Dear Mr Trudeau, pt. 8

Look, I forced myself to write a HUNDRED letters, okay? They can’t all be solid gold. Spread some positivity, even if you have to repeat yourself. Peace.

36.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

We have the temporary foreign worker program that allows a lot of companies to hire foreign workers for disgustingly low wages. That program is already pretty controversial and unpopular. Why not replace it with a temporary work permit program for political refugees?

Thank you,

Shannon

37.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The unemployment rate in Canada may be higher than we’d like, but there’s plenty of work to be done. We can’t rest until all people are safe and cared for. Please remember this when you’re deciding how many refugees to admit.

Thank you,

Shannon

38.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The better we treat Muslim immigrants and refugees, the worse it makes the rest of the Muslim world look. They turn their close neighbours away and threaten them with violence, we gladly take them in. We can use this as an opportunity to shame them into better behaviour.

Thank you,

Shannon

39.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The “War on Terror” was a bad idea. First of all, terror isn’t a country or a person. You can’t fight with it, you might as well fight with your own shadow. If you go around bombing your own shadow, you’re not going to kill it, you’re just going to irritate a lot of innocent bystanders.

The war on terror is idiotic. The smarter thing to do is to treat the oppressed in Muslim countries better than their own countries treat them. Those who hate the West will change their minds soon enough. If they don’t, their children will.

Thank you,

Shannon

40.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

There are lots of jobs available in the Great Frozen North. Librarian, social worker, gas station attendant, things like that. No one wants to live in Iqualuit, because it is cold and terrible. But maybe if there were more people there it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, Iceland does okay. We have room for Syrian refugees in Iqualuit.

Cheers,

Shannon

41.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I don’t have room in my house for a refugee family, unfortunately. I’m 26, I live in a rooming house with about 12 other people and all the rooms here are full. But my parents have an empty room in their house, and I’m leaning on them. I’ll donate through my church, also.

We’ve got room for refugees, please let them in.

Thank you,

Shannon

Dear Mr Trudeau, pt. 7

Still at it. I’m mailing the letters one by one. By the time this post hits the internet, I’ll have sent about 10. I wonder if I get any replies?

31.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I know a lot of the letters I’ve written you are seriously hippie, starry-eyed, muck. I understand there’s going to be problems when a lot of newcomers show up, destitute, in a country that already feels like it has enough problems of its own. I hope it doesn’t go badly but I know that sometimes it will. You can set the tone, though, by telling Canadians to start with open minds and open hearts. Make conditions as good as they can be, so incoming refugees don’t turn to crime to survive. But make room anyway.

Thanks, Shannon

32.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

There are 4 million refugees from Syria. The population of Canada is 33 million. We probably can’t take all 4 million, realistically. But we can probably take 100,000. How about that? Let’s make room for 100,000 Syrian refugees.

Thanks,

Shannon

33.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

My friend Dan Bouwer’s church is aiming to sponsor one refugee family. So that’s, like, 5 more people we’ve got room for.

Thanks,

Shannon

34.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

My friend Dan, from my last letter, says that with 5 different factions fighting in Syria, even when the mess gets sorted out, a lot of them won’t have homes to go back to. That’s a lot of potentially homeless people causing trouble for a long time. We should give them homes in the name of international stability.

Thanks,

Shannon

35.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

All Canadian are immigrants or children of refugees, and a lot of us are children of refugees. Immigration is a grand old Canadian tradition, let’s carry it on.

Cheers,

Shannon

Crush

Friends, let’s talk about the most enjoyable of all mental illnesses – the Inappropriate Crush.

It’s made of a cocktail of pent-up hormones, raw emotions, and proximity to the first attractive person who happens to walk past. You come rushing up from the grey doldrums you wandered through for all those weeks (months? years? it feels like longer…) and suddenly the sadness that held you evaporates. You’re bright, witty, charming. You can’t even concentrate on your phone, you stare into space trying to come up with puns or thinking of fun activities that will let you get some one-on-one time with your new object of affection.

It’s just a crush. A spark. You could use it to build up a fire that keeps you both warm for your whole life. It could flare up and consume you in passion. Or fizzle out in about a month if you don’t feed it. Which would you rather? Actually, all three of those outcomes are spectacular in their own way. You must abandon all requirements when you enter the house of love.

Even the fizzle is fun while it lasts. The real danger is if you let something that should have been a two-week fling turn into a relationship status, with parents informed, friends ordered to be polite, his toothbrush in your bathroom… too proud to admit you picked the wrong man, you stick with him and waste a year of your life.

Well don’t do that. But here is how to proceed.

First, is it your boss or teacher? Keep your damn mouth shut. Is it your subordinate or student? Same. You can’t shut up? You really have to confess your love or you won’t live any longer? Get a new job first. Oh you can’t do that? Guess you don’t want it that bad. Give up. A power imbalance is kinky as hell, but on average, it ruins lives. Ruin your own life, but not your crush. That’s not love.

