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This past May 2, 2016, in Fort McMurray,Alberta,Canada, a sudden burst of flames had apparently started in a few trees and due to high winds,had spread rapidly until it engulfed the entire city.At this time, around 40 wildfires at latest count. It had already affected a huge span of land ( approx. 150,000 acres)and probably still growing yet and most of the residents(around 88,000) had to evacuate immediately and drive down to the nearest big city of Edmonton or travel out to other parts of Alberta province as well as to other parts of Canada.

Amazingly, no one got hurt or killed from these still ongoing wildfires and accdg. to experts, the fires are still raging at this time and the effects from these wildfires will last a long time. It’s highly unlikely that things will go back to normal soon.

Fort McMurray or what we call as Fort Mac was an evergrowing city of migrants coming from all over Canada to take advantage of job opportunities in the oil well industry. Unfortunately, due to the world wide oil price crisis and now the wildfires, it only exacerbated the careers and bottom lines of these workers and their respective families.

It hits home here in Atlantic Canada since a lot of folks from New Brunswick,Nova Scotia,Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland had gone to Fort Mac to look for work in Alberta province, the land of milk and honey especially in the oil  well business. Some of these Maritimers  came back home with only the shirts on their backs and  probably no careers to return to from there.

It really goes to show how life can be unpredictable when a fire can wipe out your life or lifestyle in a flash. The silver lining  is that charity and the drive to help out kicks in. As they say here in Canada, it’s the Canadian way—to help others in times of need.

Around here in  Canada, most of the stores and other business establishments had set up posts to receive cash donations for the Fort MacMurray victims, all proceeds to be given to their local Canadian Red Cross office.

Even our prime minister Justin Trudeau will match $ for $ each cash donation on behalf of the Canadian government with this regard.

Overall,  here in Canada ,one can make a donation online through the Alberta Fires Appeal online—-www.redcross.ca  or 1-800-418-1111. One can also go their local Canadian Red Cross office to give monetary donations whether cash,check or credit.

It is much better and more convenient to give monetary donations since it’ll reach the province of Alberta much faster and much easier there to purchase whatever supplies would be needed.

For all of those Canadian expats  and anyone who live abroad and would like to help out, they can go their local Red Cross  , Red Crescent office,.Red Cross Society base,etc. to give their monetary donations.

I am fully aware of what this entails since I am an employee for the Canadian Red Cross in my district. Even though I’m not directly involved with Search and Rescue nor in the Volunteer Services Department, my local CRC branch feels like a big family trying to help out in any way possible.

I feel that with my blog, I could help in this endeavor  by being a voice for help because with the Red Cross, we are here to serve.

My prayers go out to the Fort Mac victims.

Josie

Yesterday, Oct. 19, 2015  will go down in Canadian politics as historic in so many ways.

It was the longest federal election campaign –78 days—in Canadian politics to elect a  prime minister whether new or as  a re-elect. Usually, any Canadian election whether federal ,provincial or municipal only takes a 30 day election campaign.( I know,I know…in the US, it’s almost a 6 month primary season and almost 6-9 month presidential campaign period) My hat goes to the Americans for their fortitude till they finally cast their ballots.

Justin Pierre James Trudeau, the 43 year old son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau has just won a sweeping Liberal Party majority win to become Canada’s 23rd prime minister, the official swearing -in scheduled for Nov. 4.

Justin Trudeau becomes part of the first political family dynasty in Canada–father-son tandem to become both prime ministers in their lifetime.

Mr. Trudeau’s political savvy as the leader of his Liberal Party was evidenced in his ability to lift his Liberal Party back to prominence after finishing in 3rd place in the last federal election in 2011.

With his telegenic looks as well as having also a telegenic family, it reminds me of the Kennedys. Their celebrity status will be as frequently reported as the political news revolving around them.

I wrote a blog dated on 10/3/12  titled Justin Trudeau ,Future Prime Minister of Canada? Yes, the title  had a question mark but I had predicted at that time that one day, he will become prime minister. I didn’t expect it to be this soon but I guess, Canada needs a change and to be reinstated once again to the world stage for what it stands for—an openly friendly, optimistic and empathic nation.

I wish him luck and congratulations on his win. He definitely will need it as he eventually will start working on getting Canada back on its feet.

His father started Trudeaumania   47 years ago(served 16 years as prime minister) and still remains as one of Canada’s most popular prime ministers even after his death in 2000.

Justin Trudeau whom I would compare to the American political celebrity, the late John Kennedy Jr. has already in fact amplified Trudeaumania but in his own way—therefore, it’s Trudeaumania 2.0.

Josie

Last night, Justin Pierre James Trudeau, the 40 year old son of the late former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and a reelected Member of Parliament of Papineau( a riding in Montreal,Quebec), had announced his candidacy to run for the Liberal Party leadership position which would be a stepping stone to run for the Prime Ministership of Canada. It’s a big step for a former college professor and a known social activist and environmentalist with a huge youth following as evidenced by his Twitter account(100,000+) , considered a rock star in the Liberal Party and a media  darling.

He reminded me of John F. Kennedy,Jr., the late son of the late US President John F.Kennedy. Both young men were born during their respective fathers’ terms in office. One would think that they were born as princes to their king fathers as potential political heirs. Both are telegenic and had married beautiful women who both have made a name for themselves in society. Both men have settled into their respective roles in society apart from their departed fathers’ roles in politics except for Justin Trudeau who 4 years ago ventured into and won the MP position in Papineau, a heavily-leaning Bloc Quebecois riding, even winning reelection last year.

While JFK ,Jr.’s untimely demise from a plane crash in 1999 had stopped whatever potential political life he may have, Justin Trudeau appears to be determined to shore up his political profile further with his announcement for the  Liberal Party leadership last night.

It’s true that not much has been known of his stance in certain political issues while being an MP but I think that he’ll try to  be more forthcoming and specific as to what his political platform will be in the coming days. In this way, all Canadians will get to know him much better in terms of what he can do for Canada. I’m sure that from now on until the next leadership or federal election, his every word and action in and outside  Parliament Hill will be observed,parsed and scrutinized. In this high-tech age, being high-profile is both  a given and an understatement.

Frankly, I see it as his time to shine. If not now, then when? With his famous surname and his entry into politics, it was inevitable that he will follow his father’s footsteps someday. Yet as I look at how his life had been from his early years until now, my guess is that he’ll try to carve his own political path and distinguish himself from his late father in terms of not being  his father’s political clone even if the Liberal Party also happens to be the same political party that his father ran with.

To his credit, he has been known as a very hard-working MP in his riding ,always going about his duties with a hands-on approach and getting actively involved in his riding’s activities.

Yes, he knows that he’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s son and is proud of it but he will be  his own man. That will be his message to the voters.

When he gave that very moving eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000, I already saw shades of his future political potential which is why last night’s announcement was no surprise to me.

Good luck,Monsieur Trudeau! This will be a very interesting race.

Josie