From the saddest moment in my life to one of the happiest...



From the saddest moment in my life to one of the one of the happiest.

30 years ago, my Dad’s only brother passed away in a tragic car accident. My Uncle Manmohan was an amazing person - kind, loving, solid. I really looked up to him.

Uncle Manmohan left a young family. My Aunt Nishi and their two young children - both under 10 years old I believe.

I have always also looked up to my Aunt. She is a vibrant, kind, loving, and she dedicated herself to raising her two kids. They have also grown up to be interesting, kind, loving people - just like their parents. Both have great careers.

Every family and every person has ups and downs. A big part of life. I wish I could see this part of my family more often. I’m so thankful to be my Aunt’s nephew and Neeta and Amar’s cousin. They are amazing people.

Tomorrow is my Aunt’s 70th birthday. And many of her family have gathered in Cancun Mexico at a wonderful all inclusive beachfront resort to celebrate her. It’s wonderful to reconnect with extended family and friends after a long time. I’m here with my Mom and my sister.

I’m very confident my Uncle would be so proud of his family. I so wish he was still here. Many of us carry him in our hearts every day. For him, I’ll raise a glass of the most local beer I can find this evening

Hitting my Heart at the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation conference #ncdd2023




I've spent much of the evening going through resources that came through participating in the recent NCDD conference in Atlanta Georgia.

What a treasure trove of community building, democracy strengthening, human spirit lifting materials And whats more -> from incredible committed good people. 

In these troubled times, this is what we need to highlight. There is hope, there incredibly effective tools to allow folks to collaborate and not be in conflict. 

We have let our lizard brains get a major upper hand. And predominantly, what we see and highlight is a constant toxic stream of calamity, conflict, and negativity. It's almost a deluge. And sometimes its hard to conceive how the hopeful, effective, colllaborative stuff can punch through and really gain well deserved attention on a societal scale.

One way is through art and media. What's sticking with me the most from the NCDD conference is the impact of the art and media showcased. Got way further into my heart. 

Check out this incredible slam poem from Kevin Coval from the opening plenary -  "a call to you who is me"

One evening at the conference, we also saw an incredibly moving documentary about the courage and leadership of six women, three pro life leaders and three pro choice leaders, asked to come together after an incredible tragedy to try to forge stronger relationships while not compromising their very strongly held views and values.  Abortion Talks is a masterpiece documentary that hopefully is seen far and wide as a reminder that better ways are possible. 

Throughout the whole conference, talented people were graphically recording the sessions. I love this complement to text based notes. Really helps broader understanding of key insights. Here is my online photo album of these graphic recordings. 

Kamloops Leadership Podcast - Tyson Andrykew!

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So great to chat with Tyson Andrykew who, at a very young age for his resume and  well deserved recognition, has really lived the concept of making Kamloops as cool as place as possible. One of the founders of Brewloops, already a Chamber of Commerce Past President, and involved with so many community building efforts, I got to ask Tyson about leadership through service. Some amazing insights here. 

NCDD Bring Hopes for the World.... #ncdd2023

I'm really looking forward to this week, especially towards the end of the week. I'm travelling to the US based National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation conference in Atlanta Georgia on Thursday.
There is a lot going on the world these days. Scrolling through news and first hand accounts of what has happened in Israel and Palestine, as just the most recent example, has made my heart and head hurt badly.
I still hold on to a lot of hope that we can survive and thrive as individuals, as communities, as a species. I've made many friends in the facilitation, dialogue, deliberation, democracy building world and they remain a constant source of inspiration.
I've been thinking a lot about resilience and wonder if anyone has any guidance and advice for me as I have been invited to help open the conference in the best way possible. Look at the amazing people I get to chat with on this panel!!
The conference will offer such amazing learning opportunities and the chance to make and renew great friendships.

One thing I want to share about 2021...

The one thing I want share about 2021 is this was a year where I really had to make conscious choices.
There was great challenge and adversity both personally and in the community as a whole. There was also opportunities for tremendous learning, growth, and for building resilience.
I’ve never seen the level of community anxiety and concern that I saw this year. The question I ask myself about this is “what do we do with this?”.
There is generally speaking, for me, a path of light and a path of darkness.
Many wise people, for thousands of years, have been thinking on this question and there is a full, robust, and very effective and helpful body of human knowledge that helps us take a path of light.
Unfortunately, it is not the path that gets the most attention.
For today, I wanted to share with you a quote from the great Parker Palmer. I’ve thought a lot about these words this year.
“Suffering breaks our hearts, but the heart can break in two different ways. There's the brittle heart that breaks into shards, shattering the one who suffers as it explodes, and sometimes taking others down when it's thrown like a grenade at the ostensible source of its pain.
Then there's the supple heart, the one that breaks open, not apart, the one that can grow into greater capacity for the many forms of love. Only the supple heart can hold suffering in a way that opens to new life.”
― Parker J. Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old”
I try hard to continue to cultivate an open heart. This year, sometimes, that has been as hard as it has ever been. And this difficulty thankfully has caused in me the desire to redouble my efforts, knowing I will sometimes fail. It feels so wonderfully amazing to live in open heartedness.
Much love everyone! Wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!