Second. Are they married or taken? Then you will have to confess your crush to their partner and ask their permission to pursue it. Oh, you don’t have the balls to do that? No kidding you don’t. Keep your mouth shut.

Is it your roommate or coworker? Well, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life (no, I am). If this goes badly, you might have to find a new place to live/work, or they might. Either way, you’ve caused a lot of inconvenience for the other person because you couldn’t manage your emotions. Remember the part up there where it says “it will fizzle out in a month”? It will. Go to the gym. Lift. Eat better food. Take up painting. Drop in on your friends. Will this make the crush go away? No it will not, it will make you feel so strong and happy and awesome that you will want to share it with your beloved, which will make the problem worse. But there’s no cure other than time, and you might as well get healthy.

Is it your best friend, or a new friend? Someone with no strings attached to them? Tell them now. Stop reading, pick up the phone and tell them. They might say yes. Or if they’re a true friend, they will let you down gently. Be polite, be gracious. Don’t whine, don’t cling, don’t try to be clever, just ask if they will love you more thoroughly than before, and accept whatever answer they give. If it’s a yes, you have a happy future waiting and a whole new set of problems that can wait for another article. If the answer is no…

This is what’s been keeping you up nights, right? What if they say no? Will you die? The hope you’ve been living for, gone forever? Will you be so embarrassed you never talk to them again, and lose your good friend as well as your maybe-lover?

No. Here’s what happens: it’ll be awkward for about two weeks and then you’ll get the hell over it. That doesn’t happen naturally or easily, but you can do it if you try.

And finally, how do you tell them?

There’s a different way for everyone –

  • “I’ve gotten a crush on you, what should I do?”
  •  “So… I want to fuck you.”
  •  Lean in for a kiss and see whether they lean back or “lean back”.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to be polite. You have to leave an escape route, in case they need time to think. And you have to be sure that when they say “yes”, it’s a wholehearted yes with no hesitation and no doubts. Settle for nothing less than that. There’s always another one coming.

Everyone reading this is probably either my bestie, my coworker, my roommate, or someone who’s just been on the receiving end of an embarrassing confession, and is now wondering if this post is about them.

Yes, it is about you. All of you. I fall in love easily and I never fall out. I express this with a total lack of outward emotion, essays like this one, and by showing up at your front door when you weren’t expecting me. Don’t make it weird, just enjoy it. I do.

Dear Mr Trudeau, pt 6

It started to get tough, around #27.

26.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The Pope suggested that every Christian parish should take in one refugee family. I think that is an awesome idea, because instead of putting a lot of Syrian people in a  Syrian ghetto where they will continue to live their old culture but under very poor conditions, they will integrate with the rest of our society, learn how we live, and add more richness to our culture. Diversity is beautiful. Please let more Syrians come to Canada and let them spread out everywhere.

Thanks,

Shannon

27.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

In school I was taught that Canada is a tolerant country where all cultures are welcome. It’s scary to see some of the xenophobic things that people post on Facebook. I think some Canadians have forgotten what being Canadian means. We’re the world’s Boy Scouts, and that’s a good thing. Let’s earn our Refugee Host badge.

Thanks,

Shannon

28.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Not all Syrians are Muslim. Syria is actually a very diverse country. I’ve been learning a lot about it while I write you these letters. I’m trying to come up with a hundred reasons why we ought to welcome refugees. You’d think “because it’s the right thing to do” would be enough, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some people. I’m only at number 28, but “because it’s the right thing to do” is the one that keeps coming back, for me. I’ll tell you more about how diverse Syria is in my next letter. You probably already know this stuff, because you’re the Prime Minister, but I’m posting these letters on Facebook too so that everyone can learn.

Thanks,

Shannon

29.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria. There is also a decently large Christian population, about 400,000 according to Wikipedia. There used to be a large Jewish population, but they mostly left due to persecution. Clearly Syrians have some lessons to learn about tolerance, same as we do. The Kurds are the second largest population group, at about 10%. The Kurds have also been persecuted. In the 60’s, oil was discovered in a predominantly Kurdish province, and the Syrian government started military action against the Kurds.

Reading the history of the area makes me understand, a little, the fear that some Canadians have of Arabs. It seems like they’re just always fighting with each other, and we don’t want them to bring their fights here. Canadians are pretty good at not fighting, though. We have enough room, water, and food for a lot of people here. We waste tons of food every day. Our clean water is basically unlimited, it falls out of the sky whether you want it to or not. There’s 4 square kilometres of space for every Canadian citizen. Maybe we can be a good influence on the incoming refugees. Maybe our peace can spread to the Middle East, instead of their war spreading here.

