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Merry Christmas from my little piece of the #notrealworld

Checking the kitchen counter quickly one last time, I grabbed the leash from the hook on the wall and whispered to Rollo to come. Time for his last bathroom trip of the night, he quietly walked to the door waiting for me to get my flip flops on, looking at me eagerly with his big lab eyes full of love.

Smiling at him, I barely managed to get the door open before he charged out eagerly into the night air, nose up, sniffing the wind with his tail pointing straight out while he mentally documented the scent. Then began the business of sniffing out the perfect spot to do his business…

I let him have his lead, looking up with my sweater wrapped around my shoulders to the sky. There as usual, Orions belt stood out first, as comforting as the street sign at the end of your childhood home. In many ways these stars are my street signs, so familiar I am with them. Growing up in the north, winter nights were long and the skies so incredibly brilliant that I spent a lot of time learning as much as I could about them. The constellations…Gosh, I can’t even write that word now without thinking of Gord Downie and Bobcaygeon and I love the stars even more because of him… and always will.

But I digress.

As the wind grabbed my curls and softly tangled them, I smiled thinking about sitting down to write this piece. I find myself still in a bit of disbelief that I am here on the island, that I spent an incredible summer on the mountain and let my toes dance both in alpine meadows and crystal clear seas…

I never realized how much I was suffocating in Surrey until I came here and learned how to breathe again…this place is good medicine as my friend Mel would say, it heals,soothes and regenerates body and soul. I’ve reconnected my spirit with the land,made incredible new friends, met other wanderers and explorers, creatives and entrepreneurs..and grown and matured even as  I entered mid age. I am not the same me I was even a year ago. This me feels like she has so much more to do and does not look back… except to see how far she has come…

I’ve always felt I was meant to help people in some way…I try to do this most by writing and making change through my writing… and personally I’ve always had a passion and curiosity to find the truth or the story behind the story. But 2016 has also been a year where I watched people with such great hopes for our new prime minister, feel great disappointments as they discovered he really was no different after all. Words are just words and promises only mean something if the person making them has the moral integrity to follow through. Power is funny that way. It can make or break a person.

And maybe it happened while I was writing one day, or maybe it happened standing on the beach in a storm playing with the sea foam,  or seeing the incredible lack of moral courage of some leaders, but at some point this year I realized if I wanted it to change I had to do it myself. No one is going to do it for me. Because I could not stand to see so many people disappointed over and over again.

The world is changing faster than most people can keep up with it and not just in terms of technology. Socially.Environmentally. Politically. There is a deep unrest with the way things are and  a deep suffering among many that is getting worse, not better. Why are so many driven to addictions? What are they trying to escape? And why are those aspects not being addressed by those in power? The way we do things is damn backwards and all I see is political opponents pointing fingers at each other instead of fixing things.

And I have had enough. I’ve spent nearly a decade fighting the old.



I’m not sure where to go from here but there is no going back. We need to build something that works. Where instead of government process that consults with people AFTER decisions are made, communities and residents advise government on where they want to go and develop and how. Where decisions are made that invest from the ground up, not the top down via damage control like the current fentynal. It costs so much less to invest strongly and deeply in education and family supports, taking care of kids and getting them on the right path from day 1, then deal with the implications of generational poverty and the social issues that develop as a result.

I’ll be honest- right now, I don’t know even know what this means. But I am hoping you’ll help me figure it out in 2017. And with an election coming there will be a lot of work to be done to hold all parties to account so BC doesn’t get trapped into yet another 4 years of slice and dice economics. Because trust me, that is where we are headed.

It’s thrilling to see the #notrealworld hashtag continue to generate such great discussion and thought. So many new faces tweeting. So much agreement across partisan lines. And that’s the heart of it. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.. not because it is politically expedient. We can’t sit and watch this continue.  Do not let that feeling go. You see what we can do working together? You did that. With your collective voices.  It’s time to decide what kind of a province you want this to be. 

I really love you all as friends and some of you like family. You have been there for me though thick and thin… and this year through a hellish hacking and death threat that really still seems so unreal when I look back at it. Yet oddly enough it was that very incident that was the catalyst for all this change…and where we go next, together.

I know not all of you will have a brilliant glowing Christmas.

Some of you are mourning, for you I wish if not happiness,healing and courage to get through the season and to a place where that pain subsides.

