What an interesting evening!

A comment about the event presented by the Muslim Community of the Islamic Centre, Brock Road…

This is praise and criticism wrapped up in one commentary.

Let’s begin with some praise:

Dave Ryan
Enough can’t be said about the man. The usual accolades hold: dedicated, professional, intelligent…but there is much more to the man. There is ‘human depth.’ He cares about his community, his fellow councillors, ethnic factions in the community, about people. He shows it; he acts it; he lives it. The man deserves all the recognition, respect and appreciation we can give him. I’d like to be first in line to honour him. 28%

The Imam, Islamic Centre, Mosque, Brock Road, Pickering
This Imam is far more than just a cleric. He is a social leader who leads his community spiritually, socially and politically. He epitomizes what a cleric should be. The walls of his house of worship extend far beyond Brock Road. His reach exceeds his grasp, and it is incumbent on us, the community of Pickering to appreciate having such a leader. Other community leaders, take note.

Kevin Ashe
Candidate for mayor of Pickering
More humble than one would surmise. His inner spirit is as big as the man. As I stood beside him at the Ryan retirement dinner and people approached him to shake his hand, he took a moment to introduce me as “his friend, Richard” to each person.

There is more to the man. Of course, he was campaigning. But at the dining table, he paid attention to every person at the table, responding to each one with care and respect.

Asked to predict the percentage of voter turnout in the upcoming election. No curt, simple number. He carefully sequenced the influencing factors: the new and growing population to the city, digital voting, the staggered length of the voting period, the amount of information needing time to reach the voters and their needing time to digest it all. His response was a comprehensive examination of details covering more than the expected percentage number. 28%!

Dave Pickles
A gentle man who is more thoughtful and caring than the stereotypically held view of politicians. His dinner discussion led us into the troubled times we live in, troubling for politicians, troubling for the community, and troubling for individuals. It was a discussion that led to bullying, hatred, prejudice and racism. He underlined how the respect existing in earlier times is eroding sadly and quickly. How there is a failure to recognize the value of the common worker, workers, the doorman, the hamburger flipper and all the others ranked at that level of employment. Councillors experience criticism and examples of ‘hatred,’ but never mind at the tongue of the regular citizenry, worse by other councillors. He was making observations, not casting criticisms. 26.5%!

Shaheen Butt
Few know the emotional upheaval his family has experienced in the last year. Butt does not wear his heart on his sleeve looking for sympathy. He is a strong people person, but that personality trait ranks his family first and they needed his support and strength this past year. The City and its residents were put on the back burner, not forgotten, just set back a bit while he dedicated his effort and heart to his family. When asked, rather than dwelling on the setbacks, he reasserts that he is back, back to where the City of Pickering is his top priority. His volunteer work is back in gear. His glad-handing is above campaigning. He cares. It shows. 27%!

It would be inappropriate to indicate who was absent from the Ryan retirement celebration. After all, each of us has responsibilities and commitments that force us into choosing and selecting what we can do, and what we can attend.

However,  people might consider value and contribution and then consider appreciation. Here we have a mayor of historical significance. If it weren’t for health issues, Hazel would get a run for her money but no import’. You missed an important event. I am glad I was able to attend.

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