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Snapshots: Trudeau says hello, going phoneless, Apple locks, parking trash

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: 100 Days in Parliament, a couple weeks without a phone, a decision to be made about phone security, a choice: litter or be a real considerate human being.



Illustration by Danielle Collins

(1) New Message

My dear Canadians, I want to let you know that while it has taken time to rejoin you, the importance of young, hard-working Canadian students was never far from my mind. Over 100 days in office is a little late, and yes, it took a dark moment, with people saying budget-deadline-this and Saudi-export-that and not-that-transparent-after-all, for me to remember a bright spot on the other side of the country, but it’s shared Canadian experiences that unite us. And while I’ve never seen what is surely a picturesque campus (I received pictures; they’re very green), I can imagine how excited you are for me, and how bad you are with deadlines, promises, and ethics.

We forget that this job is hard — and by we I mean I, and by hard I mean forget I said that — but if you’ve seen me, with ums and pauses during Question Period, or repeating vague but hopeful-sounding promises in interviews with regular folk, know that it’s because I’m trying to consider all views. There’s lots! Here’s where you come in: what this country needs — oh, what a shame, I’m out of space. Well, until next time. Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.


Illustration by Danielle Collins 2

Phoneless and free

Not having a phone is one of the best and smartest decisions I have made so far this year. I feel like I can actually contemplate life without having constant information thrown at me and always being updated about every little thing that happens. I can look up information, check my emails, and connect with people when I want to, not with each notification.

I am amazed at how fixating phones can be. I used to be glued to one wherever I went, and no one could keep me away from my beloved handheld for long. There is nothing more socially debilitating than a little device that splits your attention between your present moment and what’s happening around the virtual world.

Since giving up my phone, walking down the street and listening to the sounds of people talking or birds chirping has awakened my sense of space and time. While smartphones have many efficient features that have greatly improved our communication, I can live without relying on such devices. After all, human societies have succeeded so far without them, so let’s not forget that phones should not be the only means for connecting with each other.


Illustration by Danielle Collins 3

Get iSmart

Left- and right-wingers have always duked it out over how much privacy to surrender for the sake of security, but now, with the news that Apple is refusing to comply with a judge’s order to unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters for the FBI, the fight has come a little closer to home.

To worry over threats of terrorism and hackers is one thing when it has to do with some obscure legislation. But when it has to do with the iPhone in your pocket, when the FBI and a federal judge require Apple to provide a master key that can open and shut every one of its phones, it becomes easier to understand what’s at stake.

Everything on your phone is incredibly personal. You text from it, you shop from it, you take photos call your parents from it. The precedent that could be set here, making something so close to you vulnerable to prying eyes is an issue that hits close to home. Regardless of how loudly Trump, who has called for Apple to bend to his (and the FBI’s) will, hollers to boycott Apple, I’m hoping this won’t lead to our privacy being compromised.


Illustration by Danielle Collins 4

Litter at the park-and-ride

Birds fly high in the clear morning sky as you pull into the glorious treasure trove of free parking at the McCallum park-and-ride. This is your sanctuary. You almost always find a spot. The walk up to UFV helps you calm your mind — then your foot goes straight into a half-full discarded Tim Hortons coffee cup.

These cups are everywhere. There is so much garbage lying around at the park-and-ride, so much disrespect for the place, that I wonder if our generation has been introduced to the concept of littering. Here’s a mini lesson: If you throw your coffee cup — or anything that doesn’t naturally come from the ground — anywhere but a garbage or recycling bin, that’s littering. If you’re throwing around your apple cores or banana peels, great. Those items are compostable. Just make sure your compostable food items get tossed onto somebody’s windshield (true story), or onto the pavement where I’ll slip on them (also true). UFV’s parking and the park-and-ride are sins against nature as it is, so let’s not let our wasteful latte remnants add insult to injury. Keep a place for garbage in your car, or wait until you get to school to throw your cups away.


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