Love,

Shannon

30.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

It seems like the Kurds in Syria are treated a lot like the way we used to treat aboriginal Canadians. Wikipedia says, “Kurds often speak the Kurdish language in public, unless all those present do not. According to the Human Rights Watch, Kurds in Syria are not allowed to officially use the Kurdish language, are not allowed to register children with Kurdish names, are prohibited to start businesses that do not have Arabic names, are not permitted to build Kurdish private schools, and are prohibited from publishing books and other materials written in Kurdish. But this is no longer enforced due to the civil war.”

Clearly that behaviour didn’t go well for us, and we’re still paying our aboriginals back for the damage that was done to them. No matter how much we pay, it doesn’t seem to be enough. It takes a lot to undo the psychic damage of persecuting an entire race. We (the European immigrants, that is) are also reduced by what was done to aboriginal Canadians. We shouldn’t have done that. But it’s too late. It’s too late to unpersecute the Kurds, too. But peace, for the Sunnis and the Kurds, can start in Canada when they realize they both miss the same homeland.

Thanks,

Shannon

Dear Mr Trudeau, pt 5

I’m writing on behalf of Syrian refugees, asking Justin to let some more of them in. A hundred times.

21.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Immigrants are badasses. They are people who have left their homeland behind in search of a better world. That takes courage, stamina, fortitude, perseverance, and other qualities that are great in video game characters and also in potential citizens. We should take as many of these fearless people as we can get.

Thanks,

Shannon

22.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

About half of the Syrian refugees are children or minors. You have three children of your own. Who would take them in if your house was bombed? Think compassionately of the children leaving Syria right now, whose parents are worried sick they’ll never be safe again.

Thanks,

Shannon

23.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Terrorists blow stuff up because they see no other logical course of action. When there’s no future waiting for you and no room in the world you were born to, blowing stuff up just makes sense. Don’t believe them when they tell you it’s about religion. It’s not. It’s about hopelessness. Show the way to a future in Canada, and some of those ISIS terrorists will lose their focus on destruction.

Thanks,

Shannon

24.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I don’t believe there is such a thing as evil in the world. Everyone who does a bad thing has a good reason for doing it that makes sense to them, even if not to anyone else. People who are excluded from the world go crazy in their own heads with no one to tell them what sanity looks like. The only true evil is apathy – not caring enough to do the right thing.

Don’t be evil. Don’t apathetic. Find a way to include the angry young men in the Middle East in a bright and hopeful future. Give some refugees a new home.

Thanks,

Shannon

25.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Every Syrian refugee that you make into a Canadian citizen will vote for you next time around, and so will I.

Thanks,

Shannon

Dear Mr Trudeau, pt. 4

I wrote a hundred letters to JT, asking him to let in more Syrians. Here’s what I’ve got. Kindly forgive grammatical errors, I did a better job of editing the versions I mailed.

16.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

About half of Canada’s citizens are over 40 years old and won’t be having any more kids. The other half are having babies at a rate of 1.6 per lady, which isn’t enough to maintain a population. It’s not true that the earth is overpopulated – it’s basically empty, and our population growth is levelling off and might start to stagnate someday soon. Canada is a great country because of the Canadians in it – we need to make sure that we don’t run out. Let’s welcome as many Syrian refugees as we can get, and their children, and encourage them to have more kids. Mixed race babies are beautiful.

Thanks,

Shannon

17.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Most people aren’t terrorists. Most people are teachers, lawyers, mechanics, nurses and fast food service workers who are just trying to get on with their lives. It’s hard to do that when people are bombing you. The Syrians who are fleeing their homeland aren’t doing it because they want to attack other countries. They just want to live in peace. Please let them come here and live in peace.

Thanks,

Shannon

18.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I was a poll worker on election day. At my polling station, your party got a solid 15-20% of the vote even though there was no Liberal candidate in my riding. I was surprised when you won, as everyone in Victoria was pretty sold on the NDP and I thought the rest of the country was as well. But when we heard that Liberal party was going to form the next government, we all wished you the best and looked forward to a more hopeful Canada. We all want you to succeed. Please make the Syrian refugee crisis part of a legacy of doing great things on behalf of Canada. Open our doors to more refugees and welcome them like brothers and sisters.

Thank you,

Shannon

19.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Please don’t worry about refugees “stealing” Canadian jobs. This isn’t a thing that happens. There aren’t quite enough high paying jobs for Canadians at present, but this is because we’ve bet too much of our wealth on a single commodity sector (energy/resource extraction). Sometimes the price of oil goes down. Our jobs will always be vulnerable as long as our economy relies on oil money. Every refugee who comes here and succeeds has a chance of helping in the discovery of new sources of energy and wealth, and the creation of new industries that will enrich all Canadians. Make room for them.

Thanks,

Shannon

20.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Allowing Syrian refugees to come to Canada may help end the present conflict sooner. At least part of their current trouble is due to population pressure – a mass exodus is one way to relieve it.

Thanks,

Shannon