yes minister

i am beaming like a proud mama with the news that brother warren has been appointed to cabinet. with this announcement, calvert seems to be correcting a noticed mistake. we'll take it, thanks lorne. so the former lumberjack-y grunge-y activist is now the minister of corrections and public safety in the saskatchewan government. let us all rest easier.

at the risk of sounding like a eulogist, warren was a key influence on this naive student activist. we called him 'brother warren'. he was burly, bearded, and a force. i first met him during campus organizing around the lloyd axworthy reforms in 94. from then on, warren was a solid comrade in whatever team was organizing. we accomplished some cool shit during our time with the synd (the battle against the sask gov't on gun control still haunts me). and when we weren't coordinating the historic student strike of jan 25th 95 or working to elect progressives to student government, he was a common fixture in the women's centre i ran - peacefully passing time on the couch amidst the feminists, discussing the issues of the day. if his current approach is anything like it was during those heady years, that caucus and cabinet have in warren a thoughtful, sharp, and trustworthy colleague.

warren was razzed hard when he decided to run for a seat in the legislature. i wasn't there, but he endured a fair bit of taunting about being a sell-out. people, including myself, were rolling eyes at the thought that any effective good could happen anywhere but from the outside.

but time rolls on. opinions evolve. i can't speak for my former activist allies back home, but i can no longer be hard on people who chose to run. i don't judge warren, i support him. about a month ago, i had the good fortune to be seated at the firepit behind brother warren's cottage in the stunning qu'appelle valley. he was speaking reflectively about his time as a politician, the challenges, the compromises. and despite a distinct weariness in his tone, the sound of faith was palpable. they may not be making it easy for him, he may be putting up with ageism and elitism, and sometimes it feels like an emotional and mental meat grinder, but warren still believes he can make a difference in there.

so that's good enough for me. it's a comfy lefter-than-thou place from which we would cast stones at allies in the struggle who put their name on a ballot. who the fuck am i to determine where someone can or can't be politically satisfied. fact of the matter is, few of us have the balls it takes to ante up and play at the decision-maker's table. we sure do our best in the trenches, but folks like warren suit up and actually go in. and i appreciate it.

speaking of suiting up, this guy who worked at cupe national in ottawa for awhile is running a catchy campaign for mayor of winnipeg. he's pretty serious about it, and it looks like his rainbow-studded bid is getting lots of attention. i never really knew he had civic ambitions - best memory i have of kaj is the two of us hanging on the periphery of an ndp christmas party on the hill making terribly inappropriate cracks about the mp's lack of fashion sense and singing talent. go kaj go! shake it up like miss vicky is doing here in your nation's capital.


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