The New Democratic Party of Alberta is leading into the 21st Century!
Courage, my friends; “tis not too late to build a better world” Tommy Douglas creator of the NDP
It is important to show the progress that has passed in the last general election which took place on May 5, 2015 where the "Orange Chinook" occurred and where the values that are important and where the solutions for the future of our province are filled with prosperity, wisdom, understanding and ingenuity. There has been so much progress in the last 4 years, with honest governance and usage of advanced technology. We must have inclusiveness with a coalition and a diverse community that is full of various backgrounds that cares about everyone in their communities, its province and Canada.
“My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent.”
I am a supporter of the NDP and grateful recipient of life-saving health care. I believe that everybody deserves equality and that focusing on health and education is the best way to improve society. I commend the NDP for their conviction to change the status quo and focus on making a better world. I hope the following words show my appreciation for life and good health, and may in some way support the NDP campaign.
My family is an Albertan success and has now grown into a generation that shows that effort, intelligence, and perseverance. Albertans are courageous and they will build a better country that is fairer so that its children will live in peace and order. My father was from Sri Lanka which is a small country that is a quarter the size of Alberta but has a population of over 23 million people and had a civil war and still has poverty, corruption and a struggling economy. My father studied mineral engineering and my mother became a math teacher at Peradeniya University in Kandy.
My father used his results to gain a scholarship to Birmingham, United Kingdom. I was born in Birmingham after my Mom was working at a rubber factory and my Dad worked while he finished his masters in mineral engineering. In 1980 my mother got ill because of a mental illness called bipolar disorder also known as BiPartem Depression. My mom had to stay at a mental hospital because of the side effects and couldn’t take care of me. A kind couple helped and with their compassion and kindness helped take care of me while my dad took care of my mother.
But when she was with family and friends in Sri Lanka she recovered from her mental scars and my family was so kind and caring that she was extremely happy. Our small family of me, my mom, and my father came back to Sri Lanka to work at a graphite mine. I was raised with my family which I still keep close especially my Aunts who are teachers who live in Sri Lanka. I believe that any society will need more teachers. They are the future and they should be paid well so that they can have the benefits to ensure their calling. My family in Sri Lanka is still a great asset for my loved ones and it is more important than wealth. I have learnt the perspectives of what can be seen with the poverty and sadness and also the benefit of education, care, and respect.
My father and his family wanted higher aspirations to a country glorious, strong and free. Canada was like New Jerusalem, a place where there is no strife. war, and suffering. When he came after his application to come to Canada he lived only in a friend’s house. When I came to Canada it was in 1982 and this time was the same situation that is currently in the bust and boom cycle of the Alberta oil industry; oil prices had fallen and now my father was no longer able to work for his profession as his dream to be a resource engineer in Alberta. So he started again, as often in Alberta has done because the oil industry fluctuates and is unstable.
Our family however had to pay for a young child so my mother became a cook at ‘Bones’ a restaurant that no longer even exists in Edmonton. That is the way of life, sometimes we must start again and fight for a new place in a new home. My father couldn’t be an engineer anymore so he worked as a accounts clerk for the province of Alberta and while working there he studied his exams and worked to become a Chartered Management Accountant. As a CMA he gained more income for his young family and my brother was born in 1986. That is the start of our life in Alberta and it is the Canadian dream, a dream for a better place for its children.
To capture a dream we should all know about, to make the world a better place kind of dream, in this dream, we all get to where we want to go, there are less ladders, more helping hands, success is measured differently in this dream. How much you make a difference is more important than how much you make, and experiences are more valuable than possessions; in this dream, people care about people they’ve never met, and the big important choices are made for our kids’ future, not just ours, you can speak any language, love who you want to love, everyone is welcome in this dream, this is the Canadian dream
This time I still remember my Mom crying and saying her baby was dead and needed a priest. That was difficult for a family and it was difficult as my Mom had to be institutionalized to Alberta Hospital with Dr. Mary Cumming who has been my doctor since. My father became a single parent almost as my brother and me were and my brother was a newborn. Again it was assistance from a Sri Lankan family Ransirimal and Sujatha Fernando who showed kindness not with money but friendship. Often I have been blessed by strangers and although the Fernandos had three daughters they were there as an honest and caring family that helped and took care of me and our family when my family was in stress. I still talk with their family and they are great individuals themselves, one a lawyer named Kanchana, another a Dr in Vancouver, and the youngest Sithara is an instructor. The effort and caring of a loving family can help in so many ways and even when they were busy they took us as friends and I am grateful for their family helping us. No matter what we can do is #ChooseKindness is important and not be filled with hatred and ignorance.
