Today I started taking my forced vacation days. Over the last few years I have been compelled to liquidate the excess in my vacation bank at work before the end of the calendar year. In planning my day off I had planned to:
- Visit the archives at Concordia University
- Visit the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ)
- Meet a journalist to help her with an article she is working on
Earlier this week it came to my attention, much to my chagrin, that the archives at Concordia are only available Monday through Wednesday owing to an ongoing reorganization. While not thrilled at this news, I then set my sights on the BAnQ as an alternative only to discover today that the Public Sector strike affects services offered there.
As I departed for the meeting my frame of mind was dark. I stopped in at a downtown establishment to sit down and gather my thoughts. On the television screen was the France vs. Germany friendly soccer match. The match went on as planned and I did my reading without distraction.
The interview went well, speaking with a friendly freelance journalist about a story of potential interest to the Irish community of Montreal. Before heading home to the suburbs I stopped at another establishment. To my horror, news of the attack on Paris plastered CNN.
What drives people to commit unspeakable acts of terrorism? As of now there are reports of more that 150 fatalities in France.
Montreal is not a perfect place. This week our City began dumping 8 billion liters of effluent into the Saint Lawrence River.
Quebec is not a perfect place. As a member of the English speaking minority, we experience daily reminders that some people would prefer to eradicate the English language from our mere province. In a fantastic twist of irony this week, the separatist and anti-English Parti Québecois and Québec Solidaire provincial political parties lept to the defense of the English Montreal School Board as it asserted its right to hold a byelection for a vacant position on its council of commissioners.
Canada is not a perfect place. What place is? It is as close to perfect as we can get, however, and I am grateful to have been born here.
Hearing about the terrorist attacks in France really brings it home how lucky we are. All of our little squabbles and frustrations are insignificant compared to the troubles experienced in France tonight.
I didn’t get to the Concordia archives. Big deal! I didn’t get to the BAnQ. So What! I did manage to move about in all safety and security and, for that, I am grateful.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of France as they come to terms with the realities of today’s events.