Friday, November 2, 2012

Georges Laraque coming down the Pipeline for Barrie

Since I entered federal politics in 2004, minority government meant maintaining a constant state of readiness, because no matter how recent the last, the next election could be right around the corner. But now with a solid majority in Ottawa, four years will be blissfully election-free. Gone is diligent door-knocking, frantic fundraising, or political posturing – for now.
So what do politicians do in this long inter-election period? For guidance, I look to our perennially-popular MP Patrick Brown. Between distant elections, primary activities seem to be flipping pancakes, skating with NHLers, and deep discussions about national policy. (Well, two out of three ain’t bad!)
Drawing on that example, we are hosting a couple of interesting events. The first is on American election day. Who wins will have a huge effect on the Keystone XL pipeline to connect Alberta tar sands with the world’s customers via tankers in the ecologically-sensitive Gulf of Mexico. Will the Northern Gateway cross BC instead, drawing more tankers to our own vulnerable coast? What about Enbridge’s plans to reverse, increase, and change the contents of pipelines crossing southern Ontario? How do we feel about their record of spills (and spills, and spills…) in our own backyard?
To discuss this, come to our “Pipelines or Pipe dreams?” discussion at 7:45 PM this Tuesday, November 6, at 89 Dunlop St. E. (back entrance).
Barrie is Hockey Town, as Patrick has amply proven. So it’s time for our own NHL visit, from Oilers, Coyotes, Penguins and Canadiens star enforcer Georges Laraque, a fascinating mix of contrasting elements. Inspired by Jackie Robinson, he rose above racism to the elite ranks of the last “white” professional team sport. This strict vegan maintains an impressive 6’4” 255 lb fighting trim without consuming animal proteins. Despite a career as a professional enforcer tasked with intimidating and fighting opponents, “Big Georges” is well-known in the community as a humanitarian, philanthropist, and constant volunteer for good causes, visiting hospitalized children, campaigning to rebuild hospitals in his ancestral Haiti, championing animal rights and a sustainable environment. You may have seen him with Canadian champion figure skater Anabelle Langlois in Battle of the Blades.
Beyond hockey and charity, he puts his money and name to a raft of sustainable endeavors. He co-owns Crudessence raw food restaurants in Montreal. He marketed energy-saving synthetic ice sheets, and promotes vertical farming to sustainably grow local organic food right in our cities. Oh, and did I mention he’s deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada?
Meet this fascinating man right here in Barrie on November 15th for a free reading from his autobiography “Georges Laraque, the story of the NHL’sunlikeliest tough guy”, at the Ferndale Banquet Hall (beside Simcoe Building Centre) at 7 PM, following a special VIP reception. Contact or call 705-730-7591 for more information.
Published in my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Georges Laraque skates through town Nov. 15"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

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