I have lived life up close and personal with Canadian politicians. I first interviewed an Alberta premier, Don Getty, in the men’s room of a hotel in 1985. I went drinking with Liberal Leader Laurence Decore in 1993 – in a four-seat Cessna 172 flying over Taber.
And I was singled out by Ralph Klein at the 2006 Premiers’ Conference when he vowed to never speak to me again. Yes. I’ve had a long and interesting career covering Alberta politics. But I’ve done other things, too.
I have met brave women in Kandahar who attended a secret classroom to learn to read and write despite Taliban threats. I have witnessed a man die by lethal injection in Texas. I have stood under a starry winter night in Lebanon and listened to the artillery shells fall on Damascus. I have had tea with Syrian refugees who insisted sharing what meagre food they had in a makeshift tent.
I have been punched, threatened, cursed, spat on, had rockets fired in my general direction, and I have shared it all with Albertans.
“We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror.”
Over the last 30 years, I have been a journalist covering stories in Canada, visiting every province and every territory. But I have also at times travelled the world, bearing witness to the heights of our shared humanity and the depths of our common cruelty.
Every time I returned home I was thankful we settle our political differences with ballots, not bombs, yet keenly aware of how the world was changing and how our political leaders were struggling to keep up.
I am not the one to tell Albertans which road to take. I am the one who can explain how we got here and describe what the road ahead might look like depending on which path we take.
– Graham Thomson,
G. Thomson Ink