Some Thoughts on the 2020 BC Provincial Election...

(These are my own personal views and do not represent the views of any organization with which I am involved)

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson 

I don’t want to ask you to support any particular candidate or party. And I don’t think its a good idea either to share who I am leaning toward voting for. I did want to share some overall thoughts about the upcoming BC provincial election. I hope this would perhaps be helpful to some.

In the past several years, I have had the good fortune of meeting and working with MLAs from all parties represented in the legislature. I have spent time the major party leaders. 

First, I want to say how much I respect and appreciate the quality of individuals who are MLAs in the province. I have the same feeling about the candidates I know who are not an MLA currently. 

As I have shared with many provincial colleagues, I think the system within which they work is broken. It feels to me like you have to sell a part of your soul and give up a lot of your empathy to become an MLA. In this election, as per normal, the hard hearts and the closed minds are taking centre stage. And collaborative policy making, based on the overall best interests of British Columbians, can be lost. 

I have been a strong proponent of electoral reform to a proportional representation system but proportional representation only works if the MLAs are willing to make it work, to give and take, to put province before party.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan and BC NDP MLA Selina Robinson

I really feel like this latest NDP minority government was a huge win for British Columbians. Premier Horgan and his cabinet were responsive and engaged authentically. The Green Party caucus helped to round out and broaden appeal of different initiatives and policies. And, although I wish there was more collaborative work between the NDP and the Liberals, the Liberals had some good successes in the minority legislature.

The success of the minority government and my desires for all hands continuing to be on deck during the pandemic contributed to my annoyance and surprise that the government called an election. We now have one elected official who is retiring, Carole James, as a caretaker "Minister of Everything" until a new government is sworn in. The NDP’s argument for calling this election essentially is that the government needs a stronger mandate to take strong action to help citizens during and after the pandemic. They are asking for a majority government.

NDP leader John Horgan is a strong leader with a friendly, heart on his sleeve type of demeanour. Yes, I don’t agree with his contention that the Green Party was becoming an unreliable partner. I do appreciate greatly many things he and his government have done for the province. They have accomplished a lot in a a little over three years. He was so wise to let Dr Henry be the guide and the face of BC pandemic response. He is an able campaigner and hopefully will lead with his plans for another mandate.

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is also a strong leader with many years of government experience. He is making the case that the election was unnecessary and also talking about how he will serve all British Columbians as we live through and recover from the pandemic. Andrew is not the most at ease campaigner or speaker. I’ve had the opportunity to sit at a table with him a few times. He seems much more comfortable around a table talking policy. He has struck me as very intelligent and often quite nimble in his thinking.



BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau and BC Green MLA Adam Olsen

Newly elected Green Leader Sonia Furstenau is relatively new to provincial politics but brings a wealth of her experience from her MLA experience thus far. The Green caucus, which has now shrunk from three to two with the departure of Andrew Weaver, was looped into so many different projects and initiatives in the minority legislature. Sonia has been able, thus far in the campaign, to articulate the views and plans of the BC Greens so well thus far in the election. I also wonder if there is a “Bonnie Henry effect” that could help Sonia attract votes. British Columbians have seen the steady, calm hand of a great female leader and that might make us more open to more female leadership. On the flip side, will the Greens have the resources to get their message out?

I don't think I've met the BC Conservative's leader, Trevor Bolin, and the party is struggling to get a lot of provincial coverage of their campaign. He is a long time Fort St John city councillor so that's strong experience. I think a lot of the more moderate BC Conservative views might have been subsumed into the BC Liberal policies but that's just an assumption on my part. I will try to learn more in the next weeks. 

I will share some thoughts on the Kamloops riding candidates in a post to come. 

Thoughts on inclusion, diversity, and anti racism in Kamloops...

