Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Reading has always been a challenge for me. It is difficult to control the myriad of impulses that can take up my day, which include (but are not limited to): Amazon purchases, responding to notifications on my phone and wondering if my latest post received any likes(!). As well, I’m not the fastest reader and my mind tends to wander during reading sessions.

But like a good workout, the first few minutes are always the toughest. Once you get going, the value of reading presents itself. I become immersed in the author’s story. I am transported out of my own life and begin seeing the world from a different lens. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Avery Evans on Unsplash

Life is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel.

Horace Walpole

September 2019 seems like a lifetime ago. Large crowds gathering at the steps of governments around the world demanded action on climate change. Thousands marched, from toddlers to the elderly to demonstrate the need for governments to act now on the imminent threat of our warming atmosphere. There was no time to waste. The lexicon was no longer ‘climate change action’. It was now a climate emergency.

As I cycled past the crowds on my way to work, I could hear banter about the government not doing enough, mixed in with calls for the end of capitalism as we know it. My eyes rested on large posters of Greta Thunberg and epithets to Donald Trump and other Conservative politicians. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

One of the most controversial topics globally is abortion. The issue is intensely personal and the conversations usually descend into morality, human rights and determining the beginning of life. In many developed nations including Canada, public opinion is largely favourable to abortion.

Canada is indeed an interesting case study. Despite the country having no laws on the topic, over 70 percent of Canadians believe abortion should be permitted. However, only 53 percent believe abortion should be whenever the woman decides. This is fascinating. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ashley Winkler on Unsplash

The farmers market is one neat square block filled with bustling activity. Families, mothers, grandparents, uncles and screams of young children fill the musky city air on a typical Saturday morning. Mongers border the sides of the market place, occupying their sections with the fresh scents of herbs and vegetables and canteens showcasing spices. Cuts of meat are displayed and the sounds of tearing butcher paper pierce the air enough for few to inquisitively glance.

The sights of any typical market place are checkered with the expressions of the people. Glances at the faces of the patrons convey vivid emotion. Child siblings gleefully play, cry and scheme with each other. Parents battle exhaustion while maintaining energy to get through the market’s various sub-sections. Curious onlookers inspecting produce and meat engage in conversation with each seller. The communication through the eyes and facial muscles can determine a seller’s earnings for the day. Friendly exchanges discuss where products originated, when they were harvested and how long they will last. Often the sellers are the harvesters themselves. …

Oh, and for those that love reading too.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

I detest clutter. My bookshelf is a hodgepodge of university textbooks, Toastmaster manuals and voluminous works on random topics. After I finish each, I ask myself:

Now, what?

Are these to collect dust? Will I haul the hardcover 700-page work on the Aztec Empire while travelling? Or, will it sit there? On my shelf. As a testament to my reading?

Don’t get me wrong: many of us revisit books. Perhaps it was a passage that conveyed strong emotion. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

In these uncertain times, governments face paying millions of its citizens Employment Insurance. Billions will be spent on emergency measures. Canada, for example, has instituted many benefit programs for its citizens. These initiatives include wage subsidies, emergency funds for students and funds to help those caring for others. At both the federal and provincial levels, new initiatives intend to help those most affected by COVID-19.

In normal times, any one of these initiatives would have taken weeks and months to concoct and debate. But these are not normal times. Yet the question still remains:

Are these the most effective responses to get the country moving again? …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Michal Czyz on Unsplash

Video and audio conferencing will play a bigger role in the business world once COVID-19 has passed.

Connectivity has never been more important in an age of self-isolation and physical distancing. Had this pandemic occurred in the 1990s, working from home with full connectivity would be downright impossible. Today, thanks to advanced satellite and internet infrastructure, we are as connected to all of our office files from our kitchen tables as we are in the office.

Internet infrastructure has allowed for the possibility of video-conferencing. The picture quality has substantively improved from the USB-webcams of the not-too-distant past: 720p seems to be standard. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Utsav Srestha on Unsplash

45 minutes.

Every day, you are most likely to spend approximately 45 minutes consuming news media. That’s 3 percent of your day consumed, consuming the news. And this 3 percent has the ability to wreak havoc on your mentality, to send your emotional brain into overdrive and ruin friendships and relationships.

45 minutes is all it takes.

In Ontario, teachers went on strike to call attention to some issues to be included in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As you can expect, it was all over the news. It was all the talk amongst my teacher friends too. But the more they talked to me, the less I understood. What precisely were the issues teachers were fighting for? …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Through my professional career and working on the Strong and Free Podcast, I have been privileged to have wonderful conversations with community activists and leaders. The unfortunate reality for many youth living in inner cities is the allure of guns, gangs and violence. This still holds true today in some of North America’s largest urban centres. And while there are many wonderful books that have documented why young men, in particular, are more attracted to this lifestyle, I kept having this recurring thought:

Why aren’t schools open longer?

I understand this probably isn’t a new thought. And, there are politics, funding issues, FTE placements of teachers to supervise youth — the list goes on. But before we can go down the road of politics, funding and logistics: is having schools open longer a better idea? …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We live in interesting times. It’s incredible to witness the changes over the past few years. When I graduated high school in the early 2000s, my Catholic school prohibited an openly gay student from bringing his partner to Prom. It was a discriminatory act and after enough pressure, the student brought his Partner.

I’d argue most of us are not offensive and do not agree with, nor enact discrimination or hate. We do not wish ill on those of different races, religions, ethnicities, gender identities, or sexual orientations.

There is a real frustration, however, of being confused with those that are truly offensive and discriminatory. Many of us are just… well, apathetic to the characteristics that define you. …


Christopher Balkaran

Christopher is a firm believer in balanced political discourse, which can lead to a better world. Creator of the Strong and Free Podcast.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store