The pillar of education grew from a young age with me from elementary in Inglewood School to Bishop Savaryn Catholic, and Lorelei Elementary in Castledowns and then into Mary Butterworth where I had so many great teachers who put so much effort into me and every teacher I have learnt so much, from Mrs. Davies in grade 2, to Mr Foster in grade 5 to Ms. Irvine in grade 8 and then in Grade 9 Mr Dan Tietzen who helped me assisted me to be the Valedictorian of my Jr High and advised me to go to Old Scona Academic and hoped that his daughters would go to OSA.
When I came to Old Scona Academic I was given an opportunity to excel even more than I could believe beyond my own mind. Wisdom comes only with time and experience but one thing I remember is that having good friends is more valuable than Gems. I have been educated with public schools that are some of the best schools in the world. As a student for Old Scona Academic High School I was given an opportunity to see the diversity that is in Alberta and that school is a microsystem where intelligent, hard working, industrious students from all over the world has produced engineers, teachers, nurses, and doctors, lawyers, accountants, professors and business leaders that are the best of the 21st century with the Information Age that will be needed as our society looks to a new path. When I was finished Old Scona Academic I studied Engineering at University of Alberta following the same path as my father.
I have had many medical difficulties in my youth. I had a broken nose that I got when the hardest softball player threw the ball to my nose and I was not paying attention. It hit my face before the game and my Dad came to the bathroom and put me back into the game after the second inning and I got a single. It never actually fixed properly. But that was just one of many mishaps to my health. Another was Grade 11 which gave me spontaneous pneumothorax. I required aid for the pain and also required surgery. X-Rays showed I had a hole in my lung; it was a serious situation that caused my hospitalization at Royal Alexandra hospital. I had the benefits of The Royal Alexandra Hospital where I had spontaneous pneumothorax in 1996. I have always believed that nurses and doctors are the backbone of society. These are the pillars I believe that any society will prosper Faith, Education, and Health.
As The Buddha said:
“Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good”
After my recovery I needed assistance again because my mother’s genes passed on bipolar disorder to me and I had a mental breakdown in 1998. Once again I had a kind and caring doctor in Dr Jan Banasch at unit 102A at Alberta Hospital, the same hospital that my mother had needed same assistance at the same Unit with Dr Cumming. This is such a coincidence that I found interesting and eerie. I have had bipolar and struggled with this illness for over 20 years and now I believe this illness is controlled with medication as my mind has always been unfocused and raging that makes it quickly full of ideas. My illness has taken a lot of my memories because of medicine and manic episodes.
But my bipolar illness defeated my dreams to be an Engineer when the when I lost my wallet and my school books on the bus and was not able to be able to pay my for my textbooks and tuition costs. I also suffered from depression and in March 1998 when I was 18 years old I was struggling to control my mind and these episodes. I continued my education using more loans to study; I decided to get a Bachelors Commerce in MacEwan University with the assistance of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped. I did well and had a scholarship for Commerce but my goal was to become an Elementary teacher so I studied Secondary Education with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Physical Education.
