matters between the federal and provincial governments.  The provinces are not given authority over sharks and shark fisheries; that jurisdiction rests with the federal government.  The federal government is signatory to international conventions and has enacted legislation regarding sharks and shark fisheries.  The actions of the federal government have demonstrated that it has jurisdiction to legislate over this issue and that it has not abandoned its jurisdiction, Statement from Bob Dechert, MP dated August, 2011.
  4. Canada has sustainable shark management plans in place with strong enforcement regimes to ensure that ‘finning’ does not occur in Canadian fisheries and Canadian waters.  Harvests are carefully managed to ensure conservation.  Canada maintains the first and only shark fishery in the world to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, Statement from Mr. Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, February 11th, 2013 debate on Bill C380.
a)      The act of finning has been prohibited in Canada since 1994.
b)      In 2007, Canada released its National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of sharks (NPOA sharks) within the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
c)      As a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), Canada has a legal obligation to prevent the import of products from shark species that are listed as endangered, MP Costas Menegakis applauds defeat of Bill C-380, March 23rd, 2013.
d)       As of July, 2012, "85% of the top 26 shark fishing nations have adopted or are adopting NPOA sharks.
  1. Many viewed the ban of shark fin soup as an attack on Chinese Culture.  All Canadians should have the right to consume a culturally important food provided it is obtained legally and from species that are not endangered. Therefore the fins must come from sharks that are harvested legally and free from the cruel practice of ‘finning’, Lawrence MacAulay, Liberal MP for Cardigan, PEI, February 11th, 2013 debate on Bill C380.
  2. China set a zero growth rate for fishing production in its territorial waters in 1999, the aim is to restore and maintain fishery resources, including shark stocks, Document from FAO; Shark Utilization in China, Shark Fishery Management and Regulation in China.
  3. Finally, the major harvest or capture of sharks is from what’s referred to as bycatch, 60% of all sharks caught are as a by-product of fishing practises such as those used in the Tuna fishery. If we are serious about shark conservation, let’s look at fishing methods, etc…

In summary,  I would like to say that the best method of thinking globally and acting locally is to support the federal government to further their efforts to promote the sustainable management and conservation of sharks through international organizations, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Regional Fisheries Management bodies such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and continue to use their influence in these forums to encourage shark fishing nations to follow Canada's example and prohibit the practice of shark ‘finning’.

I hereby request Calgary City Council to abandon the proposed bylaw M452012.  I want to restore the harmony to the life of my friend.

Donn Lovett
President, Donn Lovett Agency, Partner in Research on Investments and ‘pro bono’ adviser to the Coalition for Transparent and Accountable Governance (CTAG).