A Time to Explore and Rediscover
Reflections and Updates

In a conversation about trailblazing, I was once told that some of the most breathtaking places in the world can only be travelled to by foot. Over the last several months, I've been walking on foot to a path of discoveries and rediscoveries. I wouldn't say I'm breaking new ground, but I'm learning to walk with an enriched sense of purpose, perspective and gratitude.

FAMILY

In November 2021, my sister, who was 47 years old at the time, suffered a stroke. Because of many prayers and the work of an amazing medical team, she has recovered miraculously. This difficult event propelled me to recalibrate my inner pace. My tempo decelerated drastically while sitting next to my sister in the hospital during her first week of hospitalization. Nothing mattered more than to make her life as comfortable as possible and maximize her potential to recover. The tasks asked of me were simple but to her they made a difference between pain or relief and risk or protection. As I observed the interactions of other stroke patients and their loved ones in the room, I heard struggle, encouragement, frustration, and patience in different languages and volumes. Whatever the interaction, they were rays of life, love, and determination to save hope. I returned to Ottawa a week later to pack and move out of the apartment I had rented during my term in office. I reunited with my family to provide care for my sister in my parents' home.

It was my first Christmas with family in three years. My niece and nephew had grown up so much. As it has been with many families, the pandemic had a toll also on our household so the festivities weren't as bountiful as previous years, but we were together, the children were laughing and my sisters and I were rekindling memories of our childhood mischief and the toys we got from our parents.

DISCOVERING OTTAWA

In the 700 days I was Member of the 43rd Parliament, I hadn't really had the opportunity to explore the City of Ottawa itself.

While remaining in my Ottawa apartment for the last two months to end, I took the opportunity to do some site-seeing. One of the first places I visited was the Holocaust Memorial and the National War Museum. History is

REDISCOVERING CONFEDERATION

- Charlottetown

- Port Moody - Terminus  - Golden Spike Days

REDISCOVERING ART

REDISCOVERING MUSIC

LEARNING

National Security

Business Administration

French

LEOC

REDISCOVERING KOREA

Becoming 50  - Birthday on the Hill

Rediscovering writing

WAR & PEACE

My happiest moments while in office were meeting people, listening and trying to solve problems. I enjoyed speaking in the Chamber and am grateful for the many opportunities I had. I also enjoyed writing speeches and personalized congratulatory letters for constituents. I felt those were opportunities to build community and connect their excellence to furthering the excellence of  Canada. When you can use authority and power in a good way to really help people, it's a good fit and you feel like you've fulfilled your duty for that day. At risk of self-promotion, two of my most memorable interventions were helping an elderly Korean victim of assault get his case prioritized by the RCMP to ensure his safety. Another case was stopping an Israeli man who'd come to Canada to provide palliative care for his 90 year-old mother from being deported.

I wish I didn't have to look at politics in terms of war but that's what the culture of politics feels like in the public arena. I would be happy to forget the slander, vitriol, and hyper-partisan trolling that was evident on the campaign trail and during my term. Their battle strategy is to repeat fake news enough times on social media and at the doors until people start believing it's true. They try and rattle your cage with conflation and out of context gotcha moments to manufacture controversy when there's nothing to latch on to. It doesn't help when some media personalities don't write stories to inform the people, but to push their own political agenda, thus collaborate in libel. They try to trip you up so you get distracted, and stop focusing on the real work, which is to help your constituents and help make good laws for the country. Their end goal is to make sure you don't get re-elected so their own political type can get in next time. Perhaps I could have spent more time trying to stop and correct all the wrongs but the pandemic was all consuming and I chose to focus on the people who needed help and let the universe iron out the rest. Did it help or make things worse? I'm not sure but at least I can live with a clear conscience today because I prioritized my duty over my reputation. One thing I can confidently say about the culture of politics is that it is a culture that feeds off abuse and that needs to stop.

When I watched the polls coming in on election night, I knew I'd be sitting out in the next term before the margins even began to widen. I also heard a still small voice inside me saying, "It's all right to let go." I spent everything I had in me over the previous four years to do things right and with excellence. The last election campaign was painful as I had already burned out before the Writ dropped.

Nevertheless, I wanted to finish well. I moved out of the constituency office and my Ottawa office within a few weeks and left them in better shape than when I first found them or worked in during my own term. As I packed and read some of the letters I received from diplomats, I realized only then, what a place of honour and privilege it was being a parliamentarian. I was grateful for the honour of serving, and that's what kept me in my office until after midnight and back at seven the next morning. But I didn't have the bandwidth to grasp the honour of the office of MP as a position of privilege in society. But that's not a bad thing. It took many years in the wilderness to develop a lifestyle of prioritizing service over self-benefit.

On the day I turned my keys over to the House of Commons, I decided to walk back to my apartment with my knapsack and a rolling suitcase. When I came to Lyon Street, I saw some monuments to war veterans. I think it was the first time I felt emotions stirring regarding the reality that I had lost the election. I realized very clearly then that I really was in a war on many fronts and now I was transitioning back to civilian life.

Never did the Scripture from Ecclesiastes 3 come alive as it did in that moment.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to break down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to count as lost,

a time to keep and a time to discard,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.