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There’s nothing quite like a freshly brewed cup of Joe on a frosty winter morning. It’s how I like to start everyday but especially those during our darker and very much colder winter months. And it’s during those initial months when we all begin preparations for the holiday season.

However, this holiday season will be celebrated a little different than those in the past. The Covid crisis has reared its ugly head and the restrictions we need to adhere to are unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. But adherence for the good of all is an unfortunate necessity. So please, adhere to the recommended guidelines.

To say that things will be different would be an understatement. The prospects of an otherwise festive season being spent in isolation and away from family and friends is anything but pleasant. It already brings back sad memories of my first tour of duty, far from home and in much warmer climates trying to stay dry during a deluge. Fortunately, that was the only time I experienced anything resembling isolation.

Jack Bourassa is the Regional Executive Vice President of PSAC, North

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate this holiday season, it will be both challenging and unusual. Despite the inconveniences, we do have choices which in a nutshell are to be happy or sad. “Amor Fati … love all life’s experiences as good.”

I understand that for some that statement is easier said than done. For those who will undoubtedly be struggling there are resources to help at: https://ca.portal.gs

Alternatively:

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Adults: text WELLNESS to 741741

Front Line Workers: text FRONTLINE to 741741

“Mental health is part of the journey and not the destination.” And, in keeping with the true meaning of the word “community” we all must play our part. Having and showing compassion for others is the single biggest contribution we can make. The compassion you show to and for others is, after all, what the holiday spirit is all about. (Volunteer – wink)

While we are celebrating let us also remember the year we put behind us. We truly have much to be grateful for. I am especially grateful to those who tirelessly gave of their personal safety and time to ensure we all had the necessities to see us through this pandemic. They not only put themselves and their families in harm’s way but also endured the indignities of those who did not appreciate the tasks they were charged with … keeping us all safe! To all those who held the line I say … thank you!

Although the spirit of compassion, giving and love differs from one person to another, the differences are subtle. What is important, especially during this time of year, is that we express the holiday spirit in whichever way it moves you and share it however humbly or subtly with everyone you meet. Particularly with those most in need. 

“We may not be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm.”

Northerners are renowned for our hospitality. Let no pandemic stop us from celebrating what makes us unique and our communities strong. Let the festive lights brighten our spirits that we might extend compassion to all. I sincerely believe that, with kindness and genuine gratitude, we will emerge stronger from this or any crisis.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy, safe and joyous holiday season. 

 Remember: Karma will reward us all for the deeds we do and the words we speak. May they all be good ones.

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