Archive for the ‘brexit’ Category

On #brexit and its lessons
June 26, 2016

When I was little, we would often go for family dinners at my Grand Maman’s house in Quebec City. We loved her company. She knew that. And she was always happy to have us. 

 
She was also the master of the subtle hint. If we stayed past the point of welcome, she would quietly start to set the table for breakfast. The spoon jar, the butter dish, the sugar bowl, a coffee cup and a cereal bowl. My Grand Papa was an early riser and had his own rituals which she deeply respected. This likely explains their long marriage and their contribution to society. They were the parents of over a dozen children and several dozen grand children. As far as measurements go, I think they did their part. In fact, I know they did. 
 
She was also fond of saying that if we didn’t leave, we couldn’t come back. Wrap your head around that. Wise indeed.
 
My Grand Maman didn’t care much for the United Kingdom being born in Quebec. She claimed she didn’t know much English. But I doubt that. She was as smart as a whip. She just knew she’d be better off keeping that piece of knowledge to herself. So she shared the other stuff. How to make pea soup, how to make baked beans, how to write a proper letter, how to keep a family together. That was her thing. 
 
And as we watch the UK leave the EU, I’m reminded that we all have our role in life. 
 
I do not have a role on why David Cameron rolled those terrible dice. But I have my share of thoughts just as my Grand Maman might have on decisions made in her lifetime. During the first Quebec referendum, I heard one thing from my grand parents. We do not believe in separation – in marriage – or otherwise. Plus, my Grand Papa was drawing a pension from CN Rail. A leave vote would have affected their share of sugar and butter, let’s be honest. 
 
But honesty is not what was at stake in this case. Cameron called the referendum vote to save his own skin. Leadership at the expense of the well being of others is not leadership. It’s opportunism.
 
And I am sad about it. I feel for the young people who until Thursday had the incredible opportunity including Canadians like me whose UK born grand parents (on my English side), live and work freely in Europe. 
 
Honestly, I cannot think of a single person in my generational cohort who wouldn’t have wanted that opportunity. C’mon – Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona – cities we live our lives to explore.  Sure, we love Toronto and Ottawa and Vancouver but they are not Europe. And a man afraid to lose his job does not have my permission to rob those opportunities from my friends, my friends’ kids or my own kids. 
 
The leave campaign was built on fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that things will not be as they used to be. News flash – our greatest potential as human beings is that we enter into a world we never knew and make our mark. 
 
I know for sure that my Grand Maman wouldn’t be happy about this. She went to Paris once and brought home a wrought iron souvenir sculpture of the Eiffel Tower which she kept in her perfectly delightful living room that we had trouble leaving after dinner parties. I used to stare and it and think that one day, I too would go there. I did. I was not allowed to stay. 
 
I want David Cameron to know this but that it is not my role. I will put out the butter dish and the sugar bowl and hope that cooler, less opportunistic heads will prevail. 
 
But Grand Maman was right, sometimes you have to leave to come back. 
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