Becoming Visible – the 2011 Collection

On February 16th I posted the updated collection adding new essays by Allyson Hewitt, Budd Hall, Cheryl Rose, Ilse Treurnicht and John Restakis. When you download the document below it will contain the revised of collection of 63 essay. What … Read More

Richard Bridge – Becoming Visible in 2011 – Old Rural Wisdom

Richard Bridge is a respondent to my question: What would you like to become more visible in 2011? Richard is one of a handful of experts in charity, non-profit law in Canada. (  He has applied his multiple talents to … Read More

Alexandra Samuel – Becoming Visible 2011 – Embracing our IRL, Online and Offline

Alexandra Samuel is one of 58 respondents to my question: What would you like to become more visible in 2011? Alex is Director of the Social and Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University.  She co-founded Social Signal and blogs … Read More

André Picard – Becoming Visible in 2011 – The Contributions of Seniors to a Healthy Canada

Globe and Mail public health reporter and award winning writer, André Picard is one of the 58 contributors to my New Year's series, Becoming Visible.  I asked those I profiled or referenced in my 2010 blog columns to answer the … Read More

Sherri Torjman – Becoming Visible in 2011- Walking Tall

Sherri Torjman was one of the fifty-five who responded to my question: What would you like to become visible in 2011?  Sherri is an author, policy analyst, researcher, Vice President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and one of … Read More

Mark Kingwell – Becoming Visible in 2011- Real Democracy

This is an appetizer. I asked the individuals I profiled and referenced during my first year as a blog columnist to answer this question:  What would you like to become more visible in 2011? Fifty-five responded. One of those is … Read More

Canadian Songs for the ‘close and holy darkness’

A  cosy Canadian Christmas to my readers who, google stats suggest, are now scattered over 44 countries. Gilles Vigneault composed this chanson about Quebec, Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays – c'est l'hiver ( My country isn't a country … Read More

A Gesture of Appreciation – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (50)

Is there a politician, editorial writer, public servant, fellow advocate, foundation staff person, competitor, colleague, business leader, funder, community activist, high profile commentator who did the right thing, took a stand, supported you, 'saw' what you are trying to do, … Read More

Born Free – A Contemporary Magi – Annie Lennox’s Gift to the Universal Child

Several years ago I personally witnessed Nelson Mandela, standing in front of his former prison cell on Robben Island, addressing the world's press. His message was that the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in africa was in fact, a genocide. Since that … Read More

Who’s Reading What?

What are former PM's, Governor Generals, journalists, Premiers, University Presidents, and community leaders reading this holiday season?  That's a question David Mitchell, President and CEO of the Public Policy Forum asked 34 of us.  The results were published in the … Read More

The Wild Abandon of ‘Big’ Jim Schwier

I share many things in common with Jim Schwier but the one that gives me the biggest chuckle is our mutual love of tool belts.  Jim has many other passions and talents.  Some of these are reflected in a letter … Read More

The Thin Place – the Meeting Place

"Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller." –Celtic Saying One of my pleasures this year was meeting Angeles Arrien at her home base in Sausalito California.  Vickie met Angeles … Read More

Virginia Greene – All That Heaven Will Allow

  When you are starting fresh, despite your brazen front, you are full of insecurities.  Some you know, some you don't.   And those insecurities can weigh you down, undercut your imagination and restrict your actions.  More than you realize.  Especially … Read More

Putting the Social in Infrastructure

Federal Government infrastructure spending in response to our economic crisis is expected to produce multiple wins: jump-start the economy, provide employment, repair our aging sewers, roads and bridges and expand transit services. Given that the Federal Government's budget for infrastructure … Read More

Uploading versus Downloading – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (49)

What we need is a new model of citizenship based on the act of participation itself, not on some quality or thought or right enjoyed by its possessor.  This participatory citizenship doesn't simply demand action from existing citizens; it makes … Read More

Hallelujah – The Gifts of a Unique Artist – Michelle Amerie

Looking for the perfect gift this Christmas?  And a good reason to avoid the malls?  Check out our talented artist friend, Michelle Amerie's silk art.  Ties (these will get worn!) framed prints, scarves (so will these) and beautiful clothing (for … Read More

20 Stories Down – The Ascent of Stephanie Cadieux

She rappels down the sides of tall buildings, wheelchair and all.  This may be all you need to know about Stephanie Cadieux, British Columbia's first ever Cabinet Minister with a spinal cord injury.  A short clip is worth a thousand … Read More

