Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 25 2015, Page 4

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 25, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE A4 A 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, MONDAY, MAY 25, 2015 TOP NEWS winnipegfreepress. com Craig and Marc Kielburger Craig and Marc Kielburger co- founded Free The Children and are authors of the new book, Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians. metowe. com/ living A sense of purpose is good for your brain by: Craig and Marc Kielburger Mabel sat in her Chicago apartment, waiting to die. Once an active social butterfly, the 85- yearold found herself increasingly cocooned at home because of age- related illnesses such as arthritis. A downward spiral ensued: the less Mabel went out, the more she lost touch with friends, the more aimless and depressed she felt, the less healthy she became, and the less she was able to get out of the house. Then Mabel ( not her real name) decided to set herself a goal: write one letter a week to an old acquaintance— friends or former coworkers. The responses came pouring back, reigniting past friendships and making new one with their children and grandchildren. In building this new social network and sharing her stories from the past with a new generation, Mabel found purpose again. Today Mabel is happy and healthier, and even her ability to get around is improving. Mabel is one of the elderly participants in an ongoing study at Rush University in Chicago. Researchers, including psychologist Dr. Patricia Boyle, have discovered that having a purpose in life can actually improve our health. It’s a topic that fascinates us because so much of our work is devoted to helping Canadian youth, and people in developing countries, find purpose in their lives with the goal of building a better world. Dr. Boyle told us the Rush study was inspired by Viktor Frankl, a Jewish neurologist who survived the Nazi concentration camps. Frankl observed that among his fellow prisoners, the idealists who had a purpose in life, or truly believed their life still had meaning, were healthier and better able to survive the deprivation and diseases of the camps. But in the decades since, no one had ever put Frankl’s hypothesis to the scientific test. “ We wanted to see if it was really true that having a purpose makes you healthier,” Boyle says. In 2007, the research team assembled a study group of thousands of individuals with an average age of around 85. Each participant answered a questionnaire that asked them to rate, on a scale of one to 10, how much they agreed with statements like, “ There is still a lot I want to accomplish in my life.” The researchers then ranked each person on the degree of purpose in their life. We were pleased to hear Boyle’s observation that the elderly participants in the study who had a strong sense of purpose were more often driven by social goals— volunteering, or passing on their life experience like Mabel— than self- centered goals like accumulating wealth. The researchers also found participants who had more purpose- driven lives lived longer, had lower rates of disability and were less likely to experience neuro- degenerative issues like Alzheimer’s disease. Thrilled by this, Boyle says she and her colleagues wondered: “ Why is this? Is having goals and a purpose doing something in the brain?” The research team looked at hundreds of autopsies on study participants and were excited to discover that the brains of those with higher purpose were half as likely to have stroke- related brain damage. Boyle was quick to point out that they took into account other lifestyle factors— physical activity, eating habits, smoking— that also affect strokes, and purpose still emerged as a key influencer on brain health. “ What we’ve seen is very encouraging. The evidence is there that increasing your sense of purpose can have a benefit, even late in life,” Boyle says. The Rush research complements other recent studies. A 2013 study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh of 1,000 adults aged 51 to 91 found that volunteering 200 hours a year measurably lowers stress levels and blood pressure. In February, a paper published in the Journal of Economic Psychology showed that donating to a charity markedly improves physical and emotional well- being. Why not take a little time, sit down and think about your purpose? What’s your passion, and what goals do you want to achieve with that passion? You’ll be doing yourself— and the world— a big favour. Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that includes the international charity, Free The Children, the social enterprise, Me to We, and the youth empowerment movement, We Day. I T appears there could be three times more debates between party leaders in the 2015 federal election campaign than in any previous campaign. A good thing, right? That depends on whom you talk to. For the first time since 1968, a consortium of Canada’s principal broadcasters will not hold a monopoly on televised debates among party leaders. