Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm Doing Wheelies after meeting Ryan Meili (okay, it's Mi-lee, not Me-lee)

The snow is blowing. I'm hitting drift after drift on the back roads. Dad is giving me metre-by-metre advice. "Watch this one. Be careful. This spot is bad." I'm home on the farm for a few days, and we're heading into Estevan to meet one of the NDP leadership candidates.

Thanks to Idle No More and my letter writing campaign, I've had personal contact with two of the four hopefuls; Trent Wotherspoon accepted my letters on the freezing steps of the Legislative building in Regina last December; Cam Broten called me personally to explain his support for Idle No More and the issues being raised by Chief Theresa Spence. I was very impressed with both of these men, especially their sincerity and service. 

But I kept hearing about Ryan Meili. (Bernadette was making sure of that.) I was super impressed with his invitation for people of faith to bring their convictions into the political social justice movement. I was also impressed by the lineup of people supporting him; however, I hadn't met him.

As we drive in, Mom tells me that Erin Weir, one of the four candidates has just dropped out of the race, throwing support behind Meili. "Is it Mee-lee or Mi-lee?" I say. None of us know.

Dad and I are early. We've let Mom and Arwen go swimming, and we'll pick them up later so they can meet Meili, too. In Evelyn Johnson's red carpet basement, I ask Ryan what his involvement has been with Idle No More.

He was at the first teach-in and was asked to speak at the first Saskatoon rally. As a family doctor who lives and works in Saskatoon's Riverdale community, he is very happy to see his friends and patients finding their voices.

A group of twenty-five or so gather. Meili, as a doctor, uses the metaphor of health to convey his message. He is advocating that we measure our societies wealth by the health of it's citizens. He is referencing evidence from around the country of creative ways to take care of people while taking care of the economy. In fact, he's advocating that it's just good dollars and cents-sense to promote social justice. He fields questions on housing, economy, education, justice, senior citizens, the future and has an articulate "evidence based" answer for everything.

Mom, Dad and I pool our cash and make a small donation for which we receive a warm heart and Dr. Ryan Meili's book A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health can Revive Canadian Democracy.

I'm doing wheelies for Meili, or, make that, I'm jumping highly for Meili as I pin on his campaign button. Here's a vision I can get behind as we take off in the blustery evening.

Arwen, Mom, Ryan Meili

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