Whenever I think about diversity and inclusion in Kamloops, my mind first goes to our amazing history of embracing diversity. I think about community leaders like John Fremont Smith, Len Marchand, and Peter Wing. I think about my Dad driving us to elementary school and little Arjun (I was once) almost always noting there was street we passed called “Singh Street”. I think about this community largely very much embraced my immigrant parents and their children. 
I know, however, my thinking needs to try to engage with the whole picture. And there is definitely racism and discrimination in our community. There is systemic racism in some of our most powerful institutions. I’ve lived these experiences somewhat but I know many many people who have experienced racism and discrimination much more that I. The recent global spotlight on racism, after the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has brought a lot of strong important emotions to the centre of public conversations - anger and joy, fear and hope, desires to fight and desires to collaborate. 
In times like these, I seek to converse with good people who are involved, concerned, and who can seek positive outcomes. As a community representative, I feel a responsibility to try to be of service to a more inclusive community. I also think we need to move thoughtfully and empathetically as we decide how we move forward. There are very dark bitter places one can inhabit with these conversations and we need to instead find places of empowerment, hope, and community. Finding the most positive spaces can take time and a lot of energy. And there will be stumbles along the way.
Here are some the things I suggest we, as a community, explore doing: 
  1. Engage and educate each other: I don’t see a lot of success in the call out culture on an individual level. Yes, we must let people know when we feel they are being racist and / or discriminatory. This may stop the behaviour. But I am not sure it changes the views. This take fostering understanding and relations between different people with different backgrounds. This takes being empathetic to each other. If I say to someone “you are an awful racist”, I am not sure they will immediately agree and change. Their response seems more likely to be “no I am definitely not” and then the walls get built higher against any progress. Can we be empathetic to those who hold racist or discriminatory views? Where would we draw the line here? To me, these are important and interesting questions. I would potentially propose here facilitating public and private conversations between people of different backgrounds to build goodwill and understanding.
  2. City council, city staff, the RCMP, and the Fire service should learn more about diversity, inclusion, and racism:  City council has taken Indigenous Awareness training and regularly meets with T’kemlups Te Secwepemc colleagues and friends. I think it would be good to broaden this training to better understand the further diversity of the citizens we serve. This is more for me about being more aware of unconscious racism and discrimination and of systemic bias in practices and processes. And also, it makes it much less hospitable for any overt and conscious discrimination to occur.  This training should be mandatory. 
  3. City hall should continue to build a diverse and inclusive workforce:  From time to time, I field concerns that the city workforce does not represent the diversity of Kamloops. I am confident that there is no overt discrimination in city hiring practices and have worked with many people from diverse backgrounds all over city operations. The city does not have hiring quotas and I support an open hiring practice. I’d like to know more about efforts the city can make to outreach to communities that might have some barriers in easily accessing job opportunities. I think we need to ensure all citizens understand how city hiring practices are conducted. And I’d like to know how we are looking at unconscious bias and systemic racism and what we will do to eliminate these if they exist. And we need to be open to good faith feedback on how we can be more inclusive in hiring. 
  4. Remain open to ways to do better: This is tough and it will take time. But it has potential to be transformational. I think its so important to stay open minded to changes and not to get complacent with the first or second thing we undertake. 

Sad to return an electric vehicle. Happy to pick one up.




I leased an all electric Nissan Leaf in 2016. I had quite a bit of apprehension but wanted to drive a vehicle that emitted no greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to great advice and help from people like Glen Cheetham, Jeff Putnam, and Aaron Stone, I joined the world of electric vehicle drivers.

It's been such a fantastic experience. Thanks to my friend and our former Rotary exchange student Joel Pflomm in breaking in the car on the first ride. The car has not only been ghg free in operation, its been really fun to drive (very peppy). It has cost about $15 a month to power and has had very low maintenance expenses.

I've driven all over Kamloops, to Merritt, to Revelstoke (with a couple of passengers (Kathy Sinclair), and to Logan Lake. That's been the one slightly limiting factor of the car - it has a 160km maximum range most of the year, and about 100km in weather below -10 degrees celsius.

My lease was for four years. My wife advised a lease and it was a very smart move. Thank you Marsha Stewart!
In the past months, we have been researching different electric vehicles with a 350 to 400 km range which we could lease for roughly the same cost.

The Covid-19 situation put a bit of a dent in our test drive schedule but we were very happy today to pick up a 2020 Nissan Leaf with a 350km range.

I've appreciated the leadership of Sean Turner at River City Nissan in being one of the very first dealerships in Kamloops to stock electric vehicles and we both have felt well served by a very gentlemanly and friendly sales person in our friend Jonny Walker.

It was bittersweet. Our old car was so awesome. And we are looking for more to more road trips in the new one.

There are an increasing number of great EVs available from reputable local Kamloops dealerships. I'm happy to provide more details about my EV experiences.