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have decided not to participate in the traditional English- and French- language debates organized by the consortium, preferring to appear in as many as five independently organized debates. To date, the Tories have agreed to debates hosted by Quebec broadcaster TVA, Maclean’s magazine, the Globe and Mail and the Munk Debates. The broadcasters’ consortium — comprised of CBC, CTV, Global and Radio- Canada — is still planning on going ahead with two debates, one in each official language. However, they will not include the Tories. Why are the Conservatives messing with debate tradition? No one is certain, but there are theories. Some believe Harper and his election team are trying to de- emphasize the importance of the debates by doing a greater number of shorter ones. It is rumoured the broadcast consortium had planned on two English and two French debates, each two hours long, for eight hours in total. Of the four debates the Tories have agreed to join, none has specified a format or length. We could end up with more individual debates, but less overall time debating. Others believe the Conservatives want more individual debates so they can have greater opportunity to ravage Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. He is the least experienced of the leaders, and some Tories do not want him to benefit from merely surviving a one- and- done debate. And some believe Harper and the Tories are doing this to manipulate the format. The broadcast consortium was able to more or less control the format and deny any one party leader the opportunity to tip the scales in his or her favour. It seems likely the Tories will have more influence now than under the old rules. None of these theories adequately explains the potential downside to five independent debates. Namely, that Harper is providing his enemies with more opportunities to score political points. And even though none of the debates will enjoy the enormous audience generated by the consortium debates, the media will cover each debate intensively. That means more debate- related headlines, and more speculation about who won or lost each debate. That is a scenario fraught with peril for any incumbent government; more swings at the incumbent means more chances for a knockout blow. It is ironic to say the least that the broadcast consortium, now desperate to stay in the debate game, wasted little time in inviting Green party Leader Elizabeth May to participate. In the past, the consortium has wilted in the face of opposition from the major parties and kept May on the sidelines. This time, desperate for warm bodies, May has already been given a place in the French and English debates. This brings to an end a series of bad hands dealt to the Greens in past elections. May was allowed to participate in the 2008 debates, but only after a groundswell of public opinion moved other parties to agree to let her in. In 2011, however, May was shut out by the consortium because her party did not have an MP in the House of Commons. It mattered little the Greens had received nearly one million votes in the 2008 election. Despite being excluded, May was elected as an MP. It seems as if some of the new independent debates will follow that tradition and exclude the Greens. The Globe and Mail has made it clear only the three major parties will be invited to its debate on the economy, although Maclean’s has invited the Greens. It will take some time to figure out the logic behind the Conservative debate strategy. However, regardless of how it turns out, the Tories have provided the most compelling argument to date for taking the debates out of the hands of broadcasters and parties, and putting them into the hands of some sort of independent, non- partisan commission. Debates are a key element in voter engagement and part of the foundation of the electoral process. Neither the broadcasters nor registered political parties should be allowed to decide how many debates will take place, or set the rules. Voters, through an independent body, should have the last word on when, where and how many. To date, only the Liberal party has promised to create such an independent body to oversee electoral debates. Perhaps, as the campaign unfolds and we get to see which party benefits the most from this new and more convoluted approach to setting the debates, other parties will join the call for independent oversight. dan. lett@ freepress. mb. ca E DMONTON — Rachel Notley ushered in Alberta’s first change of government in almost 44 years Sunday, being sworn in on the steps of the legislature as the 17th premier while thousands who jammed the grounds cheered her on. “ My friends, it is springtime in Alberta, and a fresh wind is blowing,” the NDP leader told the crowd after she and her 11 cabinet ministers took their oaths. “ Today we open up a new chapter in the story of Alberta.” It was a festival atmosphere under sunny skies amid sticky heat alleviated only by the occasional gust of wind. There were kids and adults. Some stood in the reflecting pool to watch. They came in shorts and swimsuits. They ate free ice cream, chanted “ Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!” and roared in