A Wise and Tender Heart – Jean Vanier’s letter to Parliamentary Committee on Palliative Care

There is an all Party Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care engaged in consultations across Canada.  They are preparing policy recommendations on palliative care, suicide prevention, elder abuse and disability issues related to health care. Jean Vanier is the founder … Read More

Imagine – John Lennon and the soundtracks of our llives

Have a look at this rollicking, endearing tribute to John Lennon.  Can you count the number of Beatle and Lennon songs and references? So what is the soundtrack for your rebellious nature? An informal survey of a younger generation yielded … Read More

Adapting the Social Finance Task Force Recommendations to Your Sector -Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (48)

Many leaders within British Columbia's disability sector are promoting and adapting a social finance strategy that parallels the seven recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance released on November 30th.They are doing it because they: realize the days … Read More

The Time Has Come the Walrus said to ‘Do’ Public Policy Ourselves and establish a Social Finance Task Force – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy(47)

Sean Moore, the wise and big hearted walrus of public policy first remarked this several years ago.  Most government departments have either eliminated or pared to the bare bones their policy development arms.  This means there are few staff dedicated … Read More

Powerful Strangers on the Way to Maybe

While in Toronto I had a chance to introduce two friends, Frances Westley from the University of Waterloo (SiG at Waterloo) and Leighton Jay from the School of Management, Curtin University, Perth Australia.  Both are activists and academics with a … Read More

Ouch – It’s an International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Thing – December 3rd

What do you do when you have an abundance of topics, profiles, initiatives to highlight the extraordinary contributions of individuals with disabilities? Link them to the most irreverent group of people with disabilities you know – Ouch – it's a … Read More

The Spaces In Between – The Back Story of the Task Force on Social Finance – an illustration of Solution Based Advocacy (46)

It took a million steps and thousands of relationships to launch the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance.  Here are a few of those stories. I welcome your contributions, additions, amplifications.  Let's record our history. Eight years ago Tim Brodhead … Read More

Shooting the Rapids – Ballast from the Social Finance Task Force

The community sector in Canada has hit white water and the sound of the waterfalls is echoing louder.  Non profits, charities, co-ops, and citizen groups  are contending with government funding reductions, more competition for the donor and foundation dollar and … Read More

Cairine MacDonald – One of Canada’s Most Powerful (and Loving) Women of the secrets of Cairine's success is her intellectual curiosity.  She is driven to discover creative solutions to tough, often unyielding social problems.  She is not content to rest on, 'the way it has always been done.'  With … Read More

The Inner Activist – A Site for Sore Eyes – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (45)

And for flagging spirits, tired bodies, troubled minds and suffering souls. Social change can be harsh, hard, unyielding work.  It can take a toll on you, your families, your friends, your acquaintances, your adversaries…  It has on occasion turned me … Read More

Flaherty Makes Disability Savings Plan More Accessible

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty continues to be a champion for people with disabilities and their families.  He intends to correct a procedural barrier to eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).  Eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit is the only … Read More

Caroline MacGillivray’s Redemption of Beauty

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.  -RUMI There is a young Vancouver woman whose special touch with the invisible women of our society gets … Read More

Ask David Eaves: Is the Internet our new Parliament Buildings? (Part Three)

David Eaves is an app inventor, philosopher, negotiation specialist and one of the world’s leading proponent of Open Government.  Open Government for David consists of making government more transparent, accountable and collaborative.  To give birth to Open Government he, like … Read More

Ask Alexandra Samuel: Is the Internet our new Parliament Buildings? (Part Two)

People working in the field of social media bear a particular responsibility for imagining, interrogating and forming this new world that is just beginning, for what use is our insatiable appetite for connectivity, our constant embrace of new tools, our … Read More

Is the Internet our new Parliament Buildings? (Part One)

The future is going to happen no matter what we do, writes Douglas Copeland in his latest book Player One: What is to Become of Us, reminding us of the obvious. And that future, regardless of what we think will … Read More

Literary Review of Canada profiles Donna Thomson’s new book

The current issue of the Literary Review of Canada carries a thoughtful overview and commentary on The Four Walls of My Freedom by Donna Thomson.  Thanks to Alastair Cheng, LRC's Managing Editor, who passed along this electronic version of the … Read More