Meeting so many people from different people around the world was a beautiful thing. The new Alberta is not filled with elitism and greed but with building the future with everyone working together and united. Those are the blessings that were given to me which were so beautiful that are on this Earth.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
I was given the pleasure to have met Leslie Weigl and the great people of International House and the International Centre which have given me new opinions, hopes and ideas from different cultures. As a volunteer, student and a resident at University of Alberta I met students from all over the world. The world is on our doorstep and this was the amazing power of unity. The University of Alberta contributes by fostering a microcosm of peace, understanding and love. IHouse was a “World Under One Roof”. Everyday you step on your doorstep is a day of happiness, a beautiful day, mysterious, and yet never ceasing to awe and wonder. I have so many days of joy of just talking with people from diverse places all trying to love this Country even more by talking to people who decided to come to Canada and many who live outside in other countries but have found love because they met at IHouse.
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Paulo Coehelo
. After my education I was as a childcare worker at YMCA and I loved my time with children but I resigned because I wanted to visit the world and see my family in Sri Lanka via Heathrow and Doha in Qatar. In Lanka I was filled with an honest gratitude for this life that I have in Canada. In Lanka there was poverty and sadness with some who are unable to even eat and what a power of a Canadian Dollar. The civil war of Sri Lanka ended in 2010 but still relations in Sri Lanka are fractured because of religion and race, and language situations. It is interesting for me how similar was the FLQ Crisis and how the minority of the Québécois and the English majority of Canada, and being a born British Canadian I can see the same majority and the IRA battled during the “Troubles” in United Kingdom and Northern Ireland with the Protestant and Catholics and the new Brexit problems that always brew in all three countries. As a Canadian and with my social studies I see the complexities of minorities and the unknown.
After my trip to Sri Lanka I truly had an amazing interpretation of the New World and the Third World. Only cutting taxes and having that as a solution to the complexities of this 21st century is unable to succeed in a world that is filled with inequalities. The new path must come to Alberta and it is one that must build schools, hospitals, and infrastructure to prepare for the time when the province runs out of oil and gas. Alberta has understood that it needs a diversified economy where solar, wind and hydro and geothermal energies are used. We can see how the squander of a conservative government compared to Norway who has had a Trillion dollar fund to keep the economy stable.
In 2010 when I was working at Shea Cooperators Insurance Group I was an auto specialist and was playing soccer and enjoying co-rec soccer, I had a hard collision with a lady when we were both trying to get the ball. I realized I needed to stop and my knee collapsed and my ACL and MCL were injured and my soccer was finished. After a few months of trying to keep healthy I realized that my right knee had been seriously damaged and required surgery. I was unable to stop the bleeding in my knee. After my recuperation was unsuccessful.
My health deteriorated because of lack of fitness and bad diet. The health was making me weaker and weaker and I decided to return with my mother to visit back to Sri Lanka in 2013 where my family again gave he me so much love, kindness and appreciation and this was only visiting it. That has always kept in my heart that friends and family are more valuable than riches and it was different in Alberta where many of the elders in care are no assistance with only a small pension and loneliness. At the end of my trip to Sri Lanka I enjoyed my best friend Christopher Field to visit the beauties of Sri Lanka including a match of Cricket, great food, and spectacular beaches and nightlife. I remember him saying that I was not in my good health and as I tried watching Chris was able to catch up and said that something was wrong.
In December 21, 2013 I was found a shortness of breath in the emergency at Grey of Nuns Hospital. I was found that a rare illness called Pulmonary Hypertension which was an illness that was discovered because of my lack of fitness and my knee injury. Pulmonary Hypertension or PH was a condition of increased blood pressure with the arteries of the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of legs, and fast heartbeat. It causes me difficult to exercise and the onset is slowly typically gradually causing me almost into death bed three times at the ICU in both Grey Nuns hospital in Millwoods and University of Alberta hospital. My body was shutting down and I have had lung failure and heart failure.
The cause of PH is unknown but may be including family history and sleep apnea and unfortunately there is no cure. Also the surgery of my spontaneous pneumothorax in 1996 had caused my ribcage to be sticking like glue and these changes made it impossible and my bipolar illness caused me to unable to have lung and heart transplants. I also can not understand how lucky to have a wonderful brother like Dr. Dinesh Witharana who has such a kind and clear man that is like a diamond and was there for so many moments of despair, sadness, happiness, joy and bliss. I am so proud of him becoming a doctor and I am so proud to be such a good man. I am currently in palliative care who assists in getting pulmonary hypertension at home.