Some of you are suffering, for you I wish a reprieve and know that I care, we all care and you matter, so please hold on. We can get through this. One foot in front of the other. 

Some of you are alone, just know we are together in spirit.

Some of you are going to have amazing holidays with friends and family aplenty, and for you I wish the ability to simply be in the moment, let go of expectations and enjoy what is…

Me, I’ll be here enjoying the island and lucky to have most if not all of my family home at some point over the next couple weeks.

The sun will be here longer each day and a new year is coming.

I smile now, sitting here, even not knowing what the future holds.

Because I know that if we keep the discussion going, if we keep standing up instead of sitting down and every day engage one new person so they stand up too… it’s going to be the future we design, for ourselves. Not the future they plan for us.

Merry Christmas my friends and Happy Hanukkah!

Be well. Do good.  You are amazing. And see you in a couple weeks. We got this. 🙂







  1. I agree. But you already know that. I think we all agree but we all know that, too. What you may not know is that we already have the means to make meaningful change. We can do this. It will happen not by way of institutions, party politics or even market place dynamics. It comes by way of ideas. Ideas can and do go viral. That’s how it will change.
    So, how do we generate infectious ideas? And remember, for an idea to take off, it has to sound, smell and BE right. At the start. It has to be worded and delivered perfectly. So we need wordsmiths. It has to be smart and innovative, so we need brains and deep thinkers. It has to be creative so we need artists and entrepreneurs and it has to be real so we need pragmatists, locals, wisdom and experience. In short, we need a new, real, human-focused, non partisan think tank based on the truth having no agenda. We need a think tank that also DOES. And DIES locally. Hmmm….Maybe we need to spawn local think tanks?
    Clearly, I am unqualified to join but that is my two cents.


  2. “Then began the business of sniffing out the perfect spot to do his business…”

    In our neighborhood it’s called my lawn.

    Thanks for the hard work, insight and inspiration you’ve provided in 2016 Laila. You gave a lot to others while dealing with challenges that would keep most of our selfishness gauges at #11. Good on you.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  3. Dearest Laila – thank you for your relentlessness. We will all need courage and tenacity heading into a world with Drumpf as the poster child for all that must be rectified.
    The brave souls at Standing Rock have sparked unity and inspired millions to cherish and protect water over oil – peace over war – truth over lies no matter what – justice for all.
    Time to recharge.
    Much love to you and yours


  4. Laila, I just knew you had to be a Labrador person. I’m most likely going into my last year and I find myself always comforted by Churchill’s advice, too often dismissed as bombast but when you think on it, words thar about as wise as they get. Many hugs, especially for Rollo.

    Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

    This is how, with all the power of the state against us, we beat Site C and Kinder Morgan.


  5. BITUMEN IS PROBABLY ILLEGAL IN CANADIAN PIPELINES – The National Energy Board Act – R.S.C., 1985, c. N-7 (Section 132.1) 
Marginal note: Courts may order any "potential unintended release" from a pipeline remedied "to avoid any harm to the environment."

    Since diluted bitumen cannot be cleaned up using known methods, our courts should be willing to accept that 3diluted bitumen must not be carried in Canadian pipelines or by rail or truck, as no technology currently exists to remedy spillage into water.

    "NEB Act RSC N-7 Sect 132.1 (1) If a person is found guilty of an offence under this Act in relation to an actual or potential unintended or uncontrolled release of oil, gas or any other commodity from a pipeline, the court may, having regard to the nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding its commission, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed under this Act, make an order that has any or all of the following effects:
(a) prohibiting the offender from committing an act or engaging in an activity that may, in the opinion of the court, result in the continuation or repetition of the offence;
(b) directing the offender to take any action that the court considers appropriate to remedy or avoid any harm to the environment that results or may result from the act or omission that constituted the offence;
(c) directing the offender to carry out environmental effects monitoring in the manner established by the Board or directing the offender to pay, in the manner specified by the court, an amount of money for the purposes of environmental effects monitoring…"

    The diluted bitumen currently in KM's Tarsands to Burnaby pipeline is illegal because there is no cleanup technology available. Dilbit mixes in the water column and we should seek an injunction on its transport anywhere in Canada by any means, pipe or rail.

    Enbridge's Kalamazoo dilbit spill six years ago passed $1 billion in expenses long ago and is still far from mopped up.


    Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 at 9:53 AM


    • Don’t think so, Dan. The potential for negligence is not yet negligence. It’s gotta spill first. And think about this: virtually all court imposed remedies take the form of quantum….Meaning money fixes everything. Given that the oil companies pass on their costs in their pricing, we pay to compensate for that which cannot be remedied. Extinction cannot be compensated. So, once again, the law is an ass.


  6. I sincerely hope it is NOT your last year, Rafe, but, if it is, who is the second coming, your heir apparent, the next Rafe incarnation? Who is irascible, bull headed, outspoken, learned and converted Green? Who will disrupt the corrupt and harras the asses? Seriously? Who has the brains, the cajones and the mouth? Who has the soap box?
    We are on a need to know basis……


  7. Merry Christmas Liala. I love this song. i saw LENORD COHEN perform in Montreal in 1970 and it was a HOT concert. Absolutely wonderful, one of the best I’ve ever attended.


  8. If Rafe thinks this is his last year, he has a surprise coming. No getting out of here that easily. We will drag you back!

    Thank you for the post and Merry Christmas! You can tell you’re living on the Island. you’re wearing flip flops in December to take the dog for the last walk of the evening. And here I thought I was the only one who did that. Flip flops and a flannel night shirt, in Dec. Yes, that is Island living at its best.

    The U.S.A. has Trump,. B.C. has Christy Clark. not a good thought. On the up side, we could be rid of Christy Clark come the next election. The U.S.A., not so much.

    Rafe did have good looks at one time, sort of. I can recall when he was younger…………but then so was I.

    All politicians are politicians and some like the P.M. have to stay in office with the votes of all of those across the country, hence the Kinder Morgan decision. It may not get built, but the go ahead was what was needed for future votes. On the other hand, he did implement a cash program for families with children, which really is helping. As one poster said, “the honeymoon is over but the marriage is strong“. the Cons are not an alternative and the NDP is in disarray. Trudeau`s lack of integrity is his pay to play game. Not a good thing, especially when on of those soiree`s had a Chinese firm attending which wants approval to purchase a corporation which provides care to seniors here in Canada.

    The main problem I see with the Kinder Morgan pipeline is the number of tar carrying vessels which will go out of here each day, month, year. I think there are currently five and we might be able to safely manage 10 a month, but anything over that, and there will be a spill and it will be sooner than later.

    Site C could be a good political football come election time, but it is doubtful the MSM will play along on that one. Its a lot of money to toss into the river with no returns to speak off. In the meantime we have people dying off fent. all over the province. What has Christy and her B.c. lieberals done, not too much of anything. what we need is on demand detox and rehab centres. Is that going to happen. No. I sometimes think all those people dying is working for the b.c. lieberals. Christy gets to do the odd photo op on how she wants to save them, without doing anything and when the first responders start to get burnt out and not be able to work, she can bring in privitized first responders with an American or Chinese corporation. the free trade agreements will provide……..

    Enjoy the flip flops in the new year. Have a Happy New Year, life on the Island is wonderful.


  9. Just in time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. As I read your post, Laila, I couldn’t help thinking that you would make an excellent BC MLA. How about it? I know you have always professed non-partisanship, and I can understand how that makes for unbiased blogging, but B.C. needs you in a position of authority, and I know you would never be muzzled by a party whip. You would work for your constituents, not the party. You may not win a popularity contest within the party, but who cares?

    BTW, do you think you could compile another list, this time with the heading, “Reasons Christy Clark must go”? Sure, I know the whole corrupt party must go, but it is she who runs around the province with her photographer and publicist during the election campaign, telling lies and making promises that for some unknown reason the naive and/or gullible British Columbians always fall for. They need to be reminded of all the greed and misdeeds sprung upon us since Her Snarkiness weaseled her way into the Big Chair. Perhaps you could send a copy to John Horgan in case he plans to pull an Adrian Dix and lets that harridan make him look like a fool.

    Anyway, I’d like to thank you for working so hard to keep British Columbians informed all year. I especially enjoy your blogs on the Site C dam. Thanks to you as well, Rafe. Hope both of you and all your readers have a terrific 2017. Let’s all keep up the good fight!


  10. I really must go off topic here and thump the drum for Ian Young of the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

    Ian is an absolutely first class big J journalist whom does not get the attention he deserve for the tireless digging and reporting on our behalf.

    Every blog reader should have Ian on their favorites list.

    I was going to wait for the next blog to promote him but these two articles can’t wait:


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