What Makes a Hand a Hand? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (44)

The fingers? Yes.  Obviously, but… What about the spaces in between?  The hand is a system comprised of fingers and the spaces in between.  The fingers don't exist without the spaces in between.  Without the spaces in between the fingers … Read More

I’ll Get My Data to Talk to Your Data! – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (43)

According to David Eaves, one of the world's expert on open data and open government there are more than 300 different data sets in the federal government alone! How are they able to 'talk' to each other let alone to … Read More

A British Columbia Jewel at the G-20 Seoul Summit – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (42)

Here's a positive footnote to the recently completed G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea.  The G-20 leaders committed more than half a billion dollars to support social finance. That's serious money for sustainable and socially responsible businesses.   While critics and … Read More

So the Minister is full of sh##? – Tips for Solution Based advocacy (41)

I didn't even see it coming.   A big, slow, deliberate set-up.  How could I miss it?  My adrenalin was gushing.  Our campaign to get the Minister to close down a children's facility providing sub standard care was picking up momentum.  … Read More

Who invented the committee? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (40 )

A foolish question perhaps.  How about Task Force? Advisory Body?  Expert Panel?  Regardless these forms have been around for a long time.  Now a new vehicle or container is emerging simultaneously in many parts of the world. It's generic description … Read More

The Courage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – a Profile of Solution Based Advocacy (39)

"Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men and women are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and uphold the disciplines … Read More

Peace in Our Time – Peace in Our Classrooms

The well being of our grandchildren is directly linked to the well being of our enemy's grandchildren. John Paul Lederach, author The Moral Imagination – TheArt and Soul of Building Peace Empathy makes our world go around. It helps people … Read More

The Thousand Faces of Peter Nares – A Case Study in Solution Based Advocacy (38)

Poverty is a tough, gnarly, complex problem.  It has been resistant to countless efforts, strategies and expenditures over decades, even centuries.  It has befuddled many many sharp, smart people.  The poverty activists I pay attention to are those who start … Read More

Kindness – Vickie Cammack’s Reflections on Who We Really Are

This is the first in a series of guest blogs. This article by Vickie Cammack is a cross posting from PLAN Institute and TYZE – Vickie's social mission business.  See also the NOTES below. As I sit shivering in a … Read More

What Can We Learn About Power and Love from Aung San Suu Kyi? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (37)

Burma will be in the news over the next few weeks.   November 7th is the 'official' election day – an election in which the party that won the previous election (1990) is both boycotting and ineligible to run.  This … Read More

The Philanthropist – A Cornucopia of Content for the Social Sector

The Philanthropist is quickly becoming the must read journal for anyone who cares about the health and vitality of the social sector in Canada.  The sector is variously referred to as the voluntary, non profit, non governmental, civic, citizen and … Read More

David Roche – Man’s Gift to Intuition

David Roche is like most men. He never gets lost.  This helped him find the White House and perform for President Clinton.  A hunch tells him when to grab a beer out of the fridge.  On an inkling he took … Read More

Fractals – The Thumbprint of Creation – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (36)

  "Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line." – B. Mandelbrot Benoît Mandelbrot died this month.  Most won't know him but he … Read More

Sean Moore’s ‘Do It Yourself Public Policy’ – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy ( 35)

Since the 1990’s the federal government and most provincial governments have eliminated 'in- house' policy units. If you want to get government to do something you have to learn to do public policy yourself.   Sean Moore Stacey Corriveau at the … Read More

Power plus Love equals Advocacy – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (34)

This is another riff on Adam Kahane's delicious new book, Power and Love – A Theory and Practice of Social Change.  (Incidentally Adam is speaking at Robson Square, Vancouver on Monday November 1st.  Details below.) In an earlier incarnation as … Read More

UK Budget Cuts – It’s Time to Get Serious About Social Finance

It's worth looking at government financial decisions in Europe and the UK.  They provide a glimpse of scenarios we might face in Canada and may make us better prepared to surmount them.  Lets look at the dramatic budget cuts announced … Read More

‘Queen’ Nancy Hall Honoured in London

London Ontario that is. On Friday evening October 22nd Nancy Hall receives the most prestigious award the mental health community can award anyone. The C M Hincks Award presented by the Canadian Mental Health Association at a special gala and … Read More