2018 has been filled with pitfalls that I have traversed and many strangers, friends, and family have helped bridge this traverse together with me in hope. I was in a wheelchair and this was causing me such stress during the summer. I feel like my Caripul is working and my health is improving with the aides to help me walk and do stairs and breathe more and my heart is improving so that I am taking steps to a better life.
It is the medicine Caripul which is an experimental drug that has helped me when other medicines have failed. But no medicine saves your life with a drug but my nurses at University of Alberta Hospital and doctors in my lung clinic team especially the assistance by Dr. Weinkauf who discovered my pulmonary hypertension and who found my it Unit 5E3 have.
The University of Alberta Hospital is a great asset to this Province and Country including the support staff of the Occupational Therapists to the Physical Therapists. I would thank very much to Angela Ng who has always been kind and cared me even after I had left hospitalization. They have kept me healthy when I was just doing steps and walking short distances. Every step has been a journey and I still have many steps left till I recuperate and I am sure that with kindness, caring and love I can defeat any obstacle.
Alberta also has had religious extremism like the recent mosques being defaced and growing hatred, homophobia and misguided ignorance, and bigotry that have blocked the noble path to a better world. The world has no easy problems but the NDP are willing to use cooperation, caring and focus with lasting ideas in good faith and truth. There are new problems like the opioid epidemic, mental health and bullying for youth and children but they are problems that the United Conservative Party can’t even exist climate change, cutting beds and trying to focus on giving the rich benefits while hard working parents and families struggle. It is my dream never to be yoked with debt and a world where there all my dreams come with effort and anything is possible.
Rachel Notley is a leader who has the integrity, understanding, and forward looking thoughts and ideas needed to improve all Albertans. We are there thinking new ideas and preparing ways to end climate change, poverty, and improving our economy through diversification and technologies that will last and improve the Albertan advantage. The history of the Premier is one of always fighting for the little person. The Premier is always thing about the next horizon and seeing the increasing the destruction of our environment and world and understands we are in a global world. We can not think of the short term problems only but understand that our situations are problems that affect our towns and cities, our province, Canada, and the Earth. Being like a turtle and hiding in our shell or ignorance is not possible in this 21st century in Alberta. Rachel Notley is fighting for everyone in Alberta, Canada, and the world, a battle may be setbacks but in the end we will win the war.
I have the benefits of medicare that was public because of Tommy Douglas and the NDP’s ideas to make a fairer society. These are the ideas of the New Democratic Party and liberal values that are making everyone better when the brother’s brother is not a stranger or unknown but embraces everyone that become stronger when we work together and not have divisions because of faith, sexuality, race which are pointing accusations rather than helping everyone. A rising tide lifts Alberta’s boats for it’s improving economy since 2015 and the future is hopeful. The Alberta advantage is improving through diversification that is the spirit and perseverance that makes our people always excel. It is building infrastructure, great schools and hospitals that builds a society that is built to last generation to generation and improving the Confederation of Canada.
We haven’t come this far by accident, without luck or from the hard working people from Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie to Lethbridge, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Red Deer or Calgary. It is amazing how this province has helped so many people who have supported the people of the New Democrats and their vision for the future. We can see the hopes in the eyes of our children calling for a better world and a mature and advanced curriculum so that we may have children not given to bullying but rather focusing on love for the colours of the rainbow of this province. We need to have a loving environment for its children and for all of Alberta. Solutions for a new century require the leadership from the New Democrats.
Indeed I truly believe that my own motto is this:
Treasures of Wealth make you rich
Treasures of the Mind make you richer
Treasures of the Heart are most precious
May we remember my legacy and may we lest me forgive that #choosekindness over hatred and having no solutions but having ignorance and truth will shine like a diamond that will cut into clarity and colours of the rainbow.