approval when it was announced former premier Jim Prentice and his Progressive Conservative government had resigned. Afterwards, the New Democrat elected members and cabinet ministers waded into the crowd to shake hands and pose for pictures. “ It really is about opening up this legislature and... making the government of Alberta meaningful to Albertans again,” Notley told reporters. Former Calgary alderman Joe Ceci was named the finance minister at the ceremony. Former teacher and school administrator Marg McCuaig- Boyd was posted to energy. Former NDP leader Brian Mason is the new minister of infrastructure and transportation. The ceremony brought to a close 43 years, eight months, and 15 days of Progressive Conservative rule. It is the longest stretch of power by one party in Canadian history. Notley’s team made its own history on May 5, capturing 54 of 87 legislature seats to dethrone the Tories. It’s the first NDP government in Alberta. It is also a passing of the torch. Notley’s father, Grant Notley, was the leader of Alberta’s NDP during lean years for the party in the 1970s and early ’ 80s. He died in a plane crash in 1984, just two years before the NDP made a historic breakthrough, winning 16 seats and forming official Opposition in 1986. Notley ran on a plan that includes higher income taxes for the wealthy and rolling back many of Prentice’s proposed tax and fee hikes. She has promised a review of oil royalties, to hike the minimum wage to $ 15 by 2018, to fund thousands of new grade- school students arriving this fall, and to balance the budget by 2018- 19. The NDP hopes to put behind it a difficult week of transition. Last Friday, the party apologized for using online invitations to the taxpayer- funded swearing- in as a way to raise funds. It also ejected rookie member Deborah Drever following the circulation of a series of questionable photos. The 26- year- old will sit as an Independent. The ceremony launches a busy schedule. The cabinet will hold its first meetings, in Calgary, on Wednesday and Thursday. The legislature resumes June 11 for the selection of a new Speaker. There will be a speech from the throne on June 15 followed by a short session mainly to pass a bill to keep the province’s money flowing while Notley’s team crafts its first budget to be released in the fall. The election has radically redrawn the legislature seating chart. The Tories have been reduced to just nine seats. The Wildrose party captured 21 seats to remain the Opposition. David Swann, the interim leader of the Liberals, is now the party’s only legislature member. Greg Clark, leader of the Alberta Party, won for the first time in Calgary Elbow. Prentice’s seat is the lone vacancy. He quit politics on election night. — The Canadian Press Timely transitions in Canadian politics EDMONTON — Rachel Notley officially became Alberta’s 17th premier Sunday, 19 days after the New Democrats won a majority in the May 5 election. Here is a look at the length of some power transitions in other provinces: . British Columbia : On May 16, 2001, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing NDP. Premier Gordon Campbell took office 20 days later on June 5. . Alberta : On Aug 30, 1971, voters elected the Progressive Conservatives to replace the governing Social Credit party. Premier Peter Lougheed took office 11 days later on Sept. 10. . Saskatchewan : On Nov. 7, 2007, voters elected the Saskatchewan Party to replace the governing NDP. Premier Brad Wall took office 14 days later on Nov. 21. . Manitoba : On Sept. 21, 1999, voters elected the NDP to replace the governing Progressive Conservatives. Premier Gary Doer took office 14 days later on Oct. 5. . Ontario : On Oct. 2, 2003, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing Progressive Conservatives. Premier Dalton McGuinty took office 21 days later on Oct. 23. . Quebec : On April 7, 2014, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing Parti Québécois. Premier Philippe Couillard took office 16 days later on April 23. . Newfoundland and Labrador : On Oct. 21, 2003, voters elected the PCs to replace the governing Liberals. Premier Danny Williams took office 16 days later on Nov. 6. . New Brunswick : On Sept. 22, 2014, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing Progressive Conservatives. Premier Brian Gallant took office 15 days later on Oct. 7. . Prince Edward Island : On May 28, 2007, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing Progressive Conservatives. Premier Robert Ghiz took office 15 days later on June 12. . Nova Scotia : On Oct. 8, 2013, voters elected the Liberals to replace the governing NDP. Premier Stephen McNeil took office 14 days later on Oct. 22. — The Canadian Press Conservatives’ debate strategy a game changer Harper to sidestep traditional forums DAN LETT JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS Rachel Notley and her NDP cabinet acknowledge their supporters Sunday in Edmonton. Alberta’s ‘ new chapter’ Party atmosphere as Notley sworn in as province’s 17th premier By Dean Bennett A_ 04_ May- 25- 15_ FP_ 01. indd A4 5/ 24/ 15 9: 34: 34 PM

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