It must have been pandemic boredom. When our library opened up again last week, my wife brought home a number of books. One of them was Celina Caesar-Chavannes’ Can You Hear Me Now? I asked if I could read it.
I started out reading it seriously and soon was practicing some of the speed-reading skills that I had learned a long time ago. In the end I was just skimming. I found the book a waste of about three hours.
The title itself was off-putting. The first half of the book deals with Caesar-Chavannes’ early life. It was boring because I have heard those complaints and seen the acting-out before, and the constant use of vulgarities is just bad writing. During my childhood and as an adult I often heard the problems my friends had with their old-world parents. All I could advise was patience as their parents (hopefully) became more accepting of their new life in Canada. If she had spent more time trying to understand her parents, she might have found they could ease up faster.
My sense of Celina’s problems as a youth was that she also made the mistake of clustering with blacks. I know how difficult it is but I found that as an interested sixth generation Canadian, I was invited into many homes where I learned about new foods and different cultures.
What interested me in the book was Caesar-Chavannes introduction to politics and Ottawa. I always regretted that I was too busy digging into the Jody Wilson-Raybould MP goings-on at the time and had not been tuned in on what was happening with the Whitby, Ontario MP.
According to her book, she was ill-prepared for the Ottawa scene and, frankly, she seemed to have few of the skills needed to survive in the Parliament Hill environment. She was obviously caught up in being black and accordingly, she was used as just that. Her biggest mistake up front, as parliamentary secretary to the PM, was telling Justin Trudeau that she wanted to meet American president Barack Obama. She did not understand that when he said “Done,” that was all she would get. That started her on a downhill slide for the next four years.
I have often thought that the parties needed a better mentoring system for their new MPs. There are just too many who have no idea of what they are doing in parliament, other than feeding their own self-importance.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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